- The Washington Times - Monday, December 9, 2002

ARKANSAS
Socks returns to Little Rock
LITTLE ROCK Socks has put on a few pounds since his days as the first feline, but he's no less adventurous.
The mischievous cat seemed more interested in climbing a tree than in riding in former President Bill Clinton's 1967 Mustang in his first trip back to Little Rock since 1992.
Socks, who now belongs to Mr. Clinton's former personal secretary, Betty Currie, returned to Little Rock on Saturday as the grand marshal of the 2002 Little Rock Big Jingle Jubilee Holiday Parade.
"It's been wonderful for both of us, but he seems to be enjoying it immensely," Miss Currie said.

MISSISSIPPI
Christmas-tree growers' numbers pruned
JACKSON The last time an artificial Christmas tree was on display at the Mississippi Capitol, a faulty electrical cord started a blaze and the building had to be evacuated.
Rules for tree display at the Capitol have changed as a result of the 1999 fire, said architectural historian Allison Davis. Now there will be no electric lights and no fake trees.
That change has benefited Michael May, owner of Lazy Acres Christmas Tree Farm in Chunky. This year, one of his 20-foot cypress trees is the centerpiece of the Capitol's holiday decor. Local growers regularly provide Christmas trees for the Capitol, the governor's mansion and the Old Capitol Museum.
State governments aren't the only ones giving business to Southern Christmas-tree growers. The past two years, growers have seen sales rise after more than 10 years of decline.

ALASKA
Man convicted in pipeline-shooting case
ANCHORAGE A man was convicted last week of shooting the trans-Alaska pipeline in a drunken fit last year and causing 285,000 gallons of crude oil to coat part of a spruce forest in interior Alaska.
A state Superior Court jury in Fairbanks convicted Daniel Lewis, who has a history of criminal convictions and alcohol problems, of all five charges facing him. Lewis, 38, was found guilty of criminal mischief, assault and drunken driving, all felonies, as well as oil pollution and weapons misconduct, both misdemeanors.
The pipeline was shut down for two days after the shooting Oct. 2, 2001, and North Slope oil production came to a near standstill while crews plugged the line.

CONNECTICUT
Inmate's son chosen as Rhodes Scholar
HARTFORD Kathy Boudin learned that her son, Chesa, had been named a Rhodes Scholar in a phone call to prison, where she has spent all but 14 months of his life.
Chesa Boudin, a 22-year-old Yale senior and activist who speaks widely on the problems of children with incarcerated parents, was among the 32 American college students selected yesterday for Rhodes scholarships.
The scholarships, created in 1902 by the will of British philanthropist Cecil Rhodes, provide two or three years of study at Oxford University in England. Winners are selected for their high academic achievement, integrity, leadership potential and physical vigor, among other attributes.
Mr. Boudin is a second-generation activist; his mother is a former leader of the 1960s radical group the Weather Underground.

GEORGIA
300 students surprise Carter at ceremony
PLAINS Three hundred students from 15 area schools attended a surprise ceremony to honor former President Jimmy Carter for winning the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize.
The students greeted Mr. Carter last week at his old high school, now part of the Jimmy Carter Historic Site. The old brick school features displays that highlight the life of the nation's 39th president.
During the ceremony, students from Schley County High School gave a reading and Mr. Carter made remarks.
Mr. Carter, 78, won the Nobel Peace Prize for his "untiring effort" to peacefully solve international conflicts and to advance democracy and human rights.

IDAHO
East Coast media hit over land-use stories
BOISE East Coast-based news organizations have trouble covering Western issues such as public land use and endangered species because they don't understand the territory, journalists and political leaders said at a conference last week.
"There is a vastness left of the 100th meridian that you folks don't understand," former Interior Secretary Cecil Andrus told more than 1,000 participants at "Dateline: The West," sponsored by the Andrus Center for Public Policy at Boise State University.

INDIANA
Hostage-taker gets 25 years
CROWN POINT A man who held nine female bank employees hostage with a shotgun, demanding only hamburgers and cigarettes before releasing them, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.
David Potchen, 39, had pleaded guilty to nine counts of criminal confinement.
His attorney asked for leniency, noting that the women were released uninjured. Sam Cappas said his client was depressed, unemployed, about to lose his home and had not eaten for a week leading up to the standoff.
On Sept. 4, 2001, Potchen walked into the Centier Bank branch in Lowell with a shotgun, demanding only cigarettes and two McDonald's Big Macs. He released the hostages four hours later, after his demands were met.

