- The Washington Times - Monday, February 16, 2004

NEW YORK

America’s top chef returns to city

NEW YORK — In a profession known for big egos and sharp knives, Thomas Keller got an uncharacteristic welcome from his fellow chefs.

Mr. Keller, regarded as the top chef in the United States for his French Laundry in California’s Napa Valley, returns to New York with Per Se, a 64-seat restaurant that opens tonight in the new Time Warner Center overlooking Central Park.

Last week, Daniel Boulud held a late-night reception to welcome Mr. Keller back to New York, a city he left in the 1980s. Even Andre Soltner, who set the standard for U.S. cooking at Lutece from 1961 until 1994, attended what seemed like a culinary coronation.

MASSACHUSETTS

Display reopens without Little Joe

BOSTON — The Franklin Park Zoo reopened its gorilla exhibit Friday without Little Joe, a 300-pound primate escape artist who broke out in September and injured two persons.

Zoo officials said they were not confident the exhibit could contain the gorilla, despite security improvements.

The exhibit has been closed since Sept. 28, when the gorilla made his second escape in two months. Little Joe, 11, now spends his time in a holding area away from the public.

ARKANSAS

Wal-Mart appeals drug mix-up damages

LITTLE ROCK — The state Court of Appeals will decide whether Wal-Mart has to pay the $840,000 awarded to a couple for a prescription mix-up.

The giant retailer appealed the jury decision that favored John and Kelly Kilgore. A lawsuit said Mr. Kilgore suffered post-traumatic stress disorder after picking up the wrong medication at a Wal-Mart in Siloam Springs.

FLORIDA

Cleanup begins from 2001 anthrax

BOCA RATON — Decontamination has started at the former headquarters of tabloid publisher American Media Inc., the first target of the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five persons.

Crews from the company Bio-One spent Saturday setting up decontamination areas in the basement and preparing for detailed scouting trips on other floors this week.

More than a dozen people entered the building Saturday, staying about an hour each before leaving to be decontaminated and to undergo medical checks, said Sandra Schuh, a director of Sabre Technical Services. Sabre is part of Bio-One, created with former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani’s security consulting firm, Giuliani Partners.

IDAHO

Teenager dies in train collision

PARMA — A train struck a hay trailer Saturday, killing a teenage girl and injuring her younger sister.

Audrey Black, 13, and Riley Anderson, 8, were on the trailer being pulled by a tractor across tracks just west of Parma, the Canyon County Sheriff’s Department said.

The girls were visiting their grandparents, and the family had been moving horses when the accident occurred about 2 p.m.

The 79-year-old man driving the tractor did not heed railroad signals and apparently didn’t hear the train, the sheriff’s department said. Clarence Derrick worked on the grandparents’ farm. He was not injured.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Court mulls rail project funding

CONCORD — New Hampshire’s Supreme Court is considering whether the state can use gasoline tax money to help pay for a commuter rail line.

The state constitution says the money must be used exclusively for public highways or supervising highway traffic. The state says that should include the proposed commuter railroad connecting Nashua with the commuter line that runs from Lowell to Boston.

OKLAHOMA

Slaughterville asked to change its name

SLAUGHTERVILLE — Residents of this central Oklahoma community have a beef over an animal rights group’s attempt to raise awareness of animal abuse.

Slaughterville administrator Marsha Blair received a letter from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals urging the town to change its name from Slaughterville to Veggieville.

PETA, based in Norfolk, promises to donate $20,000 in veggie burgers to a school district nearest to the town, said Bruce Friedrich, director of the group’s vegan campaigns.

The town was named after a grocery store run by James Slaughter in the early 20th century.

For Miss Blair and other residents, the Slaughter family’s lingering reputation makes the town’s name a sacred cow.

RHODE ISLAND

Scholarship offered to whites only

BRISTOL — A student group at Roger Williams University is offering a scholarship for which only white students are eligible, a move they say is designed to protest affirmative action.

The application for the $50 award requires an essay on “why you are proud of your white heritage” and a recent picture to “confirm whiteness.”

Jason Mattera, 20, who is president of the College Republicans, said the group is parodying minority scholarships.

The stunt has angered some at the university, but the administration is staying out of the fray. The school’s provost said it is a student group’s initiative and is not endorsed by Roger Williams.

Mr. Mattera, who is of Puerto Rican descent, is a recipient of a $5,000 scholarship open only to a minority group.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Pygmy hippopotamus killed in car accident

BEAUFORT — Sharon Anderson had no idea what was headed her way on a county road when her car struck and killed a pygmy hippopotamus.

The 500-pound animal had wandered away from a plantation and into the path of Miss Anderson’s car on a Beaufort County road, the Carolina Morning News reported for the Friday editions.

Miss Anderson, 28, said the plantation’s owner, Joel Silver, producer of “The Matrix” franchise, told her that he had owned the female hippo for eight years and didn’t know how she had wandered away.

The hippo was one of several wild animals kept at the 40-acre Auldbrass Plantation in Yemassee. It was built by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Miss Anderson was not injured and her car had minor damage.

TENNESSEE

Prince Edward scolded for pedestrian no-no

NASHVILLE — Royalty, shmoyalty. The guy was walking on the wrong part of the street.

Like many a commoner before him, England’s Prince Edward, Prince Charles’ younger brother, was scolded by police for ignoring the strict pedestrian code on upscale Belle Meade Boulevard.

Belle Meade residents have decreed that the only legal place to walk on the boulevard is on the inside lanes facing traffic, and pedestrians must move to the grassy median if traffic is coming.

The Belle Meade police noted this — politely — to the prince.

“He gently pointed out that we should walk down the middle of the road,” said the prince, laughing about the episode during a lecture he presented at an antique show on Thursday.

TEXAS

Library changes black history display

BROWNWOOD — A public library is making changes to a Black History Month display. Some residents complained about figurines of black caricatures, such as Little Black Sambo.

The exhibit will be expanded to include input from black community leaders. Reggie Perry, who is black, says there are some inflammatory pieces, but that those items have a place in American history.

WISCONSIN

Paramedics go to wrong town

NEENAH — Rescue personnel answering a 911 call reached the address within two minutes, ready to render aid to a victim, but in the wrong town. Members of the Neenah-Menasha Fire Rescue service responded to the same address in neighboring Menasha.

The call was made for Louis Schweikl, 77, who stopped breathing and died. Authorities said they would investigate.

WYOMING

Assisted-suicide proposal rejected

CHEYENNE — A proposal to allow physician-assisted suicide failed in the Legislature.

The Senate voted 19-8 against Casper Democrat Sen. Keith Goodenough’s measure, which would have allowed assisted suicide if patients were terminally ill and were told by two doctors that they had less than six months to live. Patients also would have been required to talk with mental health professionals.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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