- The Washington Times - Monday, November 11, 2002

CALIFORNIA
Lopez announces engagement to Affleck
LOS ANGELES Jennifer Lopez is engaged to be married to actor Ben Affleck, the singer and actress revealed during an ABC television interview to be aired later this week.
The announcement follows weeks of media speculation that was heightened earlier this month when Miss Lopez, 32, showed off to TV cameras a pink diamond on her ring finger. The two met last year on the set of the upcoming mob comedy "Gigli".
Mr. Affleck, 30, who has never been married, will become Miss Lopez's third husband.

TEXAS
Students to rekindle bonfire tradition
COLLEGE STATION The sounds of buzzing chain saws and toppling trees filled a forest during the weekend as Texas A&M; students and alumni worked to revive their bonfire tradition, on hold since a deadly collapse in 1999.
Wearing hard hats signifying leadership positions and wielding axes and machetes, the volunteers searched the woods east of College Station for dead elm trees to cut down and burn. They plan to light a 10- to 15-foot-high, off-campus pile Nov. 24.
University officials are discouraging the effort to resume the 90-year-old tradition, on hold since a 59-foot-high log pile collapsed in 1999, killing 12 persons and injuring 27 others.

ARIZONA
Bishop gives account of sex-abuse cases
PHOENIX The head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix acknowledged that about 50 priests, former priests and church employees have been accused of criminal sexual misconduct with minors in the diocese over the past 30 years.
Bishop Thomas O'Brien also said the diocese has paid close to $2 million to settle 12 to 15 lawsuits involving sexual abuse or sexual harassment since he became bishop in 1982, the Arizona Republic reported yesterday.
The bishop said some of those accused were convicted or acquitted, and that "a large number" of priests and employees faced accusations that investigators found were untrue or without merit.

CONNECTICUT
Plaintiff dies in gay 'divorce' case
GREENWICH A man who filed suit asking Connecticut to dissolve his homosexual civil union even though the state does not recognize the relationship has died of an ailment commonly related to AIDS.
The state Supreme Court had agreed in September to take up the case of retired businessman Glen Rosengarten, who died of lymphoma last week at the age of 54. Mr. Rosengarten had tested positive for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Mr. Rosengarten wanted to dissolve the union in which he and Peter Downes were joined in 2000 in Vermont. That year, Vermont enacted the country's only law allowing homosexual couples to enter into a legal relationship resembling marriage.
Lawyers say they want to keep the case alive and are waiting for the appointment of an executor for his estate. Mr. Rosengarten sought the dissolution from Mr. Downes because he wanted to protect the inheritance of his three children from a marriage, said his attorney, Gary Cohen, who is married to Mr. Rosengarten's ex-wife.

DELAWARE
City gets new cameras to fight crime
WILMINGTON A private group has increased the number of surveillance cameras in Wilmington's downtown district to 25 in an effort to fight crime, officials say.
Downtown Visions, a private nonprofit group, has installed the cameras throughout a 69-square-block area. Eleven of the cameras were activated in April last year. The others were turned on about a month ago, Martin P. Hageman, the group's executive director, said.
The second batch of cameras gives the group the ability to view 65 of the 69 blocks, said Dean Vietri, the group's safety director. Mr. Hageman said he thinks Wilmington is the only city in the country to have virtually its entire downtown district covered by surveillance cameras.

HAWAII
Aircraft-carrier fire causes little damage
HONOLULU A fuel-oil leak started a fire on the USS Constellation, but the aircraft carrier's crew put it out in about an hour, the Navy said.
The fire burned in one of the four main machinery rooms Friday night while the carrier was in Hawaiian waters, according to Pacific Fleet spokesman Jon Yoshishige. The fire caused no injuries, and an initial assessment found minimal damage.

INDIANA
Toogood arrested in false-info case
SOUTH BEND A woman caught on videotape beating her 4-year-old daughter has been arrested on a warrant issued in Michigan that accuses her of giving false information on a license application.
Authorities say Madelyne Toogood, 26, gave a false address and name when applying for a Michigan driver's license and state identification card in May. A conviction could carry up to five years in jail.
In Indiana, she faces a felony child-battery charge after a department store surveillance camera in Mishawaka captured her beating her daughter Sept. 13. The tape was telecast nationwide.

