- The Washington Times - Friday, October 11, 2002


Statue placed atop Statehouse

TOPEKA - Construction workers once again hoisted a statue of a Kansa Indian to its place atop the Statehouse dome yesterday, while officials on the ground hoped the second attempt would be the last.

Hundreds of people had watched on Monday as a crane lifted the bronze statue 300 feet to the top, but workers had trouble bolting it to the dome, and the statue came down a few hours later. Workers redrilled some of the bolt holes before the second try yesterday.

"There's no question about it. All the bolts fit perfectly," project manager Gregg Lynch said in declaring the second attempt a success.

The 4,100-pound statue, by Kansas sculptor Richard Bergen, depicts a loincloth-clad hunter with his bow drawn and arrow pointed to the North Star. Its name, "Ad Astra," comes from the state motto, "Ad Astra Per Aspera," which is Latin for "To the Stars Through Difficulties."


Nimoy dropped from fund-raiser

SEATTLE - The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle has dropped Leonard Nimoy from its Oct. 23 fund-raiser because of images in the former "Star Trek" star's art-photography book of naked and partially dressed women, some with Jewish ritual items.

Federation director Barry Goren withdrew the invitation Wednesday in an "unpleasant" conversation, Mr. Nimoy, 71, a Jew who grew up in an Orthodox household and is now Reform, told the Seattle Times.

The umbrella Jewish community group, which has about 4,500 regular donors, could not afford to jeopardize the annual fund-raiser, which produced about $10 million last year, Mr. Goren said.

Comedian Al Franken, author of "Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot And Other Observations," has been booked as a replacement, Mr. Goren said.


Phones jammed by calls from jobless

MONTGOMERY The state stopped accepting applications for unemployment benefits in person, relying instead on a telephone system.

But the change has resulted in phone lines swamped by 8,000 calls a week and callers hit with long-distance charges.

State industrial relations officials said they are working on the problems.


Testimony heard in profiling case

FLAGSTAFF Three judges began hearing testimony on whether state troopers unfairly stopped minority drivers to search of drugs.

More than a dozen black and Hispanic drivers are fighting drug transportation charges. Their cases are on hold until the judges determine whether racial profiling was a factor.

The Department of Public Safety denied the accusation.


Fall from redwood fatally injures activist

CORRALITOS A logging protester with the Earth First environmental group has died after a 50-foot fall from a redwood tree, Santa Clara County officials said yesterday.

The man, who was not identified, was found by loggers who heard moans in an area where a group of tree-sitters has been camped since August, Earth First said. It was not known how long the man had been on the ground.

The man was taken by helicopter to a San Jose hospital, but the county coroner's office said he had died.

The man had been living in the tree for several weeks but had never "tree sat" before.


State may set up rainy day fund

DENVER Colorado's state treasurer says it's time to start planning for the next economic downturn by setting up a rainy day fund.

Treasurer Mike Coffman is meeting with an economics professor at the University of Colorado to plan how money could be saved for use in hard times.


Misspent money found at divinity school

NEW HAVEN A state investigation into supposed financial mismanagement at Yale's Berkeley Divinity School found misspent scholarship money and little oversight of the school's credit cards.

The problems, identified Wednesday in a letter to the school from Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, have been corrected, officials at Berkeley and Yale University said.

Most of the problems cited in the attorney general's letter were identified earlier in an audit by Yale, which has a close affiliation with Berkeley.

Problems included loans to staff and advances on paychecks that were not repaid. Auditors and the attorney general said about $6,000 from Berkeley was used by William Franklin, the school's former dean, to pay the tuition of his daughter at Harvard Medical School.


Parents booked on neglect charges

FORT WALTON BEACH An 8-year-old girl, 91 cats and one old dog have been removed from a home where they had been living in filth with the child's parents, who were charged with child neglect, authorities say.

Police and Panhandle Animal Welfare Society officials said the home of Milan and Cynthia Jurkovic, who were arrested Wednesday and remained jailed yesterday, was covered in cat feces and reeked of urine.

The cats had overrun and all but destroyed three of the four bedrooms, said PAWS Executive Director Dee Thompson.


Transit officials to meet with disabled riders

ATLANTA A federal judge ordered the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority to meet with disabled riders and devise a plan to improve service for passengers who are blind, use wheelchairs or have other disabilities.

