- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 25, 2009

ALASKA

Palin to pay for children’s trips

JUNEAU | Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will reimburse the state for costs associated with nine trips taken by her children.

Mrs. Palin must reimburse the state within 120 days, according to a settlement agreement filed by a special investigator hired by the Alaska Personnel Board to investigate an ethics complaint filed against her.

There is no state law prohibiting the governor’s family from traveling with her, but the investigator interpreted the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act to require that state pay only if the first family serves an important state interest.

Costs found not to meet that standard include air fare and one meal for Bristol Palin, who accompanied the governor to New York for Newsweek’s Third Annual Women and Leadership Conference in October 2007.

CALIFORNIA

Chronicle faces chance of closure

SAN FRANCISCO | The San Francisco Chronicle joined the lengthening list of imperiled newspapers Tuesday as its owner set out to purge the payroll and slash other expenses in a last-ditch effort to reverse years of heavy losses.

If it can’t reduce expenses dramatically within the next few weeks, the Hearst Corp. said it will close or sell the Chronicle, Northern California’s largest newspaper with a paid weekday circulation of 339,430.

Hearst didn’t specify a savings target or a deadline for wringing out the expenses. A Hearst spokesman didn’t immediately respond to messages Tuesday. But management made it clear that the cost-cutting would require a significant number of layoffs.

“Our current situation dictates that we accomplish these cost savings quickly,” Chronicle publisher Frank Vega wrote in a memo to the staff. “Business as usual is no longer an option.”

Having lost more than $50 million last year, the Chronicle is off to an even worse start this year, said Hearst, as advertisers clamp down on their marketing budgets and increasingly divert more money to the Internet.

CONNECTICUT

Chimp victim’s twin named conservator

STAMFORD | The brother of a woman mauled by a 200-pound chimpanzee in Connecticut last week was appointed her conservator Tuesday as she remains in a medically induced coma.

Michael Nash was named temporary conservator of his twin sister, Charla Nash, who was critically injured Feb. 16 when a chimp owned by her friend, Sandra Herold of Stamford, attacked her.

In the order, Stamford Probate Judge Gerald M. Fox Jr. said Ms. Nash was in grave condition at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio with serious injuries to her face, head and hands. The conservator is needed to make medical decisions after consulting with doctors, according to court papers.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Explosion kills man, rattles homes

MANCHESTER | A house exploded early Tuesday, killing a man inside and shaking homes up to two blocks away.

One neighbor reported seeing flames nearly 50 feet high.

Tax records show the home has gas heat, but fire officials said it was too early to say what caused the fire.

Neighbors said an elderly man lived alone in the home. A family member and neighbors identified him as Joseph Byk, 85.

The ranch-style home in the city’s North End was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived and was reduced to rubble.

NEW YORK

Extension cord sparked fatal fire

NEW YORK | An extension cord sparked a blaze that tore through an apartment building in New York City’s Chinatown, and the death toll has risen to two, fire officials said. At least 27 people were hurt.

The fire department said a 33-year-old woman died at a hospital Tuesday afternoon after being pulled from the burning building’s second floor. A 32-year-old man who was in the same apartment was pronounced dead earlier Tuesday.

Among the injured were eight firefighters and three people who jumped from windows on the fifth and sixth floors.

NORTH CAROLINA

Instructor killed in helicopter crash

MOYOCK | An instructor pilot was killed and a student was seriously injured in a helicopter crash on the North Carolina campus of the private security contractor Xe, authorities said.

The Federal Aviation Administration initially reported that one person was hurt in the Tuesday afternoon crash. But Camden County Sheriff Tony Perry confirmed the pilot had died.

Currituck County spokesman Randall Edwards said the injured person was taken to a hospital.

FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the small helicopter crashed when its skid caught on an object and flipped over.

A Xe spokeswoman said it was the first serious injury in the 11-year history of the company’s training facility.

Xe is the security company formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide.

PENNSYLVANIA

Suspect to go to juvenile facility

PITTSBURGH | An 11-year-old boy charged with killing his father’s pregnant fiancee will be moved from a county jail to a juvenile facility.

A court order issued Tuesday said it is in Jordan Brown’s best interest to be housed in the Allencrest Juvenile Detention Center northwest of Pittsburgh.

The boy is accused of shooting Kenzie Marie Houk, 26, in the head Friday and killing her and her unborn baby. The order said he will still be charged as an adult.

The boy was being held at the county jail, in a cell isolated from the adult inmates. His attorney said he’ll be transferred to the juvenile center Wednesday morning.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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