- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 8, 2002

ALABAMA

Schools testing for tobacco

VESTAVIA HILLS Some schools around the country are administering urine tests to teenagers to find out whether students have been using tobacco.

In Alabama, where the legal age for purchasing and smoking tobacco products is 19, about a dozen districts test for nicotine, alcohol and several illegal drugs including marijuana. Principal Gene Godwin, at Hoover High School in suburban Birmingham, says tests that screen for tobacco gives students another reason to avoid tobacco use.

In most cases, the penalties for testing positive are the same as those in cases of illegal drugs: The student's parents are notified, and he or she is usually placed on school probation and briefly suspended from sports or other activities.


KANSAS

Town honors 50-year soda jerk

GREENSBURG After 50 years as a soda jerk, Richard Huckriede's importance is about to be enshrined.

"He's kind of an icon in Greensburg," said Paula Davis, president of its historical society.

Money is being raised for a life-sized cardboard cutout of Mr. Huckriede for a soda fountain exhibit at the Kiowa County Museum.

Mr. Huckriede, 73, moved to Greensburg, which has a population of 1,574, as a young man. He began to work at Hunter Drug Store after high school, selling sodas for a nickel a glass.

On Wednesday, Mr. Huckriede celebrated his 50th year at Hunter Drug.


ALASKA

Corporation plans cruise destination

JUNEAU An Alaska Native corporation plans to build a new cruise ship destination at Hobart Bay, 70 miles south of Juneau.

Goldbelt Inc. wants to turn its old logging camp into a tourist attraction. The proposed wildlife and adventure travel stop would offer kayaking, jeep tours, wildlife viewing, guided hikes and cultural presentations, officials said.


CALIFORNIA

Blake granted bail hearing

LOS ANGELES Robert Blake, awaiting trial on charges of murdering his wife, was granted a bail hearing yesterday, after his attorneys argued that he is unable to help with his defense behind bars.

Superior Court Judge Lloyd Nash scheduled a hearing tomorrow to determine whether Mr. Blake, former "Baretta" TV star, should be released on bail. But the judge said he will not allow any witnesses to testify.

Mr. Blake, 69, is accused of gunning down his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, last year outside a restaurant where they had just dined.


FLORIDA

Singer's mansion sold for $3.25 million

WEST PALM BEACH The son of the founder of the company that owns USA Today has bought singer Perry Como's mansion, court records show.

Deeds filed at the Palm Beach County courthouse show that Dixon Gannett, son of the man who started the media group Gannett Co., paid $3.25 million for the home on Jupiter Inlet Colony. It was not clear when the house was sold.

Mr Gannett also owns a home on the Loxahatchee River, where Fort Jupiter stood 150 years ago. Mr. Gannett bought the home in 1988.


ILLINOIS

College will name center for Beamer

WHEATON Wheaton College plans to name its proposed $21.6 million student center for one of its alumni: United Airlines Flight 93 passenger Todd Beamer, school President Duane Litfin said at the weekend.

Donors, who have already given the school $5 million, suggested that the building be named after Mr. Beamer, who graduated in 1991. It would house an expanded college post office, student organization offices, a convenience store, an auditorium and study rooms.

Mr. Beamer is believed to have said "Let's roll" just before passengers on Flight 93 apparently overcame one of the terrorist teams in the September 11 attacks and diverted the plane from crashing into its target in Washington.


INDIANA

Cold remedy taken off shelves

COLUMBUS Some Indiana pharmacies have taken a cold remedy off the shelves after authorities warned that the medication is being abused.

Police say large doses of Coricidin HBP Cold and Cough are becoming popular as a recreational drug, particularly among teens. By taking several pills, users experience a hallucinogenic high.


IOWA

Volunteer firefighters in brew battle

ELGIN Members of the volunteer fire department are having a brouhaha over brew.

"There has been quite a little discussion of people resigning from the department," said Fire Chief Ron Hills, a 37-year member of the all-volunteer department in this town of 676 residents in northeast Iowa.

Mr. Hills said a city council member handed him a letter last week from Grinnell Mutual Insurance Co., which insures city property, including the fire station and the department's equipment.

"The letter stated that the town would lose its insurance if we did not remove all alcoholic beverages from the fire station," Mr. Hills said.

Mr. Hills said firefighters removed the beer after their meeting on Wednesday night, but that many of them are not happy about it.


KANSAS

Jury sees photos of multiple slaying

WICHITA Jurors in a Kansas multiple-murder trial showed no emotion yesterday as they passed a photo of the crime scene at a soccer complex nearly two years ago.

But Sedgwick County Sheriff's Deputy Matt Lynch's voice cracked as he fought back tears while recalling when he arrived to find the four bodies in the early-morning hours of Dec. 15, 2000, the Wichita Eagle reports.

