- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 1, 2002


Sheriff likely to face tough re-election

LEXINGTON With his pink jail cells, tinted cruiser windows and paramilitary-style uniforms, Sheriff Gerald Hege has always cut a flamboyant figure in largely rural Davidson County.

During the summer, though, Sheriff Hege lost a bit of his swagger.

Three of his officers were sent to federal prison for involvement in a drug ring. And his department has been dogged by the still-unresolved case of a 2-year-old boy fatally shot as he played in his driveway.

Though Sheriff Hege is favored to win a third four-year term in November, the Republican is expected to face a tough challenge from Democrat Roy Holman.

"He's the wrong man. He's the wrong sheriff," said Mr. Holman, a 61-year-old retired state highway patrolman making his second run against Sheriff Hege. "Everybody thinks that we're crime-ridden here in this little, rural county that's a nice hometown county."


'Baywatch' actor living dry life

RADNOR As David Hasselhoff returns to the beaches of Hawaii for a "Baywatch" reunion, he said he's coming back a changed man from the time he starred on the popular television show.

After a long battle with alcohol, Mr. Hasselhoff said he is living a dry life.

"I was spinning out of control," he told TV Guide for its Oct. 5 issue. "Some people can have a few drinks, and others cannot."

Mr. Hasselhoff is in Hawaii filming a "Baywatch" television movie, "Baywatch Hawaiian Wedding," scheduled to air on Fox in March.


State to increasealcohol taxes

ANCHORAGE Liquor merchants and drinkers are stocking up on booze to avoid a spike in alcohol taxes coming today, when Alaska becomes the state with the highest alcohol excise tax in the United States.

The tax on a bottle of wine will go from 17 cents to 50 cents, on a six-pack of beer from 20 cents to 60 cents and on a bottle of hard liquor from $1.10 to $2.54.

Liquor dealers fought off an increase for years, but Alaska is now facing a huge budget deficit, officials said.


Students say noto fancy pork tacos

BERKELEY Pizzas have beaten out fancy pork tacos at Berkeley High School.

Students have gone back to fast food and pizza because students showed little interest in the specially delivered gourmet meals that had been offered, school officials said.

Last year, Berkeley High invited local restaurateurs to sell their goods on campus. Soon, chefs were serving up organic pork tacos and bike messengers brought in hormone-free chicken sandwiches.

School officials hoped students would eat healthier and want to spend their lunch break on campus, but the idea never really caught on, and the number of meals consumed at the school's food court dropped 33 percent.


Businesses to enforceanti-smoking law

DOVER State health officials said they will rely mostly on business owners to help them enforce an anti-smoking law that takes effect in November.

The law bans smoking in most indoor public places, including restaurants, bowling alleys, bars and casinos.

The state won't hire any new staff because its tight budget already faces cuts.


Governor issuesstays of executions

TALLAHASSEE Gov. Jeb Bush issued temporary stays of execution yesterday for two inmates who have dropped their appeals, saying he needed to determine whether they are mentally competent. One of the two is one of the few female serial killers.

Triple killer Rigoberto Sanchez-Velasco had been scheduled to die by injection tomorrow, and serial killer Aileen Wuornos is scheduled to die next week.

Mr. Bush asked psychiatrists to examine both inmates. The stays could be lifted if there are findings of competency, the governor's office said.

Both Sanchez-Velasco and Wuornos have fired their state-appointed attorneys and dropped their appeals.


Authorities investigatemisuse of student aid

ATLANTA Federal authorities are investigating possible misuse of millions of dollars in financial aid at Morris Brown College, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Morris Brown must repay the federal government $5.4 million because it hasn't proved the aid went to the right students between 1995 and 2002. It owes Georgia more than $1 million.

More than 90 percent of Morris Brown's 2,547 students depend on financial aid.


Actor releasedfrom hospital

BOISE Oscar-winning actor George Kennedy was released from the hospital yesterday after successfully undergoing a hip replacement, an emergency heart bypass and sleep disorder treatment.

Mr. Kennedy, 77, entered St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in early September for the scheduled hip replacement when tests indicated the need for triple bypass surgery.

Doctors said sleep apnea, in which regular breathing is interrupted for short periods by a blocked upper airway, had weakened Mr. Kennedy's lungs, kidneys and heart. Had they tried to replace the hip, doctors said Mr. Kennedy, who won a supporting-actor Oscar for 1967's "Cool Hand Luke," could have died because of his weakened heart.


