- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Ryder's absence postpones trial
BEVERLY HILLS Winona Ryder didn't appear in court yesterday for the start of her trial on shoplifting charges, prompting a judge to postpone her case for a day.
Judge Elden J. Fox delayed the trial until today after prosecutors and Miss Ryder's attorney met in his chambers. The judge, who said the actress was absent because of an "unusual" circumstance, previously said she should have been present yesterday unless otherwise notified by the court.
Lawyer Shepard Kopp appeared yesterday on Miss Ryder's behalf; her lead attorney, Mark Geragos, was not present. Neither was immediately available for comment.
Miss Ryder, the 30-year-old star of such films as "Girl, Interrupted" and "Little Women," will stand trial on charges of felony grand theft, burglary and vandalism. She faces up to three years in prison if convicted.

Residents warned of Mauna Loa activity
VOLCANO Mauna Loa is stirring after 18 years of inactivity, and an eruption could devastate the neighborhoods built on the volcano's slopes in the intervening years, scientists said Monday.
Lava could reach Hilo on the eastern side of the Big Island and the Gold Coast resorts of Kona in the west, and inundate neighborhoods in the southwest rift zone above South Point potentially without much warning, said Peter Cervelli, a research geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Service's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
Scientists from Stanford University recently joined the observatory in monitoring the 13,500-foot-tall volcano, which began to stir on May 12.
"We're at a stage where it's months to years, rather than days to weeks," before the next eruption, Mr. Cervelli said.

Lawyer offended by Ten Commandments
MONTGOMERY A lawyer testified yesterday that he was stunned and offended when he first saw a 5,300-pound monument to the Ten Commandments in the lobby of the Alabama Judicial Building.
"I was blown away by it," Stephen Glassroth said on the opening day of trial of his federal lawsuit seeking removal of the granite monument, moved into the building in the middle of the night by Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.
"It gave me the message this state's judiciary would look upon with favor those who subscribe to this particular creed," he testified.
Chief Justice Moore, a conservative Christian, contends the monument is a legal display intended to show that the biblical laws of God are the basis for the U.S. court system.

Villagers report seeing supersize bird
ANCHORAGE A giant winged creature, like something out of Jurassic Park, reportedly has been sighted several times in southwest Alaska in recent weeks.
Villagers in Togiak and Manokotak say they have seen a huge bird that is much bigger than anything they have seen before, the Anchorage Daily News reports.
A pilot says he spotted the creature while flying passengers to Manokotak last week. He calculated that its wingspan matched the length of a 14-foot wing on his Cessna 207.
Scientists aren't sure what to make of the reports. No one doubts that people in the region west of Dillingham have seen a very large raptorlike bird. But biologists and other people familiar with big Alaska birds say they are skeptical it's that big.

Honored war veteran dies at 89
WEST HARTFORD John Myron Rockmore, a Legion of Merit medal recipient who helped shape mental health programs in the U.S. military and Connecticut, died Saturday. He was 89.
Mr. Rockmore was the chief military psychiatric social worker of the Army from 1942 to 1946. He earned the Legion of Merit award for his contributions to mental health programs in the armed services after World War II.
After the war, he served as a consultant to the Army's surgeon general.
Mr. Rockmore took a job in 1954 with what is now the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services as the agency's first director of psychiatric social services.

Evacuation evokes anger, tears
WILMINGTON As the last of 650 tenants of Fenwick Park Apartments moved out Monday from homes condemned because of suspected health threats from mold, the owners' attorney said they would hire a consultant to determine the condition of the buildings, the News-Journal reports.
Elsmere officials had told residents they had to be out by 5 p.m. Monday, but that hour passed with people still lugging boxes and bags from their apartments and stuffing loose items into their cars.
Town officials planned to remain at the complex through the night, Councilwoman Patricia Frantz said. Once residents finished moving, the buildings would be secured, she said.

Judge to keep Bush hearing open
ORLANDO Gov. Jeb Bush's daughter cannot have her drug-court hearings closed to the public, a judge ruled yesterday.
Circuit Judge Reginald Whitehead said that Florida's drug courts are criminal proceedings and are open to the public. He weighed the patient's right to privacy against the public's right to access to court proceedings.
"Drug court status hearings must be open to all participants so that all participants can observe each other's successes and failures," the judge wrote.
Judge Whitehead scheduled a hearing for tomorrow to determine if Noelle Bush, 25, can stay in her drug-treatment program or whether she will be returned to the regular criminal justice system.

