- The Washington Times - Friday, June 11, 2004

TEXAS

Rain prompts residents to flee homes

DALLAS — Overflowing creeks and rivers across north and central Texas drove hundreds from their homes as rain fell for a fifth day yesterday.

Some of the worst flooding hit west of Fort Worth, where rainfall totals topped 10 inches for the period.

People living near lakes were moving furniture out of their homes and filling sandbags. High water covered every road into Springtown, and about 200 residents of nearby Reno were told to evacuate their homes.

Much of northern Texas remained under flood warnings through the morning, when rain was expected to taper off.

ALASKA

Plan would open land for drilling

ANCHORAGE — The federal government wants 387,000 more acres available for oil and gas drilling in Alaska, a proposal criticized by environmentalists.

The move announced Wednesday is part of a proposed Bureau of Land Management amendment to a 1998 development plan for the northeastern region of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

Henri Bisson, state director for the federal Bureau of Land Management, said the expansion is necessary and would increase potential reserves from 600 million barrels to 2.1 billion barrels.

ALABAMA

Former governor pleads not guilty

BIRMINGHAM — Former Gov. Don Siegelman stood before a federal magistrate yesterday to proclaim himself not guilty of charges that he conspired to rig bids for a state program to help poor pregnant women.

“Your honor, I’m not guilty of these charges,” Mr. Siegelman told U.S. Magistrate Robert Armstrong.

Mr. Siegelman was arraigned with his co-defendants, former Chief of Staff Paul Hamrick and Tuscaloosa physician Phillip Bobo, who also entered not-guilty pleas.

A trial date was not set. Mr. Siegelman was freed on $500 bond, and Dr. Bobo and Mr. Hamrick were freed on $5,000 bonds.

The three were indicted May 27 on charges of conspiracy, health care fraud and theft from a federally funded program. Dr. Bobo was also charged with wire fraud and witness tampering.

ARIZONA

Kitchen worker sues over rape

PHOENIX — A kitchen worker who was raped at the start of one of the nation’s longest prison standoffs is suing the state for lost wages and compensatory damages.

The 54-year-old woman and her husband say Arizona was negligent in allowing a convicted rapist and another violent felon to work in the kitchen with her.

The unidentified couple also say that lax security, poor training, incompetent staffers and other problems at the prison might have contributed to the Jan. 18 incident.

The complaint, filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, doesn’t specify the damages sought. But in the notice of claim filed with the state on March 9, the woman’s attorney said he was seeking $5 million for his client.

CONNECTICUT

Man to pay $1 in defamation suit

WATERBURY — Robert St. Germaine was ordered to pay $1 in damages to Lega Siciliana Social Club Inc. in a defamation lawsuit. He had implied that the Sicilian social club had ties to the Mafia.

Mr. St. Germaine sent a letter to officials complaining about increased traffic and noise after the club was granted a liquor license. He referred to rumors that members of the club were politically connected and had ties to organized crime.

DELAWARE

Senate votes to raise minimum wage

DOVER — The Democrat-led Senate voted 14-7 to approve a measure that would increase the state’s minimum wage by one dollar to $7.15 by Jan. 1, 2006.

The measure faces an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled House. A spokesman for Gov. Ruth Ann Minner says she’ll sign the bill if it reaches her desk.

GEORGIA

Paschal’s is saved from demolition

ATLANTA — Paschal’s Restaurant, where Martin Luther King and other black leaders met over soul food to plan demonstrations during the civil rights movement, has been saved from demolition.

Instead, the downtown restaurant will stand as a monument to the civil rights leaders’ efforts, state Rep. Tyrone Brooks announced yesterday.

Clark Atlanta University, a historically black school, bought the site in 1996 and had planned to demolish it to make way for a dormitory. The black community protested.

Mr. Brooks announced yesterday that the university will sell the property, which also includes a motel, to the development company Trammell Crow Co. Trammell Crow will, in turn, sell the eatery to restaurateur Tracy Gates, who will move her nearby Busy Bee Cafe to the site, Mr. Brooks said. She plans to call it Busy Bee at Historic Paschal’s.

ILLINOIS

Boy, 6, critical after saving girl

CHICAGO RIDGE — Six-year-old Donnie Hauser-Richerme knew he couldn’t swim, but he also knew that the little girl in the murky, debris-filled swimming pool was in trouble.

Donnie jumped in and helped save the life of 5-year-old Karah Moran before becoming stuck in five feet of blackened rainwater and muck at the bottom of the deep end. Paramedics eventually rescued him, but he was in critical condition and on life support yesterday.

Karah called Donnie “my hero.”

“I can’t say enough about this little guy,” said Chicago Ridge police Chief Tim Baldermann. “It’s amazing that this little kid, old enough to understand it’s a dangerous situation, was so brave. Without thinking about himself, he instinctively jumped in to help his friend.”

The rescue occurred Monday as Karah, Donnie, and his 4-year-old brother explored the apartment complex where their families live. Karah had been visiting her grandmother at the complex.

INDIANA

Town official violates no-smoking ordinance

PARKER CITY — A town marshal who was trying to quit smoking got some unexpected tough love from the Town Council — a one-day suspension for violating a no-smoking ordinance.

“Maybe getting a suspension is the best way to quit. It jogs your memory a lot better and gets you back to reality,” Town Marshal Rex Amburn said Monday.

Mr. Amburn, 60, has been a smoker for 40 years. He has tried nicotine patches, pills, lozenges and assorted advice from friends around the east-central Indiana town of about 1,400.

He had cut back from three packs a day to about three cigarettes when a council member recently caught him smoking in his office in the Town Hall. That was a violation of a town ordinance passed in 2000 that prohibits smoking in public buildings and vehicles.

