- The Washington Times - Friday, July 11, 2008

CALIFORNIA

Algebra required for 8th-graders

SACRAMENTO | California educational leaders voted to make their state the first to require an eighth-grade algebra test, despite concerns over funding, teacher staffing and how it could raise the dropout rate.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, applauded the state Board of Education’s action Wednesday to require algebra at such an early level. He called algebra “the key that unlocks the world of science, innovation, engineering and technology.”

State Education Secretary David Long said the governor will help find the billions of dollars it will cost to boost what he referred to as California’s education “infrastructure.” He did not say where the money would come from.

CONNECTICUT

Man survives attack thanks to lunchbox

NEW HAVEN | Carlos Juarez figures his lunchbox saved his life.

Mr. Juarez, 31, was waiting for his ride to work early Tuesday in his driveway when two attempted robbers accosted him, demanding money, police said. He said he had no money, and the would-be thieves opened fire, hitting him twice in the side.

He said he reflexively held up his lunch cooler over his chest to shield himself from the bullets, and the cooler was hit twice.

He still has one of the bullets that was in the cooler. A lunch container of rice and meat has a bullet hole, as does a package of gum also in the cooler.

Mr. Juarez, who was treated at a hospital and released, said doctors have not been able to remove two bullets from his side because of swelling. He also had a cut on his forehead that he suffered when one of the men hit him with what he thinks was a bat as Mr. Juarez reached for the cooler.

FLORIDA

Man pleads guilty in art theft case

MIAMI | A French man pleaded guilty Thursday to attempting to sell four valuable paintings that were stolen last year from a French art museum in a brazen robbery by masked, armed thieves.

Bernard Jean Ternus, 56, admitted conspiring to sell the paintings for about $4.7 million to buyers who turned out to be undercover FBI and French police agents. Four of their meetings were videotaped and dozens of conversations were recorded, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Hunter.

The paintings stolen in August from the Musee des Beaux-Arts in Nice, France, include two well-known Impressionist works: “Cliffs Near Dieppe” by Claude Monet and Alfred Sisley’s “The Lane of Poplars at Moret.” The other two were both painted by 17th-century Flemish master Jan Brueghel the Elder: “Allegory of Earth” and “Allegory of Water.”

Ternus, a French citizen who lived in the Fort Lauderdale suburb of Cooper City, faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison and up to $250,000 in fines. He agreed to cooperate in the investigation of the robbery and could receive a much lighter sentence, prosecutors said.

Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 18.

MISSOURI

Ceremony canceled in honorees’ absence

JEFFERSON CITY | The police valor medals were in place, the furniture in the governor’s Capitol office was rearranged and the reporters were assembled. But there was a suspicious void at the front of the room.

The four police officers being honored for their composure while facing personal danger weren’t there. No one had told them about Wednesday’s ceremony.

Missouri Public Safety Director Mark James apologized for the goof and announced after about 15 minutes that the event was canceled.

A spokeswoman for Gov. Matt Blunt, a Republican, said he used the sudden free time for a meeting. The police officers will get their medals at a later date.

NEBRASKA

Vet visits memorial, dies on flight home

OMAHA | A 91-year-old Nebraska veteran on a one-day trip to the World War II Memorial in Washington died on the flight home just hours after the visit.

Donald Dragoo, a World War II Army vet, traveled to Washington as part of the Heartland Honor Flight, which transports veterans free of charge to the memorial and other sights.

He slumped over and became unresponsive about 20 minutes before the return flight carrying more than 100 veterans landed in Lincoln on Tuesday night, flight organizer Bill Williams said. Two doctors on board were not able to revive him, he said.

Mr. Dragoo, who served with the 3rd Armored Division in Europe, had been ailing from many conditions but was able to visit the memorial, Mr. Williams said.

NEW YORK

Doctor’s name back on 9/11 victims’ list

NEW YORK | A doctor missing since the day before Sept. 11, 2001, was restored to the city’s official death toll from the terrorist attacks Thursday, months after an appeals court declared there was no other plausible reason for her disappearance.

The city medical examiner’s office said Dr. Sneha Anne Philip, 31, was among 2,751 victims killed at the World Trade Center.

Dr. Philip was cut from the list in 2004 by officials who said they couldn’t definitively link her to the site because she didn’t work there and disappeared a day earlier.

Her family went to court, and on Jan. 31 the state Supreme Court’s appellate division determined she died at the trade center and asked that her name be returned to the list. The medical examiner cited the court ruling in a brief release.

Dr. Philip, a resident physician at a Staten Island hospital, was last seen on videotape buying shoes and lingerie at a department store across from the trade center Sept. 10, 2001.

Investigators once thought she could have been a victim of another crime, or had disappeared on her own to escape troubles with her marriage and alcohol.

Her family thought she likely attended a party held by the city’s South Asian community in a hotel in the trade center complex Sept. 10, and died while helping wounded people in front of the towers before they collapsed.

NORTH CAROLINA

Police searching for missing soldier

FAYETTEVILLE | Police in North Carolina are searching for a missing female soldier after a suspicious fire burned through her apartment near Fort Bragg.

Fayetteville Police Capt. David Houp said the Thursday-morning blaze is being investigated as arson.

The soldier was not identified. They said she was assigned to the medical center at the Army post that is home to the 82nd Airborne Division.

The fire comes three weeks after the body of another female soldier from the post was discovered in a motel.

PENNSYLVANIA

Mother, 2 children found slain in home

MARIANNA | A woman and her two young children were found slain in their home, and state police said Thursday they were seeking the woman’s estranged husband for questioning.

The bodies of Ashley Guarino, 22, her 2-year-old daughter and 11-month-old son were found by relatives about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, authorities said. Washington County Coroner Tim Warco ruled the deaths homicides, saying it appeared the three were asphyxiated. Autopsies were pending.

State police issued a bulletin for the woman’s husband, Orlando Maurice Guarino, 38. He was not charged, but police said they want to question him and called him a person of interest in the case.

TENNESSEE

Man sues church over spiritual fall

KNOXVILLE | A man said he was so consumed by the spirit of God that he fell and hit his head while worshipping.

Now he wants Lakewind Church to pay $2.5 million for medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.

Matt Lincoln, 57, said he is suing after the church’s insurance company denied his claim for medical bills.

He has had two surgeries since the June 2007 injury but still feels pain in his back and legs.

He said he was asking God to have “a real experience” while praying.

Mr. Lincoln said he has fallen from the force of the spirit before but has always been caught by someone.

Lawyers for the church said other congregants saw him on the floor laughing after his fall. They said he failed to look out for his own safety.

WISCONSIN

Man’s past examined in abductions

WISCONSIN RAPIDS | Authorities in central Wisconsin are re-examining unsolved missing-persons cases to see whether any are connected to a man accused of kidnapping two young men and sexually assaulting them.

Wood County Sheriff Thomas Reichert said his agency will dig into Edward Lanphear’s past and cross-reference him with other missing-persons cases. Other law-enforcement agencies likely will do the same, he said.

Mr. Lanphear, 46, of Saratoga, is being held on $1 million bond after police said he held two men in his house, stripped them, beat them and sexually assaulted them several times. Police said that after one of the men managed to escape, officers found the other in Mr. Lanphear’s basement.

Mr. Lanphear’s attorney has disputed the allegations.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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