Judge Thomas Thrash gave the authority and riders who sued in November 30 days to file a report on their negotiations.


State employee accused of ID theft

SPRINGFIELD State officials urged 15,000 Department of Human Services workers to check their credit card bills after a former employee was accused of stealing the records of 5,000 co-workers.

Federal authorities believe the employee gave the information to a man in South Bend, Ind., who then opened credit-card accounts and fraudulently charged hundreds of thousands of dollars. No one has been charged.

"It's a broad investigation trying to determine just exactly how much damage has been done," said Christine Balzer, spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney in northern Indiana.

The scheme was discovered after state employees noticed problems in their credit reports.

The department employee was questioned and resigned in August, state officials said.


State recommends healthier school snacks

MUNSTER The State Medical Association plans to seek tougher standards for nutrition in schools.

The plan includes encouraging schools to stock healthier snacks in vending machines.

State Rep. Bill Friend intends to reintroduce legislation this year to keep non-nutritious drinks out of machines at elementary and middle schools. Last year's efforts failed.


Court upholds farmer's injury claim

DES MOINES The Iowa Supreme Court upheld a $700,000 judgment to a Clayton County farmer who argued that stray voltage from nearby power lines injured his dairy herd.

Interstate Power Co. claimed it shouldn't be held liable because it wasn't found to be negligent. Daniel Martins said his cows behaved oddly, refused to enter the barn and his milk production dropped.


Site is selected to honor firefighters

WORCESTER A committee has chosen a site for a memorial to six firefighters who died in a 1999 warehouse blaze.

It will stand next to the Fire Department headquarters on land used to train new firefighters.

The committee hopes to raise between $3 million and $5 million for the memorial. Groundbreaking is expected within 18 months.


School bus, truck collide; 21 injured

ERIE TOWNSHIP A steel-hauling truck rammed into the side of a school bus yesterday, injuring more than 20 persons, at least two critically.

"It was just bodies all over the place," said Cliff Moore, an Erie Township firefighter who said he arrived at the scene 30 seconds after the crash. The bus was taking kindergarten, first- and second-graders on a field trip.

A witness, Pat Labelle, who was driving behind the bus, said he took a first-aid kit from his car, ran to the bus and crawled into the back door, pulling children out because he feared there could be a fire.


$2.2 billion awarded in diluted drugs case

KANSAS CITY A jury awarded $2.2 billion yesterday to a cancer patient whose pharmacist watered down her chemotherapy drugs.

As the jurors left the courtroom, each of them hugged the woman, Georgia Hayes, who brought the first of more than 400 lawsuits against former pharmacist Robert R. Courtney.

"We wanted to send a message out to the world that it shouldn't have happened in the first place," juror Keith Freeberg said.

The award consists of $2 billion in punitive damages and more than $225 million in actual damages.

Courtney pleaded guilty earlier this year to diluting the chemotherapy drugs he prepared for Miss Hayes and other cancer patients. He faces up to 30 years in federal prison.


Girl makes good on Lands' End

HELENA Clad in a parka and cap, Helena's Olivia Johnson graces the latest cover of the winter Lands' End catalog, arm in arm with a fictional mother on a real Montana ranch.

But the bright-eyed 7-year-old is more intent on talking American presidents than she is modeling sessions and commercial shoots, the Independent reports.

The best part of her photo shoot last April in Big Sky, she says, was getting to ice skate and eat Gummi Bears. Her mother, Kim Johnson, can only smile.

"I'm not one of those parents that drags her to these tryouts," Mrs. Johnson said. "I would never think about doing that."

Kurt Keller Photography took Olivia's picture, a resume head shot, when she entered the Grandstreet Theatre School. The photo ended up on file with the Adams-O'Connell Talent Agency.


Mayor gets a job drinking martinis

LAS VEGAS What's a better job than mayor of Las Vegas? How about getting paid to drink martinis?

Mayor Oscar Goodman, who boasts publicly about his drinking, has sealed a $100,000 contract to endorse Bombay Sapphire gin.

Mr. Goodman is inviting Robin Leach, Charo and former Motley Crue frontman Vince Neil to sip martinis with him at a party today celebrating the endorsement.

He plans to donate his earnings to charity.

