- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 1, 2003

Fund-raiser killed in apparent murder-suicide
DAVIE A prominent Democratic fund-raiser and his business partner who were found dead inside their banquet hall had been arguing about the firing of the partner's wife, police said.
Officers said Jerome Berlin, 60, was shot twice by Michael Pecora, 51, who then turned the gun on himself. The men were found Tuesday inside a locked office.
No motive for the shootings has been confirmed, but police said Mr. Berlin had fired Mr. Pecora's wife, Arlene, from her job as catering director at the Signature Grand banquet hall on Monday night. The men had been arguing since the firing, police said.
An employee reported overhearing an argument, then three gunshots in the office about 11:15 a.m. Tuesday. At the same time, about 800 eighth-graders from Broward schools were attending an African-heritage forum on the banquet hall's first floor. The children were not told of the shootings.
"I can't believe Michael would do something like this," said Alex Alba, a subcontractor with Signature Grand who knew the men for 14 years. "He was so low-key, soft-spoken."
Mr. Berlin served as an official Democratic Party fund-raiser in the late 1980s.

Indian women proposed for statue hall
CARSON CITY Two proud symbols in the history of American Indian women Sacajawea and Sarah Winnemucca may soon enter a room full of white men frozen in marble and bronze: Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol.
They would become the first nonwhite women enshrined in the collection that honors distinguished citizens from every state.
Nevada's project is still in the fund-raising stage and lags far behind that of North Dakota, which recently cast its 8-foot-tall Sacajawea statue and plans to have the bronze installed in the Capitol in October.
Winnemucca was a bold, 19th-century Nevada Paiute woman who was a translator and a bridge between Indians and settlers. Sacajawea, who is claimed by several Indian tribes, was the legendary guide for Meriwether Lewis and William Clark during their trek across the frontier from 1804 to 1806.

3.7-scale quake minor for county
BLYTHEVILLE An earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 3.7 shook northeastern Arkansas but no significant damage was reported.
The U.S. Geological Survey Web site reported that the quake struck at 11:56 p.m. Tuesday, with an epicenter about a mile east-northeast of Blytheville.
"The only report of damage that I've had a call on is a lady that said it blew out some light bulbs," Officer Brian Lee of the Mississippi County sheriff's office said yesterday.
There had been no reports of physical or structural damage from the quake, Officer Lee said. The USGS site says damage is unlikely from an earthquake of less than 4.0 magnitude.

Man charged in killing of condor
LOS ANGELES A Southern California man was charged Tuesday in the fatal shooting of an endangered-species California condor.
Britton Cole Lewis, 29, of Tehachapi, faces up to six months in prison and a $15,000 fine if convicted of shooting the bird. It was found dead Feb. 13 on a Kern County ranch, federal prosecutor E. Robert Wright said from Fresno.
The bird, known as Adult Condor 8, was one of the few hatched in the wild. She was captured in 1986, the last female of the species caught for an intensive breeding program to save the giant vultures from extinction. She hatched a dozen eggs in captivity.

Academy scandal report will blame procedures
COLORADO SPRINGS A military-ordered report on the sex-assault scandal at the Air Force Academy will place blame on failed procedures, not specific officers, Air Force Secretary James Roche said.
The report by a panel set up by Mr. Roche and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John Jumper is expected in a few weeks. It is one of three military investigations into charges that sexual assaults were not properly investigated at the academy and that victims were punished for reporting them.

Search continues for missing girl, 12
SAVANNAH Strangers who never met Ashleigh Moore or her family turned out to display the missing 12-year-old-girl's face across Savannah's south side.
About 20 volunteers showed up Tuesday for the effort dubbed Operation Ashleigh, the Savannah Morning News reported. The seventh-grader has been missing since April 18.
"It really bothers that there isn't more community here," said Donna Torres, who also attended a weekend candlelight vigil and search for Ashleigh. "If this were a white kid, there would be a whole lot of people out here."
Ashleigh's case hasn't received much national attention, but Rep. Max Burns, Georgia Republican, spoke about her Tuesday from the floor of the House. Mr. Burns was contacted by Ashleigh's pastor at Second African Baptist Church to help raise awareness of the missing girl.
Bobby Buckner, 26, the live-in boyfriend of Ashleigh's mother, has been jailed for violating probation in connection with his 1995 child-molestation conviction. But police have declined to call him a suspect in the girl's disappearance.

