- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 11, 2002


State to remove roadside memorials

ANCHORAGE State workers will soon remove makeshift roadside memorials erected by family and friends of people killed in highway accidents.

As an alternative, relatives will be offered the option of sponsoring a road sign, in the name of the person killed, that promotes safe and sober driving.

The memorials will be removed starting next week, officials said.


Victim of thieves gets Habitat home

JONESBORO A 76-year-old woman who fell victim to flooding, a con artist and thieves will be the recipient of the next house constructed by Habitat for Humanity.

Volunteers have started work on a new home for Myrtle Cox, who had been living with her sister. The Cox home at 310 West Allen was flooded in February 2001. She later signed a contract with a Sharp County man to make repairs on the property and paid him about $5,000 for it.

The contractor spent the money on other projects and did not complete the repairs. A warrant for the contractor's arrest is outstanding, police said.


Prayer ban stays for city council

LOS ANGELES A state appeals court upheld a lower court ruling that the Burbank City Council may not begin meetings with sectarian prayers such as one that invoked the name Jesus Christ and triggered a lawsuit.

Since 1953, the City Council in Burbank, a Los Angeles suburb of about 200,000 people, has begun its meetings with an invocation by a member of a nondenominational ministerial association.

Rubin and Roberto Alejandro Gandara sued the city after a minister delivered a prayer invoking the name of Jesus Christ before a council meeting in November 1999. They won their case at trial, but attorneys for the city appealed.


Mental-health aid available to citizens

HARTFORD The state is making mental-health professionals available to help residents deal with the terror attacks' anniversary today.

Gov. John G. Rowland and state mental-health and child services officials urged people who feel they have significant problems to call the state's info line at 211.

Connecticut last week dedicated a memorial to the 149 persons with ties to the state who died in the terrorist attacks.


School's murals worth $248,000

SMYRNA For generations, students and residents who pass through Smyrna's John Bassett Moore School have marveled at six Depression-era murals and two more recent works that grace the walls of the 80-year-old building.

But only recently was a price tag assigned to the collection, and it turned out to be something of an eye-popper. By the best reckoning of appraisers at Greenville's Somerville Manning Gallery, the fair market value of the eight paintings is $248,000, the Wilmington News-Journal reports.


Agent: Deliveryman discovered corpses

LAFAYETTE A man delivering propane gas to the Tri-State Crematory first discovered bodies there, according to testimony in a preliminary hearing for crematory operator Ray Brent Marsh.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Greg Ramey testified Monday that the deliveryman told his boss, who called the sheriff. Walker County Sheriff's Capt. Mark Stanfield visited the Marsh residence on Nov. 16, spoke briefly with Mr. Marsh's mother, gave the property a cursory inspection and left.

The deliveryman is a nephew of Faye Deal, a secretary at the FBI office in Rossville. Mr. Ramey said the man was "bothered enough by what he saw" to tell his aunt, who called the Environmental Protection Agency.


Fire erupts during firefighters' convention

MONTICELLO The bad news for an Iowa couple was that a stove fire erupted in their recreational vehicle, slightly injuring the wife.

The good news was that the town was full of firefighters attending the Iowa Firemen's Association Convention.

The Saturday fire was extinguished quickly, said Monticello Fire Chief Gaylen Kray. "There were a thousand firefighters there."

"I guess if you're going to have a fire, that's the place to have it," he said.

The RV owner one of the firefighters attending the convention lit his stove and "poof," Mr. Kray said. He said a liquid-propane gas line was not properly capped.


City gets hotel after 8-year wait

KANSAS CITY This city of 147,000 people finally has a hotel after eight years without one.

The opening of the Hilton Garden Inn, which has 147 rooms, comes after the opening of the Kansas Speedway last year, which brought much-needed development to western Wyandotte County.

Federal funds financed much of the $16.8 million hotel project, officials said.


Towns fight to keep coal mines away

LICK CREEK Susan Skeens and other folks in Lick Creek sprang into action when a coal company moved to open a mine near their homes in this little Appalachian community where the loudest sound at night is often the call of a whippoorwill.

