- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 28, 2002

FLORIDA
Blacks protest driver's lighter conviction
FORT LAUDERDALE Members of the black community yesterday protested the acquittal of a former FBI agent accused of killing two black men while driving drunk and purportedly the wrong way on Interstate 95, the Sun-Sentinel reports.
Dozens of cars drove slowly to the Broward County Courthouse, tying up morning rush-hour traffic, to protest Monday's acquittal of David Farrall, who is white. He had been accused of manslaughter while driving under the influence in the 1999 crash that killed Maurice Williams, 23, and his half-brother, Craig Chambers, 19.
He was convicted of misdemeanor drunken and reckless driving after jurors could not determine whether it was he or the brothers who were driving the wrong way.

MISSOURI
Police call criminals more brazen
ST. LOUIS Sgt. Gary Wiegert, with 22 years of city policing under his gun belt, suddenly has seen the Gateway to the West look more like the Gateway to the Wild West.
St. Louis police this year have been shot at nearly 40 times and wounded nine times numbers about even with last year's. But police say this year's shootings have been more brazen, and more seem senseless and unprovoked.
After a policewoman was shot in the groin while responding to a minor car wreck, police Chief Joe Mokwa last month made body armor mandatory.
"It seems like criminals used to run away. Now, they're standing their ground and shooting at us," said Sgt. Wiegert, president of the police union. "Not only are the criminals out there trying to shoot us, but sometimes it feels like the community is against us."

ALASKA
Oil pipeline gets a 30-year lease
ANCHORAGE Alaska officials signed an agreement Tuesday that allows the trans-Alaska oil pipeline to operate for decades more on hundreds of miles of state land.
The document, signed by Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles, state Natural Resources Commissioner Pat Pourchot and representatives of the six companies that own the 800-mile oil line, extends until 2034 the state lease agreement that had been scheduled to expire in 2004.
"This pipeline represents the world's safest transportation of oil from production to final port destination," Mr. Knowles said at a signing ceremony held at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art.
The Trans Alaska Pipeline System delivers nearly one-fifth of American-produced oil and has shipped more than 13.5 billion barrels of crude since it began operations in 1977.

CALIFORNIA
Birds to be vaccinated against West Nile virus
LOS ANGELES The Los Angeles Zoo plans to vaccinate endangered California condors against West Nile virus.
After testing a new prototype vaccine on condors in captivity at the zoo, the veterinarians plan on vaccinating wild condors.
"We cannot afford to lose any of these birds, especially to a deadly disease such as the West Nile virus," zoo Director Ed Maruska said.
About 200 California condors are living in the wild as the result of a big push to save the birds in the 1970s when about 20 wild condors were left.

COLORADO
Forest Service worker to admit setting fires
DENVER The former U.S. Forest Service employee accused of starting the biggest wildfire in Colorado history said in court papers yesterday that she plans to plead guilty.
The 137,000-acre blaze outside Denver destroyed 133 homes in June.
Terry Barton, whose job included watching for fires, told investigators she accidentally started the blaze while burning a letter from her estranged husband. Authorities believe she started the fire deliberately.
Mrs. Barton, 38, faces four federal charges, including arson and injuring a firefighter. She was dismissed from the Forest Service after her arrest.

CONNECTICUT
Wild turkey terrorizes bankers, townspeople
PLAINFIELD A wild turkey gave some bankers and townspeople a run for their money two days before Thanksgiving.
The hen turkey, weighing 15 to 20 pounds, staked out some turf at the Jewett City Savings Bank on Tuesday and cornered customers as they tried to enter. The bird first charged Dianne Beaulac, a customer service representative at the bank.
It took hours before town employees, crawling along the building's roof and chasing the bird around the parking lot, cornered it. Donald Tetreault, a highway employee who raises geese and chickens, finally caught the bird. Animal control officials took the turkey to a state forest.