Teens face charges in boy's death
CHICAGO Three teenagers were charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of a 12-year-old boy who had just participated in a children's neighborhood cleanup program.
Leon Brown, 18, fired three shots into a group of young people, as "retaliation for an alleged theft of a bicycle by a rival gang," said Chicago Police Cmdr. James Jackson.
One shot struck seventh-grader Rene Guillen, who was on his way to a candy store with other youths who had participated in the cleanup program on Chicago's southwest side. The boy was not affiliated with a gang, Cmdr. Jackson said. No one else was injured.
Also charged Monday were George Anderson and Cleodis Bassett, two 17-year-olds who were with Mr. Brown at the time of the shooting, Cmdr. Jackson said.

Residents oppose naming road for King
MUNCIE Plans to rename a road after Martin Luther King were put on hold after opposition from some in the city's business community.
Nearly 200 people signed a petition against renaming Broadway after the slain civil rights leader.
The proposal was tabled by the City Council until June, with more hearings expected this month.

Christian bookstore gets financial help
PUTNEY A man who converted his sex-toy shop to a Christian bookstore says sales have been so slow he is been unable to stock his shelves with new merchandise.
Michael Braithwaite said he had considered closing his fledgling store when help arrived.
An Ohio couple who had read about Mr. Braithwaite's dramatic conversion decided to help him in his new endeavor. Ron and Phyllis Branstetter arrived last week with a van and rental truck filled with some $80,000 worth of Bibles, books and other religious items.
"Praise the Lord. It's just heaven-sent," said Mr. Braithwaite as he carried boxes filled with religious literature, tapes, pictures and ceramic products into the nearly empty store.
Mr. Braithwaite burned the contents of his adult novelty store after a religious conversion.

Court dismisses clergy-abuse suit
BOSTON In a decision that could have broad ramifications in clergy sexual-abuse cases, the state's highest court dismissed a lawsuit yesterday in which a woman said she was molested by a priest more than four decades ago.
The state Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the woman should have filed her lawsuit sooner because a reasonable person should have been able to make a connection much earlier between the abuse and the emotional harm she said she experienced.
The woman, identified only as Jane Doe in court papers, is now in her early 60s. She filed her lawsuit in 1998 40 years after she said she was sexually abused by the Rev. Gerard Creighton.

Safety board releases Wellstone crash report
MINNEAPOLIS A faulty landing beacon at the Eveleth airport cannot fully explain why the plane carrying Sen. Paul Wellstone crashed last year, killing him and seven others, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
Pilots flying a simulator meant to duplicate conditions near the northern Minnesota airport at the time of the Oct. 25 crash were able to safely land, according to the NTSB report released Tuesday.

Inmate's rights violated, high court rules
HELENA State prison officials so mistreated a mentally ill inmate that they violated his right to human dignity and must change their policies to prevent similar cases, the Montana Supreme Court ruled.
As discipline, Mark E. Walker was left naked sometimes for weeks in a cell soiled by blood and waste, without running water and nothing but a blanket.
"Our constitution forbids correctional practices which permit prisons in the name of behavior modification to disregard the innate dignity of human beings, especially in the context where those persons suffer from serious mental illness," Justice James Nelson wrote for the court in the 6-1 opinion Tuesday.
Mr. Walker, who served 2 years on a probation violation for forgery, was released from prison in August 2001.

Man sues McDonald's for gum in salad
DETROIT A man is suing fast-food giant McDonald's after supposedly biting into a piece of already-chewed gum in a salad.
In a lawsuit filed in Wayne County Circuit Court, Joseph Taylor says the Feb. 26 incident has caused him "mental anguish, humiliation, embarrassment, and pain and suffering and loss of appetite."
He has sought medical attention, according to the lawsuit.
Mr. Taylor also said he fears he may have contracted AIDS or hepatitis, the Detroit Free Press reported yesterday.
The lawsuit states Mr. Taylor was eating a salad at a McDonald's on the Wayne State University campus when he "discovered a foreign object in his mouth that had already been chewed by someone else."

