- The Washington Times - Friday, June 28, 2002

ALABAMA

Commissioners mull dress code

BAY MINETTE With summer heat comes summer wardrobes and tight-fitting or revealing outfits are causing Baldwin County commissioners to consider creating a dress code for the county's 600-plus employees.

No time frame was given for adopting guidelines or deciding the kinds of punishments to be meted out, according to the Mobile Register.

Some commissioners said society is to blame. "They've got Britney Spears on TV and they come up here to get a job with shorts up to here, and I couldn't believe it," said Commissioner Jonathan Armstrong of Daphne.


ALASKA

Eskimo is killed when whale tips boat

ANCHORAGE An Eskimo died Wednesday after a harpooned whale he was hunting for food flipped his boat and he was struck in the head by the bow.

The 30-foot gray whale had been harpooned for a third time when it turned and tipped the 18-foot-long boat, throwing Melton Ozenna and three of his relatives into the water.

The four men were pulled to safety by the crew in another whaling boat, but Mr. Ozenna was pronounced dead later at a hospital.


CALIFORNIA

Robot 'fly' may spy for Defense Department

BERKELEY Looking to nature to improve on engineering, researchers at the University of California at Berkeley have cleared a major design hurdle in their quest to build a tiny robotic fly the Defense Department hopes to use as a spy.

The robot, called "microfly," remains a long way from buzzing around a room, but the recent creation of minuscule wings that flap like their biological counterparts marks a breakthrough in understanding how insects fly, scientists tell the San Francisco Chronicle.

Microfly will stand about a half-inch tall and weigh slightly less than a paper clip. It will zip along at about 10 feet per second and have a range of about 1¼ miles.


DELAWARE

Burned bank building to become apartments

WILMINGTON The 22-story Delaware Trust Building, a vacant presence in downtown Wilmington since a fire damaged the structure five years ago, is expected to undergo a $50 million conversion into 270 upscale apartments.

Real estate developer Buccini/Pollin Group of New Castle and Mayor James M. Baker are scheduled to announce today redevelopment plans for one of the city's largest and most prominent buildings, the News-Journal reports. To help the project, the Baker administration is proposing that the City Council approve an estimated $4 million in tax breaks and other economic incentives.


FLORIDA

Judge OKs suit by Muslim woman

MIAMI The case of a Muslim woman suing the state of Florida for violating her religious rights yesterday moved closer to trial after a judge denied a motion to dismiss the case.

Florida resident Sultaana Freeman filed suit in January, contending her constitutional right to religious freedom was violated when she was denied a driver's license after she refused to remove her veil for the photograph.

Miss Freeman, a U.S. citizen, converted to Islam five years ago and took to wearing a "niqab," a veil that leaves only her eyes uncovered.

Circuit Court Judge Ted Coleman did not set a date for the trial, but refused to dismiss the case despite a motion brought by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles that the Miss Freeman, 34, was being "hypersensitive."


GEORGIA

Sex, smoking fall among high schoolers

ATLANTA U.S. health officials reported yesterday that high school students were engaging less frequently in risky sex and other unhealthy behaviors than in the 1990s, in part owing to public health campaigns that have stressed the perils of smoking, drug use and unprotected sex.

A national survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed the percentage of sexually active 9th- to 12th-grade students who reported using a condom the last time they had sexual intercourse increased to 58 percent in 2001, from 46 percent in 1991. Those who admitted to ever having sex decreased sharply during the 1990s, as did the number who reported having had four or more sexual partners, according to the CDC.


HAWAII

Ex-council member sentenced for theft

HONOLULU A former City Council member was sentenced Wednesday to one year in prison for misusing campaign funds and city staff.

Rene Mansho, 52, pleaded guilty in April to two counts of felony theft for stealing money and letting staff work on her campaign during city time.

She tearfully apologized to Circuit Judge Dan Kochi. Mansho has already paid $40,000 and has agreed to pay $25,000 more in restitution.

Mansho resigned from the council on April 10.