Lick Creek's battle to stop the project may be the first of many to come in Kentucky as older coal mines are played out and mining companies move closer to populated areas to dig.

Roy Mullins, a former coal miner now leading the charge to keep Clintwood Elkhorn Mining from opening the mine in the town, said residents across the Appalachian coalfields have a vested interest in the case.


Police find nothing to link terrorists

PORTLAND An exhaustive review of telephone records, financial transactions, security video and hotel guest books has led authorities to conclude that the terrorists who flew out of Portland International Jetport on September 11 had no ties to Maine, according to the Portland Press Herald.

Local, state and federal law enforcement officials were scrambling at the time to learn why Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz Alomari would have spent the night in South Portland before flying to Boston on a shuttle, hijacking a jetliner and crashing it into the World Trade Center.

"Right after September 11 and certainly in the months that followed, the big question was: Was there a terrorist cell in Portland, Maine, something to connect Atta and Alomari to Portland and Maine?" said Portland Police Chief Michael Chitwood.


Court upholds visitation rights

BOSTON Grandparents have the right to see their grandchildren over a parent's objection as long as they can prove that denying visitation would be harmful, the state's high court has ruled.

The decision Monday by the state Supreme Judicial Court was hailed by both sides in the debate over grandparents' rights.

The ruling amended a 1972 Massachusetts law allowing grandparents to visit minors who live with only one parent due to circumstances such as divorce, separation or death.


High wind damages homes; no one injured

ALBERTVILLE High wind damaged at least 20 homes early yesterday as a storm swept across the Twin Cities metropolitan area. No injuries were reported.

Wright County Sheriff Gary Miller said damage was limited to two neighborhoods in northwest Albertville, a suburb about 30 miles northwest of Minneapolis. There were no immediate estimates of wind speeds.


DNA exonerates man convicted of rape

BILLINGS A Billings man serving a 40-year prison sentence for the 1987 rape of an 8-year-old girl is not guilty and will be set free, state officials announced yesterday.

He was convicted by a jury in 1987 on three counts of sexual intercourse without consent. Prosecutors said he broke into the victim's home through a bedroom window and sexually assaulted the girl. She later picked him out in a police lineup.

Mr. Paxinos said two DNA tests, including one performed by the Montana State Crime Lab in Missoula, have determined that semen found on the victim's night clothes did not come from Mr. Bromgard.


Officials investigate trooper's pursuit

LINCOLN The Nebraska State Patrol is investigating whether a trooper unnecessarily put people at risk when he pursued a suspected reckless driver from Interstate 80 into downtown Lincoln the night of a Husker football game, the Journal-Star reports.

At issue, officials said, is whether the trooper followed the patrol's pursuit guidelines by continuing the chase despite the increased vehicular and pedestrian traffic of more than 78,000 fans leaving Memorial Stadium.

Also in question, they said, is whether the trooper acted within the patrol's pursuit and use-of-force guidelines when he intentionally rammed the man's vehicle near Barry's Bar & Grill in an attempt to disable it.


Girl, 9, saves life of infant boy

LAS VEGAS Before she succumbed to an errant bullet that tore through her chest, 9-year-old Genesis Estrada saved the life of an infant boy cradled in her arms.

Genesis was standing outside her family's ground-floor apartment when she and her younger sister, 8-year-old Heidi, were caught in the crossfire of a gang-related gunbattle, police said. When the gunfight broke out, Genesis and Heidi rounded up the younger children playing in the apartment complex's small courtyard, urging them inside, witnesses said.

Despite her injuries, Genesis managed to shove Heidi, who was wounded in the right leg, toward the open apartment door before pitching the baby inside onto the living room carpet, said their oldest sister, 13-year-old Tannia, who witnessed the episode.


Judge hears case of beauty queens

WILMINGTON Rebekah Revels left the rehearsals and photo ops behind in Atlantic City, N.J., to try to convince a federal judge yesterday that she should represent North Carolina at the Miss America pageant despite topless photos taken of her by a former boyfriend.

