- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 3, 2002

'Samaritans' seek to save illegal aliens
TUCSON Members of nine religious groups calling themselves the "Samaritan Patrol" have begun patrolling the desert west of Tucson to help save the lives of illegal immigrants.
June was the deadliest month on record for border crossers in Arizona. Thirty-four illegal immigrants died in the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector, where the group planned to patrol.

State seeks to overturn school-funding ruling
LITTLE ROCK Attorney General Mark Pryor has asked the state Supreme Court to overturn a judge's decision declaring the school-funding formula inequitable and inadequate.
Mr. Pryor contends that Arkansas meets its constitutional obligation to fund public schools. If the Supreme Court upholds the decision, it would mean a costly and major overhaul of the public education system. The state high court is expected to rule by the end of the year.

Building evacuated after phone threat
LOS ANGELES A phone threat that a plane would strike the city's second-tallest skyscraper prompted a voluntary evacuation that included employees of a company that lost workers in the September 11 attacks.
The call was traced by the FBI and Monday's threat was found to be without merit, said FBI spokeswoman Laura Bosley. She declined to disclose the caller's name.
The 62-story Aon Center notified the 70 companies that employ 3,200 people in the building about the voluntary evacuation.
The threat was called in to KABC-TV in Los Angeles suggesting the station train its camera on the "First Interstate building" because an aircraft would fly into it. Aon Center also is known as the First Interstate Tower.

Fire danger prompts closure of popular park
MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK Parts of Mesa Verde National Park, famed for its ancient Indian dwellings, are closed to visitors because of the extreme fire danger in the area.
Tours of two of the park's cliff dwellings, Cliff Palace and Balcony House, were canceled, but Long House tours were to continue, the visitors information center announced Monday.

Men win contest, become friends
BRISTOL Riding side by side in the center car of the Wildcat roller coaster Monday, Noel Aube and Michael Barillaro looked suspiciously like friends.
And why shouldn't they? Sometime between June 21 when the second member of the original foursome dropped out and this, their 15th and final day of the coaster-riding marathon at Lake Compounce Theme Park, that's what the two Meriden men had become.
Realizing that both were in the contest to the end, they made a pact Monday morning to share the $2,000 cash and a new speedboat that would go to whoever could break Mr. Aube's 1975 record of 2,001 continuous rides, according to the Hartford Courant.

Writer's farm to open for tours
MILLEDGEVILLE Fans of Flannery O'Connor soon will be able to tour Andalusia, the farm that inspired much of her writing.
The farm where she wrote many of her short stories has, until now, been closed to the public. The writer died in 1964 at the age of 39.
The Milledgeville-Baldwin County Convention and Visitors Bureau announced recently that it will open the farm in late August for trolley tours of the grounds.

Honolulu stocks up on antibiotics
HONOLULU The city has purchased more than 112,000 doses of antibiotics that could be distributed within 30 minutes of exposure to a bioterrorism attack, authorities said.
Other preparedness measures undertaken by the city include installation of six biohazard monitoring stations and the purchase of an array of air samplers, test strips and laboratory equipment, said City Emergency Medical Services Director Salvatore Lanzilotti.

Court rulings weaken promotional programs
IDAHO FALLS The farmer-funded promotional programs that developed the slogans "Got Milk?" "Pork. The Other White Meat" and "Beef. It's what's for dinner" are in jeopardy after rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court and a federal judge in South Dakota, according to the Idaho Statesman.
Missouri farmer Rhonda Perry said the fact that the programs are not voluntary made her a leader of the campaign to kill the pork checkoff.
Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that requiring mushroom farmers to pay for promotions violated their First Amendment rights because it forced them to fund speech they opposed. On June 21, a South Dakota federal judge used that ruling to halt the beef program.

Hispanic kids have more health problems
CHICAGO The nation's surging population of Hispanic children has a disproportionate share of asthma, obesity and other health problems that are not being adequately treated, researchers warn in a new report.
The problem is urgent, said Dr. Glenn Flores, a Boston Medical Center physician and lead author of the report in today's Journal of the American Medical Association.
"If the disparities continue, it has the potential to affect the health and productivity and well-being of our entire nation," Dr. Flores said.

Indiana limits protection orders
ANDERSON Neighbors who can't get along and parents whose children are harassed by other students will no longer be eligible to seek orders of protection in Indiana.
A new law has taken effect limiting such orders to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
"The Legislature came to the conclusion there are people abusing the protective-order statute," said Rodney Cummings, a prosecutor in Madison County.

Couple convert home into flag
ANDOVER Mario and Cassie Aberle won't need to hang an American flag outside their home for July Fourth. Their home is a flag.
The couple wanted to do something big to show their patriotism after September 11.
They noticed they had 13 siding strips on their house, just the right number for the stripes on a flag. So, the couple painted the side of their home to look like Old Glory.
The Aberles say eventually they will have to repaint their house but it will be at least another year.

Pro-life group begins protests
BATON ROUGE Members of a Catholic pro-life group began a string of protests Monday, asserting that fertility departments at hospitals in addition to abortion clinics "kill babies."
The events mark the 10-year anniversary of pro-life group Operation Rescue's "Summer of Purpose," a weeklong protest in front of abortion clinics and doctors' houses in Baton Rouge that attracted thousands of pro-life supporters from all over the country during a heat wave in July 1992.
During the massive protest, police made 61 arrests and several scuffles broke out between pro-life and pro-choice demonstrators. This year's commemoration began with little conflict and not nearly as many protesters.

