- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 12, 2004

ALABAMA

Fire destroys newspaper office

TUSKEGEE — A fire Tuesday destroyed at least three buildings in downtown Tuskegee, including a prominent civil rights lawyer’s office and a newspaper that once published Booker T. Washington’s columns.

The fire was reported shortly before 4 a.m. and was caused by a space heater that had been left on mistakenly, Mayor Lucenia Williams Dunn said. No injuries were reported.

The fire destroyed offices of the Tuskegee News and offices of lawyer Fred Gray, who once represented civil rights activist Rosa Parks.

PENNSYLVANIA

Two shot at school

PHILADELPHIA — An 8-year-old boy was shot on a school playground yesterday and a crossing guard was wounded, caught apparently in the cross fire between two groups of men, police said.

Children were arriving for class and some were playing in the schoolyard when dozens of shots were fired about 8:30 a.m.

The child, Faheem Thomas-Childs, underwent surgery and was reported in critical condition. The guard, Debra Smith, 56, was treated for a foot wound.

ARIZONA

Girl, 7, leads police to her dead mother

MIDTOWN — A bruised, barefoot and crying 7-year-old girl helped lead police to a home Tuesday where two bodies were discovered.

“‘My daddy killed my mommy and my grandpa,’” a girl told two women, adding that she had been tied up by her father and left in the house two days earlier.

The women put the girl in their car and immediately called police, the Arizona Daily Star reported. An arrest warrant on two counts of first-degree murder was issued for Scott Anthony Stumbris, 40, the girl’s father and a convicted felon.

The girl said she managed to free herself Tuesday afternoon and had wanted to go to her grandmother’s house, where a brother and sister live.

ARKANSAS

Small school districts told to merge

LITTLE ROCK — The Department of Education sent official notices to 57 small school districts that they must merge their administrations with larger districts by July 1 or the state will do it for them.

Legislators in a special session ordered the administrative consolidation of districts with fewer than 350 students.

CALIFORNIA

L.A. riot figure killed in shooting

LOS ANGELES — One of four men prosecuted in the beating of truck driver Reginald Denny during the 1992 riots here was killed in a nightclub shooting, police said yesterday.

Antoine Miller died Sunday after being shot Feb. 1 in Hollywood, said Officer Lucy Diaz. He was 31.

One other man was wounded. The shooting remained under investigation.

Mr. Denny’s beating came at the start of the riots, which were sparked by the acquittal of white police officers in the beating of black motorist Rodney King.

Mr. Miller, Henry Keith Watson and Lance Jerome Parker received probation. Damian “Football” Williams served about four years in prison for mayhem and misdemeanor assault.

COLORADO

New rules ban dog from election

ERIE — This town’s dog days are over.

Trustees voted Tuesday to change Erie’s election write-in rules, wiping out any potential of another “Jake the Booner” campaign.

Jake ran for mayor in 1994 and won 17 percent of the vote, even though he wasn’t qualified to run. He wasn’t a registered voter, he was only 4 years old and he was a yellow mutt, literally.

The town’s new rules, which are common throughout the state, require write-in candidates to declare their candidacy at least 23 days before an election.

Jake’s campaign stemmed from resident Hans Bowker’s dislike of the mayoral candidates. He told the Boulder Daily Camera the fact that Jake got so many votes made a strong statement, and he isn’t happy the town is taking away the option.

FLORIDA

Robbery suspect cites medical bills

GAINESVILLE — A man told police he robbed a bank to pay his wife’s medical bills.

His wife was behind the wheel of the getaway car Tuesday when the man ran from the bank, police said. Her doctor’s appointment was scheduled a half-hour later.

A dye pack exploded inside the bag of money, covering James Roland Clark, 71, as he left the bank. Mr. Clark and his wife, Deloris Jane Clark, 66, were arrested soon afterward, said Gainesville police Sgt. Keith Kameg.

No one was injured during the robbery.

GEORGIA

County drops Commandments fight

CLARKESVILLE — A Georgia county has dropped its legal fight for the right to display the Ten Commandments at its courthouse and a public swimming pool.

Habersham County on Monday withdrew its appeal of a federal judge’s order against the displays, which had been taken down in November after a verdict against the county in a nonjury trial.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit in March 2002 on behalf of Charles Turner, pastor of the Tallulah Falls Baptist Church, and a second plaintiff, Gregg Holder. The ACLU argued that the plaques violated the constitutional separation of church and state.

The county said it dropped the appeal because it was costing taxpayers too much money. County commissioners had the plaques installed in 2002.

LOUISIANA

Pet leopard attacks owner

PORT SULPHUR — A woman who had raised her pet leopard from a cub was mauled by the animal but survived after a deputy shot the 100-pound cat as its jaws were clamped on its owner’s head, authorities said.

Julie Miles, 33, of Port Sulphur, was in fair condition Tuesday at West Jefferson Medical Center in Gretna, spokeswoman Benola Cooper said.

The leopard, named Jovani, let Mrs. Miles go Monday after a Plaquemines Parish sheriff’s deputy shot it twice, sheriff’s spokesman Maj. Charles Guey said.

The deputy shot the cat a third time after it crouched to attack again, but the animal was not killed until Mrs. Miles’ brother-in-law, Jimmy Saunier, arrived and killed it with a shotgun blast, Maj. Guey said.

Mrs. Miles had been petting Jovani on Monday and was just about to leave when the cat “got hold of her,” her mother, Shirley Alesich, told the (New Orleans) Times-Picayune.

MAINE

Malone chosen as Portland bishop

PORTLAND — An auxiliary bishop from the Boston archdiocese has been chosen by Pope John Paul II to succeed Bishop Joseph Gerry as spiritual leader of Maine’s 234,000 Roman Catholics.

