- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Lawmaker apologizes for security scare

MONTGOMERY — A state senator apologized after a police report showed that his pre-dawn visit to the state Capitol with an unidentified woman caused the building to be shut down for security reasons.

Sen. Curt Lee issued a written apology. He said he was on “a lark” with an unnamed colleague when a custodian alerted Capitol police. As a senator, Mr. Lee had access and broke no laws, state police said.


Mail calls U.S. vet ‘Palestinian Bomber’

CORONA — The address was his, but the name on the credit card offer took Sami Habbas by surprise: “Palestinian Bomber.”

“I thought it was a joke or something,” said Mr. Habbas, 54, a Palestinian American who has served in the U.S. Army.

When he called the company, JPMorgan Chase & Co., provided his ZIP code and invitation number, two operators said to him, “Yes, Mr. Bomber, what can we do for you?”

The information came from a list Chase purchased from a vendor, said Kelly J. Presta, Chase Card Services executive vice president. Chase Card Services, the Delaware-based credit card line of JPMorgan Chase, said it is investigating the case.

The District-based Council on American-Islamic Relations has asked Chase for a formal apology.


Cell phone photos lead to man’s arrest

BOULDER — A second man was arrested by University of Colorado police this week on accusations that he took pictures of women up their skirts while they were shopping in the campus bookstore.

Police arrested Jonathan R. Geohring, 23, and said he used his camera cell phone to take pictures of at least three women.

Employees at the bookstore notified campus police about a man who was taking pictures in the store. An officer watched the store’s video surveillance, and then stopped Mr. Geohring, who attempted to erase the photos from the camera before handing it over to the officer, according to police.


Coast Guard ends search for Cubans

MIAMI — The Coast Guard suspended its search yesterday for 31 Cubans thought to have been thrown into the Straits of Florida when their boat capsized during an apparent smuggling run to the United States.

No victims or survivors have been found since Sunday, when three persons were rescued by a merchant vessel north of Matanzas, Cuba. Those survivors were being treated in Cuba for burns and dehydration after five days at sea.

The Coast Guard found an overturned boat about 16 miles from the survivors’ location, but investigators don’t know whether the vessel was the one used in the smuggling attempt.


Parole board denies clemency

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Parole Board voted 3-1 yesterday to recommend that a Montgomery County man be executed despite assertions that he was mentally ill when he killed his pregnant wife and his parents in 1985.

Arthur Baird is scheduled to die by chemical injection Wednesday for killing his parents, Kathryn and Arthur Baird. He also was sentenced to 60 years in prison for killing his pregnant wife, Nadine, the day before his parents’ slayings.

The parole board’s recommendation for the denial of clemency now goes to Gov. Mitch Daniels. Another appeal is pending before the Indiana Supreme Court contending that Baird is incompetent to be executed.


12-year-old gets $250,000 bail

BOSTON — A juvenile court judge shocked prosecutors by setting bail at $250,000 for a 12-year-old boy charged with firing a gun in the city.

The district attorney’s office had asked for $5,000 bail when the boy was arraigned Tuesday on a juvenile weapons possession charge.

Judge Paul D. Lewis said he had lost patience with youth violence after 23 years on the juvenile bench.

“These kids don’t take responsibility for anything,” the judge told the Boston Globe after the Tuesday ruling.

The boy’s attorney, Mariann Samaha, said she plans to appeal the bail ruling.


Hotel opposed at Bonnie-Clyde site

JOPLIN — Neighbors aren’t welcoming a minister’s plans to convert a garage apartment that was the site of a Bonnie and Clyde shootout into a bed-and-breakfast.

“When I think of a bed-and-breakfast, I think of charm, antiques and history — not murder,” said Peggy Webb, who is among the opponents.

The 1933 shootout occurred in the middle of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow’s bank-robbing spree across Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Louisiana and New Mexico.

Many opponents of the Rev. Phillip McClendon’s plan said they wanted to curb extra traffic and keep curiosity-seekers away.


Web site will assist those without lawyers

CONCORD — The state court system introduced a Web site to help the thousands of people who go to court each year without lawyers.

The court system’s online “Self-Help Center” will be followed soon by free mediation in small-claims cases.

That initiative will start after Labor Day in the state’s largest district courts.


Capital adopts nuclear-free policy

OLYMPIA — Washington state’s capital has banned anything related to nuclear weapons, a measure critics said could open the city to lawsuits.

The ordinance adopted 5-2 by the City Council on Tuesday exempts the federal government and two major highways, Interstate 5 and U.S. 101, where such weapons or their components might be transported.

Violators will be fined $25 a day for the first offense, and $100 a day for a third.

The ordinance, which takes effect in 30 days, specifies that companies doing business with the city will be asked to affirm in writing that they are not involved in nuclear weapons production. The city will try to avoid doing business with companies that don’t provide an affidavit.

From staff reports and wire dispatches

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