- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 6, 2003

FLORIDACar crashes into post office lobbyCORAL SPRINGS — A car crashed through a post office wall and hurtled into the lobby yesterday, injuring 10 persons, including a 2-year-old boy, police said.Leonard Borok, 82, had pulled into a handicapped parking space before the car accelerated, plowed across the sidewalk and a row of bushes, and crashed through the front window, Sgt. Dwane Yeazel said.Mr. Borok told reporters that he was unsure how the accident happened. Mr. Borok and his wife, who was in the car, were not injured.Seven of the injured, including a mother and her 2-year-old son, were taken to a hospital, Sgt. Yeazel said.Rescue workers said none of the victims appeared to have life-threatening injuries.LOUISIANAActor sings at jazz festivalNEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival got an unexpected bit of help from actor John Goodman.Clarinetist Pete Fountain was playing in one of the jazz tents Sunday afternoon when he pointed out to the crowd that Mr. Goodman was in the audience, and he asked Mr. Goodman to join him on the stage.Mr. Goodman, wearing a yellow polo shirt and khaki shorts, said, “Pardon me for loitering in front of an orchestra.”Then he began singing “When the Saints Go Marching In,” a staple in Mr. Fountain’s repertoire.Mr. Goodman is a member of Mr. Fountain’s Half-Fast Walking Club, which goes down St. Charles Avenue every year for Mardi Gras.ARIZONADiocese shuffled priestsafter abuse accusationsPHOENIX — Priests accused of sexual misconduct at some point in their careers were assigned to at least 42 of the 88 parishes in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix from 1970 to last year.An analysis by the Arizona Republic newspaper revealed that church leaders often dealt with accusations of sexual abuse by reassigning priests rather than disciplining them.ARKANSASHigher insurance rates force buses to scale backSPRINGDALE — Higher rates for liability insurance will shut down most of Ozark Regional Transit’s services beginning Monday, officials said.General manager Bill Pumphrey said bids for coverage from several insurance companies were too high and would break the authority’s budget.The system will continue operating medical-related trips for Medicare and Medicaid recipients, he said.CALIFORNIACop won’t be charged in man’s deathMADERA — A police officer who investigators say killed a handcuffed suspect in the back of her squad car after reaching for her stun gun and pulling out her real gun by mistake will not face criminal charges.After a six-month investigation, prosecutors determined that Officer Marcy Noriega did not intend to kill Everardo Torres, Assistant District Attorney Eric Wyatt said last week.Mr. Torres, 24, was fatally shot in October. He had been booked for resisting arrest as police tried to quiet a loud party.Officer Noriega told investigators that she intended to shock Mr. Torres with her stun gun because he was kicking at the car’s window.GEORGIACoretta Scott King gets Oprah makeoverATLANTA — One of the most recognizable faces of the civil rights movement got a little freshening yesterday, with some help from Oprah Winfrey.Coretta Scott King, the 76-year-old widow of Martin Luther King Jr., turned up with new makeup, hair and clothes before a national audience yesterday on Miss Winfrey’s show dedicated to “age-defying makeovers.”“Even living legends need to spice it up every decade or so,” Miss Winfrey said on the show, which was taped April 23.Miss Winfrey brought together an all-star team to redo Mrs. King’s look. She enlisted her own hairstylist, Andre Walker, and makeup guy, Reggie Wells. Fashion designer Bradley Bayou dressed Mrs. King in a black pantsuit. HAWAIIHopkins to receive Silversword AwardWAILEA — Anthony Hopkins has an Academy Award. Now he’ll have a Silversword.Mr. Hopkins will be honored at the Maui Film Festival next month with the 2003 Silversword Award, festival director Barry Rivers said during the weekend.Named for the rare plant that blooms only on the slopes of the Haleakala volcano, the award annually honors an artist for contributions to filmmaking and to positive change in the world. Last year, it was awarded to actor Clint Eastwood.Mr. Hopkins, 65, is expected to attend the Silversword Award Tribute on June 13 at the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa.Mr. Hopkins has appeared in nearly 100 films, playing characters as wide-ranging as Pablo Picasso and Richard Nixon. He won the best-actor Oscar for his portrayal of the cannibalistic villain Hannibal Lecter in “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991).ILLINOISHouse may limit new drivers’ passengersSPRINGFIELD — The Illinois House is on the verge of limiting new drivers to having just one passenger under the age of 20 for the first six months they have a license.The legislation exempts family members. The Senate has passed the measure.Twenty states have enacted similar laws, which safety advocates say are