- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 6, 2003

GEORGIA
Capitol barriers removed
ATLANTA Gov. Sonny Perdue ordered concrete barriers around the gold-domed Capitol removed Tuesday, just days after security officials had them installed.
"The governor was not very happy," said Erin O'Brien, communications director for the Republican governor. "It sends a really bad message to people about the accessibility of their government."
Public safety officials installed concrete barriers around the Capitol on Saturday, even though two days earlier the Bush administration lowered the national terror alert status. The barriers came down Tuesday night.

SOUTH CAROLINA
Rapper backs NASCAR team
DARLINGTON Rap star Nelly will buy into a Craftsman Truck NASCAR racing team starting at Darlington Raceway on March 14.
The deal to buy part of Billy Ballew Motorsports will last the rest of the season, Nelly's representative told the Associated Press by phone Tuesday. The truck will sport a new paint scheme and feature Nelly's Vokal clothing label. It will be introduced in time for the Darlington 200 truck event.
Nelly, born Cornell Haynes, won a Grammy this year for his single "Hot in Herre." New England Journal of Medicine showed that doctors wrote 58 prescriptions in 2002 for terminally ill patients who qualified under the voter-approved law, and 38 committed suicide.
That is more than twice the number of patients who took their own lives in 1998, the first full year the law was in effect. That year, doctors wrote 24 lethal prescriptions and 16 patients used them.
Most of those who ended their lives were older cancer victims, said Dr. Mel Kohn, state epidemiologist and co-author of the report.

TEXAS
Shuttle searchers sickened by fumes
LUFKIN Searchers combing the Sabine National Forest for pieces of the downed Space Shuttle Columbia have become ill after being exposed to chemical fumes, officials said.
Officials haven't been able to confirm whether crews were exposed to any of the hazardous materials present on the shuttle, a U.S. Forest Service spokesman said.
Three of the 46 searchers were taken to the hospital after being affected by fumes during Sunday's search. The team was composed of two 20-person teams of wilderness firefighters, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Environmental Protection Agency officials.

UTAH
Legislature approves tax rise on beer
SALT LAKE CITY Beer drinkers will pay an additional 4 cents per six-pack under a tax increase that received final legislative approval.
The higher beer tax will raise about $12 million a year, $2.5 million of which could be dedicated for drunken-driving enforcement in the first year. That share could increase to $3.5 million after two years.

VERMONT
Town clerk retires after 53 years
NORTON For 53 years, Town Clerk Miriam Nelson has been the very model of Yankee thrift and industry.
Five days a week, she faithfully opened her office at 9 a.m. and painstakingly handled tax bills and deeds and recorded all births, deaths and marriages in town, mostly by typewriter, but sometimes by computer, though with a little help.
On Tuesday, at age 81, she finally retired, marking not only the end of an era in the town of 214, but also the end of a family dynasty. Since 1885, the year the town clerk position was created in this community on the Canadian border, only three persons have held the post, all of them from the same family.
Great-uncle Albert McLean was the town's first clerk 118 years ago, and then her father, Edward, assumed the post in 1911. When she was 28, her father appointed her assistant clerk. After her father died unexpectedly, town board of selectmen members chose her in 1949 to fill out his term. She has been serving ever since.

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