- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 4, 2002

Pianists to attempt world record
BIRMINGHAM David Ellis, owner of Ellis Piano in Hoover, will host a group of 121 pianists today as they attempt a world record for assembling the largest piano ensemble, according to the Birmingham News.
The Guinness Book of World Records lists the record as 96 performers playing their pianos. It was set May 2, 1996, at the Old Castle Koldinghus in Kolding, Denmark, according to Guinness Records Research Services.

Worker deaths decline sharply
ANCHORAGE Worker deaths in Alaska halved during the 1990s, but the death rate is still triple the national average, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The national rate was 4.3 deaths per 100,000 workers, compared with 13.4 deaths per 100,000 in Alaska. The biggest improvement was in the fishing industry, where the average annual number of deaths dropped from 34 to 11 during the 1990s.

Four family members drown in lake
LAKE ISABELLA Four family members drowned in a campground lake, and divers were searching for a 9-year-old girl, authorities said yesterday.
A 5-year-old boy was in critical condition at a Madera hospital, said Kern County Sheriff's Cmdr. Marty Williamson.
The circumstances of the drownings were not immediately known.

Saddam's stepson held on visa charges
MIAMI U.S. authorities arrested a stepson of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein yesterday on suspicion of entering the United States to attend a flight-training seminar in Miami without the proper visa, two Miami television stations said.
One of the reports quoted an INS official as saying the man was in federal custody for potential deportation. The FBI could not be reached for comment.
"We have every reason to believe that he is Saddam Hussein's stepson," assistant director Jim Goldman said in a telephone interview broadcast by WSVN-TV. According to WFOR-TV, Mohammad Saffi is a flight engineer for Air New Zealand.
"We find the circumstance to be somewhat disturbing," Mr. Goldman told WSVN.

CDC director vows to make AIDS priority
ATLANTA The new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pledged yesterday to make the global battle against the AIDS virus a priority for the nation's top public health agency.
AIDS has killed about 22 million people, including about 450,000 Americans, since it was first diagnosed in 1981. About 1 million Americans have been infected with HIV, the virus that causes the disease, in the past two decades.
"My central goal is to substantially reduce and ultimately prevent HIV infection worldwide," Dr. Julie Gerberding said after Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson announced her appointment as CDC director at a news conference in Atlanta.

Officers face firing after 911 response
CHICAGO Chicago's top lawman recommended that two officers lose their jobs after what appeared to be a slow response to a woman's repeated 911 calls just before she was slain.
Police Superintendent Terry Hillard said Tuesday that people who dial 911 expect "that help is on the way. And in this case, help was not on the way."
The officers, Donald E. Cornelious and Christopher Green, have said they were delayed at the station checking their equipment and then broke off en route to look for a suspect who had fled the woman's house.

School board member quits amid recall effort
KANSAS CITY One of the three Piper School District Board members criticized by parents for mishandling a plagiarism dispute has resigned.
On Monday, disgruntled parents said they have enough petition signatures to force a recall election of the three board members.
But member Greg Netzer had already resigned June 24, said his wife, Barbara Netzer. She said he would have no comment on the plagiarism issue or the recall effort.

State furloughs workers for a day
AUGUSTA Early effects of Maine's revenue shortfall will be visible when most state government offices remain closed tomorrow.
Gov. Angus King is furloughing thousands of workers without pay for the day.
The shutdown is part of Mr. King's package of unilateral steps aimed at reducing a shortfall originally pegged at $180 million through June 2003.

Offices evacuated; explosive device found
DETROIT An explosive device was found in the basement of an office building on Tuesday about 1 hours after an anonymous bomb threat was received by the complex's security staff, police said.
The device, found in a small cardboard box, was removed and detonated inside a bomb-squad truck, said Detroit Police Sgt. Ricardo Moore. He would not elaborate about the device or its potential danger.
The Stroh River Place office-residential complex was evacuated after the threat was made, Sgt. Moore said. Residents and employees were allowed to return after a search.