Jonathan and Reginald Carr are charged with five counts of capital murder from a crime spree over several days around Wichita. Critics have accused the national media and state authorities of ignoring potential racial motivations. The Carrs are black and all the victims in the case white.

The state spent most of the day establishing how police learned of the homicides from a surviving victim, who lived through a gunshot to the head and ran naked through a snowy field to summon help.


KENTUCKY

Deadline approaches for mandolin payment

OWENSBORO With less than a month left to make its last payment, the Bill Monroe Foundation still owes the bulk of the $1.12 million bid for the bluegrass legend's famed mandolin.

The Rosine-based organization has until Oct. 26 to make a payment of $965,000 for Mr. Monroe's 1923 Gibson F-5 mandolin that the "father of bluegrass music" paid $150 for in a Miami barbershop in 1943.

If the group doesn't come up with the money by then, the famed mandolin on which Mr. Monroe performed such classics as his "Blue Moon of Kentucky" will revert to his family. And it would be likely go on the auction block again.

But Campbell Mercer, executive director of the Bill Monroe Foundation, says he's confident that the mandolin, built by famed Gibson craftsman Lloyd Loar, will come home to Kentucky.


LOUISIANA

Voters OK putting deputies in schools

ALEXANDRIA Voters in Rapides Parish in central Louisiana narrowly approved a half-percent sales tax for the Sheriff's Office that will pay to put sheriff's deputies in every school.

The tax approved by 51 percent of voters will also fund pay raises for sheriff's employees.

It takes effect Jan. 1. Deputies are expected to be assigned beginning next fall.


MASSACHUSETTS

Panel recommends sex-abuse registry

BOSTON The Boston Archdiocese should create a registry listing priests removed after credible sexual-abuse accusations, a Roman Catholic Church commission said yesterday in its final report to Cardinal Bernard Law.

The Commission for the Protection of Children's 52-page report also stuck with recommendations it made in earlier drafts, many of which have been implemented. The offender registry is the one new recommendation in the final report. The archdiocese would keep it internally and make it available to future employers of priests and church workers.


MICHIGAN

Rooming-house fire kills five persons

MOUNT MORRIS TOWNSHIP A fire broke out at a rooming house for the elderly before dawn yesterday, killing five persons.

Six persons were hospitalized, one in critical condition, the others in fair condition.

Mount Township Fire Chief Benny Zappa said it appears that the fire started in a bedroom of the home, where 12 persons lived.

"They got three people in one bedroom. It's unreal," he said. "I don't know if they had fire drills. They shouldn't have to operate that way."


MISSOURI

Firms settle suits over diluted drugs

KANSAS CITY Eli Lilly & Co. and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. have settled more than 300 lawsuits accusing them of not stopping a pharmacist from watering down cancer drugs, an attorney for the plaintiffs said yesterday.

Michael Ketchmark, an attorney for cancer patient Georgia Hayes, did not give details of the agreement. Another attorney said resolution of the cases still needs the approval of all the plaintiffs.

Lawyers met for court-ordered mediation Sept. 30, and "the mediation forced all parties to take an additional hard look at this case and to carefully consider the emotional impact of protracted litigation on the plaintiffs," said a joint statement from both drug companies and plaintiffs' attorneys.

The pharmacist, Robert Courtney, pleaded guilty in February to federal charges of adulterating, misbranding and tampering with chemotherapy medications. Federal authorities have suggested that Courtney's scheme may have affected as many as 400 doctors, 4,200 patients and 98,000 prescriptions.


NEBRASKA

Child abuser gets three to five years

GRAND ISLAND A man who used a cattle prod on his 5-year-old daughter and 8-year-old stepson was sentenced yesterday to three to five years in prison.

Jamie Henry, 25, had faced up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine for two counts of child abuse.

Besides using a 24-inch cattle prod, Henry was accused of striking the two children with plastic hangers, shoes, his hands and a belt in early 2001.

Police said Henry apparently did not abuse his other daughter, who was 2 at the time. A judge last week cleared Henry's two daughters and stepson for adoption. The children have been in foster care since the abuse was discovered in May 2001.


NEW JERSEY

Officials say inmates have hepatitis C

TRENTON After withholding information for a year, state prison officials have told more than 1,100 inmates that they are infected with the hepatitis C virus.

The notification follows a July investigation by the Philadelphia Inquirer. It found only one New Jersey inmate receiving treatment for a potentially fatal disease that may affect as much as a quarter of the nation's prison population.


NEW YORK

Bees protect marijuana operation

KIRKVILLE Authorities say a beekeeper figured out an ingenious way to protect a 15-pound marijuana harvest in his barn: his bees.

