- The Washington Times - Friday, September 21, 2007

KANSAS

Military cemetery runs out of space

OVERLAND PARK — A Kansas military cemetery ran out of space after two burials in the past week, including that of an Iraq war casualty, officials said yesterday.

“We are full,” said Alison Kohler, spokeswoman for the Fort Riley U.S. Army post, home of the 1st Infantry Division.

Sens. Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts, both Kansas Republicans, yesterday sent a letter to William Tuerk, the undersecretary for memorial affairs at the Department of Veterans Affairs, urging full funding for a new cemetery at Fort Riley.

Since the 2003 beginning of the war in Iraq, Fort Riley has lost 133 soldiers and airmen, though not all are buried in the Fort Riley cemetery. Sgt. Joel Murray, who died Sept. 4 in Iraq, took the second-to-last available plot, and the final plot was used Tuesday when an 83-year-old retired veteran was buried, Miss Kohler said.

KENTUCKY

Judge splits on Commandments

PIKEVILLE — A display of the Ten Commandments at an eastern Kentucky courthouse does not violate the Constitution, but a lawsuit challenging a similar display in another county can proceed, a federal judge ruled.

The Ten Commandments display at the Rowan County Fiscal Court, part of an exhibit on the foundations of American law and government, “does not have the effect of endorsing religion,” U.S. District Judge Karl Forester said in a ruling released Wednesday.

Earlier this month, Judge Forester refused to dismiss a similar lawsuit in Garrard County, saying that “a reasonable person would conclude that the county’s display has the effect of endorsing religion.” The ruling allows that case to proceed. He said the history of the display there offered evidence suggesting “that the officially stated purpose … is a sham” to disguise religious intent.

MICHIGAN

Convict’s namesake sues over arrests

DETROIT — A barber who shares a name and birthday with a convict filed a $1 million lawsuit saying he was wrongly arrested three times in 17 years because of the mistaken identity.

Keith Lamont Johnson’s federal lawsuit, filed Wednesday, names the cities of Detroit, Woodhaven and Trenton and the counties of Wayne and Macomb as defendants, along with several law-enforcement officials in each community.

In February, Detroit police conducted a fingerprint comparison of the two Keith Johnsons and concluded they were different men. The barber said he now carries that letter of clearance every day.

Mr. Johnson, 47, said he never met his namesake, who, according to the state corrections department Web site, began serving a state prison sentence for forgery in March and is not expected to be released before November 2009.

NEBRASKA

Lawsuit against God gets responses

LINCOLN — A legislator who filed a lawsuit against God has gotten something he might not have expected: a response.

One of two court filings from “God” came Wednesday under otherworldly circumstances, said John Friend, clerk of the Douglas County District Court in Omaha. “This one miraculously appeared on the counter. It just all of a sudden was here — poof,” Mr. Friend said.

State Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha sued God last week, seeking a permanent injunction against the Almighty for making terroristic threats, inspiring fear and causing “widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth’s inhabitants.”

Mr. Chambers, a self-proclaimed agnostic who often criticizes Christians, said his filing was triggered by a federal lawsuit he considers frivolous. He said he is trying to makes the point that anybody can sue anybody.

Not so, said “God.” His response argues that the defendant is immune from some earthly laws and the court lacks jurisdiction. It adds that blaming God for human oppression and suffering misses that “I created man and woman with free will and next to the promise of immortal life, free will is my greatest gift to you.” There was no contact information on the filing, though St. Michael the Archangel is listed as a witness.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Family ordered to bury mummy

CONCORD — A judge ordered a man to lay an unusual family heirloom to rest: a mummified baby that was passed down for generations.

Authorities seized the mummy last year when the man’s niece mentioned it to staff at a day care center.

State tests showed the baby died of natural causes, but they didn’t establish a family relationship. The state won’t release the remains to the Charles Peavey family without proof of kinship, and Mr. Peavey said he can’t afford DNA testing.

Probate Judge Richard Hampe said without proven kinship, the baby must be buried.

Mr. Peavey said the family is disappointed but won’t appeal.

NEW JERSEY

Corzine resumes governor’s duties

CAMDEN — New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine left the hospital and resumed gubernatorial authority yesterday, three days after surgery on the leg he broke in a near-fatal April car crash.

Mr. Corzine, 60, walked out on his own, though with a heavy limp.

“I’m quite optimistic about the long-term outcome, and the short-term for that matter,” he said.

TENNESSEE

Small plane crashes into parking lot

CHATTANOOGA — A small plane crashed in a shopping-center parking lot, skipping across two empty vehicles and clipping a pole, witnesses and authorities said. All four persons aboard the plane survived, and no one on the ground was injured.

Investigators were looking into whether the plane ran out of fuel as it approached Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport, police Sgt. Jerri Weary said.

The Beechcraft King Air twin turboprop had flown from Birmingham, Ala., and was preparing to land when it crashed Wednesday evening at the Brainerd Village Shopping Center, about 2,000 feet from the runway, authorities said. Bystanders helped pull the passengers from the plane.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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