- The Washington Times - Friday, December 20, 2002

ILLINOIS
Governor pardons Rolando Cruz
URBANA Gov. George Ryan yesterday pardoned three men wrongfully convicted of murder, including Rolando Cruz, whose case has served as a symbol of flaws in the death penalty system.
Mr. Ryan made the announcement as he spoke before the University of Illinois College of Law on the state's death penalty system. Mr. Ryan has been considering commuting the sentences of about 140 men on death row. The men he pardoned already had been released.
"I wish them well," Mr. Ryan said as the crowd gave him a lengthy ovation.
The pardons, which had been widely expected, came a day after federal prosecutors released papers contending that Mr. Ryan knew about wrongdoing by aides in the secretary of state's office he ran before being elected governor in 1998.

VERMONT
6-year-old raises almost $1,000
BURLINGTON Marley Young has raised $940 for the Echo science center to be built at the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, closing in on her goal of $1,000.
Those are lofty numbers for a 6-year-old, who started with "seed money from the piggy bank," said her mother, Li Ling Young.
Marley raised the money by selling greeting cards crafted from paper she made herself.
"We have to cut off the corners so they can fit in the envelopes," said the first-grader at Chamberlin School in South Burlington.
Marley learned how to make paper in preschool.
She said she missed the old science center after it was torn down two years ago.
"I just really liked the center, and I want to help it be here," she said.

ALABAMA
State ranked No. 2 for stolen guns
BIRMINGHAM Alabama's rate of gun theft ranks second in the country, according to a report released Wednesday.
The Americans for Gun Safety Foundation reported that the state trails only Alaska in the rate of gun theft. Alabama's rate, 37.1 per 1,000 households, is more than double the national rate of 16.8.
The local U.S. Attorney's Office plans to use the national report's catch phrase, "Stolen Guns are Black Market Gold," in a $250,000 public-service campaign to encourage people to keep their guns secure, said Alison Blackwell of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Alabama.
Nationally, nearly 1.7 million guns have been stolen in the past 10 years, 61,760 in Alabama alone.

COLORADO
City considers genetic anti-discrimination law
BOULDER City officials want to add genetics to laws that ban race, sex and age discrimination to ensure residents are not hurt by information that companies can glean from their genetic makeup.
At least 47 states and one county have some form of law prohibiting genetic discrimination. Boulder is the first city to consider a comprehensive proposal covering housing and public accommodations as well as employment, according to the National League of Cities.
"This is an area where the technological capabilities have grown rapidly and it is important that the social institutions respond and take responsibility," Mayor Will Toor said.

DELAWARE
Sports betting risky, lawmakers told
DOVER A former top official in the National Football League asked Delaware lawmakers Wednesday not to resume state-sponsored sports betting in Delaware because it could undermine public confidence in professional sports and entice young people to gamble, the Wilmington News-Journal reports.
Jay Moyer, now a special counsel to the league, said he was representing all the nation's major professional sports leagues in making his appeal to members of a task force exploring whether the state should resume sports betting 26 years after abandoning a failed football-betting game.

FLORIDA
Thirteen airport workers test positive for TB
SARASOTA Thirteen workers at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport have tested positive for tuberculosis, health officials said.
Manatee County epidemiologist Dr. James Ogedegbe said Wednesday a total of 299 airport employees were tested since Monday for the disease. A positive test does not necessarily indicate a person has become infected with the disease, Dr. Ogedegbe said.
"If you test the normal population, you would expect 8 to 10 percent to come up positive," Dr. Ogedegbe said. "We expected to find about 10 percent today. What we have now is less than 10 percent."

KENTUCKY
White police officers may not recover damages
LEXINGTON Two white Jefferson County police officers who were passed over for promotion in favor of black colleagues may not recover damages for reverse discrimination, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday.
A divided court said former Chief Leon Jones was justified in promoting the black officers because a system was in place that was designed to correct historical racial imbalances among the higher ranks of the county police force.
The system was supposed to be racially neutral, which prompted Justice Martin Johnstone to dissent because he said Mr. Jones admitted that the promotions went to black officers because of their race.

