- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 18, 2004

MICHIGAN

Motorist charged in officers’ deaths

DETROIT — A motorist pulled over in the middle of the night for a seemingly routine traffic stop was charged yesterday with murder in the shooting deaths of two police officers who stopped him.

Eric Marshall kept his head down as he was led into a courtroom for an arraignment hearing. He fell to the knees as the charges were read and had to be pulled up by officers holding him.

Mr. Marshall, 23, faces a maximum penalty of life in prison without parole. He is accused in the deaths of Officers Jennifer Fettig and Matthew Bowens, who were shot early Monday, becoming the 18th and 19th Detroit officers killed in the line of duty since 1990.

PENNSYLVANIA

Shooting outside school kills boy, 10

PHILADELPHIA — A 10-year-old boy hit in a gunbattle outside an elementary school was pronounced dead Monday, although he remained on life support so his organs could be harvested, authorities said.

Faheem Thomas-Childs was pronounced dead Monday afternoon at Temple University Children’s Medical Center, said Cathie Abookire, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham. Faheem was shot during a morning firefight Feb. 11 outside Thomas M. Peirce Elementary School in northern Philadelphia. Police said at least 94 rounds had been fired, and ballistics tests indicate that they had been shot from six guns.

Kareem Johnson, 20, and Kennell Spady, 19, both of Philadelphia, were arrested Saturday in connection with the gunbattle. Miss Abookire said yesterday that she expected their charges to be upgraded to murder.

ALASKA

Native name selected for undersea volcano

ALEUTIAN ISLANDS — Aleut elders from Atka selected a Native name for the first confirmed undersea volcano in the Aleutian Islands. The 1,900-foot-tall volcano is called Amchixtam Chaxsxii, which is Aleut for Amchitka Reef.

The name selection was coordinated by Moses Dirks, a longtime teacher of Aleut language and culture working in Unalaska schools. A team of scientists surveyed the volcano last summer.

ARKANSAS

First lady recalls first day as teacher

BENTONVILLE — First lady Laura Bush promoted teaching as a profession yesterday by recalling 20 sets of young eyes staring up at her on her first day on the job, when she learned a difficult lesson herself: Don’t rush through the lesson plan.

Mrs. Bush told students at Bentonville High School about her first day as a teacher in neighboring Texas, shortly after she received her teaching degree decades ago.

“At 9 o’clock, we started to work,” she said. “We recited the alphabet and numbers. We colored and put together puzzles. We read a few books, and then a few more, and by 9:15 a.m., I had gone through my entire day’s lesson plan.”

CALIFORNIA

Unions promote ballot measure

SACRAMENTO — Public employee unions have spent more than $9 million to push a March ballot measure that would make it easier to pass a state budget.

The measure would allow lawmakers to pass budgets and raise taxes with a 55 percent majority. That has been a longtime goal of public-sector unions stymied by the requirement that two-thirds of the Legislature must approve a budget.

CONNECTICUT

Construction accident kills worker at bridge

STRATFORD — Two cranes collapsed yesterday at the site of a highway bridge that is being replaced, killing a crane operator.

The accident involved cranes on barges in the Housatonic River at the site of the new Sikorsky Memorial Bridge, which opened in November to replace an older bridge of the same name.

The cranes, working on removing the bridge, were lifting a girder when one crane fell off its barge and into the river and the boom of the other crane snapped, said Chris Cooper, a spokesman for the state transportation department.

A crane operator was pulled from the water and taken to Bridgeport Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, fire and hospital officials said. No other injuries were reported.

FLORIDA

Limbaugh, ACLU act to keep records private

WEST PALM BEACH — Rush Limbaugh’s attorneys accused law enforcement officers of breaking the law when they seized the conservative radio commentator’s medical records, searching for evidence he illegally bought prescription painkillers.

Joined by lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union, Mr. Limbaugh’s attorneys argued in court documents filed yesterday that authorities first should have notified Mr. Limbaugh and given him a chance to challenge the seizure, rather than using search warrants to remove the records from his doctors’ offices.

Mr. Limbaugh, his attorneys and the ACLU have argued that the seizure violated Mr. Limbaugh’s right to privacy and the confidentiality of the relationship between patients and doctors. The attorneys want the state 4th District Court of Appeal to rule that the records should remain sealed.

Palm Beach prosecutors seized the records in November for their investigation into whether Mr. Limbaugh illegally went “doctor shopping” to obtain pain pills.

The investigation is on hold until the appeals court rules.

ILLINOIS

Nightclubs receive surprise inspections

CHICAGO — In the year since the E2 nightclub stampede killed 21 persons, city fire officials have conducted more than 2,000 unannounced inspections and temporarily shut down 16 clubs. Four were closed in the past month.

Even small neighborhood clubs say they are counting patrons more carefully now and limiting the number to their legal capacity.

IOWA

Suspicious powder found at mail center

BOONE — A plant that processes bills and magazine subscriptions sent workers home Monday after a suspicious white powder fell out of an envelope, authorities said. The powder apparently was not dangerous.

“After a preliminary analysis, it would appear this substance is harmless,” Jim Saunders of the Department of Public Safety said late Monday. He said the Iowa Hygienic Laboratory in Iowa City needed to confirm the analysis.

A woman who sorted the mail and handled the envelope at the Boone plant was sent to a hospital as a precaution and the work area was closed off, Des Moines fire inspector Brian O’Keefe said.

MISSOURI

Reward deadline set in missing boy case

ST. LOUIS — The family of a boy missing since October 2002 set a deadline for midnight yesterday for a $75,000 reward for his recovery.

“We’re tired of playing games,” Shawn Hornbeck’s stepfather, Craig Akers, said Monday. “We’re tired of hearing, ‘I heard this story, but I can’t tell you who said it.’”

Shawn was 11 when he disappeared Oct. 6, 2002, while riding his bicycle near his home in Richwoods.

Mr. Akers said in a telephone interview that the deadline was out of the ordinary, but necessary.

“Sometimes people with information will wait it out to see how high the reward will go,” the boy’s mother, Pamela Akers, said in a statement.

NEW MEXICO

State mulls drunken-driving locks

SANTA FE — The state is considering a law that would make all drivers exhale into an alcohol-detection device in their cars before they could start the engine.

The New Mexico House of Representatives on Monday passed a bill to require an ignition lock that will prevent a car from starting if the driver fails a breath test. The bill is being debated in the state Senate.

New Mexico has one of the nation’s highest rates of fatalities caused by driving under the influence. The bill would mandate the ignition lock to be installed in all cars sold or registered in the state by 2009.

One of the devices available now costs about $1,000. It works by requiring a driver to blow into a tube that detects the presence of alcohol.

TENNESSEE

Baptist panel votes to leave world group

NASHVILLE — The executive committee of the Southern Baptist Convention voted yesterday to withdraw from the Baptist World Alliance, saying it has become too liberal and advocates “aberrant and dangerous theologies.”

The recommendation will be presented in June to about 12,000 delegates at the convention’s annual meeting in Indianapolis.

“We want to underscore that our departure is not intended to cast aspersion upon the many godly and enthusiastically evangelical Baptist fellowships that are members” of the alliance, said Morris H. Chapman, president of the convention’s executive committee.

An SBC task force report in December said the alliance had a “decided anti-American tone,” promoted women as pastors, criticized the SBC international missions board, refused to talk about abortion and funded “questionable enterprises.”

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