- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 2, 2003

DELAWARE

Remains of slaves arrive

WILMINGTON — This city welcomed the remains of Colonial-era slaves Wednesday as they were returned to New York for reburial.

To the beat of African drums, about 200 people gathered at Fort Christina State Park to mark the arrival of the remains of two adults and two children.

The bones, discovered in a burial ground unearthed in 1991 by a New York construction crew, were studied at Howard University. The remains will be reinterred with other remains of other slaves during the weekend in New York.

GEORGIA

Sergeant wins $150 million in lotto

ATLANTA — Army Sgt. Tirrell Moore, 30, was visiting family members during his 30-day leave from South Korea when he bought the winning Mega Millions ticket for Tuesday night’s drawing at a convenience store. He won $150 million before taxes, and will take his jackpot in a lump-sum payment of $88.9 million, rather than a larger total amount in installments over 26 years.

“I told my mom to go ahead and quit work,” Sgt. Moore said.

He said he plans to build a new home for his wife and two daughters.

ARIZONA

Record 151 persons die crossing border

PHOENIX — A record 151 immigrants died in the past 12 months while illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexican border through Arizona, the U.S. Border Patrol said. Most immigrants succumbed to the scorching heat of the desert, while others died in accidents or drownings.

The figure is a slight increase from the previous year when 145 border-crossers died in Arizona.

CALIFORNIA

Man sets record for eating M&Ms;

OAKLAND — Three minutes after Jim Hager started eating M&Ms; with a pair of chopsticks, he was headed for the Guinness Book of Records.

The Oakland resident, 47, gobbled 115 M&Ms; in three minutes Sunday, breaking a previous record of 112 Smarties consumed by Kathryn Ratcliffe of England in December.

The new record won’t become official until event organizers send documentation to the Guinness association, including a videotape, photographs and written declarations from witnesses, but it seems likely he will have his place in the list.

For his efforts, he received 25 pounds of M&Ms; courtesy of a local candy store that sponsored the event.

“His kids were very happy,” said store owner Wendy Winter.

COLORADO

Promise Keepers names new president

DENVER — The Christian men’s group Promise Keepers promoted its executive vice president Wednesday to replace Bill McCartney, who resigned as president last month.

Tom Fortson, a Promise Keepers administrator since 1996, was named president and chief executive officer.

Mr. McCartney, a former University of Colorado football coach, founded the Denver-based organization 13 years ago. The group urges men to pledge their lives to their families and Christianity. Mr. McCartney stepped down to care for his ailing wife.

Mr. Fortson previously worked for General Motors and Edwards Baking Co. in Atlanta. He and his wife also work with Campus Crusade For Christ.

CONNECTICUT

Hurricane Isabel dumps frog eggs

BERLIN — Hurricane Isabel brought unholy high winds and lashing rain to the East Coast. It also dumped something almost biblical onto Connecticut.

Primo D’Agata was startled by what he thought was hail smacking on his porch Sept. 19 as the remnants of Isabel moved through the state. But when he went outside to investigate, Mr. D’Agata discovered tiny, gelatinous eggs with dark spots in the middle.

It apparently had been raining frogs.

Since no frogs in Connecticut lay eggs this late in the year, scientists and naturalists speculate they may have come up from North Carolina or another warm location on the winds of Isabel.

FLORIDA

Playboy logo leads to suspension

NAPLES — As part of homecoming week festivities, 15-year-old Carmello Granato dressed up as Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner.

But it wasn’t the teen’s silk bathrobe or ascot that caused such hoopla at his high school Tuesday. It was the Playboy bunny — the rabbit head logo, with ears and bow tie.

The freshman was told to remove the logo, which he did. Later, though, he added a Hefner name tag with his own rendition of a bunny drawn underneath.

So he received in-school suspension, the Naples Daily News reported.

His father, Michael Granato, thinks that is going too far, especially since he sees the Playboy bunny as more of an icon than a sexual symbol. “If I can’t understand it, how can a 15-year-old kid understand it?”

ILLINOIS

Woman dies from West Nile

SPRINGFIELD — A 78-year-old woman from suburban Cook County is the state’s first fatality from West Nile virus this year, state health officials said. The woman became ill Sept. 17, officials said.

Another human case of the mosquito-borne illness also was confirmed, bringing the state’s total this year to 26. Last year, Illinois led the nation with 884 human cases and 66 deaths.

KENTUCKY

Patton’s ex-mistress admits to fraud

LEXINGTON — The ex-mistress of Gov. Paul E. Patton pleaded guilty to mail fraud yesterday in a deal with prosecutors, who agreed to recommend probation instead of prison time.

Tina Conner, whose disclosed her affair with the governor a year ago, entered the guilty plea in U.S. District Court.

Conner was charged with fraudulently applying to get a special certification — that of a female-headed “disadvantaged business enterprise” — for a construction company that actually was operated by her former husband. A percentage of federally funded construction contracts are set aside for companies owned by women and minorities.

Conner said she received the certification in 2000 as a favor from Mr. Patton because of their affair.

MASSACHUSETTS

Hospital gives mom wrong baby

BOSTON — State officials said they learned of a second hospital mix-up in which a newborn was given to the wrong mother for feeding.

A spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Health said the incident occurred at South Shore Hospital in May and should have been reported then.

A similar mix-up last week at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital was blamed on an inaccurate check of identification bracelets.

MICHIGAN

Kevorkian loses bid to leave prison

DETROIT — Assisted-suicide proponent Jack Kevorkian lost another bid to end the prison time he is serving in the death of a terminally ill man who was televised receiving a lethal injection in 1998.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds denied Kevorkian’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus on Monday.

