- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 22, 2003


County to test students for drugs

DECATUR — Morgan County school officials will begin random drug testing this fall of students participating in sports and other competitive extracurricular activities. The tests will be given between three and eight times after the school system starts the program.

Superintendent Don Murphy says the school board will hear proposals Aug. 14 from companies interested in the testing contract.


Phoenix set to record hottest July since ‘89

PHOENIX — The area is on track to experience the hottest July since temperatures began to be recorded more than a century ago.

The average temperature this month has been 111.2 degrees, edging out the old record of 110.8 degrees set in 1989, according to National Weather Service data compiled through Thursday.


Wildfires force families to flee

SAN LUIS OBISPO — A wildfire destroyed a house and four outbuildings and forced about 250 people to flee as it roared across rolling, oak-studded hills.

The blaze was 30 percent contained early yesterday after charring 1,500 acres near the community of Santa Margarita, said California Department of Forestry dispatcher Corrin Clark.

About 200 other homes and 50 outbuildings were threatened as high temperatures and wind helped spot fires erupt, she said.

The fire, reported Sunday afternoon, was caused by a spark from an off-road vehicle, and the driver was cited for having a modified exhaust system, said Nena Portillo of the California Department of Forestry.


Humpty Dumpty stolen from perch

COLORADO SPRINGS — It might take all the king’s horses and all the king’s men to solve this crime.

Somebody took a 200-pound, 3-foot-tall statue of Humpty Dumpty from his perch on a downtown street. The statue, valued at $20,000, was reported missing early Saturday.

“The world knows it’s hot,” said Dave Kosley, spokesman for the Downtown Partnership, which served as curator for an outdoor art program. “I don’t see that anyone who has it would feel comfortable displaying it in their front room or back yard. It’s probably in a frat-house bar.”

The sculpture, by Minneapolis-based artist Kimber Feibiger, was among 19 works or art decorating downtown streets.

Mr. Kosley said Humpty, with his green-and-white-striped trousers, should have been bolted to a steel plate with three bolts, but the artist used only two.


Official arrested on drug charges

NAPLES — The head of the Fresno, Calif., Chamber of Commerce was arrested here on charges he tried to buy crack cocaine from an undercover officer.

Stebbins Franklin Dean, 50, was freed on $2,500 bail yesterday after his arrest Saturday.

Mr. Dean, in town for a business conference, denied trying to buy drugs and said he merely stopped to ask a man for directions.

“I wasn’t trying to buy anything, I was trying to get home,” he said.

Police said he tried to buy $42 worth of crack.


Merchants fear impact of road improvement

McDONOUGH — Some merchants fear a state road-improvement plan will encroach on their historic town square.

The Georgia Department of Transportation plans to open bids on a project that will create new lanes to smooth traffic flow. However, it will also reduce the number of parking spaces around the square from 69 to 40.

Merchants say business will dry up without the storefront parking spaces.


School board allows Confederate symbols

DANVILLE — Boyle County’s school board has adopted a new dress code that eliminates bans on controversial symbols and emblems, including the Confederate flag.

In April, the school system repealed its ban on clothing that bore images of the Confederate flag after the Sons of Confederate Veterans told the school board the previous code violated the constitutional rights of students.

The new dress code does not ban specific emblems. It includes a ban on all shorts, skirts or dresses shorter than fingertip length and says the body’s trunk must be covered. Head coverings, including bandannas, are banned unless worn for health, safety or religious reasons. Students are required to wear boots, shoes or sandals at all times.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans said a precedent was set by a case that originated in a Madison County school in 1997. Two high school students filed a First Amendment lawsuit after they were suspended for wearing T-shirts with an image of the Confederate flag. The lawsuit was eventually settled in September after going as far as the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.


Study says minorities, men ticketed more often

BOSTON — Minorities and men are more likely to get traffic tickets when stopped by local police in Massachusetts, while white people and women are more likely to get off with a written warning, a Boston Globe study concluded.

When local police cited drivers for driving 45 mph in a 30 mph zone — the most common offense — whites drove away with a ticket 31 percent of the time, while 49 percent of minorities received a ticket, the Globe reported Sunday.

But state police seem to be far fairer, affording almost exactly equal treatment to all drivers regardless of race, age or sex, the newspaper said.

The conclusions were based on an analysis of 166,000 tickets and warnings from every police department in the state from April and May 2001. This was the only period when the Registry of Motor Vehicles collected data on all warnings as part of a state-sponsored test for racial profiling.


Detroit Medical Center averts layoffs

DETROIT — The Detroit Medical Center will rescind 1,000 layoff notices as the result of a multimillion-dollar aid agreement with the state and local governments announced yesterday.

DMC, which owns 10 hospitals including Detroit Receiving and Hutzel Women’s, has lost $360 million over the past five years.

A key part of the nonprofit corporation’s struggle to cut costs was laying off 1,000 employees, which doctors at Detroit Receiving had said would undermine the quality of health care.

The cost-cutting plan also called for eliminating inpatient services at Detroit Receiving and turning it into an emergency-trauma center, and limiting Hutzel Women’s Hospital to high-risk births.

Under the aid plan announced yesterday by Democratic Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm, Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano, Detroit Receiving and Hutzel will receive $50 million.


Ex-Dayton Hudson chief dies of blood disease

MINNEAPOLIS — Ken Dayton, former chief executive of Dayton Hudson and grandson of the company’s founder, died Saturday from refractory anemia, a debilitating blood disease. He was 80.

