- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 8, 2003

ILLINOISMom loses parental rights over toilet-training deathCARBONDALE — A judge nullified a woman’s parental ties to her toddler because she stood by 14 years ago as her then-husband fatally rammed another son’s head into a toilet to punish him for soiling his pants.Judge Thomas Russell found that Illinois law gives parents convicted of murdering their offspring “no opportunity to show rehabilitation… even if a lifetime of years has passed” since the crime.Judge Russell’s ruling Tuesday in Jerseyville reversed his 2001 decision to grant Sheryl Hardy, 34, custody of the boy, now 2, over the objections of prosecutors and Illinois’ child-welfare agency. He reheard the case after a state appeals court found her unfit in August.The boy will remain with a foster family until a court rules on a permanent home. MICHIGANFlooding derails train, forces evacuationHOLLY TOWNSHIP — A freight train derailed early yesterday after a beaver dam apparently collapsed and water washed out a culvert, authorities said.The southbound CSX train, going from Saginaw, Mich., to Walbridge, Ohio, went off its tracks about 1:15 a.m., according to CSX spokeswoman Jane Covington.The engineer and conductor suffered minor injuries.It had been raining heavily in the area, and a surge of water washed out the culvert running beneath the rail bed, causing the soil and tracks to give way, said Lt. Jeremy Lintz of the North Oakland County Fire Authority.The torrent left water standing 2 feet deep on a road. Residents of two or three homes were evacuated, but allowed to return later that morning.ALABAMARally held over plan to close health centersMONTGOMERY — Advocates and opponents of the mental health commissioner’s plan to close six underused state facilities rallied at the Statehouse.Proponents said mental health clients are best served in community settings. Critics argued the closings will move clients far from their families.CALIFORNIASchool bans green-haired boySAN FRANCISCO — A California public school barred an 11-year-old boy from class for 2½ days after his mother colored his hair green to reward him for good grades.”He had asked for it, and I told him that if he got nothing less than a B on his state report, I would do it,” parent Cathy Small, who has brown hair, said Tuesday. “I don’t see anything wrong with it. It’s not a permanent thing.”Officials at the Natoma Station school in Folsom, Calif., said the grape-green coloring on 11-year-old Alex was distracting other students, but he finally relented and let him back — with green hair — on Monday.The dispute brought to mind a 1948 film, “The Boy with Green Hair,” a parable for tolerance in which a child is isolated and subjected to hatred because of his hair color.COLORADOReading scores improve among third-gradersDENVER — Reading scores for Colorado third-graders are improving. Overall, 74 percent scored proficient or advanced on the state reading test, officials said.They also noted steady improvement among minorities, poor students and disabled students.CONNECTICUTTeacher put on leave for showing filmDERBY — A student teacher at Derby High School was placed on leave after showing the Stanley Kubrick movie “A Clockwork Orange.”A school board member whose son saw the film says the 1971 classic about futuristic London is nothing more than pornography.FLORIDAJudge orders carpet removed from yardPORT RICHEY — Steve and Mildred Nadwairski can no longer sweep the carpet over their lawn problem.A judge has ordered the retired couple to remove the multicolored carpet swatches from their sloped front yard, saying they are a nuisance. They have until June 23 to rip out the rugs.The couple carpeted their lawn a few years back, after grass seed never took, landscape logs couldn’t solve the problem and $250 seemed too much for sod.Pasco County has ordinances prohibiting the collection of “public nuisance items,” such as junk cars and appliances. Old carpet also classifies, assistant county attorney Kristi Wooden said.GEORGIAGovernor to make new flag officialATLANTA — Georgia unfurls a new state banner today that blends Confederate history and legislative compromise.The flag, with red and white stripes and the state coat of arms in blue, was approved last month in the final hours of the 2003 General Assembly session. Rushed from the factory yesterday, it is expected to be raised at the state Capitol shortly after being signed into law at 10:30 a.m. by Gov. Sonny Perdue.The banner strongly resembles the flag that flew over the Confederacy and does not include the Confederate battle emblem that an all-white legislature added during the height of the civil-rights movement.INDIANADaniels subpoenaed in securities probeINDIANAPOLIS — State securities investigators have subpoenaed White House budget director Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. as part of an inquiry into reported stock dumping at an Indiana utility, a regulator said yesterday.Mr. Daniels, who said Tuesday he would leave his White House job, was among about 30 former executives of IPALCO Enterprises Inc. asked to provide information about their sale of stock leading up to the utility’s 2001 acquisition by Arlington-based AES Corp., said Keith Griffin, deputy commissioner of the Indiana Securities Division.”We’re just looking into the facts at this point,” Mr. Griffin said. “We’re looking into the whole transaction to see if any parts of it violated Indiana securities laws.”Mr. Griffin declined to comment further on the subpoenas, which were issued Friday in a yearlong state investigation of the sale.KENTUCKYBlack leaders want Davis statue removedFRANKFORT — Black leaders are demanding the removal of Confederate President Jefferson Davis’ statue from the Kentucky Capitol, questioning its place in a state that was officially neutral in the Civil War.”It’s offensive,” said Raoul Cunningham, a former state NAACP official. “Even in the days when he was alive, this state did not follow him. So why do we honor him today?”Davis’ statue, one of five honoring famous Kentuckians, has stood in the Capitol rotunda since its 1936 unveiling. It was built through donations from the United Daughters of the Confederacy and a $5,000 appropriation from the legislature.Davis stands against a wall, behind the statue of fellow Kentuckian Abraham Lincoln.MASSACHUSETTSDemocrats miffed over naming of tunnelBOSTON — Democratic leaders battling with Republican Gov. Mitt Romney over naming a stretch of the Big Dig project say they have the votes to designate the downtown tunnel in honor of the late House Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill.Mr. Romney wants to name that portion of Interstate 93 “Liberty Tunnel,” for Massachusetts veterans.MISSOURIUniversity to build health research facilityST. LOUIS — Trustees at St. Louis University have approved plans for an $800 million research facility at the university’s Health Sciences Center.The largest building project in the school’s 185-year history will aid research in biodefense and cancer.NEW JERSEYNJ Transit to offer bargain faresTRENTON — NJ Transit will offer deeply discounted introductory fares on the nearly finished Southern New Jersey Light Rail Transit System, officials said. Passengers will pay $1.10 for a one-way ticket from Trenton to Camden.NEW MEXICOArt gallery turns over stolen Peruvian pieceSANTA FE — An art gallery turned over to federal agents a 16th-century Peruvian altarpiece that had been listed as stolen from a remote village.Federal agents and a U.S. Embassy official in Peru have said the huge altarpiece — 10 feet by 10 feet and weighing 800 pounds — was stolen after it was removed from a church during repair work in January 2002.The piece was turned over to agents of the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Tuesday after the Ron Messick Fine Arts gallery made arrangements with the government.The carved altarpiece from Challapampa is said to have been crafted by 16th-century South American artists Bernardo Bitti and Pedro de Vargas.NEW YORKWinter takes toll on Irish famine exhibitNEW YORK — The Irish Hunger Memorial features a cottage that survived almost two centuries of Atlantic gales and a pedestal made of limestone possibly dating back 300 million years, but the site had to close for repairs after only one heavy winter in Manhattan.The problem wasn’t the ruins, but the modern materials used to assemble the quarter-acre site; they either melted away or got blown off, said Timothy Carey, head of the Battery Park City Authority. In particular, a composite material used to make pathways appear as old Irish lanes “performed miserably,” Mr. Carey said.The memorial was put together at a cost of $5 million and opened in July in Battery Park, near the World Trade Center site. The repairs are expected to cost about $250,000, Mr. Carey said.OKLAHOMAProsecutors try to link Nichols to robberiesOKLAHOMA CITY — The former owner of a rental-truck agency testified yesterday about the vehicle used in the Oklahoma City bombing as prosecutors worked to link bombing conspirator Terry Nichols to a pattern of robberies, thefts and bomb-ingredient purchases.It was the latest in a series of witness appearances at a preliminary hearing that will determine whether Nichols will be tried on 160 counts of first-degree murder in the bombing. