- The Washington Times - Friday, April 25, 2003

NORTH CAROLINA
Memorial planned at site of deadly fire
HAMLET A survivor of the 1991 Imperial Foods plant fire that killed 25 persons helped break ground yesterday on a memorial park for one of the nation's worst workplace disasters.
Ada Blanchard was trapped that day behind a loading-dock door. The door finally opened and she escaped, but many others couldn't leave the chicken-processing plant because exits were locked or blocked to deter theft. Besides the dead, 56 persons were injured.
Imperial Foods closed and the last of the building long a hulking, soot-stained reminder of the fire was torn down last year. Owner Emmett Roe was convicted of two counts of involuntary manslaughter and served 4 years in prison.
The park will sit on one edge of the property, with 25 granite stepping stones on a walkway surrounded by crepe myrtle trees. A granite monument at the end of the walk will remind visitors of human toll.

PENNSYLVANIA
Teen kills school principal, self
RED LION A 14-year-old boy fatally shot his school principal inside a crowded junior high cafeteria yesterday morning, then killed himself, authorities said.
The shootings happened about 15 minutes before the start of classes at Red Lion Area Junior High School.
"Everyone ran out of the cafeteria yelling, 'He has a gun,'" eighth-grader Danny Dulin said.
The shooter, identified as eighth-grader James Sheets, died at the scene of a single shot to the head, York County Coroner Barry Bloss said. Police did not believe anyone else was involved and were investigating where the boy obtained the multiple guns he carried.
School Superintendent Larry Macaluso said the boy was not known for disciplinary problems and had no known disputes with the principal, Eugene Segro, 51.

ALABAMA
EDS to donate software to schools
MONTGOMERY EDS, the large computer-services company, is donating design software to schools and colleges throughout Alabama.
Gov. Bob Riley said that will help him reach his goal of providing students with a world-class education.
In addition, the company said it will provide free training for teachers at its Huntsville office.

ARKANSAS
Legislator charged with negligent homicide
LITTLE ROCK A state lawmaker whose car was said to have skid into a stranded motorist and two other persons along an icy highway was charged Wednesday with three counts of negligent homicide.
State police say Rep. Johnnie Bolin's car slid into the median of Interstate 530 in Jefferson County on Feb. 25. The stranded motorist and two persons who had stopped to help her were killed.
Mr. Bolin, who has expressed sorrow over the deaths, was hospitalized overnight with chest bruises. Chief deputy prosecutor Kyle Hunter said his office alerted Mr. Bolin that charges would be filed and that he would not be taken into custody on his promise to appear in court.

CALIFORNIA
Zoo's Siberian tigers are scaredy-cats
SAN FRANCISCO Tony and Emily, Siberian tiger siblings at the San Francisco Zoo, are a couple of scaredy-cats.
Their eyes bulge, their mouths loll and their ears fold back the typical behavior of frightened felines upon seeing a lifelike portrait of their popular predecessor.
But the tiger siblings are just going to have to cope. The eight-foot oil painting of Sedova, a popular Siberian tiger who lived at the zoo for 19 years before her death in 1992, is going to stay hanging in their habitat, zoo officials say.
According to Linda Caratti, the tigers' keeper, there is no question that 11-year-olds Emily and Tony are unnerved by the painting, which reportedly bears an impressive resemblance to its subject.
"It's their instinct to feel threatened by another tiger," Miss Caratti told the San Francisco Chronicle. "They just haven't figured out it's a picture."

COLORADO
New trial ordered for sex offender
DENVER A convicted sex offender won a new trial yesterday because he had not been allowed to call a witness on his behalf.
The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that Jorge E. Melendez Jr. should be retried in part because the unheard testimony was expected to differ from that of other defense witnesses.
The trial judge had refused to allow the defense witness to take the stand because he was present when a prosecution witness testified, according to the ruling. The trial judge had ordered all witnesses sequestered.
Melendez's attorney told the trial judge that she did not know the witness was in the courtroom. She also said the witness' presence would not affect his credibility because she would not ask him about testimony he had heard.
Melendez was convicted of several charges, including sexual assault on a child.