Cop on surveillancesurprises robbers

CHICAGO It was hard to say whether the cops or the robbers were more shocked when two men tried to burglarize a minivan that was occupied by a police officer on an undercover surveillance.

The incident happened last week in a commuter parking lot for the railroad. Transit police were watching the lot after commuters reported stereos, cash, cell phones and CDs being stolen from their cars. The officer watched as the men got out of their car, looked in the windows of parked cars and pulled on door handles.

When the pair opened the van's sliding side door, Officer Jessie Watts Jr. jumped out with his gun drawn and told them to get down. Police said they later found stolen stereo equipment and burglary tools in the men's car.

Robinson Morales, 25, and Fiore Petrassi, 20, were charged with theft, attempted theft and criminal trespass.


Settlement of suitcosts county $600,000

NEW ALBANY A settlement of Floyd County's practice of strip-searching people held on minor offenses is expected to cost the county only about half of the $1.3 million it expected to pay, officials said.

About 600 people responded by a Sept. 1 deadline to become eligible for $1,000-a-person payment in the settlement of a federal lawsuit. More than 2,700 former inmates were eligible, officials said.


Bunkhouse becomesa recruiting tool

MONROE The new cement block building on a shady patch of the sprawling Bale Farm hardly looks cutting edge. Nor does its purpose a bunkhouse for migrant workers sound especially impressive.

But people who understand the labor intensity of large-scale tobacco farming, or who fret about treatment of migrant workers, see it as an innovation on both fronts.

Clean, spacious and well-equipped, the bunkhouse was first and foremost a business decision by Tommy Bale, a way to get a leg up in an unending competition for workers.

"I have to have a steady stream of labor in what I do," said Mr. Bale, who manages his family's 4,000-acre tobacco and cattle farm in western Kentucky. "If they're comfortable, they're going to do a good job working."


Feds to fund homefor research chimps

SHREVEPORT The federal government has agreed to provide money to develop a home in Louisiana for aging chimpanzees once used for scientific and medical research.

Congress passed legislation last year that dedicates up to $30 million for construction and ongoing care of chimpanzees. Chimp Haven Inc., a nonprofit group founded in 1995 to develop a facility for the chimps, has been raising the necessary matching funds for construction and continuing care of the animals.

The facility is expected to be complete in the Eddie D. Jones Nature Park in southwest Caddo Parish by 2004. It will initially hold 75 chimpanzees and eventually will hold 300 chimps. In addition to former research animals, the haven will be for chimps no longer kept as pets or used in the entertainment business.


Thirty-seven birdstest positive for virus

AUGUSTA A total of 37 dead birds in Maine have tested positive for West Nile virus so far and state officials say more cases can be expected in the coming weeks.

"The intensity of West Nile virus is still increasing," said Kathleen Gensheimer, the state epidemiologist. "Mosquito season is not yet over and we should expect to see additional West Nile virus activity for several more weeks."

More than half the birds were found in Cumberland County, with the largest concentration in the greater Portland area. The virus has been detected in mosquitos, birds, horses and humans in 42 states and the District of Columbia so far this year.

There have been no human cases in Maine, but state health officials said they aren't ruling out that one could turn up this year.


Widows of firefightersreject settlements

FRAMINGHAM Widows of four firefighters killed in a 1999 warehouse fire in Worcester are pressing ahead with negligence lawsuits against the building's owner.

The families rejected an out-of-court settlement of $166,667 and are seeking $2.5 million each. Families of two other firefighters killed in the fire accepted the settlement.

The warehouse owner said he wasn't to blame for the fire.


Scout combatsWest Nile virus

FERNDALE A Boy Scout hopes to combat the mosquito-borne West Nile virus by using a weapon from Mother Nature.

Erich Bergmann, 17, of Gross Pointe Woods, got unanimous approval this week to build bat houses in Ferndale, where at least two residents have died of the virus, the Detroit Free Press reported Friday.

Eric said bats will eat mosquitoes, and Ferndale Mayor Bob Porter praised the teen's idea.

"I think it's marvelous a young man who saw a problem and came up with a creative solution," Mr. Porter said. Sixteen Michigan residents have died of the virus, and 37 percent of the state's official cases have been in surrounding Oakland County.


Banks post signsto stem robberies

SPRINGFIELD To reduce crime, banks in the area are trying to unmask robbers before they come in.

Officials of several financial institutions in the Springfield area, seeking to stem a rise in robberies, will post polite signs asking visitors to doff their hats and sunglasses as they enter.

