- The Washington Times - Monday, February 17, 2003

ALASKA
Police quell fights at youth concert
ANCHORAGE A series of fights involving scores of teenagers at the downtown Egan Center drew a massive police response, the Anchorage Daily News reported.
Dozens of police cars sped to the center from all over the city. Police in riot gear and others with billy clubs, rifles and dogs blocked off part of Fifth and Sixth avenues for nearly an hour as they hustled youngsters out of the center.
The ruckus broke up the Fur Ball, a dance for 14- to 19-year-olds sponsored by a fur retailer at the center. Police estimated that more than 100 youths were in attendance.
"A few [teenagers] were arrested," officer John Daily said. A few others were pepper-sprayed, he said.
Teens outside said the center was packed, with participants jammed shoulder to shoulder during the dance.
"There were fights the whole time," said Shawna Martin, 16. Security people at the dance turned on the lights and started pushing people out the door, she said.

CALIFORNIA
Report: L.A. forfeits public health funds
LOS ANGELES Los Angeles County, which has been struggling to cover public health care costs, forfeited more than $10 million in public health grants over the last three years because officials were unable to spend the money in time.
Last year alone, as 16 health centers closed because of budget cuts, the county returned nearly $3.4 million in state and federal grants. That return followed a return of more than $4.3 million in 2001 and $2.6 million in 2000, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Meanwhile, the county is facing a budget shortfall that has forced officials to cut the public health budget by $10 million annually.
Supervisors blamed rigid personnel policies for the unspent grants, saying the county has been unable to hire the necessary workers from nurses to epidemiologists to fulfill funded projects

MISSOURI
Report: Officials never sought girls' custody
KANSAS CITY Despite years of investigations for sexual abuse, dangerous living conditions and repeated drug use in the home of Theresa L. Smith, child welfare workers never sought court permission to place her children in protective custody, the Kansas City Star reported.
Miss Smith, 35, and her boyfriend, Kevin Donovan, 25, were charged last month with rape, sodomy and other offenses involving Miss Smith's two daughters, ages 9 and 11. The girls told authorities that they had been sexually abused by Mr. Donovan and Miss Smith did nothing to stop it.
Confidential records show that Miss Smith's home was the subject of 32 hot-line calls over nine years, the Star reported.
In closing Jackson County's case in 2001, a Missouri Division of Family Services supervisor wrote that Miss Smith "has always done a good job of providing for and parenting her special needs children."

NEW JERSEY
Anthrax scare closes post office
LONG HILL TOWNSHIP, N.J. Authorities in New Jersey, where at least five anthrax-laden letters were mailed in 2001, closed another post office after brown powder fell from a package containing a threatening letter.
An initial test was negative for anthrax, but a secondary test was inconclusive, Postal Service spokesman Tony Esposito said yesterday.
One employee came in contact with the powder but didn't appear to have symptoms, and five workers in the building were given prescriptions for the antibiotic Cipro, Mr. Esposito said. He said the post office was closed, pending tests results expected tomorrow from the state health department.
The substance was discovered Friday night when a postmark machine stamped a padded envelope addressed to an eastern Pennsylvania residence and the powder spilled out, Mr. Esposito said.

OHIO
Hanson, D.C.? It could have been
ARTSGROVE, Ohio John Hanson isn't famous for chopping down a cherry tree or crossing the Delaware, but Nick Pahys Jr. contends Hanson not George Washington was the first U.S. president and therefore the legitimate father of the country.
For five decades, Mr. Pahys has been preaching his idea to anyone willing to listen. He also has written a book about it and operates a unique northeastern Ohio museum dedicated to bringing more credit to Hanson.
Hanson was the first of eight men who served as president under the Articles of Confederation from 1781 until the U.S. Constitution was adopted in 1789 and Washington was elected.
Following Hanson's presidency, seven others were elected to the office. They were Elias Boudinot (1782), Thomas Miffin (1783), Richard Henry Lee (1784), John Hancock (about six months in 1785), Nathan Gorham (1785-1786 ), Arthur St. Clair (1786-1787) and Cyrus Griffin (1787-1789).

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