- The Washington Times - Monday, November 24, 2003


World Trade Center depot reopens

NEW YORK — The last train to escape the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, made an emotional return yesterday as a station at the ground zero site reopened.

New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey were among the passengers who rode to the rebuilt station on the same train that was the last to leave before the collapse of the Twin Towers.

The temporary station cost more than $300 million of federal money. A permanent $2 billion transport hub will take its place at the end of 2006.


Man arrested in disappearance

SALT LAKE CITY — Police on Friday arrested a man sought for questioning in the case of a Nevada mother whose disappearance was described by her 3-year-old son.

Juan Carlos Tellez, 36, was arrested after he reportedly drew a gun on police who had been staking out his vehicle.

Authorities wanted to speak with Mr. Tellez about the Nov. 10 disappearance of Bertha Anguiano, 33, of Carson City, Nev. She vanished after dropping off one son at school and driving away with her 3-year-old boy. The boy was found abandoned and bloodied a few hours later.


Blind woman loses fertility suit

DENVER — A fertility clinic accused of discrimination for refusing to help a blind woman conceive was cleared of wrongdoing last week by a federal jury.

Outside court, Kijuana Chambers, 33, said the decision would prevent other disabled women from seeking fertility treatment. Her attorney said he was considering an appeal.

She had accused the Rocky Mountain Women’s Health Care Center of stopping her fertility treatments in 1999 after four rounds when she refused to hire an occupational therapist to evaluate the safety of her home. Her lawsuit claimed the clinic violated two federal laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Christopher Miller, an attorney for the clinic, said doctors were worried she could not care for a baby and turned her down because it was the right thing to do.

Miss Chambers, who now lives in Davenport, Iowa, found another clinic to do the procedure and gave birth to a daughter, Laurina, on Jan. 1, 2001.


Thousands protest at Army school

COLUMBUS — Some 10,000 demonstrators chanted and waved signs yesterday outside the Army’s Fort Benning in their annual protest of a military school for Latin American soldiers on the base.

Opponents of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly known as the School of the Americas, blame the school for atrocities committed by some of its graduates in Latin America.

“We oppose the violence generated by this school and Fort Benning soldiers,” said the Rev. Roy Bourgeois, a Maryknoll priest who founded the School of Americas Watch and has been leading demonstrations outside the post for 14 years.


Guard will train for islands threat

HONOLULU — The Hawaii National Guard has received authorization to begin a pilot program to train teams that would be deployed permanently on remote Pacific islands to respond to threats posed by weapons of mass destruction.

The goal is to have a team in place in the U.S. territory of Guam, the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a nearby island nation that would be able to respond quickly to a threat in the region, state Adjutant Gen. Robert Lee told delegates Friday at a homeland security summit.

The response teams made up entirely of National Guard members would be at the disposal of Adm. Thomas Fargo, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, Gen. Lee said.

The authorization for the increased training was granted by Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard system, Gen. Lee said.


Disaster funds approved for farmers

INDIANAPOLIS — Federal officials approved disaster relief eligibility for farmers in 29 southern Indiana counties because of damages from flooding, the governor’s office said.

The request for federal assistance was made by state officials in August and approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture based on the assessment of crop conditions between April and July.


32 named Rhodes scholars

BOSTON — The newest class of Rhodes scholars includes a female former wing commander who led 4,000 cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy, a political science major who has worked with refugees in the Balkans and Afghanistan, and a national Frisbee champion who was a contributing scientist on a National Aeronautics and Space Administration Mars mission.

As the winners were announced late Saturday and early yesterday, many of the finalists waited impatiently at ceremonies in cities around the country.

“It was really nerve-racking,” said Rachael A. Wagner, 21, a winning Harvard University senior from Virginia Beach, who waited with a group in the District. “I turned to the woman next to me and said, ‘Did he say my name?’ I was really shocked and excited.” Harvard led the class of 2004 with four of the 32 American scholars.

The winners were selected from 963 applicants endorsed by 366 colleges and universities to attend the University of Oxford in England starting next October.


First snowstorm slows traffic

MINNEAPOLIS — Highway traffic was slow and some airline flights were delayed yesterday as the season’s first significant snowstorm struck the Upper Midwest.

Six to 8 inches of snow was expected by the end of the day in much of Minnesota, the National Weather Service said. The storm was blamed for at least one traffic death, the state Department of Public Safety said.


Miners sad over dead mascot

BUTTE — The wary, dreadlocked mutt that survived more than 17 years alone in a toxic pit and served as unofficial mascot of the Berkeley Pit miners has died.

Affectionately known as the Auditor, the dog died peacefully last week in the doghouse the miners had built for him.

“Things around here have been pretty sad, really,” said Steve Walsh, vice president of Montana Resources, which owns the property.

The Auditor was first spotted in 1986 and soon became the unofficial mascot of the miners, who loved him for his sheer toughness.

Miners said they called him the Auditor because he always showed up when least expected — except at dinner.


Mexican’s sentence reduced to life

OKLAHOMA CITY — A Mexican man who once came within days of being executed was sentenced to life in prison for a 1989 murder after Mexican authorities protested that his rights had been violated, Oklahoma officials said last week.

The new sentence for Gerardo Valdez, 43, came after two years of efforts by Mexican officials, including President Vicente Fox, to have Valdez’s life spared. Mr. Fox wrote to Gov. Frank Keating in 2001 asking that Valdez’s sentence be commuted to life in prison. Mr. Keating did not commute the sentence, but he did issue a stay of execution that resulted in an appeal.

A state court of appeals ordered Valdez resentenced Thursday in light of information that he had been denied a lawful consultation with the Mexican Consulate.


Crime figure found fatally shot

PHILADELPHIA — A Philadelphia crime figure who spent nearly seven years in prison for racketeering died yesterday after he was shot in the head and back inside his row house.

Relatives found John Casasanto slumped in his kitchen Saturday afternoon. He was pronounced dead at a hospital early yesterday, police Sgt. Roland Lee said.

Casasanto, 35, had been released from prison about three years earlier. He had been arrested in 1994 in a sweeping racketeering indictment against members of the John Stanfa organized crime family and pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy.


Man charged in death of whooping crane

HOUSTON — A Texas man faces up to a year in prison on federal charges after a game warden found a dead whooping crane, one of the world’s rarest birds, in his possession, officials said last week.

The crane apparently was shot Nov. 14 at a lake near Dallas, U.S. Attorney Jane Boyle in Dallas said in a statement. Only about 200 of the cranes are left in the wild. They winter at a Texas reserve after a 2,500-mile flight from Canada.

Donald Jones, 48, will be arraigned Dec. 12 on charges he violated the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Mr. Boyle said.


Hunters open gun deer season

BLACK EARTH — Hunters by the thousands took to the woods and fields over the weekend for the start of the nine-day gun deer season, giving the heads of their kills to state workers for testing for chronic wasting disease.

The Department of Natural Resources sold 644,818 licenses for this season, 4.2 percent more than in 2002 when the fatal brain disease was detected in the state’s deer herd. The increase is still 6.4 percent less than two years ago.


Second man charged with geyser damage

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK — A second man has been charged over damage to a geyser area at Yellowstone National Park, accused of not stopping a friend who drove his truck in circles on the geyser’s fragile soil before getting stuck.

Austin B. Olsen, 19, of Battle Ground, Wash., was charged last week with aiding and abetting Adam R. Elford, 22, of Vancouver, Wash., in the Oct. 10 incident.

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