- The Washington Times - Friday, November 12, 2004

Paige reported leaving Cabinet

Education Secretary Rod Paige is the third member of President Bush’s Cabinet reported to be leaving the administration in a second term. However, department officials declined to confirm Mr. Paige’s departure, despite rumors since Mr. Bush’s re-election.

But Fox News reported last night, without confirmation from the secretary or the White House, that he will leave the post. Other confirmed Cabinet departures are Attorney General John Ashcroft and Commerce Secretary Donald L. Evans.

Mr. Paige’s rumored successor is Margaret Spellings, 46, Mr. Bush’s chief White House domestic policy adviser who was a lobbyist for the Texas Association of School Boards, and spearheaded the president’s No Child Left Behind Act.

Another candidate to succeed Mr. Paige is Deputy Education Secretary Eugene W. Hickok and Nina S. Rees, undersecretary for education improvement and innovation.

Nichols’ prosecutor arrested in sting

OKLAHOMA CITY — One of the prosecutors in bombing conspirator Terry Nichols’ murder trial was arrested in a police prostitution sting, officials said yesterday.

Assistant District Attorney Lou Keel was accused of trying to hire a woman for sex Thursday evening. The woman was an undercover police officer, authorities said.

He was booked on a charge of offering to engage in an act of lewdness with a prostitute, police Capt. Jeffrey Becker said. Mr. Keel posted bond and was released. District Attorney Wes Lane said he has suspended Mr. Keel with pay pending a review of the police investigation.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Keel’s office declined to comment.

Woman sentenced in 9/11 scheme

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A woman who fraudulently collected nearly $100,000 from organizations helping families victimized by the September 11 terrorist attacks has been sentenced to 10 months in jail.

Donna Miller, 49, had acknowledged during a September hearing that she falsely claimed her husband was missing or dead in the 2001 World Trade Center attack. He was not aware of the scam, authorities said.

Miller, of Sparta, received more than $70,000 from the American Red Cross and $20,000 from Safe Horizons in New York. Under a plea deal, she was not charged in the second case but must repay both organizations.

She pleaded guilty to false pretenses over $20,000, a felony that carried a maximum of 10 years behind bars and $250,000 in fines. After serving the 10-month jail term, she must spend four months under house arrest and perform 250 hours of community service.

FAA seeks source of ice that hit house

KENT, Wash. — Investigators are trying to identify the source of ice chunks that smashed through the roof of a house in this Seattle suburb last week, landing on the bed of a 7-year-old girl.

They believe the ice formed on an aircraft and broke free, potentially indicating a mechanical or design problem, said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Mike Fergus. Investigators are certain it was not “blue ice,” which comes from leaking airplane lavatories, he added.

Troy Halte said his family returned home Nov. 4 to find a hole in the ceiling of their daughter’s bedroom and five chunks of ice on the bed, three of them “the size of grapefruit.” Three more chunks had fallen in the back yard.

Mr. Fergus said FAA officials are reviewing air traffic control tapes to check for planes that passed over the neighborhood that afternoon.

Police use stun gun on 6-year-old boy

MIAMI — Police used a stun gun on a 6-year-old boy in his principal’s office because he was brandishing a piece of glass and threatening to hurt himself, officials said Thursday.

The boy, who was not identified, was shocked with 50,000 volts on Oct. 20 at Kelsey Pharr Elementary School. Principal Maria Mason called 911 after the child broke a picture frame in her office and waved a piece of glass, holding a security guard back.

When two Miami-Dade County police officers and a school officer arrived, the boy had already cut himself under his eye and on his hand.

The officers talked to the boy without success. When the boy cut his own leg, one officer shocked him with a Taser and another grabbed him to prevent him from falling, police said.

He was treated and taken to a hospital, where he was committed for psychiatric evaluation.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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