- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 22, 2002

Bush to boost funds for wildlife system

President Bush will seek to burnish his environmental credentials by proposing an unprecedented increase in funding for the national wildlife refuge system in next year's budget, administration officials said yesterday.

Mr. Bush's fiscal 2003 budget will call for an increase of 18 percent, or $56.5 million, for the system, which is made up of 538 refuges and encompasses more than 95 million acres. The total budget for the system will be $377 million, the Interior Department said.

"President Bush is committed to ensuring that the refuge system remains the world's premier system of lands for wildlife," Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton said.

If approved by Congress, the amount would be the largest budget increase ever for the wildlife system.

Artificial heart recipient released from hospital

PHILADELPHIA A retired baker who became the world's fifth recipient of a self-contained artificial heart has been released from the hospital.

James Quinn, 51, was released Jan. 14 from Hahnemann University Hospital, 70 days after being implanted with the AbioCor artificial heart, the hospital said yesterday.

The grandfather from West Philadelphia was released to a hotel about three blocks from the hospital, with caregivers in an adjoining room.

Brown pelican ready to be taken off list

NEW ORLEANS Federal wildlife officials say they are drafting a proposal to take the brown pelican off the endangered species list in Louisiana the Pelican State and Texas, about 40 years after the bird was nearly wiped out by DDT.

In the spring, more than 16,000 pairs of the big bird are expected to nest on Louisiana's barrier islands, where 1,276 fledglings imported from Florida replaced the flocks that crowded the coast in the first half of the last century.

Last year, Tom Hess, the state biologist in charge of Louisiana's nesting census, said 16,405 nesting pairs produced 34,641 young, compared with 13,766 pairs and 22,650 fledglings in 2000.

In Texas, 2,400 pairs nested last year.

Hitchhiker killed over gas money

PINELAND, Texas Race apparently was not a factor in the slaying of a white hitchhiker who authorities say was run over by a black man in a dispute about gas money, police said yesterday.

Jasper County Sheriff Billy Rowles said the killing did not seem to involve race or revenge for the 1998 Jasper dragging death of a black man.

According to authorities, the victim, Ken Bimbo Tillery, 44, visited a Jasper trailer park Friday night and asked around for a ride home.

Blake Little, 34, and three others offered him a lift after agreeing on a price of $5 for gas, police said. The price increased to $50 by the time the men arrived in Pineland, about 25 miles from Jasper, police said.

Mr. Tillery tried to escape, but was caught, beaten up and then run over by the car.

Mr. Little was arrested Sunday on murder charges. All of the men are suspected of being under the influence of alcohol and crack.

Story of orphan wins Newbery Medal

NEW ORLEANS The story of an orphan in 12th-century Korea won top honors in children's literature yesterday from the American Library Association.

"A Single Shard," by Linda Sue Park, won the Newbery Medal, awarded annually to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

The award was named for 18th-century British bookseller John Newbery.

The book tells the story of Tree-ear, an orphan who lives under a bridge and becomes fascinated with a nearby community of potters.

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