- The Washington Times - Friday, January 3, 2003

MICHIGAN
Mufflers becomeworks of art
DURAND Junked mufflers become works of art in the hands of Mike Malachowski.
His creations include a fisherman, police inspector, weight lifter, sword fighter, railroad workers, heavy-metal musicians and Santa Claus. The sculptures hang around Dave's Mufflers just long enough to be snapped up as collector's items or gifts.
"I've always had a way of fixing things up," Mr. Malachowski said.

NEW YORK
New bill requireslicensing of therapists
ALBANY Gov. George E. Pataki signed a bill into law that mandates licensing for New York therapists who provide mental health treatment, such as marriage and family counseling.
The measure sets education and training requirements for therapists earning the title "mental health counselor." It was designed to protect patients by ensuring they receive help from qualified professionals, said state Sen. Kenneth P. LaValle, a bill sponsor.

ARIZONA
Soldiers to join war on terrorism
SIERRA VISTA About 500 soldiers from Fort Huachuca will depart in the next few weeks to support the war on terrorism, officials said.
They are members of the Army's 11th Signal Brigade, which provides communications support, including classified and unclassified telephone connections, e-mail and video teleconferencing.
About 250 soldiers from the fort already have been deployed.

ARKANSAS
Civil rights figure's son fatally shot by police
LITTLE ROCK An officer fatally shot the son of one of the Little Rock Nine, the group of blacks who integrated the city's schools in 1957, police said.
Police said they were called after neighbors saw Erin Eckford, 26, firing an assault rifle into the air Wednesday night.
Mr. Eckford was asked to put down the weapon, and when he did not, officers fired a beanbag round at him, to no avail, police Sgt. Terry Hastings said. Mr. Eckford then began firing the assault rifle again, and police shot back, firing seven to 10 rounds and hitting him six times, Sgt. Hastings said. Mr. Eckford died at a hospital.
The three officers involved were placed on administrative leave with pay, the normal procedure, pending a police investigation of the shooting.
Mr. Eckford, a student at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, was the son of Elizabeth Eckford. She was among the students who broke the color barrier at Little Rock Central High School in 1957.

CALIFORNIA
Family finds bigger digs for pet shark
PLEASANTON Jigsaw isn't a typical family pet. He is more than 4 feet long, has a dorsal fin and loves calamari.
The 2-year-old white-tipped reef shark has been living with John Valentine and his family for more than two years. But the beloved pet has grown too large for their living-room aquarium, so the family found Jigsaw bigger digs at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
"We want to do the right thing for him," said Mr. Valentine. "We love him, but he'll be better off with four or five other reef sharks in a bigger tank."
Jigsaw was just 16 inches long when Mr. Valentine bought him from a friend in August 2000.
White-tipped reef sharks can grow as long as 6 feet and are commonly found in shallow tropical waters from the Galapagos Islands to the Indian Ocean, said Kevin Lewand, a biologist with the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

CONNECTICUT
Worker finds rings lost 15 years ago
HARTFORD Call it the diamond in the rough.
Fifteen years after Diane Kurtz lost her engagement ring, it was returned to her by a Hartford sewage treatment plant worker who found it at the bottom of a wastewater drainage pool. He also found her onyx ring that disappeared at the same time.
Mrs. Kurtz, of New Hartford, believes the rings fell down a sink drain in a bathroom. Mrs. Kurtz and her husband, Michael, think the rings were pumped out of their septic tank by a contractor who took the waste to the treatment plant.
Bill Zuerblis, a treatment operator at the Metropolitan District Commission's sewage treatment plant in Hartford, found the rings, then did some detective work to find the Kurtzes. He called them Dec. 19.
"He was asking me if I lost anything, " said Mrs. Kurtz, who thought that someone had found car keys she lost earlier the same day. "Finally it dawns on me. My heart started pounding, and I said he found my wedding ring."

FLORIDA
Officials cite movers that ignore new law
TALLAHASSEE State consumer-protection officials are cracking down on moving companies that aren't complying with new rules about how they can treat customers.
A new law giving the state regulatory powers over movers in the state took effect in July. It requires moving companies to provide written estimates for the total costs of a move and to have customers sign the estimate before they load any items.
After six months, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is conducting a sweep of about 800 moving companies that operate in Florida. It has acted against six movers in Polk and Brevard counties that weren't properly registered.

