- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 21, 2003


Fans, singers hold vigil for Vandross

DETROIT — Fans and fellow singers held a candlelight vigil for rhythm-and-blues artist Luther Vandross, who’s recovering from a stroke.

Aretha Franklin, a friend of Mr. Vandross, organized Monday night’s event at the Little Rock Baptist Church.

“I felt he needed prayer, and he needed it now,” said Miss Franklin, who sang “Amazing Grace” for a crowd of 5,000.

Five weeks ago, Mr. Vandross was discovered in his New York apartment with the aftereffects of a stroke. He remains in the intensive-care unit of the Weill Cornell Medical Center of New York-Presbyterian Hospital.


Tear gas ends farmhouse standoff

MONTROSE — A man suspected of shooting a police officer after a weekend traffic stop holed himself up in a farmhouse, shot four other officers and kept dozens more at bay overnight before he was arrested yesterday morning, police said.

The standoff began late Monday when Scott Ennis, 29, barricaded himself in his two-story farmhouse after police tried to serve him with search and domestic-battery warrants, State Police Senior Trooper Jay Powers said.

As many as 60 officers surrounded the farmhouse and exchanged hundreds of gunshots with Mr. Ennis during the 13-hour standoff, Randolph County Prosecutor Earl Maxwell said. Mr. Ennis was arrested after state police lobbed tear gas inside.

Mr. Maxwell said Mr. Ennis had a bloody nose and was taken to Davis Memorial Hospital in Elkins, where he was in stable condition, a spokeswoman said.


Lawyer cites tape in bombing-case appeal

MONTGOMERY — An attorney for a former Klansman convicted of murdering four black girls in a civil rights era church bombing in Birmingham told an appeals court yesterday that FBI agents illegally taped Thomas Blanton Jr. talking about making the bomb.

John Robbins, seeking to overturn Blanton’s conviction in the Sixteenth Baptist Street Church bombing in 1963, also told the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals that the law in 1964 did not allow eavesdropping to obtain evidence for use in a trial.

The “Kitchen Sink Tape” played a crucial role in Blanton’s conviction in the deadliest act of violence against the civil rights movement. In the recording, played for the jury, Blanton says, “We had the meeting to make the bomb.”


Study says eating fish helps fight depression

SAN FRANCISCO — Pregnant women might be able to lower their risk of becoming depressed before or after giving birth by eating fish, a study suggests.

That is because they will get nutrients called omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in seafood and are also available in fish-oil supplements, researchers say. Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines and herring are especially rich in omega-3.

In an analysis of 11,721 British women, researchers found that the more omega-3 fatty acids a woman consumed in seafood during the third trimester, the less likely she was to show signs of major depression at that time and as long as eight months after the birth.


Estate-tax windfall adds to state revenue

NEW CASTLE — Although you can’t take it with you, Delaware is grateful for what you have to leave behind.

The state’s dismal budget picture brightened somewhat Monday, thanks in part to an unexpected estate-tax windfall of more than $23 million.

The windfall helped boost projected revenue for the fiscal year by almost $51 million over last month’s estimate, to $2.42 billion.

For fiscal 2004, which begins July 1, the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council increased its revenue estimate by $24.2 million over April’s estimate, to $2.35 billion.

The $75 million revision, the third projected increase in as many months, prompted the Delaware Chamber of Commerce to call for a “fundamental reconsideration” of Gov. Ruth Ann Minner’s budget proposal.


Man sentenced for driving into mosque

TALLAHASSEE — A man who drove his pickup truck into a mosque and yelled anti-Muslim threats has been sentenced to more than two years in federal prison.

Charles Franklin, 41, pleaded guilty to the hate crime in November. U.S. District Judge Stephan Mickle sentenced Franklin to 27 months, crediting him with the 14 months he served since being arrested for the March 25, 2002, attack.

No one was injured in the crash, which occurred 30 minutes before evening prayers.

“What I did was wrong,” Franklin said at Monday’s sentencing.


Pioneer fighter pilot dies at 80

ATLANTA — Horace A. Bohannon, one of the nation’s first black fighter pilots, died last Wednesday of congestive heart failure. He was 80.

Mr. Bohannon trained with an elite corps of volunteers at Tuskegee, Ala., as part of a program set up by the Pentagon during World War II. The training was rigorous, with only 992 men graduating as Tuskegee Airmen, a fellow graduate said.

Mr. Bohannon often spoke to high school students about his experiences, especially during Black History Month.


