- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 27, 2002

CALIFORNIA
Nicolas Cage divorcing Lisa Marie Presley
LOS ANGELES Actor Nicolas Cage has filed for divorce from Lisa Marie Presley less than four months after their romantic wedding in Hawaii.
The actor filing under his real name, Nicolas Coppola cited irreconcilable differences as the reason for the split in a petition filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court.
There was no immediate comment from publicists for Miss Presley or Mr. Cage.
Miss Presley, 34, was married previously to musician Danny Keough and pop singer Michael Jackson. It was the second marriage for Mr. Cage, 38, who divorced actress Patricia Arquette in 2000.
Miss Presley is the only child of Priscilla Presley and singer Elvis Presley.

OREGON
Firefighters killed battling downtown blaze
PORTLAND Fire departments from across Oregon offered their help to the coastal city of Coos Bay, where an explosive fire at a truck- and auto-supply store killed three firefighters.
The fire blazed for about 1 hours Monday. Downtown Coos Bay was paralyzed as power was shut off, telephone lines were tied up and businesses were evacuated.
The cause had not been determined yesterday, but Coos Bay Mayor Joe Benetti said it appeared that the fire was accidental. Police said Kim Macfee, the owner of the body shop, smelled an unusual odor, climbed on the roof to investigate and discovered the fire.
The Oregon State Fire Marshal's Office was investigating.
The blaze killed one career firefighter and two volunteers, said police Capt. Eura Washburn. Two of the firefighters died when the roof caved in while they were on the second floor.

ALABAMA
Voters to decide on annexation
MOBILE Voters in parts of west Mobile County will decide Dec. 17 whether they want to be annexed to the city of Mobile, officials said.
Approval could derail a campaign to incorporate the area into a separate city of West Mobile.
The Mobile City Council received a petition bearing 400 signatures seeking the annexation vote that could affect more than 4,000 residents.

ARIZONA
Grazing banned on spotted owl land
TUCSON A federal judge has issued an injunction that could temporarily ban cattle grazing on huge swaths of national forest land identified as nesting and foraging sites for the endangered Mexican spotted owl.
U.S. District Judge Raner Collins' order blocking grazing in areas of Arizona and New Mexico was signed Thursday in response to a lawsuit by environmental groups who want to remove cattle from spotted owl habitat.
The injunction is set to kick in Jan. 22. But it won't go into effect if the Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service complete a biological review before then, Judge Collins said.
The last such review took a couple of years to complete, said Jim Angell, an attorney for Earthjustice, a nonprofit public-interest law firm and a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

FLORIDA
Teen among 6 Cubans rescued at sea
MIAMI Six Cubans, including a 13-year-old boy, were detained by immigration authorities after their disabled boat was found at sea, and two men were arrested on alien-smuggling charges.
The Coast Guard came to the group's aid after their 21-foot, Florida-registered boat ran out of fuel off Key West on Monday, Coast Guard spokesman Luis Diaz said. The boat was towed to shore after the Coast Guard decided that the 5-foot seas made a boarding unsafe.
The boy, who was not named, and the five other Cubans, including his father, were in the custody of the Immigration and Naturalization Service yesterday. Cubans who reach U.S. shores are usually allowed to stay, but those intercepted at sea are generally returned to the communist island.
The case was announced on the third anniversary of the arrival of Elian Gonzalez and evoked comparisons because of questions surrounding the 13-year-old's custody. Authorities had no word on the boy's mother.

GEORGIA
Mentally ill killer commits suicide
AUGUSTA A killer whose death sentence was commuted to life in prison earlier this year because of his severe psychosis apparently killed himself in his cell, prison officials said.
Alexander Williams, 34, of Augusta, hanged himself with his shirt late Monday at the Georgia State Prison in Reidsville, said Peggy Chapman, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Corrections.
He was 17 in 1986 when he raped and murdered 16-year-old Aleta Bunch, who was kidnapped from an Augusta mall where she had gone to buy her mother a birthday gift.
Williams was sentenced to death, but his case drew the attention of death-penalty opponents because he was a diagnosed schizophrenic who sometimes thought actress Sigourney Weaver was God.

ILLINOIS
Nutty diet may fight diabetes
CHICAGO Eating lots of nuts or peanut butter may help ward off diabetes, a study of more than 83,000 nurses suggests.
Women who reported eating the equivalent of a handful of nuts or one tablespoon of peanut butter at least five times a week were more than 20 percent less likely to develop adult-onset, or type 2, diabetes than those who rarely or never ate those products.
Researchers from Harvard University's School of Public Health analyzed data on 83,818 women ages 34 to 59 who were followed for as long as 16 years. The researchers said the findings would probably apply to men as well.