Mr. Amburn lost about $160 in pay. He did not object when the council approved the penalty, and wore a nicotine patch to the meeting.

KANSAS

City approves sales of liquor on Sundays

TOPEKA — An ordinance allowing liquor to be sold in Topeka on Sundays was approved by the City Council. The measure will allow retail sales of alcoholic drinks on Sundays and three holidays: Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day.

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled this year that local governments can opt out of the 1949 state law banning Sunday liquor sales. At least 14 cities and one county have reversed the ban.

LOUISIANA

Senate OKs proposal banning gay ‘marriage’

BATON ROUGE — The Louisiana Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex “marriage,” but still in question is when the issue will go before voters.

The Senate measure, approved by a 31-6 vote, calls for an election Sept. 18, while state Rep. Steve Scalise, a Republican and sponsor of the House proposal, has said that he wanted it decided during the November election.

Both houses passed similar versions of the bill with much more than the required two-thirds vote, and the election date has been the only major subject of disagreement.

MINNESOTA

Statue of veteran gets new home

DULUTH — Civil War veteran Albert Woolson has regained some dignity.

Years of pigeon and gull droppings were scrubbed off the head and body of his statue Wednesday, and it got a new home.

Mr. Woolson was recognized as the last surviving member of the Union Army. He died in Duluth on Aug. 6, 1956, at 109.

A bronze statue of Mr. Woolson had been on display in Canal Park on the Lake Superior waterfront since 1983.

On Wednesday morning, crews loaded the larger-than-life likeness onto a truck and hauled it to the Depot, also known as St. Louis County Heritage and Arts Center, the train station that houses the county historical society and other groups.

OKLAHOMA

Nichols jury ends day without deciding

McALESTER — The jury in the Terry Nichols murder trial ended a second day of deliberations yesterday without deciding whether the Oklahoma City bombing conspirator should live or die.

If jurors cannot reach a decision, Judge Steven Taylor will be required to sentence Nichols to life in prison. Deliberations were to resume today, the third anniversary of the execution of Timothy McVeigh, Nichols’ co-conspirator.

Nichols’ jury already has taken longer to decide his sentence than the about five hours it took to convict him on 161 state counts of first-degree murder. Victims’ family members who favor the death penalty said they are concerned that the jury is taking longer to decide Nichols’ sentence.

“It’s scary,” said Donnetta Apple, whose brother, Thomas Hawthorne, was killed in the explosion.

But “no matter what, we’ve already won a victory,” she said, referring to Nichols’ conviction.

PENNSYLVANIA

Ex-official charged with fixing tickets

PHILADELPHIA — A former city official fixed hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of parking tickets for politicians and other well-connected people in exchange for money, food, liquor and political favors, an indictment issued Wednesday says.

A federal grand jury accused Joseph F. Hoffman Jr., former head of Philadelphia’s Bureau of Administrative Adjudication, of improperly dismissing tickets or reducing fines for a long list of public officials, ward leaders, business owners and members of city political committees.

Mr. Hoffman, 48, was indicted on charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy and extortion.

The indictment gave the titles of at least 15 persons who reportedly had tickets fixed by Mr. Hoffman, but did not name them.

RHODE ISLAND

Man convicted in carjacking deaths

PROVIDENCE — The last of five defendants was convicted yesterday for the murders of two college students as they begged for their lives after a carjacking.

The jury found Kenneth Day guilty on nine counts of murder, bribery, carjacking and conspiracy. He could be sentenced to life in prison without parole. No sentencing date was set.

Amy Shute, 21, and Jason Burgeson, 20, were killed in June 2000 after a gang carjacked their sport utility vehicle in Providence and drove them to a construction site about five miles away. The men split $18 taken from the couple and took the SUV.

Three of the other defendants are serving life sentences, and the fourth is serving a 30-year term.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Principal reassigned after grade changes

SUMMERVILLE — David Pugh, principal of Summerville High School, was reassigned after some teachers said grades for five seniors were changed to allow them to graduate.

The students now must attend summer school. Mr. Pugh will become assistant principal at Givhans Alternative School.

VERMONT

Farmer strikes bus to avert goat disaster

CORINTH — Goat farmer Chris Weathersbee struck a school bus with an aluminum tube and bleated at the bus to hurry so that his flock wouldn’t flee.

Vermont State Police are investigating, after Mr. Weathersbee says he hit the bus with the tube, which he was using to herd about 60 goats that were returning to their pen. He says he yelled at the bus to speed up because he feared a “major goat escape disaster” as it dropped off children in front of his farm Tuesday.

Mr. Weathersbee said he made a statement to police and apologized for the “abusive language,” but added that he thought the bus driver should have gone around the goats. He said he had to spend two hours rounding up the animals.

Police are considering whether to file a disorderly conduct charge, said Lt. Walter Goodell.

WISCONSIN

Teacher loses weight, raises school funds

RACINE — Joe Clazmer lost 100 pounds, and gained nearly $11,000 for local schools.

Mr. Clazmer, who now weighs in at 371 pounds, turned his weight loss into a fund-raiser in January, raising $106.83 for each pound lost.

By dropping 100 pounds, he raised $10,683 for the Racine Educational Alternative Learning School or REAL, where he teaches math, and St. Catherine’s High School, his alma mater. Willie Maryland, one of REAL’s co-directors, said the schools will split the money.

Mr. Clazmer’s Monday weigh-in marked the end of the fund-raiser, but he wants to keep losing weight.

“If I had to pick a goal, and people have been asking me that lately, another 100 pounds, and I’m sure I would be very comfortable at that.”

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