- The Washington Times - Friday, October 25, 2002

NEW YORK

Schools chancellor remembers Kennedy

NEW YORK Schools Chancellor Joel Klein brought his chief fund-raiser Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg to a breakfast meeting of high-powered New Yorkers on Wednesday and told them how her father, President Kennedy, had inspired him.

Mr. Klein, the former U.S. Justice Department lawyer chosen by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to run the city's public schools, quoted the famous line from Mr. Kennedy's inaugural address: "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."

"I sometimes wonder whether that spirit is as alive today as it was in John F. Kennedy's day," he told an audience that included business leaders, elected officials and former Mayors Edward Koch and David N. Dinkins.

Mrs. Schlossberg, who began her new job this week as head of the school system's Office of Strategic Partnerships, was introduced to the Association for a Better New York audience of 600 at a midtown hotel but didn't speak.


NORTH CAROLINA

Ride worker killed in accident

RALEIGH A State Fair ride attendant was killed yesterday when he slipped or stepped in front of the swinging car of a pendulum-type ride, officials said. A teenage girl on the ride was slightly injured.

State Agriculture Department spokesman Mike Blanton said that the man was working on the "Banzai" ride, in which passengers are swung back and forth and increasingly higher.

The girl, who was in the seat, suffered a minor leg injury and was taken to a hospital. The names or ages of the victims were not immediately released.

The ride and several nearby rides and concession stands were closed, Mr. Blanton said. State safety inspectors and local authorities were investigating.


ALABAMA

Depot to incinerate chemical weapons

ANNISTON Army officials plan for early 2003 to start incineration of Cold War-era chemical weapons at the Anniston Army Depot.

Objections from state environmental regulators over testing delayed an earlier start.

An Army status report said destruction of more than 2,200 tons of sarin, VX and mustard agent will begin sometime between January and March.


ARKANSAS

House explodes, killing three

CHERRY VALLEY An explosion caused by a possible gas leak destroyed a house, killing three residents.

The family had just replaced their butane heater with a new heat pump, said Billy Pitts, whose parents and brother died in the explosion Wednesday night.

Kenneth Pitts, 73, and his wife had recently been staying with his parents, Justin Pitts, 98, and Jewell Pitts, 96, to help out the elderly couple.

Detective Roger McElroy said a gas leak possibly caused the explosion, but an investigation is continuing.


CALIFORNIA

City votes to OK Iraq resolution

SANTA BARBARA The City Council voted 4-1 to approve a resolution opposing a unilateral, pre-emptive military strike against Iraq after listening to calls for peace.

Resident Mac Bakewell gave the council a petition with 537 signatures in support of the resolution.

One council member voted no and Councilman Dan Secord abstained, saying the council should be concerned instead with potholes.


CONNECTICUT

Borge estate gets OK to split up property

GREENWICH The estate of Victor Borge has received approval to subdivide his waterfront property.

The renowned pianist and satirist lived in the Belle Haven section of Greenwich for more than 40 years before his death in 2000 at 91.

The Planning and Zoning Commission approved a plan Tuesday to split the 4.16-acre lot into two 2-acre parcels.

Sotheby's International Realty is handling the sale for Mr. Borge's heirs, and the estate was listed on the firm's Web site Wednesday at $21.5 million.


FLORIDA

Kenna becomes major hurricane

MIAMI Hurricane Kenna strengthened yesterday into a dangerous Category 5 hurricane as it headed toward Mexico's Pacific Coast, close to the site where Asia-Pacific leaders were holding a summit this weekend.

Hurricane warnings were in place for the southwestern coast of Mexico as Kenna approached with maximum sustained winds of 160 mph. The storm's winds put it at the highest level on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale.

Forecasters at the center expect the storm to strengthen in the next 24 hours before striking the coast with damaging winds, heavy rain, and a storm surge that could cause life-threatening floods.

The storm's strongest winds are not likely to affect Los Cabos, at the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula, where the Asia-Pacific Economic Forum is set to take place under tight security.


HAWAII

Involuntary servitude case goes to trial

HONOLULU The owner of an American Samoa garment factory had employees starved and beaten and threatened to have them deported if they spoke out about working conditions, a federal prosecutor told jurors.

