- The Washington Times - Friday, April 18, 2003

New state flag clears a hurdle
ATLANTA A new Georgia flag moved a step closer to adoption yesterday when a state Senate committee unanimously approved it over the objections of black lawmakers, Southern heritage supporters and even a flag specialist.
The Senate Rules Committee voted to send the new flag which echoes an early Confederate banner but has no rebel X for a floor vote as soon as next week.
The House has voted to take down the current flag, which was hastily changed in 2001 to shrink the rebel cross.
The new flag features the state seal on a blue field in the top left corner, with three red-and-white stripes and the words "In God We Trust."
The new banner must be approved by the public in a referendum next March. If the "In God We Trust" flag is not approved, voters could then opt in July from among choices that include an old flag dominated by the Confederate battle cross.

Lieutenant governor treats wounded soldiers
FRANKFORT Kentucky Lt. Gov. Steve Henry, an orthopedic surgeon, is treating several U.S. soldiers wounded in the war against Iraq.
Dr. Henry was asked to serve a temporary stint at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center because he helped develop an antibiotic bead pouch designed to limit wound infections.
Dr. Henry, who arrived at the hospital Tuesday, said the beads, which "look like strings of pearls," are placed in wounds of "mangled extremities" to sterilize the area and reduce infection.
"The beads cut down infection by one-half and decrease amputations by 20 percent," he said in a telephone interview. "They clean up wounds for three days without the changing of dressings. They later are removed."

Police detail plan to fight racial profiling
LITTLE ROCK The state police commission has introduced a program to combat racial profiling.
Video cameras will be installed in all police cruisers and state troopers must follow guidelines on how to interact with motorists, pedestrians or crime suspects, police say.

Actor settles suit with ex-lover
LOS ANGELES Marlon Brando has settled a $100 million breach-of-contract lawsuit brought by a former maid who is the mother of three of his children, attorneys for both sides said.
"It has been amicably resolved," Donald Woldman said as he left the courthouse Wednesday with his client, Maria Cristina Ruiz.
Miss Ruiz declined to comment and hid her face from photographers with a scarf as she left the courtroom. The 79-year-old actor, who won Academy Awards for "On the Waterfront" (1954) and "The Godfather" (1972), didn't attend the hearing, which was closed to the public.
Details of the settlement were not revealed. "It's a private matter and it should be left private," said Leon F. Bennett, Mr. Brando's attorney.
Miss Ruiz, 43, worked as Mr. Brando's maid and lived at his home after they became romantically involved in 1988.

Casinos report successful month
MASHANTUCKET Wintry weather and war in Iraq didn't keep people away from Connecticut's two casinos.
The Mohegan Sun and the Foxwoods Resort Casino reported that earnings in March were among the highest since the casinos opened. Each reported a net income of nearly $68 million from slot machines.
Under Connecticut's gambling compact, the state receives 25 percent of slot revenues.

Senate passes Sunday liquor sales bill
DOVER The Senate approved and sent to the House a bill that would allow Sunday liquor sales. Sunday sales are now limited to Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.
No year-round Sunday sales bill has passed the Legislature since Gov. Tom Carper vetoed a bill in 1993.
Gov. Ruth Ann Minner has said she would sign the bill.

Shoplifting suspect flees without baby daughter
BONITA SPRINGS Sheriff's deputies have arrested a man who they say left behind his 6-month-old daughter when he was caught shoplifting.
Melvin Negron was charged Wednesday with child neglect and retail theft. The charges carry a combined maximum penalty of more than five years in prison.
Mr. Negron, 39, was stopped at a Target store Monday after a security camera showed him taking a DVD player, authorities said. He fled without his daughter, they said.
Store employees cared for the baby, even changing her diapers, until she was reunited with her mother later in the day. A doctor's bill in a bag left with the baby led deputies to her mother.

Hog farm hit with $230,000 fine
CRAWFORDSVILLE Indiana's largest hog farm was slapped with a $230,000 fine for a manure spill last month.
Pohlmann Farms was fined for damage to a creek near Crawfordsville and the deaths of more than 3,000 fish.
An attorney for the farm blamed equipment failure.

