- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 7, 2002

ALASKA

Continental jet makesemergency landing

JUNEAU A Continental Airlines jet made an emergency landing in Juneau yesterday afternoon, the Empire newspaper reported

The Boeing 757 had a fuel leak, which forced it to land at the Juneau airport at 2:15 p.m., said Juneau air-traffic manager Steve Turner.

The passengers on Flight 1507 from Houston to Anchorage did not appear upset by the unscheduled stop, he said.

"They all look pretty pleased," said Mr. Turner, who watched them disembark onto the tarmac. "They were all looking around, taking pictures of each other like they sure weren't expecting to be in Juneau."


ARIZONA

Judge calls primaryunconstitutional

PHOENIX A federal judge struck down Arizona's open primary as unconstitutional Monday, ruling that it violates the political parties' right of free association.

Under the ruling, independent voters and members of small parties won't be allowed to participate in the state's primary election on Sept. 10.

The open primary, which was approved by voters in 1998, allows a registered voter who has not been affiliated with the Republican, Democratic or Libertarian parties to participate in one of those parties' primaries.

Libertarian Party Chairman Peter Schmerl sued to stop the law from being used. He argued that allowing people who don't belong to one of the parties to vote interferes with the parties' right to choose their leadership because the parties must select their precinct committee people during the primary.


ARKANSAS

Terminally ill manadmits killing wife

FORT SMITH An 88-year-old man with terminal cancer killed his Alzheimer's-afflicted wife, fearing she would be left without adequate care after his death, then shot himself twice but survived, authorities said.

George Hastings was arrested on a first-degree murder charge. He was in critical condition yesterday in an intensive-care unit.

Mr. Hastings called 911 on Monday to report that he had shot 84-year-old Hazel Hastings at their home. When police arrived, they found that he had also shot himself.

He said he had just weeks to live and feared no one would be able to take care of his wife.


COLORADO

Court upholdsman's use of feathers

DENVER The government must return eagle feathers to a descendant of American Indians so he can use them in religious practices, a federal appeals court ruled.

In a case that weighed freedom of religion against the government's ability to protect bald and golden eagles, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's ruling that the seizure of the feathers violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Prosecutors had appealed the ruling in the case of Joseluis Saenz, one of three persons who had asked a federal appeals court to allow them to use eagle feathers in their religious practices, even though they are not members of federally recognized American Indian tribes.

Mr. Saenz is a New Mexico resident and descendant of the Chiricahua Apaches.


GEORGIA

Atlanta suspendsundercover vice unit

ATLANTA The police department has suspended undercover vice operations aimed at prostitution after an officer fatally shot a suspected prostitute one of four police killings in the past three months.

Members of the 10-person vice squad will be temporarily reassigned while officers in marked cars perform their duties.

Police Chief Richard Pennington said he suspended the undercover vice operations "out of concern for the safety of our officers and citizens."

On Monday, an officer shot the suspected prostitute four times after she sprayed him with pepper gas and stabbed him in the face and arms when he tried to arrest her, police said.


IDAHO

Three die in crashduring practice flight

IDAHO FALLS A small airplane carrying two student pilots and their instructor crashed Monday in a field near the Idaho Falls airport, killing all three.

Bonneville County Sheriff's Sgt. Karl Casperson said the Beechcraft Bonanza aircraft had just cleared the airport and was circling when, according to witnesses, the engine sputtered and seemed to stop.

The victims were identified by the sheriff's department as student pilot Jacob Womack, 23, who was flying the plane, instructor George S.L. White, 21, and student Lauren Merrill, 42.


IOWA

Man is accused of torching meth lab

DES MOINES A West Liberty man faces charges after he supposedly set fire to a mobile meth lab.

Brian J. Wurr, 39, is charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of a substance used to make methamphetamine.

The Muscatine County Sheriff's Office said deputies were called to a car fire about 7 p.m. Friday north of Atalissa.

Mr. Wurr told officials that part of a burning cigarette fell from his mouth and ignited the late model Chevrolet Camaro's interior, the sheriff's office said.

Several cans of ether were found near the car, the sheriff's office said.

Mr. Wurr also was found in possession of 1 gram of methamphetamine, according to officials.