IDAHO

Environmentalists seek to protect gray wolves

BOISE A coalition of Idaho conservation and environmental groups is asking U.S. District Court to close eight grazing allotments in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area to protect gray wolves, the Twin Falls Times-News reports.

Jon Marvel, executive director of the Western Watersheds Project, said the requested closure would encompass more than 100,000 acres and potentially displace between 2,000 and 4,000 sheep and up to 200 cattle. The motion seeks to close the allotments at least through the current grazing season.


KENTUCKY

University president fired amid turmoil

FRANKFORT The faculty twice voted no-confidence in George Reid and censured him two other times. Students protested against him. And the Board of Regents voted to strip him of all authority and told him to leave university property.

Yet it was only when a judge this week refused to let him stay that Mr. Reid agreed to end his stormy four-year tenure as president of Kentucky State University, a small, black college with a history of turmoil at the top.

Mr. Reid, 57, had tangled with the Board of Regents about a string of issues, including low test scores and his spending of university money for personal items such as a big-screen TV, a jogging suit and toiletries.


MAINE

Trashed cash found in time for vacation

WELLS A New York family's Maine vacation seemed doomed to end prematurely when a family member mistakenly threw $2,000 in vacation money into the trash at a motel in Wells.

But employees at the town's solid-waste transfer station helped the Maggard family recover their cash so their vacation could continue, town officials said Wednesday.

After realizing their loss Monday, the Maggards followed the rubbish-removal trail, which went from the motel to the local waste hauler to the transfer station. Officials unloaded the 20 tons of waste onto the tipping floor, where the transfer-station staff and the vacationing family spent the next 2½ hours screening through the garbage.

When hope was just about gone, the staff ended the search by closing the trailer compaction doors. At that point, the searchers noticed a couple of garbage bags hung up in the door system. Those bags were broken open and the $2,000 was found.


MICHIGAN

Ford creates panels to look into cars' safety

DEARBORN Ford Motor Co. is creating two panels to look into the safety of Ford Crown Victoria police cars as a result of discussions with state officials after an accident that killed a policeman in Arizona earlier this month.

"This sets us on a concrete path to make these cars safer," Arizona Attorney General Janet Napolitano said Tuesday after meeting with Ford executives at the automaker's headquarters here.

The location of the Crown Victoria's gas tank between the rear bumper and axle has been blamed for car fires that have killed at least 11 officers nationwide in the past 20 years.


MISSOURI

Boy Scout leader faces abuse charges

BLUE SPRINGS A Boy Scout leader was charged yesterday with 32 counts of sexually abusing boys, police said.

David Neil Brown, 40, of Blue Springs turned himself into police yesterday and was charged with 19 counts of first-degree sodomy and 13 counts of second-degree sodomy, police Sgt. Mike Kruger said. He is being held on $1 million bond.

Mr. Kruger said Mr. Brown abused six boys from 13 to 15 years old, most of them in the past two years.


NEW HAMPSHIRE

Investigation clears head of Fish and Game

CONCORD Insufficient evidence and conflicting stories are among the reasons state officials did not bring criminal charges against the head of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, according to the investigative file made public this week.

Col. Ronald P. Alie had been accused of improperly obtaining a resident permit from Newington, improperly obtaining a mooring permit and improperly using Fish and Game diving equipment, according to the Union-Leader.

Investigators said there was no conclusive evidence that Mr. Alie obtained a mooring permit in Newington by skipping ahead of others on a waiting list. The report also said there was no basis for the charge that he improperly obtained a Newington resident sticker, because selectmen approved it.


NEW JERSEY

Banker arrested in illegal-money case

JERSEY CITY A Jersey City woman employed by Valley National Bank was arrested yesterday in connection with an illegal money-transmitting operation that is believed to have routed nearly $500 million to phony international companies, mostly in Brazil.

Charged in an eight-count criminal complaint was Maria Carolina Nolasco, 44, an assistant vice president at a branch of Valley National in New York. She had been responsible for international private banking at Merchant's Bank and continued in that role when Merchant's Bank was acquired by Valley National.