INDIANA
Regional lab to do DNA analysis
FORT WAYNE The Indiana State Police will begin conducting DNA analysis at the Fort Wayne regional crime lab to help alleviate a backlog at the state crime lab in Indianapolis.
The state lab had a backlog of more then 5,800 cases through October. State police are also considering using private labs to perform DNA analysis in criminal cases.

MASSACHUSETTS
Cardinal Law meets with reform group
BOSTON Roman Catholics from the lay reform group Voice of the Faithful met with Cardinal Bernard Law for the first time yesterday in an attempt to ease tensions that have simmered for months between the two sides.
The cardinal, leader of the Boston Archdiocese, "squarely told us he was concerned about who we are and who we aspire to be," said Jim Post, Voice's president.
Four leaders from the group, formed this year by Catholics upset with the church's failure to rid the clergy of sexually abusive priests, met privately with the cardinal at the chancery for more than two hours.

MINNESOTA
Pair charged with prostituting girl
MINNEAPOLIS A man and a woman have been charged with prostituting a 13-year-old girl.
Christina Brown, 20, is accused of going with the girl, a runaway, to turn her first trick and teaching her what to do, according to charges filed in Hennepin County District Court. She is accused of three counts of promoting prostitution.
Earlier prosecutors charged Jamaul Wendel Graham, 30, with running a prostitution ring that included the girl.
The girl told authorities that she worked for Graham for several months after he asked her to prostitute herself and that he drove her and others to area hotels, the charges said.

NEBRASKA
Fat-fighter faults Burger King buy
OMAHA Millionaire cholesterol-fighter Phil Sokolof is urging billionaire investor Warren Buffett to not purchase the Burger King chain, no matter how appetizing the deal may look.
Mr. Sokolof, an Omaha businessman who has spent millions of dollars urging people to stay away from fatty food, ran an open-letter ad yesterday addressing Mr. Buffett, who also lives in Omaha.
"Buying a mammoth business whose incredibly high-calorie, horribly high-fat foods lead to obesity, diabetes and heart disease would be unconscionable for a man of your stature," Mr. Sokolof wrote.

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Police capture suspect in cop killing
CONCORD A man who reportedly said on a Web site that he killed a police officer in California to help stop the use of "police-state tactics" surrendered yesterday after a standoff at a hotel, police said.
Andrew Hampton McCrae of Olympia, Wash., came out of a hotel room about 10 a.m. after several hours of negotiations. Mr. McCrae is charged in a fugitive warrant with killing Officer David Mobilio in Red Bluff, Calif., on Nov. 19.
Police indicated they believe Mr. McCrae, 23, is the same Andrew McCrae who admitted on a San Francisco Web site to killing the officer.

NEW MEXICO
Police ticketing drivers for cell-phone use
SANTA FE Capital-city police have begun a blitz against drivers using cell phones that aren't hands-free.
"We have a responsibility to enforce the ordinance, and the driving public has a responsibility to abide by it," Deputy Police Chief Beverly Lennen said.
Police began enforcing it April 1. As of last week, officers had issued 333 citations.

NEW YORK
Man gets death for mass murder
NEW YORK A jury sentenced a New York man to death yesterday for the execution-style killings of five persons in a Wendy's fast-food restaurant more than two years ago in one of the city's worst mass murders.
The panel deliberated for seven hours over two days before deciding on the sentence for John Taylor, 38, who was found guilty last week of murdering the five persons in a botched robbery.
There are five persons on New York's death row, but no one has been executed in the state since 1963.

NORTH DAKOTA
Group changes policy on wheat
BISMARCK The state Farm Bureau has changed its policy on genetically engineered wheat, favoring a "cautious approach" to commercial production rather than a moratorium.
Many farmers and officials worry that biotech wheat could harm producers because of low demand among export customers.
State lawmakers in 2001 rejected a two-year ban on biotech wheat seed.

OKLAHOMA
Texas Tech president to head State
STILLWATER The Oklahoma State University Board of Regents chose the president of Texas Tech to lead their institution Monday.
David Schmidly, 58, will replace retiring President James Halligan by Feb. 1. Mr. Halligan will stay on as president emeritus and professor of chemical engineering.
Mr. Schmidly has been Tech's president for two years. He pledged to turn Oklahoma State into "one of the premier academic institutions in the United States."

