- The Washington Times - Monday, July 29, 2002

City seeks user-friendly Internet address
ANNISTON Type "Anniston" into most any Internet search engine and most of the hits will be links to sites about "Friends" actress Jennifer Aniston.
City officials think Anniston's official Web address www.ci.anniston.al.us is a little too confusing.
"One of the reasons is that it's so long and so hard for people to remember," Teresa Kaiser, the city's Web master, said of the current Web address. "If we got a new name, it would be a pointer to this site."
"The city needs to be accessible to the public in all forms," Mayor Chip Howell told the Anniston Star. "The Internet is a medium that is used more and more each day."
Mr. Howell has inquired about one of the more logical names, www.anniston.com, but Mark Allsley of Talladega owns the name and isn't sure he wants to part with it, so the city is looking for alternatives.

Ritual plants become scarce in drought
PHOENIX As the gatherer of wild tobacco for the Hopi Indians' many religious ceremonies, Delfred Leslie had never really worried about where he would find the next crop.
The pungent leaves usually abound within a couple of hours of his home on the tribe's isolated First Mesa in northeastern Arizona.
This year, however, drought and wildfires in the Southwest have taken a huge toll on the natural materials that Indians use in their ceremonies.
The staples include tobacco, whose smoke is used for relieving stress; corn, whose pollen is used for communicating with holy people and protection; and many normally resilient trees and plants, whose leaves are used for medicine. They are simply not around now.

San Jose Symphony to seek bankruptcy
SAN JOSE The San Jose Symphony said it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection next month.
The symphony has been plagued by management and financial troubles, and in June symphony officials decided to shut down the 123-year-old orchestra, leaving San Jose as the largest U.S. city without a symphony orchestra.
The symphony has debts of more than $3 million, and its only assets are its sheet music, acoustic shell and office equipment, which are only worth $300,000.

Grand jury finds cleanup wrongdoing
DENVER A Colorado grand jury accused Army cleanup crews at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal of lying about their actions involving a dangerous munition and staging a phony "discovery" of the device as part of a cover-up.
The grand-jury report, made public Friday, criticized the Army and its contractor for malfeasance relating to the discovery of an incendiary device called an M-74 last year, the Rocky Mountain News reported.
The focus of the 10-month criminal inquiry was work conducted by the Army and its contractor, Foster Wheeler Environmental Corp.

Fired counselor had drunken-driving record
MIAMI A Department of Children & Families counselor who was fired for driving drunk with a baby in the back seat previously had her license suspended for impaired driving.
Mirla Pronga, 56, fell asleep in her car Thursday while she was intoxicated in suburban Coral Gables, police said. Officers found the car idling in the middle of the road and a 7-month-old girl crying in her car seat, he said.
In 1993, Pronga was arrested and charged for driving under the influence and had her license suspended, criminal records show.

Savannah unveils slavery monument
SAVANNAH On the cobblestone riverfront where the first slaves arrived in Georgia, the city unveiled a bronze and granite monument to black Americans on Saturday after a decade of delays and debate.
The monument, depicting black family members embracing with broken chains at their feet, is the first to honor blacks in a city that has erected statues of its white founders and Civil War heroes for nearly two centuries.
Abigail Jordan, who spent 10 years and $100,000 of her savings to make the monument a reality, had fought with city officials over the monument's inscription a quotation by Maya Angelou describing slaves "in the holds of the slave ships in each others' excrement and urine."
Mayor Floyd Adams worried that the quote was too graphic for a public monument.

Newspaper carrier caught in vandalism
SANDPOINT A stakeout by the Bonner County Daily Bee circulation department nabbed a suspect in one of a rash of newspaper rack vandalism cases.
Anthony Dailey, 64, who distributed papers for a competing regional newspaper, faces a charge of tampering with a vending machine, police said.
For the past several weeks "out of order" signs have been sprouting up on Bee vending machines. Grease also was squirted into the coin mechanisms on the racks, making them unusable.
Armed with a video camera, Bee circulation director Chris Watkins parked near one machine on Thursday in hopes of spotting the culprit.
At about 3 a.m., Mr. Dailey, a 64-year-old contract carrier for the Spokesman-Review, arrived to deliver papers in the Spokesman rack next to the Bee machine.