Judge rejects suit against Bush
LINCOLN A federal judge yesterday dismissed a lawsuit filed by a former congressman claiming that President Bush violated the 1973 War Powers Act by attacking Iraq.
Former Rep. Clair Callan, 82, had no legal standing to file the court action and failed to show that he would be personally injured by Mr. Bush's actions, U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf ruled.
The judge also said the issues involved foreign policy and military decisions that are outside the jurisdiction of the judicial branch.
"All I ever wanted, and all I want right now, is that this president or any other president cannot pre-emptively strike another nation," said the Nebraska Democrat.

Court grants ACLU access to police photos
CONCORD The New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union won the right yesterday to review five years of photographs taken by Manchester police to see whether officers are singling out blacks and other minorities.
The organization requested access to the pictures three years ago after learning of the police department's practice of photographing people who had been stopped but not arrested.
The city refused and the civil liberties union sued, winning a lower court ruling that was upheld yesterday by the state Supreme Court.

Enlistee donates hair to Locks of Love
CARLSBAD A teenager who recently enlisted in the Army decided he wasn't going to let his long hair go to waste.
Instead of waiting for the Army to give him a buzz cut, Kevin Berg, 18, got his hair cut a few weeks early and donated the hair to Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization that provides hairpieces to children across the United States who have lost their hair.
The organization uses donated hair to create high-quality wigs. The wigs help restore self-esteem and confidence in the children that helps them face the world and their peers, the organization says.

Cholesterol researchers win medical prize
ALBANY Two doctors, whose Nobel Prize-winning studies led to the development of cholesterol-lowering drugs, were awarded the nation's richest prize for medicine and biomedical research yesterday.
Michael Brown and Joseph Goldstein, both of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, received the $500,000 Albany Medical Center Prize, second only in monetary value to the Nobel Prize, worth more than $900,000.
Drs. Brown and Goldstein discovered human body cells have receptors that determine how much cholesterol circulates in the blood.
Their research earned them the 1985 Nobel Prize and laid the groundwork for the development of cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Judge dissolves charity run by activist
PORTLAND A judge yesterday shut down a petition-gathering charity run by a prominent anti-tax activist, who the judge said operated the "sham" charity to achieve personal political goals.
Judge Jerome LaBarre also ordered Bill Sizemore, an unsuccessful Republican gubernatorial candidate in 1998, to dissolve his political action committees and banned him from organizing any similar charity "to avoid the type of racketeering violations which have occurred in this case."
The ruling followed a jury's decision that Mr. Sizemore's Oregon Taxpayers United Education Foundation and his PAC filed false campaign and tax reports and committed fraud and forgery.

Students return after school shooting
RED LION Students returning to their junior high school for the first time since a deadly shooting dipped their hands in bronze paint and left their prints on a wall yesterday in a memorial to their slain principal.
The cafeteria where Red Lion Area Junior High Principal Eugene Segro was fatally shot April 24 by a student, who then killed himself, had been repainted white.
Along with the handprints, called "The Hands Touched by Dr. Segro," a gold stripe had been painted in Mr. Segro's honor.
Students will not be allowed to bring backpacks to school for the next few days while officials decide what security changes to make. The student who shot Segro, James Sheets, 14, had brought three handguns into the school.

Pentecostals reunite for global evangelism
CLEVELAND The Church of God and the Church of God of Prophecy Pentecostal denominations that split in the 1920s will work together on global evangelism, they announced yesterday.
"We can do so much more together than we can do separate," said Mike Baker, spokesman for the Church of God, which claims about 6.5 million members worldwide.

Wind damages mobile home park
MISSION A possible tornado or high wind accompanying a thunderstorm swept through a mobile-home park early yesterday, causing widespread damage and injuring some residents.
Eleven persons were injured, but none of the injuries was severe, said American Red Cross coordinator Michael Huckabee.
The storm destroyed 14 mobile homes and severely damaged 18 others, Mr. Huckabee said.

Students travel to school by raft
NEW RICHMOND Four tardy students at Wyoming East High School put a new spin on that old our-school-bus-ran-late excuse it was their rafts that ran late.
Coben Thorn, Adam Fulford, Eric McKinney and Jarrod Brewer decided to take advantage of a two-hour class delay on April 16 and travel to school by raft.
Riding in two small rubber rafts, they made their way down the Guyandotte River with homemade paddles constructed from sticks, cookie sheets and duct tape. However, they miscalculated the time required to make the eight-mile trip and missed their first class.

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