- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 16, 2000

Some fire evacuees allowed to return home

HAMILTON, Mont. Hundreds of people were allowed to return to their homes in Montana's charred Bitterroot Valley yesterday but were warned to keep their bags packed just in case.

"The fires in your mountains will continue to burn until we have significant rain or snow," said Sheriff Perry Johnson.

In what has been described as the nation's worst wildfire season in a half-century, 85 large fires were reported burning on nearly 965,000 acres in the West. Montana's 25 largest fires alone had burned more than 385,460 acres, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

Early births pose risks even if little premature

CHICAGO Babies born even just a few weeks premature run a significantly higher risk of death in their first year, suggesting that inducing early labor is more dangerous than many obstetricians might think, researchers say.

A normal pregnancy lasts 40 weeks, and babies born before 37 weeks are considered premature.

Based on an examination of 4.5 million births in the United States and Canada in the 1990s, researchers found that compared with U.S. babies born full-term in 1995, those born at 32 weeks to 33 weeks were about six times more likely to die in their first year. Babies born closer to term but still early at 34 to 36 weeks were nearly three times more likely to die than full-term infants.

The study is being published in today's Journal of the American Medical Association.

Teen gets $300,000 in harassment case

SEATTLE A jury ordered a school district to pay $300,000 to a student with cerebral palsy who was subjected to teasing and physical abuse by a fellow student for years.

School personnel in the Stanwood-Camano district were negligent in supervision and caused Taya Haugstad, now 19, emotional distress by failing to do enough to protect her from harassment, a U.S. District Court jury decided Monday.

Testimony indicated that the boy used obscenities and insults like "retard," blocked Miss Haugstad as she tried to pass in her wheelchair and rammed the wheelchair into walls.

NBC reschedules Kennedy miniseries

LOS ANGELES NBC postponed its miniseries about Kennedy women for three months after campaign staff for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy complained the original air date would coincide with his re-election bid, the network said yesterday.

The two-part "Jackie, Ethel, Joan: The Women of Camelot" had been set to run Nov. 5-6 but has now been rescheduled for the February 2001 "sweeps" period.

"Senator Kennedy is running for re-election on Nov. 7, and we realized that airing the special two nights before the election was inappropriate," NBC West Coast President Scott Sassa said.

The Massachusetts Democrat's campaign had contacted the network to express its unhappiness about the original air date, but NBC executives had been "internally" discussing a new schedule by then, NBC spokeswoman Shirley Powell told Reuters news agency.

While "Camelot" reportedly contains no new revelations about Mr. Kennedy, it does deal with his stormy marriage to Joan Bennett Kennedy and their divorce.

Ramseys agree to talk to police again

BOULDER, Colo. Seven investigators will travel to Atlanta later this month to question the parents of child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey, the first meeting in two years between officials and the two persons police have said were under an umbrella of suspicion in the girl's murder.

John and Patsy Ramsey, who now live in the Atlanta area with their son, Burke, have maintained their innocence and have criticized police for what they consider to be botched police work.

"As an attorney, I would recommend against further interrogation … but as a friend who is very familiar with the circumstances I fully understand why they have agreed to participate," said the couple's attorney, Lin Wood.

The lawyer said police have new questions to ask the Ramseys and the couple are willing to help police solve the case.

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