- The Washington Times - Friday, August 23, 2002

MASSACHUSETTS

Priests ask cardinal to clarify abuse rights

BOSTON A group of Boston priests wants Roman Catholic Cardinal Bernard Law to clarify the rights of priests who have been accused of sexually abusing children.

The Boston Priests' Forum asked to meet Cardinal Law to discuss fears that innocent priests are being destroyed by abuse accusations. Since January, 20 priests accused of abuse have been removed from their jobs.

"Your eminence, the priests are hurting, our morale has plummeted," the forum's chairman, Father Robert Bullock, wrote in an Aug. 5 letter to Cardinal Law.


TENNESSEE

Suspected serial killer: 'I wanted to be famous'

COLUMBIA Tony Garrett Mitchell studied to be a serial killer a role he thought would make him famous by reading books on the subject and watching the movie "American Psycho," officials said yesterday during a lengthy preliminary hearing, the Tennessean reports.

"The question was asked of him, why he killed these girls," said Columbia police Detective Roy Sellers. "He said, 'There's not that many black serial killers and I wanted to be famous.'"

Family members of slaying victim Diana Pulse, 18, shook their heads in horror at the statement. Mr. Mitchell, of Columbia, alternately smirked and sat stone-faced as graphic details of his statements to police about the slayings were read.


ALABAMA

Infant deaths reach record low in '01

MONTGOMERY The number of infants who died in Alabama last year, 567, was the lowest recorded in the state, and the number of births to teenagers, 8,993, also was the lowest since statistics have been kept.

But state health officials said the infant-mortality rate for blacks, 15.2 per 1,000 live births, was more than twice the rate for white infants, 6.8 per 1,000 births.


ALASKA

Man still missing after three days

Searchers failed for the third day this week to find a young man who apparently vanished in a lake in Admiralty Island National Monument in southeast Alaska, state troopers said.

The man's sweatshirt and a pair of slippers have been found in the water, along with a swamped canoe, and some searchers presume he is drowned, troopers spokesman Greg Wilkinson said Wednesday.

Walter Jack Jr., 21, was on a hunting trip with two friends last weekend at Salt Lake, about 7 miles east of Angoon.


CALIFORNIA

Supervisors to close 11 of 18 public clinics

LOS ANGELES Los Angeles County supervisors have voted to close 11 of 18 public health clinics despite pleas from hundreds of people who argued that it amounted to balancing the budget at the expense of the poor.

Supervisors also voted to cut nearly $57 million from the health care budget, which has a $710 million deficit. The health system serves 800,000 patients a year.


COLORADO

Official challenges DA term limits

PUEBLO Pueblo County District Attorney Gus Sandstrom filed a lawsuit challenging term limits that would prohibit him from seeking re-election in 2004. In November 2001, Pueblo County voters chose to keep term limits for county commissioners but narrowly approved lifting them for the district attorney. The state has refused to acknowledge the vote, saying it ran contrary to the state constitution's term-limits provisions.


DELAWARE

Korean businesses flock to Delaware

WILMINGTON Delaware's Korean-American entrepreneurs part of a small but fast-growing ethnic community are doing more than contributing to the state's diverse population. They are catering to it.

In Manhattan-style food bars, they serve Wilmington workers a taste of the Big Apple. Groceries once patronized almost exclusively by Korean Americans now help other Delawareans spice up their cooking with Asian cuisine. And in busy produce markets, these entrepreneurs offer a rainbow of fruits and vegetables from faraway lands to customers from diverse ethnic backgrounds.


GEORGIA

Warrant out for gun-show vendor

ATLANTA Gwinnett County authorities have issued an arrest warrant for a Florida holster vendor who was reported to be holding the gun that accidentally discharged and killed a teenager at a Norcross gun show, according to the Journal-Constitution.

Cleveland Lewis Chaney, 57, of Obrien, Fla., is expected to surrender on the involuntary manslaughter charge as soon as possible, Gwinnett Cpl. Ray Dunlap said yesterday.

Steven Bray King, 13, died July 15, a day after a bullet struck him in his right eye.

The investigation showed that the gun discharged as Mr. Chaney apparently placed it in the holster while showing it to the boy's father, Anthony Grant, Cpl. Dunlap said.


ILLINOIS

Record number attended state fair

SPRINGFIELD A record 1.2 million people attended the Illinois State Fair this year, a 12 percent increase from last year, officials said.

Fair managers said the 150th-anniversary fair drew more people because of promotions that included free admission one day and free concerts. Revenue grew only slightly and was $100,000 less than in 2000, when the fair drew 100,000 fewer people.


INDIANA

Group wants rights for 'gay Hoosiers'

INDIANAPOLIS The Indiana Civil Liberties Union yesterday filed a lawsuit asking the Marion County Superior Court to recognize the Vermont civil unions of three homosexual couples who live in Indiana.

