- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 2, 2002


Judge releases man after DNA tests

BILLINGS A man who spent 15 years in prison on charges he raped an 8-year-old girl was freed yesterday at the urging of prosecutors who said DNA evidence proved his innocence.

Jimmy Ray Bromgard, 33, immediately turned and hugged family members in the courtroom.

"I never did think he did it in the first place," said Mr. Bromgard's mother, Dianna Merrill.

District Judge G. Todd Baugh approved the request by the Yellowstone County attorney and Montana Attorney General Mike McGrath, who had asked the judge to vacate Mr. Bromgard's convictions based on the results of DNA testing that wasn't widely used at the time of his trial.

Judge Baugh apologized to Mr. Bromgard and his family and ordered him to be freed immediately.


Creed fan is jailed for violating order

OKLAHOMA CITY A fan of the rock band Creed was in jail yesterday, accused of violating a restraining order filed by the group's lead singer.

Tamera Jeanine Andrade, 35, was arrested Saturday night before Creed's concert at the Ford Center.

Lead singer Scott Stapp filed the restraining order in Florida, police said.

Miss Andrade had a ticket to the show, a copy of the restraining order and a page from an address book with Mr. Stapp's home address when she was arrested outside the arena, police said.

The restraining order says she must stay at least 500 feet from any building where Mr. Stapp is, police said.


State enacts graduated licenses

MONTGOMERY A new law prohibits 16-year-old drivers from being on the road after midnight and from packing their cars with passengers.

The graduated drivers license law makes the state one of more than 40 trying to reduce traffic accidents caused by new drivers.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says 16-year-olds have crash rates five times higher than 18-year-olds.


State has lowest rich-poor gap

ANCHORAGE With its sheer size, brutal cold and long winter nights, Alaska is a land of extremes. But when it comes to wealth, it has the smallest gap between rich and poor of any state.

The findings are based on household-income data from the 2000 census. The Census Bureau measured the gap with a mathematical tool known as the Gini coefficient. A population with income distributed evenly would have a Gini coefficient of 0; one with the widest income disparity would have a Gini of 100. Nationwide, the gap between rich and poor during the 1990s went from 43.3 to 44.6.

The state with the largest gap was New York, at 49.4. The state with the smallest was Alaska, at 40.0. The median household income for Alaska in 1999 was $51,571, compared with $43,393 in New York.


Citizens to help pick pot plants

CANBY Here's your chance to pick pot plants and not worry about being busted.

Local authorities have asked private citizens to help shovel out more than 6,000 marijuana plants found growing in a Modoc National Forest canyon.

The marijuana plants were found last week in the Devils Garden section of the forest by Mike Crutcher, head of the Modoc County Drug Task Force, as he flew overhead on a routine reconnaissance flight.


Slain mom sought judge's protection

WELD COUNTY A single mother of two who was fatally shot and dumped on the side of a highway last week sought a judge's protection against her ex-boyfriend last year, court records show.

No suspects have been named in the slaying, but investigators want to talk to the former boyfriend, Steven Robles, 21. They have been unable to locate him, the Rocky Mountain News reports.

Jenifer Erickson, 24, told a Denver County judge that Mr. Robles went to her work twice during the summer of 2001.

When she did not appear for a court hearing extending the order, a judge rescinded it.


Officials expanding bike rack program

STAMFORD State officials are planning to expand a program to put bicycle racks on the front of CTTransit buses.

Six persons used the racks when the program began in Stamford a year ago. Last month, 194 bike riders boarded the buses.

CTTransit officials said they're planning to install racks on buses in New Haven next year and in Hartford by 2005.


Hurricane Lili delays Atlantis' launch

CAPE CANAVERAL NASA's first shuttle launch in four months was postponed yesterday because of Hurricane Lili.

The space agency did not want to take the chance of launching Atlantis today only to have the hurricane bear down on Houston, home to Mission Control. So NASA halted the countdown and aimed for another liftoff time, no earlier than tomorrow.

The mission to deliver another girder to the International Space Station is already six weeks late because of repairs to cracked pipes.


