- The Washington Times - Friday, October 22, 2004

FLORIDA

Hearing denied in right-to-die dispute

TAMPA — The Florida Supreme Court yesterday declined a request from Gov. Jeb Bush to reconsider its decision striking down a state law designed to save the life of a severely brain-damaged woman at the center of a bitter right-to-die dispute.

The state’s high court made no comment when issuing the one-page ruling in Tallahassee in the case of Terri Schiavo, 40, who left no written directive of her own.

Last month, the court ruled unanimously that Mr. Bush and state lawmakers overstepped their authority a year ago when they quickly adopted the law ordering that Mrs. Schiavo’s feeding tube be reinserted six days after her husband had it removed so she could die. Mr. Bush’s attorney had asked the court for a rehearing.



KENTUCKY

Woman pleads guilty to kidnapping baby

STANFORD — A woman charged with abducting a newborn from a hospital pleaded guilty yesterday to a kidnapping charge.

Tanya Shelton, 24, originally was charged with kidnapping a minor and second-degree burglary. The burglary charge was dropped as part of the plea agreement and the kidnapping charge was downgraded to a lesser felony because the child was not injured, Commonwealth’s Attorney Eddy Montgomery said.

She was arrested April 2, a few hours after taking day-old Grayci Barrows from Fort Logan Hospital in Stanford. Grayci was found about 150 miles away from the hospital, abandoned but unharmed behind a Bowling Green consignment store.

ALABAMA

Fuel tanker flips at busy interchange

BIRMINGHAM — A fuel tanker crashed and burned at one of Alabama’s busiest highway interchanges during rush hour yesterday, partially melting a bridge and creating months of traffic headaches while the overpass is replaced.

The wreck — which occurred at the intersection of Interstates 20/59 and 65 — was the second such crash at “malfunction junction” in under three years. The first accident killed a trucker; no one was seriously hurt in yesterday’s wreck.

Authorities said a tanker carrying fuel overturned in a curve about 7 a.m., spilling an estimated 9,000 gallons that erupted into flames and sent a huge column of black smoke skyward.

Interstate 65 remained open, but mayoral aide Don Lupo said Interstates 20/59 — the main route linking Atlanta and New Orleans — would remain closed at least through late today as workers remove the debris of the overpass.

CALIFORNIA

Judge dismisses suit over cross removal

LOS ANGELES — A judge dismissed a lawsuit that tried to stop Los Angeles County from removing a cross on the county’s official seal.

The county employee who sued, Ernesto Vasquez, argued the change was a First Amendment violation that would send the message Christians are not full residents of Los Angeles County. He also argued the cross was a historic and cultural symbol without a religious message.

But those arguments are contradictory, said U.S. District Judge S. James Otero in dismissing the lawsuit Tuesday.

The County Board of Supervisors decided in September to change the seal to avoid a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union, which claimed the cross was an unconstitutional government endorsement of Christianity.

An effort is under way to overturn the board decision by voter referendum. I

CONNECTICUT

City considers fine for some panhandlers

NORWALK — City officials will hold a public hearing on a proposed $99 fine for people begging aggressively for money.

The proposed anti-panhandling and anti-loitering laws are a response to complaints from the business area of South Norwalk. The area is home to trendy restaurants, bars and boutiques and attractions such as the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk.

HAWAII

Teachers’ pay cut delayed until Jan. 24

HONOLULU — Education officials say a pay cut for roughly 3,900 substitute public school teachers will be delayed until Jan. 24. Earlier, the teachers were told that their daily rate of $119.80 would be cut by 7 percent Nov. 1.

Schools Superintendent Patricia Hamamoto said cuts would only amount to 6 percent and are being postponed for administrative reasons.

ILLINOIS

Plane lands safely after dropping engine

CHICAGO — Even minus a little engine that could, this cargo plane did.

A cargo plane from Chicago landed safely at Detroit Metropolitan Airport after dropping an engine somewhere over Michigan.

