- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 14, 2003

CALIFORNIA

Man booked for arson at SUV dealership

WEST COVINA — Federal agents arrested a 25-year-old member of a co-op dedicated to peace and environmentalism in connection with arson fires and vandalism that did $1 million in damage to a Hummer dealership.

Joshua Thomas Connole of Pomona was arrested at home Friday, said Cpl. Rudy Lopez, a West Covina police spokesman. He was booked for investigation of felony arson and vandalism and jailed on $825,000 bail.



The Aug. 22 fires gutted a parts warehouse and destroyed 20 Hummer H2 sport utility vehicles at a West Covina dealership. Another 20 Hummers and several Chevrolet Tahoe SUVs were badly damaged by fire and spray paint. Three other dealerships and at least four privately owned vehicles in the area also were damaged during the vandalism spree.

“I didn’t have anything to do with that,” Mr. Connole, whose arraignment is set for tomorrow, told the Los Angeles Times.

CONNECTICUT

Unions show support for striking Yale workers

NEW HAVEN — Thousands of union members from across the Northeast flooded into downtown yesterday for a rally in support of two striking Yale University unions.

Yale union leaders said they expected hundreds of arrests at the demonstration, which was to be led by AFL-CIO President John Sweeney. Mr. Sweeney said he was prepared to be handcuffed.

“This is a fight against a very wealthy institution,” Mr. Sweeney said. “Unions across the country are coming to lend their support. They are coming to bring their attention to the struggle.”

Two unions representing about 4,000 clerical, technical and maintenance workers at Yale went on strike three weeks ago after contract negotiations crumbled.

FLORIDA

Woman who left baby returns to Mexico

BAL HARBOUR — A Mexican woman jailed after leaving her newborn on a Florida beach headed home yesterday after prosecutors decided that confusion brought on by a medical condition led her to abandon the child.

Teresa Jimenez Garcia, 21, took a flight to Mexico to reunite with her baby, Isaac, who has been living with his father. Police arrested Miss Jimenez on July 31, after a tourist found her newborn covered in blood and sand and with his umbilical cord still attached. Officers spotted Miss Jimenez washing her bloody clothes in the ocean.

A doctor who treated Miss Jimenez after the birth diagnosed her with a severe form of preeclampsia and said symptoms could include an altered state of mind and confusion, according to documents prosecutors filed Friday. Preeclampsia is a sometimes fatal disorder that affects at least 5 percent of pregnant women and is characterized by high blood pressure, swelling and protein in the urine.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said Miss Jimenez offered convincing evidence that she had intended to keep the baby.

PENNSYLVANIA

Group won’t appeal 10 Commandments verdict

WEST CHESTER — Groups that filed suit to force the removal of a Ten Commandments display from a courthouse facade have decided not to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the suit in October 2001 on behalf of the Freethought Society, an atheist group, and Sally Flynn, a Pocopson Township resident, contending the plaque violated the principle of separation of church and state.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard the case and said in June that a reasonable person familiar with the plaque’s historical significance would regard the decision to leave it in place as religiously neutral, rather than evangelical in nature.

The court’s ruling overturned a lower court decision that the plaque was inherently a religious statement and must be removed.

RHODE ISLAND

State gets $450,000 for nightclub fire expenses

PROVIDENCE — Police and fire departments that responded to a deadly nightclub fire last winter will share a $450,000 federal grant.

The money from a Justice Department discretionary fund will be used to offset more than $1 million in expenses from the fire at the Station in West Warwick, officials said Friday. One hundred persons died and about 200 people were injured in the Feb. 20 fire ignited by a pyrotechnics show set off on stage by the band Great White.

The grant will be shared among the state police, the state Attorney General’s Office, the police and fire departments of West Warwick, and the Coventry Fire Department.

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