- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 23, 2005

WISCONSIN

Student sues over summer homework

MILWAUKEE — A student whose vacation plans were spoiled has sued to end summer homework in Wisconsin, saying it creates an unfair workload and unnecessary stress and should not be required after the mandated 180-day school year is over.

Peer Larson, 17, had lined up a dream job as a camp counselor in June, but honors pre-calculus homework turned his summer into a headache.

“It didn’t completely ruin my summer, but it did give me a lot of undue stress both at home and at work,” the high school junior said last week in filing the suit in Milwaukee County Circuit Court, with the support of his father.

NEW YORK

Blaze kills two firefighters

NEW YORK — A three-alarm blaze in the Tremont section of the Bronx yesterday killed two firefighters and left four hospitalized in critical condition, fire department officials said.

All six jumped from a fourth-floor window after becoming trapped by flames. The fire department said a faulty extension cord on the third floor may have sparked the blaze.

“When the fire from the third floor broke through to the fourth, they were faced with the horrifying choice of either jumping out the fourth-floor widow or being burned to death. They jumped knowing they would be critically injured,” Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said yesterday.

Curtis Meyran, 46, and John Bellew, 37, were pronounced dead after being taken to St. Barnabas Hospital. The two married men had seven children between them.

FLORIDA

Trial begins today in Elian raid case

MIAMI — A federal judge today will hear claims of a dozen persons who said they were wrongly assaulted by federal officers during the raid that removed Elian Gonzalez from his family’s home.

The plaintiffs say they were innocent bystanders who were gassed and beaten outside the home during the early morning raid on April 22, 2000.

“I think the public’s going to be surprised that elderly people were gassed while praying the rosary,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, which represents 11 of the plaintiffs.

Elian was one of three survivors of a November 1999 shipwreck that killed his mother and others fleeing Cuba. He was turned over to his Miami relatives while his custody situation was resolved. The raid took place after government officials said the family refused to return the boy so he could be taken back to his father in Cuba.

GEORGIA

Obesity may hinder cancer test’s accuracy

ATLANTA — A study suggests a man’s weight may affect the accuracy of a common test to detect prostate cancer, leading researchers to warn that doctors could be missing signs of the dangerous cancer in obese men.

Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio studied 2,779 men without prostate cancer from 2001 to 2004. In the study released online today in the journal Cancer, they reported finding that the more obese the men the lower their levels of prostate-specific antigen. A PSA level of 4.0 or lower usually means no cancer.

Studies have shown that prostate cancer is more aggressive in obese men than in men of average weight. The researchers wanted to see whether the cancer’s detection was somehow being delayed in obese men.

The Texas study found that obese men had about 30 percent lower PSA levels than men of normal weight.

KANSAS

Plane crashes into suburban home

OVERLAND PARK — A twin-engine plane was reduced to “bits and pieces” after it crashed into a home in a Kansas City suburb, killing all five persons on board and leaving a fiery trail of destruction in the well-to-do neighborhood.

The plane, which went down shortly after takeoff Friday, clipped a street lamp and several trees as it broke up. It slammed into two vehicles and came to rest at the foundation of a home. No one on the ground was hurt.

The crash spread aviation fuel and wreckage across several blocks. The back porch of a house owned by Baltimore Orioles pitcher Jason Grimsley was extensively damaged.

MICHIGAN

School coach ordered to stop prayers

AUGUSTA TOWNSHIP — A Washtenaw County school district ordered a high school coach to stop leading his wrestlers in prayer.

The district issued the order after the American Civil Liberties Union threatened to sue unless Daren Schaller stopped the prayers, which came after practices and before meets. The whole team participated in the prayers, which the district said were voluntary.

MONTANA

Students rewarded for donating money

LIMA — Eight high school students who gave their senior class trip money to a teacher with cancer will be able to travel after all, thanks to donations from people who were touched by the students’ generosity.

The eight graduating seniors at Lima High School in southwest Montana gave $5,000 in December to Karla McGraw, a teacher and volleyball coach diagnosed with advanced breast cancer, to help her with medical expenses.

The students — many of whom have never seen the ocean — wanted to visit a coastal Oregon town. A man donated airline tickets, a hotel cut $1,000 from the price of their rooms, and the students received free tickets to a Portland Trail Blazers basketball game.

NEVADA

Judge nullifies lap dance rulings

LAS VEGAS — A Las Vegas law prohibiting strippers from fondling customers during lap dances is unconstitutionally vague, a judge ruled.

District Court Judge Sally Loehrer affirmed a lower court ruling that as many as five misdemeanor criminal cases filed against Las Vegas strippers should be dismissed.

The Friday ruling affects only dancers within city limits. The Clark County Commission in 2002 limited touching between strippers and patrons during private lap dances, specifically barring strippers from touching or sitting on the customer’s genital area.

But the municipal code was not as specific, saying only that strippers and their patrons should not “fondle” or “caress” each other.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Low attendance closes gay bishop’s parish

ROCHESTER — An Episcopal parish that lost most of its worshippers after the diocese elected an openly homosexual bishop announced it will close after Easter.

Remaining parishioners decided to close the Church of the Redeemer, saying there aren’t enough worshippers and that the parish leaders are overburdened. The church has operated for more than 100 years.

NORTH CAROLINA

Institute to study human brain, music

GREENSBORO — The University of North Carolina at Greensboro has started a research institute dedicated to increasing the understanding of how music is created by the human brain.

Researchers will look for insight by studying music’s uses in medicine, psychology and education, among other fields.

TEXAS

WWII soldier’s remains coming home

EAGLE PASS — More than 60 years after his plane disappeared during World War II on a mission to raid a Japanese base, an Army Air Corps soldier’s remains are coming home.

First Lt. James Walter Carver, a navigator, will be buried with full military honors Saturday at the foot of his mother’s grave in Eagle Pass, the family said.

Lt. Carver’s remains were identified through DNA testing using a blood sample taken from his niece, Kathryn Cunningham, whose mother, June Carver Hansen, 86, is Lt. Carver’s only remaining sibling.

A villager searching for beetle nuts in Papua New Guinea discovered the wreckage of the American bomber plane in 1998. The next year, a recovery team from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command took custody of the remains and artifacts found near the crash site.

WYOMING

Drive aims to snuff out smokeless tobacco use

CHEYENNE — The state Department of Health is planning a week dedicated to ending smokeless tobacco addiction, officials said.

Wyoming has more chewing tobacco users per capita than any state besides West Virginia. “Through With Chew Week” will be held Feb. 13 to Feb. 19.

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