- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 21, 2004


Imam jailed in terror case

AKRON — The leader of Ohio’s largest mosque was sentenced yesterday to two months in federal prison and four months of house arrest for lying about his connections to terrorist groups when he applied for U.S. citizenship.

Palestinian-born Fawaz Damra, imam of the Islamic Center of Cleveland, could have received up to five years in prison on the charge of obtaining U.S. citizenship in 1994 by providing false information.

U.S. District Judge James S. Gwin said Damra could start serving his sentence after the Muslim holiday of Ramadan ends in November and he let him remain free on bond in the meantime.


Project touches Holocaust survivors

WHITWELL — Whitwell Middle School students hoped to collect 6 million paper clips — one to remember each person killed in the Holocaust.

But as word of the Children’s Holocaust Project spread, people from across the globe started sending paper clips to the small town in southeast Tennessee. The seventh- and eighth-graders have gathered 30 million paper clips since the project began in 1998.

Holocaust survivor Sam Sitko recently visited the school, and spoke to students about being beaten by Nazi soldiers and seeing his father starve to death in concentration camps.

Eighth-grader Hailey Yeargan wiped away tears during Mr. Sitko’s speech and hugged him afterward. “It’s just not right,” she said.


Diocese seeks bankruptcy protection

TUCSON — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson filed for bankruptcy protection yesterday under the weight of debt and pending litigation from clerical sex-abuse cases.

The diocese is the second in the nation to seek the protection of a bankruptcy court in the wake of extensive and continuing legal action stemming from sexual abuse of children by parish priests.

The archdiocese in Portland, Ore., was the first when it filed July 6.

The decision will subject the Tucson Diocese’s financial operations to court scrutiny for the first time.

Tucson Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas had signaled his intent in June, telling parishioners that bankruptcy protection appeared to be the only option remaining for the diocese, which serves about 350,000 Catholics in 75 parishes.


Security guard shot at state Capitol

SPRINGFIELD — An unarmed security guard was fatally shot inside the state Capitol yesterday by a man who fled the scene in a car, authorities said.

The officer was killed with one gunshot to the chest, said Col. Larry Schmidt, chief deputy director of the Secretary of State Police. Authorities did not provide a motive.

Springfield police said they were investigating another shooting about an hour earlier at a military surplus store about 2 miles from the Capitol involving a man who matched the description of the guard’s shooter.


Jury selection begins in murder trial

LOUISVILLE — Civil rights activists gathered in prayer outside the courthouse as jury selection began yesterday in the trial of a former Louisville police officer charged in the death of a 19-year-old black man.

McKenzie Mattingly, a former narcotics detective, is charged with murder in the death of Michael Newby, who was shot after a Jan. 3 undercover drug buy went bad. The case has drawn protests because Mr. Mattingly is white and Mr. Newby is the seventh black man killed by Louisville police in the past five years. Mr. Mattingly is the first officer in those cases to have been charged.

“All of us have been through a lot of pain. This is the first time they held a police officer accountable,” said the Rev. Louis Coleman, who led a group of about 30 people, including Mr. Newby’s mother and stepfather, in prayer outside court.


1 killed, 2 injured in fair ride accident

BOSTON — A pair of improper bolts caused an amusement park ride to break apart at a church fair, killing one person and injuring two, the state’s commissioner of public safety said yesterday.

The accident occurred Sunday on the Sizzler ride at St. Mary’s Church and parochial school in Shrewsbury, 40 miles west of Boston. Andrew R. Fohlin, 38, died after he was thrown from the ride and hit his head on the pavement. Two were injured.


House passes billto strengthen marriage

LANSING — A law requiring would-be marriage partners to get counseling or wait an extra 25 days to wed is advancing through the Legislature. Couples could wed three days after counseling; those declining counseling would have to wait 28 days.

The House-passed plan could come to a vote this week in a state Senate committee.


Smoky bar air worse than traffic

TRENTON — Which is more harmful — a smoky bar or a city street filled with diesel truck fumes? Well, it may be a good idea to skip the next happy hour.

Smoky bars and casinos have up to 50 times more cancer-causing particles in the air than highways and city streets clogged with diesel trucks at rush hour, according to a study published in the September issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine that also shows that indoor air pollution virtually disappears once smoking is banned.

Conducted by James Repace, the researcher who first showed that secondhand smoke causes thousands of U.S. lung cancer deaths each year, the study found that casino and bar workers are exposed to particulate pollution at far greater levels than the government allows outdoors.


Orchestra deal extended before season’s start

PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Orchestra’s 105th season will open as planned this week with celebrated soprano Renee Fleming singing works by Wagner, Strauss and Dvorak — rather than the silence once feared from a labor dispute.

Orchestra officials and musicians decided shortly before a midnight deadline Sunday to extend their contract for 30 days, ending the threat of an immediate strike and paving the way for the orchestra’s opening night tonight.

Representatives of the orchestra’s unionized members had walked out of talks Friday, balking at management’s position on salaries, pension cuts and a possible reduction in the orchestra’s size, and a day later authorized a strike.


Lakota Indians warn expedition re-enactors

CHAMBERLAIN — Two hundred years after Lewis and Clark’s tense encounter with Black Buffalo’s Teton Sioux, historical re-enactors following the explorers’ route have received a blunt warning from some American Indians.

“All you did by coming up into our territory is open old wounds,” said Alex White Plume, a Lakota from Pine Ridge, S.D., who was among a group of Indians who met with expedition leaders, including a direct descendant of Capt. William Clark.

Expedition members had invited the Indians to their camp on the Missouri River to express concerns about the re-enactment. About 25 Indian men, women and children came carrying a banner asking, “Why celebrate genocide?”


State shines light on long-burning bulb

DALLAS — They sure do not make things like the Texas light bulb anymore, which sold for a few cents and has burned for 96 years.

The North Fort Worth Historical Society will have a birthday party today for its famous household fixture — a light bulb that has burned continuously since Sept. 21, 1908. The bulb was first illuminated when a stagehand at a local opera house flicked a switch and posted a sign that the light over a stage entrance was not be turned off.

Despite having lasted 96 years, the Texas light bulb does not hold the record. According to the Guinness World Records, that honor goes to a four-watt bulb that has been burning at a firehouse in Livermore, Calif., since it was turned on in 1901.


Fire damage estimated at $1 million

RIVERTON — A weekend fire apparently sparked by children blew out of control and destroyed dozens of vehicles, several outbuildings and tons of hay at a livestock barn. Nine persons, including seven firefighters, suffered minor injuries, officials said.

“I’m guessing about a million-dollar fire loss,” Riverton Fire Marshal Matt Lee said. “It appears to be children being careless with fireworks,” he said.

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