- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 26, 2003

11 sets of twins attend seventh grade
PINE BLUFF Somebody finally started putting two and two together, and when the count was finished, the total was 11.
That's the number of sets of twins in the 520-student seventh grade at Southeast Junior High School.
"I'm not sure any school, anywhere, has as many twins in one grade as Southeast," said Juanita Curry, a school counselor.
Twins Brittney and Whitney Lee are identical in appearance, but disagreed as to whether their teachers could tell them apart. They have used the obvious to their advantage at least once, back when they were in the second grade.
"We switched classes once," Brittney said last week, "and switched back at noon. Nobody ever knew."

Missing teen found, reunited with mother
SACRAMENTO A missing Michigan teenager found safe in California was reunited with her mother yesterday and was flying home.
Lindsey Diane Ryan, 14, was returning to Jones, Mich., after a 23-day cross-country odyssey with a 56-year-old convicted murderer, Terry Drake, who remains jailed in Susanville, Calif. The pair was stopped without incident Monday in nearby Standish, Calif.
Carol Ryan picked up her daughter at the Susanville airport about 9:30 a.m. and immediately departed with her aboard a California Highway Patrol aircraft for a flight to Reno, Nev. From there, they were to fly on to Michigan.
Lindsey was in good condition after spending 23 days mostly camping out with Drake in the remote Sierra Nevada range along the California-Nevada line, authorities said.

Official: Teacher didn't use unnecessary force
MONTGOMERY Attorney General Bill Pryor asked a court to dismiss a harassment charge against a teacher who pinned down a belligerent student while breaking up a lunchroom fight and then was taken to court by the student's mother.
Mr. Pryor said witness statements and interviews show that the teacher, Truman Sullivan, did not use unnecessary force to restrain the student during the incident last fall.

Company files lawsuit about Biosphere project
TUCSON The Texas company that owns the Biosphere 2 Center, a glass-enclosed effort to simulate the Earth's environment, filed a lawsuit accusing Columbia University of breach of contract.
"We regret it has come to this, but Columbia University's unilateral actions have already adversely affected the value of the project," said Martin C. Bowen, vice president of Decisions Investments Corp. of Fort Worth, Texas.
The lawsuit says Columbia backed out of hiring six full-time research faculty, abandoned educational programs and ditched plans to build a research lab at the Biosphere site in southern Arizona.
Columbia, which is in New York, has managed the research center near Oracle since 1996.

Ex-mayor convicted in molestation case
BRIDGEPORT A federal jury convicted the former mayor of Waterbury yesterday of violating the civil rights of two young girls by sexually abusing them.
Philip Giordano, 40, faces life in prison. Giordano, imprisoned since his July 2001 arrest, showed no emotion as the verdict was read.
He was also found guilty of conspiring with a prostitute, who is the mother of one of the girls and an aunt of the other. Jurors also convicted him on 14 of 15 counts of using an interstate device, a cell phone, to arrange the meetings with the girls. No verdict was returned on the remaining phone count.
The FBI was investigating municipal corruption when it stumbled upon phone calls in which Giordano set up meetings with the prostitute, her daughter and her niece. He has not been charged with corruption.

Stolen primates returned to owner
TAMPA A primate caper has come to somewhat of a happy ending, with the return of four of five stolen animals to their rightful owner.
Still missing, however, is a friendly 2-year-old greater-bush baby named Chewie.
Two persons said Monday that they bought the exotic animals on a lark from a tall man selling them out of his pickup truck. They later learned that the primates had been stolen.
Their owner, Christopher Newton, was reunited with the pair of cotton-top tamarins, Hairspray and Notail, and two ringtail lemurs, Munchkin and her 4-day-old baby. Mr. Newton told the St. Petersburg Times that all the creatures except the female tamarin are in good shape. She is lethargic.

State to catalogue historical markers
ATLANTA Government workers and history buffs are trying to find Georgia's 2,000 roadside historical markers, some of which have disappeared or been damaged.
A small government agency is trying to create a database for the markers and map them using satellites.
The markers contain brief lessons on Georgia's history and would promote tourism, officials said.

