- The Washington Times - Friday, May 9, 2003

GEORGIANew flag rises over stateATLANTA — A new state flag without the Confederate emblem was raised over the Capitol yesterday after a redesign aimed at laying to rest a dispute that inflamed race relations and roiled Georgia politics.As the old flag came down, drivers slowed their cars to watch and scattered cheers and boos erupted from a crowd on the Capitol lawn.The new flag went up immediately after Gov. Sonny Perdue signed a bill to replace an unpopular design adopted in 2001. The 2001 flag was a blue banner that contained a small Confederate emblem along the lower edge.ILLINOISCharges likely in schoolgirl brawlCHICAGO — Criminal charges are “very likely” to be filed in a brawl that erupted after a touch football game among high school girls, police said yesterday.Cook County Forest Preserve District Police spokesman Steve Mayberry said he did not know the specific charges or how many people would be charged. Police continued to investigate the case yesterday.Five players in the annual, unofficial “powder puff” game among students at Glenbrook North High School landed in the hospital. The game was supposed to be a “friendly initiation” for incoming seniors, one of the victims said.FLORIDAMissteps in court prompt peony penaltyST. PETERSBURG — Everything’s coming up roses these days in Thomas Penick Jr.’s courtroom.Or tulips, or carnations, or a nice spring arrangement. Whatever the court reporter prefers.Judge Penick, a federal jurist, has a new policy of directing lawyers who make certain missteps in court to order a dozen flowers or a box of candy for the court reporter.If lawyers speak over each other, or incorrectly cite a case, or resume speaking before the court reporter is at her station, they get the peony penalty.Judge Penick said he has penalized lawyers perhaps a dozen times. He told the St. Petersburg Times he doles out the same punishment to himself.HAWAIIWoman indicted for cruise ship threatsHONOLULU — A federal grand jury has indicted a woman for leaving threatening notes aboard a cruise ship in hopes she could cut a family trip short and return home to her boyfriend.Kelley Marie Ferguson, 20, of Laguna Hills, Calif., was charged Wednesday with two counts of threatening acts of terrorism, each carrying a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison. Her arraignment was set for Monday.Authorities say Miss Ferguson, who was vacationing with her family aboard the Legend of the Seas, admitted writing the notes. One note included the threat, “I have been sent on a mission to kill all Americanos abord Legend if we port on American soil.”IDAHOState probes ex-mayor’s administrationBOISE — The indictment of former Boise Mayor Brent Coles and his chief of staff for fraud and misuse of public funds hasn’t ended the state investigation into the Coles administration. Attorney General Lawrence Wasden indicated additional indictments could occur. Mr. Coles was forced to resign three months ago as the criminal inquiry intensified. He was president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in 2000-01.INDIANAJudge dismisses same-sex union suitINDIANAPOLIS — A judge dismissed a lawsuit challenging Indiana’s ban on recognizing same-sex unions, ruling that state law clearly defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.The state is justified in allowing only opposite-sex couples to marry, Marion County Superior Court Judge S.K. Reid ruled Wednesday.Such a law, the ruling said, “promotes the state’s interest in encouraging procreation to occur in a context where both biological parents are present to raise the child.”The Indiana Civil Liberties Union said it would appeal.IOWACourt strikes down smoking ordinanceDES MOINES — The Iowa Supreme Court has struck down a city ordinance in Ames banning smoking in restaurants.The court ruled that state law bans local laws that are stricter than standards set by the state.The high court says the state’s regulation calls only for restaurants to set aside areas for smokers.KENTUCKYUniversity student dies of dorm-fire injuriesBOWLING GREEN — A university student died Wednesday night of injuries she suffered early Sunday in an intentionally set fire at a dormitory.Katie Autry, a freshman from Pellville, died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., Western Kentucky University said in a statement.The 18-year-old died as about 150 students gathered at the bell tower on campus to pray for her, the Daily News of Bowling Green reported on its Web site.Miss Autry had suffered third-degree burns, as well as abrasions and puncture wounds on her neck and face. Police said the fire had been set but would offer no other details, saying it could compromise their investigation.MISSOURIBride’s wedding dress survives tornadoNORTHMOOR — Jennifer Wells’ new home didn’t make it through a tornado that devastated this Kansas City suburb just three days before her wedding. But her wedding dress did.So on Wednesday, Dan and Jennifer Wells were married in a small ceremony at Pilgrim Chapel in Kansas City. Bride and groom cried.After the wedding ceremony, the couple returned to Northmoor. Standing in a tuxedo and wedding dress amid tornado debris, they drew a crowd that included the mayor and city clerk.NEW YORKRoger Moore collapses during stage showNEW YORK — Roger Moore, the suave star of seven James Bond movies, was recovering in a hospital yesterday after collapsing during a Broadway performance.Mr. Moore, 75, was diagnosed as suffering from exhaustion and dehydration after fainting during a Wednesday matinee performance of the comedy “The Play What I Wrote,” said Jerry Pam, the English actor’s agent in the United States.He was expected to be discharged from the hospital yesterday or today, said Jackie Green, a spokeswoman for the show’s press agent.Mr. Moore was playing the part of the “mystery guest star” — a rotating cameo role filled by celebrities — when he fainted toward the end of the second act, Miss Green said. He finished the performanceand left the theater in a wheelchair.NORTH CAROLINADuke to create transplant victim fundDURHAM — Three months after Jesica Santillan’s botched heart-lung transplant at Duke University Hospital, it has created a $4 million fund in her memory to assist families of other young Hispanic patients.”Jesica’s sad outcome profoundly affected all of us at Duke,” Dr. Ralph Snyderman, head of Duke’s health system, said yesterday. “It is especially appropriate that Duke Hospital create a significant fund that will help keep Jesica’s memory alive forever.”Jesica, a 17-year-old smuggled across the border from Mexico in hopes of receiving better medical care, died Feb. 22 after receiving a second heart-lung transplant, following an earlier transplant of organs of the wrong blood type. Procedural errors have been blamed for the mistake.The fund will help provide support such as temporary housing, food and interpreters to families of young Hispanic patients.OREGONSalmon plan is faulty, judge rulesPORTLAND — Government programs meant to protect threatened and endangered salmon runs in the Columbia River Basin do not meet the requirements of the Endangered Species Act, a federal judge has ruled.In December 2000, the federal government issued a strategy for protecting Columbia Basin salmon that focused on improvements to habitat, hatchery operations and harvest limitations without breaching four dams on the lower Snake River. Some environmentalists wanted the dams breached.A coalition of environmental and fishermen’s groups sued in May 2001, claiming the strategy concluded, without rational basis, that the plan would not put the fish stocks in jeopardy of extinction.U.S. District Judge James Redden’s 26-page opinion Wednesday agreed with the plaintiffs. He ordered the National Marine Fisheries Service to develop a plan that complies with the law.WEST VIRGINIAMiners protest changes in coal-dust ruleCHARLESTON — Hundreds of miners turned out yesterday to protest a new rule for monitoring coal-dust levels in underground mines.Breathable dust in underground mines is the primary cause of black lung, a debilitating respiratory disease that from 1968 through 1990 killed more than 55,000 miners and still kills about 1,000 miners annually.The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration is proposing taking control of dust sampling away from mine operators and doing the sampling itself.The United Mine Workers of America has long argued for that change. But the proposed 105-page rule contains too many loopholes, UMW President Cecil E. Roberts said yesterday during a hearing.

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