- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 18, 2002

LOUISIANA

Deckhand acquitted of killing captain

DIAMOND A grocery store worker who went to sea to make extra money was acquitted of killing his captain in a struggle over the only life jacket on the sinking boat.

Alvin Latham, 48, hugged his defense attorney after the verdict was read late Monday.

The jury deliberated for about six hours before returning the 10-2 decision.

Mr. Latham faced a life sentence without parole if convicted in the death of Raymond "Tinky" Leiker, 35. Mr. Leiker died during a storm that sank the shrimp boat in Breton Sound in July 2000.


NEW JERSEY

Enrollments jump at community colleges

RED BANK Jennifer Buono chose little-known Brookdale Community College in central New Jersey over Rutgers University to enroll after high school.

"Brookdale is cheaper and you're getting the same education for less," said the 18-year-old education major. "And when I get out of school, I won't have all those student loans to pay off."

Across the country, many students have made similar decisions this semester. Though official figures aren't available, community college administrators say enrollment is way up, a product of the sour economy and rising tuition rates at four-year schools, including state universities such as Rutgers.

Norma Kent, a spokeswoman for the American Association of Community Colleges, said many schools are reporting percentage increases in the double digits for enrollment.


ALASKA

Drunken passenger sentenced to treatment

ANCHORAGE A federal judge ruled that a man clearly couldn't control himself on a flight diverted to Anchorage because of his behavior.

William Mullis III jeopardized people on the trip from Detroit to Japan after he got drunk. That was inexcusable, said U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline.

Judge Beistline ignored recommendations of probation from the government and the defense. He instead sentenced Mullis, 47, to the maximum of six months in jail, then ordered the man to serve the entire time in a substance-abuse program.

Mullis was released after he pleaded guilty in July, but reportedly was drinking within six hours of his release, the judge said, in violation of his conditions of release.


ARKANSAS

Inmate escapes, returns unnoticed

FORREST CITY He was no Harry Houdini, but he did manage to escape from a locked jail and return without anyone noticing once.

Upon Joseph Smith's second attempt to escape the lockup and return undetected, he wasn't so lucky. Smith, 33, was caught just hours after the escape and returned to jail.

Tyrone Hall, 24, who escaped with Smith, managed to elude capture by slipping back into the same window the two had pried open to freedom. He learned the trick from Smith.

Smith had been held on a bench warrant and on a charge of driving on a suspended driver's license. Hall was held on two counts of breaking and entering, commercial burglary and theft. The two now are charged with second-degree escape.


CALIFORNIA

Small planes collide; three persons die

CARLSBAD Three persons were killed when two private planes collided in flight yesterday about a mile from McLellan-Palomar Airport, said Jerry Snyder, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration in Los Angeles.

Mr. Snyder identified the two planes as a twin-engine Beechcraft Duchess and a single-engine Mooney MO20. The planes went down in a rugged canyon about 30 miles north of San Diego.


COLORADO

Authorities investigate airport workers

DENVER Federal agents yesterday rounded up about 100 Denver International Airport employees suspected of using false information to obtain jobs that gave them access to restricted areas.

The detained workers included a pilot, food service workers and security workers. They were questioned by officials from the Immigration and Naturalization Service and Social Security office.

The workers might have falsified Social Security numbers on their job applications, authorities said.


CONNECTICUT

Children pulled out of facility

PORTLAND The state's child welfare agency was pulling all of its children out of the still-troubled psychiatric facility where 11-year-old Andrew McClain died four years ago while being restrained, the Hartford Courant reported.

Department of Children and Families Commissioner Kristine D. Ragaglia said Monday her agency is terminating its contract for an 18-month-old treatment program at what is now St. Francis Care Behavioral Health because of concerns about children's safety and a lack of adequate treatment programs.

The agency received complaints about staff assaulting children, patients running away, sexual activity among patients, and staffers allowing one suicidal child to gain access to a razor.


DELAWARE

Mayor, community defend police

WILMINGTON Several community groups rallied in downtown Wilmington yesterday in support of police efforts to crack down on drug dealers and other street criminals.

Columbus Linville, vice president of the Browntown Civic Association, organized the rally after news reports that the police department photographed people detained, but not arrested, by special street crime units.

The squads have been targeting high-crime areas of the city since June, making hundreds of arrests but also photographing more than 100 people not charged with any crime.