GOP leaders drop property tax plans
DES MOINES Republican leaders dropped plans to use a statewide property tax to finance a $890 million economic development fund.
Instead, they'll use gambling revenues that would eventually be replaced by a sales tax on Internet purchases.
Gov. Tom Vilsack is forming a coalition with 34 states to collect sales taxes on online transactions.

Grand jury indicts ex-stepfather of soldier
BATON ROGUE The former stepfather of a U.S. soldier charged in a deadly grenade attack on his unit in Kuwait was indicted yesterday on federal firearms charges.
A grand jury accused William Bilal, a convicted felon, of possessing four weapons. He was convicted of aggravated rape in 1970, and under Louisiana law cannot possess a firearm until 2011.
Bilal, 55, was married for five years to the mother of Sgt. Asan Akbar, who has been charged with murder in the attack last month at a 101st Airborne Division command center that killed two officers and wounded 14 soldiers. Mr. Akbar, 32, is an American Muslim.
Prosecutors say the case against Bilal stems solely from tips that he possessed weapons illegally.

Talks under way to end civil rights probe
DETROIT An independent monitor will oversee the Detroit Police Department in an effort to end the federal government's two-year investigation into civil rights abuses.
Talks are under way to end the Justice Department probe, started in December 2000 at the request of then-Mayor Dennis Archer after a string of shootings by police. Investigators also found examples of excessive use of force and mistreatment of prisoners.
Justice Department lawyers met Wednesday for the second straight day with City Attorney Ruth Carter and Police Chief Jerry Oliver, who said he expects a settlement within a month.

Election helps town win official standing
HUNTSDALE Call it a ghost town.
Depending on who you ask, the town of Huntsdale didn't exist for years until last week.
It was on the map and people lived there, but the community of 26 adults and seven children lacked any official standing as a governmental unit. It was overlooked in the 2000 census, and uncertainty about its status caused it to miss out on a state funding grant last year.
But now a board of trustees voted into office last week is getting ready to hold its first meeting.
Nestled along the Missouri River west of Columbia in Boone County, Huntsdale was incorporated in 1906, but records of the incorporation were destroyed in a 1929 fire. It has since existed without an elected mayor or proof of its status as a city.

Reid raises $2.1 million for re-election campaign
CARSON CITY Democratic Sen. Harry Reid has raised $2.1 million in campaign money for the 2004 elections.
Political analysts say Mr. Reid's numbers are meant to send a message to White House political adviser Karl Rove, who is recruiting a Republican to take on the minority whip.

Man arrested in murder plot
CONCORD A white supremacist who, according to an informant, described himself as a "domestic terrorist," is facing federal charges that he offered to kill a state prisoner who may be released soon.
Russell C. Seace Jr. was charged Wednesday in U.S. District Court with using interstate commerce with the intent to commit murder-for-hire and with being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was ordered held without bail pending an April 25 detention hearing.
Seace, who belongs to the supremacist group Aryan Nations, is on parole from state prison for burglary, authorities said.
FBI agents arrested Seace on Tuesday night. They say he had accepted a firearm. He had identified himself to a secret government informant as a "domestic terrorist," said Joseph N. Laplante, an assistant U.S. attorney.

Teetering crane forces closure of 4 blocks
JERSEY CITY A cable snapped on a construction crane yesterday, leaving it teetering 40 stories above the street and forcing authorities to close streets and halt nearby rail service.
Four blocks surrounding a luxury high-rise building under construction were shut after the cable snapped shortly before 10 a.m., Deputy Public Safety Director Edgar Martinez said.
By noon, authorities concluded that the 330-foot crane did not pose a danger to any people or buildings, and there were no evacuations, Mayor Glenn Cunningham said.