MASSACHUSETTS

Officials to investigatelegality of Harvard policy

BOSTON Federal officials will investigate whether a new Harvard University policy that requires corroborating evidence before the school investigates accusations of sexual misconduct violates civil rights law, according to a lawyer suing the school.

The policy, scheduled to take effect this fall, mandates that people filing complaints provide witnesses or evidence of the misconduct before the school will investigate.

Lawyer Wendy Murphy filed a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education, charging the new policy discriminates against women.

She said she was informed by the Office for Civil Rights on Monday they would look into whether the policy violates Title IX, the federal law barring sex-based discrimination in education, the Boston Globe reported yesterday.


MICHIGAN

Declared dead, pythonrevives at landfill

ESCANABA Playing possum seems to come naturally to a 250-pound python named Ariel.

After three days without moving, the 20-foot Burmese python was declared dead and hauled off to a landfill. That's when the snake decided to wake up, giving a start to two teenagers who were unloading it.

The python revived when it was dropped several feet at the Delta Township landfill, the Escanaba Daily Press reports.

"It was at that point they realized it was alive," said landfill manager Don Pyle. "It was really alive. Then the snake got out of what they had it in. All of us were surprised. It wasn't supposed to be alive."

MISSISSIPPI

Staff shortages dealblow to parents

BILOXI Hundreds of local parents are waiting weeks, and in some cases months, to receive child-support checks because the agency charged with managing the payments does not have enough staff to get the money out on time, the Sun Herald reports.

The Mississippi Department of Human Services child-support collection division was created in 1976 to make it easier for parents to collect child support. But, because there are only 20 persons to handle the more than $500,000 to $1 million the department receives each day, payments are taking longer to process, state officials said.

Noncustodial parents send checks to Jackson to the department's central processing division. The staff then processes the checks and sends them to the parents who have custody of their children.


MONTANA

State deficit worsensby $12.5 million

HELENA The budget deficit facing the special legislative session has worsened to $57.5 million, according to a new report from the legislative staff.

The latest estimate by the Legislative Fiscal Division shows that the $45 million in spending cuts and money shifts proposed by the administration of Gov. Judy Martz will not be enough to fill the financial hole. That means lawmakers, who began meeting in special session Monday, will have to find another $12.5 million.

The 28 percent increase in the budget shortage is the result of four recent developments, the staff said in its report yesterday.


NEW HAMPSHIRE

Flower flap leavessome with foul scent

TILTON The selectmen have weighed in on downtown skateboarders, veterans' remains and tax bill complaints in recent weeks. But it's a spat with the local garden club over marigolds that's drumming up bad publicity, the Concord Monitor reports.

"It was all well-intended. Instead of having marigolds, we thought we might upgrade a bit," said Bob Brown, chairman of the selectmen.

Bent it has: The Winnisquam Area Garden Club announced last week that it is ending its 40-year tradition of keeping Main Street in bloom because it's fed up with the selectmen's micromanagement of its gardening efforts.


NEW JERSEY

Boater was drunkin fatal accident

PENNSAUKEN A man was charged with boating while drunk after he crashed into a buoy, sending his wife into the water where she was fatally cut by a propeller as he tried to rescue her, authorities said.

William C. Lawson IV was freed Monday on $500 bail.

The couple's daughters, ages 4, 3 and 2 months, were onboard but not injured in Sunday's accident, authorities said.

Authorities said the family was cruising the Delaware River off Philadelphia in their 23-foot Bayliner when Mr. Lawson, 43, crashed into the buoy, ejecting his 41-year-old wife, Lynn. He turned back to save her, but the boat's propeller struck her in the head, said Lt. Kurt Amburgey of the New Jersey State Police Marine Unit.


NEW MEXICO

Green candidateplaced on ballot

SANTA FE New Mexico will have a three-way race for governor.

The Green Party nominee for governor, David Bacon, and his running mate, Kathy Sanchez, were certified Monday as candidates and will appear on the Nov. 5 general election ballot.

Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron said she had resolved a legal question over whether Mr. Bacon was registered with the Green Party in time to meet an eligibility deadline.

