- The Washington Times - Monday, December 15, 2003


Gunman kills officers, self

MISHAWAKA — A gunman killed two police officers who attempted to arrest him over the weekend, then took his own life after reportedly telling witnesses, “I can’t take this anymore.”

The officers were sent to investigate a complaint of shots fired and were shot while trying to make an arrest, Capt. Mike Samp said.

Police identified the gunman as Raymond Matthew Gilkeson, 30, of Mishawaka.


Book is world’s largest

CAMBRIDGE — A 133-pound tome about the Asian country of Bhutan that uses enough paper to cover a football field and a gallon of ink has been declared the world’s largest published book.

Author Michael Hawley, a scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said it’s not a book to curl up with at bedtime “unless you plan to sleep on it.”

Each copy of “Bhutan: A Visual Odyssey Across the Kingdom,” is 5-by-7 feet, 112 pages and costs about $2,000 to produce.


Trial date set in clinic bombing

BIRMINGHAM — A federal judge ruled last week that Eric Rudolph, accused of a fatal abortion-clinic bombing here, will go on trial beginning Aug. 2.

Prosecutors had asked for a June 1 start. Defense lawyer Richard Jaffe had objected, saying last month that his team has only a few lawyers to sort through thousands of documents.

U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge T. Michael Putnam set a Jan. 30 deadline for any motion to move the trial out of Birmingham.

Mr. Rudolph is accused of setting off a bomb outside a Birmingham clinic in 1998, killing a police officer and critically injuring a nurse.

Mr. Rudolph also is charged in the Olympic park bombing in Atlanta in 1996, in which a woman was killed, and a pair of 1997 bombings in Atlanta.


Penalty proposed for oil company

ANCHORAGE — The Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has proposed a $2.5 million fine against an oil company for an explosion that seriously injured a worker last year.

BP Exploration (Alaska) failed to adequately manage its wells, the commission said in a 25-page report released last week.

The company has 15 days to respond. Spokesman Daren Beaudo said the penalty seems excessive. He said BP had not decided whether to appeal and was evaluating its options, which could be a request for informal or formal hearings or an extension of time to respond to the commission’s 25-page report.

BP employee Don Shugak was hospitalized for three months with serious burns and broken bones after the August 2002 blast in a wellhouse. He had been trying to relieve pressure in the well’s pipes.


Woman, 82, killed by pit bulls

CITRA — Seven pit bulls escaped from their owner’s home and mauled an 82-year-old neighbor to death last week.

Alice Broom died at Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, officials told the Ocala Star-Banner for its Saturday editions.

Mrs. Broom was found by the dogs’ owner, Robert Freeman, 67. He said the dogs were attacking the woman when he arrived, and speculated that the attack had gone on for at least 10 minutes.

The dogs were seized by county animal-control officials. Mr. Freeman, who was not immediately charged with a crime, said he told county officers to destroy the dogs.

Mrs. Broom’s daughter, Mary Alice Smothers, said Mr. Freeman’s neighbors had called animal-control officials several times in recent months about the dogs, which had been involved in at least two other biting incidents.


Tax amnesty nets more than projected

TOPEKA — Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said that a tax amnesty’s second round exceeded expectations, collecting $23.6 million in unpaid taxes. That surpassed the goal of $19.5 million, and the total could go even higher, she said during a Statehouse news conference.

The program, which ran from Oct. 1 through Nov. 30, allowed people and corporations to settle tax bills without paying penalty and interest.


Bid to build museum rejected

NEW ORLEANS — The city’s bid to create a museum honoring the Grammy Awards has been rejected by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences.

Developers envisioned an interactive museum that would draw visitors from around the world to learn about Grammy-winning musicians and musical genres.

The Recording Academy sent representatives in November to hear a proposal from a group of elected officials, business leaders and musicians. Developer Pres Kabacoff said he was informed last week that the academy wasn’t interested.

The state had committed $9.9 million to the project, and the city had pledged $7.5 million over 10 years. The rest of the money was to have come from the sale of $70 million in bonds.


Malpractice claims increase in state

CARSON CITY — Medical-malpractice claims in Nevada increased dramatically since a screening panel that reviewed patient complaints was abolished in 2002, an audit shows.