Chicago considering urination ordinance
CHICAGO Wrigley Field might be a baseball shrine, but people who live in the shadow of the Chicago Cubs' ballpark say it makes their neighborhood something far from sacred a huge outdoor toilet.
Charles Holzner says drunken baseball fans even urinate in the entryway to his home.
"I've been screaming and hollering for years about this," said Mr. Holzner, 75. "I understand they're out there drinking beer like crazy. They have to go somewhere. Just why does it have to be on my property?"
The Chicago City Council is considering an ordinance that would make public urination and defecation punishable by fines of $100 to $500. Repeat or egregious offenders would face jail terms of five to 10 days.

Lawyer says witnesses afraid of police
WICHITA A lawyer claiming a pattern of civil rights violations by four Wichita police officers told the Wichita Eagle that he has interviewed nine of 10 reported victims, but that only three are willing to testify in court.
The rest will not testify because they fear police retaliation, said the lawyer, Kurt Kerns.
But Deputy Police Chief Tom Stolz said they need not fear police. And he said some may not want to testify because "some of these people were involved in criminal activity, and they don't want their matters aired publicly."
Mr. Kerns is accusing police of misconduct as part of his defense of a Wichita man charged with making methamphetamine.
But Deputy Chief Stolz denied that the four officers abused anyone's rights, and an internal investigation found only minor policy violations. "We thought the officers' actions were very explainable and prudent," he said.

Inmate escapes, slits his wrists
HOMER An inmate serving a life sentence for murder hit a guard in the head with a hammer and stole his truck outside a prison yesterday. But he crashed and then apparently slit his wrists and died, authorities said.
Allen Laborde, 42, was unconscious when he was found about an hour after the 7 a.m. escape. He died in a hospital about 11:45 a.m., said Warden Venetia Michael of Wade Correctional Center.

Suburban schools add diversity coordinator
ST. PAUL Tania Chance grew up in Queens, N.Y., and commuted 40 miles to attend school in a suburban district. Her education was excellent, but she says it was sometimes a lonely experience.
Miss Chance, who is black, said that as one of the few minorities in a predominantly white district, her perspective was routinely overlooked.
Next month, Miss Chance, 29, will join White Bear Lake schools as the district's first full-time diversity coordinator, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.
Even though minority students are just 7 percent of enrollment in the suburban district, officials thought it essential to create the position.
"We need a lot of help here," said Elsa Pope, the district's director of human resources.
"I think that when you do have such a low percentage of minority students, that the effort here would be spent in recognizing ensuring they are feeling welcome in the environment," Miss Chance said.

Prosecutor: DNA tests exonerate convict
ST. LOUIS Preliminary DNA tests have exonerated a man imprisoned in 1984 for raping a college student, a prosecutor said.
Prosecutor Jennifer Joyce said Friday she plans to file court papers to free Larry Johnson, 47, serving a life sentence plus 30 years for rape, sodomy, kidnapping and robbery.
Prosecutors had thought evidence from Johnson's case was destroyed, but in February a pipe burst at the Municipal Courts building and workers found bags from Johnson's case that included a rape kit, Miss Joyce said.
The victim had identified Johnson as her attacker, and there was other circumstantial evidence that helped convict him, Miss Joyce said.

Lesbians leave state, blame amendment
OMAHA Sally and Susan Waters wanted to stay and fight when their home state voted two years ago to deny marital rights to same-sex couples. Now they have decided to leave.
A court setback in an adoption case earlier this year for another homosexual couple "was just another moment of realization that my family can't experience the good life in Nebraska," said Sally Waters, who grew up in Omaha and has lived her whole life here, until now.
Sally and Susan are moving to Sacramento, Calif., with their adopted toddler daughter, Gabriella, the Omaha World-Herald reported.
On Nov. 7, 2000, Nebraska passed Initiative 416, a constitutional amendment which states that Nebraska recognizes marriage only between a man and a woman.

Drunken worker topples crane
NEW YORK A 35-ton crane fell over near the World Trade Center site yesterday while the operator was drunk, police said.
Crane operator Noel Brolly suffered a minor hand injury. No one else was injured, officers said.
Mr. Brolly was using the 100-foot crane to load debris onto a truck at the World Financial Center, which was damaged by the September 11 collapse of the World Trade Center towers.
The crane toppled onto the West Side Highway and blocked two of its four lanes, said police officer Jennara Everleth. Mr. Brolly, 38, was charged with reckless endangerment.

