- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 9, 2003

OKLAHOMA

Governor stays Fields execution

OKLAHOMA CITY Oklahoma death-row inmate Bobby Joe Fields received a 30-day stay of execution from Gov. Frank Keating on Tuesday, a week before he was scheduled to die by lethal injection.

The Republican governor, who leaves office Sunday, has based his decision on not having enough time to review Fields' case before the scheduled execution Tuesday.

The stay came one day after the state Pardon and Parole Board recommended clemency for Fields.

The stay set a new execution date of Feb. 13 at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.


UTAH

Fog, ice lead to series of pileups

SALT LAKE CITY Nearly 60 vehicles crashed during the morning commute yesterday in a string of pileups along an icy, fog-shrouded stretch of Interstate 80. At least 11 persons were injured, four seriously.

The injured included two firefighters. The dense fog prevented a medical helicopter from retrieving victims.

The Utah Highway Patrol reported 14 crashes involving 59 vehicles, three of them tractor-trailers.

The seriously injured included a woman in her 20s who was crushed from the chest down when her car was shoved under a burning truck, authorities said.


ARIZONA

Program ordered for cut-rate drugs

PHOENIX Gov. Janet Napolitano ordered a state agency to start a program that will allow senior citizens to buy prescription drugs at discounted rates.

The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System will negotiate discounted rates on behalf of seniors and disabled patients who qualify for Medicare.

Miss Napolitano, who was sworn in Tuesday, said the program should be available in the next four months.


CALIFORNIA

Paper trashing incident results in fine for mayor

OAKLAND The new mayor of Berkeley pleaded guilty yesterday to petty theft and was fined $100 for trashing copies of a campus newspaper endorsing his opponent in last November's election.

The incident took place on Sproul Plaza, the birthplace of the 1964 Free Speech Movement, in which thousands of students at the University of California at Berkeley protested a campus ban on political activity.

Mayor Tom Bates, who did not appear in court, could have been fined up to $250.


FLORIDA

Man charged with bypassing security

CLEARWATER A man bypassed airport security and gained access to an empty jetliner, later telling deputies he "wanted to take a plane ride," authorities said.

Richard N. Moore, 40, reportedly sneaked into the ramp area of the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport on Tuesday and climbed a stairway into the American Trans Air 737.

Miguel Santos, an ATA mechanic who was working on the wing of another aircraft, told authorities he saw Mr. Moore get in the plane then followed him inside, where he found him sitting in a seat in the 10th row. Mr. Santos then called police.

Mr. Moore, who told deputies he was talking the anti-anxiety drug Xanax, was charged with trespassing and released from the Pinellas County jail on his own recognizance. He could also face federal charges.


GEORGIA

Hot line says it helped thousands kick habit

ATLANTA An estimated 4,000 people have quit smoking with the help of the Georgia Tobacco Quit Line, according to its organizers.

That figure is based on a survey of 500 persons six months after they contacted the quit line.

Georgia has spent more than $4 million of its tobacco settlement money to advertise and operate the line.


HAWAII

Striking nurses reach tentative agreement

HONOLULU Striking nurses and management of Kuakini Medical Center reached tentative agreement on a new contract providing a 20 percent pay raise over three years, according to the union.

About 1,300 nurses at St. Francis, Kuakini, and Queen's Medical Center were involved in strikes.

However, nurses at St. Francis and Queen's are far from agreement and continuing their strikes, the union said.


MASSACHUSETTS

Officials see outbreak of Norwalk virus

BOSTON Boston health officials have identified more than 700 cases of Norwalk virus, an unusually large incidence of the same illness that recently afflicted cruise-ship passengers.

Over the last six weeks, city public health officials investigated 17 separate outbreaks. At one long-term care center, 186 persons fell ill.


MISSOURI

Group lobbies to cut work force

JEFFERSON CITY A business group is lobbying lawmakers to offer early retirement incentives to state employees in order to reduce the state budget.

The 1,200-member Associated Industries of Missouri said the state's 65,000-member work force needs trimming.