Salvation Army gives up funds over law
PORTLAND The Salvation Army has decided to forgo $60,000 from the city rather than offer benefits as required by Portland's new domestic-partnership ordinance.
The ordinance, which went into effect earlier this year, requires organizations that get certain funds through the city to provide health and employment benefits to domestic partners of their employees.
The Salvation Army has received $60,000 a year from the city to operate its $400,000 meals program and the city's only center for seniors.
The Salvation Army doesn't plan to challenge the ordinance and hopes to find alternative funding for its senior center and meals program, officials said.

Small break in track caused derailment
LANSING, Mich. A broken railroad track caused the Memorial Day train derailment that forced 2,200 Potterville residents to evacuate for four days, according to the company that owns the train.
Jack Burke, a spokesman for Canadian National Railway Co., said a fracture within the rail wasn't detected by officials during their twice-weekly inspections.
The Federal Railroad Administration said Monday it is still investigating and expects its report by the end of the summer. The train cars that derailed May 27 were carrying explosive liquid propane and toxic sulfuric acid.

Airman convicted of stealing actor's car
ARNOLD An airman stationed at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois has been convicted of stealing a 1989 Porsche 911 belonging to actor Nicolas Cage.
In January, Missouri Water Patrol divers found the $100,000 car at Lake of the Ozarks, submerged in 12 feet of water. It had been stolen a month earlier from a parking lot in Arnold, a St. Louis suburb, while in a transport trailer on its way from California to Pennsylvania.
Last week, a U.S. Air Force court-martial convicted Robert N. Clerkin, 20, of Arnold, on five charges, including larceny of a military identification card, larceny of the car and conspiracy.

City inaugurates first Hispanic mayor
PATERSON Jose "Joey" Torres was inaugurated as the city's first Hispanic mayor on the same day incumbent Martin Barnes pleaded guilty to accepting bribes.
Mr. Torres, a three-term City Council member, defeated Barnes in a June election while Barnes was under federal indictment.
Hispanics make up 52 percent of the population of Paterson, an industrial city of 150,000.

Union accuses firm of firing organizers
CHARLOTTE A carpenters' union has accused a contractor of firing three workers it suspected of supporting a union-organizing drive.
Chris Freitag, Charlotte organizer for the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, said the workers were fired in the last week. The union began efforts to organize Charlotte carpenters in May, beginning with workers at WBF.
John Buric, an attorney for WBF, told the Charlotte Observer that the company fired only two workers and that those firings were work-related.

Children fall ill at water ride
POWELL At least 20 customers at an amusement park got sick at wave and wading pools over the weekend, and two 12-year-olds remained hospitalized Monday with respiratory problems.
State inspectors said they believed repairs to a filtration system that adds chlorine to the water was the likely cause.
Witnesses reported seeing a green haze above the wave pool Sunday at the Wyandot Lake amusement park's water rides, which were evacuated after people became sick.

Parks bureau cuts summer programs
PORTLAND Just as the thermometer rises for prime-time summer, the Portland Parks Bureau is ratcheting down facilities, maintenance and some programs to meet new budget constraints, reports the Oregonian.
To mark the start of the July 1 fiscal year, the bureau has laid off 21 workers, closed two swimming pools, shut down community school programs and revised maintenance schedules for less park mowing and flower planting.
Voters will have a chance to restore the cuts in a measure on the Nov. 5 general election ballot, but that's too late to be any help this summer. Voters in the May primary election passed the parks measure by nearly a 7-to-3 ratio, but the measure failed because fewer than 50 percent of registered voters participated.

Ex-public defender worked without license
PITTSBURGH A former public defender practiced law without a license for more than a year, and dozens of people could sue the county or be eligible for new trials, court officials said yesterday.
Erie lawyer Gustee Brown has not been licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania because he failed to pay the state's $150 annual fee for 2001 and a $175 registration fee for 2002, court officials said.
Mr. Brown worked part time for the Erie County Public Defender's Office from October 2000 until February, when he resigned, said first assistant public defender A.J. Adams.
Court officials estimate Mr. Brown handled at least 75 criminal cases, some as a private attorney, last year.

Security tightened at Mount Rushmore
RAPID CITY Mount Rushmore National Memorial will showcase post-September 11 realities as well as patriotism during Fourth of July celebrations this week.
The monument has been listed as one of three high-priority public monuments in the nation that will get special security to guard against terrorist attacks. The other two are the National Mall and the St. Louis Arch.
About 25,000 people are expected to come to Mount Rushmore today and tomorrow. There, they will be watched by federal, state and local law enforcement officers, as well as the National Guard. Food, coolers and lawn chairs will be allowed but may be searched. The airspace around the monument will be closed today and tomorrow.

University considers $3,000 tuition cuts
MADISON The University of Wisconsin system is considering giving tuition breaks of $3,000 to children of alumni living out of state.
The proposal is part of a long-term financial plan the UW System Board of Regents recently approved.
Regent Fred Mohs said the plan would bring more money to the system because the children of alumni would still pay more than state residents.
Maggie Brown, with the United Council of UW students, said children of alumni likely don't need discounts.

Wyoming gains 8,600 jobs
CASPER Wyoming gained 8,600 jobs from April to May, a 3.5 percent monthly growth rate, which is consistent with previous years for that period.
Over the past year, the number of jobs increased 1.5 percent in the state while the national rate fell 1 percent, according to a monthly report from the Wyoming Department of Employment's Research & Planning Section.
May marked the 19th consecutive month that Wyoming's over-the-year growth rate was higher than the nation's.
The strongest growth was in hotels and lodging, auto and miscellaneous repair, health services and private social services.

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