Tribe owns, blesses Indian massacre site
PRESTON For the first time in 140 years, the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation owns its saddest graveyard.
This week, the Trust for Public Lands, a national nonprofit organization, turned over to the American Indian tribe 26 acres of sacred land in Idaho's southeast corner that was the location of the Bear River Massacre.
Some 250 members of the tribe gathered Monday at the site two miles northwest of Preston to bless the land where at least 250 members of the Shoshone were killed by U.S. soldiers in 1863.
Waving a brown feather, Ricky Hasuse blessed the land first in the tribe's native language as many wiped away tears. He later asked in English for the "Great Creator" to bless the massacre victims.

Study: Bone loss linked to female hypertension
CHICAGO Bone loss at menopause can cause elevated blood-lead levels that may increase women's risk of high blood pressure, a study found.
Previous studies have linked lead exposure in men with high blood pressure. But the new research is the first to suggest that thinning bones can release lead acquired from decades-earlier exposure and cause health problems, said co-author Ellen Silbergeld, an environmental health researcher at Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health.
About one-fourth of the study participants had the highest blood-lead levels, averaging 6.4 micrograms per deciliter. They were 40 percent more likely to have high blood pressure than those with the lowest blood-lead levels, 1 microgram per deciliter on average.

'Old Buckshot' writer dies at 74
WASHINGTON Thomas Stavely Buchanan, former editor and publisher of the Washington County News and known to his readers as "Buckshot," died Monday. He was 74.
He wrote a weekly column called "Old Buckshot" through the week before his death. In February, he was named Conservation Communicator of the Year by the Kansas Wildlife Federation.
Mr. Buchanan and his wife, Christine, purchased the Bucklin Banner in 1956, operating it until 1959, when they purchased the Washington County News.
He won numerous writing awards, including a first place from the National Newspaper Association in 1966 for an editorial titled "The American Dream."

Ethics panel issues charges against Patton
FRANKFORT A state ethics panel charged Gov. Paul E. Patton yesterday with doing favors for his lover, saying he intervened to make her construction company more likely to receive state aid.
If the four charges from the Executive Branch Ethics Commission were upheld after a hearing, Mr. Patton faces a $5,000 fine and a public reprimand.
Mr. Patton has acknowledged having an affair with nursing-home owner Tina Conner but has denied misusing his office.
The commission said it found "probable cause" to believe that Mr. Patton intervened to obtain certification as a "disadvantaged business" for a construction company owned by Mrs. Conner and her husband, Seth Conner. Such a designation entitled the company, ST Construction, to preferential treatment in the awarding of state highway contracts.

Education official urges higher standards
BATON ROUGE State education Superintendent Cecil J. Picard said Louisiana has to set higher standards for its college-scholarship program.
The state is spending about $102 million on the Tuition Opportunity Program for Students, or TOPS, but only about half the students do well enough in college to keep those scholarships, Mr. Picard said.

Teen sentenced in violent plot
NEW BEDFORD A teenager accused of leading a group of fellow students in plotting a violent attack at New Bedford High School was sentenced to three years probation.
Eric McKeehan pleaded guilty earlier this month.
Investigators say McKeehan was the ringleader in a plot by five youths to stage a Columbine-like attack in November 2001.

More sex offenders register in state
SPRINGFIELD Authorities said more people are registering as sex offenders because a new state law eliminates a loophole in the old one.
Names on a statewide list maintained by the Missouri Highway Patrol increased from 8,174 to 8,715 in the past year, officials said.
The Greene County list alone has grown from 495 names in February 2002 to 670, the Sheriff's Department said.

State may require tests for physicians
CARSON CITY Nevada may become the first state in the nation to require periodic examinations of doctors to test their competency.
Nevada has high standards for initial licensing of a physician, but a license is automatically renewed every two years if the doctor completes 40 hours of education.
The state Board of Medical Examiners is considering the change.

City may rewrite building ordinances
SANTA FE Officials are considering rewriting city ordinances that limit modern architectural styles in certain districts.
The changes would represent the first major revamping in 46 years.
Commissioner Suby Bowden, an architect, said the city should encourage stone buildings, log cabins and other styles, instead of only the approved territorial and pueblo styles.