GEORGIA
Salmonella cases on rise in Southeast
ATLANTA Outbreaks of a potentially fatal form of salmonella linked to consumption of raw and undercooked eggs are on the rise in the Southeast, an increase that has puzzled federal health officials.
In a study published in its weekly morbidity and mortality report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said salmonella enteritidis infections had jumped 50 percent in Southeastern states in 2001 compared with the previous year.
Those infected with the bacteria typically suffer fevers, abdominal cramps and diarrhea for up to seven days. The elderly, infants and those with weak immune systems, however, can develop fatal bloodstream infections if not treated promptly with antibiotics.
The Atlanta-based CDC said it was not clear why the salmonella bug was becoming more common in a region extending from Delaware to Florida. It noted that other parts of the nation had reported stable or declining infection rates.
The number of U.S. infections overall has fallen by about 50 percent since peaking in 1995 at 3.8 per 100,000 people.

ILLINOIS
Officials cancel benefits to close budget gap
CENTRALIA Marion County officials decided to help fill a $1.2 million budget shortfall by becoming the only one of Illinois' 102 counties to discontinue health coverage for its workers.
A telephone survey by the Centralia Morning Sentinel showed that three other south-central counties Hardin, Edwards and Scott, which are among the smallest in the state never offered the benefit.

INDIANA
Married couple sworn in as judges
VALPARAISO When David L. Chidester and Mary R. Harper were sworn in as judges, it wasn't the first oath they had taken together.
Judge Chidester, a Porter Superior Court judge, and Judge Harper, judge of Porter Circuit Court, have been married for 10 years.
Indiana Court of Appeals Judge Nancy Harris Vardik, who administered the oath of office to the couple on New Year's Day, said they were believed to be the first judges in the state who were married to each other.
Judge Chidester, a Democrat, was beginning his first term of elected judicial office. His wife, a Republican, was taking the oath after being re-elected.

KANSAS
Planetarium founder dies at 81
HUTCHINSON Patricia Brooks Carey, who founded the planetarium that grew into a space museum housing the Apollo 13 and Liberty Bell 7 spacecraft, died Wednesday. She was 81.
Mrs. Carey began the space museum in 1962 as a small planetarium in the poultry house on the Kansas State Fairgrounds.
After moving to the science building at Hutchinson Community College in the mid-1960s, the planetarium grew from a two-person operation into a space museum attracting about 285,000 visitors each year and employing about 70 people.
The museum features the multistory IMAX Dome Theater, the Hall of Space Museum and such educational programs as the Future Astronaut Training Program.
Mrs. Carey and the Cosmosphere's achievements were honored in June with the unveiling of 7-by-14-foot mural in the lobby of the museum's IMAX Dome Theater.

KENTUCKY
Mine deaths fall to 67, lowest on record
PIKEVILLE The number of miners killed on the job in the United States in 2002 fell to the lowest level on record: 67.
The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration reported that 27 of the deaths happened in coal mines, down from 42 in 2001, and 40 were in copper, gold, stone and other types of mines, up from 30 in 2001.
The 67 deaths are the lowest number since the federal government began keeping records in 1910. The previous low was last year's 72 deaths.
"Clearly, it's a trend that we wanted to see," said Bruce Watzman, vice president for safety and health with the National Mining Association. "It's a trend we hope and pray for on a daily basis."
Nine persons died in Kentucky's coalfields in 2002. West Virginia was second in coal-mine fatalities with six. Virginia had five and Pennsylvania three.

MAINE
Plan to stem potato virus announced
PRESQUE ISLE U.S. and Canadian agriculture officials have announced a plan to stem a potato virus that has been discovered in Maine and eight other states.
Canada had stopped seed potato shipments and placed restrictions on other potatoes after the mop-top virus was discovered. The virus produces rings of discoloration inside potatoes that makes them unmarketable, but it is not harmful to people.
Details were still being worked out, but the plan will treat mop-top and several other potato viruses as manageable diseases that do not require quarantine.
Maine potato officials had been urging such an action since this summer, when mop-top was confirmed for the first time in the United States in a test sample at the University of Maine Research Farm in Presque Isle.

MASSACHUSETTS
Sen. Kennedy's daughter has cancer surgery
BOSTON Kara Kennedy, the 42-year-old daughter of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, underwent surgery yesterday to remove a cancerous tumor from her right lung.
"The operation was a success and her doctors are expecting a full recovery," said Stephanie Cutter, a spokeswoman for the senator.
She underwent the surgery at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital and will begin chemotherapy in the next few weeks.
Kara Kennedy's brother, Edward Jr., lost a leg to cancer as a child in 1973. Her other sibling is Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, Rhode Island Democrat.

