- The Washington Times - Monday, November 22, 2004

MASSACHUSETTS

Letter by Lincoln’s killer sells for record price

BOSTON — A letter written by President Lincoln’s assassin two months before the 1865 slaying sold at auction yesterday for a record $68,000.

In the letter, dated Feb. 9, 1865, John Wilkes Booth asks a friend to send him a picture of himself “with cane & black cravat” — the one later used in his wanted poster.

The previous high for a Booth letter was $38,000, said Stuart Whitehurst, vice president of Skinner Inc. auctioneers. The buyer was Joe Maddalena, a Beverly Hills, Calif.-based historical document dealer. Mr. Maddalena, who bid by phone, said Booth “is the rarest American autograph.”

SOUTH CAROLINA

Low-carb diets create food budget bulge

COLUMBIA — The days of college students slurping down cheap ramen noodles in a cramped dorm room might be a thing of the past at Clemson University.

Clemson administrators say students are eating more pork than pasta as the low-carb craze takes hold. The cost of providing more meat was cited as one reason the college had to raise meal prices.

John Newton, the school’s treasurer, told his trustees that changing student tastes, along with higher insurance rates, were the reasons the school increased meal prices nearly 3 percent this year. For a 15-meal-a-week plan, the $1,022 cost per semester is up $25 from last year.

ALABAMA

Panhandler gets $1 and fatal hit by truck

BIRMINGHAM — A truck driver gave a panhandler $1, then struck and killed the man as he drove his rig away from the scene. Police said the driver might not have known what happened.

Michael Burns, 43, was standing near an interstate ramp Thursday and holding a cardboard sign: “Homeless. Need Help. God Bless.”

Witnesses and police said a trucker who was stopped for a red light gave a dollar to Mr. Burns. As the truck started making a left turn, its trailer knocked down Mr. Burns, and two sets of the truck’s tires ran over him.

The truck had no identifiable markings, and witnesses weren’t able to obtain a tag number.

Officer Randall Ward said it appeared to be an accident.

ALASKA

City won’t see sun for two months

BARROW — This northernmost North American community of 5,000 saw the last sunshine it will see for more than two months. Barrow’s next sunrise will be Jan. 23.

Ben Frantz, general manager of the Barrow Utilities and Electric Cooperative, said the city lights are working well and ready to help residents through the prolonged darkness.

ARKANSAS

Anti-porn law ruled unconstitutional

LITTLE ROCK — A federal judge said a 2003 Arkansas law intended to shield minors from pornographic material in stores and libraries violates the U.S. Constitution.

The law required books, magazines and videos containing material “harmful to minors” to be kept separate from other displayed material. The judge said the law restricted access and display of non-obscene material.

FLORIDA

Tiger injures handler at county fair

ST. AUGUSTINE — The owner of a wildlife sanctuary was injured by a 350-pound Siberian tiger that was startled by a 14-year-old boy at a county fair, officials said yesterday.

Curt LoGiudice jumped between the tiger and the boy, who was knocked to the ground with Mr. LoGiudice.

St. Johns County sheriff’s deputies had to shoot the animal twice with stun guns to get it to release Mr. LoGiudice, who was able to take it back to his sanctuary before driving himself to a hospital Saturday.

Mr. LoGiudice suffered a puncture wound on one eyelid and behind one ear, according a police report by Deputy Jerry Montague. The parents of the boy, whose name was not released, said he had “a bump and a scratch,” said Joy Hill, a spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in Ocala.

ILLINOIS

Senators reject stem-cell research

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois senators declined to endorse embryonic stem-cell research.

The legislation would have welcomed stem-cell research in Illinois, required that patients at fertility clinics be told they could donate unwanted embryos for research and made it a felony to use cloning to reproduce humans. It would not have provided any public money.

LOUISIANA

Is being governor women’s work?

BATON ROUGE — With his grandmother as an example, 4-year-old David Boulet sees the state’s top job as women’s work.

Gov. Kathleen Blanco told the Advocate of Baton Rouge that her daughter, Monique Blanco Boulet, recently asked David what he wants to be when he grows up. He wasn’t sure, so Mrs. Boulet offered some suggestions: Soldier? Firefighter? Policeman? Airplane pilot?

None of them excited David. His mother finally asked, “Well, how about governor?”

David looked at her, exasperated. “Mom,” he said, “I’m a boy.”

MICHIGAN

Librarians seek tougher penalties

BAY CITY — Keeping library books too long could land some readers in jail.

Frustrated librarians want the worst offenders to face criminal charges and up to 90 days behind bars.

“We want to go after some of the people who owe us a lot of money,” said Frederick J. Paffhausen, the library’s system director. “We want to set an example.”

Mr. Paffhausen, who took over as director in October, is asking the Bay County Library Board for permission to seek arrest warrants for offenders who ignore repeated notices. The board plans to consider the crackdown next month.

MINNESOTA

Convicted rapist given custody of girl

HASTINGS — A man convicted of raping a teenage girl in 1994 has been charged with sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl after a judge gave him custody of her last month.

Justin P. Farnsworth, 31, was charged with three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving the daughter of his ex-girlfriend.

The ex-girlfriend, who lived three hours away, agreed last month that Mr. Farnsworth could keep the 9-year-old as well as the couple’s two younger daughters, court records show. The three girls had lived with him for more than a year.

There is no indication that the younger girls were abused, Hastings Sgt. Jim Rgnonti told the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune.

OREGON

Blackjack dealer wins coin toss for mayor

PRAIRIE CITY — A professional blackjack dealer had Lady Luck on his side when he won a coin toss to decide who would be the next mayor of this small ranching community.

Jim Hamsher, 39, and former Mayor Paul Woodworth, 80, each received 125 votes Nov. 2 as write-in candidates for mayor of Prairie City, about 290 miles east of Portland.

Both candidates agreed to a coin toss to determine the winner. With 150 townsfolk looking on at the city’s main intersection Saturday, Mr. Hamsher called “heads” as City Recorder Diane Clingman flipped a commemorative rodeo medal with a bucking horse on one side and the year on the other.

The horse landed up, giving Mr. Hamsher the victory.

TEXAS

Shot tot treated with Tylenol

AMARILLO — A mother whose 2-year-old was accidentally shot with a handgun gave the boy Tylenol and put him down for a nap, waiting more than four hours to go to a hospital, police said.

Sylvia Ann Alcozer, 21, turned herself last week on charges of felony child endangerment.

Nathan Vela was shot in the arm Nov. 11 by his 17-year-old uncle, Marcus Cruz Alcozer, who was charged with reckless injury to a child, a felony. The bullet entered Nathan’s chest, stopping near his spinal cord, and the preschooler had broken ribs and a punctured lung, according to the complaint.

The mother said she thought the bullet had only grazed her son’s arm and that it bled only slightly, the complaint said. She gave him Tylenol and juice and laid him down for a nap, using a sock and cloth to stop the bleeding before taking him to the hospital, it said.

Nathan was treated at a hospital and is in the custody of relatives.

WYOMING

Students return purse with $43,000

CASPER — Two college students returned a lost purse to its owner, not knowing the handbag contained her life savings of $43,000.

Derek Hepner and Adam Simanton spotted the purse lying in the gutter of a Casper street Monday as they drove past it. Stopping to examine the bag, they pulled out a wallet and an Arizona driver’s license and immediately took the purse to police.

What they didn’t see was an envelope containing $43,000 in cash that was the owner’s life savings, police Sgt. Larry Baker said.

The owner had been traveling through Casper and apparently misplaced her purse during a stop, police said.

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