- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Tobacco money won't be used for budget
SHELBYVILLE Kentucky Gov. Paul E. Patton said yesterday he would not try to use Kentucky's money from a national tobacco settlement to help avert a $500 million shortfall.
Mr. Patton said the tobacco money should continue to be spent for the purposes approved by the General Assembly up to now agricultural diversification, early-childhood development and various health initiatives, including smoking-cessation programs.
"This is one commitment I think we ought to live up to," Mr. Patton said at a news conference with several farmers in Shelby County.
Kentucky receives about $120 million per year from a fund created by cigarette manufacturers to settle lawsuits in which the states sought to recoup costs of treating the health problems of smokers.

Legal scholars urge blanket clemency
CHICAGO More than 400 legal scholars have asked Illinois' governor to grant clemency to an unprecedented number of death-row inmates.
"The practice of commuting death sentences by clemency has a long and honorable history and has taken a number of different forms," the law professors argued in an open letter to be delivered to Gov. George Ryan yesterday.
The scholars' intervention came as Mr. Ryan, with just 14 days to go before leaving office, weighed clemency applications for all 160 inmates on death row in the state.
The lame-duck Republican governor, who came to office as a supporter of capital punishment, but leaves it as one of its biggest critics, has indicated he is considering blanket clemency.
The scholars noted the case of Tony Anaya, then governor of New Mexico, who commuted the death sentences of all of his state's death-row inmates to life in prison in November 1986.

As many as 12,000 to get smallpox shots
MONTGOMERY As many as 12,000 people will receive the smallpox vaccine when Alabama begins its first round of vaccinations Jan. 24, officials say.
State Health Officer Don Williamson says employees from at least 94 of Alabama's 114 hospitals are expected to receive the first shots. First in line are emergency room doctors and nurses, and others who would come in contact with smallpox victims.

Former judge named to interim post
LITTLE ROCK Leon Johnson, a former circuit judge who oversaw much of the case to disbar President Clinton, was appointed the state's interim attorney general.
Attorney General Mark Pryor plans to resign his post Jan. 3 to take the U.S. Senate seat he won in November.
Mr. Johnson will hold the job for 11 days, until Attorney General-elect Mike Beebe takes office.

Last lawsuit settled from 1990 oil spill
HUNTINGTON BEACH An oil-tanker owner and other defendants agreed to pay $4 million to settle the last lawsuit from a 1990 spill that closed miles of Orange County beaches, harbors and fishing grounds.
If approved by a federal judge next month, the agreement would end nearly 12 years of litigation stemming from one of California's worst oil spills.

Wilmington police say heroin use is increasing
WILMINGTON Heroin is becoming an increasing problem in Wilmington as more youngsters experiment with the drug, and addicts and dealers, many from other states, descend on the city's open-air drug markets, police say.
Heroin seizures have increased more than 10 times over 2000, when 40 grams of the drug were seized. As of last week, 463 grams had been seized this year, up from 200 grams for all of 2001, police said.
"Heroin is huge," said Capt. Sean Finerty, commander of the Drug, Organized Crime and Vice Division.
Although cocaine and marijuana remain the dominant illegal drugs in Wilmington, heroin is emerging as the fastest-growing narcotic, police say.
Many buyers have out-of-state license plates, mostly from Maryland, said police Sgt. Mark Christopher.

Bodies of fishermen found; one still missing
TAMPA The bodies of three missing fishermen have been recovered, while the search for a fourth was called off, officials said.
The bodies were found about 17 miles southwest of Egmont Key, in the Gulf of Mexico, within two miles of a partially submerged boat, officials said. Water temperatures were in the upper 50s.
Friends and family members said Jesus Gonzalez, 37, whose birthday was Saturday, took his three closest friends Leo Moreira, 24, Juan Carlo Abad, 42, and Marino Gomez, 47 fishing Saturday morning.
None of the men was wearing a life jacket, and the boat did not have a radio, Coast Guard officials said.

State has deadliest year on roads since 1988

PORTLAND Even before 2002 ends, the number of highway deaths in Maine has surpassed its highest annual level in more than a decade.
Maine has recorded 218 highway deaths, making it the deadliest year on Maine highways since 1988, when there were 276 deaths, according to the Department of Public Safety.

