- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 14, 2003

MASSACHUSETTS

Escaped molester caught

BRIDGEWATER — An escaped sex offender was captured on a street yesterday after authorities searched for more than a day for him.

John McIntyre was taken into custody by Bridgewater police at about 7:30 a.m., according to state police.

McIntyre, 40, was committed indefinitely to the Massachusetts Treatment Center in 1984 in lieu of a conviction. He was charged with indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, rape and abuse of a child under 16, kidnapping and larceny.

MICHIGAN

Fake bullet holes new auto fad

OAK PARK — Some people are turning to an inexpensive and controversial way of customizing their cars: applying decals of bullet holes.

“So real-looking you have to touch them with your own finger to tell,” says the Web site for Sterling Heights-based U.S. Auto Trends, which offers vinyl stickers depicting .50-caliber holes and smaller ones that look like they came from a .22.

Not everyone finds the stickers funny.

“It sends the wrong message to our young people,” said Gregory Wims, president of the Victims’ Rights Foundation in Maryland.

CALIFORNIA

Rodney King arrested again

RIALTO — Rodney King has been arrested for punching his girlfriend, less than two months after he was sentenced for driving under the influence.

Mr. King, whose videotaped beating by police officers sparked the Los Angeles riots of 1992, was booked for investigation of domestic violence on Saturday and released Monday on $50,000 bail, a records clerk at the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga said.

CONNECTICUT

Traitor’s tombstone to be corrected

NORWICH — Benedict Arnold may be best known for treason in the 18th century, but according to his tombstone he wasn’t born until after the Revolutionary War, and he lived for 150 years.

Bill Stanley, who has devoted much of his life to Norwich’s most famous native and one of America’s most infamous traitors, seeks to fix that.

Arnold was born in Norwichtown in 1741 in a house that still stands today. He fled to England in 1779 before he could face charges for treason and died peacefully there in 1801 at age 60.

After seven visits to England over 25 years, Mr. Stanley has received permission to replace the memorial stone at Arnold’s grave.

The existing memorial says Arnold was born in 1801 and died in 1951. The new stone will have the correct dates of 1741 and 1801.

FLORIDA

Fat friends found to be bad for image

FORT LAUDERDALE — While it is no surprise that people often have a low opinion of the overweight, a new study finds that just standing next to a large person can be bad for one’s image.

The experiment, conducted in England, demonstrated the depths of stigmatization endured by heavy people: It even rubs off on their friends.

Trying to combat discrimination against the overweight is a topic of discussion at this week’s meeting in Fort Lauderdale of the North American Association for the Study of Obesity, the field’s top professional organization.

In the English study, psychologist Jason Halford and colleagues from the University of Liverpool tested 144 female students’ reactions to two prom photos. One showed a dapper, thin young fellow standing next to a svelte ringlet-haired woman. The other was the same photo altered to show the guy arm-in-arm with a very large, nicely dressed woman.

The man with the big woman was rated 22 percent more negatively than the same fellow with the thin companion.

ILLINOIS

Gene mutation linked to long life

CHICAGO — A gene that affects the size of molecules in blood cholesterol may help people live to be 100 or older by protecting against heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other diseases, a study said yesterday.

The genetic propensity may be inherited, lending further proof to theories that living a long life may depend on inheriting the right genes, the researchers said.

The findings from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, were based on a look at long-lived Ashkenazi Jewish men and women and their children, chosen because centuries of social isolation led to a genetic similarity that allows for more precise research.

The researchers found that the centenarians they studied were three times more likely than the general population to have a genetic mutation that alters an enzyme involved in regulating blood fats and their particle size, leading to larger particles.

HAWAII

State registers medical pot users

HONOLULU — More than 1,000 Hawaii residents have registered to use and grow marijuana since the state legalized the medical use of the drug just three years ago.

The Big Island, which has only about 12 percent of the state’s population, has the most registered medical marijuana patients with 513, followed by the islands of Kauai, 259, Oahu, 139 and Maui, 121. There are a total of seven patients on Lanai, Molokai and Niihau.

INDIANA

Commissioners nix lynching plaque

MARION — Grant County commissioners reversed their decision to allow a plaque on the courthouse to mark the site of a 1930 lynching.

A group of local pastors wanted the plaque as part of a “day of reconciliation” scheduled for Sunday. Relatives of the two black men killed in the lynching said the plaque would be inappropriate. The service will go on as planned on the courthouse grounds.

KENTUCKY

AARP seeks higher cigarette tax

FRANKFORT — AARP, which usually lobbies on quality-of-life issues for a graying population, yesterday called for a 25-cent increase in Kentucky’s cigarette tax.

The organization said the money should be spent on Medicaid to restore services that Gov. Paul E. Patton’s administration cut for budget reasons.

“We felt that AARP must take a stand,” Laurel True, a member of the organization’s executive council, said at a news conference in the Capitol.

AARP officials said a survey indicated broad public support for raising the cigarette tax 25 cents to pay for health and long-term-care services.

Kentucky’s tax, 3 cents per pack, has not been changed since 1970. It is lower than the tax in any other state except Virginia, where the rate is 2.5 cents per pack.

MAINE

Coast Guard gives up boat search

PORTLAND — The Coast Guard gave up the search Monday for a scallop boat that disappeared off Nantucket Island with four Maine fishermen on board.

The air-and-sea search for the Candy B II — a wooden 46-foot boat operating out of Provincetown, Mass. — lasted more than 60 hours and covered more than 4,600 square miles.

