- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 5, 2010

ALABAMA

Letters prompt anthrax scares

BIRMINGHAM | Envelopes containing white powder set off anthrax scares in five Alabama cities, shutting down two federal courthouses Monday and trapping a congressman in his office as authorities tested the substance.

No one was injured, and investigators said at least five of the letters — all sent to the offices of senators or congressmen — were thought to be from the same source.

None of the letters tested positive for anthrax or other hazardous substances, but officials didn’t immediately say what they contained.

Authorities said letters containing white powder were sent to the Mobile and Foley offices of Republican Rep. Jo Bonner, who was forced to remain with staffers in the Mobile office while officials tested the substance.

The FBI and U.S. Postal Inspection Service said letters also were sent to the offices of U.S. Rep. Mike D. Rogers and U.S. Sens. Jeff Sessions and Richard C. Shelby in Montgomery. FBI spokeswoman Angela Tobon said all the letters sent to the lawmakers’ offices appeared to be from a common source.

ARIZONA

Border agent kills suspected illegal

DOUGLAS | An illegal immigrant was fatally shot by a U.S. Border Patrol agent who was attacked with rocks in southern Arizona, authorities said.

Border Patrol spokesman Omar Candelaria said the shooting occurred Monday after the agent and his dog encountered the man in an area known as “D” Hill, just outside Douglas.

Authorities said the man assaulted the agent with rocks, and the unidentified agent shot back. The man, whose name also was not released, died while being transported to a hospital.

Mr. Candelaria said the agent also was taken to the hospital, but was later released.

CALIFORNIA

Northrop Grumman moving to D.C. area

LOS ANGELES | Defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp. said Monday it’s moving its corporate office from Los Angeles to the Washington, D.C., area to be closer to key government customers.

The company said it expects to make the move by 2011.

Northrop said it was looking for a location in the Washington area, including the Maryland and Virginia suburbs. It plans to pick a site by this spring and open the office in summer 2011.

The corporate office will house only 300 of Northrop’s 120,000 employees worldwide, but give it a symbolic and physical tie to the nation’s capital. Other defense contractors are located near Washington, including Lockheed Martin Corp., which is based in the suburb of Bethesda, Md.

Northrop said about 30,000 employees would remain in California to perform research, development and manufacturing. The company’s aerospace-systems sector is based in Redondo Beach, Calif.

GEORGIA

Ex-state senator becomes mayor

ATLANTA | Former Georgia state Sen. Kasim Reed is being sworn into office as Atlanta’s 59th mayor.

Mr. Reed officially took over for two-term Mayor Shirley Franklin Monday. She had to step down because of term limits.

Mr. Reed overcame early low poll numbers to win a runoff over City Council member Mary Norwood. She was trying to become the mostly black city’s first white mayor in a generation.

Mr. Reed said his first priority will be to find money to hire more police officers. He said his administration also will crack down on aggressive panhandling.

The mayor’s office is a nonpartisan post, so neither candidate declared a party in the race.

MASSACHUSETTS

State senator jailed for alcohol use

MEDFORD | A Massachusetts state senator who blamed his toothpaste for failing an alcohol screening has been ordered to jail for a year for violating his probation in a hit-and-run accident.

Cambridge Democrat Anthony Galluccio pleaded guilty last month to leaving the scene of an accident that caused minor injuries to two people.

As part of his probation, he was ordered to abstain from alcohol and to submit to random testing. On Dec. 21, he tested positive for alcohol.

Galluccio testified Monday that he had showered and brushed his teeth twice before the testing, but had not ingested any alcohol. He claims the positive readings were the result of toothpastes that contain sorbitol, a sugar alcohol and artificial sweetener.

MINNESOTA

Some airlines raising fares

MINNEAPOLIS | Some airlines are keeping their New Year’s resolution to raise fares.

FareCompare.com, a fare-tracking Web site, said United Airlines added as much as $10 round-trip to U.S. fares. Most of the increases United filed on Wednesday were $6 round-trip.

FareCompare said the other big airlines matched, except discounters Southwest, JetBlue and AirTran. Rick Seaney of FareCompare said the price increases avoided routes that overlap with the cheaper airlines. The increases also don’t apply to fare sales that are running through March.

Mr. Seaney said this makes four successful airfare hikes for 2009. Airlines have been eager to begin raising fares after using discounts to fill seats during the recession.

