- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 24, 2002

FLORIDA
Colorful judge dies of cancer
MIAMI Judge Ellen "Maximum" Morphonios, who prosecuted rock star Jim Morrison for purportedly exposing himself, took her pet chimpanzee to the office and was known as "Time Machine" for her long sentences, has died at 73.
She died Sunday of stomach cancer.
"It's just not like her to die," said Anne Cates, a former assistant. "She was always a fighter."
She got her nickname "Maximum" for the 1,000-year sentences she gave robbers and rapists.
Judge Morphonios first retired in 1991. In 1997, she returned as a part-time judge, but retired months later. She is survived by two sons.

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Bishop testifies about priest sex
CONCORD, N.H. Questioned under oath about the sex-abuse scandal in U.S. Roman Catholic Church, New Hampshire's bishop suggested that it is less serious for a priest to have sex with someone from outside the parish than with a parishioner.
In depositions in the fall, Bishop John B. McCormack said that he knew the Rev. Roland Cote had sex with a teenager but noted that the boy was not a parishioner.
"You know, one is an activity where you have a trusted relationship with a parishioner. The other is an activity where you're away from the parish and you're off on your own," Bishop McCormack said in depositions obtained by the Associated Press.

ALABAMA
Auto manufacturing booming in state
BIRMINGHAM Alabama's auto manufacturing industry, which didn't produce a car before 1997, is on track to move past three rival states by 2005 to become the third-largest vehicle maker in the South, the Birmingham News reports.
The state's automakers plan to manufacture 760,000 vehicles in 2005, says a study by the Alabama Automotive Manufacturers Association. That will rank the state behind Kentucky and almost dead even with Tennessee in the region.

ARIZONA
Courthouse tested for disease risk
PHOENIX Fears that the misting system inside the towering glass atrium of the new federal courthouse in downtown Phoenix could become a breeding ground for Legionnaires' disease have prompted the government to conduct safety tests.
Results are expected after the first of the year, the Arizona Republic reported.
Officials have no evidence that the cooling system, routinely shut down for the winter, has ever posed a health hazard, the General Services Administration said.
But spokeswoman Bethany Rich said the GSA ordered tests as a precaution after a Phoenix mechanical engineer raised concerns in a study conducted for an architecture class.

ARKANSAS
Class sends 'Mama' to adopted home
ROGERS Kathy Wright's third-graders said goodbye to Mama last week when they found the friendly dog a new home.
The Benton County School of the Arts class adopted Mama from the Benton County Animal Shelter for a month. The assignment was to care for the dog and find her a new home, the Northwest Arkansas News reported.
Mama, a mixed-breed female, had nine puppies after being brought to the shelter, all of which were adopted, but she was left behind until Mrs. Wright's class found her a home.
Mrs. Wright took her class to the shelter every Thursday for a month. The children bathed, walked and played with Mama. Back in the classroom, they planned ways to find a home for the dog.
Margaret Correll, who adopted Mama, called it good timing. "I've been wanting to get a dog for a long time," she said.

GEORGIA
Owner reclaims lynching photos
ATLANTA The owner of a collection of lynching photographs has taken the exhibit away from Emory University, saying he was disappointed with the school's handling of it.
James Allen plans to sell the photos to another institution "to find a home for this collection that has the imagination to deal with it," he said.
Mr. Allen, 48, an antiques dealer, and his partner, John Littlefield, spent 10 years gathering the photos.
Emory and the National Park Service co-sponsored the exhibit, "Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America," but the university fell short in Mr. Allen's eyes.
Linda Matthews, director of special collections and archives at the library, said Emory couldn't meet the $1 million price Mr. Allen said he could get for the collection and that he wouldn't negotiate.

ILLINOIS
O'Hare expansion seen at $6.6 billion
CHICAGO Mayor Richard Daley submitted a $6.6 billion expansion plan for O'Hare Airport to federal review yesterday, saying the time is right even if airlines and the economy are in a slump.
The plans submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration include a rearrangement of the runways to reduce delays, construction of an additional terminal, and the building of a new link to the area's commuter rail service.
The FAA has begun an environmental study of the expansion and is expected to review the plan for more than a year.
Chicago could lose its status as a transportation leader if construction waits for better times, Mr. Daley said.

