- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 20, 2002

MISSISSIPPI
Town is 'war zone' after cops are shot
FRIARS POINT About 100 law enforcement officers turned this sleepy Mississippi Delta town into a virtual war zone after a shooting suspect evaded capture, held one officer hostage and wounded five others during a bloody 36-hour saga.
Residents said police twice unleashed a storm of gunfire that thundered throughout the neighborhood, causing houses to shake. The gunfire was directed at a one-story house where Patrick Harper was holed up with hostage John Martin-Harris, a Friars Point officer.
"It sounded like a war zone," said Charles Smith, a neighbor who watched the struggle from behind a nearby house.

ALASKA
Harvest outlooknot berry good
JUNEAU If Demeter, the rotund Greek goddess of the harvest, wants to fill her cornucopia in Juneau this fall, she probably should just go to Costco.
Crops of fruits and vegetables including berries and broccoli may be smaller, later and, in some cases, nonexistent because of a harsh spring and a dark, wet June and July, said Tom Heutte, a plant specialist at the Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Alaska.
"Let's just call it the year without a summer," he said.
Berry pickers and bears will suffer the greatest losses because most raspberry and salmonberry bushes were so damaged by the cold spring that they will bear no fruit.

ARIZONA
School tells teachersto speak English only
PHOENIX Teachers at PT Coe Elementary are shocked by Principal Lesa Thomas' request to keep Spanish out of their playground, cafeteria and hallways.
The K-5 school is part of the Isaac Elementary School District, where the student population is 95 percent Hispanic.
"We were told that if a parent wants to talk to us, we have to ask, 'Do you speak English?'" said fourth-grade teacher Esmeralda Parra. "And we can't talk to students in Spanish, not even if we're outside in recess time."
Miss Thomas and Superintendent Paul Hanley said they were following the spirit of Proposition 203, which repealed bilingual-education laws in 2000 and required that all classes in Arizona be taught in English.

ARKANSAS
City beefs upmosquito fight
JACKSONVILLE As numbers of confirmed deaths involving the West Nile virus mount across the nation, this city prepares to eradicate mosquito breeding grounds with stepped-up efforts on wheels and foot.
This week, Murice Green, director of public administration for Jacksonville, verified that so far no reports of West Nile virus involving humans or birds have crossed into the city limits. To keep the city free of any health threats in regard to the mosquito-borne illness, Mr. Green said the city will purchase two spray-fogging backpacks at $600 each and larvicide pellets costing about $2,000. Humans can contract the illness only through a bite of an infected mosquito.

CALIFORNIA
Police apologizefor schizophrenic's death
LONG BEACH The police chief made an emotional apology to the family of a schizophrenic woman who was fatally shot by officers, but said the shooting was justified because she threatened them with a knife.
The Jan. 19 shooting of Marcella Byrd, 57, was followed by a march protesting police brutality and a large number of complaints to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
After a nearly seven-month investigation, prosecutors from the Los Angeles County district attorney's office concluded that the three officers involved acted in self-defense. They will not face prosecution.

COLORADO
Faculty, staffleaving Columbine
LITTLETON About 60 percent of the people on the staff at Columbine High have left since the school became the site of the nation's deadliest school shooting in 1999.
Only 58 of the 143 faculty members and staffers from 1999 are still at the Jefferson County school. For the district as a whole, teacher turnover was 11 percent annually from 1999 to 2001.
Candace Birch-Sterling, a Spanish teacher at Columbine for 14 years, transferred to another school a year after the shootings, in which one teacher and 12 students were killed.
"I hated that the school I knew had been taken away from me. I didn't want to be an emotionally wounded teacher for the students," she said.

FLORIDA
U.S. to deportjailed Palestinian
MIAMI A Palestinian man imprisoned twice for immigration violations and suspected terrorism ties will be released this week from a federal prison, his attorneys said.
Mazen Al-Najjar, 45, has been held since November on a deportation order for overstaying his visa, which was issued 20 years ago. He will be deported sometime this week to an Arab country "with friendly relations with the United States," Mr. Hohenstein said.
Mr. Al-Najjar, who has never been charged with a crime, has been held in solitary confinement at the federal prison in Coleman for the past 267 days.