NEW JERSEY

TSA reassigns officer in breach

NEWARK | A security officer assigned to the part of Newark Liberty International Airport where a breach occurred has been reassigned.

Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Ann Davis said Monday that the unidentified officer has been reassigned to non-screening functions during the investigation.

A man walked the wrong way through a security checkpoint Sunday. That caused massive delays and grounded flights for six hours.

Surveillance video confirmed the man entered through an exit. A bystander saw the man and notified the officer.

The man left the terminal through a different exit about 20 minutes later. He has not been identified or located.

All passengers had to be rescreened. Nothing suspicious was found in the terminal.

NEW YORK

Cronkite replaced on CBS voiceover

NEW YORK | Nearly six months after his death, Walter Cronkite’s voice is leaving “The CBS Evening News.”

The CBS News legend recorded a voiceover introducing current anchor Katie Couric when she started on the job in 2006. CBS kept Cronkite’s voice on the broadcast even after he died in July.

With a new year, CBS replaced Cronkite’s voice Monday with that of actor Morgan Freeman.

CBS News and Sports President Sean McManus said that Cronkite’s voice was comforting but that it’s time to move forward.

PENNSYLVANIA

Capitol cafe reopens after rodent woes

HARRISBURG | The Pennsylvania Capitol’s cafeteria has reopened after being shut down for more than two weeks over mouse droppings and other health hazards.

The privately run Statehouse cafeteria in Harrisburg reopened Monday after a thorough cleaning.

State officials made an unannounced inspection in mid-December and found evidence of a rodent infestation and dishwashing water that wasn’t hot enough.

Officials acknowledged that the cafeteria had not been inspected for four years, even though state law requires annual inspections. They said there will be monthly inspections for the next six months.

The ground-floor cafeteria is a popular coffee and lunch spot for visitors and workers. Philadelphia-based Aramark Corp. holds the contract to operate it.

SOUTH CAROLINA

East Coast freeze grips Deep South

COLUMBIA | A bitter chill has settled in across the eastern half of the country, threatening crops, closing schools and making Charleston, S.C., feel more like New York City.

Records snows were reported over the weekend in Vermont, and farmers in Florida scrambled Monday to save strawberries and tomatoes.

The deep freeze will last for at least the rest of the week. The National Weather Service said the mercury could fall below zero in St. Louis later this week for the first time since 1999.

In Burlington, Vt., a weekend snowstorm dumped more than 33 inches, breaking a single-storm record of nearly 30 inches set in 1969.

TEXAS

Mayor: Swearing-in a gay milestone

HOUSTON | Mayor Annise Parker said her swearing-in as the first openly gay head of the nation’s fourth-largest city marks a milestone for the gay community, but that it’s just “one step toward a tomorrow of greater justice.”

Ms. Parker was sworn in over the weekend in a private ceremony and repeated her oath during a public ceremony Monday. Her partner, Kathy Hubbard, held the Bible during the swearing-in.

Ms. Parker, 53, told the more than 1,000 people at Monday’s ceremony that she can feel the “excitement” and “joy” of the city’s gay community, as well as their “longing for acceptance.”

Ms. Parker took almost 54 percent of the vote in a runoff last month, defeating former city attorney Gene Locke in a race to succeed Bill White, who had reached his term limit. Her election made Houston the largest U.S. city to elect an openly gay mayor.

“I spoke on election night of that being an historic election, and my election made news all around the world,” she told the more than 1,000 people who gathered at the city’s Wortham Theater. “Now, Houstonians weren’t very surprised they elected a gay woman. We have a tradition of electing mayors not for who they are, but for what they believe we can do as a city.”

WISCONSIN

New leader takes over archdiocese

MILWAUKEE | Jerome Listecki has been installed as the archbishop of Milwaukee.

In his homily Monday, Archbishop Listecki, 60, emphasized his friendship with his predecessor, Timothy Dolan, and his fears he won’t be able to fill his shoes.

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee, in southeastern Wisconsin, has 675,000 parishioners and 211 churches. Archbishop Listecki came from the La Crosse Diocese in the state’s west, with 202,000 parishioners, where he had served since 2005.

Archbishop Listecki once admonished House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her interpretation of Catholic teachings on the beginnings of life. On Monday, he insisted he’s not a political bishop.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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