Craig pressing for third federal judge

BOISE — Sen. Larry E. Craig, Idaho Republican, joined the state’s two federal judges in calling for a third federal judgeship.

Idaho’s federal judges are some of the busiest in the West, often requiring help from other states. Chief Judge Lynn Winmill said he has 600 cases pending at any given time.

Federal district judges are traditionally recommended to the president by senators from the state where the vacancy has occurred.


Judge declines to lift hazing suspensions

CHICAGO — A federal judge refused yesterday to lift the suspensions of two female students from a suburban Chicago high school after a violent hazing incident.

U.S. District Chief Judge Charles P. Kocoras made his ruling in a one-sentence order, saying he would issue a written opinion later. The students had argued that the suspensions were imposed without due process.

Liat Gendelman and Taylor Wessel, both 18, were suspended for 10 days by Glenbrook North High School after taking part in a May 4 flag football game in which junior girls were brutally hazed by seniors. Videotape of the event shows junior girls from the school being covered with mud, paint, feces and garbage. Thirty-one students were suspended as a result of the incident.


‘Dust devil’ blamed for building collapse

LEBANON — A freak burst of wind on a clear day apparently caused a body shop to collapse, killing the owner, officials said.

The collapse Monday was initially thought to be caused by an explosion, but a witness reported seeing a windstorm lift the roof off Vintage Auto Body, causing much of the two-story building to collapse, said Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Public Safety Department.

Large sections of the building’s metal roof were ripped up, and the wooden frame was visible in several collapsed areas. Hunks of corrugated metal were thrown hundreds of feet away.

Meteorologists at the National Weather Service said the cause may have been a dust devil, a whirlwind that travels along the ground like a miniature tornado and sucks dust into the air.


Oil spill larger than first reported

BOSTON — An oil spill in Buzzards Bay that has killed hundreds of birds and shut down the region’s shellfishing industry was almost seven times larger than first reported, the Coast Guard said yesterday.

The spill April 27 was about 98,000 gallons, not the 14,700 gallons estimated by Bouchard Transportation Inc., which owned the barge that leaked the oil from a gash in its hull.

“Obviously, the difference is significant,” said Capt. Mary Landry, who is coordinating the cleanup. “It will definitely be part of our investigation into what happened that night.”

An oil-water mix in the tanks may have caused Bouchard to overestimate how much oil remained in the damaged barge, the Coast Guard said. The barge had 4.1 million gallons on board.


Panel OKs bill to cut poet laureate position

TRENTON — The Assembly State Government Committee approved a bill eliminating the state’s poet laureate position in an effort to end Amiri Baraka’s term.

Mr. Baraka wrote a poem about the September 11 attacks that was perceived to contain anti-Semitic language.

Current rules say the title cannot be rescinded and that the governor and Legislature cannot fire Mr. Baraka. The legislation must go to the full Assembly.


Lab creation helps heal injured bones

ALBUQUERQUE — Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have developed a process that could make bone-graft surgery less painful.

Scientists at Sandia have made a robotic machine that can fashion a latticelike material to the precise shape of a bone to replace the damaged area. The material is placed on an injured bone, and the patient’s natural bone grows through it.


Tabloid says free-lancer plagiarized article

NEW YORK — A free-lancer for the New York Post sold the tabloid a story that was plagiarized from the National Enquirer, the Post said yesterday .

The story, which appeared May 15 in the Post’s business section, concerned the decision by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to phase out former talk-show host Kathie Lee Gifford’s clothing line from its stores this year.

In a story yesterday, the Post said free-lancer Robin Gregg admitted that he plagiarized the story from the Enquirer. “We were deceived by Mr. Gregg, and he will never contribute to the Post again,” Editor-in-Chief Col Allan said.

Gerald McKelvey, a spokesman for American Media Inc., publisher of the National Enquirer, declined comment. But a comparison of the two stories shows that the Post story is a shorter version of one that appears in the current issue of the Enquirer, with the first four paragraphs almost identical.


Humongous cookie breaks record

FLAT ROCK — An enormous cookie broke a world record during the weekend before a crowd of 1,500 hungry onlookers.

It took eight hours and a cookie sheet the size of a basketball court to bake the 100-foot, 20-ton chocolate chip cookie. The cookie was baked in an oven bag that released the smells of chocolate and warm, sugary dough when opened.

The curious crowd that braved a steady drizzle for a glimpse of the cookie Saturday soon began nibbling it down to size for $10 a slice. Ten percent of the proceeds will go toward building a craft museum.

