- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 22, 2003


Tape shows Columbine gunmen

GOLDEN — Authorities yesterday released a videotape of the Columbine High School gunmen laughing and shooting guns six weeks before the two teenagers killed 12 classmates and a teacher.

The tape of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who committed suicide after the rampage on April 20, 1999, shows them firing at least four different weapons.

The homemade tape was released at the urging of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and a task force established by the Attorney General’s Office, both of which want to make evidence in the case public.


Ferry captain defies subpoena

NEW YORK — The captain in the Staten Island Ferry wreck that killed 10 persons refused for a second day to meet with federal investigators yesterday, despite a subpoena to discuss his role in the crash.

Michael Gansas had refused to meet with National Transportation Safety Board investigators on Tuesday, prompting federal officials to issue the subpoena. Yesterday, Mr. Gansas’ attorney, Stephen Sheinbaum, said his client remained traumatized .

The city transportation commissioner, Iris Weinshall, said she notified Mr. Gansas that he was suspended effective immediately over his refusal to cooperate with the probe.


Justice denied new prosecutor

MONTGOMERY — The Court of the Judiciary yesterday rejected Chief Justice Roy Moore’s bid to remove Attorney General Bill Pryor from the judicial ethics case that could lead to Justice Moore’s removal from office.

The court issued a one-sentence ruling saying only that the motion was denied.

Justice Moore, who is suspended, had argued that Mr. Pryor has legal conflicts and should not be allowed to prosecute him for refusing a federal judge’s order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building’s rotunda.


‘Rerun’ actor dies at 52

LOS ANGELES — Fred Berry, the bulb-shaped, squeaky-voiced actor famous for playing Rerun on the 1970s TV sitcom “What’s Happening,” has died at 52, police said yesterday.

Mr. Berry died Tuesday at his home in Los Angeles apparently of natural causes, police Officer Jason Lee said. The county coroner was investigating, but friends said Mr. Berry had been ill because of a recent stroke.

He wore Rerun’s red beret and suspenders in real life, but it was unclear whether Mr. Berry originally brought his own style to the character of Rerun or whether he was forever mimicking the goofball character that made him famous.


Governor faces knee surgery

DOVER — Gov. Ruth Ann Minner will undergo knee-replacement surgery next week, aides said yesterday.

The surgery is scheduled for Monday at Bayhealth Medical Center-Kent General Hospital in Dover, where Mrs. Minner, a Democrat, is expected to stay for a few days before being moved to a rehabilitation center in Milford.

She will receive regional anesthesia during the surgery, which is expected to take a few hours and be followed by weeks of physical therapy, officials said.


Woman builds library from ground

ELLISVILLE — The new library in this tiny town 45 miles west of Peoria may have doubled its size, but it will remain the state’s smallest library.

Ellisville resident Helen Myers started the library about 40 years ago by hauling her own books to a 140-square-foot space about the size of a shed. She supported it over the years through yard sales, book sales and by donating thousands of dollars.

“If you can read, you can do anything,” said Mrs. Myers, a 76-year-old grandmother.

So when her original library started to fall apart and patrons stopped coming, she decided it was time to offer Ellisville and its 85 residents something better. She closed the original in June and cobbled together $8,000 from donations, including $200 she ponied up herself, and hired two local contractors to build the new one on property she owns just off Main Street.


System gets more use out of area codes

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana will not need to introduce new telephone area codes as soon as expected, officials said.

The 812 area code, which had been expected to run out of numbers next year, will last through 2007. The 317 area code is expected to last through 2009 and the 765 area code through 2006.

Telephone numbers are being assigned to various communications companies in blocks of 1,000, rather than blocks of 10,000. The old system often left many numbers unused.


House to debate smoking ban

BOSTON — Smokers would be barred from lighting up in pubs, restaurants and workplaces anywhere in Massachusetts under a bill slated for debate by the House of Representatives yesterday.

The Senate approved a similar measure during its budget debate earlier this year. Backers of the ban say they are confident that they have enough votes to win support for the measure in the House.


Blast kills worker at ethanol plant

BENSON — An explosion and fire yesterday rocked a plant where corn is turned into alcohol, killing one worker, officials said.

The blast at the Chippewa Valley Ethanol Co. was in an area where corn is turned into mash, which is fermented to produce ethanol, said plant general manager Bill Lee.

The name of the man killed was not released.


Drug funds misused, state auditor says

RALEIGH — A drug and alcohol counseling foundation started by Rep. Frank W. Ballance Jr. is riddled with conflicts of interest, including payments to his relatives and people who worked on his campaigns, the state auditor said yesterday.

The John A. Hyman Foundation began receiving state funds when Mr. Ballance was vice chairman of the state Senate’s Finance Committee and now receives more than $200,000 a year from the state, auditor Ralph Campbell said.

Some of the foundation’s money went to foundation employees who had served on Mr. Ballance’s campaigns, Mr. Campbell said.


State, union reach pay deal

LANSING — Michigan officials and the largest state labor union have reached a tentative agreement on pay concessions, part of the state’s goal to shrink the budget gap.

The deal, if approved by union members, would save the state about $60 million in the current fiscal year, said David Fink, director of the Office of the State Employer.

In March, Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm proposed eliminating the previously negotiated 3 percent raise for state workers to save $250 million in the new budget year that began Oct. 1.


ACLU challenges gift of school

MINOT — The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging a proposal by the school district to turn over a vacant school to a coalition of churches.

A coalition of eight Minot churches is trying to raise money to turn the vacant Jefferson School building into a community center. ACLU officials said a publicly funded school district cannot give property to a religious organization.


Judge lets Amish replace orange tape

PITTSBURGH — Members of a conservative Amish sect that believe gaudy decorations violate their beliefs do not have to use orange reflective triangles on their buggies, a Pennsylvania appeals court ruled.

The panel also ordered that a lower court throw out $2,565 in fines that 20 members of the Swartzentruber Amish received for not using the triangles, which the state requires on all slow-moving vehicles.

The plain-dressing Swartzentruber prefer gray reflective tape and a lantern. Gray or white tape is legal in nine states for use on slow vehicles, including Ohio, where the sect lived until a few years ago.

The court’s 2-1 ruling overturned a 2002 decision that the state had a compelling public-safety interest in requiring the triangles.


Lost hunter found safe

SALT LAKE CITY — A 74-year-old deer hunter was found safe after spending nearly four days lost in a rugged area of southwestern Utah, where he spent part of one day being stalked by a mountain lion.

Rudy Lopez Sr. was found by Forest Service workers Tuesday after the crew of a search plane spotted the orange hunting vest he had hung in a tree as a signal, the Beaver County sheriff’s office said.

Mr. Lopez, who was part of a family hunting group, became lost and disoriented Saturday morning, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.


Students return after strike ends

MARYSVILLE — After a teachers strike delayed the start of classes for more than seven weeks, 6-year-old Damien Whitesell finally got to start first grade yesterday.

“There’s my school,” he said as he and his mother, Teresa Whitesell, approached Cascade Elementary in this community about 30 miles north of Seattle. “I was never in first grade before.”

Damien was among 11,000 students who started school after nearly 700 teachers voted to end the longest teacher strike in state history. On Monday, Superior Court Judge Linda C. Krese declared the walkout illegal and ordered teachers back to work.

From wire dispatches and staff report

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