KENTUCKY
Police arrest 18 at demonstration
LOUISVILLE Eighteen demonstrators were arrested outside police headquarters Monday in the 10th day of protests over the killing of a handcuffed black man by white police officers.
One of those arrested was the Rev. Louis Coleman, a civil rights activist and leader of the protest.
"He was warned repeatedly, given 30 seconds to get out of the street," said police spokesman Bill Keeling. "He refused and was arrested."
The protests involve the Dec. 5 death of James Taylor, who was killed after two detectives went to investigate a woman's screams in an apartment building. Officers said Mr. Taylor was cuffed with his hands behind his back but reached a utility knife and lunged at the detectives.

MASSACHUSETTS
Archdiocese asks court to dismiss lawsuits
BOSTON The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston yesterday asked a court to dismiss hundreds of clergy sexual-abuse lawsuits but reassured victims that such a move would bring about a settlement of their claims.
The archdiocese said it filed a motion in Suffolk Superior Court asking that the lawsuits be dismissed on the grounds that the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution does not allow the government to define how religious entities should conduct their ministries of discipline.
The legal maneuver is designed to satisfy the archdiocese's insurance companies that the church has done everything it can to defend itself, church officials said.
The church has said it hopes it can persuade its insurance companies to chip in for a legal settlement, which could cost tens of millions of dollars.
Cardinal Bernard Law resigned this month as leader of the archdiocese over his mishandling of accused priests, whom he reassigned or let remain in ministry. But the church still faces at least 450 lawsuits that accuse it of negligence in dealing with clergy sexual abuse.

MICHIGAN
Jeweler's family slain in apparent robbery
LIVONIA A jeweler, his mother and his three children were found fatally shot in an apparent robbery, police said yesterday.
The bodies were found Sunday in the man's suburban Detroit home, which had been ransacked, Police Chief Peter Kunst said, adding that police believe robbery was the motive.
"We're operating under a theory that it was not a random crime," he said.
Police identified the victims as Marco Pesce, 38; his mother, Maria Vergati, who was visiting from Italy; and the jeweler's three children, Melissa, 6, Sabrina, 9, and Carlo, 12.

MISSISSIPPI
Aldermen to seek bids on U.S. 90 lighting
OCEAN SPRINGS City aldermen are moving forward with plans to install new lighting along U.S. 90 East, voting this month to start advertising for bids to do the construction and project design.
City Engineer Mark Seymour expects the entire project to cost about $500,000, although he is hoping the city will obtain grant money to help pay for the project, the Sun Herald in Biloxi reports.
It is a good time for the city to get a low-interest loan, he said, to pay for part of the project.

NEW JERSEY
New state law requires 'smart guns'
TRENTON New Jersey yesterday became the first state to enact "smart gun" legislation that eventually would require new handguns to contain a mechanism that allows only their owners to fire them.
Gov. James E. McGreevey signed the bill into law requiring the "smart guns," but the rule will not go into effect immediately because the technology is still under development. It could be years before it becomes a reality.
Under the law, smart-gun technology will be required in all new handguns sold three years after the state attorney general determines a smart-gun prototype is safe and commercially available.
Opponents argued that it makes little sense to legislate about a technology that does not yet exist and have raised questions about its reliability.

NEW YORK
'Santa' arrested as illegal immigrant
BUFFALO Having forsaken the traditional reindeer, a wind-surfing Santa Claus was arrested by U.S. Border Patrol guards for illegally entering the United States from Canada.
Ontario businessman John Fulton was picked up Sunday after completing the crossing of the Niagara River between Fort Erie, Canada, and Buffalo, N.Y.
Mr. Fulton, 42, has donned a Santa Claus outfit and made the river crossing on a windsurf board every Christmas for the past 18 years, but this time the good will of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service apparently ran out.
Mr. Fulton displayed no bitterness at being arrested, saying he understood the border security situation had changed in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The businessman makes the annual crossing to raise money for a nonprofit organization for the homeless.

NORTH DAKOTA
Top students leaving state
BISMARCK North Dakota is losing many of its best and brightest young people, a survey shows.
The Department of Public Instruction study found that an estimated 86 percent of the state's Robert C. Byrd Scholarship recipients no longer live in the state.
Officials say it is more evidence of the "brain drain" from North Dakota.
"It's pretty hard to describe it as anything but that," said Clarence Bina, DPI's assistant director for educational improvement. "The data speaks for itself."
Kelly Schmitt, a 1989 graduate of Central Cass High School, is now a lawyer in Seattle and has no plans to return to her native state.
"I think there are fewer opportunities [in North Dakota] if you really want to excel and get to the top of your profession," she said.

