- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 15, 2004


Footprints of history etched in exhibit

ATLANTA — The city’s black leaders yesterday welcomed the newest exhibit they hope will keep Atlanta at the forefront of civil rights tourism.

Their hope lies in 17 tiles etched with the footprints of civil rights leaders, including Medgar Evers and Rosa Parks, along a short stretch of sidewalk outside the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site.

They say the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame will help keep Atlanta — which bills itself as the cradle of the civil rights movement — at the top of to-do lists at a time when the city is facing increasing competition.

“We will do everything we can to best market this one-of-a-kind attraction,” said Spurgeon Richardson, president of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau.


Man drops baby out of car

GREEN BAY — A man dropped his fiancee’s 8-month-old daughter out of a car as he fled police after being accused of domestic violence, authorities said. The girl, strapped in a car seat, was not hurt, but the man later was fatally injured in a crash.

Dana Bettin, 23, died Sunday, three days after the dramatic chase that ended when he crashed his fiancee’s car into an unoccupied squad car.

At one point, he slowed down, opened the car door and dropped the baby in the car seat onto the highway, sending it tumbling toward the middle of the roadway.

“As the baby was flying toward me, I noticed that she was crying very hard and looked scared,” Wisconsin State Patrol Sgt. David Catalano said yesterday on NBC’s “Today” show, which aired video of the incident.


Retirement investors await US Airways’ fate

MONTGOMERY — Alabama’s teachers and government employees will have to wait a few months to find out whether they will lose their $240 million investment in US Airways, which is undergoing its second bankruptcy since the September 11 attacks.

David Bronner, chief executive of the Retirement Systems of Alabama, said no determination will be made until late this year or early next year. The pension system has a 36.2 percent stake in the airline.


County ends diocese oversight

PHOENIX — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix has made appropriate changes in the way it handles sexual-abuse accusations and no longer needs oversight by prosecutors, Maricopa County’s top prosecutor said.

Since last year, the church has been working under an agreement that forced the bishop to relinquish oversight of sexual-abuse accusations.


Sexual predator freed after treatment

SAN JOSE — A serial child molester who was the first graduate of a California treatment program for violent sexual predators was granted unconditional release on Monday, despite disagreement among specialists over whether he is ready to be free.

Brian DeVries had been under constant supervision and received outpatient treatment since completing the program at Atascadero State Hospital in August 2003. But Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Robert Baines removed all restrictions except one: DeVries must register as a sex offender wherever he lives.

“Good luck, Mr. DeVries, and for God’s sake don’t prove me wrong,” Judge Baines said.

Before beginning the treatment program in 1997, DeVries, 45, had been in and out of prison and molested at least nine boys in New Hampshire, Florida and San Jose.


Agents investigate arson as hate crime

GARY — Federal agents are investigating an arson that damaged a newly constructed Habitat for Humanity home for a black family in a predominantly white neighborhood as a suspected civil rights violation.

Police Chief Garnett Watson said burn patterns indicated that someone forced their way inside the home and used an accelerant to set it on fire early Saturday.

“It’s a hate crime, but it’s also a crime against that community,” Chief Watson said.


Target stores ban Salvation Army

MINNEAPOLIS — Target stores in the Twin Cities area have put an end to the Salvation Army’s Christmastime drive in order to standardize their no-solicitation policy.

More than one-third of the charity’s bell-ringing income in Minneapolis and St. Paul has come from soliciting customers at Target Brand Inc. storefronts, but the giant retailer notified the group in January that it will have to find alternate sites to entreat the public for donations, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

The Army’s bell ringers raised more than $750,000 at 43 Target stores in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area last year.


Marshals violated reporters’ rights

JACKSON — The government has conceded that the U.S. Marshals Service violated federal law when a marshal ordered reporters with the Associated Press and the Hattiesburg American to erase their recordings of a speech by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

The U.S. Department of Justice also said the reporters and their employers are each entitled to $1,000 in damages and reasonable attorneys’ fees, which had been sought by the news organizations.

The government’s concessions were contained in court papers filed Friday in response to a lawsuit by the news organizations.

Although it agreed that the federal Privacy Protection Act forbids the seizure of the work product of a journalist, the government said the plaintiffs were not entitled to an injunction that would bar the Marshals Service from a repeat of the incident.


Technician guilty of poaching identities

NEW YORK — A computer technician who prosecutors said made possible the largest identity theft in U.S. history, surpassing $50 million, pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiracy in a scheme that poached personal information from tens of thousands of people.

Philip A. Cummings, 35, said he did not realize that his accomplices would do so much damage with the information he sold.

“I didn’t know the magnification,” he told U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels, who set sentencing for Jan. 11.

However, he acknowledged that he knew his actions were wrong and illegal.

The government said Cummings agreed to sell the passwords and codes for downloading consumer credit reports to an unidentified conspirator . Tens of thousands of credit reports were stolen, prosecutors said.


Marine gets clemency in abuse scandal

TOLEDO — A Marine convicted of abusing an Iraqi prisoner was granted clemency last week and has returned to his base in North Carolina, his father said.

Pfc. Andrew J. Sting, of Bradner, sought clemency after pleading guilty in May to giving electric shocks to an Iraqi prisoner he was guarding. He said he was following his sergeant’s order.

Sting was sentenced to a year in prison, a reduction of rank, forfeiture of pay and a bad-conduct discharge.

His father, Jeffery Sting, told the Blade that the commanding general of the 1st Marine Division issued the clemency order.


CVS turns away car-accident victims

PHILADELPHIA — CVS Corp. has agreed to post signs in its Pennsylvania pharmacies warning customers that it will not fill prescriptions for people hurt in automobile accidents.

The notices have to do with a 1990 state law requiring pharmacies to give a 20 percent discount on any drugs sold to car-crash victims.

The law was intended to indirectly lower the cost of auto insurance by making prescriptions for injured people less expensive. But some drugstore chains said they could not afford the discount and would stop selling medications to accident victims.


Club owners sue to cover defense

PROVIDENCE — The owners of a Rhode Island nightclub where 100 persons died in a fire set off by a band’s pyrotechnics are suing their insurer to force it to cover the costs of their criminal defense.

Jeffrey and Michael Derderian each face 200 charges of involuntary manslaughter, two for each of the victims in the Feb. 20, 2003, fire at the Station nightclub.

The Derderians say Essex Insurance Co. must pay for their defense, because if they are found guilty, under Rhode Island law, a civil judgment establishing their liability will be entered against them automatically.


Local governments left with cleanup tab

BLOUNTVILLE — Local governments may have to take responsibility for the cleanup of an old landfill that is contaminating groundwater.

About half the landfill’s refuse came from the cities of Bristol and Kingsport, as well as Sullivan County, officials said. The Sullivan County Landfill Inc. closed a decade ago, and the company no longer has any officers. Officials fear cleanup costs will exceed $1 million.

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