LOUISIANA
Checkpoints expand as accidents increase
BATON ROUGE Police plan sobriety checkpoints statewide this month to beef up efforts to curb drunken driving.
Jim Champagne, executive director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, said the percentage of traffic fatalities involving alcohol is rising steadily, 42 percent in 2000, 46 percent in 2001 and a projected 50 percent this year.

MICHIGAN
Officer suspended in motorist's beating
DETROIT A police officer is being suspended without pay for kicking a motorist and beating him with a pair of handcuffs, an incident captured on a video inside the police car, officials said.
The suspension of Officer Robert Feld Sr. will take effect Friday for the Nov. 14 incident during the arrest of a motorist on suspicion of drunken driving.

MINNESOTA
No Somali addition for rail-ticket sales
MINNEAPOLIS Transit officials voted against adding the Somali language to light-rail ticket vending machines in the Twin Cities unless money can be found to support it.
It would cost $116,000 to add Somali to the English, Spanish and Hmong selections already chosen for the machines for the Hiawatha Avenue line. Hmong is a language spoken in Southeast Asia.

MISSOURI
St. Louis ranked as most-dangerous city
ST. LOUIS St. Louis outranked Detroit as the nation's most dangerous city, according to a Kansas research and publishing firm's annual report.
St. Louis' marketers and criminologists dismissed the findings as another bid to satisfy the United States' craving for rankings.

NEW YORK
Mother, son killed in fire
NEW YORK A fire ripped through two homes early yesterday, killing a mother and her 6-year-old son, authorities said.
The blaze broke out in a two-story frame house in Queens, then spread to the neighboring home, said Officer George Jensen, a police spokesman. The homes are separated by a driveway.

NORTH CAROLINA
Guardsmen offer tips on safe home heating
DURHAM In a region left dark and cold by a major ice storm, National Guard volunteers went door to door yesterday to show residents how to heat their homes safely after two persons trying to keep warm died of carbon-monoxide poisoning.
More than 200 people have sought medical help for carbon-monoxide poisoning since the ice storm downed trees and power lines Thursday.

OREGON
Former Rep. Dellenback dies at 84
MEDFORD Former Rep. John Dellenback died Saturday. He was 84.
As a southern Oregon Republican, he wrote legislation establishing the vast Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. He also wrote amendments to a bill allowing the construction of the Alaskan oil pipeline, holding pipeline permit-holders and shippers liable for oil spills.
Mr. Dellenback had been hospitalized at Providence Medford Medical Center. The cause of death was viral pneumonia, family members told the Mail Tribune.

PENNSYLVANIA
Police called to handle unruly concert crowd
PHILADELPHIA Fans at a sold-out rock show became unruly after the group Guns N' Roses failed to appear, and police were called to the concert arena, officials said.
Witnesses at the First Union Center on Friday night reported angry fans yelling and cursing, some throwing bottles and chairs, and ripping up plants, but a spokesman for the arena operator denied the accounts. Several fights were reported.

UTAH
Angry taxpayers fill courthouse
FARMINGTON More than 1,000 Davis County residents crowded into the county courthouse to vent their anger over a proposed 138 percent tax increase. The residents filled five rooms and packed the halls last week.
The proposed record tax increase would add $152 a year in taxes to the county's average $163,000 market-value home.


TENNESSEE
Disaster assistance tops $2.1 million
NASHVILLE Federal and state disaster assistance to individuals and businesses has topped $2.1 million, officials said. More than 360 checks were sent directly to those who sustained losses and qualified for assistance programs.
At least 13 tornadoes ripped through Tennessee last month, killing 17 persons, destroying 119 homes and damaging 1,244 others.

WISCONSIN
Village lacks funds for holiday lights
ASHWAUBENON The spirit is willing but the village budget won't provide holiday lights for this Green Bay suburb.
"The ones we had were quite old," village administrator Steve Kubacki said. "It was hard to see them when they were out, because they got lost in the lights of Oneida Street.
"We wanted to replace them, but there was no money in the budget to replace them."
The village found out at the last minute that lights it planned to buy this year were too large for the utility poles, Mr. Kubacki said. By then, it was too late to regroup.
Village resident Barbara Ings said she wasn't disappointed.
"There are so many private people with decorations that I really didn't notice," she said.


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