The goal is to get customers and the criminal-minded who might be moving among them to remove items that hide their faces.

Twenty-six banks and credit unions with 141 locations in the Ozarks have joined the sign-posting initiative, which was announced last week by the Springfield Police Department and modeled on a Massachusetts program.


Judge fines statein nuclear waste fight

LINCOLN A federal judge fined Nebraska $151 million yesterday for thwarting a plan to open a radioactive waste dump in a remote county.

U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf agreed with utilities and other states that sued former Gov. Ben Nelson, accusing him of acting in bad faith when he refused to issue a license for the multistate dump in 1998.

"Nebraska breached its good-faith obligation under the contract," the judge wrote.

He added: "I hope that this opinion will not be misused for partisan political purposes. Nebraskans have had quite enough of that self-serving behavior."


Priest acknowledgessexual relationship

CONCORD A Roman Catholic priest acknowledged to his parishioners that he had a sexual relationship with a teenage male during the 1980s, but said the young man was at least 18 at the time.

The Rev. Roland Cote read a letter Sunday to parishioners at St. Patrick Church in Jaffrey, asking forgiveness and describing the relationship, which he said lasted five or six years starting in 1985.

"What I did was wrong, but it did not involve a minor or a parishioner," he said.

Bishop John B. McCormack also wrote a letter to the congregation, saying that though Father Cote's actions were wrong, they did not violate the Diocese of Manchester's policies on sex abuse.


Terrorism victimsoffered compensation

NEW YORK The September 11 victims fund has offered awards averaging about $1.75 million to families in 14 closely watched cases in which most of the deceased had earned less than $100,000 a year, a legal group said yesterday.

These are the first awards offered to families represented by Trial Lawyers Care, formed by the personal injury bar to provide free legal services to those applying to the fund.

"We now see that this fund is going to work," Larry Stewart, the outgoing president of Trial Lawyers Care, told a news conference.

Mr. Stewart said more than half of the 14 families have accepted the awards and he expects the rest to do the same soon. The beneficiaries must give up their right to sue and seek damages from any defendant, including the airlines and the owners of the World Trade Center.


Court to hearappeals at schools

BISMARCK North Dakota's Supreme Court will hear appeals at two rural high schools in the next three weeks.

The justices were scheduled to travel to Crosby, in North Dakota's northwestern corner, yesterday to consider a probation case. On Oct. 16, they will hear arguments on a murder appeal at Fessenden, in central North Dakota.

Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle says the hearings will give students a chance to see how the court operates.


Thurmond mournsex-secretary's death

COLUMBIA Holly Johnston Richardson, who served as personal secretary to Republican Sen. Strom Thurmond, for more than 20 years, died yesterday of cancer, reports the State.

Miss Richardson, 48, joined Mr. Thurmond's re-election campaign in 1978 and became his personal secretary in Washington the following year.

In an address to the Senate on yesterday, Mr. Thurmond said Miss Richardson was a close friend and trusted staff member.

"She was my right hand. My trusted adviser. My vital link to literally thousands of South Carolina friends, constituents and family members," Mr. Thurmond said.


Mother of octupletsgives birth again

LEAGUE CITY The seven surviving Texas octuplets now have a little sister.

Nkem Chukwu, the only woman known to have delivered eight living babies from one pregnancy, gave birth to Ifeoma Chukwu on Aug. 22.

In 1998, Mrs. Chukwu delivered one baby Dec. 8, while the seven others arrived 12 days later. The smallest died after one week, but the others five girls and two boys have grown up without complications.

Like her siblings, Ifeoma was born at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in Houston. Her birthweight of 6 pounds 15 ounces, was a far cry from her siblings, who ranged from 11 ounces to 1 pound 11 ounces.


Residents haveno polling place

SALT LAKE CITY Nearly 3,000 Salt Lake County residents will have no polling place to go to on Election Day.

Residents of precincts with too few voters will have to mail a ballot postmarked by Nov. 4 for the Nov. 5 election.

Officials blame the dilemma on the Republican-controlled Legislature and its gerrymandering. GOP lawmakers suggest any fault lies with Democratic County Clerk Sherrie Swensen.


Ex-musicians managerdies at 88

SEATTLE Harriet Burnstine Joslyn, a former manager for two leading jazz musicians in the 1950s and '60s, died Sept. 22. She was 88.

A lifelong jazz and dance enthusiast, she became the manager for trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison, soloist in the Count Basie big band, and pianist Errol Garner.

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