MISSISSIPPI
'Mississippi Burning' sheriff dies of cancer
MERIDIAN Lawrence Andrew Rainey Sr., the former county sheriff whose acquittal in the killings of three civil rights workers was chronicled in the movie "Mississippi Burning," died Friday of throat cancer. He was 79.
As Neshoba County sheriff, Mr. Rainey was charged in 1964 with civil rights violations in the deaths of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner during Mississippi's turbulent "freedom summer," when hundreds of volunteers scoured the state to register black voters.
The three disappeared when they went to investigate a fire at a church in Neshoba County. Their bodies were found buried in an earthen dam a few miles from the church. Seven Ku Klux Klansmen, including then-Chief Deputy Cecil Price, were convicted.

NEVADA
Man pleads guilty in fatal crash
RENO A retired California firefighter has pleaded guilty to drunken driving in an accident that killed five members of a Utah family, including three children.
In a surprise move Friday, Stephen Scharosch, 51, changed his earlier not-guilty plea to guilty on five felony counts of DUI causing death in the May 13 crash on Interstate 80. His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 17. Each count carries two to 20 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

NORTH CAROLINA
FBI probing plot to kill prosecutor
CHARLOTTE Federal authorities believe they discovered a plot to either kill a federal prosecutor or destroy evidence against two Lebanese brothers convicted of aiding the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, the Charlotte Observer reported yesterday.
The plot targeted First Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Bell, authorities said.
FBI agents suspect one of the brothers, Mohamad Youssef Hammoud, wrote a letter to an informant outlining a plot to kill Mr. Bell or blow up government evidence, according to newly unsealed court documents.

OHIO
Oprah makes pledge for scholarships
CLEVELAND Talk show host Oprah Winfrey stunned a college audience with a major donation for scholarships.
While giving the keynote speech at Cuyahoga Community College's scholarship luncheon, Miss Winfrey offered to match the $600,000 the event was expected to raise for scholarships.
She said her donation was a tribute to the dual forces that have shaped her life.
"All that I am or will ever become is because of my spiritual foundation and my educational foundation," Miss Winfrey said Friday.

PENNSYLVANIA
Fire squad quits over siren dispute
KUTZTOWN A volunteer fire squad that directs traffic in emergencies quit en masse when its chief was prohibited from using a red light and siren.
Kutztown Fire Police members said fire Chief Robert Hauck's refusal to grant Lt. Gregory Heid authority to use the light and siren confirmed suspicions they weren't being taken seriously.
Fire police, widely used in rural areas, are volunteers who assist with traffic and crowd control at emergencies and special events.
Lt. Heid was allowed to flash a blue light, but Fire Police members said that wasn't good enough because blue doesn't command the same respect as red.

SOUTH CAROLINA
Novelist mends fences with alma mater
CHARLESTON Novelist Pat Conroy was once reviled at his alma mater, The Citadel, for writing books inspired by his experience at the military college. On Friday, he was signing books outside its gates.
"I never thought this would happen," Mr. Conroy said between signatures. "This is my first signing at The Citadel. That's amazing."
Mr. Conroy's first book, "The Boo," published three years after his graduation in 1970, was banned on campus. His 1980 work, "The Lords of Discipline," was a brutal portrait of integration at a Southern military school. The Citadel refused to let producers use the campus for the 1983 movie.

WISCONSIN
Anti-corruption laws ranked tops, group says
MILWAUKEE Despite recent scandals that have shaken the state, Wisconsin ranks No. 1 in a watchdog group's integrity index, based on its laws aimed at fighting corruption.
The index was released by the Better Government Association of Chicago, which began the study after a corruption scandal involving Illinois state government.
The group considered each state's laws regarding the Freedom of Information Act, whistleblower protection, campaign finance, gifts, trips and conflicts of interest.
Wisconsin was determined to be best prepared to fight corruption.
After Wisconsin, the top five in the index include Rhode Island, Kentucky, Hawaii and California.

WYOMING
Six persons killed in highway collision
ARLINGTON A tractor-trailer and a van collided on a snowy, slippery stretch of highway Saturday in south-central Wyoming, killing six persons, authorities said.
It was among at least 28 crashes reported on about 300 miles of Interstate 80 during a nine-hour period, said Wyoming Department of Transportation spokesman Bruce Burrows.
The van apparently spun out of control, Mr. Burrows said.
"A tractor-trailer came over a hill and apparently trying to avoid the van, that truck jackknifed, and then the trailer hit the van," Mr. Burrows said.

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