- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 29, 2004


Mayor suffers stroke during speech

SAN JOSE — The mayor of California’s third-largest city suffered a mild stroke during his annual State of the City address and was in fair condition yesterday, authorities said.

Mayor Ron Gonzales, 52, was alert but “obviously uncomfortable” as paramedics took him to San Jose Medical Center on Wednesday evening, said David Vossbrink, the mayor’s spokesman.

“There’s no slurred speech. His motor skills seem to be just fine,” hospital spokeswoman Leslie Kelsay said.

Vice Mayor Pat Dando told the audience of about 5,000 that the mayor had fallen ill and the rest of the program was canceled.

City Manager Del Borgsdorf will run daily operations for the city of 900,000 while Mr. Gonzales recuperates, Mr. Vossbrink said.


‘Godfather of Soul’ released from jail

AIKEN — James Brown was released from jail yesterday on a domestic violence charge and was told not to contact the wife he is accused of pushing to the floor.

The 70-year-old “Godfather of Soul,” who had been arrested the previous day at the couple’s home, denied the charge at a brief hearing.

“The main thing is I would never hurt my wife and beat up on her like that,” Mr. Brown said. “I love her very much.”

Investigators say Mr. Brown pushed Tomi Rae Brown, 33, to the floor during an argument in a bedroom. She had scratches and bruises on her right arm and hip and was taken to an Augusta, Ga., hospital, Aiken County police said. She was not present at yesterday’s hearing.

Last month, Mr. Brown was honored at the Kennedy Center as “one of the most influential musicians of the past 50 years.”


Lawyer guilty of mailing snake

LITTLE ROCK — An Arkansas lawyer and his son will be heading to prison soon after pleading guilty to mailing a threatening communication — a poisonous snake.

Bob Sam Castleman, a lawyer and former city judge in Pocahontas, Ark., and his son, Jerrod, were charged with mailing a cardboard box containing a copperhead snake to a neighbor with whom they had feuded. The two pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday.

The wife of the man to whom the poisonous package was addressed opened the box and saw the snake, about 28 inches long, slither out. Police soon arrived on the scene in Pocahontas, about 140 miles northeast of Little Rock, and fatally shot the snake.

The elder Castleman faces 27 months to 33 months in prison, while his son faces a longer term of 31 months to 44 months on the same charge because he had a previous conviction. A sentencing date has not been set.


New matter created in ultracold conditions

BOULDER — Scientists say they have created a new form of matter from a half-million potassium atoms chilled to within a whisper of absolute zero, the coldest possible temperature.

Physicists working at a joint laboratory operated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Colorado call the new matter a “fermionic” gas. Its properties are described in the current issue of the journal Physical Review Letters.

Industry probably won’t have a practical use for fermionic gas for decades. Eventually, it might help engineers achieve superconductivity, or the state in which electricity flows without resistance, at everyday temperatures. That would dramatically improve computers and electrical power generation, as well as systems like magnetic-levitation trains.


Actress critically hurts pedestrian in crash

MIAMI — Actress Robin Givens struck and critically injured an 89-year-old pedestrian in a crosswalk, police said yesterday.

Miss Givens, a star of the 1980s TV comedy “Head of the Class” and the ex-wife of boxer Mike Tyson, struck Maria Antonia Alcover with her sport utility vehicle Wednesday as the woman was crossing a busy intersection during rush hour, police spokesman Delrish Moss said. Police have ruled it an accident.

Miss Givens, 39, of New York, was issued a traffic summons for failing to use due care when a pedestrian is in the crosswalk.


Man accused of giving bogus terrorism tips

CHICAGO — For the second time this month, authorities charged a man with making up a story about family members planning terrorism, sending dozens of FBI agents on what the agency said was a wild goose hunt.

According to the charges, Awni Abughoush, 40, told the FBI last week that his sister drove a lunch truck and planned to poison its food or rig the truck with explosives.

Agents confronted Mr. Abughoush, an Israeli-born German citizen visiting Tinley Park on a tourist visa, on Tuesday after his sister and other relatives said he was upset over a money dispute, the charges said.

Mr. Abughoush was arrested Wednesday and later released on his own recognizance.

On Jan. 13, Abdul Rauf Noormohamed of Chicago was accused of falsely telling federal officials his relatives were planning to detonate bombs at high-profile locations including the Sears Tower and Soldier Field. FBI agents said Mr. Noormohamed, 59, had been quarreling with the relatives and two others.


10-month-old girl drowns in toilet

LONDON — A 10-month-old girl drowned after falling into a toilet in her family’s home, police said.

Brianna Morgan, who had just begun learning to crawl and walk, got into the bathroom, then pulled herself on top of her mother’s jewelry box on the floor, police said. She apparently leaned over and fell head first into the toilet, which held 6 inches of water.

Brianna’s 10-year-old brother discovered her and pulled her out of the toilet as another brother dialed 911, WLEX-TV reported. Their mother, who had been in the basement, tried cardiopulmonary resuscitation but couldn’t revive her daughter.

Police said Brianna, who was a twin, might have been in the water as long as three minutes.


Owner wants to give diner to city

PORTLAND — Randall Chasse, owner of the Miss Portland Diner, wants to donate the 54-year-old building to the city. He failed at giving away the eatery in an essay context and selling it on EBay.

Mr. Chasse, 62, wants to donate the diner on condition that it be moved to another site. The city has expressed interest.


