- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 18, 2003

ILLINOIS

Pediatrician sees patients only on Sundays

DOWNERS GROVE — Finding a pediatrician — as parents will point out — is hard to do on Sundays, so Dr. Stephen Roth saw a unique business opportunity.

He decided last year to see patients on Sundays — only on Sundays. It has been hectic at Pediatric Instant Care ever since.



Dr. Roth, 47, says his single-day practice blends his background and training in pediatrics and pharmacology. He hasn’t quit his weekday job as a prosecutor for the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation.

“I like some diversity,” he said. “I was a medical attorney first.” Visits to Dr. Roth’s office usually take about 30 minutes to an hour, often cost a small co-payment and are covered by virtually every insurance plan.

VERMONT

Groups win grant to turn manure into fuel

BURLINGTON — This environmentally conscious New England state doesn’t want to see manure go to waste. A coalition of Vermont groups has won a $747,000 federal grant to build technology that would convert manure from small farms into methane gas.

“If small farms could convert waste to cheap, green energy, not only would they manage their waste streams but [they] will be more independent and financially secure,” said Guy Roberts of the Intervale Foundation.The foundation will use the funding from the U.S. Agriculture and Energy departments to build an anaerobic digester to turn cow manure into energy that could heat greenhouses and fuel generators and refrigerators.

ALASKA

Bull moose tangle with hammocks

ANCHORAGE — Itchy to rub antlers and aroused for fall mating season, bull moose have been tangling with hammocks in Anchorage — and the hammocks are winning.

At least three hapless moose have been caught since Sunday, and another four have been reported snarled in hammocks or swing-set chains during the past two weeks, said Jessy Coltrane, assistant biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

“I get a call every day, almost,” she told the Anchorage Daily News on her way back from rescuing another victim.

She suggested that residents take down their hammocks or tie up swings so that bulls aren’t tempted to joust.

CALIFORNIA

Cheerleader protests skirt’s revealing cut

NORCO — A Norco High School cheerleader taped the school’s dress code to her uniform to protest the skirt’s revealing cut, and school officials suspended her for one game last week.

Varsity cheerleader Lynsey Stanfield, 16, was prohibited from cheering at last week’s varsity football game because school officials said the protest violated a policy against modifying the uniform.

Lynsey, a senior, said she felt uncomfortable having to wear the revealing skirt in the classroom on game days. After unsuccessfully complaining to cheer advisers, she tried wearing the district’s skirt policy, which says, “No undergarments or posteriors shall show.”

Two slits in the uniform’s blue-and-white skirt expose the thigh to the skirt’s brieflike undergarment, known as a box-cut.

“It’s like sitting in class with your underwear showing,” Miss Stanfield told the Riverside Press-Enterprise. The school has since spent $500 to order less-revealing box-cuts.

CONNECTICUT

Lawmakers consider emissions rules

HARTFORD — An environmental group began a bid to have state lawmakers adopt stricter vehicle emission standards for new cars, similar to ones in California.

The Connecticut Fund for the Environment also is proposing a bill requiring carmakers to sell more cars that use hybrid gas-electric engines and other emission-reducing innovations. If passed next year, the changes would affect the 2007 model year.

FLORIDA

Ad gimmick prompts 911 calls

DUNEDIN — Perhaps a dinosaur coming out of the water, or an airplane.

Those are a couple of the ideas George Ruiz is toying with since he agreed to remove half of a Mercury Sable from the 18-inch-deep pond in front of his store.

Mr. Ruiz had placed the car, back end up, in the pond last month to draw attention to his shop, Nice Cool and Beautiful Ponds. Well, he got it, and more, the St. Petersburg Times reported.

More customers started coming to his store, but so did the local authorities. That was because many passers-by thought the scene was real and called 911 to report it. One person dived into the pond to try to rescue the driver. Another complained that it almost made him crash.