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.Eldon Elliott, former owner of a Ryder rental-truck agency in Junction City, Kan., testified that three days before the bombing, he rented out the truck that authorities say was used to carry the bomb made of ammonium nitrate.Nichols, 48, has already been convicted on federal conspiracy and involuntary manslaughter charges for the deaths of eight law-enforcement officers in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.OREGON State wants to regulate medical practicesPORTLAND — Attorneys for the state told a federal appeals court yesterday that Attorney General John Ashcroft has no right to interfere with doctor-assisted suicide in Oregon because states have historically regulated the practice of medicine.”This case is about delegation of authority. Did Congress delegate authority to the attorney general to override state law?” asked Robert Rocklin, an Oregon assistant attorney general.The argument came as a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals considered Mr. Ashcroft’s challenge to a federal judge’s injunction last year barring him from interfering with the Oregon law. PENNSYLVANIAMan convicted in double murderWILKES-BARRE — A man was convicted early yesterday of raping and strangling a Russian immigrant and hanging her 6-year-old daughter in their home.Henry Stubbs III, 39, of Camden, N.J., could face the death penalty for the December 2001 murders of his neighbor Elena Herring, 33, and her daughter, Viktoria Ivanova, who was found hanging by an electrical cord in the basement. The penalty phase of the trial is set to begin today.Jurors deliberated 11½ hours before reaching their verdict.UTAHSister testifies in water-death casePROVO — A mother tied up her screaming 4-year-old daughter with a curtain cord, pulled the girl’s head back and poured water down her throat for misbehaving, the child’s older sister told police after the toddler’s death.The videotaped police interview was played Monday at the opening of a hearing to determine whether Richard Killpack, 34, and Jennete Killpack, 26, should be tried in the death in June of their adopted daughter, Cassandra.The Killpacks are charged with child-abuse homicide and child abuse. The Springville couple have said they forced Cassandra to drink large amounts of water as psychological therapy for sneaking around and lying.The girl’s older sister told an officer that Cassandra was being punished for drinking juice intended for her 1-year-old sister. Dr. Anne Moon testified that Cassandra died from water intoxication and brain damage. The water lowered her sodium level, which caused her brain to swell and triggered seizures, the doctor said.VERMONTTeams to compete in birding World SeriesADDISON — Charles Barstow couldn’t wait to tell his coach and teammates what he had spied earlier that morning: a horned grebe.”Was it in breeding plumage?” asked coach Chip Darmstadt. “Yeah,” replied Charles. “Nice,” said a fellow teammate.The water bird with a brown neck and yellow ear tufts was one of dozens of birds the teenagers would spot that day. They gathered near Lake Champlain to train for the 24-hour World Series of Birding in Cape May, N.J.On May 10, the Twin State Tanagers and the Vermont Redstarts — the two teams of 11 teenagers from Vermont and New Hampshire — will compete in the national bird-watching competition sponsored by the New Jersey Audubon Society. WASHINGTONNursing grads receive substantial job offersSPOKANE — Many of 141 nursing graduates are receiving job offers with salaries ranging from $40,000 to $60,000 a year, officials say.The Intercollegiate College of Nursing-Washington State University College of Nursing will award diplomas tomorrow to 120 undergraduate nurses and master’s degrees to 21 nurses.WEST VIRGINIAConservationists fight to save canyonBULL RUN — At the bottom of the dizzyingly steep Cheat Gorge is swift green water, frothing as it winds through boulders and sandbars, churning in pools as it rushes north.It is a place where kayakers and sunbathers gather on warm days. A rare snail finds its home here, as does the Indiana bat among the winding caves. It is also a place that is currently on sale to the highest bidder — becoming the focal point for one of the largest conservation movements afoot in West Virginia.Allegheny Energy, a financially strapped, Maryland-based utility, plans to generate much-needed millions by selling 5,600 undeveloped acres in the gorge and along the picturesque Big Sandy Creek.WISCONSINSchool-bus driver charged with abuseMILWAUKEE — A school-bus driver has been charged with abuse after a 9-year-old with Down syndrome secretly audiotaped the driver hitting him while trying to make him behave.Brian Duchow, 28, was charged Tuesday with felony abuse of a child and misdemeanor disorderly conduct, carrying a maximum penalty of 61/2 years in prison.Jacob Mutulo’s parents put a tape recorder in Jacob’s backpack because they wanted to know more about reports that he was misbehaving on the bus. They brought the tape, recorded April 29, to officials’ attention, and police arrested Mr. Duchow during the weekend.

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