- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 5, 2004


Governor released from hospital

PORTLAND — Gov. John Baldacci was injured in a car accident yesterday but could conduct business from his hospital bed and eventually talked his doctors into sending him home.

Mr. Baldacci, who suffered a broken rib and bruises, slipped out of Maine Medical Center last night without talking to reporters. He later walked unassisted into the governor’s mansion.

“He felt it was time to go home and get back to work,” spokesman Lee Umphrey said.

Mr. Baldacci was being driven by his state police bodyguard, James Trask, when their sport utility vehicle struck a car, went off an interstate and rolled onto its side yesterday morning.


Scientists can study Kennewick Man

PORTLAND — Scientists can study the Kennewick Man — 9,300-year-old remains found in Washington state — despite the objections of some American Indian tribes, a federal appeals court ruled yesterday.

Northwest tribes consider the bones sacred and want to bury them. But the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a lower court that found the federal grave-protection law does not apply because no evidence connects the remains with any existing tribe.

Kennewick Man has drawn scientific interest because it is one of the oldest, most complete skeletons found in North America, with characteristics unlike


Teachers want to end ‘Left Behind’ law

ANCHORAGE — State teachers want to drop the federal No Child Left Behind law, giving up millions of dollars in funding.

At an annual gathering, teachers voted to send that message to the state. It is better to forgo the funding and not have to deal with the mandates, said the president of the National Education Association’s Alaska chapter.


Accident victim was drunk, witness says

PHOENIX — The man who was killed in a hit-and-run accident involving Catholic Bishop Thomas O’Brien had stumbled into an apartment minutes before, apparently drunk, a woman testified yesterday at Bishop O’Brien’s trial.

Stacy Arey told jurors that Jim Reed, 43, wandered into her apartment while the doors were open and asked for $2 for the bus.

Miss Arey said Mr. Reed walked out after she shouted at him to leave and flashed a knife at him.

The bishop is on trial on charges of leaving the scene of an accident that killed Mr. Reed.

Also on the stand yesterday was the Rev. Daniel Syverstad, who saw the bishop during Mass the day after the accident. He testified Bishop O’Brien said he thought an animal or rock had struck the car, damaging the windshield. Bishop O’Brien told police the same account.


Hearst, conservancy reach ranch deal

LOS ANGELES — The Hearst Corp. has reached a deal with conservationists to preserve a scenic stretch of ranchland the Hearst family has owned for generations, allowing the company to receive $80 million in cash and $15 million in state tax credits.

In an deal brokered by the American Land Conservancy, public and private money would buy 1.75 square miles of coastal land, while the rest of the 128-square-mile Hearst Ranch would be protected under an easement strictly limiting development.

The tract of beach, grassland and forest about 200 miles north of Los Angeles surrounds Hearst Castle, the never-completed dream home of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst that draws tourists from around the world.


Jailer suspended for targeting inmate

SALIDA — A part-time jailer has been suspended and could face criminal charges for reportedly shocking an inmate with a 50,000-volt electric charge during Taser gun practice.

Scott Glenn, a Chaffee County officer, was placed on administrative leave Tuesday and could be fired, Sheriff Tim Walker said. Prosecutors were investigating.

Officer Glenn is accused of shocking Thomas Montoya with a Taser during a sheriff’s training class on Oct. 17 as he served an 18-month sentence on a probation violation at the Chaffee County Detention Center in Salida.

“Imagine 50,000 volts traveling through your body. Would it hurt?” said Montoya, 42.


Teen charged in killing of classmate

PALMETTO BAY — A 14-year-old boy is charged with murder in the slaying of a classmate found bleeding to death in a school bath-room.

The two boys “knew each other very well,” said Chief Pete Cuccaro of the Miami-Dade Schools Police Department. He refused to elaborate on their relationship.

Jaime Rodrigo Gough, 14, was found early Tuesday at Southwood Middle School, a magnet school specializing in visual and performing arts, authorities said.

