- The Washington Times - Friday, July 26, 2002

ALABAMA

Baby girl found covered in ants

An 86-year-old Cullman County woman on her morning walk Wednesday discovered an infant girl in a cardboard box swarmed with fire ants.

The baby, who appeared to be about 2 weeks old, was swaddled in a diaper made from old clothing and had a bottle of formula nestled beside her.

"Oh Lord, it was sad," Cullman County Sheriff's Lt. Phillip Lambert told the Birmingham News. "It saddened everybody there."

The girl was alive and was taken by helicopter to Children's Hospital, where she was in guarded condition in the intensive care unit, being treated for numerous ant bites.


ARKANSAS

Child-advocate group starts campaign

LITTLE ROCK A national organization dedicated to bringing issues of child abuse and neglect to the forefront of state and federal elections kicked off a nationwide campaign Wednesday at the state Capitol.

Michael Petit, president of Washington-based Every Child Matters Education Fund, said he hoped the 10-month-old organization would be a catalyst for pushing children's issues into the political spotlight.

He said child-abuse issues have been overshadowed by homeland security and the war against terrorism.


CONNECTICUT

Cities seek exemption from budget cuts

HARTFORD The organization that represents Connecticut municipalities is asking Gov. John G. Rowland to exempt cities and towns from midyear budget cuts.

This year's state budget includes a provision that allows Mr. Rowland to unilaterally make $35 million in midyear cuts.

The group says the budget passed in June has forced many towns to lay off workers and raise property taxes.


FLORIDA

Judge hears evidence in killing of deputy

MIAMI In an unusual court review, a federal judge began hearing evidence Wednesday that a sheriff's deputy may have been killed by a former jail guard and not by the man serving a life term for the slaying.

The jailed man, Timothy Brown, was one of two teenagers convicted in the death of Broward County Sheriff's Deputy Patrick Behan, who was shot in his patrol car in 1990. The other teen, Keith King, was released after completing a reduced sentence in December 1999.

The two confessed to the crime but later claimed the confessions were coerced.

An undercover operation by the sheriff's office caught former jail guard Andrew Johnson on tape claiming he killed Deputy Behan.

Prosecutors say Brown, now 26, and Mr. King, now 28, shot Deputy Behan on a dare. But Brown's attorneys say Mr. Johnson shot Deputy Behan, thinking he was killing a different deputy, who had him fired.


IDAHO

State pensions hit by market plunge

BOISE The stock market plunge since July 1 has stripped $500 million from the state's public pension fund.

That's on top of a $473 million loss during the previous 12 months. The fund, worth more than $7 billion at its peak, now has a balance of $5.8 billion.

Trustees will decide this fall whether to limit the cost-of-living adjustment for 23,000 retirees and raise the contribution rates for 63,000 state and local government and school district workers.


IOWA

Capitol staircase judged sound after repairs

IOWA CITY The signature staircase in the fire-damaged Old Capitol has survived a weight test to prove it is structurally sound, officials said.

The rare reverse-spiral staircase withstood 9,000 pounds of sandbags during an inspection. It was the first load test on the staircase since a Nov. 20 fire destroyed the historic building's dome and caused extensive interior water damage.


KANSAS

Woman uses feet to fight fire

MANHATTAN The phrase "civic activism" took on a new meaning this week when a woman's quick thinking saved an unoccupied house from fire, the Manhattan Mercury reports.

Lisa White was taking her daughter to the dentist Tuesday afternoon when she noticed a grass fire in a front yard. She wasn't concerned at first because "I thought maybe they were burning their grass," but then she noticed that no one was outside supervising the fire.

She dialed 911 on her cell phone and began stomping out the fire because there wasn't a garden hose in sight.

Some neighbors noticed her efforts and began training their garden hoses on the fire.


KENTUCKY

Shifting ground damages new federal prison

INEZ The ground is settling beneath a federal prison being built on an old mountaintop mine site, causing a guard tower to tilt and part of a building to sink slightly. Officials don't know how much it will cost to fix the problem.

