- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 31, 2002

FLORIDA
Oldest American dies at 113
ST. PETERSBURG Mary Parr, believed to be the oldest person in the United States, died Tuesday at the Suncoast Manor retirement community. She was 113.
Miss Parr, born Feb. 1, 1889, in Mishawaka, Ind., was deemed to be the oldest U.S. resident by the Gerontology Research Group. She succeeded Adelina Domingues, a California woman who died at 114 on Aug. 21.
Another Florida resident apparently is now the oldest American. John McMorran, born June 19, 1889, lives in a Lakeland nursing home.

WASHINGTON
Eagle Scout must declare belief
PORT ORCHARD Eagle Scout Darrell Lambert, 19, has earned 37 merit badges, worked more than 1,000 hours of community service and helps lead a Boy Scout troop.
But he may be asked to leave the Scouts because he is an atheist. Last week, Mr. Lambert was given roughly a week to declare belief in a supreme being or quit the Scouts.
"We've asked him to search his heart, to confer with family members, to give this great thought," said Brad Farmer, the Scout executive of the Chief Seattle Council of the Boy Scouts.

ALABAMA
'Choose Life' plate going into production
MONTGOMERY Abortion opponents have ordered enough "Choose Life" license plates for Alabama to begin production of the $50 tags that will benefit groups helping pregnant women who plan to put their babies up for adoption.
Alabama is one of seven states that have approved the tags. A legal challenge has been filed over the tags in South Carolina, but there has been little controversy about them in Alabama.
Through September, at least 1,075 Alabama motorists had put up $50 each to order the tags. Orders are still coming in, the state comptroller's office confirmed yesterday.
State law required 1,000 paid orders before the state could begin printing the yellow tags emblazoned with "Choose Life" across the top.

ARIZONA
Gravano sentenced for drug crimes
PHOENIX Former mob turncoat Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano was sentenced to 19 years in state prison yesterday for masterminding an Ecstasy drug ring.
The sentence will run concurrently with a 20-year federal prison term Gravano is already serving.
Until his arrest in 1999, Gravano had been living in Scottsdale under the assumed name "Jimmy Moran" after testifying against now-deceased Gambino crime family boss John Gotti. Gravano had admitted to 19 murders as a mob hitman but served only five years in prison on racketeering charges under a deal with New York prosecutors to testify against Gotti, who was sentenced to life in prison in 1992.
Gravano had been running a construction company and restaurant in Scottsdale when he and 45 other persons were arrested in 1999 for selling the drug Ecstasy.

CALIFORNIA
Skydiving dog has animal lovers jumping
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE Animal lovers are howling over a skydiving dog.
The parachuting dachshund, known as Brutus the Skydiving Dog, is scheduled to perform at this weekend's Air and Space Show at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
"What we feel is, this is cruelty to animals," said Shirley Cram, shelter director and treasurer for the Volunteers for Inter-valley Animals. "It's exploiting the dog. It certainly isn't fun for that dog to jump out of that plane."
Brutus' skydiving partner disagrees.
"He gets all excited when I'm getting my gear ready," said Ron Sirull of Delray Beach, Fla.
The dog's veterinarian and the Arizona Humane Society have signed off on the activity being safe for Brutus, who is tucked into a special pouch affixed to his owner's chest for the jump.

CONNECTICUT
School superintendent resigns in Hartford
HARTFORD City school Superintendent Anthony Amato resigned after 3 years on the job.
Mr. Amato was credited with improving academic performance during his tenure but had recently sought other positions.
His departure comes a week before voters elect some members of a new Hartford Board of Education, which will return the schools to local control for the first time since 1997.

HAWAII
Ex-lawmaker rescued after accident
HONOLULU A former lawmaker had to be rescued from a steep ridge after a paragliding accident.
Former state Rep. Quentin Kawananakoa crash-landed on a ridge above Hauula, sliding and tumbling about 100 feet before brush stopped him from falling over a cliff. A helicopter airlifted him from the site. He escaped serious injury.

INDIANA
Frenchwoman accused of disrobing
EVANSVILLE, Ind. A French-woman faces a felony charge of disorderly conduct at an airport after officials say she undressed to her waist in an angry outburst at security screeners.
A judge Tuesday found probable cause for the charge against Eliane Yvonne Marcele Aguillaume, 56, of Paris. She also faces misdemeanor charges of resisting law enforcement and public indecency.
She burst into tears when the judge explained the possible penalties. The felony disorderly-conduct charge was made possible in a state law passed after the 2001 terrorist attacks. The law, which took effect July 1, set a sentence range of six months to three years.