Emory staffer accuses professor of abuse

ATLANTA Emory University is investigating a complaint that law school professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning author David J. Garrow physically and verbally abused a university staff member.

Mr. Garrow, speaking through his attorney, denied the charges.

Gloria Mann, director of operations for Emory's law school, filed a civil complaint in DeKalb Superior Court that said Mr. Garrow "went into an uncontrollable rage" Sept. 19 and verbally abused her. When she tried to walk away, Mr. Garrow grabbed her by the wrists and pushed her backwards before two other employees intervened, the complaint said.

An arrest warrant was issued Sept. 24 charging Mr. Garrow with misdemeanor battery. He was arrested by Emory police, taken to the DeKalb County Jail and released after posting $120 bail.


Board OKs use of sacred site

HONOLULU The state land board has approved a movie company's use of a site considered sacred by Hawaiian royalty, but it imposed stringent conditions on the stunt planned for the film starring the Rock.

The state Board of Land and Natural Resources approved an action scene Monday that involves flipping a jeep off a rock outcropping next to Kapena Falls and into the pool beneath.

"The jeep will be steam-cleaned, have no engine, transmission or glass and will be removed after the stunt by helicopter to avoid damage to surrounding areas," the board said.


Minority kids' fractures prompt more suspicion

CHICAGO Black and Hispanic children hospitalized with broken bones suffered in accidents are far more likely than white youngsters to be checked for child abuse, a study found.

The findings, published in today's Journal of the American Medical Association, suggest that some doctors may be unfairly suspicious of minorities and are overlooking abuse among whites.

"This study is a reminder to be as thorough and objective as possible in evaluating children with injuries," said Dr. Cindy Christian, who led the study at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

The researchers said the findings bolster suspicions that abuse among white children is underdiagnosed.


Resignations shut down city business

LEWIS There'll be no city business conducted in this town until at least Dec. 3, and the reason is simple: There's no one left to conduct it.

Two City Council members and the city clerk resigned more than a week ago over personnel disagreements.

A special meeting was called over the weekend to appoint council members to open seats and to find temporary help to act as city clerk in the town of 500.

Then, before the meeting could be held, a third council member resigned, leaving the city without a quorum to conduct business.


No-call list affecting fund-raisers

LAWRENCE The state's telemarketing no-call list law won't be enforced until Nov. 1, but it's already affecting some fund-raising operations.

Many nonprofit organizations have given up on telemarketing even though the law doesn't apply to them.

The state troopers association is raising money by selling tickets to country music concerts. The sheriff's association is considering similar methods.


Panel urges tough stance on sex abuse

LOUISVILLE A Presbyterian Church panel investigating molestation assertions against a missionary said yesterday that church law should be changed so clergy and lay leaders are required to report child sex-abuse assertions to civil authorities.

The panel proposed the change to the denomination's Book of Order, or constitution, following its inquiry into claims of sexual and physical abuse of missionary children in Africa that spanned decades.


Biker stint leaves retiree in pain

SAGINAW Jim Zimmerman's brief fling as a tough biker ended in pain.

The retiree's misadventure began when, facing 60, he gave into a youthful yen and got a local dealership to deliver a new Harley-Davidson to his door.

"It was a mid-age crisis thing," Mr. Zimmerman said last week.

Ten seconds after he climbed aboard for the first time, he struck a neighbor's utility trailer at 40 mph and broke several ribs. The odometer logged a tenth of a mile.


Rain-drenched ordeal has happy ending

RIPLEY It's not likely either of them will remember exactly what happened on those two dark nights when they were alone together, stuck in sand in a remote area while tropical storm Isidore poured 7 inches of rain on their car.

A quick trip to deliver KeShawn to his mother a half-mile away led Alzheimer's patient Hugh Prather, 66, to be trapped by his disease and the storm last week, holding his 7-month-old grandnephew, KeShawn Lawrence, close to his chest, rocking him, praying for him.

Then, a few hours after daybreak, they were found. A wet, dirt-covered and scratched-up Mr. Prather was recognized by a road department worker who found him wandering near the gravel and sand pits.