successful in curbing accidents.KENTUCKYState to conduct foster care censusFRANKFORT — State officials decided to conduct a foster care census after receiving complaints that social workers didn’t make scheduled visits.The goal of the survey is to account for Kentucky’s nearly 3,000 foster children.Social workers are scheduled to visit with foster children every month. However, parents of 201 foster children said their children weren’t seen on time.MAINENewspaper becoming collectors’ itemLISBON FALLS — Copies of the Lisbon High School student newspaper from the mid-1960s have become collectors’ items.That’s because they contain two original stories by an author listed as “Steve King.”The stories, “The 43rd Dream” and “Code Name: Mousetrap,” are believed to be among the earliest published works of best seller Stephen King, who grew up in Durham and attended Lisbon High at that time.The old newspaper copies were discovered last year when retired English teacher Prudence Grant cleaned out her file cabinet. She sold the copies on the online auction site EBay, where they fetched $400 to $800 per copy.Miss Grant was not a teacher of Mr. King, but she was an adviser for the school newspaper, the Drum, for which Mr. King wrote. She remembers him as “a goofy guy who went on to do far, far, far better than any of us.”MASSACHUSETTSTobacco case lawyers demand more feesBOSTON — Lawyers who worked on the state’s lawsuit against the tobacco industry are demanding an additional $1.25 billion in fees, the Boston Sunday Globe reported.They cited a contract promising them 25 percent of the $8.3 billion settlement the state received.The four firms requesting the payment were awarded $775 million in 1998.MICHIGANOne man dead in skydiving collisionKALAMAZOO — One man was killed and another was injured after they collided while skydiving.John Rubom, 32, of Kalamazoo, died early Sunday at Bronson Hospital, the Van Buren County Sheriff’s office said.Mr. Rubom was knocked unconscious when he collided with Matt Moilanen of Kalamazoo at 10,000 feet during a jump Saturday.Police said reserve parachutes opened for both men, but Mr. Rubom landed in a tree before falling on top of a parked car. Mr. Moilanen was taken to the hospital and treated for head injuries before being released.MISSOURIUniversity reviews overtime policyCOLUMBIA — The University of Missouri system is reviewing its overtime policy after a state audit suggested that some employees were mistakenly classified as exempt from mandatory overtime pay.The auditors also found a lack of formal, consistent procedures at each campus to determine whether employees should be exempt.NEBRASKACorn products could replace oil-based plasticsBLAIR — If America wants to reduce its consumption of oil and the buildup of slow-degrading plastic in landfills, one answer is softly swaying in the wind on farms across the country.Some of the nation’s abundant corn is being converted into environmentally friendly plastics and fibers for use in products ranging from mattress pads and golf shirts to soda cups and disc wrappers.Biodegradable corn products are right now more expensive than traditional plastics, but if they catch on they could provide hope for struggling farmers and give birth to an entirely new industry.Corn plastics are being developed by Cargill Dow LLC at its plant outside Blair by converting refined corn sugar into a substance called polylactide or PLA. NEW MEXICOBedridden woman says husband abused herALBUQUERQUE — A 71-year-old bedridden woman told sheriff’s deputies that her husband beat her and withheld food during months of relentless abuse, according to a criminal complaint.Thomas Felix, also 71, was charged with aggravated battery on a household member and false imprisonment.He has since posted a $12,500 bond and was released from jail. The complaint states that once the victim, dependent on her husband for health care, reached a hospital, she told sheriff’s deputies that she had endured domestic and emotional abuse. NEW YORKBody identified as missing teenNEW YORK — A body found in Long Island Sound was identified yesterday as one of four teenagers who disappeared in January after calling 911 from their sinking rowboat.Charles Wertenbaker, 16, was identified from his dental records, said Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office. The body was discovered by a fisherman Sunday.The body of Max Guarino, 17, was found April 25. Police divers are searching for Andrew Melnikov, 16, and Henry Badillo, 17.The boys called 911 from a cell phone and said their boat was taking on water. The 12-second call ended with the words, “We’re gonna die.” Their capsized boat was recovered soon after they disappeared.The 911 supervisor failed to notify a police harbor unit about the call, authorities have said.OHIOMan graduates after 75 yearsTOLEDO — Don Flickinger’s idea of celebrating the degree that he started working on 75 years ago is likely to be much different than that of his younger classmates.”At my age, celebrating