- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 18, 2003


Roberts flies World War II plane

TUSKEGEE — Robin Roberts of ABC’s “Good Morning America” left the airwaves for a trip back in time as she flew a World War II vintage airplane at Moton Field, much as her Tuskegee Airman father once did.

With her father, Lawrence Roberts, on hand with other family members, the broadcast journalist flew about 20 minutes Monday with a co-pilot before landing the plane. It was preparation for a segment on the morning program. Lawrence Roberts was one of the black pilots the Army trained at Tuskegee from 1940 to 1946.

“I remember my dad saying that flying was beyond description,” she said. “He’s right.”


Indians honor Hopi soldier

ALBUQUERQUE — Army Spc. Lori Piestewa, the first American servicewoman killed in the war with Iraq, was remembered Monday as a brave soldier who made her family and fellow American Indians proud.

Spc. Piestewa’s mother, father and two small children watched as the National Congress of American Indians signed a proclamation honoring the fallen soldier during its annual conference.

Spc. Piestewa, a member of the Hopi tribe in Arizona, and eight other soldiers with the 507th Maintenance Company were killed when their supply convoy became lost and entered Iraqi-held Nasiriyah.


Night falls until Jan. 23

BARROW — The sun is setting on America’s northernmost city and won’t be seen again for two months.

Residents of this city of 4,400 people on the Arctic Sea, about 330 miles from the Arctic Circle, may see a snippet of sun above the horizon for a few more days, depending on their elevation and the distorting effects of the atmosphere. But after that, the sun will not be seen again until Jan. 23.

“The sun is greatly overrated,” said resident Bob Bolger.

To give people a chance to soak up the last few rays yesterday, Barrow was planning a “Goodbye to the Sun” two-mile run, bike, ski and walk.


Judge orders Peterson trial

MODESTO — Scott Peterson will stand trial on two counts of murder in the deaths of his wife, Laci, and her unborn son, charges that could bring the death penalty, a judge ruled yesterday.

Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Al Girolami said prosecutors presented enough evidence during 11 days of testimony to show probable cause that Mr. Peterson killed his pregnant wife and dumped her body into San Francisco Bay.

Prosecutors presented circumstantial evidence that pointed toward Mr. Peterson from the moment he phoned his in-laws after returning home from an impromptu fishing trip on Christmas Eve last year.

The remains of his wife and her unborn son washed ashore in April about three miles from where Mr. Peterson said he was fishing. The judge set an arraignment for Dec. 3 in Modesto.


Bill would reduce alcohol limit

DENVER — Lawmakers have agreed to introduce a bill in January that would reduce the blood alcohol limit for drivers from 0.10 percent to 0.08 percent.

Colorado was one of five states that missed an Oct. 1 deadline to lower the threshold or begin losing millions of dollars in federal highway funding.


University center to be restructured

CORAL GABLES — The University of Miami and the Rand Corp., a nonprofit research organization, yesterday announced the formation of a partnership to restructure the Dante B. Fascell North-South Center based at the university.

The focus of the North-South Center will be broadened significantly, but most of its initiatives will continue to focus on Latin America and the Caribbean. The center will continue to examine the relationship of the United States within the hemisphere.

The North-South Center was created in 1984 to serve primarily as a national and hemispheric resource for the development of trade, economic and migration policy.


Crematory operator seeks defense help

LAFAYETTE — The former operator of a crematory where more than 300 corpses were discovered last year said yesterday that he has no money and needs the government to pay for specialists in his case.

Ray Brent Marsh, 30, said he has not worked since he was arrested in February 2002 after investigators found decaying bodies that were supposed to have been cremated at the family business.

Superior Court Judge James Bodiford said he will make a decision about indigent status after a court official reviews Mr. Marsh’s finances.

Mr. Marsh pleaded not guilty to 179 counts of abuse of a body and 47 counts of making false statements. He withheld pleas on burial service fraud and theft, and remains free on house arrest bond.


Judge upholds admissions policy

HONOLULU — A federal judge ruled Monday that the exclusive Kamehameha Schools may continue its Hawaiians-only admissions policy, rejecting a discrimination complaint from a student who said the policy violated his civil rights.

U.S. District Judge Alan Kay said the admissions policy passed muster because of the school’s unique historical circumstances. Because the private school receives no federal funding, it should not be held to the same scrutiny as public schools, Judge Kay said.

The lawsuit was filed in June on behalf of an unidentified non-Hawaiian student who claimed the admissions policy discriminates on the basis of race in violation of federal law.


School week cut to help budget

BOISE — Students in the Orofino School District get three-day weekends under a new schedule designed to save $150,000 from the district’s cash-strapped budget.

Although the shorter week is saving money, Superintendent Al Arnzen says, he won’t know what effect it will have on learning until standardized test results are released in the spring. He says absenteeism among students and teachers is declining.