Farm-safety program expands to urbanites
NAPOLEON A handful of locals gathered in the meeting room of the Downtowner Bar to hear Marilyn Adams talk about preventing children from getting hurt on farms.
The audience was a typical one for Mrs. Adams, who founded Farm Safety 4 Just Kids after her 11-year-old son, Keith, died on her family's Iowa farm in 1986.
Lately, though, her following has expanded to include more than just farm families. She talked to people in Australia who were affected by the terrorist bombings of two nightclubs in Indonesia, where hundreds of Australian tourists were killed. She arranged to have her grief-management book sent to families of victims of the September 11 attack on the Pentagon.
Mrs. Adams, who came here to promote a rural child care initiative, started her program in 1987, a year after her son suffocated in a gravity-flow wagon filled with corn. The accident occurred when Keith was allowed to stay home from school to help his stepfather.

Warrant obtained in arson investigation
COLUMBUS Police said yesterday that they received a warrant to search a vehicle but have no suspects in their investigation into an arson that killed five college students.
The warrant was sealed, and Detective Pat Dorn did not release details or say whether the search had been carried out.
Police have set up a tip line, interviewed people in the neighborhood near Ohio State University and passed out fliers advertising the $20,000 reward for information. They also are asking for video or photos of the fire or the birthday party that ended at the house just before the blaze broke out.
The fire started just after 4 a.m. Sunday, killing two Ohio State students and three students visiting from Ohio University.

Mr. Rogers' death changes commencement
GREENSBURG Fred Rogers' death has transformed Seton Hill University's commencement ceremonies.
Mr. Rogers, the host and creator of the children's television show "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," had been scheduled to speak at the May 10 commencement of the private Roman Catholic school.
Instead, the ceremony will now feature a tribute to Mr. Rogers, who died Feb. 27 of stomach cancer, and an address by publisher Steve Forbes, a former candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.
Mr. Forbes, president and chief executive of Forbes Inc., agreed to speak at the ceremony out of his regard for Mr. Rogers and at the urging of his two daughters, lifelong fans of Mr. Rogers, university officials said this week.

Teen blinded by frog accident
DALLAS A teenager was blinded after being struck in the face with a frog shot from a so-called "potato gun."
Daniel Benjamin Berry, 17, was injured when he looked down the barrel of the gun's PVC pipe barrel and was hit in the face by the frog.
A potato gun is made of pipe with one end sealed. A potato is wedged into the open end and a flammable liquid put into a sealed chamber is ignited, launching the object.
Daniel joined a group of teens who were trying to shoot a frog from the gun, it misfired. Daniel looked down the barrel to see what was wrong when the gun went off.

Elizabeth Smart moving back to her old life
SALT LAKE CITY Elizabeth Smart is spending a lot of time with her family and friends these days. She's going to church and making trips to the mall, though she's not back at school. Not yet.
While the 15-year-old slowly reclaims her life, her family has hired a lawyer to handle book and movie offers that have poured in since Elizabeth was found with a self-proclaimed prophet nine months after she vanished from her bedroom.
Family spokeswoman Missy Larsen said the Smarts expect to choose within the next two weeks whom they want to tell the story of the teen's ordeal.
In June, Elizabeth was taken at knifepoint from her bedroom. She returned to her family March 12 after she was spotted in a Salt Lake City with Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee, who have been charged with her kidnapping.

Judges to repay state for Hawaii trip
SEATTLE Four Municipal Court magistrates were ordered to repay taxpayer money spent on sending them to a conference in Hawaii in the fall.
The judges were said to have spent their time as tourists instead.
They also were ordered to note the days as vacation time.

Bank robbery suspect proves easy catch
CHEYENNE The suspect in a bank robbery made it easy and very convenient for authorities to arrest him.
The man is accused of robbing a bank located in the same downtown building as the local FBI office. The bank also is across the street from the city police department.
"If you rob the bank in the same building as the FBI, it won't take long," Assistant U.S. Attorney John Green said.
Jonathan Waldon was charged in federal court with attempted bank robbery, which carries a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Police say a man entered the American National Bank on Tuesday morning, said he had a bomb and demanded $50,000. The suspect was arrested inside the bank.



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