State begins clemency hearings
CHICAGO Illinois' capital punishment system went on trial yesterday in the first of nine days of clemency hearings for nearly every inmate on death row.
Illinois Prisoner Review Board member Victor Brooks opened one of the first of at least 140 clemency hearings with an apology to family members of victims for forcing them to "revisit the unwarranted carnage inflicted on their lives."
But at one of the first hearings, a family member left the packed room in tears. Emma Jean Burts lost three children in a fire that Leonard Kidd was convicted of setting. Kidd, 48, was convicted in the 1980 fire that killed Mrs. Burts' children and seven others, as well as the 1984 stabbing deaths of four persons.

Five persons killed in car crash
LARWILL A car pulled into the path of a tractor-trailer in northeastern Indiana, killing the woman driving the car and her four children.
The car exited a driveway around 6 p.m. Monday and was hit by the tractor-trailer on U.S. 30 near Larwill, about 25 miles west of Fort Wayne, said Joel Frank, a Whitley County sheriff's dispatcher.
The car's driver, Penny Eppelmann, 36, was thrown from her vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene, Deputy Marcus Gatton said. Also dead at the scene were sons Christopher, 16; David, 14; and Shane, 12; and a daughter, Jamie, 9.
The truck's driver, Rex L. Brower, 22, suffered minor injuries.

Rail car became a tomb
DENISON The bodies of as many as 11 persons were found inside a railroad car stored at a grain elevator.
The car had been latched on the outside, and there was no evidence of any food or water inside, Crawford County Sheriff Tom Hogan said yesterday.
The victims apparently had boarded the rail car in Mexico four months ago and might have been smuggled into the country, said Jerry Heinauer, district director of the Immigration and Naturalization Service for Nebraska and Iowa.
It was difficult to count the huddled bodies, Mr. Hogan said. Authorities had said there were as many as 11.

Insurance commissioner reports to prison
OADKALE Suspended Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Brown walked into the federal prison here yesterday to begin a half-year sentence for lying to an FBI agent.
"See you in six months. Bye-bye," said Brown, upbeat despite beginning a sentence for a crime he said he did not commit.
Brown was convicted in October 2000 of making false statements to the FBI about his role in a state settlement with a failed insurance company.
Brown said yesterday he was optimistic and that he expected the prison sentence to pass quickly.

Superintendent resigns after porn charge
WESTPHALIA A school superintendent who reportedly lured a 15-year-old girl to a motel room and took pornographic pictures of her resigned.
Danny Johnson, 48, had been superintendent of the Osage County School District for seven years.
Mr. Johnson was charged last week with exploitation of a minor.

Mystery of burglaries in Yellowstone solved
BOZEMAN A trail of cigarette butts, footprints and a discarded pay stub helped investigators nab two men accused of burglarizing a dozen cabins outside West Yellowstone earlier this year.
Jarrod Eugene Veilleux, 24, and Karl Michael Raup, 21, face identical slates of 45 criminal charges, including multiple counts of theft, burglary and criminal mischief. They are being held at Gallatin County jail on $100,000 bail.
The men supposedly employed a variety of tactics in the break-ins, which occurred in May. They used a chain saw to cut through the door of one cabin; they used a car to ram a garage door at another, according to court papers.

Bowlers thwart kidnapping of girl
WINDHAM A group of bowlers who stopped a man from leaving a bowling alley with an 8-year-old girl helped thwart a kidnapping, authorities said.
Gerard Bean, 55, was arraigned on a charge of attempted child abduction yesterday, two days after he reportedly walked out of the bowling alley with the girl.
A judge set Mr. Bean's bail at $250,000 after prosecutor Catherine Baumann said Mr. Bean had been convicted of kidnapping and served time in prison from 1979 to 1988. No plea was entered.
Mr. Bean was arrested Sunday night after being confronted by several bowlers who saw the girl follow him out of Park Place Bowling Lanes, authorities said.

Ex-fiance turns over photos of beauty queen
LUMBERTON The former fiance of Rebekah Revels, the Miss North Carolina who resigned after the Miss America pageant learned about nude photos of her, turned over the pictures yesterday, her attorney said.
Lawyer Barry Nakell said in Robeson County court that Tosh Welch, an officer with the Cherokee Police Department, handed in the photographs just before his contempt hearing was to begin. Mr. Nakell would not describe the pictures in detail.
Miss Revels won the crown in June but resigned in July after the Miss America pageant received an e-mail indicating there were nude photos of her.
Miss Revels said she was changing clothes when Mr. Welch surprised her by snapping a picture of her topless.