Richard Malone, 57, will serve as bishop designate until March 31, when he will be installed as the 11th bishop of the Diocese of Portland. Bishop Gerry submitted his retirement in September, when he turned 75.

MINNESOTA

Brain surgery patient awarded $850,000

ST. PAUL — A man who said he developed seizures and other medical problems after a doctor operated on the wrong side of his brain was awarded $850,000 in damages.

George Bidwell Jr., 36, was having surgery to remove an aneurysm in August 2001 when Dr. Arturo Camacho realized he was operating on the wrong side of Mr. Bidwell’s brain. The doctor closed the surgical site and removed the aneurysm from the other side.

Dr. Camacho said he operated on the wrong side of Mr. Bidwell’s head but disputed the negative effects that Mr. Bidwell described.

A Ramsey County jury found Monday that Dr. Camacho, who is now living in Montana, was negligent. The award is for damages including wage loss and emotional distress.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Lawmaker threatens to sue in ethics case

CONCORD — A 23-year-old representative facing expulsion from the state House says he will sue to stop ethics proceedings against him.

Rep. John Kerns of Bedford failed to show up at a hearing Monday on three ethics charges against him: passing a bad check with “State of New Hampshire” written on it, using his title to get a parking spot reserved for school officials and threatening them when told to stop parking there.

Mr. Kerns claims he has a medical condition that caused his behavior. On Tuesday, he also said he and a family member are sex-crime victims, and that members of the legislative ethics committee had violated his confidentiality by disclosing that fact.

Mr. Kerns said he would file for an injunction yesterday in Hillsborough County Superior Court to stop the committee proceedings, based on his claims it violated his constitutional rights to due process and equal protection.

NEW YORK

Train kills woman retrieving cell phone

NEW YORK — A 19-year-old woman was crushed by a train after she jumped onto a subway track to retrieve a cell phone she had dropped, police said.

Lina Villegas was pronounced dead Tuesday at a Queens subway stop. She had dropped her phone onto the tracks and climbed down from the platform to find it when she was hit, police said.

Miss Villegas saw the train coming but was unable to pull herself back up to the platform in time, said Officer Jennara Everleth, a police spokeswoman.

OHIO

Gynecologist guiltyof raping patients

CLEVELAND — A gynecologist was convicted yesterday of raping or otherwise molesting patients during examinations.

At trial, 33 women testified that Dr. Azzam Ahmed sexually abused them in his office.

After five days of deliberation, the jury found the doctor guilty of two counts of rape, seven of sexual battery and 11 of sexual imposition. He was acquitted on 33 other counts.

Ahmed, 57, faces three to 10 years in prison on each rape charge and one to five years on each count of sexual battery.

OKLAHOMA

Consultant denies having bomb images

McALESTER — A consultant who worked on the Oklahoma City bombing investigation testified yesterday that he does not have images of the deadly explosion as has been reported.

In a pretrial hearing in the state murder case against bombing conspirator Terry Nichols, John Culbertson presented a series of photographs that show only a cloud of smoke, apparently unrelated to the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

District Judge Steven Taylor had ordered that Mr. Culbertson appear to discuss any previously unreleased images he may have of the bombing.

Two weeks ago, an Oklahoma City police detective seized nine computers, hundreds of disks and other items from Mr. Culbertson’s home in Centreville, Va., in an attempt to find video or photographs of the bombing.

An affidavit filed in support of the search warrant said Dallas lawyer Thomas W. Mills Jr. saw images on Mr. Culbertson’s computer in 1998 showing the Murrah building before the bombing, then with a “small glow” at its base, then with a “ball of fire rising from the building.”

TENNESSEE

10-year-old said to be designated driver

SURGOINSVILLE— Intoxicated drivers take note: Don’t ask your 10-year-old daughter to drive you home.

Angela Michelle Brown, 37, was charged Monday with child endangerment and driving under the influence of alcohol after authorities said she got drunk and used her 10-year-old daughter as a designated driver.

Police arrested Mrs. Brown last week after stopping a car that appeared to have a young driver.

Officer Don Mitchell’s report said Mrs. Brown’s blood alcohol content registered 0.23 percent, nearly three times the legal limit for drivers.

The 10-year-old girl’s grandmother was called to come get the girl after police arrested her mother.

UTAH

No Child Left Behind Act partially rejected

SALT LAKE CITY — The Republican-dominated House voted Tuesday to make Utah the first state to scrap No Child Left Behind Act education mandates that would cost more than the federal government is willing to pay.

Republicans dropped a threat to abandon the Bush administration program altogether because that would have cost the state half of its annual federal education funding, or nearly $107 million. Instead, state representatives voted 64-8 to comply with only those mandates “where there is adequate federal funding.”

It was the strongest position yet taken by lawmakers in 11 states who have introduced legislation or nonbinding resolutions challenging the 2002 education act, which has states facing deadlines to make huge leaps in student testing performance and teacher credentials.

The Utah bill still requires state Senate approval and the governor’s signature.

WASHINGTON

Newspaper ad offers Brother for sale

VANCOUVER — Barbara Bennett wanted to sell her Brother-brand sewing machine, so she bought a classified advertisement under “miscellaneous” and “items under $50” in the Columbian newspaper.

But the words “sewing machine” were dropped accidentally, leaving a “Brother” for sale ad.

One caller wanted to know if the price was negotiable. Another, upon hearing it was just a sewing machine for sale, said merely, “Thank you,” and hung up.

Miss Bennett, 41, a customer-service representative, said Tuesday she has two brothers in California and is not putting either on the block. Newspaper officials agreed to run a corrected ad.

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