- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 14, 2002

'No Santa' comment angers parents
CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. A teacher touched off a pint-sized academic debate by telling preschoolers there is no Santa Claus, sending furious parents to the school board.
After teacher Fabiola Mehu-Pelissier read a book on the Christmas season to the children, Broward County school board spokesman Kirk Engelhard said, "The discussion started to move toward the existence of Santa Claus."
Some children cried at the revelation, upset parents said when they took their complaint to the school board, demanding that the teacher be banned from the classroom.

Comatose woman to be kept alive
CLEARWATER, Fla. A woman who has been in a comalike state for more than a decade will continue to have a feeding tube until an appellate court decides her case, a judge ruled yesterday.
Circuit Judge George Greer stayed his Nov. 22 ruling that Terri Schiavo's husband could have her feeding tube removed Jan. 3, saying she must be kept alive until the 2nd District Court of Appeal reviews the case.
The 38-year-old has been in a comalike state since suffering a heart attack in 1990 that temporarily cut off oxygen to her brain.
Her husband and guardian, Michael, says Mrs. Schiavo's condition is irreversible and she wouldn't want to be kept on life support. But her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, want the feeding tube kept in place, saying their daughter reacts to them with tears and smiles and could be rehabilitated.

Seizure of assets by police stopped
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. A judge has ruled that New Jersey's practice of letting police and prosecutors keep the money and assets they seize is unconstitutional, putting a halt, for now, to a system criticized as bounty hunting.
The practice gives law enforcement a stake in the cash, cars, computers and other property seized from criminals and suspects.
"The decision will ensure that police and prosecutors make decisions on the basis of justice, not on the potential for profit," said lawyer Scott Bullock, who represented a former sheriff's deputy whose son was caught selling marijuana out of her car.
The state plans to appeal Wednesday's ruling and ask the judge to allow the continued distribution of seized assets.
Carol Thomas, 45, who was never charged, said she didn't know her 17-year-old son had used her car to drive to drug deals. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to house arrest.

Marine recruit dies after water training
SAN DIEGO A 19-year-old Marine recruit died after complaining of chest pains during a water-survival training exercise, officials said.
Pvt. Samuel J. Bruss of Kenosha, Wis., had just left a pool at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Thursday when he told a duty corpsman he was having chest pains, the Marines said. He was pronounced dead at a hospital. An autopsy was planned.
Pvt. Bruss was on his 27th day of the 12-week training program.
His death is the second at the depot in less than three weeks. On Nov. 23, 18-year-old Pvt. Neal Edwards IV of St. Clair, Mo., collapsed after finishing an obstacle course during physical training. Autopsy results are pending.

2 soldiers perish in helicopter crash
FORT RUCKER, Ala. An Army helicopter on a training mission crashed while returning to Fort Rucker, killing two pilots, authorities said yesterday.
The U.S. Army Aviation Center said the AH-64D Longbow Apache crashed Thursday night about 12 miles from Fort Rucker's main post. An instructor and student pilot were on board. Their names were withheld until relatives could be notified.
The cause of the crash was under investigation. Fort Rucker, about 100 miles southeast of Montgomery, is home to the Army Safety Center, which investigates crashes of Army helicopters worldwide.

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