Suspect said to use cabbie as getaway driver
PLYMOUTH The fare seemed unusual to the cab driver only because of the tip $5 for a $7 ride from the bus station to a local bank to downtown.
Only later did the driver find out she was the unwitting getaway driver in a bank robbery.
"As far as I know, [the suspect] was very calm and cool," Patriot Taxi cab company owner Timothy Cushman told the Enterprise of Brockton, adding that the $5 tip was the most notable detail.
"Not bad for a $7 call," he said.
Police said the robber made off with a "substantial amount of cash" from a Citizens Bank branch. The driver was not harmed and "had no clue whatsoever" about the robbery until police called a half-hour later, Mr. Cushman said.

Appeals court upholds prescription plan
LANSING Michigan acted legally when it attempted to cut health care costs by limiting the drugs doctors can prescribe to low-income patients, the state Court of Appeals said in a decision released yesterday.
It was a key victory for Michigan Department of Community Health in a case being closely watched by other states eager to curb rising prescription costs.
Michigan's plan, which went into effect in February, allows doctors to prescribe only certain medications to the 1.6 million patients who rely on state aid, including Medicaid and programs for infants and the elderly. Doctors must get state authorization for medications not on the list developed by a committee of physicians and pharmacists selected by Republican Gov. John Engler.
Drug companies and mental-health advocates sued, saying the state program is unconstitutional and endangers patients' lives. A lower court agreed and halted the program with a temporary injunction.

Foreclosures rise in some suburbs
MINNEAPOLIS Foreclosures are reported to be on the rise in some suburbs around the Twin Cities.
Foreclosures in Carver County, home to some of the highest household incomes and home values in the region, have almost tripled this year compared with last year. By the end of November, home-foreclosure sales in Sherburne County were already up 50 percent over all of 2001.

Showgirls greet visitors arriving for holiday
LAS VEGAS Showgirls at the airport greeted visitors arriving to celebrate New Year's Eve on the Las Vegas Strip.
More than 270,000 people are expected to crowd city streets for a $500,000 fireworks show. But cost-conscious travelers and the midweek timing of the party have slowed hotel bookings. Casinos are counting on a last-minute surge to fill the city's 127,256 rooms.

Polar Bears to mark 100th anniversary swim
NEW YORK Every day is a good day for the beach, the head of the Coney Island Polar Bears Club likes to say, and this New Year's Day will be no exception.
The club, whose members frolic in the chilly surf off Coney Island in Brooklyn the first day of each year, is marking its 100th anniversary with tomorrow's holiday swim.
As many as 200 people are expected to take the plunge, although most brave the water only up to their ankles, club member Louis Scarcella said recently.
True Polar Bears there are 50 full-fledged members stay in the water 10 or 15 minutes, he said, playing games, tossing a football and even conducting club meetings.
Founded in 1903, the Coney Island club is believed to be the oldest cold-water swimming club in the United States, President Ken Krisses said.

Big meth trial starts this week
FARGO A federal court case here this week involves the largest methamphetamine prosecution in state history, U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley said.
As many as 60 people could testify during the first of two trials, scheduled to start today with jury selection.
Michael Gamboa is accused of directing a large meth trafficking ring from an auto detailing shop in Fargo. Prosecutors say Mr. Gamboa and his ring were violent and ruthless in handling street-level dealers.
"Everything that Mike Gamboa did was with the use of intimidation and threats and force," Assistant U.S. Attorney Keith Reisenauer said.
Mr. Gamboa, Cassidy Stich, Delwin Whitelightning and James Borkowski are scheduled for trial today. But Mr. Gamboa is likely to be on trial alone. Mr. Stich, Mr. Whitelightning and Mr. Borkowski have asked to change their pleas from not guilty to guilty.

Officer arrests man after escape
SALEM Being remembered on Christmas wasn't so great for Chandler Charles Field. He was arrested by the same police officer from whom he reportedly escaped not quite four years earlier.
Officer Mike Basket, who suffered good-natured ribbing from his colleagues over the escape, decided that his best shot at catching the fugitive would be when he was visiting his parents for the holiday.
"I figured that was the one day of the year I'd be able to find him," Mr. Basket said. "I asked for his parents. He started to close the door, and I said, 'No, no,' and I put my foot in the door."
Mr. Basket arrested Mr. Field on Dec. 26, 1998, on charges of leaving a diner without paying. While in Mr. Basket's patrol car, Mr. Field is reported to have cracked the back window as two other suspects distracted the officer. Mr. Field, in handcuffs, reportedly slipped out the window and fled.