Ex-ambassador arrested in theft
NEW YORK Federal agents arrested the former Bosnian ambassador to the United Nations yesterday after his home country accused him of stealing more than $2.4 million.
Muhamed Sacirbegovic, 46, was ordered held without bail. Prosecutors said they would move for Mr. Sacirbegovic's extradition to Bosnia-Herzegovina. Defense attorney Steven Statsinger said he planned to fight extradition.
Mr. Sacirbegovic began serving as ambassador to the United Nations for Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992 and left office in 2000, according to papers filed by federal prosecutors.
The Bosnian government accuses him of stealing more than $2.4 million, about $1.8 million from the nation's Investment Fund Ministry and more than $600,000 from the account of Bosnia's representation at the United Nations.

Firefighters volunteer to relieve counterparts
CINCINNATI Firefighters from other cities volunteered to staff firehouses tomorrow so all of Cincinnati's 780 firefighters can attend a colleague's funeral.
Oscar Armstrong III, 25, died while fighting a fire.
His casket will be carried during the funeral procession in the hose bed of the truck that took him to the fire in which he died.

Murder charges filed in starved-teen case
HAZLETON Prosecutors filed murder charges Monday against a man accused of starving his girlfriend's 18-year-old son, then sending the dying teen to Florida to find his estranged father.
Prosecutors say Paul Hoffman knew Chester Miller had the mental capacity of a child and couldn't care for himself when he put him on a two-day bus ride.
Prosecutors charged Mr. Hoffman with third-degree murder. His attorney, John Pike, said there is no evidence that Mr. Hoffman is to blame.
Mr. Miller's mother, Lyda, was charged with involuntary manslaughter. Her attorney did not immediately return a phone message Monday.
Mr. Miller died Sept. 25, four days after he knocked on a stranger's door in Milton, Fla., and begged for help. He weighed 62 pounds when he was hospitalized, prosecutors said.

TVA, Oak Ridge lab create test facility
OAK RIDGE New technologies that could save billions of dollars by moving electricity more efficiently from power plants to homes and businesses will be tested at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, officials announced yesterday .
The new National Transmission Technology Research Center is a partnership between Oak Ridge, the Tennessee Valley Authority and private industry.
The center is testing a composite-core transmission line developed by 3M Co. that could carry two to three times as much electricity as conventional lines. That could radically upgrade the nation's power grid without having to build more transmission towers or acquire new rights of way, said Joaquin Delagado, 3M's research chief.
Advocates of the center say it is vital because U.S. power demand is expected to rise 25 percent in the next 10 years and the transmission system's capacity isn't keeping pace.

Miss Massachusetts crowned Miss USA
SAN ANTONIO Miss Massachusetts Susie Castillo was crowned Miss USA 2003 in the 52nd annual staging of the pageant Monday night.
Miss Castillo, 23, of Lawrence, Mass., replaces Shauntay Hinton, who represented Washington, D.C., in last year's event.
Miss Castillo, an office manager and model, will be the United States' candidate in the Miss Universe pageant in June in Panama City, Panama.
A fluent Spanish speaker with Puerto Rican roots, Miss Castillo said she would use her crown to try to raise the stature of the nation's Hispanic population. Michelle Arnette, Miss Alabama, was first runner-up, and home-state favorite Nicole O'Brian of Texas was second runner-up.

Skivvies stolen from Victoria's Secret
BELLEVUE Call it a $5,000 panty raid.
That's the estimated value of 300 sets of skivvies taken from Victoria's Secret in Bellevue Square.
"It's very unusual. It's shoplifting to the max," said Marcia Harnden, a police spokeswoman in this suburb east of Seattle.
An employee noticed that the panties in a variety of colors, styles and sizes were missing shortly before 5 p.m. Sunday, Miss Harnden said. Each cost $15 to $28.
Two display tables at the front of the store were cleared of the merchandise, and two other tables, one next to the cash register, were half-emptied, she said.

Wasting disease reported in elk
MADISON State officials said yesterday that a deadly disease that has afflicted deer in Wisconsin since 2001 has been found for the first time in an elk.
The elk testing positive for chronic wasting disease was one of 20 imported from a Minnesota herd in December 2000 and January 2001, said state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection spokeswoman Donna Gilson.
The Wisconsin elk was tested for the disease after another elk killed it in a fight. The farmer then slaughtered 18 others. Test results on those animals were pending.
Chronic wasting disease destroys the brain in deer, elk, moose and caribou, and causes the animal to grow thin and die. There is no scientific evidence that humans could be infected.

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