With a price tag that already has hit $170 million, officials say, the Big Sandy penitentiary could become the most expensive federal prison ever built.


LOUISIANA

Judge restricts use of program funds

NEW ORLEANS Some money from Louisiana's program to promote sexual abstinence among young people was used unconstitutionally to advance religion, a federal judge ruled yesterday.

U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Porteous Jr. ordered the Governor's Program on Abstinence to stop giving money to individuals or groups that convey religious messages "or otherwise advance religion in any way" in events partly or wholly paid for by program funds.

One group asked for hundreds of dollars for Bibles. But the state says such grants were stopped before the judge ruled.

Judge Porteous' ruling came in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.


MAINE

Men charged in underage-sex case

WATERVILLE Two men from North Carolina were charged Wednesday with having sex in a motel room with a pair of underage Waterville girls they met on the Internet.

Police said the men took a bus from North Carolina to Waterville and rented the motel room Tuesday night for the express purpose of having sex with the girls, who are 13 and 14, according to the Waterville Morning Sentinel.

Kenya D. Mangum, 20, of Durham, was arrested on a charge of gross sexual assault because the girl was only 13, police said.

Anthony A. Adams, 19, also of Durham, was handed a lesser charge of sexual abuse of a minor.


MASSACHUSETTS

Lawmakers override veto of tax package

BOSTON Massachusetts lawmakers yesterday voted to override acting Gov. Jane Swift's veto and enact one of the biggest tax increases in state history, a package totaling $1.1 billion.

The Democrat-controlled Senate voted 28-9, largely along party lines. The House, also controlled by Democrats, overrode the Republican governor's veto Tuesday.

The slumping economy caused a downturn in tax revenue, and lawmakers decided to raise taxes to avoid deep cuts to services like schools, housing and health care. Opponents said the taxes will stifle business.

Massachusetts' $755 million increase in personal income taxes is reported to be the biggest such increase in the nation this year.


MICHIGAN

Accused check smuggler offers aid with terrorism

DETROIT Authorities say a man charged with smuggling $12 million in bogus cashier's checks into the United States told investigators during an interview, "If you want to know about terrorism, I can help you with that."

Omar Shishani, 47, also told agents the man named on the checks he is accused of smuggling may be a member of al Qaeda, prosecutors said.

Defense attorney Nabih Ayad denied during a hearing Wednesday that his client ever made such statements.

Mr. Shishani, who was born in Jordan but is of Chechen descent, was arrested last week after arriving at Detroit Metropolitan Airport on a flight from Indonesia.

He was jailed without bond July 17 after pleading not guilty to possession of counterfeit securities and smuggling merchandise into the United States.

He could face up to 15 years in pron.

MISSISSIPPI

NAACP denied parade permit

BILOXI The city of Biloxi stands by the police department's decision to deny a parade permit to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for a Saturday march that would shut down two lanes of traffic on U.S. 90, the Biloxi Sun Herald reports.

The purpose of the march is to protest the Confederate flag flying at the public Eight Flags beach display. The display, at the Biloxi-Gulfport line, is maintained by the Harrison County Board of Supervisors.

The NAACP chose Biloxi for the march because it has more U.S. 90 parking bays than Gulfport. The NAACP appealed the denial of the parade permit to Mayor A.J. Holloway and the City Council on Tuesday.


MONTANA

City hopes Knievel is tourist draw

BUTTE About 100 signs bearing red, white and blue lettering and the image of a motorcycle rider have sprung up along the six miles of the new Evel Knievel Loop.

Butte-Silver Bow commissioners designated the loop in the spring, hoping to attract tourists to this former mining town, home of the motorcycle daredevil.

Not all Butte residents were enthusiastic about the idea, but commissioners approved the plan with hopes Mr. Knievel's celebrity would pull in tourist dollars.


NEW MEXICO

Researcher convicted in rape of colleague

RESERVE A woman who said a fellow wildlife researcher drugged and raped her while they were studying bears in the wild wept and hugged her husband as a jury convicted her colleague on 36 counts.