“After about a month of it being there,” Fire Marshal Chris Bengivengo said, “there were over 50 [emergency] calls for vehicle crashes at that intersection.”

GEORGIA

West Nile cases on record course

ATLANTA — The United States is headed for another record number of West Nile cases this year, with the total shooting up by more than a third in the past week alone, the government said yesterday.

Nationwide, 4,137 human cases had been reported by yesterday, 19 shy of last year’s total of 4,156, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. One reason for the higher numbers is a widely available test to diagnose the virus, health officials have said.

Despite the high number of infections, far fewer deaths have been reported. So far, 80 have been reported; last year, 284 persons died from the virus.

The number of reported infections climbed by more than 1,200 in the past week. But health officials said even that may be far lower than the number of actual cases, because many mild infections are not diagnosed as West Nile.

KANSAS

Adoptive mother pleads guilty

OLATHE — A woman unexpectedly pleaded guilty to murder and child abuse yesterday just as her trial was beginning in the death of her adopted son, who suffocated after he was bound in duct tape.

Christy Edgar’s husband, Neil Edgar Sr., 47, and the family’s baby sitter, Chastity Boyd, 19, remain on trial on first-degree murder and child-abuse charges. Attorneys for Mr. Edgar and Miss Boyd said they were not changing their not guilty pleas.

Attorney Bob Thomas told the judge that Christy Edgar was changing her plea against his advice. “This is not tactical. … It’s her decision,” he said.

Brian Edgar, 9, died Dec. 30. His father brought him to a hospital from the family home in Overland Park, where he had been wrapped from head to toe with duct tape, leaving only his nose uncovered and causing him to suffocate on vomit, prosecutors said.

At a preliminary hearing, an older sibling testified that Brian was being punished for stealing food. Attorneys for each defendant had indicated they would argue that the other two adults were to blame for the boy’s death.

LOUISIANA

State receives food stamp bonus

BATON ROUGE — Louisiana had few enough errors in the way it administered food stamps that the state received a $1.4 million bonus.

Louisiana’s error rate for the fiscal year that ended June 30 was about 5.8 percent, the Department of Social Services said. The national average was about an 8.3 percent rate of mistakes.

MASSACHUSETTS

Board approves college standards

BOSTON — The state Board of Higher Education approved new accountability standards for Massachusetts’ nine public colleges and 15 community colleges.

The rules allow the state to take over any institution that repeatedly fails to meet the minimum guidelines, said Judith Gill, chancellor of higher education.

MICHIGAN

County votes to recall prosecutor

BALDWIN — A county prosecutor was recalled by voters after a murder victim’s family launched a campaign against him for orchestrating a plea bargain with the killer.

Lake County prosecutor David Woodruff was recalled by an 879-586 margin Tuesday. About 20 percent of registered voters in the sparsely populated western Michigan county cast ballots, the county clerk’s office said.

The recall campaign was led by relatives of Christina Vandenberge, 23, who was killed in 2001 by her ex-boyfriend, Daryl Dwayne Henderson.

Mr. Woodruff reached a plea deal with Henderson, resulting in a 23- to 50-year sentence for second-degree murder. Henderson also is serving a concurrent sentence for assault for injuring the slain woman’s 3-year-old son, who lost an eye.

MISSOURI

Town puts limit on dogs, cats

HANNIBAL — Concerned about people who collect too many pets to give them proper care, the City Council of this northeast Missouri town has adopted a law limiting to five the combined number of dogs and cats a person can own.

Police Capt. Lyndell Davis said the ordinance was needed because of pet overpopulation, as well as complaints from residents about people hoarding up to 20 or 30 animals in their homes.

MONTANA

Severe drought continues in counties

HELENA — Thirty-seven of the state’s 56 counties are under a severe drought, despite increased rainfall and even some snow, the state Drought Advisory Committee said.

Agency officials said that stream, river and reservoir water levels are extremely low in the state. Summer rainfall in some counties is at an all-time low.