The Kalitta Air jet took off from O’Hare International Airport late Wednesday and was bound for New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport when it reported mechanical problems with one of its engines, a Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman said.

The Boeing 741-R was able to fly but was diverted as a safety precaution to Detroit, where it landed without incident, FAA officials said. No one was injured.

After the landing, airline personnel discovered the engine was completely gone, FAA officials said.

IOWA

Woman wins Powerball jackpot

DES MOINES — A cereal mill worker from Omaha, Neb., became the nation’s newest Powerball winner on Wednesday, claiming a $14.4 million jackpot.

Jacquelyn Moore, 54, chose to receive half the prize up front in one lump sum of $7.9 million.

“I think my family has been more excited than I am,” she told lottery officials. “I called my sister yesterday to tell her and I think she’s still screaming, ‘I can’t believe it! You won, you won!’

“And, I did get four proposals of marriage from co-workers,” she added.

The Kellogg’s cereal plant worker said she plans to continue working.

She said she has dreamed all her life of owning a black Porsche, and she just may buy one now. She also plans to pay off debt for herself and her family.

MISSOURI

Crash survivor recalls ‘terrible screams’

KIRKSVILLE — One of two survivors of a commuter plane crash that killed 13 persons said in an interview broadcast yesterday that he heard “terrible screams” as the plane came down, and he fell out of the aircraft through an open door.

The Corporate Airlines plane en route from St. Louis crashed late Tuesday in a wooded area as it approached its landing in Kirksville. Eight bodies were found Tuesday, and five more were discovered Wednesday.

The survivors, Dr. John Krogh, 68, and his assistant, 44-year-old Wendy Bonham, were hospitalized in fair condition. Dr. Krogh was found in brush about 25 feet from the fuselage; Mrs. Bonham had been walking around, police said.

“There was just a crashing sound,” Dr. Krogh told ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “I’m sure that was the wing hitting a tree. I just didn’t believe that it was happening. As we bounced along through the trees, people started screaming badly. Terrible screams.”

MONTANA

Man kills self at airport

GREAT FALLS — A man jumped to his death at the Great Falls International Airport after trying to board an airplane without a valid ticket, police said.

The man, whose erratic behavior alarmed an airport security officer, dove over a second-story railing Wednesday and fell 20 feet.

Relatives of the 42-year-old man had told officers he was mentally ill, Sgt. John Sowell said.

NEBRASKA

Official withdraws topless-dancer lawsuit

LINCOLN — Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning has stripped his support from a woman who claimed a landlord refused to rent her an apartment because she is a topless dancer.

Mr. Bruning on Wednesday said he was withdrawing a lawsuit filed by his office last week on behalf of the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission against an Omaha real estate company.

The Richdale Group declined to lease an apartment to Charleigh Greenwood after she listed her occupation as a “dancer” at a Council Bluffs, Iowa, lounge.

The lawsuit said such a refusal discriminates against women because labor statistics show women make up 98 percent of dancers in the state.

TEXAS

Cabbie makes good Samaritan trip

EL PASO — The elderly couple in the back seat of Ismael Baeza’s cab had a whistling parrot, but apparently no cash and no idea how to get home. But that didn’t stop the taxi driver from making the 10-hour, 500-mile trip that carried a $1,200 fare.

The 24-year-old cabbie picked up the couple in El Paso Monday. They said they wanted to go to their hometown of Bandera.

“About halfway through the trip, I found out that they didn’t have the money to pay for the trip,” Mr. Baeza said Tuesday. “It was either drop them off at the next town or keep going. Something told me to just keep going. I couldn’t leave them off in one of those little towns.”

Mr. Baeza’s father, Sam, who came along for the ride, even bought food and drinks for the couple along the way.

Once they were in Bandera, Mr. Baeza contacted police, who identified the couple they believe may have Alzheimer’s disease and handed them to sheriff’s deputies, who got them to their home in Bandera County.

From staff reports and wire dispatches.

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