Miss Revels testified for nearly an hour before U.S. District Judge James Fox. She is seeking a court order forcing the Miss America Organization to let her compete for the national title.

She resigned as Miss North Carolina after her former boyfriend told Miss America officials about the snapshots, which she says he took without her permission.


House demolished after bodies found

OREGON CITY Demolition crews using heavy equipment yesterday tore into Ward Weaver's single-story home two weeks after the bodies of two missing teenage girls were found in the back yard.

Sawtooth Roofing, an Oregon City company that donated its time to the project, said the building materials would be recycled after the house was completely demolished.

"I think demolishing the house, and changing the view and perception of this property as people drive by it is the best thing to do," said property owner Steven Hopkins.

Investigators discovered the remains of 12-year-old Ashley Pond and 13-year-old Miranda Gaddis in a shed and under a concrete pad on the property.


Leader in carjacking sentenced to life

PROVIDENCE Gregory Floyd, the gunman in the carjacking murders of two college students, was sentenced yesterday to life in prison without possibility of parole.

Floyd, 21, and four other men were arrested a day after Amy Shute, 21, of Coventry and Jason Burgeson, 20, of Lakeville, Mass., were carjacked at gunpoint on June 9, 2000, from outside a downtown mall.

The two were taken to a golf course in Johnston and shot in the head. The killers took the couple's 1991 Ford Explorer and $18 in change.


Medical copter crashes, kills four persons

DOLAND A medical helicopter crashed while taking a patient to a hospital in Sioux Falls, killing all four persons aboard, officials said yesterday.

The helicopter, missing since late Monday, was found yesterday morning in a field southeast of Doland in northeastern South Dakota, Gov. Bill Janklow said.

The Careflight air ambulance, leased by Avera St. Luke's Hospital in Aberdeen, was on its way from Aberdeen to the Heart Hospital of South Dakota in Sioux Falls with a patient, the pilot, a flight nurse and a flight medic, officials said.


TVA votes to hold line on electric rates

KNOXVILLE The Tennessee Valley Authority voted yesterday to extend an electric-rate freeze to a fifth consecutive year while still paying down debt, reducing pollution and reviving an old nuclear reactor.

"I think it is a good plan and I think we will achieve these goals," TVA Chairman Glenn McCullough said.

TVA directors Skyla Harris and Bill Baxter also voted in favor of the $7 billion spending plan for the 2003 fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.

As part of the budget, TVA expects to spend $528 million on clean-air improvements and $353 million toward restarting the Browns Ferry Unit One nuclear reactor in Alabama.


Court: School violated Bible club leader's rights

SEATTLE A federal appeals court ruled Monday that a school district violated a Bible club leader's rights by refusing to give her club the same status and benefits granted to other school groups.

The ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court's dismissal of a complaint filed four years ago by Tausha Prince, then a sophomore at Spanaway Lake High School, about 35 miles south of Seattle.

Miss Prince argued the Bethel School District violated her First Amendment rights of speech and religion, as well as a 1984 law forbidding public schools that accept federal money from excluding religious or political extracurricular clubs if they allow others.


Inmates trained to fight forest fires

WELCH More than 100 West Virginia inmates are being trained to fight forest fires in preparation for the fall fire season.

To qualify, prisoners must be within 12 months of release and have no criminal history involving violence or arson. They'll be paid $1 per hour for work on the fire lines.


Bioterror lab a national model

CHEYENNE Diabetes. Cancer. Heart disease.

Chronic-disease management was once the chief concern of the Wyoming Department of Health until anthrax-laced letters caused fear across the nation in the fall.

Then anthrax, smallpox and tularemia rose to the top of the agenda.

But bioterrorism wasn't a new topic here. Wyoming built one of the first state bioterrorism labs in the country two years ago, a move many criticized as wasteful or overly morbid, the Tribune-Eagle reports. Now it is considered a national model.

Angie Van Houten took the job as the state's bioterrorism lab coordinator in May 2000.°

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