Mr. Dayton was the last of the five Dayton brothers to be active in managing the retail empire founded by George Draper Dayton in 1902. He retired as CEO of Dayton Hudson (now Target) in 1976, and stepped down from the board in 1983.

During their 50-year marriage, Ken and Judy Dayton contributed more than $100 million to the Minnesota Orchestra, the Walker Art Center and other civic, social and cultural causes, according to Mr. Dayton’s 2002 autobiography, titled “What Fun.”


Church embezzler gets nearly 4 years

CONCORD — A man who embezzled more than $1.6 million from his church and funneled it into his failing business was sentenced yesterday to nearly four years in federal prison.

Ross Perry, who was treasurer of the First Church of Christ Scientist in Portsmouth from 1996 to 2002, had pleaded guilty in April to fraud.

He admitted he wrote checks to himself, his wastewater-treatment company and the company’s creditors from church accounts.

“I deeply regret the choices I made over the past several years,” Perry, 43, said in court. “I failed to act in accordance with the values and principles that were the foundation of my upbringing.”


Art benefits multiple sclerosis victims

NEW YORK — In late June, Corinne Turner walked into a Utah discount store and spent 99 cents on canvas wallpaper. She opened her purchase to find five pieces of art worth $6,000.

That wasn’t the only twist.

Miss Turner contacted the artist in New Jersey. His son verified the artworks’ authenticity, and told her to keep the prints. Miss Turner opted to sell the pieces to raise funds for multiple sclerosis victims. The artist Pino, best known for producing romance-novel cover art, agreed that was a worthy cause — and donated 495 limited edition prints of a previously unreleased piece.

The gesture was expected to raise more than $400,000 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

The tale began two years ago, when a shipment of Pino prints bound for Baltimore turned up missing. The paintings eventually reappeared in an Ogden store that sells misdirected, unclaimed freight.


Campus binge drinking appears little changed

FARGO — A survey shows North Dakota State University students’ binge drinking hasn’t dropped much despite efforts to curb the behavior.

Fifty-two percent of students reported binge drinking in this year’s poll, compared with 54 percent in 2001.


Man charged with stealing plane

PUT-IN-BAY — A 20-year-old man was arrested after he tried to steal a single-engine plane. He didn’t quite make it, traveling just 40 feet and crashing into two parked vehicles at the airport, the Ohio Highway Patrol said.

Aaron Anderson of Medina was charged with receiving stolen property, operating an aircraft while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, reckless operation of an airplane, and operating an airplane without a pilot’s license, according to the Toledo Blade.


Oil refinery blast injures two persons

PONCA CITY — An explosion started a fire at a petroleum refinery yesterday morning, injuring two persons.

The blast occurred in the west side of the ConocoPhillips refinery, company and city officials said. The fire was contained in less than two hours but was not considered controlled, company spokesman Carlton Adams said.

The refinery was not evacuated, but air-conditioning vents were closed against the smoke, Mr. Adams said.


Legislature on track for record session

SALEM — The Oregon Legislature appears headed for its longest session. Democrats and Republicans remain $1 billion apart on how much to spend and where to find the money.

Legislative leaders said even if they adjourned now, procedural work would extend the session past Aug. 7. That would set a record, eclipsing the one set in 1993.


Coroner says police asphyxiated man

PITTSBURGH — An outraged coroner ruled yesterday that police who subdued an overweight man by piling onto him after a minor altercation are responsible for his death and should be charged with homicide.

Allegheny County Coroner Cyril Wecht said police placed Charles Dixon Sr. in a deadly position when they put their weight on his back at a party in suburban Mount Oliver.

Police restrained Mr. Dixon, 43, of Altoona in December after he tried to stop them from arresting his brother, witnesses said. His brother was suspected of causing a disturbance in a food line at the party.

Witnesses testified at an inquest that as many as 13 Pittsburgh and Mount Oliver officers restrained the 300-pound Mr. Dixon, who stopped breathing and died at a hospital two days later.


Deputy nabs suspect with bark, not bite

CHATTANOOGA — Henry Ritter had no plans of biting a suspect he was chasing, but he saw nothing wrong with barking.

Mr. Ritter and Richard Gough, both deputies with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department, stopped a car July 12 because of a broken taillight. The driver, 21-year-old John Nicholas Hood, jumped from the car and ran into the woods, according to the arrest report. The officers’ calls to Mr. Hood went unanswered so Mr. Gough said they were sending a dog after him. Mr. Ritter started barking.

“He stood up and said, ‘I’m here. Call off the dog,’” Mr. Ritter said.

Mr. Hood, of Decatur, appeared in court this week and was charged with driving under the influence, driving on a revoked license, evading arrest and a taillight violation. Judge Bob Moon bound his case over to the grand jury.

Mr. Ritter said it wasn’t the first time he and Mr. Gough have barked at a suspect.


State may help build ‘brain’ for military planes

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia scientists may soon help design a critical component for the next generation of unmanned military aircraft.

The Senate has approved a Defense Department spending bill that includes $5 million for an intelligent control system the Navy plans to use in small, lightweight planes, said Sen. Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia Democrat.

The brain for the planes is called Smart War-fighting Array of Reconfigurable Modules, or SWARM, Mr. Byrd said yesterday.

It will be developed by Augusta Systems of Morgantown, the West Virginia University Institute of Technology in Montgomery, and Alion Science and Technology of McLean, Va., which plans to open a Morgantown office.

From wire service dispatches and staff reports

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