- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 12, 2003

School president faults governor's plan
BRIDGEWATER University of Massachusetts President William Bulger says Gov. Mitt Romney's proposal to reorganize the state's college and university system, which would eliminate his job, is an "attack on public higher education."
The Republican governor, who is trying to bridge a $3 billion deficit in the next fiscal year without raising taxes, says merging some campuses, increasing tuition and eliminating Mr. Bulger's office would save about $150 million.
Mr. Bulger, a powerful Democrat who led the state Senate for 17 years, opposed the plan at a joint legislative Ways and Means committee meeting Monday.
"There seems to have been no consultation, no in-depth study, no thought given to the proposal," Mr. Bulger said.

Abortionist killer waives jury trial
BUFFALO A man charged with killing an abortionist waived his right to a jury trial yesterday in favor of a much shorter proceeding that he believes will provide a better speech-making platform.
James Kopp, who admits shooting Dr. Barnett Slepian, wants a judge to decide his fate based on a list of facts agreed to by the defense and prosecution, a process that could take as little as a day.
Kopp in November admitted shooting Dr. Slepian, 52, in the doctor's Amherst home in 1998 but said he had intended only to wound him to stop him from performing abortions.
He has pleaded not guilty to two counts of second-degree murder, each of which carries 25 years to life in prison. The trial waiver came a day before lawyers were to start questioning potential jurors.

Panel votes to raise marriage age to 16
MONTGOMERY A state Senate committee voted yesterday to put Alabama in line with most other Southern states by raising the minimum age for marriage from 14 to 16.
The Senate Children, Youth Affairs and Human Resources Committee voted without dissent for legislation sponsored by Sen. Charles Steele, Tuscaloosa Democrat, and endorsed by the Alabama Probate Judges Association.
Mr. Steele said Alabama has had a problem with 14-year-olds and 15-year-olds from other states coming into Alabama to get married because their states don't allow them to marry until age 16.
Alabama currently allows anyone 14 through 17 to get married with the consent of a parent or guardian. Mr. Steele's bill still would require anyone 16 or 17 to get the approval of a parent or guardian.

Community supervision proposed for inmates
PHOENIX A prison-watchdog group has proposed shifting some state inmates to community supervision to save the state about $30 million a year.
Corrections officials, however, warn against using an inmate's low public-risk classification as an indication of readiness for community supervision.

Airport officials see deer as hazard
HOT SPRINGS Airport officials say a herd of 11 deer poses a safety hazard to the city airfield and may be shot.
The deer were trapped within the Hot Springs Municipal Field after the Federal Aviation Administration required the airport to fence in its 400 acres when vandals damaged about $100,000 worth of instrument-landing systems and other property.
Workers have tried to force the deer through gates in the fence, but the animals have panicked and run away.

Libraries warn readers FBI may be watching
SAN FRANCISCO Several libraries in California have begun to warn visitors that the U.S. government may be monitoring their reading habits in a sweeping effort to crack down on terrorism, officials said yesterday.
"It's only been recently that people have become aware just how pernicious it is," said Anne Turner, director of libraries in Santa Cruz, a coastal city south of San Francisco. "Our board decided to take a public stand" and posted warnings at its branches as of Friday.
President Bush signed sweeping anti-terror legislation, called the USA Patriot Act, into law in October 2001 in reaction to the September 11 attacks.
Section 215 allows the FBI, with search warrants, to go into libraries and bookstores and demand circulation records or receipts of anyone connected to an investigation of spying or international terrorism.