CONNECTICUT
Court hears arguments in vomited-evidence case
STAMFORD You have the right to remain silent, but what if you vomit evidence before police read you your rights?
Vincent Betances wants his drug-dealing conviction thrown out, arguing that the eight bags of heroin he threw up after emergency medical treatment should not have been admitted into evidence.
He contends that police illegally seized the evidence from an ambulance after asking him whether he'd swallowed heroin but before reading him his rights.
The state Supreme Court heard arguments in the case Wednesday and is expected to issue a ruling this summer. Betances was arrested on drug charges in New Haven on June 20, 2000. Police said he was holding 30 bags labeled "The Cure."

FLORIDA
Teacher suspended over R-rated movie
FORT PIERCE Usually it's the students who get suspended for not asking permission.
But this time a high school English teacher was suspended, for three days, after showing a class portions of the R-rated movie "Dracula" without OKs from administrators or parents.
Teacher Stephen McKee did not show any nudity or parts of the movie that prompted the R rating, but he should have sought approval before showing any movie rated anything other than G, Assistant Principal Terry Davis said.
Mr. McKee's English honors class viewed the first 20 minutes of the film as part of its study of the novel.
In a disciplinary letter, schools Superintendent Bill Vogel said teachers are required to protect students' physical and mental health and that "the content of this video is inappropriate and unacceptable for the classroom."

HAWAII
FBI searches ship after threat notes
HONOLULU Hawaii officials searched the cruise ship Legends of the Sea, with 1,668 passengers aboard, stem to stern after discovering two handwritten threat letters in a restroom, the FBI said.
The Royal Caribbean cruise ship was allowed to continue on its 11-day cruise after nothing was found. It was bound to Hilo from Ensenada, Mexico, when a passenger and a maintenance worker found the letters.
The ship was diverted from Hilo on Wednesday and moored off the coast of Oahu while five boatloads of agents from the Coast Guard, FBI, local law enforcement, and a military explosives team boarded it.

ILLINOIS
Men plead guilty to cross burning
PEORIA Two men have pleaded guilty to burning a 7-foot cross in the yard of an interracial couple in Macomb nearly two years ago.
Forest Hatley, 29, and Charles Lambert, 46, each face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the federal charge of conspiracy against civil rights.
The men gave differing motives for the incident as they entered their pleas Wednesday. Hatley, who has a swastika tattooed on his forehead, told the judge he disagreed with a black man marrying a white woman, saying it was like an elephant being with a mouse.
Lambert said he had been involved in a fight with the husband shortly before the incident and burned the cross to persuade the man to leave him alone.

INDIANA
School cancels trip over SARS fears
GOSHEN Bethany Christian High School canceled a senior-class trip to Toronto next week because of concerns over SARS.
The 52 seniors will take their five-day trip to Philadelphia and New York instead.
Eric Kaufmann, one of Bethany's senior-class sponsors, said the trip was canceled because of a warning by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

IOWA
Benefits to veterans increase by $168 million
DES MOINES Benefits paid to Iowa veterans increased by $168 million last year.
Gov. Tom Vilsack credits a program called "Operation Awareness" for the improvement. Officials visit nursing homes seeking veterans whose care could be financed through the Veterans Administration but isn't.
In 2001, about 75,000 Iowans were enrolled in veterans-benefits programs. Last year, the total was more than 85,000.

MAINE
Humane Society wants bear-hunt changes
BANGOR The Humane Society and Maine Friends of Animals are starting to organize for a possible referendum aimed at changing the way bears are hunted.
The groups want to ban bear baiting, hunting bears with dogs, and the use of bear traps.
They must collect 51,000 signatures by early next year to get their question on Maine's referendum ballot next year.

MASSACHUSETTS
Judge upholds school-assignment plan
BOSTON A federal judge upheld Boston's school-assignment system, rejecting parents' contentions that it discriminates against white students by reserving half the seats in each school for children from outside the neighborhood.
The Boston School Committee argued that the plan was meant to give parents more choices and was not based on race.
The parents who sued want school assignments to be based entirely on neighborhoods.
In his ruling Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns sided with the schools but also credited the plaintiffs for taking legal action, which he said prompted the district in 1999 "to abandon a constitutionally dubious school-admissions policy."
The "controlled choices" system was adopted in 1999 after 10 families sued, saying Boston's old system of race-based assignments was unconstitutional and kept them out of their preferred schools.