The state budget director recently announced the elimination of 870 positions and cut more than $67 million from the budget.


NEW HAMPSHIRE

In will, man leaves forest to state

HILL A 1,700-acre forest preserve that is home to wildlife including a threatened species has been left to the state by a man who created it over a period of decades with a series of small land purchases.

William Thomas Jr., a geologist, died at age 77 in June 2001. His land will be dedicated as the William H. Thomas Jr. State Forest in June, creating a continuous block of protected land between Wade State Forest and ecologically rich wetlands along the Pemigewasset River.

The land is home to deer, bear, herons and one of the first pairs of osprey, a threatened species, to nest in the entire Merrimack River watershed, said Chris Martin, a wildlife biologist with the Audubon Society of New Hampshire.


NEW JERSEY

Dog, owner to have their day in court

LEONIA When Rover does his business on the narrow strip of grass between the street and the sidewalk, is he doing it on private property, or in some public doggy domain?

That's the question a court must decide after a homeowner claimed a dog walker trespassed and left behind a memento of the visit.

Shiner, a hound, graced the strip on Nov. 4 while on a stroll with his owner, Rick Heckman.

The property owner, William Ramos, filed a complaint charging that Mr. Heckman violated Leonia's municipal code on "disposal of canine waste."


NEW MEXICO

Top security officials resign amid scandal

ALBUQUERQUE The top two security officials at Los Alamos National Laboratory are being reassigned amid a scandal involving charges of credit-card abuses, missing equipment and a coverup.

The lab announced Tuesday that security division leader Stan Busboom and Gene Tucker, his deputy, were stepping down from their management positions effective yesterday.


OREGON

Water diversion blamed for massive salmon kill

PORTLAND Diversion of Klamath River water to farmers in Oregon and Northern California was to blame for much of a massive die-off of fish in September, California state biologists say.

The assertion the first official identification of the cause of a kill that is thought to be the nation's worst on record has renewed the debate over how to balance protection of the salmon and farming needs in the Klamath River, which straddles the California-Oregon state line.

In a report released late Friday, the California Department of Fish and Game concluded low river flows in the Klamath impeded fish passage and drove fish together, causing disease outbreaks that killed more than 33,000 salmon and other fish.


PENNSYLVANIA

DNA clears man who committed suicide

WEST CHESTER A homeless man who killed himself in a police holding cell hours after he was charged with rape has been cleared of the crime through DNA evidence, police said.

Forensic evidence collected after the reported rape does not genetically match that of Wade Evan Deemer, who hanged himself with his shirt at the West Chester police station in August, investigators said Tuesday.

Mr. Deemer, 41, was arrested Aug. 24 after he was identified by an 18-year-old woman as the man who forced her into the woods near a convenience store and raped her.


TENNESSEE

Fans celebrate birthday of Elvis

MEMPHIS Christine Lewis wrapped herself in the flag an Elvis flag to celebrate what would have been the King of Rock 'n' Roll's 68th birthday.

Miss Lewis, 52, of Somerset, England, was among 600 to 700 fans gathered yesterday on the front lawn of Graceland, Elvis Presley's last residence, to cut a cake and sing "Happy Birthday." Celebrants stood in line up to 1½ hours to get onto the grounds for the party.

For the birthday, Graceland managers cut a blue and white cake before a display of framed gold and platinum awards for "Elvis 30 #1 Hits," an album released last year on the 25th anniversary of the singer's death. Elvis died at age 42 of heart disease and drug abuse.


WASHINGTON

Scientists: Light, gravity have same speed

SEATTLE Astronomers have concluded that Albert Einstein was right: The speed of gravity does match the speed of light.

The astronomers took advantage of a rare planetary alignment to study one of the basic forces of nature. Edward B. Fomalout of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and Sergei Kopeikin of the University of Missouri at Columbia, clocked the speed of gravity by measuring how light waves from a distant star were warped by the gravity of Jupiter as the planet passed between the Earth and the star.

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