- The Washington Times - Monday, July 28, 2003

MASSACHUSETTS

Abuse victims urge healing

WELLESLEY — Victims of abuse by clergy who have settled their lawsuits against the Catholic Church told fellow victims not to pin all their hopes on legal redress but to instead seek spiritual and emotional healing through family or support groups.

The seven men and women were part of a panel discussion Saturday sponsored by Survivors First, a lay advocacy group.

The victims said they felt more financially stable because of their settlements but did not get the sense of justice or empowerment they had expected.

PENNSYLVANIA

‘America’s County’ becomes official

SOMERSET — The Somerset County Chamber of Commerce has registered the phrase “America’s County” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as a tribute to residents who responded during difficult times: the crash of hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11 and the rescue of nine men from a flooded coal mine one year ago.

The idea of “America’s County” came up nearly a year ago at a meeting of business and government leaders. The trademark will adorn the chamber’s visitor’s guide, due out in a few weeks.

ARIZONA

Woman delivers record quintuplets

PHOENIX — A Pennsylvania couple who struggled for 17 years to have children now suddenly have five.

Rebecca Wilson, 37, of Cresco, Pa., gave birth last week to quintuplets — four boys and a girl. The births resulted from four fertilized eggs implanted in Mrs. Wilson’s uterus; one egg split to form identical twins.

The babies, delivered by Caesarean section, were born four to six weeks early at Banner Good Samaritan Hospital.

Together, the babies weighed about 22 pounds, a U.S. record, said perinatologist Dr. John Elliott.

CALIFORNIA

Art fest honors slain girl

GARDEN GROVE — Nearly 2,000 people attended a children’s art festival to commemorate the seventh birthday of murder victim Samantha Runnion.

Some had known Samantha; most had not. But all felt a bond with the 5-year-old whose kidnapping and murder drew national attention.

The event, organized by a foundation created by her mother, Erin Runnion, took place Saturday at Lawrence Elementary School, where Samantha was a first-grader.

Samantha was kidnapped July 15, 2002, while she played with a friend near her home. Police arrested Alejandro Avila, 28. He is scheduled to be tried next year on kidnapping, sexual-assault and murder charges.

COLORADO

Man convicted of sex assault

COLORADO SPRINGS — A man suspected in a string of attacks on women and children in four Western states was found guilty of sexual assault and burglary in Colorado.

James Allen Selby, 36, was convicted last week in a July 25, 2002, attack on a 55-year-old woman and faces life in prison at his sentencing Sept. 15.

Selby is a suspect in attacks on 14 women and children from September 1999 to May 2002 in Tucson, Ariz.; San Diego; Sparks, Nev.; and Norman, Okla.

DELAWARE

Test scores show minorities lagging

WILMINGTON — Delaware public schools haven’t learned to educate black, Hispanic and poor students with the same level of success as white and higher-income students, the latest state testing results show.

The state has narrowed the academic achievement gap at the elementary school level, but the results show that the gap is widening in middle school and high school. Black, Hispanic and low-income students at those levels are further behind white and higher-income students than when testing began five years ago.

According to the state Department of Education test results, nearly 75 percent of the state’s black eighth-graders didn’t meet the state standard in math. Roughly half of them got such low test scores that, under state law, they could be made to linger in eighth grade for two more years, trying to pass.

FLORIDA

Governor seeks inquiry into nudist videos

TALLAHASSEE — The office of Gov. Jeb Bush, Republican, has asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to look into the activities of a Pasco County nudist who markets videos featuring nude girls.

Walt Zadanoff, 68, former president of a group that sponsored a nudist summer camp for children, sold the videos on his Sun-Dressed Marketing Web site. They include images of elementary-school-age and teen girls at nudist beauty pageants in Europe, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

A letter from Mr. Bush’s general counsel, Raquel A. Rodriguez, asked the FDLE to determine whether any laws were broken in the production and marketing of the videos, and report back to the governor within 30 days.

Rep. Mark Foley, Florida Republican said the videos, which sell for $44.95 to $109.95, are “nothing more than a fix for pedophiles.”