OREGON
Searchers comb forest after 4 bodies found
TILLAMOOK Dozens of police and volunteers searched on foot and by air yesterday for a man whose wife and three young children were found dead in the snowy woods.
The bodies were found Saturday, the same day Renee Morris, 31, and her children, Bryant, 10, Alexis, 8, and Jonathan, 4, were reported missing from their Portland home by relatives.
Police were looking for Edward Morris, 37, and the family's gray 1993 Dodge Caravan.
"We do not know if Mr. Morris is a victim," said Tillamook County Sheriff Todd Anderson. "We're expanding the grid search to see if there are more victims."
The family home in north Portland was strung with Christmas lights. Neighbors said they were very religious, and that the well-behaved Morris children were home-schooled.

PENNSYLVANIA
Man dies in fight with police
PITTSBURGH An Altoona man who was injured in a scuffle with Mount Oliver police over the weekend died early yesterday at Mercy Hospital, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
The Allegheny County Coroner's Office planned to perform an autopsy yesterday on Charles Dixon, 43.
Mr. Dixon was pronounced dead at 1:10 a.m. Mount Oliver police said he was drunk and combative Saturday around 1 a.m. during a birthday party in the banquet hall of the Mount Oliver Fire Department on Brownsville Road.
Mount Oliver Police Chief Frank Mosesso said his officers struggled with Mr. Dixon for up to 10 minutes before restraining him.

VERMONT
Exposition considers rearranging barns
ESSEX JUNCTION The Champlain Valley Exposition may rearrange its barns to make it easier to accommodate agricultural events.
Any changes in the buildings are years away, said David Grimm, the fair's general manager. The organization is looking to hire a consultant to evaluate the fairgrounds. Fair officials want to make the property more convenient for horse shows and other agricultural activities, the Rutland Herald reports.
The Exposition is most widely known as the venue for the annual Champlain Valley Fair, held in late summer. The fairgrounds also hosts a variety of events throughout the year.
A consultant would recommend the kinds of facilities needed, the costs and possibly ways to raise money for the project. Mr. Grimm said he hopes to receive recommendations in about six months.

WASHINGTON
One high school to become six
MOUNTLAKE TERRACE The largest high school in the Edmonds School District, Mountlake Terrace, won't feel so large next year.
The high school, which has more than 1,800 students, is gearing up to reopen as six smaller schools at the beginning of the 2003-04 school year, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports.
It's a feat that scores of schools across the country have been trying to accomplish. Like Mountlake Terrace, most of those schools are re-engineering themselves with the help of grants from the U.S. Education Department and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The goal behind the "small schools" concept is to build or redesign public high schools for no more than 400 students each much the same approach as has been used in private schools for decades.

WEST VIRGINIA
Bodies unearthed; juvenile in custody
MANNINGTON A juvenile is in custody after state police found two bodies buried in shallow graves Sunday on Flat Run Road near Mannington, said Senior Trooper M.L. Williams, of the West Virginia State Police Morgantown barracks.
The juvenile is reportedly a 16-year-old girl who was being held in an undisclosed juvenile-detention center Sunday, the Associated Press reported.
The bodies were unearthed Sunday after officers responded to a missing persons report.
Trooper Williams did not know whether the bodies were male or female, their identities, how long they had been dead, cause of death or what relationship they had to the arrested juvenile.
Response teams scrambled into the late hours Sunday searching for other details at the crime scene a secluded area in Marion County that included two shoddy trailers with several junked cars.

WISCONSIN
SpongeBob draws more than Santa
SHEBOYGAN The line of eager children was long just a few days before Christmas, but they weren't waiting for the man with the red suit and white beard.
Children at the Big Wheel Skate Center were waiting for a close-up look at the popular Nickelodeon cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants.
"SpongeBob's more popular than Santa," Big Wheel employee Corey Senderhauf said. "This is their first time seeing SpongeBob. They've seen Santa before."

WYOMING
Students want 'green' university
CASPER University of Wyoming student activists hope to "green up" the university when it comes to the purchase and use of recycled, or "tree free," paper.
The Associated Students of the University of Wyoming approved two resolutions this month calling for the university to purchase and use recycled paper, as well as to reduce paper use and waste, the Casper Star-Tribune reported. Tree-free paper is defined as 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper and paper products.
The student government also is calling on the university to reduce paper waste by purchasing printers and copiers that copy and print on both sides of the page. The resolutions encourage the university to make all paper purchases 100 percent recycled by 2008.

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