- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 30, 2004

MISSOURI

Donor meets kidney beneficiary

ST. LOUIS — Madolena Key was scheduled to donate a kidney to her husband in 2002 when a perfectly matched organ from a deceased donor became available.

Just like that, Mrs. Key’s kidney wasn’t needed. But she decided to donate anyway, saying her husband’s ordeal had taught her that 60,000 people in the United States are waiting for a kidney transplant.

On Wednesday, Mrs. Key and the recipient of her kidney, Tracy Griffin, 37, met for the first time at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, where doctors had performed the surgeries in November 2003. The women hugged and exchanged greetings as they wiped away tears.

GEORGIA

Christmas trash keeps workers busy

ALBANY — Now that Santa has made his rounds, the nation’s sanitation workers are making theirs, hauling off tons of boxes, torn wrapping paper and other Christmas debris during what is the busiest week of the year for those in the garbage business.

Few trash collectors are allowed to take vacation this week, and some cities and sanitation companies bring in extra workers to help handle the holiday refuse.

Americans generate an estimated 25 percent more waste, or 1 million extra tons, per week between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, according to the environmental group Use Less Stuff.

ALABAMA

Photos found of 1961 bus arson

BIRMINGHAM — A search through the files of an Anniston law firm turned up long-lost photos of the burning of a bus carrying Freedom Riders through eastern Alabama in 1961.

The 40 photographs depicting the Anniston arson of a Greyhound bus, which was booked by black and white civil rights activists in order to flout segregated-seating rules in Southern cities and states, were donated to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, which has an archive of photos and stories from the era.

ARIZONA

Priest on leave after sex accusations

PHOENIX — A former top aide to a disgraced bishop in the Phoenix diocese was placed on administrative leave on Wednesday because of charges of sexual improprieties.

The action against Monsignor Dale Fushek was taken after an attorney notified the diocese that a client claimed to have recovered a repressed memory involving misconduct by Monsignor Fushek in 1985, the diocese said.

Monsignor Fushek was a top aide to Bishop Thomas O’Brien, who stepped down as head of the diocese last year after his arrest in connection with a fatal hit-and-run accident.

DELAWARE

Official agrees raise is ‘too much’

DOVER — Lt. Gov. John Carney agrees with critics who say a 56 percent pay raise recommended by the Delaware Compensation Commission is “too much.”

The increase of more than $36,000 would bring Mr. Carney’s salary to $101,588. That is more than 20 states pay their governors. Under state law, the recommended raise automatically will take effect unless rejected outright by the General Assembly.

FLORIDA

Bodies discovered in national forest lake

OCALA NATIONAL FOREST — The bodies of two friends, one a former Marine who served in Iraq, were found in a lake 10 days after they vanished while testing a new boat engine.

A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission helicopter crew on Wednesday spotted the body of former Marine Allan Michael Morone, 22, in Halfmoon Lake in Ocala National Forest.

Later, sonar tests showed that the body of Mr. Morone’s friend John Edward Ray, 23, was in the water nearby, and officers recovered it Wednesday evening.

KANSAS

Attorney general asks court to rethink ruling

TOPEKA — Attorney General Phill Kline on Wednesday asked the Kansas Supreme Court to reconsider its decision striking down the state’s death-penalty law.

The request suggested that the court could allow most of the capital punishment statute to stand and invalidate only a flawed provision that led to the court’s 4-3 ruling.

The provision deals with how juries weigh evidence for and against imposing a death sentence. It says that if the evidence is roughly equal, the jury must choose death instead of life in prison.

The court’s majority said that when the evidence is about equal, the defendant should benefit.

INDIANA

Two accused of shooting cat

EVANSVILLE — Two Wal-Mart employees have been charged with felony animal cruelty after police said they followed a manager’s orders to fatally shoot a stray cat.

The men, both assistant managers at the store, told police that the manager ordered them to get rid of the animal that was living in a storage trailer behind their store.

Christopher Anderson, 29, and Jeffrey Hardin, 21, repeatedly shot the cat with a pellet gun from the store until it died the next day, a sheriff’s report said. The two men were arrested and released after a court appearance on Wednesday.

Wal-Mart said it was “sickened by this cruelty” and fired three employees involved in the cat killing. The company did not name the employees who were fired.

MINNESOTA

Stricter rules imposed for charter schools

ROSEVILLE — People who want to start state charter schools now must meet stricter requirements by the state Department of Education.

Potential sponsors and charter-school board members will be required to receive extensive training before submitting an application.

ILLINOIS

McDonald’s considers kinder type of slaughter

OAK BROOK — McDonald’s Corp. may require its processors to use a method for slaughtering poultry that animal rights groups say is more humane.

The fast-food giant said it is studying the possibility of “controlled atmosphere killing,” in which chickens are killed by replacing oxygen in the air they breathe with an inert gas, such as nitrogen or argon.

McDonald’s animal-welfare council suggested a study of the new method, said Bob Langert, McDonald’s senior director of social responsibility. It would replace a slaughtering process in which chickens are hung by their legs on a moving conveyor line and pulled through an electrified vat of water.

NEW YORK

Canal documents are public, judge rules

ALBANY — A judge yesterday ordered the release of hundreds of internal documents on the awarding of a now-rescinded state contract to build homes along the Erie Canal, rejecting Watergate-era arguments by Gov. George E. Pataki that the records are privileged.

After state Justice Joseph Cannizzaro ruled that the 600 pages of information should be made public, the Pataki administration got a temporary restraining order keeping the records sealed, while it appeals the decision.

The documents are connected to a $30,000 contract that gave a Buffalo-area developer rights to build luxury homes on state land along the 524-mile Erie Canal system.

The contract led to accusations that it was a sweetheart deal, and after investigations by the state attorney general and inspector general, it was rescinded. State officials blamed the scandal on a few employees who lied and since have been fired.

OHIO

Injured baby must remain on life support

COLUMBUS — A brain-damaged baby whose father is accused of abuse cannot be removed from life support because the father’s and mother’s parental rights have not been terminated, the state’s highest court said yesterday.

A court-appointed medical guardian does not have authority to make the life-and-death decision, the Ohio Supreme Court said.

The divided court ruled in the case of 1-year-old Aiden Stein of Mansfield, who was diagnosed with shaken baby syndrome and remains at Akron Children’s Hospital.

“A probate court has no authority to allow a guardian to make a decision that will terminate the life of a child, when parental rights have not been permanently terminated,” Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton wrote.

OREGON

City gas tax to help repair roads

VENETA — The City Council voted to pass a local gas tax. It will raise money to fix decaying roads and reduce about $3.6 million in deferred maintenance. Veneta becomes the most recent of a dozen cities to embrace a gas tax.

Veneta’s 3-cent-a-gallon tax is expected to generate about $45,000 a year, said City Administrator Ric Ingham.

PENNSYLVANIA

Leaders say gay issue threatens church unity

VALLEY FORGE — The 25 regional executives of the 1.5 million-member American Baptist Churches USA jointly announced that the denomination’s ongoing controversy over homosexuality “threatens to break us apart.”

A pastoral statement to “preserve unity,” released after a meeting of denomination leaders, said they agreed to “voluntarily refrain from” naming sexually active homosexuals to national and regional positions. The church leaders also said they would not participate in same-sex “marriage” ceremonies, but pledged to shun “homophobic behavior.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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