“We feel that if they were on the surface, we would have found them,” Lt. Cmdr. Pat Cook said.

LOUISIANA

ACLU sues parish over prayer

NEW ORLEANS — Civil libertarians filed their third federal lawsuit against the Tangipahoa Parish school system in a decade yesterday, accusing it of endorsing prayers at football games, school functions and board meetings.

The American Civil Liberties Union’s lawsuit says prayers are read aloud over the public address system at Loranger High football games, while coach Sammy Messina instructs players to bow their heads, touch someone, and commence saying the Lord’s Prayer just before kickoff.

Also, the lawsuit says prayers have been broadcast over the school intercom, said at assemblies during the school day and before parish school board meetings. The suit was filed on behalf of a parent of two students at Loranger.

NEVADA

Tiger released from quarantine

LAS VEGAS — A 600-pound tiger that nearly killed Roy Horn of “Siegfried and Roy” has been released from quarantine, Clark County officials said yesterday.

The 7-year-old white tiger named Montecore was isolated for 10 days to ensure it didn’t have rabies, county spokeswoman Stacey Welling said.

The animal had been held inside the Mirage hotel-casino since the Oct. 3 attack. The 59-year-old illusionist remained in critical condition yesterday at a Las Vegas hospital.

MGM Mirage spokesman Alan Feldman said Monday the animal will continue to live at the Secret Garden, an animal habitat at the Mirage.

NEW MEXICO

Scientists seek space elevator

LOS ALAMOS — Some scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory want to build an elevator reaching 62,000 miles into the sky to launch payloads into space more cheaply than the shuttle.

“The first country that owns the space elevator will own space,” said lab scientist Bryan Laubscher. “I believe that, and I think Los Alamos should be involved in making that happen.”

Some researchers are working on their own time on technical details. Mr. Laubscher says they hope the U.S. Department of Energy could someday use the information as a start for investing in a space elevator.

The elevator shaft would be made of a very strong, thin, lightweight material called carbon nanotubes attached to the Earth’s equator. The shaft, a 32 million-story-tall cable, would be carried into orbit on a conventional spacecraft, then gradually dropped down to Earth to be attached to a platform similar to an ocean oil-drilling rig. Solar-powered crawlers would move up and down the shaft, carrying payloads of satellites or probes to be placed in Earth’s orbit or beyond.

OHIO

Institutions to open research building

CLEVELAND — Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals of Cleveland are scheduled to open a $110 million, 320,000-square-foot research building this week. Researchers from both institutions will work at the jointly owned facility.

Researchers associated with Case and University Hospitals bring in about $33 million a year in National Cancer Institute funding.

OKLAHOMA

Judge refuses delay for Nichols trial

OKLAHOMA CITY — A judge yesterday refused to delay the state’s murder trial against Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols despite claims that the federal government is not cooperating in making witnesses available to defense attorneys.

But District Judge Steven Taylor issued a Feb. 13 deadline for the government to make witnesses available for interviews, saying the delay was jeopardizing Nichols’ right to a fair trial.

“At what point do the problems presented by the federal government become the state’s problem and my problem in guaranteeing Mr. Nichols a fair trial?” Judge Taylor asked in a pretrial hearing.

The judge’s comments renewed complaints he had made in a written order last week chiding the government about the availability of witnesses. The trial begins March 1.

OREGON

Term-limit backers gathering signatures

SALEM — Term-limit backers started gathering signatures in hopes of reinstating a 1992 law that drove dozens of veteran lawmakers from the Capitol before the state Supreme Court threw it out on a technicality.

It would appear on the November 2004 ballot and would force about a quarter of the Legislature out of office if it passes.

PENNSYLVANIA

Rural house fire kills seven persons

MAPLETON DEPOT — Fire broke out in a rural home, killing two adults and five children in what appeared to be an accidental blaze, authorities said yesterday.

The victims were identified yesterday as Kevin Dean Brechbiel, 31, and Anita Patrice Mayo, 34. Also killed were Mr. Brechbiel’s daughters, Dexie, 11; Kayla, 9; and Abby, 7; and 3-year-old twin sons, Justin and Jason.

Police said they did not know when the fire broke out, but the last time the family was known to be safe was around 8 p.m. Sunday.

RHODE ISLAND

White officers’ trial to bare police past

PROVIDENCE — The Providence Police Department goes on trial this week in a lawsuit stemming from the shooting death of a black police detective.

Sgt. Cornel Young Jr. was off duty and in plain clothes when he was shot by two white patrolmen after he emerged from a diner with his gun drawn to break up a fight on Jan. 28, 2000. A year and a half later, Mr. Young’s mother, Leisa, sued the city, police department, two former chiefs and a pair of ranking officers for $20 million. Her chief charge, made in an opening statement last week by her lawyer, is that haphazard training by the department caused her son’s death.

James Fyfe, deputy commissioner of training at the New York City Police Department and a national police practices expert is expected to supply much of the criticism.

TEXAS

Yates placed on suicide watch

HOUSTON — A woman convicted last year of drowning her five children in a bathtub has been placed on suicide watch for at least the third time since she was arrested, her defense lawyer said.

Andrea Yates, 39, remains in isolation at a prison for mentally ill inmates but is showing gradual improvement, defense lawyer George Parnham said yesterday.

About three weeks ago she slipped into a psychotic state, said Mr. Parnham, who is planning to appeal her conviction.

Yates claimed insanity after drowning her five children in the family bathtub in June 2001. She called 911 after the drownings and later told police the devil had told her to kill her children. She is serving life in prison.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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