- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 28, 2009

Manhattan DA ends 35 years on job

NEW YORK | Robert Morgenthau, Manhattan’s district attorney since 1974, announced Friday that he won’t run for re-election this year, saying “enough is enough” after decades of locking up murderous mobsters, corrupt CEOs and thousands of other criminals.

Mr. Morgenthau, who will turn 90 in July, not only has been at the job since President Ford was in office, but he was the bustling borough’s top federal prosecutor under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson.

“Some people are slow to learn. It took me a long time to realize I was getting older,” he said.

His wife was by his side at a news conference, often repeating questions from reporters because he’s hard of hearing. But he was upbeat, pondering life as a retiree.

“I don’t know what I’ll do,” Mr. Morgenthau said. “I got an e-mail from my older brother who said this is a bad time to be looking for a job.”

Mr. Morgenthau said the nation’s busiest and most prominent district attorney’s office has seen nearly 3.5 million cases in the 35 years he has led it. He prosecuted notables - such as John Gotti, Bernhard Goetz, Sean Combs and Boy George - and hired young lawyers such as John F. Kennedy Jr., Eliot Spitzer and Andrew Cuomo as assistant prosecutors.

State withdraws jaywalking ticket

DENVER | The Colorado State Patrol has withdrawn the $22 jaywalking ticket issued to a good Samaritan who was seriously injured by a pickup after he pushed three people out of its path.

Bus driver Jim Moffett, of Denver, and another man were helping two elderly women cross a busy Denver street in a snowstorm when he was hit Feb. 20. Mr. Moffett, 58, suffered bleeding in the brain, broken bones, a dislocated shoulder and a possible ruptured spleen. He remained hospitalized in serious condition Friday.

The State Patrol said in a statement that it withdrew the citation “after examining the … circumstances” and consulting with prosecutors. A patrol spokesman didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.

The patrol also withdrew jaywalking citations against the other good Samaritan and one of the two women. The other woman wasn’t cited because troopers said she wasn’t directly involved. A citation against the pickup driver for careless driving resulting in injury still stands.

Last Guard troops leave New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS | The National Guard is pulling the last of its troops out of New Orleans this weekend, 3 1/2 years after Hurricane Katrina, leaving behind a city still desperate and dangerous.

Residents long distrustful of the city’s police force are worried they will have to fend for themselves.

“I don’t know if crime will go up after these guys leave. But I know a lot more of us will be packing our own pieces now to make sure we’re protected,” said Calvin Stewart, owner of a restaurant and store.

New Orleans Police Superintendent Warren Riley said his rebuilt police department is up to the job of protecting the city. “I think we’re ready to handle things,” he said.

The National Guardsmen were welcomed as liberators when they arrived in force in a big convoy more than four days after Katrina struck New Orleans in August 2005 and plunged the city into anarchy. The force was eventually 15,000 strong.

Their numbers dwindled as civil authority returned in the months after the storm. The troops had full arrest powers but were required to call New Orleans police on serious matters. In their time on the streets, Guard troops were involved in only one shooting, and the district attorney ruled it justified.

California declares water emergency

SACRAMENTO, Calif. | Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency Friday because of three years of below-average rain and snowfall in California, a step that urges urban water agencies to reduce water use by 20 percent.

“This drought is having a devastating impact on our people, our communities, our economy and our environment, making today’s action absolutely necessary,” the Republican governor said in his statement.

Mandatory rationing is an option if the declaration and other measures are insufficient.

The drought has forced farmers to leave fields fallow, put thousands of agricultural workers out of work and led to conservation measures in cities throughout the state, which is the nation’s top agricultural producer.

Agriculture losses could reach $2.8 billion this year and cost 95,000 jobs, said Lester Snow, the state water director.

State agencies must now provide assistance for affected communities and businesses and the Department of Water Resources must protect supplies, all accompanied by a statewide conservation campaign.

32-year-old gorilla euthanized at zoo

FORT WORTH, Texas | A zoo in Texas has euthanized one of its three Western lowland gorillas because of declining health.

The Fort Worth Zoo said 32-year-old Kambula was euthanized Thursday because his health rapidly declined in recent weeks.

Zoo officials said the aging gorilla was recently diagnosed with abdominal abscesses and heart disease. They said the abscesses were removed, but Kambula’s heart continued to fail.

Zoo officials say most captive apes don’t live far beyond age 30. Kambula had been in Fort Worth since 1992.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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