- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 5, 2002


Philanthropist who backed Nixon dies at 100

EVANSTON W. Clement Stone, who parlayed $100 into a $2 billion insurance empire and was known as much for giving away his vast fortune as making it, has died. He was 100.

Mr. Stone, the largest contributor to Richard Nixon's 1968 and 1972 presidential campaigns, died Tuesday in Evanston Hospital.

Mr. Stone founded the Combined International Corp., which later merged with Ryan Insurance Group to form Aon Corp.

His trademarks were a pencil-thin mustache, a bow tie and his ever-present optimism. He once said the Depression was the "best thing that happened" to him because "it forced me to develop good work habits."


Fire destroys bridgefeatured in movie

WINTERSET The covered wooden bridge made famous by the movie "The Bridges of Madison County" was severely damaged in a fire, and authorities were investigating whether the blaze was intentionally set.

Only a charred shell of the Cedar Bridge remained after the Tuesday night fire. The decking collapsed into the creek below.

A passer-by had called the sheriff's office after seeing the bridge in flames. The state fire marshal's office is investigating.


Public barredfrom court session

LUVERNE A judge barred the public from a court appearance for a man charged with murdering six members of a rural south Alabama family, explaining that the defendant didn't want the news media to see it.

While the judge held the court proceeding in private amid tight security, the stricken Crenshaw County community prepared for public funeral services for the six victims yesterday at Luverne High School.

Westley Devone Harris, 22, is charged with six counts of capital murder in an Aug. 26 shooting rampage that killed his 16-year-old girlfriend's parents, three brothers and grandmother. Authorities said they are still trying to determine a motive.

Crenshaw County District Judge William King, who held the private court session Tuesday, said he asked for Mr. Harris' "permission" for the public to attend the proceeding, and Mr. Harris refused.


Land soldfor Kenai refuge

ANCHORAGE A 4,200-acre tract at Point Possession on the northern Kenai Peninsula was sold for $3.3 million to the federal government and will become part of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

The land contains old-growth forest with some 30 lakes; it's home to moose, brown and black bears and tundra swans.

British explorer Capt. James Cook claimed Point Possession for Britain in 1778.


Authorities searchingfor pickle pranksters

ASPEN Johnny Hoffman wasn't laughing when he discovered the 8-foot-long, 200-plus-pound pickle had been plucked off the top of his sandwich shop's delivery car. He wanted it back.

"I called the police. I wanted them to seal off the exits in and out of town," Mr. Hoffman said. "That pickle has become a big part of our image."

Mr. Hoffman wasn't the only one puzzling over how the pickle wound up on the roof of Aspen High School. School officials and police in this glitzy resort town also want to know who the mastermind is behind the pickle prank.

The pickle will stay on the school roof until a team can be brought in to safely return it to its rightful owners.


School removes snacks,soft drinks from menu

STAMFORD In an effort to improve students' diets, school officials are removing some popular snacks and soft drinks from the menu at city elementary and middle schools.

Regular potato chips and other foods with high fat content will be replaced by reduced-fat potato chips, pretzels, popcorn and granola bars, officials said.

Bottled water, flavored seltzer water and juices will replace regular and diet soft drinks in vending machines.


State seesits first quintuplets

WILMINGTON Jennifer Maris, 34, said she was just listening for the sound of a baby's cry in the delivery room at Christiana Hospital.

But she heard that cry five times Friday when she gave birth to four girls and one boy in what hospital officials said is the first quintuplet birth in Delaware. Her husband, Tom, was by her side.

Jennifer said she is excited and a little scared. "It is not every day you have five babies," she said.

The delivery of the quintuplets was the second multiple birth for the Coatesville, Pa., couple, who were using fertility drugs to assist in conception. Jennifer Maris' first pregnancy four years ago produced twin boys, Roger and Ryan.

Tom Maris, 32, said he named the first of his twin sons Roger, after the baseball great. Now he said he has more than enough children to fill a baseball infield.


City commissionerrobbed at gunpoint

POMPANO BEACH City Commissioner Ed Phillips didn't lose his shirt playing cards this week. He lost his pants.

Mr. Phillips had to head home in his underwear after being robbed at gunpoint in his own district Sunday night. The incident followed a card game with friends.

Mr. Phillips said a car pulled up with two men wearing ski masks. One waved a gun and the other forced the men to hand over their pants and their wallets.