KANSAS
Error causesbudget scramble
MANHATTAN A mistake that caused the property value of a home to be inflated by $200 million has left local governments scrambling to refigure their budgets.
Riley County Appraiser Sam Schmidt's staff uncovered the error last week while preparing for next year's valuations. The staff found the valuation on a single $59,500 property east of Kansas State University inadvertently had been changed to $200,059,000.
The tax bill was never sent, but Manhattan, Riley County and the local school district based their budget calculations on the erroneous valuation.

IDAHO
Suspect comes clean,but likely too late
LEWISTON A man who admitted stealing car stereos but later tried to return them may end up in jail anyway.
Niles Behler, 24, was reported to have stolen five stereos, some compact discs and a checkbook from parked cars in June.
The next day, an apparent guilty conscience prompted him to return two of the stereos to the cars, police said. Police said he included a note saying, "I'm sorry. I'm trying to get help."
Police reports say Mr. Behler returned another stereo and a checkbook by delivering them through a third party, who later gave police Mr. Behler's name.

INDIANA
Package delivered57 years late
LEBANON A package that sat in a hidden vault since 1945 finally has reached its intended recipient.
Kenneth F. Perkins of Lebanon received a package last week containing after-shave lotion and talc.
It was postmarked Dec. 13, 1945.
Construction workers discovered Mr. Perkins' package during July renovations at the federal courthouse in Indianapolis.
The courthouse once housed the post office, and when workers moved a shelf, they discovered the vault containing some undelivered mail, said Kim Yates, a U.S. Postal Service representative.

IOWA
Group releases1,200 mink
WAVERLY Members of an animal-rights group cut fences and broke open pens at an Iowa mink farm during the weekend, releasing hundreds of the cat-sized animals prized for their fur.
Becky Demuth, who owns the farm with her husband, Nick, said about 1,200 mink escaped and half had been recovered by yesterday. She said others had been hit by vehicles or killed by dogs.
The mink were scheduled to be killed in October, Mrs. Demuth said.
Animal Liberation Front spokesman David Barbarash said he received an anonymous e-mail in which members of the group claimed responsibility for Sunday's raid at the Misty Moonlight Mink Ranch.

LOUISIANA
Court ordersjudge's removal
NEW ORLEANS The Louisiana Supreme Court ruled yesterday that a state judge whose lost transcripts caused 11 convictions to be reversed must leave the bench.
Criminal District Judge Sharon Hunter went on leave in March before a hearing on whether she should be suspended. The Supreme Court suspended her in June, and ruled unanimously yesterday that she should not return.
The ruling described the cases reversed because Judge Hunter failed to produce transcripts in time, accurately or not at all.
The Louisiana Judiciary Commission recommended Judge Hunter's removal.

MAINE
Local man exploreslake by sub
NEWPORT Tom Hart, who says he is called crazy by some and eccentric by others, can calmly explain why there is a crane in his front yard overlooking the waters of Sebasticook Lake. "It's holding the flag up," he said.
The lime green LaFrance fire engine in the back yard? "I use it to plow the road in the winter," he said. But even his closest friends had to shake their heads when "Sub Zero" was created by Mr. Hart and launched on the lake this summer. It's a submarine.
All the lakeside dwellers or tourists staying in Newport campgrounds can be validated: They did see a periscope. That long, black tubular thing on the lake surface? It was Mr. Hart's sub.

MASSACHUSETTS
Faneuil Hall designerdies at 85
BOSTON Benjamin C. Thompson, an architect who specialized in designing "people places," such as Boston's Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Baltimore's Harborplace and New York City's South Street Seaport, died of heart failure Saturday at his home in Cambridge, the Boston Globe reports. He was 85.
Mr. Thompson's marketplaces attracted a generation of suburbanites back to the city. They are visited by more than 50 million people each year.

MICHIGAN
Five cops firedin death of diabetic
DETROIT Police Chief Jerry Oliver has fired five officers including two sergeants and a lieutenant for what he calls negligence in the 1999 death of a diabetic suspect being held in a precinct lockup, the Free Press reports.
Mr. Oliver said the firings are in keeping with a promise he has made to the U.S. Department of Justice to clean up the department. Mistreatment of prisoners is one of the accusations federal officials are investigating as part of their civil rights probe.
"I thought that the behavior of the employees involved is unforgivable, totally unforgivable," Mr. Oliver said.