High court justice dies at 65
PROVIDENCE State Supreme Court Justice Victoria Lederberg died Sunday of a heart attack, officials said. She was 65.
Justice Lederberg was appointed to the court in 1993 after a career as a state legislator, college professor and Providence Municipal Court judge.
She's the second justice to die this year. Justice John Bourcier died in August.

Free burials offered to drunken drivers
MYRTLE BEACH A funeral home director is adopting a strategy to shock motorists into staying sober: free burial for anyone who signs a pledge to drink and drive on New Year's Eve.
"If I can make one person stop and think, then our effort's not in vain," said Grand Strand Funeral Home and Crematory director Chris Burroughs.
Mr. Burroughs, who conducts about 11 funerals every year for people who die in drunken-driving crashes, said he got the idea for the unusual offer from an anti-drunken-driving campaign started four years ago.
Then, funeral director Barry Miller initiated Operation Stop and Think after he lost a family member in a drunken-driving accident. Mr. Miller, who is from Georgia and owns a funeral home in Tennessee, said about 10 funeral homes in the Southeast are offering the contract.

Ray's brother wants King case rifle
MEMPHIS James Earl Ray's brother was turned away yesterday from taking pictures inside the museum on the site of Martin Luther King's death.
Jerry Ray wanted to have his picture taken beside the rifle authorities identify as the King murder weapon. Mr. Ray said he wanted the photo to use in an attempt to gain possession of the rifle. He did not explain how he expected such a photo to help him. He left quietly after officials gave him a news media handout on the rifle display.
A Nashville judge ruled two years ago that the .30-06 hunting rifle belongs to the state, which has lent it to the museum.
James Earl Ray pleaded guilty in 1969 to shooting Mr. King and was sentenced to 99 years in prison. He spent the rest of his life trying to recant his admission before dying of liver disease in 1998.
Jerry Ray said he wants the rifle so it can undergo new ballistics testing. Three rounds of testing have not proved that it was the murder weapon.

Student, ex-boyfriend die in murder-suicide
COLLEGE STATION A Texas A&M; University freshman was fatally shot by her ex-boyfriend, who then killed himself, authorities said.
Jacqueline Roquemore, 18, died Sunday shortly after arriving at College Station Medical Center, Lt. Rodney Sigler said.
Police say Christopher Thomas Young, 23, shot her after an argument in the parking lot outside her apartment and then shot himself in the head. Mr. Young was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police said a woman called to report the disturbance and was on the phone with dispatchers when shots rang out in the background. Neighbors said the caller was the victim's sister.

Avalanche kills cross-country skier
CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN A cross-country skier was killed by an avalanche in the Cascade Range, and three persons were buried by the snowslide but managed to dig themselves out.
The cascade of snow near the Crystal Mountain ski area struck four members of a group of seven skiers from the Seattle Mountaineers Club, said Pierce County sheriff's Deputy Dan Hudson.
It appears that the skiers triggered the slide Sunday afternoon, he said.
Three of the four skiers dug themselves out, and one of them used an electronic locating device to find the fourth skier, who was buried at least 5 feet deep, Mr. Hudson said.
The skiers uncovered their companion after 15 minutes of digging but were not able to revive him, he said.
One of the skiers suffered what might be a broken leg and was taken to a Seattle hospital.

Man uses device to stalk ex-girlfriend
KENOSHA A Kenosha man has been arrested for reportedly stalking his ex-girlfriend with help from a tracking device attached under the hood of her car.
The man was arrested Friday on a recommended felony charge of burglary and four misdemeanor charges, including stalking.
The woman told the Kenosha Police Department that her ex-boyfriend would just show up, no matter where she was. He often found her in random places such as bars or on the highway.
Police say the man was always able to find her because of what they believe is a Global Positioning System tracking device. They found it attached between the radiator and grill of the woman's car.
Such devices use satellite and digital cellular technology to pinpoint the location of targets and are often used to find stolen cars.

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