- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 26, 2002


Judge sets date for Brown trial

DECATUR A DeKalb County State Court judge denied a motion yesterday to drop charges against singer Bobby Brown from a 1996 traffic stop.

Mr. Brown appeared in court with his wife, singer Whitney Houston, with whom he held hands and talked quietly. The courtroom was filled with the couple's entourage and fans.

Mr. Brown, 33, didn't go to a hearing in 1997 on charges of driving under the influence, speeding, not maintaining a lane and having no proof of insurance.

Mr. Brown's attorney, Xavier Dicks, argued that the charges were too old and that the memory of any witnesses would be impaired.


Historic building damaged in implosion

OMAHA One of four historic buildings slated for preservation near the site of a new performing arts center was severely damaged Sunday when a neighboring food plant was imploded.

Debris from the razing of the Pinnacle food plant smashed through the roof and caused the west wall to cave in at the Frankie Pane building in downtown Omaha.

Omaha City Attorney Paul Kratz said insurance companies and the city would investigate the implosion. It will take time before to learn what went wrong, he said.


Scant snowfall leaves some creatures exposed

ANCHORAGE Snowshoe hares are a diet staple for relentless predators of south-central Alaska. The hare is a meaty target and knows it. That's why these largely defenseless creatures have adapted strategic camouflaging, changing from grayish brown to white in winter, giving them a slight advantage.

One problem: Hares change color based not on snowfall but on diminishing light. In years like this, with scant snow cover, a hare might as well set out a sandwich board. "Special: delectable white rabbit with a green grass garnish."

The tenth of an inch of snow recorded at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport on Nov. 14 was the latest date for the season's first snowfall since records have been kept, beginning in 1939.


Three die in lodge blaze

CHATOM A fire burned down a hunting lodge the day after the start of Alabama's deer season, killing the head of a private school, his son and a teenager.

Edward Chesley Greene, 51, chairman of the board of UMS-Wright Preparatory School, his son Edward Jr., 24, and 15-year-old William Bradshaw Radcliff were killed in the blaze early yesterday at the Bullpen Hunting Club, said Andy Davis, spokesman for Washington County Infirmary.

The blaze appeared to have started around the lodge's fireplace, where the hunters had been maintaining a fire for several days, he said.


Cow's head found in dormitory

TUCSON The film producer who woke up to find the severed head of a horse next to him in "The Godfather" had a pretty good idea who was responsible.

Figuring out who dumped a cow's head in the stairwell of a University of Arizona dormitory is proving more difficult.

The head was discovered Nov. 12 by a student in Coronado Residence Hall.

School police don't know who put it there or why, but said they are not concerned that it is anything more than a prank.


Humpty Dumpty damaged at library

ROGERS Even all the librarians at Rogers Public Library couldn't put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

A vandal sliced the head of the doll and also damaged a stuffed wolf and a stuffed bear, though the stuffed animals were expected to be repaired.

"We were not able to put Humpty Dumpty back together again," said Fran Levine, the library's assistant director. "He was not cut on a seam."

The vandal apparently also either stole 20 hand puppets or hid them.


Freeway opens; commute speeds up

ONTARIO The commute between Los Angeles and San Bernardino just got faster.

A 14-mile stretch of concrete and steel opened Sunday, extending State Route 210, or the Foothill Freeway, from La Verne to Rancho Cucamonga, where the road links across Interstate 15 to Fontana.

Just hours after the freeway opened, Raymond Gibson, 20, of Glendora, became the first driver to receive a ticket on the roadway.


Ski resorts off to good start

VAIL A year after warm weather and the terrorist attacks reduced business at ski resorts, Vail enjoyed its biggest opening day in its 40-year history. Other ski resorts across the country are also off to a good start.

Vail, the nation's most popular ski resort, drew about 11,000 people when it opened for the season Nov. 16, shattering the old record of 4,000, set in 1996, the resort said.

Last year saw the warmest November in the Colorado Rockies since 1979, and the snow shortage forced the cancellation of several World Cup events. They were the first cancellations in the United States because of warmth or lack of snow. Less than three months from the start of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, there was no snow at Utah ski areas.


Verdict thrown out in SIDS case

HARTFORD The Connecticut Supreme Court threw out an $800,000 verdict yesterday against a day care owner who had been found liable for the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome incident involving a baby in her care.