Miss Nolasco, who was born in Portugal and is a naturalized U.S. citizen, was taken into custody by U.S. Customs Service agents. Also charged in the complaint was Turist-Cambio Viagens e Turismo, Ltda., a Brazilian currency-exchange and money-transmitting business.


NEW MEXICO

Mayor seeks law allowing fireworks ban

ALBUQUERQUE Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez would like to ban all fireworks in the city, but state law won't let him.

"Mayors do not have the authority to enact such sweeping bans," Mr. Chavez told the Tribune.

Under a 1999 state law, counties and municipalities must allow vendors to sell the least-dangerous fireworks, but they can restrict the sale and use of such things as aerial fireworks or firecrackers.

Early Wednesday morning, Gov. Gary E. Johnson issued an executive order asking municipalities in the state to prohibit all fireworks. Only the governor may ban the use of all fireworks, Mr. Chavez said city attorneys advised him.


NEW YORK

Ex-Nazi guard deported to Austria

Michael Gruber, 86, who served Nazi Germany during World War II as an armed SS guard at the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp in Oranienburg, Germany, has been deported to Austria, the Justice Department said yesterday.

Mr. Gruber, a retired auto mechanic who lived in New City, N.Y., was born in Croatia and is a citizen of Austria.

On May 7, the Board of Immigration Appeals ruled it did not have jurisdiction to consider Mr. Gruber's appeal, and let stand a court order that he be removed from the country. Mr. Gruber opted to carry out the order by returning to Austria at his own expense rather than be transported by the government.


NORTH DAKOTA

Farmers to appeal dismissal of loans suit

FARGO A group of farmers who sued the government in a dispute about bailout loans signed in the late 1980s will appeal a judge's decision to dismiss their case, their attorney says.

U.S. District Judge Rodney Webb threw out the case last month, ruling that bailout contracts call for farmers to pay the government a portion of any increase in the value of their land since the deals were struck.

The farmers claimed they owed the government money only if they sold their land or quit farming within the 10-year term of the contracts.


OHIO

Ohio expands infant gene screening

TOLEDO Every baby born in Ohio is screened for 12 genetic diseases, and starting Sunday, 16 additional disorders will be checked for if a newborn's parents give consent, the Blade reports.

All the diseases are rare. Of the 150,000 babies born annually in Ohio, diseases are detected by the screenings in 150 children. The new screenings are expected to detect diseases in about 20 additional newborns annually in the state.


SOUTH DAKOTA

Legal blood alcohol level to drop Monday

SIOUX FALLS Workers at many of the city's bars say they aren't sure how customers will react when the state drops the legal blood alcohol level to .08 Monday.

"It's kind of something I haven't heard much talk about," Debi Olson, a bartender the Grain Bin Lounge, told the Argus-Leader. "They probably won't drink as much at first, but once they get adjusted, we won't see much change."

State lawmakers approved lowering the limit from .10 percent in February. In the fall, the federal government told about 25 states, including South Dakota, they had until October 2003 to implement the lower level or they risked losing federal highway funding.


TENNESSEE

Budget woes halt U of T classes

KNOXVILLE The University of Tennessee will end its first summer-school session today in preparation for a possible government shutdown, putting teachers and students under pressure to wrap courses up three school days early.

University Vice President and Provost Loren Crabtree sent an e-mail message to UT staff on Wednesday informing them of the plan, Scripps Howard News Service reports.

The plan was necessary because "the [Tennessee] General Assembly's inability to pass a budget has put the university at risk of closing July 1," Mr. Crabtree wrote in the e-mail to staff.


UTAH

Sale of newspaper foiled for now

SALT LAKE CITY In a messy and often personal battle between rival newspapers locked in a joint operating agreement, the board of the Deseret News said Wednesday it would block the managers of the Salt Lake Tribune from buying their paper back.

For the first time, the afternoon News employed a clause in the joint operating agreement to veto the sale of the Tribune, which has passed through two corporate owners during the past five years.

The decision leaves the morning paper in the hands of the Denver-based MediaNews Group Inc., a newspaper chain that bought the Tribune in 2001.

The rival papers share printing presses and classified advertising.

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