- The Washington Times - Monday, September 13, 2004

ILLINOIS

Architect designs homeless shelter

CHICAGO — Renowned architect Helmut Jahn’s latest design is an environmentally friendly structure intent on a larger purpose: housing the poor.

Mr. Jahn’s stainless steel and glass “single-room occupancy” building is expected to be built next year on a vacant lot near the Cabrini-Green housing project, which is being torn down.

The silver, Twinkie-shaped structure will consist of 100 units, and includes public areas where residents can meet and socialize. But more importantly, homeless advocates say, it will draw attention to the “supportive housing movement,” which promotes SRO buildings as a way to ease the homeless problem.

OHIO

Arson suspected at apartments

COLUMBUS — A suspected arson fire raced through an apartment complex in suburban Columbus yesterday, killing 10 persons and forcing others to jump from third-story windows to escape.

At least 53 persons were left homeless by the blaze in Prairie Township, which destroyed the building’s roof and third floor.

The fire came just six weeks after three fires were set in the same building in an empty apartment and hallway, Fire Chief Steve Feustel said.

ALABAMA

Historic church needs repairs

BIRMINGHAM — Nearly a century of wear and an infamous bombing have cracked some of the walls of the 16th Street Baptist Church, and water leaks are destroying its ground floor.

A campaign to raise $2.6 million to repair the historic downtown structure starts today, two days ahead of the 41st anniversary of the bombing, which killed four young black girls and rocked the church’s foundation.

“There is an immediate need to move forward and secure the water issue and secure the cracks left over from the blast,” said Dick Pigford, an architect working on the project.

CALIFORNIA

Ex-police chief sues city, ex-prosecuter

SAN FRANCISCO — The former police chief has sued the city and a former prosecutor, saying he was wrongfully charged with obstructing an investigation into a brawl involving several officers.

Earl Sanders filed the federal lawsuit on Friday, saying former District Attorney Terence Hallinan convened a grand jury “knowing he did not have one scintilla of evidence” that Mr. Sanders impeded the investigation of a fight involving three off-duty officers, including one who was the assistant police chief’s son.

The case seeks unspecified damages stemming from the November 2002 brawl in which two men accused the officers of attacking them because they refused to hand over a bag of fajitas.

Mr. Sanders and six other high-ranking police officials were indicted in February 2003, but the charges either were dismissed by prosecutors or thrown out by a judge.

COLORADO

Boy dies after teens don’t call for help

GREELEY — A 16-year-old boy died of injuries from a sport-utility-vehicle rollover after his companions failed to call for emergency help and instead phoned a friend to come get them, authorities said.

Aaron Bonilla was taken to a hospital in a private vehicle nearly an hour after the crash last week, authorities said. He died after being rushed into surgery for a lacerated liver.

The 17-year-old driver of the SUV, whose name was not released, was arrested on suspicion of careless driving causing death, leaving the scene of an accident and driving without a license, said Sgt. Dennis Schenkenberger of the Colorado State Patrol.

Seven teens were in the SUV when it crashed. After the friend came to get them, five of them were dropped off at home before Aaron and another injured teen were taken to the hospital, police said.

GEORGIA

Popular weatherman dies at 75

ATLANTA — Guy Sharpe, the weatherman who spent more than 40 years as one of Atlanta’s most popular television and radio personalities, died Friday at Crawford Long Hospital. He was 75.

Mr. Sharpe died of congestive heart failure, emphysema and lung cancer.

Mr. Sharpe reported on radio and for all three of Atlanta’s network affiliates, starting on ABC, then moving to CBS and ending his television career on NBC’s Channel 11 in 1996.

Mr. Sharpe began his broadcasting career in 1956, reporting sports and hosting children’s shows.

IOWA

Casinos to expand to meet demand

TAMA — Some Iowa casinos are planning expansions to meet growing demand, as the popularity of televised poker tournaments brings more players to the table. Officials at the Meskwaki casino near Tama say the casino’s $100 million renovation likely will include more poker tables.

Texas hold ‘em tournaments on the Travel Channel and ESPN have “totally revived” poker at the casino, spokeswoman Betsy McCloskey said.

LOUISIANA

Army calls off search for tiger

FORT POLK — The Army called off its search last week for a Bengal tiger on the loose in the thick brush surrounding Fort Polk, saying there haven’t been any recent confirmed sightings of the animal.

“We have not been able to find any physical evidence that the cat has even been on Fort Polk in the last five days,” said Samantha Bingham, a base spokeswoman.

The tiger, thought to be about 1 year old and 100 pounds, was first spotted Aug. 27 near a gas station on the southwestern Louisiana Army base.

NORTH DAKOTA

Governor seeks federal disaster aid

BISMARCK — Gov. John Hoeven said a recent study of the state’s crop losses shows the need for federal disaster aid. An assessment by North Dakota State University shows net crop losses of $329 million, after factoring in insurance, in the state this year. The total hit to the state’s economy is estimated at $1 billion.

Farmers across the state were battered by weather problems, including drought, flooding and early frost.

SOUTH CAROLINA

University building new dormitory

COLUMBIA — State officials signed off on a plan that could allow South Carolina State University in Orangeburg to begin building a 750-bed dormitory.

The Budget and Control Board approved the $36 million project. The school currently has a housing shortage and needs more than 300 beds.

TENNESSEE

Jail shut down for safety violations

WAYNESBORO — Officials shut down a crowded, run-down county jail amid fire and safety violations including an inmate sleeping on a floor partly covered by water from leaky plumbing.

A surprise inspection Aug. 26 at the 31-year-old Wayne County Jail found 16 violations, including smoke alarms that did not work, officials said last week

Prisoners either were moved to other jails or ordered released early by judges while repairs costing about $250,000 are done in the next six months. The jail was built to hold 23 prisoners but was housing 42 on the day of the inspection.

UTAH

Rivers granted federal protection

MOAB — Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton approved an order Saturday that prohibits mining companies from making claims on nearly 200 miles of scenic rivers in southeastern Utah.

The order will provide 20 years of protection for 111,895 acres of public lands along the Green, Colorado and Dolores rivers. It also helps protect at least 161 prehistoric sites, habitat for six threatened and endangered species, and 32 recreation facilities.

VERMONT

Impaired student to get interpreter

RUTLAND — The Rutland school district settled a lawsuit filed on behalf of a hearing-impaired student who said the district didn’t provide him a certified sign-language interpreter. The district agreed to provide Nathan Netsch, 17, a Rutland High School senior, with an interpreter certified in American Sign Language.

Parents Sally and Gary Netsch filed the lawsuit, saying their son couldn’t participate in classes without the interpreter.

WEST VIRGINIA

University developing computer system

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia University is developing a portable computer system that could be loaded into planes to help pinpoint illegal-drug cultivation, identify terrorist enclaves or find a stranded hiker.

Project Oculus is a creation of WVU’s Center for Industrial Research Applications, funded with nearly $800,000 in research contracts from anti-drug programs in the Department of Defense and the National Guard.

WYOMING

Number of grizzlies with cubs rises

JACKSON — The number of grizzly bears with cubs in the Yellowstone area appears to be rebounding, which could bolster efforts to remove the animals from the endangered-species list, biologists said Friday.

A preliminary tally by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team showed 48 females with cubs, up from last year’s count of 38.

The increase likely reflects the natural reproductive cycle, said Mark Haroldson, a biologist with the study team. Female grizzlies typically reproduce only once every three years.

In 2002, 52 female grizzlies with cubs were found, and in 2001, the count was 42. With such high birth rates in those years, fewer females were available to reproduce in 2003, triggering the low count, he said.

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