Eric Rasmussen of Kirkville was charged with first-degree criminal possession of marijuana, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon and unlawfully growing cannabis, state police said.

Troopers received a number of tips about suspicious activity near Mr. Rasmussen's residence, 15 miles northeast of Syracuse. When police arrived last week, they found a locked barn surrounded by several beehives of honeybees. After entering the barn by a small rear window, police said, they found a marijuana operation on the barn's second floor.

Authorities seized 56 harvested and drying marijuana plants, marijuana seedlings started for next year's crop, growing lights and other drug paraphernalia. They also found 19 rifles and shotguns, police said.


NORTH CAROLINA

Jeep crashes through bedroom

DURHAM JoAnn Peaks and her toddler were stretched out on the living room couch watching a "A Bug's Life" early Sunday when a stolen Jeep barreled through their bedroom.

The crash happened at the single-story home nearly 7½ hours after the vehicle was reported stolen. No one in the three-bedroom house was injured, and the driver fled.

As police searched for the suspect, the family waited for an insurance adjuster and looked in shock at the bent bed frame and mattress and the mess of boards, nails and fallen pictures.


OHIO

Nursing home firm averts trial

XENIA A nursing-home operator agreed yesterday to pay a $60,000 fine and quit as manager of an Ohio home, averting a manslaughter trial in the case of four residents who died after a nitrogen tank was mistakenly hooked up to the oxygen system.

On the day the trial was to begin, Integrated Health Services reached an agreement under which it will enter a three-year program requiring changes in the operation of its nursing homes. If the company completes the program, it will not have a conviction on its record.

Under the program, the company must adopt a training program for all employees who work with its oxygen systems. It must also leave the Carriage-by-the-Lake nursing home in Bellbrook within a year and a half.

If the case had gone to trial, the maximum penalty would have been a $60,000 fine.

Four residents died in December 2000 at Carriage-by-the-Lake after a nitrogen tank that was delivered to the nursing home was hooked up by a maintenance worker to the oxygen system. The tank's oxygen label was partially covered by a smaller nitrogen label.


PENNSYLVANIA

Man attacks wife with meat cleaver

PHILADELPHIA A man was charged with attempted murder for attacking his wife with a meat cleaver, police said.

Police found Roberta McCullough, 61, in a pool of blood in her North Philadelphia apartment early Sunday with injuries to her face, head, hands and arm.

Her husband, Michael McCullough, 44, was outside the home when they arrived, said Sgt. Michael Dougherty. Mr. Dougherty said Mr. McCullough told police, "I think I killed my wife."

After 14 hours of surgery, Roberta McCullough was in critical but stable condition at Hahnemann University Hospital late Sunday, officials said.


RHODE ISLAND

Acting mayor makes 38 job changes

PROVIDENCE Acting Mayor John Lombardi has made 38 job changes since taking office in early September.

He told the Providence Sunday Journal that people have to understand that the legacy of former Mayor Vincent Cianci Jr. is over.

Mr. Lombardi, the former City Council president, succeeded Cianci, who resigned the day he was sentenced for corruption.

Mr. Lombardi is not a candidate for mayor.


TEXAS

Officials to review U.S.-Mexican issues

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND Doctors and public-health officials meet this week to discuss lead poisoning, diabetes, heart disease and other health issues that affect the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Border Health Symposium will be held tomorrow through Friday on South Padre Island.

It's scheduled every two years to bring border health professionals together.


UTAH

Meteor seen in three states

SALT LAKE CITY Residents in Utah, Colorado and southern Wyoming saw a fireball, which some said had a long tail of green, orange and purple flames that raced across the night sky.

"People said it had a 500-foot tail and it was huge, like a meteor, and green and orange," La Plata County, Colo., sheriff's dispatcher Kristy Lee said.

The fireball was seen at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

"It was probably a meteor burning up in the atmosphere," said Peter Wilensky, meteorologist with the National Weather Service/Colorado Basin River Forecast Center.

The fireball was spotted in Pueblo, Colo., about 100 miles south of Denver, and in Rawlins, Wyo., about 180 miles northwest of Denver.


WISCONSIN

Fire at site of fatal beating suspicious

MILWAUKEE A fire started with the help of an accelerant broke out at the home where a man was savagely beaten a week ago. There were no injuries in the fire.

Police said the blaze early Sunday was in the upstairs part of the home where Charlie Young Jr., 36, was beaten by a mob of boys Sept. 29. Mr. Young died Oct. 1.

Gerard Johnson owns the home, along with two others in the neighborhood. One of the other homes burned Wednesday night in an arson.

Police said the latest fire started in the kitchenof the duplex.


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