- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 9, 2004

MONTANA

Officials back limited bison hunt

BILLINGS — State wildlife officials are recommending a limited hunt of bison that leave Yellowstone National Park in search of winter forage.

Ranchers and livestock industry officials worry that wandering bison could transmit disease to cattle. Allowing hunters to shoot up to 25 bison each winter was the preferred alternative in an environmental assessment by Montana’s Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

The hunting season would run from Nov. 15 to Feb. 15 in areas where bison from Yellowstone now are captured or killed by government officials or coaxed back into the park to keep them from roaming, said Kurt Alt, a regional wildlife manager with the agency.

A decision could come this summer, Mr. Alt said, with a hunt at the end of this year.

NORTH CAROLINA

Shooting suspect found dead

CHEROKEE — A fugitive charged with killing his ex-girlfriend exchanged gunfire with authorities and was found dead after his car crashed in a ravine in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, authorities said yesterday.

John Peck, 28, a former University of North Carolina at Wilmington student, was charged Saturday with murder in the death of his ex-girlfriend, Christen Marie Naujoks, 22, a student at the university. Her body was found Friday night, lying on the sidewalk of her Wilmington apartment complex with gunshot wounds.

Witnesses said a woman was banging on doors as a man chased her with a rifle, shooting her three times.

ALABAMA

Long-serving mayor plans to retire

RAINBOW CITY — Sue Glidewell, the state’s longest-serving female mayor, says she won’t seek a seventh term and plans to retire in October after 24 years in the post.

She said her biggest challenge now is weeding through the pictures, caps, cups and “Bama” paraphernalia that have taken over her office. She has served in city government for 37 years, starting in 1967 as city clerk.

CALIFORNIA

Court upholds ruling on cross

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court has ruled that an 8-foot cross in the Mojave National Preserve that originally was intended as a war memorial is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.

The case was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of a retired National Park Service employee who objected to the religious symbolism of the steel-pipe structure.

The cross, the subject of constant attack by vandals, was constructed in 1934 by a group of World War I veterans. According to a plaque they placed nearby, the cross was intended as a memorial, but has since attracted Christian worshippers. Congress has declared the site a war memorial.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday upheld that ruling.

COLORADO

Ex-cadet pleads guilty in rape case

AIR FORCE ACADEMY — The only cadet to face a court-martial after a rape scandal last year pleaded guilty yesterday to reduced charges.

Douglas L. Meester of Marco Island, Fla., was accused of assaulting a fellow cadet in October 2002 during a night of heavy drinking in a dorm room. He originally had been charged with rape, sodomy, indecent assault and providing alcohol to minors.

Those charges were dropped and, in exchange, Meester pleaded guilty to conduct unbecoming an officer, indecent acts and dereliction of duty. Meester has left the academy and is on extended leave from the Air Force. The service said his status will depend on the type of sentence he receives.

GEORGIA

Students found guilty of terroristic threats

WINDER — Two middle school students accused of plotting a Columbine-style killing spree were found guilty yesterday of making terroristic threats, but cleared of the more serious charge of conspiring to kill a teacher.

The two 14-year-olds hugged their parents and each other after Juvenile Court Judge Kevin Guidry found them guilty of three counts each of making terroristic threats.

The boys, identified only as Adam and Joseph, had been charged with conspiracy to commit murder at their rural school about 50 miles northeast of Atlanta.

Judge Guidry ordered them confined to their houses with ankle monitors until social history reports can be completed. He will rule on a punishment after that.

ILLINOIS

3 symptoms linked to ovarian cancer

CHICAGO — A cluster of three common symptoms in women — a swollen abdomen, a bloated feeling and urgent urination — should raise suspicions of ovarian cancer if they are persistent, severe and began recently, a study says.

The three symptoms are among many that have been associated with ovarian cancer, but because they also affect most healthy women at some point in their lives, they often are not seen as a warning sign for cancer.

The study, which appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association today, might help narrow the list of symptoms that signal a need for further tests, said lead author Dr. Barbara Goff, a gynecologic cancer specialist at the University of Washington.