GEORGIA
More cervical cancer in Hispanics, elderly
ATLANTA Hispanic women develop cervical cancer almost twice as often as other women, indicating that not enough are having Pap tests, federal officials said yesterday.
The study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also found that older women of all ethnic groups were more likely to show advanced cases of the disease when first diagnosed.
For the study, the CDC analyzed 14,759 new invasive cervical cancer cases between 1992 and 1999. The disease was found at a rate of 16.9 per 100,000 Hispanic women 30 and older, compared with 8.9 per 100,000 non-Hispanic women.
Forty percent of the patients were diagnosed with advanced cases of the disease; among women 50 or older, the rate rose to 52 percent.

IDAHO
Mayor takes heat for big spending
BOISE City Council members criticized Mayor Brent Coles for spending nearly $1,900 in tax money to take the city attorney and two others to dinner and a Broadway show in New York.
Mr. Coles said he considered the dinner and show as the attorney's annual bonus. But he repaid the city and apologized.

ILLINOIS
Ashcroft authorizes pursuit of death penalty
CHICAGO Attorney General John Ashcroft authorized federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty for a Chicago foot doctor accused of killing a witness in an investigation of $1.25 million in Medicare fraud.
Dr. Ronald Mikos, 53, is accused of shooting Joyce Brannon, 54, a former patient, four days before she was to appear before a federal grand jury. The government says Dr. Mikos had claimed to have performed thousands of foot operations that never took place.

MAINE
Hunter's knife saves his life
AUGUSTA It wasn't a gun that saved hunter Keith Ellis' life it was his knife.
Mr. Ellis, 41, escaped serious injury Monday when a .243-caliber bullet grazed his hip and hit his knife while he was hunting near his home in a rural part of Augusta.
Game wardens believe the bullet came from the gun of a 13-year-old boy who was in a tree stand and was hunting with his father, said spokesman Mark Latti of the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department.
The bullet grazed Mr. Ellis' hip and deflected off his folding knife, which he was carrying in a leather sheath on his belt.

MASSACHUSETTS
Students who fail test to get certificate
WILMINGTON The state Board of Education voted Tuesday to create a "certificate of attainment" for students who don't pass the state test now required for graduation but meet all other requirements.
The 8-1 vote came despite criticism that the certificate would create a tier of students with limited prospects for jobs or college.

MICHIGAN
Families may secede from tiny city
OMER A tiny Michigan city may soon get tinier.
Cheryl and Kevin Perry and Cheryl Perry's parents want to secede from Omer, population 337, and attach to neighboring Arenac Township. The issue goes to voters in Omer and the township Dec. 17.
The families say they are tired of paying taxes for water service they don't get. To split from the city, Michigan law requires that voters give their approval.


NEVADA
Lawsuit says grazing could harm fish
RENO Conservation groups this week sued two federal agencies, accusing them of allowing livestock grazing that could harm a species of trout.
The bull trout was listed in 1999 as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Its southernmost surviving population in North America numbers perhaps in the hundreds in the Jarbidge River along the Nevada-Idaho border.
The suit says the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management allow grazing and other activities in the Jarbidge watershed without consulting the Fish and Wildlife Service as required.
The lawsuit says grazing is harmful because it removes vegetation, increases erosion and changes water quality.

NEW HAMPSHIRE
State to join suit about air standards
CONCORD New Hampshire will join eight other Northeastern states in a lawsuit against the Bush administration about its decision to relax air pollution standards for power plants.
The Northeastern states and environmental groups say the new regulations represent failure to enforce the Clean Air Act.

NEW MEXICO
Los Alamos lab warns of radioactive trees
LOS ALAMOS Workers trying to thin forests near Los Alamos National Laboratory have been told not to remove trees cut down in certain areas because they might be radioactive, lab officials said Tuesday.
"The lab has identified a few patches in a zone not heavily forested that was surveyed before and after experiments in the 1940s and 1950s," said Jim Danneskiold, a spokesman for the lab in New Mexico where the first atomic bomb was built in 1945. "As a precaution, we've told [workers] to steer clear of those areas."
The trees are located in Bayo Canyon, a destination about 40 miles northwest of Santa Fe that is popular with horseback riders and hikers.