The court said the jury did not have enough information to decide whether the owner, Barbara Horne, had violated a standard of care in the 1998 death of 10-week-old Shelby LePage. It said the plaintiffs should have called additional expert witnesses to discuss that standard.

Mary LePage, the baby's mother, had instructed her to allow the child to sleep only in her portable car seat or in a baby swing.

Miss Horne said she had put the infant down for a nap on her side and later saw her sleeping on her stomach.


City decorates 110-foot Christmas tree

MIAMI Sure, the towering 76-foot Christmas tree installed in New York's Rockefeller Center looks huge, but it's a dwarf next to Miami's 110-foot giant in Bayfront Park.

The company decorating Miami's waterfront park a balmy patch dotted with un-Christmaslike palm trees got its Norway Spruce through a Christmas tree merchant from a private residence in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., a suburb north of New York City.

Delivery included a certificate stating the tree is the "tallest Christmas tree in America."

"People will say, 'Miami? Everyone is still wearing their bathing suits down there,'" joked Miami Mayor Manny Diaz. "I think it's great."


State moves to save rare bird

HONOLULU The last three Hawaiian honeycreeper birds known to exist will be taken into captivity in a last-ditch effort to save the species from extinction.

"If we do not bring them in now, they may never be seen again," said Michael Buck, administrator of the state Division of Forestry and Wildlife.

The Hawaiian honeycreeper may be the rarest bird on Earth. The last known breeding occurred about five years ago.

The small, stocky brown bird looks as if it is wearing a bandit's black mask. Its Hawaiian name means "black-faced." It was first identified in 1973 by students on a University of Hawaii expedition.


Ex-mayor pleads guiltyto porn charge

ASHLAND The former mayor pleaded guilty yesterday to child-pornography charges that prompted his resignation earlier this year.

Paul R. Reeves, 57, admitted receiving and possessing two videos that contained child pornography. Under the plea agreement, he faces 27 to 33 months in prison and a fine of $6,000 to $60,000 at sentencing April 22.

The FBI said Reeves ordered the tapes from an undercover company run by postal inspectors. Postal inspectors said they entered Reeves' home in May and found him watching a child-porn videotape. He resigned days later.

U.S. Attorney Mark Wohlander said the investigation began two years ago when Reeves' credit card number was found on a child-porn Web server in Dallas.


Exonerated man back in trouble

HOUMA A man who spent nearly 20 years in prison for rape before a DNA test exonerated him and implicated his brother has been accused of stabbing a different brother in an argument about firewood.

Clyde Charles, 49, was booked Sunday on an attempted murder charge that carries 10 to 50 years in prison. He was jailed on $100,000 bail.

Arnold Charles, 44, was stabbed in the side with a long-bladed knife "because he burned wood that belonged to Clyde," Sheriff Jerry Larpenter said. The victim was listed in fair condition yesterday.

Clyde Charles was freed from prison in 2000 after DNA evidence showed he did not rape the woman who in 1981 identified him.


Archdiocese ordered to release documents

BOSTON Sharply criticizing the Boston Archdiocese, a judge yesterday ordered the public release of about 11,000 internal church documents related to 65 priests accused of molesting children during the past three decades.

The two rulings by Superior Court Judge Constance Sweeney came as lawyers for supposed victims and the Roman Catholic Church met to try to settle more than 400 lawsuits.

On Friday, the church complied with a court order to hand over the documents.


Santa Claus school shows how it's done

MIDLAND It's not easy being Santa Claus.

Just ask the men and women who get a jump-start on the holiday season with three days of training at the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School.

The session begins with classroom work on St. Nicholas traditions worldwide. Then comes instruction on makeup, wigs and beards, wardrobe, music, even sign language. Santa students also learn a few dance steps, and a special education teacher offers tips on communicating with special-needs children.


Testing company to settle claims

ST. PAUL The testing company that wrongly scored thousands of exams required for high school graduation agreed to pay up to $7 million to students as part of a settlement, attorneys announced yesterday.

Students who didn't get to attend their graduation ceremonies will be eligible for up to $16,000. Those who went through the ceremonies but experienced some lesser consequences, such as being forced to attend summer school, would receive less.

The settlement comes almost 2½ years after state education officials disclosed that NCS Pearson used the wrong answer key on 47,000 tests given in February and April 2000. About 8,000 students, from eighth-graders to high school seniors, were told they failed when they had actually passed.