NEW JERSEY

At least 17 hurt in bus crash

BRANCHBURG — A car collided with a bus returning to a center for the mentally disabled Wednesday afternoon, injuring at least 17 persons, one seriously, authorities said.

The bus was returning to the Hunterdon Developmental Center in Clinton when it was hit by the car, which tried to make an improper turn, Somerset County Prosecutor Wayne J. Forrest said.

All but two persons were released from hospitals Wednesday, said Pam Ronan, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Human Services. A center staff member who was flown by helicopter to a hospital was in serious condition, and a center resident was in good condition at another hospital, Miss Ronan said.

The bus driver, Samuel Lavalva, told the Express-Times of Easton, Pa., that the car came out of a side street.

OHIO

Proposed fishing limits upset boat captains

TOLEDO — Charter boat captains who make a living taking people fishing on Lake Erie are worried that proposed limits on walleye catches during the spring will hurt their business.

The Ohio Division of Wildlife wants to reduce the daily limit of the number of walleye that fishermen can keep from four to three during March and April.

The state says the change is needed to protect walleye during the spawning season and to revive the dwindling population of the popular sport fish.

OKLAHOMA

Airliner descends to avoid military jets

TULSA — An American Airlines jetliner with 91 persons aboard had to make a steep descent to avoid fighter planes, and three flight attendants and two passengers were slightly injured, the airline said Wednesday.

The MD-80 was en route from Oklahoma City to St. Louis when the plane’s collision alarm went off Tuesday afternoon at 29,000 feet, airline spokeswoman Julia Bishop-Cross said. She said the pilot estimated the drop at 50 to 100 feet.

The maneuver initially felt like turbulence, said passenger Billy Jack Charrick. Then, he said, “I got coffee on me and I am on the roof of the airplane.”

The flight continued to St. Louis. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating, said spokesman Roland Herwig. He said he had not confirmed that military planes were involved.

SOUTH DAKOTA

Rock shifting at Mount Rushmore

RAPID CITY — Technology that provides precise data about cracks on the face of Mount Rushmore confirm the rock is moving, but only with changes in temperatures and only slightly. The data, collected over four years, show movement of the mountain carving of five-thousandths of an inch to five-hundredths of an inch.

Researchers gave their annual assurances that Mount Rushmore won’t tumble anytime soon.

TEXAS

Magazine ranks city environments

DALLAS — Residents of the arid, high desert city of Santa Fe, N.M., may have thin air and not much water, but they do live in the U.S. city with the healthiest environment.

According to a survey conducted by the magazine Organic Style, Santa Fe has the best scores of any city in the United States for being free of toxins in the environment, while St. Louis, Mo., was at the bottom of the list, at slot number 125.

The survey, released in this month’s issue of the magazine, looked at factors such as exposure to agricultural pollutants and general toxins, as well as overall air quality. About 5,500 pieces of data were crunched to produce the results.

The top five cities in the survey were Santa Fe; Rapid City, S.D.; Grand Junction, Colo.; Olympia, Wash.; and Fort Myers, Fla. At the bottom of the list were Cleveland, New York, Detroit, Chicago and St. Louis.

UTAH

Down-home cafe has no menu, prices

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake City’s One World Cafe breaks two of the most fundamental rules of the restaurant business: It has no menus and no prices.

Diners eat whatever sparks the culinary imagination of owner and chef Denise Cerreta. Most days she offers soup, one or two salads, quiche, a main entree and a dessert, all of which are inspired by the fresh, organic produce and meats she buys that day.

Customers can fill their plates with as much, or as little, as they want and pay what they feel their meal is worth. In place of a cash register, Miss Cerreta has a brown basket where patrons place their money.

“I’m a for-profit business, but I operate in a sort of nonprofit mode,” says Miss Cerreta, 41, who opened the cafe with the mission of serving not just quality, unprocessed foods, but her community.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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