NEW YORK
Mayor signs bill for higher wages
NEW YORK Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg signed into law yesterday a bill that guarantees at least $8.10 an hour plus health benefits for 50,000 health care workers employed by companies with city contracts.
The law covers teachers who care for cerebral palsy patients, day care workers and home care attendants.
The wages will start at a minimum of $8.10 per hour this year and increase annually until the pay rate reaches $10 per hour in July 2006. The state minimum wage is $5.15 an hour.
An earlier version of the legislation would have required some companies to provide wage subsides to 2,700 janitors, security guards and other personnel.

NORTH CAROLINA
State sets up innocence panel
RALEIGH A group of legal authorities has created an unprecedented commission that will review how innocent people are convicted and how to free them when it happens.
The N.C. Actual Innocence Commission was convened for the first time last week by I. Beverly Lake Jr., chief justice of the state Supreme Court. State Attorney General Roy Cooper, a prosecutor, a public defender, several law professors, judges and law enforcement officials are on the panel.
Concentrating on procedures, not individual cases, the group will consider ways to improve crime investigations and trials. It also will consider proposing a review for claims of innocence beyond the normal appeal process.
Chief Justice Lake said he was motivated to establish the commission because of a high-profile string of wrong convictions in the state. They include the convictions of Ronald Cotton and Lesly Jean, who each spent about a decade in prison for rapes that DNA tests later showed they had not committed.
OHIO
Turkey disappears as Thanksgiving nears
OBERLIN A turkey that spooked children and left telltale droppings on backyard decks in this campus community has mysteriously disappeared just as the Thanksgiving holiday arrives.
"As far as we know, it's still out there," Dan Kramer, a wildlife management supervisor for 19 northeast Ohio counties, said Tuesday. He said there was no reason to believe the turkey was headed to someone's holiday dinner table.
The Ohio Division of Wildlife got at least 20 complaints about the bird and tried unsuccessfully to find it. A school principal had warned children that the turkey was becoming bolder and had sharp talons.

OREGON
Ex-Miss America plans summer wedding
PORTLAND Former Miss America Katie Harman is set to become a Mrs.
The 22-year-old is engaged to her beau of five months, Air National Guard fighter pilot Capt. Tim Ebner, who proposed about three weeks ago, on one knee, a diamond ring waiting on his Bible and red roses scattered around the house.
The Oregonian reported yesterday that the couple, who began dating in June, are planning a wedding for the summer and looking for a home near Portland State University, where Miss Harman returns to school in January.
The couple met in May, when Miss Harman appeared at a Portland air base.

PENNSYLVANIA
Schizophrenic accused of killing his parents
STATE COLLEGE When the "droids" attacked, 24-year-old Daniel Opdenhoff got a baseball bat and fought back. When the battle was over, authorities said, Mr. Opdenhoff diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic had fatally battered his parents.
He admitted hitting his father, a retired school superintendent, 25 times, and his mother 26 times, according to murder charges filed against him, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. On the account Mr. Opdenhoff gave police, his shaky grip on reality ended with the attack of the droids.
Droids, for those unschooled in science fiction, are fighter robots, the stuff of comic-book fantasy. But Mr. Opdenhoff said they were real that day.

RHODE ISLAND
Court denies bail for ex-mayor
PROVIDENCE A federal court yesterday rejected former Mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci Jr.'s bid to stay out of prison while he appeals his corruption conviction.
Cianci, 61, was found guilty in June and sentenced to more than five years behind bars for his part in a City Hall bribery scheme in which tax breaks, jobs and favors could be had for a price.
His attorneys had asked that he be allowed to remain free on bail, arguing that the conviction is likely to be overturned. But prosecutors disputed that, and the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston ruled against him.

TEXAS
Jurors convict ex-officials of fraud
BEAUMONT Jurors convicted a former mayor and a former City Council member of conspiracy and fraud.
The panel found former Mayor David Moore guilty of 13 charges and former City Council member John K. Davis guilty of 11 charges. They were accused of taking money from a San Antonio developer.


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