- The Washington Times - Monday, September 8, 2003

DELAWARE

Child support payments set record

DOVER — The state Division of Child Support Enforcement says it broke a record for child support collections during the fiscal year that ended in June.

More than $84 million in child support was distributed to families, a $2.5 million increase over the previous year. Officials say interceptions of income tax refunds and lottery winnings were some factors for the increase.

GEORGIA

Judge examines rental law on relatives

ATHENS — A Superior Court judge is examining a city ordinance aimed at keeping university students from renting homes in single-family areas.

The law requires some renters to say how they’re related to each other. Only two unrelated adults can legally occupy the same house in neighborhoods zoned for single-family use.

IDAHO

Climber sets record in scaling 9 peaks

BOISE — Nic Stover shaved nearly two days off a climbing record by scaling all of Idaho’s nine 12,000-foot-plus peaks during the Labor Day weekend.

The construction engineer from Boise accomplished the deed in three days, 11 hours and 16 minutes. He topped the record of Matt Darrington, 16, who needed just under five full days.

INDIANA

Dalai Lama dedicates temple

BLOOMINGTON — The Dalai Lama dedicated an interfaith temple yesterday and urged his audience of several thousand people to be religious and choose a faith.

“Religion should implement. The teachings should be part of our life,” the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader said during the second stop on a 16-day U.S. tour.

The Dalai Lama, winner of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent struggle against Chinese rule of his homeland, visited Bloomington to dedicate a temple at the Tibetan Cultural Center, which is directed by his brother, retired Indiana University professor Thubten Norbu. It was the Dalai Lama’s fourth visit to the city.

The Chamtse Ling Temple — the name translates as “Fields of Compassion” — is a $1.2 million, 10,000-square-foot center dedicated to promoting world peace and harmony.

IOWA

Covered bridge set on fire

WINTERSET — A third historic covered bridge was set on fire near the setting of “The Bridges of Madison County,” but this time passers-by doused the flames before the fire caused much damage, sheriff’s officials said.

The 97-foot-long Hogback Bridge, which was built in 1884 and was featured in the Robert James Waller novel, was set on fire Saturday afternoon, said Madison County Sheriff’s Deputy Craig Busch. Officials didn’t find any accelerant, but it was believed to be arson, Deputy Busch said.

The fire followed a blaze two days earlier that destroyed a covered bridge near Delta, about 100 miles east of Winterset.

That bridge, with a rare Burr arch roof, burned on the one-year anniversary of an arson fire at the famed Cedar Bridge in Madison County.

KENTUCKY

Police seek headquarters ‘ghost’

SHELBYVILLE — In the still of night, doors rattled and stairwells creaked in the city’s police department. In the light of day, a secretary’s desk drawer opened on its own. A city worker who toured the building late one night reported feeling something grab her leg.

So the police took the probe to another dimension. Officer John Wilson contacted the Scientific Investigative Ghost Hunting Team, based in Louisville.

The professional investigators of paranormal phenomena gave the brick building a preliminary review and will return this fall for a thorough probe. The group will set up cameras and tape recorders as well as infrared thermometers to capture any temperature variations.

The goal is to try to prove that the strange occurrences aren’t caused by paranormal forces, said Kay Owen, vice president of the nonprofit ghost-hunting team, which doesn’t charge for its services.

LOUISIANA

Convicted reservist to seek clemency

NEW ORLEANS — A Marine reservist convicted of leaving his unit for 47 days without permission before the war in Iraq will request formally that his six-month prison sentence be reduced, his lawyer said yesterday.

A jury of four Marines on Saturday found Lance Cpl. Stephen Funk, 21, guilty of unauthorized absence but not guilty of a more serious charge, desertion with intent to shirk important duty.

The jury recommended that Funk, who argued that he was a conscientious objector, be demoted to private, the Marines’ lowest rank, and that his pay be docked by two-thirds during his incarceration. It also recommended a bad-conduct discharge, which means that Funk would lose his military benefits.

MASSACHUSETTS

Accused killer returned to prison

BOSTON — The convicted murderer accused of killing former priest and child molester John Geoghan in prison was returned to the prison after being hospitalized for swallowing an object, a spokesman for the state Department of Correction said yesterday.

A guard saw Joseph Druce swallow something in his cell late Friday, and Druce was taken to an outside hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. He was returned to the Souza-Baranowski maximum-security facility in Shirley late Saturday, prisons’ spokesman Justin Latini said.

Mr. Latini would not say what Druce swallowed or disclose any medical details, including whether it was a suicide attempt or an accident.

MONTANA

Workers’ wages outpace inflation

HELENA — Wages of Montana workers outpaced inflation during the past decade, a state report shows.

The average worker earned $18,900 in 1994, compared with $26,000 in 2002. The 37 percent increase outpaced inflation of 20 percent during the same period.

The same report showed little change in Montana’s businesses during the past 10 years; tiny operations still predominate.

NEBRASKA

Archbishop quits Boys Town board

OMAHA — Omaha Archbishop Elden Curtiss resigned as board chairman of Girls and Boys Town after his demands for more control were rejected.

After the resignation last week, the Omaha Archdiocese announced that it would no longer provide priests to fill the role of executive director and other ministry positions at the famed home for troubled children.

John Gillin, elected to succeed Archbishop Curtiss, said the archbishop resigned after bylaw changes he demanded were rejected by the 12 elected board members.

“There were six changes he wanted … to give him control of the board, essentially,” Mr. Gillin said Saturday. Mr. Gillin did not specify the changes, but acknowledged they would have made Archbishop Curtiss’ vote carry more weight than those of the elected members.