Within an hour, baby KeShawn was found lying face down in the weeds, the shore of a small pond reaching his waist.


Task force member considering lottery

CARSON CITY At least one member of a task force studying state tax policies says a lottery should be considered.

The state is seeking ways to increase revenue, and one analyst estimates that a lottery would generate $50 million per year.


Enchilada festival has recipe for heartburn

LAS CRUCES Las Cruces came up with the perfect recipe for heartburn.

Combine 75 gallons of red chili, 50 pounds of onions, 175 pounds of cheese and 750 pounds of corn flour.

The three-layer enchilada, featuring 10-foot-wide tortillas, was fashioned Sunday as the culminating event of the annual Whole Enchilada Festival in Las Cruces.

Roberto Estrada, who has built the giant enchilada for the festival for 21 years, and his crew of nearly three dozen men took almost four hours to complete the main dish.


Publisher sues Rosie over magazine pullout

NEW YORK The publisher of Rosie magazine sued Rosie O'Donnell for $100 million yesterday for abruptly pulling out of the venture last month.

Gruner & Jahr Printing and Publishing Co. said in court papers that the former talk-show host breached her contract and publicly disparaged the magazine when she quit Rosie on Sept. 18.

The publisher and Miss O'Donnell had been feuding for months.


Patients sickened by contaminated drug

RALEIGH An elderly woman died and two others contracted meningitis after being injected with a contaminated painkiller at separate health clinics, state health officials said.

The three patients received spinal injections of the drug methylprednisolone a steroid used to treat joint pain between April and July, and later contracted meningitis.


Toy Hall of Fame leaves town

SALEM Say goodbye to Barbie, Raggedy Ann and Mr. Potato Head.

A.C. Gilbert's Discovery Village, which found a home for Barbie and her friends at the National Toy Hall of Fame, has sold the trademark and the collection to the Strong Museum in Rochester, N.Y.

Strong Museum, one of the top-rated children's museums in the nation, will open an expanded version of the museum when it opens a new wing in 2005.

Pam Vorachek, executive director of Discovery Village, told the Statesman Journal that the museum garnered substantial publicity whenever inductions were announced.


Father of TV Guide, Seventeen dies at 94

PHILADELPHIA Walter H. Annenberg, who parlayed the United State's love affair with television into a fortune by starting the national TV Guide magazine and later served as ambassador to Britain, died yesterday. He was 94.

Mr. Annenberg, who also created Seventeen magazine, gave billions of dollars to charity and endowed two leading journalism schools, died at his home in suburban Wynnewood of complications from pneumonia, said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, dean of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. His wife, Leonore, was with him when he died.

Mr. Annenberg was a friend to U.S. presidents from Dwight Eisenhower.


Blast frees flying squirrels

AUBURN A thunderous explosion ripped apart a large storage container, seriously injuring a 61-year-old woman and freeing hundreds of her exotic flying squirrels.

Sharon Massena was in critical condition in Seattle on Monday night.

Animal rescue crews worried that the tiny, shell-shocked squirrels scurrying into the woods behind the woman's home could wreak havoc on the environment.

The animals, known as sugar gliders and native to Australia, were kept in wire-mesh cages inside three heated storage units.


Mob of youths beats man to death

MILWAUKEE A man attacked by a mob of children who savagely beat him with rakes, shovels and bats died yesterday as authorities arrested 10 youths and sought six others.

The juveniles, ages 10 to 18, attacked Charlie Young Jr. late Sunday after a fight that started when one of the children tossed an egg at him, police said.

Mr. Young, 36, suffered severe brain injuries and was hospitalized in critical condition after the beating. He died last night.

Police Chief Arthur Jones said as many as 20 youths chased Mr. Young, picking up shovels, rakes, baseball bats, a folding chair and other items with which to beat him. When they reached the porch of a house, they pummeled him, leaving blood spattered from floor to ceiling, police said.

"They were pounding on him and hollering, 'Hey, let me use that.' It was like a game to them," said Anthony Brown, who lives in the house.

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