means getting into bed for a good nap,” Mr. Flickinger said.Mr. Flickinger was two days shy of his 96th birthday when he got his associate’s degree in technical studies from the University of Toledo on Saturday. He was the school’s oldest graduate.Mr. Flickinger began taking classes in 1928. When the Depression started, he had to quit school. He took more classes after he returned to the university in 1966 as an employee. Retirement and travel put another gap in his transcript. He returned in 2001 when he took an independent study that led to the degree.OKLAHOMAWitnesses testify in Nichols’ trialOKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols called former Sen. Nancy Kassebaum Baker’s office two days before the attack to complain about the deadly end of the Branch Davidian standoff in Texas, an aide to the former senator testified yesterday.”He was very stern and told us about his thinking on the matter,” said Lee Ellen Alexander, who worked for the former Republican senator from Kansas.She said Nichols also complained about gun laws and former Attorney General Janet Reno. Miss Alexander heard days later that Nichols, who was living in Kansas at the time, was a suspect in the bombing. The April 19, 1995, attack occurred on the second anniversary of the Branch Davidian siege in Waco, Texas.Miss Alexander’s testimony came at the start of a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence to try Nichols on 160 counts of first-degree murder.OREGONMan pleads not guilty to war chargesPORTLAND — An Arab American pleaded not guilty yesterday to charges that he tried to join Taliban and al Qaeda forces fighting U.S. troops in Afghanistan.Maher “Mike” Hawash, 39, a U.S. citizen of Palestinian descent, is charged with conspiracy to levy war and conspiracy to provide material support to the two groups.Authorities said Mr. Hawash and six others — five men and a woman — were in on the plot. Five of the other suspects are in custody and have pleaded not guilty. The sixth remains at large.Mr. Hawash, a self-employed software engineer, is accused of traveling to China in October 2001 with the other men in a failed attempt to enter Afghanistan. RHODE ISLANDNightclub fire death toll rises to 100PROVIDENCE — The death toll from the fire that swept through a Rhode Island nightclub has risen to 100.Pamela Gruttadauria, 33, died Sunday night at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, hospital officials said. She had been in critical condition since the Feb. 20 blaze at the Station in West Warwick.Nearly 200 other patrons were injured in the fire sparked by a band’s pyrotechnic display.TENNESSEEBank robbery suspect gets lost, arrestedKNOXVILLE — A bank robbery suspect, apparently confused by a labyrinth of routes near Cedar Bluff Road in Knoxville, was arrested about 45 minutes after the heist — right behind the bank.David A. Hughes, 27, of Johnson City, was charged with one count of aggravated robbery, Knoxville police said.A branch of First Tennessee Bank was robbed about 9:30 a.m. Thursday. Police officers nabbed Mr. Hughes’ car about 10:15 a.m. as it circled the bank’s back parking lot.Mr. Hughes apparently had driven around the area but found himself back at the bank as he attempted to flee, police said.WASHINGTON2-year-old dog gets heart defibrillatorPULLMAN — Honus the dog lacked that old spark, and the solution was a heart defibrillator.Doctors at Washington State University’s veterinary hospital operated on the canine Thursday to insert the device.The $30,000 operation was a success, with the device regulating the heartbeat of the 2-year-old dog, named for baseball player Honus Wagner.”Now Honus is our most expensive piece of technology,” said owner Bryan MacDonald. “He’s worth more than our computer.”Honus was diagnosed with ventricular tachycardia which can trigger a heart attack.WEST VIRGINIAMan who inspired film wins honorary degreeCHARLESTON — The man who inspired the Oscar-winning film “A Beautiful Mind” has been awarded an honorary degree from the University of Charleston.Nobel Laureate mathematician John Nash was named an honorary doctor of science at the university’s commencement ceremonies Sunday.School officials said his contributions to the fields of science and mathematics made him a perfect candidate for the degree.The 2001 film, which starred Russell Crowe, profiled Mr. Nash as a brilliant scientist diagnosed with schizophrenia. It won four Oscars, including best picture and best director for Ron Howard.Mr. Nash was born in 1928. He won the Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences in 1994.WYOMINGPolice enlist firms in fighting meth labsGILLETTE — Police in Campbell County are distributing posters to businesses warning them to look out for large purchases of ingredients used to make methamphetamine.This comes a month after Wal-Mart employees tipped off the police about two bulk-buying customers. The tip resulted in a raid of the county’s largest meth lab.

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