NEW MEXICO

FBI joins probe of SUV vandalism

SANTA FE — The FBI has joined an investigation into vandalism at a car dealership that left a dozen sport utility vehicles covered with graffiti naming the seven deadly sins.

The SUVs at a Land Rover dealership were painted with words such as “Avarice” and “Gluttony” Thursday night or early Friday morning, Santa Fe police said. The initials “ELF” where among the messages, a likely reference to the radical Earth Liberation Front, police said.

Karen Ruben, manager of Land Rover Santa Fe, said the graffiti damaged about a third of the dealership’s inventory and is likely to cost several thousand dollars to repair.

OHIO

Future of horse patrols hazy

DAYTON — Cities across the nation may rein in their horse patrols as officials look for ways to cut costs and get police officers out of the stable and back on the street.

While mounted patrols remain popular among the public, some cities consider them a luxury, said Sgt. Alex Wynnyk, of the U.S. Park Police, who trains mounted patrols.

The future of Dayton Police Sgt. Scott Stimmel’s six-horse unit is uncertain as the City Council grapples with how to balance the budget while increasing pay for city workers. The unit costs $19,000 a year, minus officer salaries. It has been in operation since 1989.

The city says disbanding the unit would provide two more officers to patrol the streets. It takes the equivalent of two officers working full-time to care for and feed the horses, said city spokesman Tom Biedenharn.

OKLAHOMA

Judge upholds Nichols’ charges

OKLAHOMA CITY — A judge refused to dismiss state charges against bombing conspirator Terry Nichols, ruling last week that pretrial publicity in the case was not so intense as to deny him a fair trial.

State District Judge Steven Taylor rejected the request by Nichols’ lawyers despite testimony by researchers who said media coverage of the 1995 bombing and Nichols’ federal conviction made it impossible to pick a fair and impartial jury in Oklahoma.

“I have faith in the system,” Judge Taylor said. He also said he lacked the authority to move the trial out of Oklahoma.

Nichols’ defense attorneys argued that his federal trial for the deaths of eight law enforcement agents was moved to Denver after a federal judge ruled that neither Nichols nor his co-conspirator, Timothy McVeigh, could receive a fair trial in Oklahoma.

OREGON

Man, 79, survives 8 days lost in woods

PORTLAND — A 79-year-old man who made it through two heart attacks, two bouts with cancer and a stroke has survived another ordeal: spending eight days lost in the woods.

Duff Kimsey was dropped off Aug. 28 to look for huckleberries, but apparently lost his way in a dense national forest in the Cascade mountains of southwestern Washington. On Thursday, a hunter searching for a downed grouse spotted Mr. Kimsey, his arm raised, lying beside a log.

Mike Kimsey said his father was able to shower and shave himself Friday morning, but added that they will wait until he recovers more before trying to get further details about the ordeal. Mr. Kimsey was hospitalized in fair condition, dehydrated but otherwise healthy.

Duff Kimsey’s wife reported him missing when he failed to return on Aug. 28, and a formal search was suspended Monday.

SOUTH DAKOTA

Governors to discuss Missouri River issues

PIERRE — Governors of North Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas accepted South Dakota’s invitation to a Sept. 24 summit on Missouri River issues.

Montana will send a representative, and governors of Iowa and Missouri gave tentative confirmation.

TEXAS

Vet accused of killing dog

FORT WORTH — A veterinarian accused of using a mallet to kill a miniature dachshund that had entered his yard has been charged with felony animal cruelty.

Dr. Mircea Volosen, who was indicted last week, could receive up to two years in prison if convicted of killing his neighbor’s pet.

Police say the dog was killed July 4 after it entered Dr. Volosen’s Fort Worth area yard, where he keeps chickens and rabbits.

UTAH

Firing-squad executions may end

SALT LAKE CITY — Hoping to clear the way for eliminating the firing squad as a means of execution, a Utah commission asked for and received a statement from the Mormon Church saying it does not oppose the change.

In a one-sentence statement provided last week to the Utah Sentencing Commission, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said it “has no objection to the elimination of the firing squad in Utah.”

The clarification was needed, according to one commission member, because of a purported church doctrine that held that justice was not done unless a murderer’s blood was shed.

WEST VIRGINIA

Deputy’s house is scene of crime

WINFIELD — Authorities have arrested a man they say constructed a methamphetamine lab at a Putnam County sheriff’s deputy’s house while the officer was on vacation.

A relative of the deputy, Chad Burks, 26, was charged with operating a lab making the drug known as “meth” or “speed.” The officer was not identified.

Chief Deputy John Dailey said last week that officers learned that the deputy’s relative staying in the house was producing the drug. The deputy, vacationing out of state, allowed authorities to search the house.

“I guess the relative thought ‘What better place than this to have a meth lab?’” Mr. Dailey said. “He made a victim out of one of our officers.”

WYOMING

Neighbor holds cat hostage

GILLETTE — Deryl Miles, 55, is accused of kidnapping his neighbor’s cat and holding it hostage for $50 after the animal wandered into his yard.

He was arrested Tuesday on misdemeanor larceny charges for trapping the cat, named Brunswick, in a wooden shed behind his mobile home, according to court documents.

Surrounded by police, Mr. Miles called a local newspaper from his trailer and said, “I’ve taken [the cat] legally because it was trespassing on my property.” He refused to release the cat, and was arrested after leading police on a brief chase around his yard, court documents stated.

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