Singer cited for driving unregistered car
GREENWICH Singer Diana Ross has been cited by Greenwich police for driving an unregistered car.
Miss Ross, 58, was stopped Sunday afternoon when a police officer noticed the registration sticker on the black Ford Taurus' license plate had expired, the Greenwich Time reported yesterday.
Miss Ross, who has a home in Greenwich, said she rarely drives the car because it is owned by her Los Angeles booking agency, police said.
The singer was issued a citation that carried a $78 fine.
Miss Ross was arrested for investigation of drunken driving Dec. 30 in Tucson, Ariz. She has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Utilities to pay for pollution study
DOVER Two utilities have agreed to pay for a study of groundwater contamination in downtown Dover as part of a $4.6 million settlement with state and federal environmental regulators.
The settlement involves groundwater contamination linked to the former Dover Gas Light Co. and Capitol Cleaners properties.
Under the agreement, Chesapeake Utilities Corp. and FirstEnergy Corp., the gas plant's past owners, will pay a combined $1.7 million to examine groundwater pollution in the area.
Related settlement terms oblige Delaware to pay $1 million for past cleanup work at Dover Gas Light and 10 percent to 50 percent of future costs for containing or removing contamination from shallow aquifers.

Defense satellite launched into orbit
CAPE CANAVERAL After more than a month of delays, the Air Force launched a defense satellite Monday that will allow faster communication between U.S. defense officials and battlefield commanders.
The blast off of the Boeing Delta 4 rocket was the first space launch in the United States since Space Shuttle Columbia broke up over Texas on Feb. 1.
The launch had been scheduled for Feb. 7, but was postponed out of respect for the Columbia astronauts. It was postponed again Feb. 10 to give engineers a chance to check for potential problems in a steering mechanism.

Killing blamed on voodoo hex
ALBANY A Haitian immigrant farmworker told a judge he killed one man and wounded two others because he believed they had placed a voodoo hex on him.
Reynold Calixte, 43, pleaded guilty but mentally ill last week to murder and aggravated assault and was sentenced to life in prison.
Mr. Calixte shot Stephen Dameus, cut his throat and stabbed him in the chest in a motel in 2001. He also attacked two men he believed helped Mr. Dameus, shooting one in the foot and the other in the abdomen.

Seized computer had photos of 9/11 targets
BOISE Photographs in a computer used by a Saudi student arrested for visa violations include shots of the World Trade Center before and after the September 11 attacks, an FBI agent testified yesterday.
A detention hearing was held in federal court to determine if Sami Omar Al-Hussayen should be released. The University of Idaho student was arrested last month and has pleaded not guilty to an 11-count federal indictment accusing him of visa fraud and making false statements on student-visa applications to enter the country.
Mr. Al-Hussayen, 34, is a doctoral student studying computer security, and Michael Gneckow, the FBI agent, said that gave him access to some classified information.

Woman convicted in plot to kill husband
CHICAGO A federal jury has convicted a woman of plotting with her boyfriend to kill her estranged husband with a gift-wrapped pipe bomb.
Lisa Toney, 45, was found guilty Monday under an explosives-conspiracy law that carries a maximum sentence of life in federal prison. Her attorneys said they plan to appeal.
Jurors agreed with prosecutors that Toney conspired with Sienky Lallemand to steal Marcus V. Toney's identity, acquire fraudulent credit cards under his name, steal his mail and kill him with the bomb.
Mr. Toney, 37, died Feb. 15, 2000, when a pipe bomb disguised as a gift-wrapped videocassette recorder exploded while he and a friend opened the package.

Governor's ex-mistress talks to Dr. Phil
LOUISVILLE Kentucky Gov. Paul E. Patton's two-year affair with Tina Conner has become a case for Dr. Phil.
An interview Miss Conner taped five months ago with Dr. Phil McGraw aired yesterday on the plainspoken psychologist's nationally syndicated talk show.
In the 10-minute segment, she apologized to her daughter and said her life since the affair "has been very emotional."
Mr. McGraw told her to take responsibility for her actions, then forgive herself and stand up for herself.

College graduates leave state for work
AUGUSTA College graduates tend to leave Maine because of perceptions that employment opportunities are better elsewhere, a state report says.
The study found more than half of the state's "best and brightest" college graduates in 1998 wanted to live and work in Maine, but three of every four ultimately left.

