- The Washington Times - Friday, December 3, 2004

Lights out for some at holiday parade

DENVER — Thousands of Christians planned to crash this city’s 30th annual Parade of Lights last night after a Christmas float proposed by a local church was rejected for being too religious.

Protesters said they would walk along the downtown parade route singing Christmas carols and passing out hot chocolate to the event’s anticipated 375,000 onlookers.

Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada, Colo., a 4,000-member megachurch, had applied to enter a float in the parade that featured carolers singing Christmas carols and a “Merry Christmas” sign, but parade organizers said no floats with a Christmas or other religious theme were allowed.

Many local Christian churches were planning to send members to carol along with Faith Christian singers, saying the ban on Christmas floats was absurd.

“Parade of Lights? Come on. If it’s not about Christmas, then why not have it in January? Obviously it has to do with Christmas or people wouldn’t show up,” said Mark Anderson, spokesman for the Rocky Mountain Family Council.

Jackson’s Neverland ranch searched

LOS OLIVOS, Calif. — Sheriff’s investigators conducted a search of Michael Jackson’s Neverland ranch yesterday, a department spokesman said.

Sgt. Chris Pappas confirmed that a warrant was served at the rural estate, but he would not release any more information.

Mr. Jackson has already been charged with child molestation, and his Neverland ranch was searched previously in the case. He faces trial next year.

The search warrant was served at 9 a.m. and investigators remained there into the late morning, Sgt. Pappas said. Attorneys on both sides are barred from commenting on the case.

Brother pleads for Peterson’s life

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — Scott Peterson could be a good influence on fellow prison inmates if jurors spare his life, Peterson’s half brother testified yesterday in the penalty phase of the former fertilizer salesman’s trial.

“Scott is a person you want to be around in any circumstances,” Joe Peterson said. “He’s a listener, a talker, someone that cares. He’s just got so much to share that there would definitely be a positive.”

Scott Peterson was convicted Nov. 12 of murder in the deaths of his eight-months pregnant wife, Laci, and her fetus. Testimony yesterday, the fourth day of the penalty phase, turned briefly to Mr. Peterson’s love for fishing — a strategy legal experts said could backfire.

Recount supports segregation, poll tax

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A statewide recount showed that voters narrowly decided to keep language in the Alabama constitution supporting segregation and poll taxes, according to unofficial totals released yesterday.

Secretary of State Nancy Worley said voters defeated the amendment by just 1,850 votes out of more than 1.3 million cast. The original vote count showed the amendment lost by the same margin, or 0.13 percent.

The amendment would have erased unenforced language from Alabama’s constitution that required segregated schools and poll taxes, designed to keep blacks from voting. The measure also would have removed language that said there is no constitutional right to an education at public expense in Alabama.

From staff reports and wire dispatches.

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