- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 12, 2007

ALABAMA

Militiamen jailed in weapons case

BIRMINGHAM — A judge sentenced two militiamen to federal prison yesterday for helping make hand grenades that members said they stockpiled with other weapons in case chaos descended on their corner of rural northeastern Alabama.

James Ray McElroy, 20, of Collinsville, will serve nearly 3½ years in prison. U.S. District Judge U.W. Clemon sentenced Randall Garrett Cole, 22, of Gadsden, to more than three years in prison.

Both men acknowledged being part of a militia that authorities said feared the government and disliked illegal aliens. They and the three other men who pleaded guilty to weapons charges previously said they made and stored grenades out of fear of an economic collapse, terrorism and martial law in the United States.

The other defendants will be sentenced later.

FLORIDA

Hebrew classes to resume

FORT LAUDERDALE — A charter school may resume teaching in Hebrew, three weeks after the lessons were halted over concerns that the Jewish faith was seeping into public classrooms, the school board voted yesterday.

Broward County board members said close monitoring of the country’s first Hebrew-language charter school is still necessary, but that its administrators had resolved major concerns.

The school district will work with the Ben Gamla Charter School in Hollywood to create training programs for teachers and board members to ensure the separation of church and state, Schools Superintendent James Notter said. Lesson plans will be submitted monthly for district review.

HAWAII

Old Navy ship eyed as homeless shelter

HONOLULU — Many retired Navy ships have been turned into museums, but community groups here are hoping for what military officials say is a first: turning a decommissioned vessel into a floating homeless shelter.

The 642-foot destroyer tender Acadia was built in 1981 and sailed around the world several times with a crew of 1,500 before it was decommissioned in 1994. In January, Navy officials decided to dispose of, sell off or give away the vessel, which is docked at Pearl Harbor.

A coalition called the Acadia Acquisition Committee is negotiating with the state for a place to put the ship. Its proposal calls for Acadia to start housing people as early as May 2009.

LOUISIANA

Nuns cleared in Katrina deaths

NEW ORLEANS — No criminal charges will be filed in the Hurricane Katrina-related deaths of 19 patients at a nursing home run by an order of Roman Catholic sisters, New Orleans District Attorney Eddie Jordan said.

“The sisters are very gratified and relieved,” said lawyer Evans Schmidt, who represents the Sisters of the Holy Family, operators of Lafon nursing home in New Orleans.

Mr. Jordan said he determined that, after a thorough review, no criminal conduct had occurred.

MICHIGAN

Ex-officers win whistleblower suit

DETROIT — A jury ruled in favor of two former Detroit police officers yesterday, awarding them $6.5 million in a whistleblower lawsuit that churned out accusations of misdeeds by the mayor’s staff and extramarital affairs by the mayor.

Gary Brown and Harold Nelthrope had sued the mayor and the city, saying city officials made them suffer after they raised questions about suspected wrongdoing within Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s security unit.

The Wayne County Circuit Court jury found after a 15-day trial that Mr. Kilpatrick and the city had violated the state’s Whistleblower Protection Act in the case.

Wilson Copeland, who represented the city, said no decision had been made on whether to appeal.

MISSOURI

Baby safe after carjacking

ST. LOUIS — A baby girl who was strapped into her child safety seat when a carjacker killed her father and stole his sport utility vehicle was found safe yesterday morning outside a hospital, authorities said.

The little girl, Ivory Roach, was in good condition at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis County police spokesman Rick Eckhard said. No arrests have been made.

The carjacking happened late Monday in north St. Louis County, where police investigating reports of gunshots found Tionna Roach, 31, dead in a parking lot. Mr. Roach’s SUV, with his daughter inside, was missing.

Several hours later, two employees at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, aware that police were searching for Mr. Roach’s SUV, spotted it in a hospital parking lot, hospital spokeswoman Kathy Holleman said. The workers found a door unlocked and removed the child.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Farmer’s almanac predicts warm year

DUBLIN — The Old Farmer’s Almanac says it used time-honored, complex calculations to predict that 2008 will be the warmest year in a century, along with a bit of folklore: Years that end in “8” have weird weather.

People still talk about the frigid winters of 1748 and 1888, tornadoes of 1908, Northwest floods and the Northeast hurricane of 1938.

“At the very least, we expect it to be the warmest year in the last century overall, so people will talk about it for that reason alone,” publisher John Pierce said.

This year’s edition, on newsstands today, predicts a warmer than average winter in much of the country. Believers can look for below-average snowfall, except for a narrow swath extending from northeast Texas to northern New England. The almanac forecasts a hot summer in most areas, but cool and dry in the Upper Midwest. It says there will be more rain than normal, except in Florida and the already dry West.

TENNESSEE

Winkler seeks custody of girls

NASHVILLE — The woman who killed her minister husband with a shotgun after what she described as an abusive marriage is seeking custody of her three daughters, or at least frequent visits.

A petition filed in Carroll County Chancery Court argues that Mary Winkler’s continued separation from the girls — ages 2, 8 and 10 — is “unconscionable and detrimental” to the children.

Carroll County Chancellor Ron Harmon set a hearing for next week on her motion.

Her former in-laws, Dan and Diane Winkler, who have had custody of the girls since their mother’s arrest, are seeking to terminate her parental rights and adopt the girls.

Separately, Chancellor Harmon denied without comment the Winklers’ motion to try to prevent Mrs. Winkler from appearing on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” today.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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