- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 24, 2004


Middle school damaged by blast

WICHITA — An explosion at a Wichita middle school blew out one wall of the main building yesterday, officials said.

There were no reports of injuries or deaths, though witnesses said emergency medical personnel were seen carrying at least one person from the badly damaged facility, the Wichita Eagle reported.

Officials suspect a gas leak caused the blast. No students were present because the school was closed for Thanksgiving.


Starved tot’s parents charged with manslaughter

TRENTON — The parents of a 14-month-old boy who starved to death have been charged with aggravated manslaughter, authorities said Tuesday.

Tahija Handberry, 22, and Wesley White, 26, also were charged with endangering the welfare of a child in the death of their son, Jmeir, who was found dead by paramedics after the boy’s mother placed an emergency call Aug. 22, authorities said.

The cause of death was chronic malnutrition related to homicide, said Monmouth County Prosecutor John Kaye.

Bail for Miss Handberry was set at $200,000 on Tuesday. Authorities were searching for Mr. White, Mr. Kaye said.CONNECTICUT

Spared turkeys treated to feast

VOLUNTOWN — Two turkeys, spared from becoming dinner, have been treated to an early Thanksgiving feast.

The turkeys, named Dandelion and Sage, arrived at Michele and Charles Nash’s 6-acre farm on Tuesday. The couple adopted them after they were left in a box at the front gate of a shelter that aims to keep turkeys off the holiday dinner table.

Upon arrival, the turkeys dined on a platter of salad greens and fresh cranberries, a pumpkin pie and baked winter squash. Mrs. Nash said her husband and she have been vegetarians for the past three years, but still enjoy much of the traditional Thanksgiving feast.

“Everything,” she said, “but the turkey.”


‘04 flu season has slow start, CDC says

ATLANTA — The flu season in the United States is off to a slow start, with only Delaware and New York reporting significant outbreaks — a relief to government health authorities, because of the U.S. vaccine shortage.

Even so, the “widespread” flu activity in Delaware — the first state to be classified at the nation’s highest flu level — is a little misleading. The state meets the designation because confirmed cases of the flu had been found in all its counties. But the state has only three counties and six cases in all.

Nursing-home outbreaks in New York prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to classify that state as having “regional” flu activity — one step below “widespread.” Most other states listed “sporadic” flu cases.


Congregation wins permit for chapel

WAILUKU — After 10 years, two denials, a federal lawsuit and a contested case hearing, a small rural congregation won a permit to build a chapel on its property.

The Maui county planning commission first denied Hale O Kaula a special-use permit to build on its property, which is zoned for agricultural use, in 1995. Last week, the commission unanimously approved the permit, after a nine-hour meeting.

Conditions for the permit include limiting service hours and attendance at weekly meetings and four special annual events. In turn, the church dropped a federal lawsuit against the county and will receive an undisclosed payment from the county, covered by insurance.


8 students injured in knife attack

VALPARAISO — A student slashed eight schoolmates with a knife yesterday at Valparaiso High School, inflicting severe cuts, authorities said.

The student who committed the attack before class was in custody, and the school had been placed on lockdown, Valparaiso police spokesman Michael Grennes said. He said the attack occurred at about 8 a.m. in a Spanish classroom at the school about 20 miles southeast of Gary.

Jeni Bell, a spokeswoman for Porter Memorial Hospital in Valparaiso, said the students suffered severe cuts and one suffered a hip injury. But Mr. Grennes said the injuries weren’t life-threatening.

Authorities said the suspect had two knives.


State touts its ‘unbridled spirit’

SIMPSONVILLE — “Kentucky: Unbridled Spirit” is the state’s new name brand.

It was selected from four finalists in Gov. Ernie Fletcher’s quest to give the state a fresher marketing slogan. The brand will be seen on government signs, stationery, souvenirs and state advertising.

Mr. Fletcher unveiled the winner yesterday at an interstate rest area, but signs with the brand went up on several main highways in the state the day before the announcement.


Police ordered to end race-based hiring

BOSTON — A federal judge has ordered the Boston Police Department to end its affirmative-action hiring plan 30 years after it was put in place, ruling that minority hiring goals have been met.

U.S. District Judge Patti B. Saris granted a request on Tuesday from eight white men that she strike down the department’s policy of hiring one minority candidate for every white hire. The eight were denied jobs last year as police officers.

The ruling ends three decades of affirmative-action hiring at the department, after a 1974 consent decree requiring that the percentage of black and Hispanic officers reflect their percentage in the city’s population. In the 2000 census, minorities accounted for 50.5 percent of city’s population.

Judge Saris said the police department met its goal of racial parity more than a year ago. To have used the racial-hiring quota in October 2003, when plaintiff Paul DeLeo Jr. and seven other men were passed over, was unconstitutional.


Mom to take Thanksgiving to son

HARTLAND — Yvette Boulton wants her son to get a home-cooked Thanksgiving meal before he’s deployed to Iraq — so she’s trucking the feast 761 miles to Fort Bragg, N.C.

Mrs. Boulton will be on the road 13 hours so she can feed her son, Army Cpl. Jordan Keilman, 22, and 14 of his friends.

The soldiers must remain within an hour of the base so they could be called to Iraq, where many have served once. Cpl. Keilman fought in Iraq from September to February.

“I said, ‘I’ll cook, and you boys sit around and watch the football game. Just pretend you’re at home,’” said Mrs. Boulton, 47, who is an assistant for a law firm.


Author Larry Brown dead at 53

OXFORD — Author Larry Brown, who wrote about the often rough, gritty lives of rural Southerners, died yesterday at his home, his publisher said. Mr. Brown was 53.

He died of an apparent heart attack, North Carolina-based Algonquin Books announced.

Mr. Brown’s novels included “Big Bad Love” (1990), about marital malaise, and “Joe” (1991), which teamed a hard-drinking ex-convict with a 15-year-old boy whose father was a drunken migrant worker.

He won the Southern Book Critics Circle Award twice.


Town raffles rifles for school fence

DALLAS — To raise money for a local school project, residents in Lampasas, Texas, are turning to a time-honored tradition, the raffle. But their fund-raiser has a unique twist — the winner walks off with two rifles.

Lampasas, located in central Texas Hill Country, wants to raise about $15,000 to build a fence around parts of Hanna Springs Intermediate School. A known sexual predator has been seen near campus.

Officials said it is easier to raise money selling guns in the area, which is a popular hunting spot, than to peddle cookies and sweets.

“In this part of the state, it is difficult to raise money, and a bake sale just doesn’t do the trick,” said Katherine Yoder, chief of staff for Republican state Rep. Suzanna Hupp, who donated a high-end rifle from firearms maker Kimber.

The winner of the raffle will also receive a .22-caliber rifle donated by a parent and hunting T-shirts. The drawing will be held Dec. 8.

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