"Gay Hoosiers work, like everyone else. They pay taxes, like everyone else. But they are denied the right to have their unions recognized by the state of Indiana. That's just not right," said John Krull, director of the Indiana legal group.

The American Family Association of Indiana decried the lawsuit, saying that "a radical liberal minority is trying to force their views upon a majority of Hoosiers."


IOWA

Red Cross donations being watched

CLINTON Officials at the Clinton chapter of the American Red Cross are keeping close tabs on where donors want their donations to go.

A surprise audit after the September 11 attacks indicated that some money intended for the national headquarters was kept as local funds. Clinton's chapter was one of 27 around the country targeted for a review on how donations were handled after the attacks.


KANSAS

School superintendent resigns after scandal

KANSAS CITY School officials accepted the resignation of a superintendent whose district became embroiled in a plagiarism dispute that brought national attention to his tiny Kansas town.

Michael Rooney's resignation takes effect June 30 when his contract expires, but until then he will be on a paid leave of absence, district officials said.

Both Mr. Rooney and the Piper school board approved the settlement that prohibits the board and district administrators from commenting on Mr. Rooney's character or job performance and assures that he can't file a lawsuit against the district, board attorney Louis Clothier said Wednesday.


LOUISIANA

101 Pakistanis to be deported

WATERPROOF About 100 Pakistanis arrested on immigration violations were moved from a federal detention center Wednesday to be flown back to Pakistan.

Officials at the Waterproof Detention Center said 101 Pakistanis left the facility Wednesday morning. Spokesmen for the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the Pakistani Embassy in Washington refused to confirm the plane took off later in the day.

"I'm not going to say it didn't leave," but government policy is not to discuss such flights until they land, said Asad Hayauddin, the embassy press secretary.


MICHIGAN

Sex-offender registry is republished

LANSING The public will once again have access to Michigan's sex-offender registry under a ruling issued Wednesday by a federal appeals court.

Michigan's registry, which was made public through the Internet in 1999, gives people the names and addresses of convicted sex offenders.

The registry had been unavailable to the public since June 3, when U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts ruled it was unconstitutional in a case involving a convicted sex offender who wants his name off the list.


MINNESOTA

Bungled burglary ends with gunshot

MINNEAPOLIS An unsavvy burglar who was shot by a surprised 79-year-old Minneapolis homeowner has been charged with first-degree burglary.

Jimmie Lee Emerson, 48, was shot after he kicked in the back door of Harvey Keefe's house, then tried to open the chained door of the bedroom where Mr. Keefe had been sleeping, according to police, a criminal complaint and the homeowner.

"I was scared stiff," Mr. Keefe said. "I hated like heck to shoot anybody, but what are you gonna do when you're an old man?"

Mr. Keefe said his home of 36 years had been burglarized before.


NEW HAMPSHIRE

Girl to be charged in baby abandonment

HAMPTON Charges are likely to be filed against a 15-year-old girl who gave birth while on vacation and abandoned the child in the back yard of a waterfront cottage, according to police.

An infant was hospitalized after police found her lying on a tarp in the grass just hours after her birth near Hampton Beach yesterday.

"I assume there will be charges," Hampton Police Lt. Bill Lally said.

The baby was reported in stable condition at Exeter Hospital yesterday morning and later flown to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital in Hanover, a tertiary-care center, for further testing and possible surgical intervention for some minor issues, according to Exeter Hospital spokesman Ron Goodspeed.


NEW JERSEY

Overdose case raises liability questions

TRENTON A couple showed "conscious disregard" for their 18-year-old son by ignoring the heroin use that killed him, a grand jury said in a manslaughter indictment that legal specialists say raises questions about parental liability.

Criminal-law analysts said the indictment handed up Tuesday is "very unusual" because Mary and Lewis Hockenbury are not accused of selling or giving drugs to their son. Leonardo DiPasquale died of an overdose at the couple's home last year.

"Criminal law doesn't prosecute a failure to act. It only prosecutes acts," said George Thomas, professor of law at Rutgers School of Law.


NEW YORK

DWI offender jailed for intoxication

PORT BYRON A man who admitted he operated a lawn mower while drunk was sentenced to a year in jail after showing up intoxicated for his court-imposed community service.

Michael Kocur's blood alcohol level of .09 was under the legal limit of .10, but abstaining from alcohol was a condition of his probation, his attorney, Norm Chirco, said.

Cayuga County Judge Peter E. Corning, who gave him two previous chances to stay out of jail, sentenced him to one year in jail.

Kocur, 39, was arrested in July 2001 for driving a riding lawn mower while intoxicated.