The accused man, Patrick Ryan, 51, was found guilty Wednesday of criminal sexual penetration, criminal sexual contact, kidnapping and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Ryan, who did not testify, will be sentenced in two months.

Prosecutors said Ryan drugged Jenny Cashman Lisignoli with an animal tranquilizer, then raped her.

Ryan maintained that the sex had been consensual and that both he and the woman were victims of carbon monoxide poisoning, not a tranquilizer.


NEW JERSEY

School to be named after slain reporter

TRENTON A synagogue is naming its Hebrew school in honor of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

Mr. Pearl's relatives said they would attend the October ceremony to name the school affiliated with Temple B'nai Shalom, a Reform synagogue with a congregation of about 600 families.

Mr. Pearl was Jewish but had no ties to the synagogue or school.

The school also will add courses on tolerance and music and an annual Daniel Pearl Lecture.


NEW YORK

Hypnotherapist accused of stealing jewelry, cash

NEW YORK A millionaire investor claims his former hypnotherapist stole millions of dollars worth of his jewelry and cash after years of putting him under hypnosis.

Irwin Uran, 76, said in court papers that the therapist misappropriated hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and at least $2.5 million worth of jewelry that belonged to his late mother.

Stephen Hymowitz, 59, said in reply papers that he used most of the more than $700,000 he received from Mr. Uran over 15 years to spend in Mr. Uran's behalf but kept $286,550 for his own fees and expenses.

As for the jewelry, Mr. Hymowitz said, he and Mr. Uran walked to an Upper East Side Roman Catholic Church and dropped it into the collection box.

Joseph Zwilling, the Archdiocese of New York spokesman for 20 years, said, "I don't recall any church finding $2.5 million worth of jewelry in their poor box during all that time."


NORTH CAROLINA

Judge denies appeal of death-row inmate

NEWTON A death-row inmate whose defense attorney admitted drinking more than 12 ounces of 80-proof rum every night during trial was denied a new trial and sentencing hearing.

Superior Court Judge Michael Helms said in a ruling last week that he found no evidence that lawyer Thomas Portwood's drinking problem affected his performance during Nathan Bowie's trial.

Bowie, 31, was sentenced to death in 1993 for the murders of two men outside an apartment complex in 1991. No date has been set for his execution.


TENNESSEE

Former record promoter arrested in 1989 slaying

NASHVILLE A former Nashville record promoter was arrested Wednesday in Las Vegas and charged in the 1989 shooting death of an industry magazine employee.

Richard D'Antonio was charged with first-degree murder in the killing of Kevin Hughes, a chart researcher for Cash Box magazine, in Nashville.

Nashville Police Chief Emmett Turner said the shooting was related to Mr. Hughes' and Mr. D'Antonio's work in the music industry, but he declined to elaborate. Authorities did say Mr. D'Antonio and Mr. Hughes were once co-workers.

Mr. D'Antonio, formerly of Mount Juliet, Tenn., also is charged with attempted murder in the wounding of country singer Sammy Sadler during the same incident.


VERMONT

Skunk bites man, attacks his dogs

BRATTLEBORO A skunk is being tested for rabies after biting a man and attacking several dogs.

The skunk bit a man who was walking his two dogs Sunday. The man was trying to break up a fight between one of the dogs and the skunk when he reached down to grab the dog's leash and was bitten, police said.

The man went home to treat his wound and took one of the dogs with him. The other dog remained behind with the skunk. When the owner returned to the parking lot, he found his dog had been injured and the skunk had been killed, said Cathy Barrows, the town's animal control officer.

The man was treated at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital and the Cheshire Medical Center.


WYOMING

Old Fort Laramie to hold bat fest

FORT LARAMIE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE Old Fort Laramie is going batty and holding a party to celebrate it.

Tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., the fort will hold its first Wyoming Bat Festival. More than 3,000 bats use the historic site for maternity colonies.

The day's events will include seminars, workshops, information booths, bat viewings, instruction on making bat boxes, face painting, bat trivia, story telling and games.

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