MASSACHUSETTS
Settlement reached with trash hauler
BOSTON The federal government announced a $3 million settlement Tuesday with a trash hauler over the contractor's handling of ozone-depleting gases from discarded refrigerators, freezers and other appliances.
The Environmental Protection Agency said the hauler crushed and compacted appliances without removing the gases, or checking to be sure they were removed.
Allied Waste Industries Inc. contracts with the city of Boston for trash pickup.

MISSISSIPPI
Storm ravages Pearl River
PICAYUNE A fierce thunderstorm descended early Tuesday morning on parts of Pearl River County and downtown Picayune, leaving in its wake dozens of damaged homes and businesses and thousands without power, the Biloxi Sun-Herald reports.
With occasional bursts of 65 mph winds, the storm upended thousands of trees, dozens of which crashed through homes and businesses. Many city streets were left impassable, littered with fallen power lines and tree limbs.
The storm inflicted damage to at least 100 homes and businesses, with the brunt of the blow falling in parts of north Picayune, Roseland Park, Sycamore and Salem.

MISSOURI
Republicans seek judges for St. Louis elections
ST. LOUIS The St. Louis Election Board is short about 130 Republican judges for next week's elections, and the Missouri Republican Party is trying to help, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
The party has started a telephone campaign to round up judges in the overwhelmingly Democratic city.
For years, the Republican Party has been among the most vocal critics of the Election Board.

MONTANA
Couple sues airport for low-flying planes
BOZEMON A Paradise Valley couple who built a home directly in the flight path of a private airstrip is suing the airport owner for damages because of frequent, low-flying planes above their house, the Chronicle reports.
Brian and Chris Markey claim in a civil lawsuit filed in Park County District Court that Duane Hodgkinson, owner of the Flying Y Ranch Airport and Paradise Valley Flying Service near Emigrant, is harassing them by constantly flying within 100 feet of their house.
While the Markeys were building their house, Mr. Hodgkinson flew "dangerously low" to the homesite, according to the suit. Since the house was finished, "Hodgkinson and his planes have continued to 'buzz' within 100 feet of the home, at all hours of the day, and numerous times daily."

NEBRASKA
Pastor found guilty in prayer case
GERING A minister and his wife were fined $100 each for restraining a boy and praying over him.
Assembly of God pastor Dwight Sandoz of Minatare and his wife, Nadine, were found guilty of false imprisonment of a minor. Scotts Bluff County Judge Glenn Camerer said at Monday's bench trial that they had good intentions, but broke the law.
Their 18-year-old son, Joshua, also was charged with second-degree false imprisonment, but the charges were dropped because of lack of evidence.
Mr. Sandoz and his wife were accused of restraining a 16-year-old boy after they say the boy became disruptive during a youth group meeting at their church on Feb. 20.

NEVADA
Nearly 90,000 already voted
LAS VEGAS Nearly 90,000 Nevadans, or just over 10 percent of all registered voters, have already made it to polling sites in advance of the Nov. 5 general election.
The current early voters included nearly 71,000 in the Las Vegas area, where Democrats have a big registration margin over Republicans. But a breakdown shows only 252 more Democrats than Republicans voted early.

NEW JERSEY
Aquarium seal dies from West Nile
CAMDEN A harbor seal at the New Jersey State Aquarium died from the West Nile virus, the first recorded case in the United States of a marine mammal succumbing to the disease.
Frank Steslow, vice president of biological programs at the aquarium, said the 12-year-old seal had been ill for 10 days before it died Sept. 22. Officials were not able to confirm the cause of death until last week.
The seal, named Sirrus, had lived at the aquarium's outdoor saltwater exhibit since it opened 10 years ago.
West Nile virus is typically spread through mosquito bites. It has infected at least 3,399 persons this year and killed 193, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

OHIO
Judge makes thief give out treats
ELYRIA A candy thief has been ordered to pass out Halloween treats while wearing a sign saying "I'm sorry. I will not steal from children."
Edward Rivera, 23, pleaded guilty Monday to attempted robbery for stealing trick-or-treat candy from a 10-year-old boy last Halloween. Charges of assault and robbery were dropped.
Rivera, of Lorain, knocked the boy down before stealing his candy, said Lorain County Common Pleas Judge Edward Zaleski.
He ordered Rivera to wear the sign and a costume while he hands out candy at a Lorain hospital on Thursday. He also placed Rivera on probation for three years.

