- The Washington Times - Friday, May 4, 2001

Bush expected to rule against road ban
The Bush administration will try to revise a Clinton-era ban on road-building and most logging in one-third of the countrys national forests to allow decisions to be made locally on a forest-by-forest basis, officials said yesterday.
The Clinton ban, which covers 58.5 million acres, will remain in place until a new rule is devised, according to administration and congressional officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
"We are going to be reviewing it for a while, but at least we are going to be doing it on a site-specific basis where real land considerations can be made," a congressional source said.
Exactly how the new rule would be crafted was still fluid late yesterday, but more details could emerge when the Bush administration files a brief today in response to a lawsuit brought by Idaho seeking to block the ban.
The policy, announced two weeks before the Clinton administration left office, was supposed to take effect in March. The Bush administration delayed implementation until May 12 while it conducted a review. Official announcement of the decision to revise the plan was expected today at a news conference by Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman.

Court reinstates property tax

CONCORD, N.H. — The state Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the statewide property tax for school aid was valid, reversing a lower court ruling.
The 3-2 decision preserves the linchpin of the system for raising money for a dramatic increase in school aid ordered by the court in 1997. The court had ruled that the state unfairly relied on local property taxes, which varied widely from town to town.
In its ruling yesterday, the court said the state must fix some of the problems with property assessments that led the lower court to declare the tax unconstitutional.
The property tax raised more than half of the $825 million in state school aid.

Bush backs televising McVeigh execution

President Bush, a staunch supporter of capital punishment, backs the decision to broadcast the execution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh on closed-circuit television, his spokesman said yesterday.
"The president does hope that this will bring closure," Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters.
In an unprecedented move, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced April 12 that he would allow the May 16 execution to be broadcast on closed-circuit television to families of his victims.

Police find bodies of two children

DALLAS — An accountant was jailed yesterday on charges of fatally shooting his 6- and 9-year-old daughters as he argued on the phone with his ex-wife.
The mother heard the older girl say, "No, Daddy. No," before hearing gunshots, police said.
The bodies of Liberty Battaglia and her older sister, Faith, were in a pool of blood Wednesday inside their fathers downtown loft apartment, police Sgt. Filiberto X. Carrillo said.

Legislature approves power authority bill

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — State lawmakers approved a bill yesterday to create a public power authority, sending the measure to Gov. Gray Davis for a signature that would put California into the power business.
The authority is touted as a key step toward pulling California out of its power crisis, which has forced one utility into bankruptcy court and sent blackouts rolling across the state.

Ohio boy crushed by tombstone

MANSFIELD, Ohio — A 9-year-old boys skull was crushed by a tombstone during a school field trip to an old cemetery, police said yesterday.
"I have never heard of anything remotely like this accident. Its a terrible tragedy," Maj. James Burch of the Richland County Sheriffs Department said of the death Wednesday of third-grader James Wies, whose skull was fractured.


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