- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 7, 2003

Clinton library kicks off revitalization
LITTLE ROCK Suddenly, downtown Little Rock is booming.
Concrete and steel now rise at the foot of President Clinton Avenue, where the Clinton Presidential Center is scheduled to open next year. The center's construction, with its $160 million price tag, has also spurred commitments for $700 million in other downtown projects.
Little Rock developer Rett Tucker said property values in the area have doubled since 1998, the year after Bill Clinton said he would build his library here. An area once boarded up and written off as a warehouse wasteland has become the booming River Market district, dotted with hotels, restaurants, bars and shops.

Military satellite launched into orbit
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE The military launched a satellite early yesterday to keep tabs on the weather in space and over the world's oceans and to help improve cell-phone communications.
The Coriolis satellite lifted off at 6:19 a.m. aboard a Titan II rocket, officials said. Nearly an hour later, the satellite successfully separated from the booster and was communicating with ground stations on Earth.

Companies settle part of car-crash suit
TUSKEGEE Bridgestone-Firestone and Ford Motor Co. settled a lawsuit yesterday with two persons injured in a wreck that killed a civil rights leader.
The companies did not settle with Earl Shinhoster's widow, Ruby, and the trial of her wrongful death claims was to continue today with jury selection.
Attorneys and others involved would not discuss the settlement because Macon County Circuit Judge Howard Bryan placed them under a gag order until after the trial. The settlement was confirmed by several sources close to the case who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Mr. Shinhoster, a former NAACP acting executive director in Atlanta, was a passenger in a Ford Explorer that overturned on June 11, 2000, on Interstate 85.

Ex-Forest Service worker pleads guilty in wildfire
CRIPPLE CREEK A former U.S. Forest Service employee pleaded guilty to state arson charges yesterday for setting the biggest wildfire in Colorado history.
Terry Barton, 38, could get up to 12 years in prison when she is sentenced on March 5. Last month, she pleaded guilty to federal charges for setting the fire and lying to investigators and is expected to get six years behind bars at her sentencing on those charges next month.
Prosecutors filed the state charges because of the damage done by last summer's 137,000-acre blaze in four counties outside Denver.

Ex-mayor weighs return to politics
WATERBURY Former Mayor Joseph Santopietro, who spent more than six years in prison after his conviction on federal corruption charges, told the Sunday Republican newspaper that he is considering a return to politics.
Mr. Santopietro, a Republican, was released from prison in December 1999 and now works as a salesman for a Danbury trash company. He said getting involved in politics would be a way of making amends.

Trial begins for 11 officers
MIAMI Jury selection began yesterday in the federal trial of 11 Miami police officers accused of planting guns or otherwise trying to cover up five questionable shootings that left three black men dead.
The trial started on the same day the city installed a new police chief, former Philadelphia Chief John Timoney, who was hired to turn around the scandal-plagued department.
The 11 officers were indicted on the basis of information from two retired officers who pleaded guilty to conspiracy in 2001 and are expected to be the prosecution's star witnesses. The defendants are all Hispanic.

Judge: Governor-elect can close meetings
TOPEKA Teams appointed by Kansas' governor-elect to review state-government efficiency can meet in secret, a judge ruled yesterday, rejecting a lawsuit by news organizations.
The organizations, including the Associated Press, plan to appeal.
Shawnee County District Judge Eric Rosen ruled that the Kansas Open Meetings Act does not cover the teams because Gov.-elect Kathleen Sebelius won't have full gubernatorial powers until she takes office Jan. 13.
But Judge Rosen also rebuked Gov.-elect Sebelius, saying that "when meetings that directly impact public policy of our state occur out of the public eye or ear, our democracy is put in jeopardy."

Gun falls, fires, kills a toddler
DETROIT A 21-month-old boy was fatally shot when he tipped over a laundry hamper containing a handgun that discharged, police said.
Yolanda Hode, 23, told police a .32-caliber pistol was in a clothes basket her son, Damon Quarker, was playing with Saturday night.
The boy was struck on the left side of the chest, Officer Thaxon Hill said. He was taken to St. John's Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The gun belonged to a family member, homicide inspector Craig Schwartz told the Detroit Free Press.

