- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 22, 2005

FLORIDA

Accused serial rapist escapes from jail

MIAMI — An inmate accused of raping seven girls and women in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood escaped from jail by crawling through a ceiling vent and then climbing down from the roof on tied-together bedsheets, police said.

Police searched neighborhoods, airports, rail stations and ports for Reynaldo E. Rapalo, 34, who broke out of a Miami-Dade County jail late Tuesday, police said. A man who tried to escape with him was caught after he jumped and broke his legs.

Mr. Rapalo, who was awaiting trial after being arrested in 2003, was caught after DNA evidence showed he tried to attack a woman hanging her laundry in the middle of the day, police said.

INDIANA

Generic holiday names rejected

GREENCASTLE — Christmas and Good Friday are going back on the city’s calendar after vocal opposition to a City Council decision to adopt generic holiday names.

Nearly 200 people — many singing “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” — filled the council’s chambers before a 4-0 vote to reverse the policy after less than a week on the books.

“I believe this was political correctness run amok,” Councilman Mark Hammer, who was absent for last week’s original vote, said during Monday’s meeting. “When we use the terms ‘winter holiday’ and ‘spring holiday,’ we’re not being inclusive, we’re being exclusive.”

The council’s initial 4-0 vote to change the name of the employee holidays caused an outcry in the community of 10,000 people about 40 miles west of Indianapolis.

MASSACHUSETTS

Marriage amendment sent to legislature

BOSTON — Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin this week sent to the legislature a proposed constitutional amendment that would end same-sex “marriage” in the state.

The amendment proposal, pushed by residents who collected about 170,000 signatures, had the required 65,825 signatures of certified voters, Mr. Galvin said Tuesday.

The measure must pass by 50 votes in two successive legislative sessions before it can go to voters in November 2008.

MISSISSIPPI

Bishop to decide fate of schools

BILOXI — Diocese of Biloxi officials say Bishop Thomas Rodi will decide the fate of Catholic elementary schools on the hurricane-ravaged Mississippi Gulf Coast next month.

Mike Ladner, superintendent of the diocese’s schools, said Bishop Rodi will decide which schools will be rebuilt and relocated and which ones will be consolidated with other schools. Six of the diocese’s 14 elementary schools were destroyed or damaged in Hurricane Katrina.

MISSOURI

Corporate jet makes emergency landing

ST. LOUIS — A corporate jet carrying at least seven persons landed safely yesterday in St. Louis after developing a landing-gear problem.

Lambert-St. Louis International Airport spokeswoman Sandy Singer said the jet carrying seven to nine persons took off around 8 a.m. from Spirit Airport in Chesterfield, Mo., a St. Louis suburb. She didn’t know whose jet it was.

The front landing gear would not retract, said Dave Nichols of the Monarch Fire District. Soon after takeoff, a visual inspection showed the nose gear apparently turned to the left, Mr. Nichols said. The plane flew for more than two hours burning fuel before preparing for the emergency landing.

NEW MEXICO

University gets pact to run Los Alamos

LOS ALAMOS — Despite a string of security lapses and accusations of fraud and mismanagement, the University of California was awarded the government contract yesterday to continue managing the Los Alamos laboratory that built the atom bomb.

Because of the scandals at Los Alamos, the government contract to run the nation’s pre-eminent nuclear lab had been put out to bid this year for the first time in the lab’s 63-year history.

Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman announced that a partnership of UC and the engineering giant Bechtel Corp. prevailed over a rival team made up of the University of Texas and the defense contractor Lockheed Martin.

The contract is for up to $512 million over seven years, with a provision to extend it to 20 years.

NEW YORK

Conviction overturned in subway killing

ALBANY — The state’s highest court has overturned the conviction of a schizophrenic who pushed a woman into a subway train in a 1999 murder that led to a state law allowing for the court-ordered treatment of mentally ill patients.

In a 6-1 decision, the Court of Appeals ordered a new trial Tuesday for Andrew Goldstein, saying his rights were violated when the prosecution’s psychiatric expert was permitted to testify about statements made to her by people who did not testify in court.

Goldstein, a sometimes-violent schizophrenic who did not take his anti-psychotic medicine, was convicted after a second trial in May 2000 of second-degree murder for pushing 32-year-old Kendra Webdale in front of an oncoming subway train. His first trial ended in a mistrial.

Goldstein, 36, is serving 25 years to life in prison for second-degree murder. Tuesday’s decision does not free him from custody.

OHIO

Mayor’s wife jailed for drunken driving

COLUMBUS — The wife of Mayor Michael Coleman pleaded guilty yesterday to being drunk when she ran into a parked pickup truck with her car in October, and a judge sentenced her to three days in jail.

“I made a mistake, I’ve accepted the consequences and I want to move on with my life. That’s all,” Frankie Coleman said in Franklin County Municipal Court.

Attorneys for Mrs. Coleman, 55, had fought the charge, which carries mandatory jail time and was based on a breath test that found she had a blood alcohol level of 0.271 percent — more than three times the legal limit for driving of 0.08 percent.

Mr. Coleman, a Democrat, had recently dropped out of the governor’s race citing family issues. He accompanied his wife to the court appearance.

Judge Scott D. VanDerKarr suspended 174 days of a 180-day jail sentence and gave her three days credit for a treatment program. He also fined her $250 and suspended her driver’s license for six months.

OKLAHOMA

Woman gives birth to 14-pound girl

McALESTER — A baby girl weighing 14 pounds, 3 ounces was born at McAlester Regional Health Center, the largest baby ever born there, a hospital official said.

Lillian Elizabeth Ross was born Friday by Caesarean section to Adrienne and Anthony Ross of Pocola.

The baby already wears clothes made for children 6 to 9 months old.

“The nursery had to go to pediatrics to get diapers for her because they didn’t have any that would fit,” Adrienne Ross said.

OREGON

Charity chief’s pay called ‘unreasonable’

PORTLAND — The president of Portland’s Goodwill made an “unreasonable” amount of money in 2004, the Attorney General’s Office said.

Michael Miller earned more than $830,000 in pay and benefits last year, according to the office’s audit. Mr. Miller made more than executives at the other 172 Goodwill branches in North America. Mr. Miller, who has been president of the charity for 20 years, agreed to accept a 24 percent cut in his salary and performance bonus.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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