Thursday, October 14, 2004

HAWAII

Shoppers dwarf protesters at store opening

HONOLULU — Wal-Mart opened a store in Hawaii on Wednesday with hundreds of eager shoppers rushing past a handful of protesters who accuse the giant retailer of desecrating ancient grave sites.

Customers lined up hours ahead and then poured into the discount store after a traditional Hawaiian blessing and the untying of a lei at the main doors.

Native Hawaiian groups had tried to stop the opening until 44 remains of Hawaiians unearthed during construction could be reburied at the site.



MICHIGAN

Groom gets transplant on wedding day

DETROIT — Steven Dulka got two hearts on his wedding day. Hours after his nuptials on Oct. 2, Steven Dulka III was at Henry Ford Hospital for a transplant.

The scramble began shortly after noon when Mr. Dulka, 51, who had inflammation of the heart, got a call from the hospital’s transplant coordinator: There was a heart for him, and he needed to come to the hospital immediately.

He and bride Deidre Jacoboni, 52, quickly called the chapel to move the wedding time up by an hour, then recruited a few friends to help them alert the guests. The ceremony came off fine, the new Mrs. Dulka said.

Associated Press

Most Wal-Mart shoppers ignored protesters such as Moses Haia of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporationin Honolulu.

Associated Press

Deidre Dulka finally might get her honeymoon with husband Steven, who underwent a heart transplant hours after they married in October near Detroit.

ALABAMA

Church bomber in poor health

BIRMINGHAM — Former Klansman Bobby Frank Cherry, serving life in prison for a 1963 church bombing that killed four black girls, was hospitalized in critical condition with deteriorating health, prison officials and relatives said yesterday.

Cherry, 74, was taken from Holman Prison to Atmore Community Hospital on Wednesday, said Brian Corbett, a spokesman for the Alabama Department of Corrections.

Convicted in 2002 in the bombing of Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, Cherry has a history of heart problems, and prison officials said he has been treated for diabetes at Holman. Relatives said Cherry’s health has worsened in recent months, and they accused corrections officials of improper treatment — a charge the state denied.

ARKANSAS

Boy introduced with heart pump

LITTLE ROCK — A 14-year-old boy who became the second child to receive a newly developed miniature heart pump smiled shyly Wednesday as he was introduced at a press conference with his doctors and inventors of the device.

Travis Marcus’ doctors had used a heart-lung bypass machine to buy him time while he waits for a new heart. His doctor, Jonathan Drummond-Webb, said Wednesday that although the shortage of heart donors is great, he expects that Travis will get a new heart in three to four weeks.

Without the miniature pump — implanted by a team of doctors at Arkansas Children’s Hospital Sept. 16 — Travis would have died from a congenital defect, Dr. Drummond-Webb said.

The pump’s developers include renowned heart surgeon Dr. Michael DeBakey, who attended the press conference. Dr. DeBakey, 96, considered the father of modern cardiovascular surgery, said he was “absolutely delighted and grateful” to see Travis doing so well.

CALIFORNIA

Jackson refused indictment dismissal

SANTA MARIA — A judge yesterday rejected a defense request to throw out the indictment against Michael Jackson, saying prosecutors had presented enough evidence of child molestation and an attempt to silence the victim’s family for the case to go forward.

Judge Rodney S. Melville rejected arguments that the indictment should be thrown out because of prosecutorial misconduct, improper legal instruction and insufficient evidence.

The decision came after perhaps the most unusual of a string of restrictions on the press in the secrecy-shrouded case against the pop star: Reporters and other members of the public were prohibited from talking in court. The bailiffs rescinded the rule after a midmorning break in yesterday’s hearing, saying there had been a misunderstanding.

The rule was imposed after Santa Maria Times columnist Steve Corbett spoke with Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ross Ruth about a judge’s order barring reporters from conducting interviews during breaks and hearings. Mr. Corbett argued that it was hard to say what constituted an interview, and Sgt. Ruth responded by ordering his deputies to keep everyone silent.

GEORGIA

Recess appointment of Pryor ruled legal

ATLANTA — A federal appeals court ruled yesterday that President Bush’s appointment of former Alabama Attorney General William Pryor to the bench was legal even though the Senate was on a break at the time.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a challenge by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, who argued that Mr. Pryor’s appointment to the court was an end run around the Senate’s right to confirm or reject the president’s judicial nominees.