Police would not comment on the boy’s wounds. The Miami Herald said his throat was apparently cut.

Michael Hernandez was charged with first-degree murder late Tuesday, police said.


Lawmakers consider car-smoking bill

ATLANTA — Georgia lawmakers are considering a first-in-the-nation law that would require drivers who smoke to roll down the windows before lighting up with children in the car.

The measure, approved 9-0 yesterday by a state House committee, would impose a $15 fine.

Supporters say toddlers need legal protection from secondhand smoke. Opponents consider the measure intrusive.

The House narrowly approved the measure last year, but the Senate rejected the idea. The bill will not get a better reception this year, said Sen. Eric Johnson, a Senate leader.


Chicago smokers may pay more

CHICAGO — Smokers could soon be paying a lot more to light up in Chicago.

Cook County commissioners on Tuesday tentatively approved an 82-cents-per-pack increase in the cigarette tax. The board voted 9-8 to endorse the proposal, which will not take effect until the county approves its 2004 budget, expected to be voted on in the next few weeks.

Commissioner Robert Maldonado said the price increase would encourage smokers to quit, reduce the county’s health care costs and generate new revenue.

But retailers insisted the heavier tax would cause smokers to buy cigarettes in Indiana or other counties where taxes are lower. They said they might be forced to fire workers as a result.


Cloning attempt failed, doctor says

LEXINGTON — A fertility doctor who claimed last month he had implanted a cloned embryo in a woman said yesterday that no pregnancy resulted from the attempt.

Dr. Panayiotis Zavos said he will continue his efforts to produce cloned human embryos despite criticism from the scientific community.

“If we are not successful, we are going to try again and again and again until we get it,” Dr. Zavos said from his Lexington office.


GOP chief to leave for Bush campaign

BATON ROUGE — Pat Brister, the head of the Louisiana Republican Party, says she won’t seek re-election to the post so she can spend more time working for the re-election of President Bush.

She would not say what role she will play in the campaign.


Minorities have better odds for transplants

BOSTON — A federally mandated change in the way doctors test for compatibility in kidney transplants has increased the number of organs going to minorities by about 7.2 percent, a New England Journal of Medicine study reported yesterday.

Under the previous system, whites were twice as likely to receive a donated kidney than nonwhites.

The policy calls for ignoring part of the scoring system that determines whether a donated kidney and a would-be recipient are a good match.

The scoring criteria was changed last May by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services after it received advance results of the New England Journal of Medicine study.


Troopers to display state flag tags

JACKSON — After a four-year ban, Mississippi Highway Patrol cars will again display the state flag and its prominent Confederate emblem.

“It will be done in a way so there will be discretion for them to display the United States flag and the state flag. And it will be done in a way so that it will be uniform,” Public Safety Commissioner Rusty Fortenberry said this week.

Mr. Fortenberry had been asked by new Republican Gov. Haley Barbour to review the ban, which had been in effect since 2000. L.M. Claiborne, who was then head of the Highway Patrol, had applied the ban to all tags and decals during the first days of Democratic Gov. Ronnie Musgrove’s administration.


Foster child forced to ‘wait’ on corpse

CLARK — A couple has been charged with forcing their 13-year-old foster daughter to take meals to an elderly relative’s room for several weeks even though they knew the man, the wife’s father, had died, prosecutors said.

Police were called to the house in August and an autopsy determined that the 82-year-old man had been dead for several weeks in the room where the girl was sent every day with food.

Kenneth and Donna Keaveney were charged Tuesday with child cruelty and elder neglect after a five-month investigation, Union County Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow said.

The 13-year-old and two other foster children, ages 11 and 4, were immediately removed from the house by the state Division of Youth and Family Services.


Ferry disaster survivor dies at age 100

NEW YORK — Adella Wotherspoon, believed to be the last survivor of the deadly 1904 fire and sinking of the excursion ferry General Slocum, has died. She was 100.