FLORIDA

Customs seizes Mexican Lear jet

MIAMI U.S. authorities said yesterday they had seized a Lear jet in Florida upon arrival from Mexico, but declined to comment on a report they had questioned a top Mexican politician aboard the aircraft.

The U.S. Customs Service said in a statement its agents seized the jet on Saturday at Fort Lauderdale airport and that three passengers, plus a pilot and co-pilot were aboard the plane.

"All these individuals were released by U.S. Customs. The Lear jet remains in U.S. Customs possession," the statement said.

A customs official declined to comment on a report published by Mexico's El Financiero newspaper, which said one of the passengers was Roberto Madrazo, the leader of the Institutional Revolutionary Party that had ruled Mexico for seven decades until it was defeated in the July 2000 presidential election.


IDAHO

Farmers burn 1,000 acres

COEUR d'ALENE After a two-week injunction, grass farmers burned about 1,000 acres Monday on the Rathdrum Prairie and had approval to burn 1,500 acres on the Coeur d'Alene Indian Reservation, the Press reported.

The reappearance of smoke forced some people to flee.

Post Falls resident Laura Fowler was at work in Spokane, Wash., when she had to return Monday morning to get her daughter, Kaylee, out of school. The 12-year-old asthmatic has severe reactions to field smoke. Mrs. Fowler planned to take Kaylee to Spokane until the northern Idaho air cleared.


MISSISSIPPI

Bad-check writers to get restitution jobs

JACKSON Bad-check writers in Hinds County, once sentenced to what one judge called the equivalent of a debtor's prison, soon will be doing more than jail time, the Clarion-Ledger reports.

The Hinds County supervisors approved $18,000 start-up money for a Hinds County Restitution Center Monday.

Misdemeanor offenders, such as those who write bad checks or commit vandalism, will work in jobs in the public sector to repay victims, support their families and pay Hinds County $20 a day for room and board.


MISSOURI

Judge forbids release of sex offenders' names

KANSAS CITY A federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction against the state of Missouri forbidding the release of the names of three Kansas City-area men who are required to register as sex offenders, the Star reports.

The ruling was an interim step within a broader challenge to the state's version of Megan's Law, named for a New Jersey child who was killed in 1994 by a convicted sex offender.


MONTANA

Thrift stores freshen up

GREAT FALLS Thrift stores in this city are remodeling to catch the credit-card crowd, but they still differ dramatically from the giant retail stores, the Tribune reports.

"We depend on our thrift store to provide about $4,000 a month for the food we give away," said Dione Leidholt of the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Cascade County.

This month marks the second anniversary of the blaze that destroyed the old St. Vincent's warehouse at 426 Central Ave. W.

A new, 15,000-square-foot warehouse on the same spot is targeted to be open in early November.


NORTH CAROLINA

More grandparents are in custody battles

CHARLOTTE For two years, Jonathan Byers has been locked in a bitter court battle for custody of his two children.

For most of that time, the Charlotte man's opponent hasn't been his ex-wife, but his children's grandmother.

The case stands as the latest example of a growing trend: As more parents struggle with the demands of raising children, grandparents increasingly are stepping in to help. Those custody arrangements sometimes formal, sometimes not are sparking court battles that might have seemed unthinkable several decades ago, the Observer reports.


PENNSYLVANIA

Couple marry in old coal mine

ASHLAND Some couples search the world over for the perfect wedding spot.

A. John Dalton found it 400 feet below the Earth's surface. Mr. Dalton and Sarah A. Yurkunas were married Saturday in the Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine, an anthracite mine closed since 1931 that is now a tourist destination.

It was Mr. Dalton who suggested the venue. "You always hear of so much tragedy with mines, we thought, 'Why not connect them with something good?'" he said.


RHODE ISLAND

Dance festival whirls into town

NEWPORT Dancers, choreographers, artists and filmmakers are collaborating this week as the Island Moving Co. celebrates its 20th anniversary with "Open for Dancing," a five-day festival set against some of the city's most picturesque landscapes, the News reports.

Professional dancers, dance students and those who love to move to music will perform three pieces choreographed for outdoor settings. The outdoor "stages" include the Sunken Gardens at the Elms, the rocky coastline at Rough Point and the Ballard Park nature preserve.