The robbers got away with the clothes and all the money inside the pockets. Mr. Phillips said his wallet contained about $50.

Now, he says his No. 1 issue is fighting crime.


Suit challengingstate aid to proceed

HONOLULU A judge ruled Tuesday that a lawsuit challenging state-administered programs that only benefit native Hawaiians can move forward against the state, but without the U.S. government as a defendant.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway reaffirms her earlier ruling that the 16 multiethnic plaintiffs have standing as state taxpayers because the programs they are challenging receive state money.

The plaintiffs sued the state in March, claiming the Hawaiian Home Lands program and Office of Hawaiian Affairs represent unconstitutional race discrimination.


State receives paymentfrom developers

BOISE The state has received its first payment from developers of the billion-dollar, four-season WestRock resort.

The $400,000 check was required under the lease the resort signed for 2,100 acres of state land.

Work began earlier this summer on what will be the nation's first new destination ski resort in two decades. The state is guaranteed $2.25 million even if the project fails.


Schools fear declinein English test scores

GOSHEN School officials fear that a new federal law requiring that even students who speak little English be tested will cause a sharp decline in state test scores.

Districts with fast-growing Hispanic enrollments are worried that they could be labeled as having failing schools.

Federal law requires at least 95 percent of a district's students be tested on how well they meet academic standards.


Candidates debateimmigrant students

TOPEKA Superintendent Milt Pippenger knows some of the children in his Garden City school district are the children of illegal or undocumented immigrants.

If one State Board of Education candidate got her wish, such circumstances wouldn't exist, even though a 20-year-old U.S. Supreme Court ruling prohibits public schools from denying immigrant students access to a public education.

Connie Morris of St. Francis proposes barring the children of illegal immigrants from attending public schools, saying the cost of educating them was draining away state tax dollars. The Republican candidate has no Democratic challenger in the general election.


Police stations hitby anthrax scare

BOSTON Preliminary tests on a suspicious white powder mailed to nearly a dozen police stations in Massachusetts came back negative for anthrax, state health officials said yesterday.

"It appears to be a hoax," said Roseanne Pawelec, a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

At least 11 Massachusetts police stations received threatening letters yesterday containing a powder in an incident reminiscent of the deadly letter-borne anthrax attacks that hit the United States in the days following the September 11 attacks.


Judge: Engler improperlyseized city's finances

LANSING Gov. John Engler failed to follow proper procedure in putting an emergency manager in control of Flint's finances after the city fell $40 million in debt, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Judge James Giddings' latest order hands control of Flint's finances back to city officials and takes it away from Ed Kurtz, appointed by the state in July as the city's emergency financial manager.

In his order Tuesday, Judge Giddings said Flint officials were kept from offering evidence that showed they were making progress on handling the city's debt, making the June hearing before state officials "a sham."


Man said to rob bankwith son in tow

JACKSON Police say a man robbed a bank with his 3-year-old son in tow and that the boy slowed him enough to get caught.

Police arrested Caleb Laforrest Pete, 41, after Tuesday's robbery of a Community Bank branch.

Police spokesman Robert Graham said Mr. Pete brought his son into the bank and handed the teller a note demanding money. The man put an undisclosed amount of money in a duffel bag and ran out, but the boy slowed him down long enough for him to be seen making his getaway in a waiting cab, Mr. Graham said.

A short time later police stopped the cab, which also held Mr. Pete's wife and their 5-month-old daughter. The wife has not been charged, Mr. Graham said. State human services workers took the children into custody.


School districts suestate over funding

HELENA Eleven school districts in six communities, seven parents and the union that represents Montana's teachers sued the state Tuesday over what they see as an unconstitutional and inadequate funding system for the state's public schools, the Montana Standard reports.

The complaint filed before District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock in Helena argues that the state's school funding system does not allow schools enough money to meet state standards, violating the constitutional requirement that the state provide a "basic system of free quality public elementary and secondary schools."

In addition, the suit says, the funding system is not based on the actual cost of providing a quality education and fails to ensure that all schools are equally equipped to give students a solid education.


Police catch suspectin low-speed chase

OMAHA This low-speed chase ended with police catching a suspected bank robber without breaking much of a sweat.

To make this arrest, officers commandeered golf carts and chased a man who had scaled the fence of a golf course and ran across it, said Sgt. Dan Cisar, a department spokesman.