OHIO

Charges reduced in sunburn case

STEUBENVILLE A woman who was jailed for eight days for supposedly allowing her children to become severely sunburned then abruptly freed after the charges were reduced to a misdemeanor said she doesn't think she did anything wrong.

Eve Hibbits and her attorney, Shawn Blake, appeared on NBC's "Today" show yesterday morning, the day after three felony counts against her were dismissed and replaced with a misdemeanor charge of child endangerment. Authorities said the three children were not as severely injured as officials had believed.

Mrs. Hibbits was arrested Aug. 14, the day after a sheriff's deputy noticed Mrs. Hibbits' 2-year-old daughter, Rose, and 10-month-old twin boys, Thomas and Timmy, had sunburned faces at the Jefferson County Fair.


PENNSYLVANIA

Man who blacks out can keep driving

PITTSBURGH A man with a history of blackouts can continue to drive despite causing an accident that killed a mother and her pregnant daughter.

Allegheny County Judge Bob Coville dismissed criminal charges against Jack Smith stemming from a crash that killed Patricia Schick and Sherri Zeis two years ago.

He noted that state transportation officials had cleared Mr. Smith to drive despite two previous accidents from blackouts.


RHODE ISLAND

Report: Men tried to pay off screeners

PROVIDENCE Two men are accused of offering payments to baggage screeners at the Providence airport to try to speed up the testing of a new security system.

Darrall Loren Redburn, 38, and Angelo M. Troisi, 59, both of Massachusetts, are accused of offering money to federal employees who were testing a system that screens and seals checked luggage before it is loaded onto airplanes.

Mr. Redburn pleaded not guilty Monday to one count each of conspiracy to offer illegal gratuities to a public official and paying an illegal gratuity and was released on $10,000 unsecured bond. Mr. Troisi was indicted on the same charges, and his attorney said he intends to plead not guilty.


SOUTH CAROLINA

Radioactive waste left in storage tanks

COLUMBIA Federal energy officials have decided to leave residual radioactive waste in 49 aging storage tanks at the Savannah River Site. They will fill the 45-foot-high tanks with concrete grout rather than empty them completely.

Filling the tanks will cost about $4 million per tank. But getting rid of them would cost $100 million per container, officials said.


SOUTH DAKOTA

Fire lures tourists to Mount Rushmore

MOUNT RUSHMORE Getting here is twice the trouble these days because of the Battle Creek fire.

But tourists continue to visit Mount Rushmore National Memorial in near-normal numbers, even though closed roads and the 11,200-acre blaze that has burned to within two miles of the memorial complicate the process, the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader reports.


TEXAS

Match was made in the tissue bank

AUSTIN Dedurie Kirk of Austin was the center of attention at the Blood and Tissue Center of Central Texas, but she was having none of it.

"It's not about me," she said, pointing to 6-year-old Zulieka Rojas of West St. Paul, Minn. "It's about her."

Miss Kirk, whose donated bone marrow saved Zulieka from an often-fatal metabolic disease when she was 6 months old, hoisted the child up for a hug and whispered in her ear.

"'God is good,'" Miss Kirk said later. "That's what I whispered to her."


VERMONT

Trout disease found in stream

MONTPELIER A disease that kills trout has been found in a Vermont stretch of the Batten Kill, one of the state's most famous trout streams, the Burlington Free Press reports.

Biologists are testing other waters in southwestern Vermont and other parts of the state to see whether whirling disease has spread beyond the Batten Kill, said Eric Palmer, the director of fisheries for the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife.


WEST VIRGINIA

Dog owner accused of animal cruelty

CHARLESTON A man accused of starving his dog to death turned himself into authorities this week.

Hubert Wilmer's dog, Sun Bear, was found lying in a creek bed behind his owner's home on Aug. 11 weighing 23 pounds, about one-third of the normal weight of a chocolate Labrador his age. He died two days later. Veterinarians said a dog that emaciated couldn't have eaten in three weeks.

Mr. Wilmer turned himself in Wednesday to Kanawha County Magistrate Court and was arraigned yesterday by Magistrate Carol Fouty, the Charleston Daily Mail reported. He was released on a $5,000 bond. If convicted, he could get up to six months in jail.


WYOMING

Top dog to be a work of art

CHEYENNE Ten-year-old Russ is becoming famous. Russ is the platinum-blond yellow lab-golden retriever mix who has faithfully guided his master, John Ostlund of Cheyenne, since the two were paired at the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind in New York state in June 1993.

He also is the subject of a painting that will soon grace the walls of the foundation's new headquarters building in Smithtown, N.Y. Artist Linda Budge of Longmont, Colo., chose Russ for the honor. Wells Jones, chief executive officer for the Guide Dog Foundation, asked her to paint a portrait of a working guide dog.

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