NEW MEXICO
Stash of missilesseized in Roswell
ALBUQUERQUE A Canadian man was behind bars yesterday on charges of possessing destructive devices that were not registered to him.
FBI officials arrested David Hudak at Roswell's Industrial Air Center. Mr. Hudak operated a training camp called HEAT, or High Energy Access Tools. The program is a counterterrorism firm that teaches various agencies how to enter planes and buildings using explosives.
Officials with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said HEAT was training students from the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Mr. Hudak's wife, Leslie, said the business is legal.

NEW YORK
Girl killedby stray bullet
NEW YORK A 10-year-old girl was shot and killed by a stray bullet after gang members looking for free food and beer crashed a baby's christening party at a church.
Police said the girl, Maleny Mendez, was hit about 1 a.m. Sunday as an argument between the guests and the party-crashers escalated into violence outside St. Paul's Lutheran Church in the Bronx.
Another party guest, a 28-year-old man, was shot three times in the neck and remained in critical condition yesterday, police said.
About a dozen men burst into the party, which was being held in a meeting hall in the church, according to Bronx Chief of Detectives Joseph Reznick.

OHIO
Jury selection beginsin stepparent case
AKRON Jury selection began yesterday in the trial of a man accused of inseminating his stepdaughter with a syringe and violating rape laws that he pushed legislators to enact.
Paternity tests show that John Goff, 41, fathered his stepdaughter's baby. The boy, born in 1999, is in foster care.
Mr. Goff is charged with rape and sexual abuse. His wife, 43-year-old Narda Goff, was convicted in March of helping him impregnate her daughter and was sentenced to three years in prison.
The daughter testified that her stepfather, an auxiliary police officer and former Marine, threatened to kill her mother if she did not agree to become pregnant.

OREGON
Police searchfor rape suspect
GRESHAM An 8-year-old girl was hospitalized Friday after police say a stranger raped her in her bedroom, then fled through a window and disappeared into the quiet neighborhood, television station WKGW reports.
The man remained on the loose Saturday, and police had only a brief description: long, dark hair, a goatee and a mustache.
Police are treating the case as a rape based on interviews with the girl and her father. An initial doctor's report supported their early statements, Officer Grant McCormick said.
More than 90 registered sex offenders live within 30 square blocks of the girl's home, Officer McCormick said. Police plan to interview all of them in the coming days.

PENNSYLVANIA
Military rocketfound in Schuylkill
MONOCACY STATION This is no fish story: Two fishermen pulled a live military rocket out of the Schuylkill River.
Michael Nagy and Jeremy Lloyd found the rusted, 2-foot-long rocket in a shallow area of the river Sunday and dragged it to shore, police said. The men then posed to take photographs with the explosive before driving it to police.
"It was confirmed as an active military device, an RPG rocket," said West Pottsgrove Police Officer Steven Ziegler. "It had the firing pin still in it. That's how we knew it was live."
The military-issue surface-to-air missile was designed to be launched out of a weapon, such as a bazooka, Officer Ziegler said.

SOUTH CAROLINA
Storms fail to bring enough relief
GREENVILLE A line of strong thunderstorms flashed and rumbled across parts of the Upstate during the weekend, knocking out power to several thousand homes, toppling trees and sparking at least one fire.
The first storms hit about 2 p.m. and had ended in most of the area by shortly after 6 p.m. There were no reports of any injuries related to the storms.
The storms did bring another dose of much-needed rain to the area on top of storms Thursday and Friday that dumped as much as 6 inches of rain in some places.

TEXAS
School starts,ready or not
FORT WORTH Among the nearly 80,000 students who return to Fort Worth public schools today, thousands will be going to four new buildings or newly renovated facilities at 10 other schools, the Star-Telegram reports.
At more than 50 city schools, students will start the year in facilities that are still under construction, which is frustrating to teachers, students and parents.
Handley Middle School parents are among the most aggravated because their school addition has been shut down for nearly a year.

WASHINGTON
Prescriptions filleddespite boycott threat
SEATTLE Most pharmacies in the state are continuing to fill prescriptions for Medicaid patients, despite threats to boycott the program because of reduced reimbursements, the Times reports.
In several rather remote areas of the state, however, so many local pharmacies have pulled out that patients are being forced to drive long distances or decipher mail-order forms to get their medications.

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