Officers first spotted the suspect in a car after the bank robbery, but the driver wouldn't pull over, Mr. Cisar said. A car chase followed until the man stopped the car and climbed the golf course fence.

The officers in carts chased the suspected crook until he ran out of steam. That's when police nabbed him.


Accused Nazi guardcould lose citizenship

TRENTON The U.S. Department of Justice will seek to revoke the citizenship of a New Jersey man it says served as an armed guard at Nazi slave labor camps during World War II.

According to a complaint filed yesterday, Andrew Kuras, 80, of Mays Landing was an SS auxiliary at a Nazi training camp and an armed guard at three different slave labor camps in occupied Poland during the war.

Mr. Kuras came to the United States in 1951 and became a naturalized citizen in 1962.

The complaint says Mr. Kuras hid his Nazi service when he applied for his visa, telling officials he had spent the war years as a farmer in Poland and then in Germany.


Schools bid $1 millionto avoid takeover

ALBUQUERQUE Nearly $1 million will be set aside for improvements at four failing public schools if the Albuquerque Board of Education approves a corrective action plan, the Tribune reports.

The money will be spent soon if the state superintendent for public instruction allows Albuquerque public schools to activate their own plan for boosting academic performance.

Recommended by the Board of Education Finance Committee on Tuesday night, the $963,600 plan would hire more teachers to reduce class sizes, add more paid time for teacher training and planning, and add social workers and a librarian to school staffing.


Reporters get throughsecurity with weapons

NEW YORK Reporters investigating airport security were able to smuggle small knives and pepper spray through checkpoints at 11 U.S. airports during the Labor Day weekend, the Daily News reported yesterday .

The reporters carried utility knives, rubber-handled razor knives, a pocket knife, a corkscrew, razor blades and pepper spray through every airport security checkpoint they encountered.

CBS News crews also tested security screeners last week, although they did not attempt to smuggle banned items through checkpoints. They carried bags lined with lead to block X-rays and sailed past about 70 percent of screeners at several airports nationwide.

"They're impossible to miss, and yet they just continually let it go," said Steve Elson, who used to check security for the Federal Aviation Administration and helped with the CBS investigation.

The Daily News said guards X-rayed and hand-searched its reporters' bags, asked them to remove their shoes and checked photo identifications, but did not find the banned items.


West Nile viruskills Fargo man

FARGO The West Nile virus probably killed a man who died at a hospital here, doctors said Tuesday. It is North Dakota's fourth human case and first fatality from the mosquito-borne disease.

"This was an unfortunate case but we knew the infection was in our community and we knew the potential we could have deaths," said Dr. John Baird, the health officer for Cass County and Fargo.

The man died at MeritCare Hospital late last week, about six days after being admitted with flu-like symptoms, Dr. Paul Carson said. He had an underlying illness and a weakened immune system that made him more susceptible to the virus, said Dr. Carson, a MeritCare infectious disease specialist.


Denomination reducesits president's power

PHILADELPHIA The National Baptist Convention, the nation's largest black denomination, has voted to change its constitution to reduce the power of its president, 2½ years after its last leader went to prison for stealing millions.

The Rev. Wendell L. Griffen, who headed the revision committee, said the changes had been in the works long before the past president's problems and are unrelated.

The denomination, which is holding a conference in Philadelphia this week, voted Tuesday to decrease the number of board members appointed by its president. The convention has about 110 board members. Under the change, the president will select four, instead of 29.


UVM contracttalks hit snag

BURLINGTON Negotiations between the University of Vermont and its new faculty union have broken down over several issues, including salary increases and the treatment of faculty members who aren't eligible for tenure, according to the Free Press.

The union, United Academics, wants UVM to spend up to $9 million more on faculty salaries during the next three years. The university is offering $3 million over three years, the union said.

Tuesday, the two sides agreed to seek the help of an outside mediator. If those efforts fail, the contract dispute ultimately might be settled by the Vermont Labor Relations Board.


Tornado victimsface rebuilding

LADYSMITH The damage estimate from a powerful Labor Day tornado that tore through this northwestern Wisconsin town topped the $20 million mark as state officials promised immediate funds, loans and National Guard troops to help rebuild the community.

Authorities estimate the tornado damaged between 130 and 150 buildings in Rusk County, destroyed 26 businesses and at least 17 homes. Thirty-seven persons were treated for injuries ranging from lacerations to broken legs at area hospitals.

Still, the most amazing figure to some residents was the number of deaths: zero.

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