Man gets finger stuck in pay phone

EAST ST. LOUIS — A man and a pay phone were rushed to a hospital after the man got his finger stuck in the coin-return slot while trying to retrieve his 50 cents.

Emergency room doctors gave Emanuel Fleming a painkiller Monday and pried his middle finger loose using a wooden device and lubricant, ending the three-hour ordeal.

“The bone in my finger felt like it was going to break. My finger was numb. It was very painful,” said Mr. Fleming, an elementary school janitor.

Mr. Fleming had tried to call his wife, but the line was busy. Two passers-by tried to help. When they failed to free him, Mr. Fleming used his other hand to dial 911.

Emergency crews and a representative of the company that owns the phone were sent to the scene. But they also were unable to free Mr. Fleming. With few options left, ambulance crew members cut off the telephone at the base and took it and Mr. Fleming to St. Mary’s Hospital.


Fire destroys Holocaust museum

TERRE HAUTE — A fire destroyed a museum founded by a Holocaust survivor early yesterday and arson is suspected, a museum official said.

The fire was reported at the Candles (Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Experiments Survivors) Museum just after midnight and gutted the building, a former printing plant along U.S. 41 south of the city’s downtown.

“The police said there was a brick that had broken the main glass door, and they threw something in there that was an accelerant,” said Mary Wright, the museum’s education director.

Someone also wrote “Remember Timmy McVeigh” on a wall. McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, was executed at a federal prison outside Terre Haute in 2001.

The museum houses artifacts from Auschwitz and documents relating to Dr. Josef Mengele.


Secretary of state won’t be recalled

ST. PAUL — An effort to have Minnesota Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer recalled over charges related to how state lawmakers take their oaths of office was dismissed.

The state Supreme Court ruled that the petition, filed by the host of a cable-access TV show, didn’t meet the most basic test that would warrant a recall if it were true.


Damage reported as storms hit state

JACKSON — A tornado damaged more than a dozen homes in rural Mississippi yesterday as violent storms pushed through the state. No injuries were reported.

The twister was reported in central Mississippi, said Lea Stokes, a spokeswoman for the state Emergency Management Agency. Twelve houses and at least three mobile homes were damaged, she said.

Tornado warnings were issued elsewhere across the state, and the storm system later moved into eastern Alabama.

In Texas, tornado watches continued early yesterday along the upper Gulf Coast after a day of destruction in which office buildings were hit by a midday twister, breaking scores of windows and tearing off roofing, with storms injuring at least 20 persons.


School group gets fitness funds

ROCHESTER — The New Hampshire Healthy Schools Coalition is using a $325,000 federal grant to perform fitness and other tests on students at 250 schools around the state. They hope to complete the tests by May.

The group wants the data to be used to make decisions about school nutrition and physical education classes.


Kasparov, computer tie in chess series

NEW YORK — World No. 1 chess player Garry Kasparov’s latest attempt to conquer a computer program ended in a tie yesterday when he drew the fourth and final game of his match against “X3D Fritz,” which had voice-recognition and virtual-reality features.

Mr. Kasparov, 40, said after the weeklong match at the New York Athletic Club that computer programs were stronger now than the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue he took on in 1996 and 1997, the benchmark for man versus machine contests.

“Machines are getting better, but we humans are also learning,” said Mr. Kasparov, considered the best player in chess history.


Oldest synagogue gets federal money

NEWPORT — The nation’s oldest synagogue will receive a $375,000 grant under a new government policy allowing religious institutions to qualify for historic-preservation funds.

Touro Synagogue was dedicated in 1763, and George Washington attended a meeting there in 1781.

Until this year, historically significant structures used for religious purposes had been ineligible because of First Amendment concerns. “It’s the second designation we’ve made,” after Old North Church in Boston, Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton said last week.


Country songwriter Gibson dies at 75

NASHVILLE — Country music Hall of Fame member and songwriter Don Gibson, who penned such hits as “I Can’t Stop Loving You” and “Oh, Lonesome Me,” has died at age 75, a hospital spokeswoman said yesterday.

Mr. Gibson’s death Monday resulted from “natural causes,” spokeswoman Jennifer Jackson of Nashville’s Baptist Hospital said.

Mr. Gibson wrote such monster hits as “Sweet Dreams,” a Patsy Cline hit, and his songs sold millions of copies in recordings by artists including Ray Charles.


Activists seek to save killer whales

SEATTLE — Killer whales swimming in the Puget Sound and nearby waters, whose numbers have declined almost 20 percent from 1996 to 2001, should be placed on the endangered species list, environmentalists say.

The Puget Sound orcas are genetically distinct and don’t mingle or reproduce with any other groups of whales, said a coalition of environmentalists suing the government. The group says the whales deserve more protection than allowed under the current “depleted species” listing under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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