"This case is about modern-day slavery and this defendant's greed," federal prosecutor Susan French said during opening statements Wednesday in an involuntary servitude case.

Kil Soo Lee, of South Korea, and two of his managers were charged last year with holding hundreds of Vietnamese and Chinese workers in involuntary servitude at the Daewoosa Samoa Ltd. factory.


IDAHO

Specialist givies West Nile seminars

TWIN FALLS This past summer when Dr. Bonnie Rush got a call from the College of Southern Idaho asking her to give a seminar on West Nile virus, she had 40 horses with the virus at her clinic in Kansas.

As one of the nation's leading authorities on West Nile virus, Dr. Rush has been swamped with work in recent months, both as a speaker and as a veterinarian.

Although Dr. Rush had a tight schedule, she agreed to fly in to present an all-day accredited seminar to veterinarians and vet technicians today, followed by a two-hour evening seminar open to the public.


INDIANA

Town to allow bowhunting of deer

BEVERLY SHORES Officials will allow hunting with bows and arrows within the town limits for the second consecutive year to reduce the deer population.

However, the Town Council voted to add restrictions on this year's hunt to alleviate residents' safety concerns. This year, only 20 bowhunters at a time can take part in the hunt, and all participants must prove they have passed a hunter education class.


MAINE

State raises rates at Baxter State Park

MILLINOCKET Baxter State Park is raising visitor rates for the first time in 10 years, effective Nov. 1.

Fees are going up 30 percent to offset drops in revenue from trees harvested on park land, a decrease in the number of fee-paying winter visitors and declines from the trust fund.

The late Gov. Percival Baxter bequeathed the 200,000-acre wilderness park to the state.


MASSACHUSETTS

Settlement reached in janitors strike

BOSTON A three-week strike by janitors at some of Boston's most prominent buildings ended Wednesday with a tentative settlement that includes a pay raise as well as a rare offering of health insurance to part-time workers.

Union members have yet to ratify it, but the tentative deal is "a tremendous victory" said Renee Asher, spokeswoman for the Service Employees International Union Local 254, which represents the 10,000 janitors involved.

"What's exciting here is part-time workers have actually gained health care," said Andrew L. Stern, international president of SEIU.


MISSISSIPPI

Tort reform called a sham

JACKSON Members of the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus said Wednesday that the push for tort reform is a sham, and any changes to the civil justice system would do nothing more than trample the rights of the average citizen, reports the Clarion-Ledger.

"The judicial system that has served us well for more than 200 years needs to be more effective, efficient and fair to all," said Democratic Rep. Phillip West, who heads the caucus.

"But we will oppose any and all attempts by powerful corporations and powerful people to use tort reform as a cover to do harm to the citizens of our state with no fear of accountability."

The remarks, made at a Capitol news conference, came as key lawmakers from both the Senate and House continued to discuss business liability legislation but showed no signs of reaching an agreement.


MISSOURI

City creates crime Web page

ST. LOUIS How safe is the city neighborhood you visit? The one where you want to buy or rent a home?

Mayor Francis Slay and Police Chief Joe Mokwa formally announced an Internet site they say provides the most comprehensive answers of any city in the nation. Informally, the site has been running for about a month and logged about 400,000 visitors just in the past week.

With a click of a computer mouse, anyone can find a chart of locations of murders, burglaries, traffic accidents, drug arrests and the like, dating back four months.

Officials called it "Safe City" in a demonstration at a news conference at City Hall. The site can be reached through the city's main Web site: www.stlouiscity.com.


NEVADA

FBI sets up sting for Web predators

LAS VEGAS When Jamey Jahner logged on to an Internet chat site titled "I Love Older Men Three," he quickly found what he was looking for a 14-year-old girl from Las Vegas named Erica, the Sun reports.

For more than two months Jahner instigated sexually charged conversations anonymously from a Pensacola, Fla., computer more than 1,800 miles from Las Vegas. Eventually he sent pornographic photos and videos and arranged to meet Erica at a Las Vegas hotel, where he intended to have sex with her.