Mrs. Wotherspoon died at a convalescent home in Berkeley Heights, N.J., close friend Julia Clevett said in yesterday’s New York Times. The retired teacher died Jan. 26, the newspaper said.

Mrs. Wotherspoon was just 6 months old when the excursion ferry named for Civil War Maj. Gen. Henry Warner Slocum caught fire as it took a group of German-American church members on an outing. The disaster killed 1,021 of the 1,300 persons aboard, according to most sources. Mrs. Wotherspoon’s parents,Anna and Paul Liebenow, survived.


Student suspended for saying ‘hell’

PITTSBURGH — A second-grader was suspended for a day for telling a classmate he would go to hell for saying, “I swear to God.”

Brandy McKenith, 7, was suspended for saying the word “hell,” but her family says she was referring to the biblical location of fire and brimstone.

She served the suspension Tuesday.

The Pittsburgh public schools’ student code of conduct prohibits profanity, but doesn’t provide a definition, spokeswoman Pat Crawford said. The school would not comment further.

Brandy’s father, Wayne McKenith, said he asked the school to evaluate its profanity policy.


Stowaway fined, placed on probation

FORT WORTH — A man who shipped himself in an airline-cargo crate from New York to Dallas because he was homesick and did not want to pay for a plane ticket was fined $1,500 yesterday and placed on probation for a year.

Charles D. McKinley was also sentenced to four months under house arrest.

McKinley, a 25-year-old shipping clerk at a New York warehouse, pleaded guilty in November to stowing away on a cargo jet and could have received a year in prison and a $100,000 fine. He had no comment yesterday.

The fine was far more than what it would have cost to fly first class.


Groom in hospital; wedding still on

ST. GEORGE — Laura Moody got something black and blue for her wedding, but unfortunately it was her groom.

With swollen and blackened eyes and morphine shooting through his veins to dull the pain from spleen surgery and broken ribs, Chris Pitchford struggled Monday to say his vows through a feeding tube that had been placed down his throat.

Both he and Miss Moody, 18, had vowed the wedding would go on, less than 48 hours after Mr. Pitchford, 23, said he was beaten during an altercation with strangers outside a Nevada casino during his bachelor party.

The wedding was originally planned Monday afternoon at a relative’s home, but his condition prevented him from leaving the hospital. So instead, Mr. Pitchford was wheeled into the hospital’s 12-seat chapel for the makeshift ceremony while friends and family spilled out into the hospital’s corridor.


Homeless racehorse sold at auction

MARYSVILLE — A retired racing thoroughbred found wandering along a country road was sold for nearly $1,400 to the couple who took him in and came to love him.

Erin and Steve Porter bought the horse they call Stretch on Tuesday at the Marysville Livestock Auction for $1,375. Most of the money was raised by 4-H clubs.

The couple had taken care of him temporarily after he was found in December not far from where they live. “He was real gentle,” Steve Porter said. “He’d follow me around the field, rub me with his head. He loved to get carrots.”

News reports on the 7-year-old dark bay gelding’s plight drew dozens of calls and e-mails from around the United States and Canada, said Ralph Vacca, general manager of the Washington Thoroughbred Breeders Association.


Judge orders removal of commandments

MADISON — A federal judge Tuesday ordered the removal of a Ten Commandments monument in a public park because it unconstitutionally promotes a particular religious view.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb wrote she was not swayed by the city of La Crosse’s move to sell the 22-by-20 foot plot to the Fraternal Order of Eagles, which donated the monument in 1965.

La Crosse sold the land after a lawsuit was filed in 2002 that argued the display violated the separation of church and state. The city also put up fences and signs disclaiming endorsement of the commandments.

“No matter how many fences or signs the city and the order build, it is impossible to defeat the impression that the monument is still part of the city’s property,” Judge Crabb wrote.

From staff reports and wire dispatches.

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