Immaculate Baking Co. owner Scott Blackwell and a team of 70 volunteers built the cookie from 6,500 pounds of butter, 30,000 eggs and 5,000 pounds of sugar.


Mayor charged with drunken driving

GARRETTSVILLE — The mayor of Garrettsville was charged with drunken driving, and his wife was arrested, too, when she drove up to the scene smelling of alcohol, police said.

J. Thomas Hardesty, 53, and his wife, Barbara, 52, were taken into custody Saturday night.

According to the Highway Patrol, a caller reported that a car had slammed into a fence and tree, and left the scene. The mayor’s vehicle was stopped a short time later and identified as the car involved in the crash.

The mayor’s wife was charged with drunken driving when she drove up, became irate with officers and smelled of alcohol, police said.


Judge enters plea for Nichols

OKLAHOMA CITY — The judge overseeing bombing conspirator Terry Nichols’ state trial entered a not-guilty plea on Nichols’ behalf during arraignment Tuesday. The defense asked for a trial date more than 1 years away.

Because the defense has a motion pending to dismiss the charges, Nichols stood mute rather than enter a plea, so District Judge Steven Taylor entered it on his behalf.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty on 162 counts of first-degree murder. They said they will be ready for trial by November or December, while defense attorney Brian Hermanson suggested January 2005. Judge Taylor did not immediately rule on a trial date.

Nichols, 48, is serving life in a federal prison for the 1995 bombing that killed 168 persons and injured hundreds of others. He was convicted on federal conspiracy and involuntary manslaughter charges for the deaths of eight federal law enforcement officers.

The state is charging him with the deaths of the other 160 victims in addition to two murder charges for the deaths of unborn children that two women had been carrying.


Man suspended as wildfire crew trainer

PORTLAND — As fire season nears, a Washington man was suspended from training contract wildfire crews after an investigation found that his company’s courses glossed over safety points.

Charles Hoskin is accused of permitting completion of 32-hour safety courses in as few as 12 hours.


State grants pardon to R&B; legend

COLUMBIA — James Brown had plenty of reason to feel good yesterday as South Carolina officials pardoned him for his crimes in that state.

The 70-year-old singer served a 2-year prison term after a 1988 arrest on drug and assault charges, and was convicted of a drug-related offense in 1998.

Mr. Brown, who appeared before the state Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services, sang “God Bless America” after the decision, publicist Dan Forman said.

“God bless America on this beautiful day,” Mr. Brown said in a statement. “I feel good!”

In September 1988, Mr. Brown, high on PCP and carrying a shotgun, entered an insurance seminar next to his Augusta, Ga., office and asked seminar participants whether they were using his private restroom. Police chased Mr. Brown for a half-hour from Augusta into South Carolina and back to Georgia. The chase ended when police shot out the tires of his truck.


Court clears way for execution

NASHVILLE — In a ruling that clears the way for the state to set an execution date, the Tennessee Supreme Court denied death row inmate Philip Workman’s bid for a new trial.

Workman was convicted of killing Memphis police Lt. Ronald Oliver during a 1981 robbery, and has been on death row since 1982.

State attorneys filed a motion asking the Supreme Court to set an execution date for Workman.


Grandmother charged in girl’s death

WACO — A woman entrusted to care for her four grandchildren while her daughter served in Iraq remained in jail yesterday on charges of beating the youngest to death.

Rose M. Cherry, 56, was denied bail Monday on one count of assault causing serious bodily injury to 4-year-old Destiny Moore who died May 13 in a hospital. Mrs. Cherry’s attorney had asked that she be released because she had no prior criminal convictions.

Army Spc. Tammy Moore had left Destiny and her three other children — two girls, ages 7 and 8, and a 6-year-old boy — with her mother in their Fort Hood home when she was deployed in March.

At the detention hearing, FBI Special Agent Daniel W. Chadwick testified that Mrs. Cherry acknowledged hitting Destiny with a belt and extension cord as well as her open hand, saying she did so because the girl was slacking in doing her homework.


Study: Lung surgery helps emphysema patients

SEATTLE — Cutting out the diseased parts of the lungs in patients with severe emphysema can modestly improve their capacity to exercise and their overall quality of life, shows a landmark study released yesterday .

The surgery was first done in the 1950s and became popular in the 1990s as a way of restoring breathing power to victims of emphysema, which is irreversible and contributes to 100,000 deaths annually in the country.

However, without a carefully controlled study, there was little clear proof that the operation improves people’s lives. As a result, Medicare imposed a moratorium on paying for the surgery in the mid-1990s and sponsored a large study to examine its benefits.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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