City employees to get police protection
FARGO Police say they plan to step up patrols around the homes of some city employees involved in policy decisions after finding damage from rocks and graffiti at a city planner's home.

Evolution to be part of curriculum
COLUMBUS The state school board said yesterday it will adopt a science curriculum that leaves it up to school districts whether to teach the concept of "intelligent design," which holds that the universe is guided by a higher intelligence.
The board voted unanimously in favor of the standards, which emphasize both evolution and critical analysis of the theory. It will adopt them formally in December.
The standards put into writing what many school districts already do teach evolution, but also explain that there is debate over the origin of life.
"In no way does this advocate for creation or intelligent design," said Michael Cochran, a board member who had pushed for the concept to be included in the standards.

Lights go out as state cuts costs
OKLAHOMA CITY When the going gets tough, the government turns off the lights.
Beset by a budget shortfall running close to $200 million, Oklahoma state officials have removed up to half of the light bulbs from some state buildings to cut costs.
"We aren't going to make people work by candlelight or flashlight or anything like that," said Oklahoma Department of Central Services spokesman Tom Hall.
"It does add up. It adds up to a noticeable amount, although I'm not sure what it is," Mr. Hall said.

City considers ban on pet alligators
BEAVERTON Members of the City Council are considering an ordinance to add alligators to the list of animals that town residents can't keep as pets.
Lions, tigers and gorillas already are banned.
The proposal came after neighbors of a teenager complained about his pet alligator.

Mayor won't testify in race-riot case
YORK Former Mayor Charlie Robertson, on trial for supposedly handing out ammunition to white gangs that killed a young black woman during a 1969 race riot, told a judge yesterday that he would not testify.
Mr. Robertson said he reached the decision "under the advice of my attorneys."
Mr. Robertson, 68, and two others are charged in the murder of Lillie Belle Allen, a South Carolina woman who was visiting relatives in York when blacks and whites erupted into rioting in July 1969.
Miss Allen was fatally shot in a white neighborhood when a car carrying her and several family members stalled at a railroad crossing. Mr. Robertson, who was then a policeman, is charged with handing out ammunition to white gangs and urging them to exact revenge for the earlier killing of a white police officer.

Woman gives birth to granddaughters
RAPID CITY When Trish Roberts was 14, she learned she was born without a uterus, leaving her unable to bear children.
"We told her at that time, if the good Lord was willing, I would carry for her when the time came," said her mother, Sharon Dunn.
Mrs. Roberts and her husband, Mike, had a frustrating experience trying to adopt a child three years ago and then were reminded of a woman who carried twins for her daughter. The couple, both 25, took up Mrs. Dunn on her offer to be a surrogate mother.
On Thursday, Mrs. Dunn gave birth to her twin granddaughters, Kaitlyn and Shelby.

Fisherman finds body parts
JOHNSON CITY Authorities say a ritualistic slaying may be responsible for body parts found in a nearby lake.
A severed human head and two hands were found by fishermen in the lake during the weekend. The head had an apparent bullet wound.
Washington County Sheriff Fred Phillips said the brutal way the body parts were cut "lends itself to [the] appearance of something that could turn up to be ritualistic."
"I think what we're looking at is a very grisly murder," Mr. Phillips told the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

Unattended computer prompts evacuation
SEATTLE A United Airlines flight from New York City landed under military escort after a crew member found an unattended laptop computer under a seat, an airline spokeswoman said.
Passengers were evacuated as a precaution as soon as the plane landed Monday evening at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
They were bused to a nearby fire station and held there for about two hours until the computer was determined to be simply "a left laptop," airport spokeswoman Terri-Ann Mohon said.
The flight was United Flight 25 from John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Error makes city state's second-richest
NEW BERLIN Many New Berlin residents were left scratching their heads when they found out they were living in the second-richest city in the state.
The latest U.S. Census Bureau figures put the median income in the Waukesha County community at $152,338, right behind River Hills at $161,292.
"I knew it didn't make sense. But I thought, is that why we have so many banks in this city?" joked New Berlin Mayor Ted Wysocki.
He was right to be suspicious. An error was caused when a two-household, five-person tract wasn't incorporated into the larger census tract, thereby throwing off the calculations, said Dan Flynn, a spokesman for the U.S. Census Bureau.

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