Archdiocese settles suit with priest’s kids

BOSTON — The Boston Archdiocese has settled a wrongful-death lawsuit in one of the most notorious cases to emerge from its clergy sex-abuse crisis — a priest who fathered two children with a woman, then fled when she overdosed on drugs.

In announcing a settlement yesterday in the case against the Rev. James Foley, Archbishop Sean O’Malley issued a strongly worded statement condemning priests who have sexual relationships with parishioners.

The amount of the settlement was not disclosed. As part of the deal, Cardinal Bernard Law, former archbishop of Boston, has agreed to meet privately with the woman’s four children.

Mr. Foley was removed from ministry in December 2002 after his personnel file was released publicly, including records detailing multiple affairs he had with married women.


Tanker hits pickup, spills ethyl alcohol

PAW PAW — A tanker truck collided with a pickup truck, spilling ethyl alcohol onto the highway and killing at least one person, authorities said. About 150 area residents were evacuated.

The tanker’s cargo of the flammable liquid spilled onto Interstate 94 after the crash Wednesday evening near Paw Paw, County Administrator John Faul said.

Authorities said there was no information about the person killed.

The cause of the crash was under investigation, but it appeared that snow and wind were a factor, Mr. Faul said.


Campaign battles public urination

MINNEAPOLIS — “Go before you go.”

That’s the slogan under consideration for a new campaign in Minneapolis to combat public urination.

The Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association plans to spend $10,000 in an effort to persuade patrons to use the bar restrooms before they call it a night.

The association’s Kim Motes calls public urination a nuisance crime that makes a mess of the neighborhood.


Man arrested in hit-run death

NEW YORK — A man was arrested on a manslaughter charge for reputedly leaving the scene of a fatal accident in which a teenage mother was struck by three hit-and-run drivers.

Raymundo Herrera, 32, of Long Beach, also was charged with reckless endangerment and criminally negligent homicide in the Jan. 18 death of Natalie Guzman, authorities said.

Mr. Herrera drove the third vehicle to strike Miss Guzman, 18, who by then was lying in the street surrounded by people who came to her aid, authorities said. The other two drivers still are being sought.

Mr. Herrera was arraigned Wednesday night in Queens Criminal Court, where a judge set bail at $25,000. A spokesman for the district attorney did not know whether the bail was posted.

Investigators were able to track a license plate number to a gray sport utility vehicle belonging to Mr. Herrera’s brother, police said. Police then were able to collect DNA evidence from the vehicle, a spokesman said.


Rare whale found dead on coast

KURE BEACH — A rare dense-beaked whale, which has large teeth protruding from its jaw, washed up on a North Carolina beach this week, giving scientists hope of learning more about the unusual-looking animal.

The 14-foot whale was found early Wednesday near the Kure Beach-Carolina Beach town line. Scientists remain uncertain what caused its death.

The whale didn’t have apparent signs of fatal injuries, but had some abrasions caused by thrashing around once it hit the beach. It also had marks caused by other males, probably during sparring contests for females.


Scientist finds Pole warmer than state

BISMARCK — Geology professor Allan Ashworth says his visit to Antarctica was like a tropical getaway from his hometown of Fargo.

The North Dakota State University professor recently returned from six weeks at the bottom of the world, about 300 miles northeast of the South Pole.

“It was balmy compared to here,” Mr. Ashworth said by telephone from Fargo, which reported a temperature of 29 below zero Wednesday morning, with a wind chill of more than 40 below. Mr. Ashworth said temperatures in Antarctica, where it’s summer now, never got colder than 15 below zero while he was there. He noted, though, that wintertime temperatures at the South Pole can reach 80 below.


38 jobs cut at Tulsa World

TULSA — World Publishing Co. has cut 38 jobs at the Tulsa World, the first layoffs at the newspaper in at least 87 years.

Robert E. Lorton III, company president, said yesterday the cuts represent about 5 percent of the newspaper’s work force and are in all areas of the paper.

“We have been hit like a lot of other businesses in our community by the economic downturn over the last few years,” he said. “Technology has also changed our business to where some job descriptions were just not necessary anymore.”


Doomed killer claims role in Davis case

HUNTSVILLE — Time finally ran out for condemned killer Billy Frank Vickers, but as he went to his death he left behind an unexpected disclosure that he may have been involved in more than a dozen murder cases, including the Cullen Davis case.

“I would like to clear some things up if I could,” Vickers, 58, said strapped to the Texas death chamber gurney Wednesday night in the moments before he received lethal injection for the slaying of a grocery store owner in Lamar County in March 1993.

He acknowledged that fatal shooting during a botched robbery, reversing his previous denials, adding: “There was several more that I had done or had a part of. I am sorry and I am not sure how many — there must be a dozen or 14 I believe all total.

“One I would like to clear up is Cullen Davis, where he was charged with shooting his wife. He didn’t do that. And all of these it was never nothing personal. It was just something I did to make a living.”

In 1976, millionaire oilman Mr. Davis was accused of killing his estranged wife’s boyfriend, Stan Farr, and 12-year-old daughter, Andrea Wilborn, at his Fort Worth mansion. The wife, Priscilla Davis, and a family friend were wounded. He was acquitted of his stepdaughter’s murder and later was acquitted of murder-for-hire charges in a separate case.


Guard unit will deploy to Iraq for year

OLYMPIA — The Washington National Guard’s 81st Armored Brigade will start moving to Iraq next month for a yearlong tour of duty, its officers announced at a community meeting.

A deployment ceremony for the 3,500 soldiers is scheduled Feb. 7 at the Tacoma Dome. The deployment is the largest for the Washington National Guard since World War II.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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