The audit of the Board of Medical Examiners recommends the Legislature re-establish the panel because it helps evaluate physician-discipline cases. The Federation of State Medical Boards, which performed the audit, said the increase may be a result of more frivolous claims.


Women sue lab over pay levels

LOS ALAMOS — Two female employees of the Los Alamos National Laboratory filed a federal lawsuit claiming they are paid less than their male counterparts.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of Veronique Longmire and Laura Barber cites a pay-equity analysis released by the lab this summer as evidence of “significant pay disparities” between male and female employees.


Carolers break Guinness record

NEW YORK — Christmas carolers numbering 519 braved the New York cold and fa-la-la-la-la’d themselves into the Guinness Book of Records over the weekend with the largest carol service, breaking the previous record of 517.

“My fingers froze but, hey, we broke the record,” said city resident Norman Ellis, who joined the singalong on the steps of Manhattan’s General Post Office across the street from Madison Square Garden.

Guinness officials had 12 marshals on the scene to make sure all carolers were actually singing and not just moving their lips to traditional Christmas songs, such as “Jingle Bells” and “Deck the Halls.”

Guinness required that all participants knew the words to the carols and that the singing went on for at least 15 uninterrupted minutes. Saturday’s effort lasted 16 minutes and 17 seconds.

“It was great,” said Alex Camacho of Long Island, who sang along with his wife and children. “It just gets you into the Christmas spirit.”


Jury pool 1,000 for Nichols trial

McALESTER — As many as 1,000 people in a jury pool for the state murder trial of Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols will participate in an orientation in February. District Judge Steven Taylor will discuss what will be required of jurors during the trial.

Nichols, 48, is scheduled for trial March 1. He was previously convicted and sentenced to life in federal prison for the death of eight federal agents.


Hepatitis A cases may be related

HOOKSTOWN — High school students who have tested positive for hepatitis A may be the first people to contract the virus from victims of an outbreak at a nearby Mexican restaurant.

State health officials said they will know todayor tomorrow whether the latest cases, involving an unspecified number of high school students, are the first secondary cases tied to the largest known hepatitis A outbreak, which was confirmed last month at a Chi-Chi’s restaurant about 25 miles northwest of Pittsburgh.

Health officials have confirmed 640 persons — including three who died — got hepatitis A from eating or working at the restaurant, but have yet to confirm any secondary cases in which those infected spread the disease to others.

The high school where some students tested positive for hepatitis A in the past week is about 10 miles from the restaurant.


University protects homosexual workers

COLUMBIA — University of South Carolina officials added homosexual employees to an existing policy forbidding discrimination.

The school’s faculty senate pushed for the change several times in the past 10 years, but former President John Palms worried that adding sexual orientation could make the school vulnerable to lawsuits. School spokesman Russ McKinney said officials no longer agree.


Former POW leaves Army

EL PASO — Shoshana Johnson, who spent 22 days as a prisoner of war in Iraq after being shot during an ambush, was discharged from the Army last week.

“Although I am now leaving the Army, I in no way regret my time in the military,” she said in a statement.

Miss Johnson was a cook for the 507th Maintenance Company when it was ambushed in March. She was shot in both ankles and captured with five other soldiers, including Jessica Lynch. Nine soldiers died in the ambush.

“To my fallen comrades and their families, my utmost respect and gratitude for their sacrifices,” Miss Johnson said. “Their memory has made me a better person, and they will not be forgotten.”


Voucher school owes $330,000

MILWAUKEE — A voucher school that has received more than $1 million in public money in the past year will have to pay the state about $330,000 it owes before getting another $500,000 payment, a state official says.

Tricia Collins, who oversees the voucher program for the state Department of Public Instruction, also said eight to 10 teachers at Mandella School of Science and Math have contacted the DPI with concerns about the school’s finances.


Closing arguments made in resort case

CHEYENNE — Vail Resorts Inc. should pay nearly $61 million for negligence in the carbon monoxide poisoning of a couple honeymooning at a Jackson resort, the family’s attorney argues.

David Williams died and his wife fell sick in August 2001 when carbon monoxide from a malfunctioning boiler seeped into their room overnight at the Snake River Lodge and Spa.

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