"Certainly this is the first site-specific dance festival in Newport," said Dominque Alfandre, executive director of the Island Moving Co.


TENNESSEE

Residents return after acid neutralized

KNOXVILLE The last of nearly 3,000 residents forced to evacuate because of a sulfuric acid leak from a derailed freight train were allowed to return home yesterday morning.

"The tank car containing sulfuric acid has been neutralized and removed from the scene. Everybody can go home," said Holt Clark, spokesman for the Knox County Emergency Management Agency.

A 141-car Norfolk Southern train bound for Birmingham, Ala., derailed late Sunday morning, sending 22 cars and two locomotives off the tracks and causing a tanker car carrying 10,600 gallons of sulfuric acid to send a noxious plume into the sky.


UTAH

Parents charged in death of girl

PROVO A couple have been charged in the water-intoxication death of their 4-year-old adopted daughter, an unconventional technique their attorney said was recommended by family therapists to promote bonding.

Richard Killpack, 34, and Jennete Killpack, 26, were charged Monday with child-abuse homicide and child abuse. They were not arrested and were awaiting a court summons, defense attorney Philip Danielson said yesterday.

Prosecutors said Cassandra Killpack was forced to drink so much water that it lowered the concentration of sodium in her blood, causing fatal brain swelling.

Mr. Danielson said the Cascade Center for Family Growth in Orem promoted forced water drinking for children with "attachment disorder" and that it was supposed to teach children to go to their parents for relief and comfort.


VERMONT

Restaurant settles discrimination case

MONTPELIER A racial discrimination case involving a South Burlington restaurant has been settled without a trial, the Free Press reports.

The Vermont Human Rights Commission had filed suit in March charging the owner of Denny's Restaurant on Shelburne Road with racial discrimination for an incident in July 2000 in which two black customers said they were seated away from white customers.

Before filing its lawsuit, the commission had found grounds for the complaints made by Keith Longmore and Davell Baker, but urged the sides to settle the dispute. When Donald Allard, president of Second Summa Corp., which owns Denny's, and the two customers failed to reach an agreement after six months, the commission took the case to court.

Mr. Longmore and Mr. Baker said that when they entered Denny's in July 2000, they were directed to a darkened section of the dining room and seated at a table next to a bucket and mop. When they asked to move to an empty table in the lighted dining area, they were told they could leave.


WEST VIRGINIA

Man, 84, returns to school

RAVENSWOOD Before dawn, when many college students are calling it a night, Bill Caldwell rises. He wakes up at 4 a.m. to delve into thick volumes for his classes in ancient history or computer science.

Then again, the early wake-up call isn't the only thing that separates Mr. Caldwell from his college classmates at the Jackson County Center at West Virginia University-Parkersburg.

He is 84.

When his wife died five years ago, Mr. Caldwell decided to go back for the college degree he had wanted since he graduated from Bluefield High School 67 years ago.


WISCONSIN

Mayor settles debt over harassment claims

MILWAUKEE Milwaukee's mayor has paid the city $375,000 to cover the cost of settling sexual harassment accusations made against him by a former staff member.

About $100,000 of the total came personally from Mayor John O. Norquist. The rest was from the mayor's campaign fund, which was to be closed.

After the city paid the claim filed by former mayoral aide Marilyn Figueroa in April, the four-term mayor announced he would not seek re-election in 2004.


HAWAII

Movie makers love the look

HONOLULU For his new film, director Sean McNamara knew he would need swaying palms, peaceful beaches and lush, green mountains to stand in for the fictitious island off California.

In his mind, there was just one location.

"Nothing looks like Hawaii, nothing looks like a tropical paradise except for here," said Mr. McNamara, who was on the island of Oahu last month filming "The Stevens Get Even," based on the Disney Channel series "Even Stevens."

Hawaii's television and film industry is having one of its strongest years.


NEVADA

Red-light signs planned for beltway safety

LAS VEGAS Intersections along the Las Vegas Beltway, including sites of fatal crashes, soon could get signs warning drivers of upcoming red lights, the Sun reports.

Clark County Public Works Director Martin Manning said Monday his department is reviewing all intersections along the beltway that are controlled by traffic lights.

Some analysts have said warnings could reduce the number of fatal accidents, which tend to happen at the roadway's intersections.

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