Police officer dies after car chase
ST. LOUIS A police officer who broke his ankle in an auto wreck while pursuing carjacking suspects a month ago has died, apparently of complications from the injury, police said Monday.
Officer James Branson, 36, was injured with his partner on Feb. 11 when their cruiser collided with a sport utility vehicle. He died on Sunday.
"It looks like it might have been a blood clot from the ankle injury," police spokesman Richard Wilkes said. "It's just frightening."
Officer Branson's partner, Officer Jermaine Jackson, was in critical condition with lung bruises and head injuries. The carjacking suspects remain at large.

Nursing home found negligent in death
BEDFORD A state agency has found that a nursing home failed to protect a former state Supreme Court judge with Alzheimer's disease who wandered away and froze to death.
Maurice Bois, 85, went missing the evening of Jan. 13 from the Arbors of Bedford. Up to 100 volunteers helped authorities search the snow-covered woods for him all night.
His body was found the next morning behind a heating unit near the home. Police said he was wearing only light clothing that included a short-sleeved shirt and pants. His family said he suffered from Alzheimer's disease.

Students take healthy-snack test
ZUNI PUEBLO More students in Zuni Pueblo are snacking on fruits and vegetables instead of chips and candy.
Officials hope that students will maintain eating habits after a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant that provides free healthy snacks expires.
The 2,000 students are part of an experiment: Will children used to eating fruit and vegetables at school choose a healthier diet?

Geneva State Park to build lodge
GENEVA-ON-THE-LAKE A $16.7 million lodge and conference center will become the ninth state park lodge in Ohio.
Development officials and businesses hope it will help Ashtabula County attract tourists and companies. The project at Geneva State Park in northeast Ohio will include 110 rooms, a restaurant and indoor pool.
Construction is to be completed in May 2004.

Club fire investigators examine exits
PROVIDENCE The state Fire Marshal's Office has taken four doors from the rubble of the Feb. 20 nightclub fire that killed 99 persons and injured more than 180.
According to search warrants filed by police, three of the doors are metal and one is wood.
Whether the exit doors may have contributed to the catastrophe is still under investigation. Fire and town officials also are trying to determine whether the club was above capacity the night of the blaze.
"We, of course, are looking at everything from exit doors to soundproofing, but I can't comment on what we've determined because it's an ongoing investigation," Fire Marshal Irving J. Owens said yesterday.

DNA test casts doubt on rape conviction
HOUSTON A 21-year-old man serving 25 years in prison for rape could be released after tests found the Houston Police Department incorrectly analyzed the DNA evidence used to convict him, the Chronicle reports.
The retesting of evidence used against Josiah Sutton is the first documented case of faulty conclusions from the police lab that has been shut down because of its unsound techniques and suspected evidence contamination. Sutton's case is one of hundreds of convictions under scrutiny because of questions about the quality of evidence processed by the police crime lab.
For some, those results confirm fears that the lab's shoddy work may have helped prosecutors send innocent people to prison and even death row.

Police to use dog in high school searches
LOGAN A drug-sniffing police dog will be used in planned periodic searches of Logan High School's parking lot, hallway lockers and locker rooms.
Police hope the random searches by the department's K-9 team will make students think twice before bringing drugs to school.
Searches will be conducted while students are in class.

'Missing' inmate found in prison
SHELTON Officers mounted a massive search for a convict they believe had escaped, only to find him seven hours later inside the wrong cell.
Prison officials doing a head count the Washington Corrections Center Monday night found that inmate Lechaun Dwayn Baker, 33, who has escaped from prison once before and had arrived that afternoon from the penitentiary at Walla Walla, was missing.
The search further intensified when authorities found a breach in the prison fence, Sheriff Steve Whybark said.
Baker, who was convicted of attempted murder in a 1997 attack, eventually was discovered in a cell to which he had not been assigned, Rita Thomas, a prison administrative assistant, said in a statement.

Wolves make home on firing range
FORT McCOY Five timber wolves have picked an unlikely and sometimes noisy place to call their home a military firing range.
A female wolf named Sassafras and four other timber wolves have settled in the backcountry of this huge Monroe County Army base, and the pack's home territory is right in the middle of the base's firing range.
Tim Wilder, an endangered-species biologist who works for the Army and keeps track of the wolves, said the wolves appear to be doing well, in spite of the occasional bomb blast.

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