MISSISSIPPI
State puts computer in every classroom
HERNANDO In a milestone for student achievement and state pride, Mississippi has become the first state to have an online computer in each of its public-school classrooms, a spokesman for the governor said.
The state met the goal set by Gov. Ronnie Musgrove to connect Mississippi's 32,354 public classrooms to the Internet by Dec. 31, spokesman John Sewell said Wednesday.
The accomplishment has added importance in a state that often has found itself near the low end of educational and economic rankings.
"I've never known Mississippi to lead the nation in any educational category or technological category," said Tom Pittman, publisher of the DeSoto Times in northern Mississippi.
The idea to hook up all the state's public classrooms to the Internet began in 1999 as a challenge offered by Mr. Pittman's brother, Bob Pittman, who was America Online chief executive, at a meeting of the Mississippi Economic Council.

NEVADA
Priest pleads guilty to sex-abuse charges
LAS VEGAS A Roman Catholic priest pleaded guilty yesterday to lewdness and abuse charges involving five teenage boys at his parish.
The Rev. Mark Roberts, 51, will be stripped of his priesthood and likely will get three years' probation when he is sentenced March 10.
He was removed as pastor of St. Peter the Apostle Church last January after being accused of hitting, fondling and photographing the boys, ages 16 to 18, between April 1999 and February 2002. He pleaded guilty to lewdness, child abuse and neglect.
Under a plea agreement, prosecutors dropped two charges of using boys to produce pornographic photos, felonies that each could have drawn five years in prison.
The priest acknowledged instructing the teens in apparent penance rituals.

NORTH DAKOTA
Brewers, maltsters worry about poor barley crop
BISMARCK Production and storage problems have brewers and malt makers worried about their barley supplies, and that has helped boost prices for farmers.
Last year's barley crop nationwide, at 227 million bushels, was the smallest since 1937, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. Production in North Dakota, which typically leads the nation, was down 28 percent last year from the previous year, to 57 million bushels. Production in Canada dropped 33 percent, according to Statistics Canada.
Disease, drought and other weather problems were to blame for the drop in production.
Thanks to the decline, quality malting barley has been bringing $3.50 per bushel or more at grain elevators, compared with about $2.25 last year at the same time.

TENNESSEE
Hank Williams legacy to be remembered
NASHVILLE Legend has it that when Hank Williams took the Grand Ole Opry stage for the first time in 1949 he sang "Lovesick Blues" and was called back for an unprecedented six encores.
Mr. Williams would spend the next few years as an Opry regular. But like his short and stormy life, his career at the premier country music show was cut short by erratic, self-destructive behavior. Mr. Williams was found dead in the back seat of his Cadillac in West Virginia on New Year's Day 1953.
Fifty years after his mysterious death at age 29, Mr. Williams' music will be commemorated this weekend at the Opry when his son, daughter and grandson perform at the Ryman Auditorium.
Jett Williams will play tonight, while Hank Williams Jr. and his son, Hank Williams III, share the stage tomorrow in a rare dual performance. Tomorrow's show will be televised live at 8 p.m. EST on the cable network Country Music Television.

TEXAS
Official wants to delay smallpox immunizations
FORT WORTH Cost concerns have been raised when it comes to inoculating 400,000 Texans against smallpox.
Texas bioterrorism director Dennis Perrotta said the second round of the program should be delayed at least six months. About 40,000 front-line health care workers will be inoculated this month.
The second round will include health care, law enforcement, emergency medical service and fire department workers.

UTAH
Credit-card finder gets visit from cops
OREM He could have had a nice meal and free ski-lift passes, but a man who tried to get autographed memorabilia for finding Robert Redford's lost credit card got a visit from the cops instead.
Police in Orem, a city close to Mr. Redford's home and his Sundance resort, say the man found the card Saturday near a convenience store and called the resort to report it.
But after being offered free ski-lift passes and dinner for two if he would bring the card to the resort, the man reportedly insisted on some signed Redford memorabilia.
When a resort representative responded that Mr. Redford "does not do that kind of thing," the man said Mr. Redford wouldn't get his card back and hung up, Orem Police Lt. Doug Edwards said.
Police then called the man, who refused to give his address and told an officer that he threw Mr. Redford's card in a trash bin. Police traced the call and went to the man's apartment.
The finder was not charged, on account of his sudden change of heart to gladly give the card to the officers when they arrived at his home.

WEST VIRGINIA
Car dealership loses snowfall bet
CHARLESTON A Logan County car dealership gave customers an extra Christmas present after it gambled on Mother Nature and lost.
Logan Motor Sales had promised to pay $2,000 to anyone who bought a vehicle between Dec. 1 and Dec. 18, if at least 2 inches of snow fell at the Beckley airport on Christmas. It snowed 5 inches, giving 28 eligible customers a windfall totaling $56,000.
Losing the gamble does not bother Steve Huffman, general manager of the dealership. Logan Motor Sales took out an insurance policy to cover the payments.


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