Erica, though, doesn't exist.

All of the pictures and conversations sent across the Internet ended up in a small office on Charleston Boulevard, where FBI agents pose as children to intercept a new breed of sexual predator.


NEW JERSEY

Street renamed in honor of director

PAULSBORO A street has been renamed in honor of director Kevin Smith, a New Jersey native who is filming "Jersey Girl" in this southern New Jersey community.

Tyler Street became Kevin Smith Way during a ceremony organized by borough officials, who wanted to thank Mr. Smith for staging the production in the Gloucester County town.

Mr. Smith said "Jersey Girl," tentatively scheduled for release next October, would premiere in Paulsboro.

The small-town love story stars off-screen couple Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez.


OHIO

Wrongly accused woman lets bank off hook

A mentally challenged woman wrongly accused of trying to pass bad checks at a bank agreed this week to dismiss U.S. Bank as a defendant from her federal lawsuit after it paid her more than $50,000.

Evelyn Armstrong, who filed a $55 million suit last month in U.S. District Court, refused to dismiss from the suit the city of Cincinnati and two police officers she accuses of falsely arresting her and spraying her with chemical irritant, the Cincinnati Post reports.

Miss Armstrong, 38, who has an IQ of 45, was arrested June 18. Although she is mentally challenged, she has been taught a routine, including taking a bus to get her paychecks cashed, that allows her to function enough to work.


PENNSYLVANIA

Judge: State violating Clean Air Act

PHILADELPHIA A federal judge ruled that Pennsylvania violated the Clean Air Act when it decided not to enforce strict new auto-emissions standards intended to reduce the ozone haze over metropolitan Philadelphia.

U.S. District Judge Jan E. DuBois ruled that the state Department of Transportation improperly shelved a plan requiring tougher vehicle emission inspections in the city and four suburban counties.

The state abandoned the limits just before they were to take effect in 1998, saying they were concerned the test was unreliable and that thousands of older cars might fail inappropriately, forcing their owners to make needless repairs.


RHODE ISLAND

Judge dismisses fan's ticket claim

PROVIDENCE Amid the solemn grandeur of U.S. District Court, a judge made final a most painful separation: a fan and his season tickets.

Judge Mary Lisi Wednesday dismissed fan John Reis's breach-of-contract claim against the New England Patriots, which revoked his season tickets in May after he put three up for sale on an Internet auction, the Providence Journal reports.

Afterward, the 18-year season-ticket holder accused the Super Bowl champs of forgetting where they came from.


SOUTH CAROLINA

Doctors: Trauma centers need help

South Carolina's Level I trauma centers need emergency help just like the patients they treat after injuries, gunshot wounds and car wrecks, doctors told the State newspaper in Columbia.

Three out of four of these centers, including the one at Palmetto Health Richland, lose millions of dollars a year providing expensive, intensive treatment for patients who don't pay.


SOUTH DAKOTA

State setting records for snowfall

The calendar says October but parts of South Dakota have already set records for snowfall.

Snow that fell Tuesday across much of the state set records in several communities including Aberdeen, Watertown, Pierre, Mobridge and Timber Lake, the weather service said.

Pierre received 3.5 inches of snow, topping an old mark of 2 inches in 1950. Timber Lake had 4 inches of snow, breaking the old record of a trace in 1955.

The change caught some South Dakotans by surprise.


TEXAS

Tornado causes extensive damage

CORPUS CHRISTI A tornado touched down at a college campus near downtown yesterday afternoon, killing at least one person, damaging buildings and causing other injuries.

One person died when a wall collapsed at the Del Mar College campus, assistant police Chief Ken Bung said.

College spokeswoman Claudia Jackson said four other persons were taken to hospitals for injuries.


WISCONSIN

Woman confesses to smothering babies

MILWAUKEE Apparently haunted by the deaths of her two baby daughters in the early 1980s, a woman confessed to smothering them with pillows, according to a criminal complaint.

Maxine Watson told investigators she smothered the children because she was angry at her husband, according to the complaint.

Both deaths were attributed at the time to sudden infant death syndrome.

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