MICHIGAN
Fish force officials to shut down reactors
BRIDGMAN Officials shut down a nuclear power plant on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan yesterday after a large number of fish swam into the plant's cooling-water system.
The two reactors at the Donald C. Cook Nuclear Plant were idled as workers removed the fish and monitored the cooling system. It wasn't clear when the reactor would be restarted, owner and operator American Electric Power Co. Inc. said in a statement.
The plant activated its emergency plan because of concern about the potential loss of cooling water. It also contacted federal, state and Berrien County officials.

NEW MEXICO
Last surviving member of vaudeville act dies
ALBUQUERQUE Irving Foy, the youngest and last survivor of the famed "Seven Little Foys" vaudeville act, has died. He was 94. Mr. Foy fell March 31 and broke his collarbone. He died Sunday at an assisted-living center.
Mr. Foy joined his family in the act "Eddie Foy Sr. and the Seven Little Foys" that performed from 1912 to 1928.

NEW YORK
Man sentenced for killing little girl
WHITE PLAINS A man was sentenced yesterday to five to 15 years in prison for killing a 2-year-old girl with a stray bullet as she watched a Winnie the Pooh cartoon with her parents.
Kashawn Jones, 23, received the maximum sentence for second-degree manslaughter in the January death of Amy Guzman last year.
"Amy was a little angel for us. She was the princess of the family," said her father, Julio Guzman. "Five to 15 years it's nothing. It's nothing for everything we've been through."
Jones had testified that he had planned to kill himself, then changed his mind and was trying to get the bullet out of the high-powered rifle when it discharged out his third-floor window.

OHIO
Famous restaurant's co-owner dies
TOLEDO Nancy Packo Horvath, co-owner of a hot dog restaurant made famous by a homesick soldier played by Jamie Farr on television's "M*A*S*H," died Wednesday of cancer. She was 70.
The Horvath family and the family of her brother, Tony Packo Jr., each own half of the company, which started with a street-corner cafe that Anthony and Rose Packo opened in 1932.
Mr. Farr, a Toledo native, played a cross-dressing U.S. soldier in the Korean War who longed for Tony Packo's hot dogs.
Asked about his hometown on an episode Feb. 24, 1976, Mr. Farr's character, Cpl. Max Klinger, responded: "If you're ever in Toledo, Ohio, on the Hungarian side of town, Tony Packo's got the greatest Hungarian hot dogs. Thirty-five cents."

SOUTH CAROLINA
Committee confirms drought is over
COLUMBIA South Carolina's Drought Response Committee confirmed yesterday what steady rains have been suggesting for months the state's 5-year-old drought is officially over.
South Carolina had been among the states hit hardest by the extended Southern dry spell, which began to break in the fall. Lakes, rivers and streams are now above normal, and many of the state's rivers have been flowing above flood stage for the past month.
Forecasters say this weekend could bring more rain to South Carolina, as much as 3 inches in some areas.

TEXAS
Grand jury indicts undercover agent
TULIA The undercover agent at the heart of a series of racially tinged drug arrests was indicted yesterday on three counts of aggravated perjury for lying during hearings last month.
The Swisher County grand jury handed up the indictments against Tom Coleman, 43. Prosecutors said too much time had passed to charge Mr. Coleman with lying in any of the actual drug cases.
The case involves cocaine raids in 1999 in this predominantly white farm town of 5,000 people. Mr. Coleman, who is no longer in law enforcement, said he bought drugs from the defendants during an 18-month investigation in which he worked alone and used no audio or video surveillance.

WASHINGTON
Families, supporters await carrier's return
EVERETT Officials say the city's Iraqi community will be part of the parade welcoming the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln.
The Navy still hasn't released a specific arrival date. The 18-story aircraft carrier is expected to dock the week of May 4.
When Baghdad fell, dozens of Iraqis in Everett celebrated by dancing and cheering.

WISCONSIN
College students caught cheating
MADISON As many as 60 University of Wisconsin accounting students apparently cheated on take-home exams, school officials say.
The students were told to take the midterm tests individually, but some worked in groups, said John Eichenseyer, chairman of the accounting department.
The instructor had allowed the students to take the tests home so that they could attend a presentation April 2 by Sherron Watkins, the Enron Corp. employee who blew the whistle on the energy giant's questionable accounting practices.
Students who had done their own work told the instructor that they had heard about widespread cheating on the test, Mr. Eichenseyer said this week.

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