Marine recruit dies during basic training

ST. CLAIR A Marine recruit who told relatives he joined the military to do something more than "an average Joe" died after he collapsed during basic training drills, officials said.

Pvt. Neal Edwards IV, 18, of St. Clair, collapsed after going through an obstacle course Saturday afternoon during physical training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, officials said.

Drill instructors administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation until paramedics arrived, and Pvt. Edwards, who was on his 11th day of training at the depot, was pronounced dead early Sunday at a San Diego hospital, officials said.

Mr. Edwards' body was expected to be returned home on Thanksgiving Day, with a full military service to be held in St. Louis.


Guns feared to be in hands of felons

LAS VEGAS Police fear that two dozen guns stolen in a robbery several months ago are in the hands of felons and gang members.

Police say they have recovered most of the 80 guns taken in the heist, but they are concerned about the remaining weapons.

Three members of a Las Vegas street gang were arrested in connection with the holdup.


SAT firm officials get six-figure bonuses

PRINCETON Officers of the nonprofit testing company that administers the SAT, Advanced Placement exams and the Graduate Record Exams have received six-figure bonuses since its current president took over.

Fifteen Educational Testing Service officers received bonuses totaling $2 million in the fiscal year that ended in June 2001. Individual bonuses were as large as $366,000.

Kurt Landgraf, who became president of Princeton-based ETS in August 2000, was paid $800,000 for his first 10 months on the job.


Minister promotes HIV test

BUFFALO A Baptist minister took an HIV test in front of his congregation then implored parishioners to do the same after church as part of an effort to raise awareness about AIDS.

Of the 700 members of the True Bethel Baptist Church who watched the Rev. Darius G. Pridgen endure the needle prick, 105 stopped by a nearby charter school to be tested for the virus that causes AIDS, the Buffalo News reported.

Before lively hymns and scripture readings during Sunday worship, Mr. Pridgen warned dozens of teenagers in the church about the dangers of sex and promiscuity. "Once you catch [AIDS], you don't just get rid of it. Do not let yourselves die for a few minutes of pleasure," he said.


Jeb Bush congratulates wrong candidate

MONTPELIER "Dear Governor-elect Racine," the letter from Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said. "Congratulations to you, your family and staff on your recent election. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to one of the most rewarding and challenging jobs in America."

The only problem: Doug Racine was the loser in Vermont's gubernatorial election.

In an administrative faux pas, Mr. Bush's office sent a congratulatory letter to Mr. Racine instead of the real governor-elect, Republican state Treasurer Jim Douglas, who beat Mr. Racine in the Nov. 5 election.

Mr. Douglas' camp wasn't too worried about the mix-up.

"Governor-elect Douglas finds this situation amusing and is certainly not offended by it," Douglas spokesman Jason Gibbs said yesterday. "This is obviously an honest mistake."

Elizabeth Hirst, a spokeswoman for Mr. Bush, said the letter was the result of staff error and added, "Congratulations have been made to Governor-elect Jim Douglas."


Builders flex political muscle

OLYMPIA Conservative, combative and well-heeled, the Building Industry Association of Washington isn't afraid to use political muscle.

In this month's election, the association helped swing control of the state Senate to the Republicans, persuaded voters to repeal a tax change it opposed and came within a few hundred votes of putting its candidate on the state Supreme Court, officials said.


Santa's pants, wallet stolen at mall

MARTINSBURG Police are looking for the naughty person who stole Santa's wallet and pants from the Martinsburg Mall.

Clarence Esser, 68, of Winchester had his wallet and navy blue work pants stolen from the break room Thursday as he listened to children's holiday wishes while playing Santa Claus, police said Saturday.

Mr. Esser said he lost $215, treasured pictures and important documents in the theft. Mr. Esser said he wants to get back a card indicating he has artificial hips because it comes in handy at airports when trying to pass through the metal detector.


Icy conditions cause dozens of crashes

CHEYENNE Icy conditions caused dozens of accidents on the highways in the Rocky Mountain foothills Sunday, injuring at least five persons and causing authorities to temporarily close a 90-mile stretch of Interstate 80.

At least 110 accidents, including some rollovers, were reported from midnight Saturday to Sunday morning, the Wyoming Highway Patrol said. A 9-year-old girl was killed in an accident in western Nebraska.

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