PENNSYLVANIA
Suspects charged in drug-den massacre
PHILADELPHIA Four new suspects were charged yesterday in the massacre of seven persons in a drug den. Prosecutors who had originally blamed others now say the killings were sparked by a dispute over a car problem.
Four other men were cleared in June, just before going to trial in the December 2000 "Lex Street massacre." Authorities had believed that the slaying, one of the city's worst, was meant to wipe out rival drug dealers.
Seven persons, ages 15 to 54, died, and three others were wounded when a group of masked men stormed a row house taken over by squatters. The 10 victims were herded into a room and ordered to lie face-down on the floor, where they were shot.
District Attorney Lynne Abraham announced murder charges against Shihe Black, 20; Bruce Veney, 26; Dawud Faruqi, 27; and his brother, Khalid Faruqi, 26. All four men are in custody in unrelated cases.

TENNESSEE
No punishment planned for wearing blackface
KNOXVILLE The University of Tennessee will not penalize six white fraternity members who painted their faces black to appear as the Jackson 5, saying their right of expression must be protected.
"The University of Tennessee is firmly committed to protecting the constitutional rights of freedom of speech and expression even when some find it to be insensitive and offensive," the school said in a statement posted recently on its Web site. But school officials warned that minstrel shows depicted blacks as ignorant simpletons and are not an innocent college prank.
Black students saw members of the Kappa Sigma fraternity with painted faces walking to a private party Oct. 22. Last month, the fraternity suspended its Tennessee chapter and apologized.

TEXAS
Drug seizures drop along Mexican border
EL PASO Drug seizures along the U.S.-Mexican border decreased this fiscal year, with California experiencing its first drop in four years, the U.S. Customs Service reported Monday.
Seizures along the 1,962-mile border fell to 625 tons in fiscal 2002 from 682 tons the previous year. In California, inspectors found 158 tons of heroin, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamines, compared with more than 244 tons the year before.
UTAH
Church may pay for public easement
SALT LAKE CITY After a federal court said the Mormon Church cannot ban demonstrations on the Main Street block it purchased from the city, the church said it might be willing to pay for the public easement as a way to restrict pedestrians' behavior.
The church also said it would give up its own right to proselytize on the property, which the church bought for $8.1 million in 1999 and turned into a plaza with fountains, reflecting pools, plants and statues.
The amount the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would pay the city for the easement would have to be negotiated, Elder Lance B. Wickman, the church's general counsel, said Monday.

VERMONT
Report finds more students homeless
BENNINGTON Schools in the Bennington area say the number of homeless students is growing.
At least 17 students attending schools in the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union are classified as homeless. The Bennington-Rutland Opportunity Council says the two counties have 700 homeless families, 150 more than last year.

WASHINGTON
Priests, church sued for reported sex abuse
SEATTLE Six men saying three priests sexually abused them as far back as the 1970s have sued the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle, charging a wide range of psychological damage and seeking unspecified cash awards, their attorneys said yesterday.
In lawsuits filed in Seattle on Monday the men, all former altar boys who are now 35 to 43 years old, said the priests assaulted them when they were boys ages 7 to 17 during overnight trips and on church property.
"They have suffered deep emotional scars, and some are undergoing therapy" for ailments, including depression and substance abuse, said Mary Fleck, an attorney representing the six men, at a press conference.
The church does not comment on pending legal matters, said Kathy Johnson, associate director of communications for the archdiocese.

WEST VIRGINIA
Family settles wrongful-death case
MORGANTOWN After nearly 2 years, Brenda and Arthur Warren have found what their lawyer calls closure. Satisfied they have cleared the name of their murdered son, they are settling a wrongful-death lawsuit against his teenage killers.
J.R. Warren, a 26-year-old homosexual black man from Grant Town, was beaten and then crushed under a Camaro in July 2000 by two drunk, high and angry teens. Both are behind bars, one serving a minimum of 15 years for first-degree murder.
The Warrens filed the civil action in June, upset that in defending themselves, the killers had portrayed their son as a sexual predator.

WYOMING
Women elected as Senate leaders
RAWLINS For the first time in the Equality State, women were elected to the top leadership positions in the Wyoming Senate.
Sen. April Brimmer Kunz, Cheyenne Republican, became the first female Senate president. Sen. Jayne Mockler, Cheyenne Democrat, was elected minority floor leader, and Sen. Rae Lynn Job, Rock Springs Democrat, was named minority whip.


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