Newspaper stands by union announcement
RALEIGH Among the newlyweds and longtime husbands and wives smiling from the Fayetteville Observer's wedding listings, one couple stood out.
Two bearded, bespectacled men stood side-by-side in a photograph under the banner "Civil Union."
Publisher Charles Broadwell said Friday that reader response has been "a little bit two-headed" since the announcement ran Sunday. While most local reaction has been negative, he said, much of the national response applauds the paper's decision.
Mr. Broadwell said the newspaper would run similar announcements on two conditions: that the union is officially recognized by a government.

Mother foils abduction attempt
CLEVELAND A mother believes she was seconds away from losing her baby girl in a brazen daylight abduction attempt.
Delia Torres, 24, said she was washing dishes in the kitchen of her home about 2 p.m. Friday when she heard her 1-month-old daughter, Emily, cry out.
She looked into the next room and saw a stranger lifting the child from her playpen.
Mrs. Torres told the Plain Dealer that the same woman had knocked on her door the day before and questioned her before Mrs. Torres shut the door on the woman.
Mrs. Torres said that when she saw the woman grab her daughter, she raced into the room yelling, "Who are you? What do you want?" and snatched the baby back.
The woman ran out the door, and Mrs. Torres watched her get in a white car with a man driving. Police said the suspect is a woman in her mid-50s, with a Hispanic accent.

Fire near town grows by 3,000 acres
PORTLAND A wildfire near the Columbia River port town of The Dalles had grown to 12,000 acres yesterday.
Crews had the fire about 55 percent contained, but gusty wind periodically kicked up the flames. The blaze grew by 3,000 acres during the night, officials said.
Residents of 250 homes had been urged to evacuate since the lightning-started fire flared and spread into rural subdivisions three miles south of The Dalles.

DNA links suspect to campus rapes
NASHVILLE DNA evidence has linked a man recently convicted of breaking into homes in Williamson County to a series of rapes that terrorized the University of Tennessee campus in Knoxville during the spring semester of 1997, the Tennessean reported.
The breakthrough, which officials plan to announce today, is the latest in a string of 41 "cold cases" solved since February, when a new Tennessee Bureau of Investigation database became active, matching DNA samples here and nationwide.
In Tennessee, imprisoned felons convicted after 1998 must submit DNA samples; sex offenders convicted after 1991 also must submit DNA to the bureau.
In the UT case, the TBI's computer matched DNA from a crime scene to DNA from a man recently convicted of a non-sex-related felony in the Brentwood area.
As a convicted felon, the man was required by law to submit a DNA sample.

Quadruplets' mom says 'total shock'
SALT LAKE CITY Jennifer and Scott Searle always wanted a large family. They never expected to get it overnight.
Mrs. Searle gave birth to quadruplets two boys and two girls Thursday at University Hospital, the Deseret News reports.
For Jennifer Searle, who already has two children, Lindsey, 9, and Trevor, 6, the news came as a "total shock." She was using superovulation therapy, which increases the number of eggs a woman produces in a month, after struggling to become pregnant again for six years. But she never expected four eggs to become fertilized in the process.
"Last year, we were considering selling our home because we thought it was too big. Now I'm really glad we didn't," she said.
The babies were delivered via Caesarean section and are healthy.

Seat-belt law has big effect
SEATTLE A month has passed since the state's new "Click It or Ticket" law went into effect, and if the number of tickets issued is any indication, the measure has been a roaring success.
The Washington State Patrol issued 8,717 tickets to motorists driving without seat belts between June 13, when the law took effect, and July 13, the Seattle Times reports. For the same period last year, 3,578 tickets were issued.
Washington is the 18th state in the nation with a law making a seat-belt violation enough for police to make a traffic stop. Before the law, police had to stop drivers for other infractions before issuing seat-belt tickets.

Candidate submits false nomination papers
MILWAUKEE A state senator running for governor submitted nomination papers with at least 231 falsified signatures with nonexistent or invalid addresses, a newspaper's review of the papers found. One person listed as signing has been dead for three years.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel review found pervasive problems among the signatures Milwaukee Democrat Gary George submitted, including 82 persons listed who say they did not sign their names.
The 231 signatures would leave Mr. George 39 short of the 2,000 needed signatures to stay on the Sept. 10 primary ballot.

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