Women sue Jehovah's Witnesses
ST. PAUL Two women sued their Jehovah's Witnesses congregation and the church's parent organization on Tuesday, saying church elders told them to remain silent about being sexually abused by a member.
The church member, who is said to have abused the women as children, is also named in the lawsuit. The suit seeks more than $50,000 in damages for each of the women, both 22 years old.
No one answered the phone on Tuesday at the church in Annandale, about 60 miles northwest of the Twin Cities. Officials at the parent organization, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society in New York, had no comment.
The lawsuit says Derek Lindala, 30, molested one girl repeatedly for two years starting when she was 11 and another girl once in 1990.

Musicians to gather for Hurt tribute
GREENWOOD Blues musicians will gather today at the childhood home of John Hurt for a musical tribute to the efforts involved in opening the blues singer's residence to the public.
Folk-rock singer John Sebastian will join local musicians in playing Mr. Hurt's music. Mr. Sebastian often played harmonica with Mr. Hurt at New York coffeehouses.
He will talk about Mr. Hurt, one of the major "rediscoveries" during the '60s folk-blues revival, and how his music influenced him.
State requires Pledge in public schools
JEFFERSON CITY The Pledge of Allegiance must be recited every week in Missouri's public schools under a bill signed into law yesterday, a week after a panel of federal judges ruled the Pledge unconstitutional.
State lawmakers had passed the bill before the ruling was issued, and Gov. Bob Holden said it didn't affect his decision to sign.
"This is a symbolic gesture that we as a state believe in the Pledge of Allegiance and its values and that we hold those values dear to our heart," Mr. Holden said. "I think that court decision will be overturned."

Valedictorian wins 'Got Milk?' scholarship
VICTOR Got tuition?
Ryan Jolley, 18, does, and he sported a milk-mustached smile in good fun on Tuesday to promote the product behind the recent $7,500 scholarship he earned, according to the Missoulian daily.
The Victor High School 2002 valedictorian was one of 25 winners out of 30,000 applicants from across the country to receive the "Got Milk?" milk-mustache campaign's Scholar Athlete Milk Mustache of the Year award, sponsored by America's dairy farmers, milk processors and USA Today.

Springsteen donation repairs playgrounds
ASBURY PARK A $50,000 donation from hometown singer Bruce Springsteen will pay for repairs at several city playgrounds.
The City Council approved a resolution on Tuesday night to accept the money and deposit it in the town's Children's Welfare Trust Fund.
Mayor Terrence Weldon said an ongoing survey will determine when and where the repairs are made.
City said to lack water for developments
SANTA FE State hydrologists say they don't believe the city of Santa Fe and Santa Fe County have enough water to support the proposed Sonterra and Thornburg subdivisions off state Route 14, according to memos from the state engineer's office obtained by the New Mexican paper.
They compared how much water the developments would need with how much water is available and came up with a "negative" opinion in both cases, said Brian Wilson, water use and conservation bureau chief in the state engineer's office.
A negative opinion indicates that the hydrologists don't believe the subdivisions could find enough water to sustain the developments for 100 years.
Hale pleads guilty in charity theft
NEW YORK The former head of Hale House and her husband pleaded guilty yesterday to embezzling more than $1 million from the celebrated Harlem children's shelter in exchange for no prison time.
Lorraine Hale, 76, entered a guilty plea on larceny charges, and her husband, Jesse DeVore, 70, pleaded guilty to forgery. Both were sentenced to five years' probation and, as part of the deal with state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, they agreed to hand over to Hale House assets that have been frozen in the case.
A February indictment charged the couple with stealing more than $700,000 from the Hale House Foundation and depositing $250,000 in donors checks into a secret checking account by signing a fake name.

