- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 14, 2004

Board OKs funds to buy Hearst land

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A state commission approved spending $34 million in state parks money to help acquire 13 miles of land near Hearst Castle that include some of California’s last available undeveloped coastal areas.

The Wildlife Conservation Board on Thursday approved the spending over objections from some environmental groups, legislators and employees of the California Coastal Commission. One of California’s most fabled properties, the Hearst Castle became a state park in 1958, but nearby hills and rugged beach remained in the hands of the Hearst Corp.

In return for $80 million in cash and $15 million in tax breaks, Hearst Corp. is set to turn over a long stretch of Central Coast beaches and ban development on 80,000 acres. Critics of the plan say too much secrecy surrounded the deal, that it places too many restrictions on public access and doesn’t go far enough to limit Hearst’s development rights.

The California Coastal Conservancy still must approve spending the money at a Sept. 15 meeting.

Wildfire subsides; ignitor cited

SHASTA LAKE, Calif. — An 8,000-acre wildfire in northern central California slowed to a halt yesterday as winds began to subside, fire officials said.

The fire, which began Wednesday by sparks from a lawn mower, destroyed almost 70 homes and forced hundreds of people to flee. The blaze charred grass, brush and timber in its path, state Forestry Department officials said. It was 60 percent contained.

Hundreds of people have been evacuated from the vast area threatened by the fire and a shelter was set up at a community college. At least 390 homes have been evacuated. Two firefighters had minor injuries.

Officials cited the lawn mower operator, who may be held responsible for the costs of suppressing the fire, state Forestry Department spokesman Kevin Colburn said.

Congressman plans to retire; touts son

CHICAGO — Rep. William O. Lipinski, a powerful 11-term Democrat from Illinois, plans to retire from Congress and support his son to replace him in November, his staff said yesterday.

Mr. Lipinski planned to file papers yesterday with the state Board of Elections withdrawing his name from the ballot, said Jerry Hurckes, the congressman’s chief of staff.

Party officials from the district will choose Mr. Lipinski’s replacement during a meeting Tuesday, and the congressman will push for his son Daniel, a political science professor at the University of Tennessee, Mr. Hurckes said.

Mr. Lipinski, 66, was elected to the House in 1982. He served as a Chicago alderman from 1975 to 1983. His district includes parts of Chicago’s southwest side and suburbs.

Man gets liver after press blitz

HOUSTON — A man’s efforts to get a healthy liver through a press campaign, including billboards and a Web site, have succeeded as he underwent successful transplant surgery early yesterday with a donated organ.

Todd Krampitz, a 32-year-old newlywed, was diagnosed in May with liver cancer and by July his doctors said only a transplant would save his life.

His family decided to mount a press campaign, including two billboards along one of Houston’s busiest freeways, and a Web site that detailed his plight and raised awareness about organ donation. Mr. Krampitz and his wife Julie also did national press interviews after word of his efforts spread.

Late Thursday night a family donated their loved one’s liver to Mr. Krampitz. In a statement, Mrs Krampitz said “a generous family” donated their loved one’s liver to her husband, but she did not elaborate on the family.

Pakistani man to remain in jail

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Pakistani man arrested while videotaping the 60-story Bank of America headquarters and other Charlotte skyscrapers will remain in custody after his attorney declined to request bond yesterday.

Kamran Akhtar, arrested July 20, has been in custody ever since on immigration charges and on charges he made false statements to officers.

Besides declining to request bond, attorney George Miller also waived a probable cause hearing. “There’s not much need to do that now,” he said.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Carl Horn said a grand jury will convene Aug. 23 to decide whether to indict Mr. Akhtar, 35, who was living in New York City when he was taken into custody.

Terrorism was not mentioned in court yesterday, but Judge Horn said Mr. Akhtar has given conflicting stories about his finances and when he entered the United States.

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