“We are not persuaded that the president acted beyond his authority in this case: Both the words of the Constitution and the history of the nation support the president’s authority,” the court said.

Mr. Bush appointed Mr. Pryor in February during a one-week recess of the Senate.

LOUISIANA

Serial killer sentenced to death

BATON ROUGE — A jury took barely 90 minutes last night to decide on the death penalty for twice-convicted killer and suspected serial slayer Derrick Todd Lee, rejecting defense claims that he is mentally retarded.

As he was being taken from the courtroom, Lee shouted, “God don’t sleep” and “They don’t wanna tell them about the DNA they took eight times.” Members of his victim’s family gasped and then cried and hugged one another.

Lee, 35, has been linked by DNA evidence to the deaths of seven women from 1998 to 2003. The same jury that convicted him on Tuesday of first-degree murder in the stabbing and beating death of 22-year-old Charlotte Pace of Baton Rouge decided last night that he should die.

MASSACHUSETTS

Harvard student gets prison in stabbing

CAMBRIDGE — A Harvard University graduate student was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to six to eight years in prison yesterday for fatally stabbing a teenage father with a knife that he said he used in self-defense during a fight.

Prosecutors had sought a first-degree murder conviction for Alexander Pring-Wilson, arguing that he became enraged when Michael Colono ridiculed him for being drunk.

The defense argued that Mr. Colono and his cousin were brutally beating Pring-Wilson when he lashed out with a knife and inflicted the deadly wounds.

Judge Regina Quinlan could have given a sentence ranging from probation to 20 years in prison.

MINNESOTA

Flu-shot seekers given chicken soup

FERGUS FALLS — People who went to a local clinic to get a flu shot didn’t receive the vaccine they wanted. Instead, they received an old-fashioned remedy.

The estimated 20 people who went to the flu-shot clinic last week at Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union were sent home with a can of chicken soup and a pack of tissues.

Nick Mariotti, the branch supervisor, said the idea started as a joke when he and his staff learned that they had to cancel the clinic because of the nationwide shortage of flu vaccines.

NEBRASKA

Couples can split using online forms

LINCOLN — Couples seeking a separation can go online for forms for a so-called “simple divorce” that doesn’t involve children and much significant property.

Nebraska judges and lawyers developed the forms to help people who can’t afford an attorney. The State Bar Association opposes the idea. Divorce lawyers say there is no such thing as a simple divorce.

NEW JERSEY

Al Qaeda operative had student visa

TRENTON — A senior al Qaeda operative accused of conducting surveillance on U.S. financial buildings as possible terror targets had entered the United States on a student visa, a newspaper report said.

FBI Agent Joseph Billy Jr. told the Record of Bergen County for a story in yesterday’s editions that the operative lived in New Jersey and attended several schools there while carrying out the reconnaissance operation. Mr. Billy did not identify the schools.

U.S. officials have identified the suspect as Dhiren Barot, 32. He was arrested by British authorities in August and remains in custody there.

OKLAHOMA

Culkin pleads to drug charges

OKLAHOMA CITY — “Home Alone” star Macaulay Culkin entered not guilty pleas at an Oklahoma City court on Wednesday to charges of illegally possessing marijuana and prescription medicine.

The former child star, Mr. Culkin, 24, appeared with his attorney to enter pleas on two misdemeanor charges of possession of a controlled dangerous substance. The actor left after his brief appearance, remaining free on $4,000 bond posted at the time of his arrest on Sept 17.

Oklahoma law-enforcement officials said it was unlikely that Mr. Culkin would face prison time if convicted. The charges bring up to one year in prison, but Oklahoma prosecutors are seeking drug treatment as part of a plea agreement that will not include prison time.

WASHINGTON

Thieves demask, look at camera

EVERETT — The security videotape shows it all — two masked men breaking into a store and loading a cash machine onto a truck. Then they made a fateful mistake: taking off their masks and looking directly at the camera.

Video images from the heist at Dollar Update were released by the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday, eight days after the robbery. There was no immediate explanation for the delay, and no arrests were reported.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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