OKLAHOMA
Oklahoma City will test gas attack
OKLAHOMA CITY Federal agencies plan to release harmless gases in Oklahoma City next summer to test how chemical and biological weapons would work in a terrorist attack.
"The goal of this program is in domestic-terrorism preparedness," said Jerry Allwine, a scientist with the Environmental Technology Division of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. "It's important to the protection of the homeland against chemical and biological threats."
A similar study was conducted in 2000 in Salt Lake City.
The $4 million test for July, discussed at Tuesday's City Council meeting, is a project of the Departments of Energy and Defense. It will also involve the University of Oklahoma and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

TENNESSEE
Doctor convicted of assault on aide
MEMPHIS A doctor convicted of assault for poking the face of an office manager three years ago was sentenced this week to at least 60 days in prison and ordered to perform 180 hours of community service and make a $5,000 contribution to Crime Stoppers.
Leonard "Gene" Franklin maintained his innocence despite a Criminal Court jury's finding earlier this month that he poked Mary Sue Rowland just below the eyes with his fingers during a heated discussion over a patient's chart.
"I feel that under such bizarre circumstances I had every right to defend myself," said Franklin, 61, who contended Miss Rowland caused her injury by leaning into him.
Miss Rowland, also 61, said she was embarrassed and humiliated by the incident. Franklin had summoned her from home to get a patient's chart from a locked room, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported.

TEXAS
Teacher gives birth in her classroom
EULESS An elementary-school teacher gave her 3- and 4-year-old students an unexpected lesson when she gave birth in her classroom.
Rhonda Schafer was able to get the early-development class out of the Bear Creek Elementary School classroom on Monday and then called for the school nurse.
The nurse arrived just in time to help her as she gave birth behind her desk at about 2:30 p.m., about five minutes after the first sign of labor. They wrapped the baby girl in a co-worker's sweater, school librarian Cynda Mast said.
The medics arrived in time to cut the cord, Fire Department spokeswoman Christine Cox said. "It was a very nice, quiet environment, if you can imagine that at an elementary school," she said, adding that mother and daughter were in "perfect health."

VERMONT
State sees influx of Bosnian immigrants
ESSEX It is 6 a.m. and Dudija Karic is already at the Euro Diner, preparing big, fluffy kifla rolls she will later top with melted parmesan cheese and parsley and serve as a first course. She doesn't go home until early evening.
The long hours working with food are not new for Mrs. Karic. She, her husband and two daughters used to run a restaurant in their native Bosnia-Herzegovina before they fled the violence that killed more than 100 relatives.
Mrs. Karic was one of 1,412 Bosnians counted in Vermont by the census in 2000. Bosnians account for about one-fifth of 1 percent of Vermont's population of about 608,000 residents the highest percentage of any state.
The 2000 census counted 98,766 Bosnians altogether in the United States.

WEST VIRGINIA
Officials pull Web site item
CLIFFTOP West Virginia tourism officials have pulled an item from their Web site that touted a park cabin as being haunted by the ghost of a woman who was murdered there.
The item detailed the April 30, 1996, beating death of Cheryl Flippo and asked, "Would you dare stay a night in Cabin 13?" It was included in a "West Virginia Hauntings" list that also mentioned strange happenings at the old West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville and in Harpers Ferry.
"We believed it to be inappropriate. It definitely is not haunted. It was the site of a very big tragedy. We immediately took it off when we noticed it was on," Tourism Commissioner Alisa Bailey said. "It was just a mistake. We apologize."
Mrs. Flippo's husband, the Rev. James Michael Flippo, was convicted in 1997 of using a piece of firewood to beat her to death at the cabin. The former pastor of the Landmark Church of God in Nitro was sentenced to life without parole.

WYOMING
Officials: Smallpox statutes still apply
CHEYENNE Though outdated, Wyoming statutes originally enacted in 1903 to deal with smallpox outbreaks are still relevant in 2002 owing to terrorism concerns, state officials told the Tribune-Eagle.
"Interestingly, they are very appropriate today," Dr. Brent Sherard, interim director of the Wyoming Department of Health, told the Joint Transportation and Highways Interim Committee Monday.
The committee agreed to sponsor proposed changes to the statutes in the Legislature. Those changes spell out procedures in the event of a public-health emergency.


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