MASSACHUSETTS

Boston Transit system to start rider searches

BOSTON — Transit police will begin stopping riders randomly on Boston’s subways and commuter trains next month to search their bags and packages, a procedure transportation officials say was prompted largely by the March 11 train bombings in Spain.

The policy is to be in place for the Democratic National Convention next month, Joseph Carter, chief of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority police, told the Boston Globe in editions yesterday. It will include explosive-sniffing dogs and all 247 uniformed MBTA police officers, he said.

Mr. Carter said the MBTA has not announced the policy formally because officials are working out the details on how to balance security and privacy concerns.

NEW YORK

Mayor proposes overhaul of noise code

NEW YORK — Now New York wants to be the city that sleeps.

In his latest effort at improving the quality of life for citizens of the city that never sleeps, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on Monday proposed the largest overhaul of the city’s noise code in three decades.

Barking dogs, humming air conditioners, booming car stereos, music spilling out of bars and clubs as well as heavy-duty construction noise will result in fines if the City Council approves the rules.

Mr. Bloomberg said the measures would allow New York to stay vibrant, “by balancing the need for construction, development and an exciting night life with New Yorkers’ well-deserved right to peace and quiet.”

No date has been set for a vote.

OHIO

Inmate executed for guard’s murder

CINCINNATI — Ohio yesterday executed a man who killed a jail guard with a makeshift knife intended for an attack on another inmate.

William Zuern, 45, died by injection at 10:04 a.m. EDT in the death chamber at Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, state officials said.

On June 9, 1984, Zuern, then in jail awaiting trial for the murder of a Cincinnati man, used a sharpened bucket handle to stab guard Phillip Pence in the chest. Pence died at a hospital.

Guards had been alerted by other prisoners that Zuern planned on killing another inmate, and the guard was stabbed when he came to search Zuern’s cell.

OREGON

Recall effort fails in gay ‘marriage’ issue

PORTLAND — A recall petition drive has failed against two county commissioners who approved “marriage” licenses for homosexuals in March.

Chairwoman Diane Linn and Commissioner Lisa Naito said they were relieved that the petition drive led by the Christian Coalition missed the Monday deadline to submit the 37,000 signatures needed to place the recall on the ballot.

John Belgarde, executive director of the Christian Coalition, said about 35,000 signatures were gathered.

On March 3, four Multnomah County commissioners met privately and decided, with no public hearings, that the county would begin issuing the licenses to same-sex couples.

More than 3,000 same-sex couples were “married” before the judge’s ruling.

TEXAS

Bread, water diet given for horse neglect

HOUSTON — A Texas woman convicted of neglecting her two horses will get only bread and water for the first three days of a 30-day jail sentence, a judge said yesterday.

The Old West-style punishment was fitting for a crime in which Melissa Dawn Sweeney, 28, treated the horses “deplorably,” County Court at Law Judge Mike Peters said.

The former stable worker was convicted Friday of cruelty to animals for leaving the horses unfed and unsheltered for four months outside her mobile home in Baytown, Texas, the Houston Chronicle said.

Judge Peters said the horses were more than 200 pounds underweight and in poor health.

The judge also required the woman to post a photo of the horses in her cell.

UTAH

Inmate sues over pagan tablets

SALT LAKE CITY — Prison inmate Phillip Leishman has filed a lawsuit against correction officials for prohibiting him from having runes, wooden tablets bearing mystical symbols.

Authorities contend that the runes could be used for magical rituals to frighten other inmates. Leishman says he is a follower of a branch of a pagan religion of pre-Christian northern Europeans.

VERMONT

Man changes plea in death of trooper

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — A man who pleaded not guilty to killing a state trooper in a hit-and-run accident changed his plea Monday, officials said.

In a plea bargain with prosecutors, Eric Daley pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter — one year after his car struck state police Sgt. Michael Johnson on Interstate 91.

Police said Daley had been fleeing authorities after being pulled over for speeding. Sgt. Johnson, 39, was killed when Daley’s car slammed into him, police said. The trooper had placed spike strips in the highway to stop Daley.

Daley pleaded not guilty last year, but several of the charges were reduced as part of the plea deal.

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