- - Saturday, July 5, 2008

Statue of Liberty access to be studied

NEW YORK — The National Park Service is considering reopening Lady Liberty’s crown for the first time since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to documents a congressman released on July Fourth.

The park service requested bids last month to study what it would take to safely open the Statue of Liberty’s iconic headpiece to the public, according to documents released by Rep. Anthony Weiner, New York Democrat.

The statue’s base, pedestal and lower observation deck reopened in August 2004, after a $20 million effort to enhance fire safety. But the crown and its interior observation deck, which soar about 265 feet above New York Harbor, remained closed because the Park Service said emergency evacuation was impossible.

Mr. Weiner, a member of the House Judiciary subcommittee on crime, terrorism and homeland security, said keeping the observation deck shuttered hurts the city’s economy: Since the crown closed, the number of visitors to Lady Liberty has dropped 44 percent, from 3.6 million in 2000 to 2.5 million in 2006.

“The bureaucracy which had stubbornly refused to open the crown is finally moved in the right direction,” Mr. Weiner said Friday. “Today’s news means that America is one step closer to providing what everyone wants: safe access to the heights of Lady Liberty.”

Four killed in street shooting

MILWAUKEE — At least one person fired a gun into a crowd in a street early Friday, killing four people and sending panicked revelers running for cover, police said.

Kindrick L. Jackson, 24; Jacoby E. Claybrooks, 28; Theresa Raddle, 23; and Marielle Fisher, 27, were killed at about 2:30 a.m. on the city’s northern side, police spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz said. Two other people were injured.

More than 100 people were on the street when shots were fired, some possibly from a party, Ms. Schwartz said.

“We know a number of people were in the street when all of a sudden someone came out and started shooting,” she said. “We are not clear how many shooters there were, if there was somebody in the crowd who shot back. Those things are still under investigation.”

No suspects are in custody. Police were having difficulty getting cooperation from witnesses, Ms. Schwartz said.

Theresa Raddle’s sister Kesha Peeler, 27, said knew all those killed. “This is crazy,” she said. “Why all this violence, why?”

Judge rejects brief as not brief enough

TACOMA, Wash. — A federal judge in Tacoma, Wash., has sent a 465-page lawsuit back to the lawyer who authored it for a rewrite, telling him it’s too long.

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