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American Scene

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 21, 2009

ARKANSAS

Witnesses disagree at Alamo trial

TEXARKANA — A woman whose sister was reportedly an underage bride of evangelist Tony Alamo misidentified the preacher at his sex crimes trial Monday and gave jurors a different account of how her sister came to "marry" him.

When a prosecutor offered the witness a second chance to identify Mr. Alamo as the leader of an Arkansas religious compound, the woman stood up and correctly pointed out the 74-year-old.

Mr. Alamo is charged in a 10-count indictment, accusing him taking five young girls across state lines for sex. He has pleaded not guilty and his attorneys say he is being targeted for his religious beliefs.

Monday's witness, 20, spoke slowly during her time on the stand and often appeared confused. Prosecutors had summoned her to verify details that her 17-year-old sister gave in testimony Friday, including that Mr. Alamo said God had told him to choose a wife from between the siblings.

The 20-year-old woman, a former Alamo follower, told jurors that several people were present when the preacher picked her then-11-year-old sister as a "wife," but the previous witness had told jurors only three people were there.

CALIFORNIA

Judge orders seals kept out of pool

SAN DIEGO — A judge Monday gave the city 72 hours to begin chasing harbor seals out of the Children's Pool at La Jolla beach or face heavy daily fines, ruling firmly for humans in a decade-long battle over who should win exclusive use of the cove.

San Diego County Superior Court Judge Yuri Hofmann ordered the city to comply with a 2005 order by another judge to restore the Children's Pool cove to its original condition.

The city plans to hire someone to walk the beach with a public address system broadcasting the sound of barking dogs to scare off the seals, said Andrew Jones, the assistant city attorney for civil litigation.

"There's certainly a lot of emotions revolving around this issue. We expect that this person could be harassed, even physically attacked," he said.

Force cannot be used because the seals are a federally protected marine species. "We can't harm the seals in any way. Any method we use basically has to be benign," Mr. Jones said.

Two police officers will be on hand to prevent interference by pro-seal activists, he said.

COLORADO

State's top doctor decries pot program

DENVER — Colorado's chief medical officer said Monday that the state's medical marijuana program will "continue to grow out of control" unless more restrictive rules are adopted.

Dr. Ned Calonge testified before the state health board in support of proposed new rules that would limit marijuana providers to five patients each. Currently, a voter-approved amendment to the state constitution allows designated caregivers to grow marijuana for an unlimited number of patients.

Dr. Calonge, chief medical officer for the state health department, said those rules are creating confusion and the program is susceptible to fraud. He said large-scale marijuana growers busted by police are claiming to be medical marijuana suppliers.

He said one doctor recommended that 200 people get medical marijuana cards in one day. The cards allow patients to grow their own marijuana or get it from a designated caregiver.

CONNECTICUT

Member of '60s duo, Gordon Waller, dies

HARTFORD — Gordon Waller of the pop duo Peter and Gordon, who were part of the 1960s British Invasion and had a string of hits including several written by their friend Paul McCartney, has died. He was 64.

Mr. Waller died Friday at the William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich, Conn., nursing supervisor Nity Oris confirmed Monday. The duo's Web site says Mr. Waller, who lived in Ledyard, Conn., went into cardiac arrest Thursday night, and the state medical examiner's office lists his cause of death as cardiovascular disease.

Mr. Waller and Peter Asher hit No. 1 on charts around the world in 1964 with their debut single "A World Without Love," written by Mr. McCartney, though jointly credited to John Lennon per the team's practice. The duo also hit the charts with other McCartney songs as "Nobody I Know" and "I Don't Want To See You Again."

Peter and Gordon's other hits included their versions of Del Shannon's "I Go to Pieces" and the Buddy Holly song "True Love Ways," both in 1965; "Lady Godiva," 1966; and "Knight in Rusty Armour" in 1967.

MASSACHUSETTS

Black professor charges racist arrest

BOSTON — Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., one of the nation's top scholars of black history, is accusing a Massachusetts police department of racism after being arrested while trying to get into his locked home near Harvard University.

Police say they were called to the home Thursday afternoon after a woman reported seeing a man try to pry open the front door.

They say that they ordered the man to identify himself and that Mr. Gates refused. According to a police report, Mr. Gates then called the officer a racist and said, "This is what happens to black men in America."

Officers said they tried to calm down the 58-year-old director of Harvard's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, who responded, "You don't know who you're messing with," according to the police report.

Mr, Gates was arrested on a disorderly conduct charge after police said he "exhibited loud and tumultuous behavior." He was released later that day on his own recognizance and arraignment was scheduled for Aug. 26.

Police and prosecutors declined to comment Monday. Mr. Gates's lawyer, fellow Harvard scholar Charles Ogletree, was not available for comment.

MONTANA

112-year-old man now world's oldest

GREAT FALLS | Walter Breuning learned to read by kerosene lantern, remembers his grandfather telling him about fighting in the Civil War, and cast his first presidential ballot for Woodrow Wilson.

The 112-year-old resident of Great Falls, Mont., apparently became the world's oldest man when 113-year-old Henry Allingham of England died Saturday. Mr. Breuning was born Sept. 21, 1896.

Now living at the Rainbow Retirement Home, Mr. Breuning takes one aspirin and eats two meals a day, strolling the halls wearing a suit and tie and still walks the ramps to his second-floor apartment. His advice for living to a ripe old age? Stay active in body and mind, don't eat too much and be good to people.

"If you're in good health, you've got everything there is," he told the Great Falls Tribune.

Longevity doesn't run in Mr. Breuning's family. He said his father, a civil engineer, died at 50, and his mother, a housewife, at 46. Two brothers and two sisters died in their 70s, he said.

The Guinness world records Web site said Mr. Breuning now appears to be the world's oldest man and that it would make a formal announcement as soon as the record has been verified.

NEW MEXICO

Indian tribes take aim at diabetes

ALBUQUERQUE — A special curriculum aimed at tackling the growing prevalence of diabetes among American Indian children has been developed by health officials, tribal leaders and educators from across the country.

Teachers who work with Indian students in New Mexico and neighboring states will have a chance this fall to incorporate the curriculum into their lessons.

Officials with the national Diabetes Education in Tribal Schools project say the disease is an epidemic in Indian country, and prevention needs to start with children in the classroom.

A handful of educators were being trained Monday in Albuquerque to introduce the program to schools throughout New Mexico, Arizona and parts of Colorado and Utah. The effort follows testing of the curriculum last year by a few dozen tribal schools.

PENNSYLVANIA

American fugitive back from Israel

HARRISBURG — A Pennsylvania man wanted for questioning about a fire that damaged a judge's car was in a U.S. jail Monday after spending 20 months as a fugitive in Israel, authorities said.

Micky Mayon of Steelton was being held at a jail in Dauphin County, Pa., in lieu of $2 million bail after his arraignment on charges of flight to avoid apprehension, illegal possession of firearms and failure to appear in court, Steelton police said.

Mr. Mayon, who is in his early 30s, was apprehended in a Tel Aviv rooming house last week by Israeli immigration officials who said they planned to deport him. Agents of the U.S. Marshals Service accompanied Mayon on the flight from Israel, and Steelton police took him into custody when he arrived Monday at Philadelphia International Airport, police said.

Steelton police want to question Mr. Mayon about the June 2007 torching of a car at the home of Harrisburg District Judge Steven Semic, who had ordered him to stand trial on disorderly-conduct and related charges stemming from a disturbance two months earlier.

From wire dispatches and staff reports