Last month, Mr. Foley criticized a nudist camp for children ages 11 to 17 — featured in articles by Time magazine and the New York Times — at Pasco County’s Lake Como nudist resort. It was sponsored by the organization Mr. Zadanoff, 68, led from 1990 to 1992.

The American Association for Nude Recreation disavowed the video sales. Mr. Zadanoff said he pulled the videos from his site Friday after a story about the tapes appeared in the St. Petersburg Times.

GEORGIA

New system tracks spread of AIDS

ATLANTA — Amid signs that the battle against AIDS may be waning in the United States, federal health officials revealed yesterday a new tracking system that they say will more accurately measure the spread of the virus that causes the deadly disease.

The new surveillance strategy, which was announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the opening day of the 2003 National HIV Prevention Conference in Atlanta, was prompted by a need for more precise data on HIV infections, agency officials said.

The cornerstone of the new tracking system is a blood test that supposedly can determine whether an HIV infection occurred in the previous six months. The test is run only after an initial HIV test is positive.

MONTANA

Firefighters make defensive stand

WEST GLACIER — Firefighters started a defensive backfire yesterday in an effort to save buildings at Glacier National Park headquarters, and more than 500 homes and summer cabins threatened by a 9,300-acre fire.

Fire crews were making their stand along the Middle Fork of the Flathead River, which forms part of the western boundary of the national park.

The blaze near West Glacier was one of three major blazes in and around the park that had blackened 44,500 acres by yesterday.

NEW YORK

Arts groups plan ground-zero center

NEW YORK — More than 75 cultural institutions, ranging from established city museums to newcomers such as the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, want to be part of the arts center planned for the World Trade Center site.

The Lower Manhattan Development Corp. is not asking for formal proposals yet, but it invited responses from groups around the world to see what types of institutions are interested, LMDC spokeswoman Joanna Rose said.

OREGON

‘Night Stalker’ prosecutor dies of cancer

BEND — Retired Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Phil Halpin, the prosecutor in the murder trial of “Night Stalker” Richard Ramirez, died Friday night after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 65.

Mr. Halpin died at the Hospice of Bend-La Pine in central Oregon, friend Marilyn Porges said.

Once named one of California’s “most effective prosecutors” by California Lawyer magazine, Mr. Halpin retired March 2, 2001, after nearly 37 years with the District Attorney’s Office.

Ramirez, a self-proclaimed Satanist, terrorized Southern California in the mid-1980s. Ramirez was convicted on 13 counts of murder and sentenced to death.

TEXAS

Resume doubles as holdup note

FORT WORTH — A bank robber made the ultimate bad career move when he wrote a holdup note on the back of his resume.

Police used the job-search information to identify a suspect, who was arrested and charged with robbing a Wells Fargo bank branch on Fort Worth’s east side.

The man had tried to hide the personal information by taping black construction paper over it. But then he forgot to retrieve the note and take it with him after giving it to the teller.

Police then just peeled the tape from the note. A tip led police to a Fort Worth motel, where the suspect was arrested.

WEST VIRGINIA

Rabid beaver attacks girl, 8

SHANNONDALE — An 8-year-old girl had reconstructive surgery on her hand after being attacked by a rabid beaver in Jefferson County earlier this month.

Robin Hays said her daughter, Maddison, was playing along the Shenandoah River behind their Shannondale home July 11 when the attack occurred.

“We were getting ready for a pig roast, and she was down there playing,” Mrs. Hays told the Journal in Martinsburg. “Suddenly, I heard a blood-curdling scream.”

Mrs. Hays saw the beaver clamped on her daughter’s hand, shook her arm to get it free, grabbed her daughter and ran. The beaver chased them, she said, and two men cornered the animal and killed it with a shovel.

WYOMING

Lightning strike kills mountain climber

GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK — One person died and five were seriously injured when they were hit by lightning while climbing the 13,770-foot Grand Teton, a park spokeswoman said.

One climber called about the emergency from a cellular phone.

The six were struck about 3:45 p.m. Saturday during a thunderstorm. A 25-year-old woman died at the scene.

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