Today's "happy hour" is the most high-profile of five evening drinking sessions Mr. Goodman has hosted. The city dubs the alcohol-filled meetings with Las Vegas residents "Martinis With the Mayor." Bombay will now be the gin of choice at such events.


Student pleads guilty to carrying box cutters

CAMDEN A Bulgarian law student who attempted to board a plane in Atlantic City last month with two box cutters and scissors struck a plea agreement yesterday that calls for him to leave the country.

Nikolay V. Dzhonev, 21, pleaded guilty to knowingly and willfully violating airport rules. Under the agreement with prosecutors, he was sentenced to five years' probation and ordered to leave the country. He had been charged with attempting to board a plane with a concealed weapon.

Prosecutors said the government does not believe Dzhonev had any terrorist intentions.

The law student plans to return to Bulgaria tomorrow.


Businessman begins write-in campaign

PAWTUCKET Less than a month before Election Day, a local businessman started a write-in campaign to try to unseat embattled House Speaker John Harwood.

Bruce Bayuk, 59, announced his campaign Wednesday, surrounded by Democratic and Republican heavyweights, including a gubernatorial candidate.

A former legislative worker has accused Mr. Harwood of sexual harassment.


War hero stricken with aneurysm

SIOUX FALLS Joe Foss, former South Dakota governor and a World War II ace, suffered an apparent aneurysm Monday at Beaverton, Mich., according to the Argus-Leader.

Mr. Foss, a retired U.S. Marine major and past president of the National Rifle Association, was listed in critical but stable condition Wednesday night at Covenant Medical Center Cooper in Saginaw.

The 87-year-old was visiting Beaverton when he fell ill Monday night and was taken by air ambulance to the regional medical center.

Christine Bergman, a spokesman for the 700-bed regional medical center, said only that Mr. Foss' condition had not changed since he was admitted Tuesday afternoon. She did not confirm whether the aneurysm was near his brain or abdomen or if it had ruptured.


Election still held despite blank ballots

JACKSON In the small town of Guys, it certainly wasn't politics as usual.

In Saturday's alderman election, voters were faced with blank ballots because no candidate filed the paperwork in time. Two at-large alderman seats were filled with write-in candidates.

L.B. "Pete" Rinehart, one of the incumbent aldermen elected, said the July 18 qualifying deadline "passed without me even knowing it."

Mr. Rinehart got 50 votes, not a bad showing from the 140 voters who turned out in the town of 500 people.


Councilmen arrested in bribery probe

SAN ANTONIO Two San Antonio City Council members have been indicted on charges they accepted bribes in exchange for voting to give a law firm a city contract.

Two lawyers also were arrested in the case, which the FBI's top agent in the city said was only the beginning of a broader probe into corruption.

Agents on Wednesday arrested council members John Sanders, 50, and Enrique Martin, 38, and lawyers Jack Pytel, 57, and Juan Pena, 51.

The four were indicted by a federal grand jury on a total of nine bribery-related counts.


Group faults Capitol statue

CHARLESTON A new Capitol grounds statue honoring coal miners should not include an illustration depicting mountaintop removal mining, a public advocacy group said yesterday.

The statue's 5-foot-high black marble base includes a bas-relief panel depicting a dragline, along with three other panels depicting pick-and-shovel mining, a continuous miner and long-wall mining.

Yet to be installed are a donors plaque on the rear panel, an inscription honoring miners on the front panel, and the statue, a 7-foot bronze miner.

Linda Mallet of West Virginia Citizen Action Group said polls show more than half of West Virginians oppose mountaintop removal mining.

She also said mountaintop removal methods have been linked to repeated flooding that has devastated communities in the southern West Virginia coalfields since 2001.


Report: Man killed by mob was drunk

MILWAUKEE The man who was fatally beaten, reportedly by a mob of children, was legally intoxicated that night, according to a medical examiner's report.

Tests determined that 36-year-old Charlie Young's blood-alcohol level was 0.10 percent when he was admitted to the hospital shortly after the Sept. 29 attack, according to the report from the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office. That level is considered evidence of intoxication in Wisconsin.

A mob made up mostly of boys beat Mr. Young with broomsticks, folding chairs and a milk crate as he lay on a porch, authorities have said. He died two days later.

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