The Santa Fe County clerk and Mr. Bacon sent affidavits to Miss Vigil-Giron affirming he was affiliated with the Green Party.

NEW YORK

New tax cutscigarette sales

NEW YORK Cigarette sales in New York plummeted almost 50 percent in July after the city raised the tax on each pack from 8 cents to $1.50, according to new figures from the city's department of finance.

New Yorkers purchased 15.6 million cigarette packs last month, down from 29.2 million packs in July 2001. But because the tax was so much higher, millions more tax dollars poured into city coffers $12.3 million, compared with $2.3 million during the same period last year.

The new tax, which Mayor Michael Bloomberg supported to help close a record budget gap, drove the price of some name brands to more than $7 per pack.


NORTH DAKOTA

Judge dismisses suitover wheat insurance

FARGO A judge has dismissed a lawsuit over a type of federal crop insurance for durum wheat, saying the government did nothing wrong in canceling the coverage last year.

The Agriculture Department had no other choice but to cancel the coverage after it was unable to set a key component of the policies, and its decision "was entirely reasonable and will not be disturbed," U.S. District Judge Rodney Webb wrote.

Farmers filed the lawsuit after the U.S. Agriculture Department said that it would not offer crop-revenue coverage for durum, the variety of wheat used to make pasta.


PENNSYLVANIA

Ban is enactedon alien fish

HARRISBURG A toothy predator fish native to Asia and Africa that has caused a ruckus in neighboring Maryland is getting the hook from the board that oversees fishing in Pennsylvania.

The snakehead has been banned from aquariums and pet stores by the state Fish and Boat Commission.

The fish grow up to 3 feet long and, when their food sources run out, some species can slither to another pond or river, surviving up to three days out of water. They can eat nearly any small animal in their path.

The snakehead created a stir in Maryland when an adult fish and about 100 younger fish were found in a public fishing pond. A man who said the fish outgrew his aquarium said he dumped two northern snakeheads into the pond two years earlier.


SOUTH DAKOTA

Indians, ACLU sueover election laws

PIERRE Members of American Indian tribes said in a lawsuit that state and county officials have failed to seek approval from federal judges or the Justice Department for changes to South Dakota election laws.

The suit filed Monday said state officials have ignored legal requirements that they submit for approval all changes to election laws in Shannon and Todd counties since November 1972. It said officials have made roughly 600 changes but sought approval only 10 times.

State election Supervisor Chris Nelson told National Public Radio that any proposed changes in voting regulations are sent to the Justice Department for review. He later would not comment on the suit because he had not reviewed the accusations.


TEXAS

Medical centerrecalls body parts

HOUSTON A medical center in Texas has issued a recall of body parts shipped to research facilities across the nation, warning that some may have carried infectious diseases, including HIV.

The University of Texas Medical Branch said Monday the diseased body parts may have been shipped accidentally because of poor record keeping. Officials alerted about 60 research programs and issued a recall of parts shipped within an 18-month period.


VERMONT

State confirmsLegionnaires' cases

WATERBURY Two more cases of the sometimes-fatal Legionnaires' disease were confirmed by the state, and an investigation was continuing into four more possible cases.

Already one woman, a former inmate at the women's prison in Waterbury, is being treated for the respiratory ailment.

Steps were being taken to address any potential sources of the bacteria that causes the disease, the state Health Department said.


WASHINGTON

Dig for mammothends with just a tusk

MOXEE Archaeological experts have closed their dig for the remains an ice-age mammoth.

That means that Alexandria Moulding can go ahead with plans to finish its parking lot.

The project had been on hold since May 2001, when excavators came across a tusk from the ancient mammal.

Yakima Valley Museum officials recovered the 14,500-year-old tusk, but finally decided a full mammoth's remains were nowhere to be found in the lot.


WYOMING

Guardsmen completeanti-terrorism duty

CHEYENNE Members of the Wyoming Air National Guard are returning home after completing their assignment in the war on terrorism.

All the personnel and five transport aircraft are scheduled to be back in Cheyenne before Aug. 20.

The Wyoming Air National Guard successfully flew more than 4,980 hours and carried more than 10,700 passengers and 6,339 tons of cargo during the mission.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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