Kevorkian, 75, was sentenced to 10 to 25 years after being convicted of second-degree murder in the death of Thomas Youk, 52, who had Lou Gehrig’s disease. Mr. Youk was shown on CBS’ “60 Minutes” receiving a lethal dose of potassium chloride from Kevorkian, who argued at trial that it was a “mercy killing.”

Kevorkian also filed a motion Sunday in Oakland County Circuit Court for relief of judgment, arguing that he is too sick to stay in prison, the Daily Oakland Press of Pontiac reported yesterday.

MINNESOTA

Son accused of squandering $6 million

MINNEAPOLIS — A son entrusted with his parents’ estate is accused of spending the $6 million inheritance before his mother died, leaving her to public assistance in a nursing home for the final years of her life.

Karl Ernest Wilson and his wife, Veronica Denise Williams, were charged on a felony count of welfare fraud because the state was forced to pay $241,000 for the care of Mr. Wilson’s mother, identified in court documents by her initials, N.H.W.

“She went into the nursing home a millionaire,” investigator Steve Halicki said. “The dollar amount is staggering.”

In an interview with the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, Mr. Wilson said he has no idea why state investigators are coming after him, adding that he has suffered two heart attacks and three strokes.

“I’m a crippled old man,” said Mr. Wilson, 51. “So if they are doing this to me, I don’t know why.”

NEBRASKA

Mountain lion visits office

OMAHA — Robin Reynoso had an unusual visitor stop by her office this week: a mountain lion.

Miss Reynoso, a computer firm’s customer service manager, peered out her window Wednesday to spy the creature, just blocks from one of Omaha’s busiest intersections.

“He ran by my window and pawed it, then he turned around and attacked it,” Miss Reynoso said.

The male animal weighed about 80 pounds and probably was born last year, said Lee Simmons, director of Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo.

The animal was captured later at a park deep inside city limits after being shot by a zoo official with a tranquilizer dart.

NEVADA

Mickey Mouse art stolen from gallery

LAS VEGAS — There’s nothing Mickey Mouse about these stolen paintings.

The director of the Lassen Galerie in Las Vegas say two paintings featuring the Disney mascot that were lifted from his Vegas strip establishment are together worth nearly $800,000.

Paul Olson said his biggest fear is that the crook may not realize the true value of “Seaside Romance” and “Sorcerer of the Seas.”

“They’re not just Mickey Mouse paintings; they are masterpieces,” said Mr. Olson.

In fact, Mr. Olson said, he hopes the thief is an art collector who appreciates and admires the vividly colored Christian Riese Lassen paintings.

Las Vegas police say they hope alerting the public will prevent the thief from selling the 30-by-20-inch paintings on the black market.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Court stops fluoridating of water

CONCORD — The state Supreme Court said it’s illegal for Manchester to put fluoride in water it sells to customers in six surrounding towns. Manchester voters approved putting fluoride in the water supply to reduce tooth decay.

The court gave the city until June 30, 2005, to stop fluoridating the water supply unless the legislature amends the law or residents in the six towns approve.

NEW JERSEY

Agency sees surge in child abuse cases

TRENTON — The state’s child welfare agency says a surge in reports of child abuse and neglect this year have resulted in bigger caseloads for most agency staffers.

The agency now oversees 58,582 children, an increase of 11,597 cases since January. The average number of children being monitored by caseworkers has risen from 33 to 42.

NEW YORK

Officer accused of sex with teen

NEW YORK — A probation officer drank wine, smoked marijuana and had sex with a 17-year-old defendant in exchange for a favorable report before his sentencing, New York prosecutors said yesterday.

The officer, Nicole Waite, 36, appeared in Manhattan criminal court on charges of bribery and official misconduct. If convicted, she faces up to seven years in prison.

Miss Waite told the teen “to behave and do as directed” to receive a positive pre-sentencing report, investigators said.

The officer met the teen three times — at a restaurant, at her office and at a hotel, according to court papers. They drank wine, smoked marijuana and had sex, the papers said.

NORTH CAROLINA

Injured woman faces felony riot charge

RALEIGH — When Sharon Devonne Dunn was run over twice and burned by acid during an altercation two weeks ago, police thought she was a victim. They charged another woman with felony assault.

But on Wednesday, Miss Dunn, 39, was arrested and charged with felony riot. Police said it was she who brought a bucket full of acid to the fight.

A police spokesman told the Raleigh News & Observer the arrests and Miss Dunn’s injuries were a culmination of a series of confrontations among friends and family members of both women.

PENNSYLVANIA

Amish go modern to meet crop crisis

PHILADELPHIA — Amish farmers, who normally manage to reap rich harvests with horse-drawn implements, are finding they just can’t cut it this year because of crop damage wreaked by Hurricane Isabel.

So the leaders of their religious community have decided to allow the use of modern machine harvesters to cut flattened cornstalks into silage and salvage ripe ears from wind-damaged fields.

“They really are in desperate need,” an Amish farmer said yesterday. He was staffing a “Harvest Aid” telephone hot line in Lancaster County, west of Philadelphia.

Local Amish bishops got together and decided to allow farmers to hire outsiders to cut and harvest their crops. The Harvest Aid hot line was set up Monday to channel needy farmers to waiting suppliers.

UTAH

Defense seeks delay in kidnap hearing

SALT LAKE CITY — An attorney for one of the suspects in the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping says the woman’s psychological evaluation will not be ready by a hearing next week to determine whether she is competent to stand trial.

Defense attorney Dave Finlayson said that mental health officials have not compiled enough information about Wanda Barzee, 57, to complete the report.

The woman and her husband, Brian David Mitchell, 49, are charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault and aggravated burglary in Elizabeth’s June 5, 2002, abduction.

The homeless couple reportedly kept Elizabeth as Mr. Mitchell’s second wife for nine months in Utah and California. They were found in a Salt Lake City suburb on March 12.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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