MISSISSIPPI
Tornado rips through shopping center
NEWTON A tornado smashed into stores jammed with holiday shoppers and flipped over trucks yesterday, injuring about 50 people, at least two critically, authorities said.
"We've got major damage here. It's a mess," said Hamp Beatty, mayor of this eastern Mississippi town of about 3,700 people, 60 miles east of Jackson. "The tornado destroyed several buildings in the west part of downtown and a lot of people are without power."
About half of the 50 persons sent to Newton Regional Hospital had relatively minor injuries such as fractures and cuts, said administrator Tim Thomas.

MONTANA
Woman acquitted of mailing poison
GREAT FALLS A woman accused of mailing cyanide-laced soda bottles to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy was found not guilty Wednesday by reason of insanity.
Tashala Hayman, 22, will be sent to a federal psychiatric hospital until she is deemed no longer a threat to herself or to others, U.S. Attorney Bill Mercer said.
Authorities said Miss Hayman, of Vaughn, mailed a package containing two bottles to the Massachusetts Democrat on Aug. 1, and prepared another package with a tainted soda bottle to send to Britain's Prince William in Scotland.
The package to Mr. Kennedy was found in the Capitol mail system.

NEVADA
Anti-development movement grows
RENO Ame Hellman remembers when she could see cattle, deer and coyotes in the pastures of the Carson Valley. Now, her view is of trophy homes, an 18-hole golf course and a sprawling clubhouse on what was once prime ranch land.
Miss Hellman says the development south of Reno led her to join the movement to protect open space.
Nevada, with its roots in mining, has never been a hotbed of environmentalism. But even here, attitudes are changing because of runaway growth.
Reflecting a nationwide trend, Nevada voters last month approved three significant initiatives including the biggest conservation bond measure in state history to protect open lands from urban sprawl.

NEW YORK
Dog-killer gets 12-year sentence
NEW YORK A New York man was sentenced to 12 years in prison yesterday for robbery, burglary and throwing his ex-girlfriend's dog out of a 23rd-floor window.
John Jefferson, 43, pleaded guilty this month to aggravated cruelty to animals, robbery, burglary, criminal contempt and stalking his former girlfriend, whose dog, a terrier-poodle mix named Ribsy, he killed in a rage on May 26.
Ribsy's owner, Eugenia Miller, tearfully defended Jefferson in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, saying he loved her dog but had been "very, very high" on crack after a two-day binge.
During his rampage in Miss Miller's apartment in downtown Manhattan, Jefferson threw her television, air conditioner, stereo and clothing off the balcony before tossing the dog to his death.

OKLAHOMA
Study: '95 bombing volunteers resilient
OKLAHOMA CITY Volunteers who sorted through body parts after the Oklahoma City bombing were more emotionally resilient than psychologists expected, a new study shows.
Levels of post-traumatic stress and depression were almost nonexistent two years after the 1995 bombing that killed 168 persons, even for those who knew one of the victims, the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center study says.
More than 130 people worked with the Medical Examiner's Office over 17 days to identify victims and collect evidence. Some of the volunteers, including medical students and dentists, knew someone who died in the blast in downtown Oklahoma City.

PENNSYLVANIA
Police find buried Ecstasy lab
PHILADELPHIA Authorities found a lab buried deep in a mountainside that they said could easily fill orders for a million tablets of the illegal club drug Ecstasy.
Prosecutors said engineer Duane Michael Policelli built the lab inside two giant metal tanks buried beneath the long driveway of a home he dubbed "The Citadel."
Mr. Policelli, 51, was arrested Dec. 12 and charged with participation in a corrupt organization, illegal manufacturing, possession and distribution of Ecstasy and criminal conspiracy. If convicted on all counts, he faces up to 70 years in prison.
Mr. Policelli's attorney, Brian Monahan, declined to comment. He has said that Mr. Policelli, who is free on $100,000 bail, regretted any embarrassment he caused his family.

SOUTH DAKOTA
Agency seeking donations of hay
SIOUX FALLS Drought made ranching in western South Dakota and eastern Montana a trying enterprise this year, reports the Argus-Leader.
Then the 70,000-acre Kraft Spring fire made it all but impossible for about 14 ranchers with grazing allotments on the Sioux Ranger District of the Custer National Forest.
The fire that began Aug. 31 burned Forest Service grass and timber. It ruined 95 miles of fencing that has to be replaced.
A west wind took it onto private land, where it destroyed at least two ranchers' baled hay, and it will almost certainly delay the start of grazing on federal land next spring as the range recovers.

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