Politician files party-switchers bill
JACKSON Sen. Rob Smith, Richland Democrat, filed a bill for the upcoming legislative session that would require politicians who switch parties to run in a special election as a candidate with their new party.
The proposal comes after the December defections to the Republican Party of Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck and state Sen. Terry Burton of Newton.

Ex-bishop destroyed records, lawyer says
MANCHESTER The former bishop of Manchester destroyed church records in the late 1980s that detailed sexual abuse of children by two Roman Catholic priests, according to court records.
The records indicate that Odore Gendron, the bishop of the Diocese of Manchester from 1975 to 1990, destroyed documents in one case at the request of the accused priest and in the other at the request of a facility treating a priest for sexual misconduct.
Attorney Mark Abramson, who represents about 60 people accusing priests of sexual misconduct, said in a motion filed late last week that the destruction of records amounts to fraudulent concealment and suspends the statute of limitations.
The motion came in response to the diocese's request to dismiss his lawsuits, arguing that the statute of limitations has expired.

Woman charged after boy found dead
NEWARK A go-go dancer who had been left in charge of her cousin's young sons was charged with child endangerment yesterday after one boy's corpse was found in a plastic storage bin and his two starving brothers were rescued from a locked room.
Police are hunting for Sherry Murphy, 41, who is accused of beating and burning the three boys. No homicide charge was filed because an autopsy of 7-year-old Faheem Williams had not been completed, authorities said.
The boy's body was found in a basement storage bin Sunday. He had been dead for weeks, authorities said.
The boy's mother, Melinda Williams, told police she put the children in Miss Murphy's care in March when she went to the Essex County Jail to serve time for an assault conviction.

Octogenarians tie the knot
HAMILTON Deciding they weren't getting any younger, two eightysomethings who had been sweethearts six decades ago tied the knot in the local Wal-Mart where one of them works.
Betty Howard, 82, a greeter at the store, and Estel Barrett, 84, married Friday during a ceremony set up for them by Mrs. Howard's co-workers.
Friends in childhood, Mrs. Howard and Mr. Barrett kept in touch over the years. Both were married for more than 50 years before the deaths of their spouses three years ago.
"They happened to meet just before Thanksgiving and began seeing each other," said Mrs. Howard's lifelong friend, Pearl Bowling. "And he said to her, 'You know, we're not getting any younger.'"

Mother killed by ice thrown from overpass
PHILADELPHIA A chunk of ice tossed from a highway overpass killed a woman returning from a ski trip with her husband and three children, police said.
The victim, Elaine C. Cowell, 33, of Mohrsville, who was in the front passenger seat, died Friday evening of blunt force trauma to the chest, officials said. One of the children, who are ages 5, 8 and 10, suffered minor injuries.
The ice chunk that struck Mrs. Cowell weighed 15 to 20 pounds, police estimated. The county coroner has ruled her death a homicide.

City ordered to pay in child sex lawsuit
SPOKANE The city of Wenatchee must pay more than $620,000 for withholding crucial documents during a lawsuit over its largely discredited investigations into a reported child sex ring, a judge ruled yesterday.
Spokane County Superior Judge Michael Donohue's ruling awards fees to lawyers representing Robert "Roby" Roberson, whose church was at the center of the 1994 sex-abuse accusations.
During Mr. Roberson's lawsuit against the city and others, city lawyers should have disclosed employment documents on Bob Perez, a former police officer who led the investigation, Judge Donohue ruled. He awarded the lawyers $621,461, saying they will have to spend it again on a new trial that the city's errors caused.

Truck falls through ice, killing two brothers
BRAZEAU Two brothers out ice-fishing on a frozen lake drowned when the ice gave way under their truck, authorities said.
Alan J. Ebben, 14, and Andrew A. Ebben, 22, both of Kaukauna, died Saturday on Rost Lake in northeast Wisconsin, the Oconto County Sheriff's Department said.
They were unable to get out of the vehicle when the ice broke, investigators said. They were pronounced dead at a hospital.

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