Idle land opened to haying and grazing
BISMARCK Gov. John Hoeven has declared a drought emergency in North Dakota and asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to open Conservation Reserve Program land statewide to haying and grazing.
The program pays farmers to idle erodible land. Landowners typically are not allowed to farm it.
"We have also requested Emergency Conservation Program funds to help ranchers to build or deepen wells, haul water and take other actions necessary to provide for livestock," Mr. Hoeven said.

Judge orders closure of egg farm
NEWARK A judge on Tuesday ordered the state's largest egg farm to begin shutting down its operations in two counties because of a fly outbreak in the spring.
It is the harshest decision taken against Buckeye Egg Farm, which has repeatedly been accused of infestations of flies, beetles and other insects and polluting creeks. A judge earlier had ordered the company to pay $1.2 million in fines for violations.

Court voids contract; Nichols dispute ends
OKLAHOMA CITY The state Supreme Court on Tuesday resolved a dispute about attorney fees that has delayed state prosecution of Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols.
The court voided a government contract for payment of Nichols' defense attorneys. The attorneys had argued that the contract, which placed a $1.8 million ceiling on defense fees, was vague and left them short of funds.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court said the contract lacks statutory or constitutional authority. The dispute about legal fees has delayed proceedings in the state murder case against Nichols.

Oldest vineyard goes for $11 million
LITTLE COMPTON The largest and oldest vineyard in Rhode Island is up for sale.
Owners of Sakonnet Vineyards are asking for $11 million to $13 million for the estate, which produces 10,000 to 12,000 cases of wine a year from locally grown grapes and 30,000 cases from grapes grown elsewhere.

Gator draws crowd but makes no trouble
GARDEN CITY BEACH A wayward alligator caused a stir on Tuesday morning when it swam ashore near the 1200 block of South Waccamaw Drive in the Georgetown County section of Garden City Beach, according to the Myrtle Beach Sun News.
The 8-foot-long animal drew a crowd of onlookers, some of whom crept within a few inches of the weary reptile as friends snapped their pictures.
Neither the observers nor the alligator was injured during the two hours it lay on its belly in the surf.

Sales tax increase passed by lawmakers
NASHVILLE The state General Assembly passed a 1-cent sales-tax increase late last night, ending a partial government shutdown and giving Tennessee its biggest tax increase in state history.
The stalemate over how to resolve an $800 million deficit resulted in lawmakers failing to pass a balanced budget by the start of the new fiscal year.
Gov. Don Sundquist furloughed half the state's 42,000 workers, and keep only essential services operating. The governor said he will sign the bill and those employees will return to work tomorrow.
The House narrowly approved the $933 million increase on a 50-41 vote the minimum number of votes required. The Senate passed it 22-11.

More reward money offered in abduction
SALT LAKE CITY Authorities added $25,000 yesterday to a reward pool for information leading to the return of 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart.
The reward offered by Salt Lake City and the FBI is separate from a $250,000 community offering for the girl's safe return.
Officials said the $25,000 offer is for information that leads to Elizabeth and results in the conviction of at least one person who took her.
Police say Elizabeth was taken at gunpoint from her bedroom June 5.

State outlaws term 'Oriental'
SEATTLE The state of Washington has consigned the word "Oriental" to the dustheap of political incorrectness, banning its use in official documents, statutes, rules or regulations.
Since Monday, the northwestern state has ordered that the term "Asian" replace any reference in state documents to people of that ethnicity or heritage.
The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Paull Shin, a Korean War orphan, was the first of its kind in the country and was inspired, he said, by Martin Luther King's campaign to remove the word "Negro" from public documents and consciousness because of its connection to slavery.
"It's pejorative terminology. It's offensive," he said.

State's employment outlook improving
MORGANTOWN Jobs will be more plentiful and incomes will rise in the next 10 years in West Virginia, but growth will be in the lower-paying service sector and in manufacturing fields, such as wood products, West Virginia University researchers said.
Traditionally high-paying industries such as coal and steel can expect hard times and job losses, according to WVU's Bureau of Business and Economic Research.

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