- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 27, 2005


City mulls charging for grocery bags

SAN FRANCISCO — City officials are considering a proposal to slap a 17 cent surcharge on paper or plastic shopping bags.

Mayor Gavin Newsom and Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi introduced a resolution Tuesday requesting a more detailed study on how much the city pays to collect and dispose of paper and plastic sacks. Such a study is required before the city can legally impose the fee on grocery bags, and the research will help determine the precise charge.

Environmentalists say plastic bags pollute waterways, suffocate wildlife and often end up as eyesores in trees or bushes.


Priest’s accuser testifies

CAMBRIDGE — A man who says he was molested as a boy by Paul Shanley, then a priest, testified yesterday that Mr. Shanley would pull him from Catholic catechism classes and rape and fondle him in the church pews, the confessional and the rectory.

The man, now 27, also said Mr. Shanley would wait for him in the bathroom. He said the abuse began at age 6 and continued until 1989, when he was 12.

The testimony came on the second day of a rape trial for Mr. Shanley, who became famous in the 1970s for his youth-oriented ministry.


Moose kills lead dog of Iditarod musher

BIG LAKE — Fido, the lead dog of an Iditarod musher, was stomped to death by a charging moose along the Denali Highway in Alaska.

Ramey Smyth said that a few years ago, Fido led his team to a victory in the Tustumena 200 Sled Dog Race on the Kenai Peninsula.

Fido, who was killed earlier this month, was behind the leaders in a team of 20 dogs when the moose appeared and charged the dog, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

Mr. Smyth said he wished he had kept the gun he had loaned to another musher, who was having trouble with a moose on the trails around Talkeetna.


Prosecutors file appeal over stay of execution

HARTFORD — Connecticut prosecutors asked the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday to override a stay of execution for serial killer Michael Ross and allow New England’s first execution in 45 years to proceed.

In a 35-page motion, prosecutors say U.S. District Judge Robert Chatigny of Hartford was wrong to postpone Ross’ execution in order to schedule a competency hearing to determine whether the killer’s mental capacity had diminished from nearly two decades on death row.

At issue is whether Ross, who says he wants the execution to proceed, is mentally competent to waive his appeals.


Man places ad urging wife to return

MIAMI — A Florida man paid $17,000 for a full-page newspaper ad imploring his wife to return, about two weeks after she had left him.

“Life without you is empty and meaningless. Please, please call me,” Larry urged Marianne in the Florida Times-Union ad, which uses only the couple’s first names and shows a man in a suit kneeling before a woman in a long, formal dress.

The Jacksonville, Fla., daily said the lovelorn man paid $17,000 for the plea.

The paper, which received hundreds of queries about the Tuesday ad, did not reveal the jilted husband’s full name, but it said his wife had left him two weeks ago and was living with her parents.


Tax break proposed for young workers

DES MOINES — Senate Republicans introduced an economic development plan that calls for eliminating the state income tax for everyone younger than 30 while giving tax credits to businesses that create jobs.

Any job qualifying for the tax credit must pay at least $10 an hour. The elimination of the state income tax is aimed at keeping young workers in Iowa.


Broken pipeline spills oil into river

WORTHVILLE — A pipeline broke and spilled crude oil into the Kentucky River early yesterday, creating an eight-mile slick along the tributary of the Ohio River.

Only the Kentucky River has been affected, said Stacy Floden, a spokeswoman for Kentucky Emergency Management. The pipeline broke above ground, and the oil spread into the river.

Authorities did not know how much oil had poured into the river. Owen County Sheriff Zemer Hammond said environmental officials were on the scene, and there had been no injuries or evacuations.


Employer bans smokers, targets fat

OKEMOS — The owner of a Michigan company who forced his employees to either quit smoking or quit their jobs said yesterday that he also wants to tell fat workers to lose weight or else.

A ban on tobacco use — whether at home or at the workplace — led four employees to quit their jobs last week at Okemos, Mich.-based Weyco Inc., which handles insurance claims.

Next on the firing line: overweight workers.

“We have to work on eating habits and getting people to exercise. But if you’re obese, you’re [legally] protected,” founder and sole owner Howard Weyers said.

He has brought in an eating-disorder therapist to speak to workers, provided eating coaches, created a point system for employees to earn health-related $100 bonuses and plans to offer $45 vouchers for health club memberships.


Judge suspended for groping quits

CONCORD — A New Hampshire judge who was suspended for groping five women at a conference on sexual assault and domestic violence resigned yesterday, the same day a committee recommended that he not be returned to his job.

“I wish to again express my apologies to those who have been impacted by my inappropriate conduct,” former Judge Franklin Jones wrote in a two-page letter to Gov. John Lynch.

A Judicial Conduct Committee concluded that Mr. Jones’ groping of five victims’ advocates of his court “demeaned his judicial office and cast reasonable doubt in the eyes of the public on his continuing capacity to act in an impartial manner.”

Mr. Jones, 56, was suspended in May.


Man declared dead saved in morgue

RALEIGH — A medical examiner studying a body in a morgue was startled when the man took a shallow breath. Emergency medical technicians had declared Larry D. Green dead almost two hours earlier, after he was hit by a car.

Medical examiner J.B. Perdue was called to the accident scene Monday but did not examine Mr. Green then. Later, Mr. Perdue was documenting injuries when he noticed the 29-year-old was breathing.

“I had to look twice myself just to make sure it was there, that’s how subtle it was,” Mr. Perdue said.

Mr. Green was taken to Duke University Medical Center in Durham, where he was in critical condition yesterday.

Several members of the Franklin County emergency medical service have been suspended pending an investigation, said Darnell Batton, the county attorney.


Gun-toting worker wounds 3, kills self

TOLEDO — An employee of a Jeep production plant wounded three workers with a double-barrel shotgun yesterday before killing himself, police said.

Police said that when the man walked into the plant he was yelling and demanding that some of the body shop’s supervisors come to the office area. Authorities did not know whether any of the victims were supervisors.

The shooting occurred in the body shop office about 8:45 p.m., police Chief Mike Navarre said.

One victim was shot in the chest and was in critical condition. The other two were less seriously injured.

Chief Navarre did not release the victims’ names. The unidentified gunman shot himself in the head, the chief said.

The gunman had been disciplined recently, Chief Navarre said without elaborating.


Driver told to remove troop magnet

EUGENE — The University of Oregon is defending its decision to tell one of its delivery drivers to remove a “Support Our Troops” magnet from the state-owned truck he uses at work.

Oregon law prohibits personal messages on state-owned vehicles, regardless of the context.

Several months ago, driver Pete Baker put the yellow ribbon magnet on the back of the state truck.

University officials learned of the magnet and said last week that it had to be removed. Mr. Baker’s story quickly found its way to radio talk shows and to several military Web logs. University President Dave Frohnmayer said Tuesday that Mr. Baker will face no disciplinary action.


Dome building slows at Mount St. Helens

SEATTLE — Growth of the new lava dome inside the crater of Mount St. Helens has slowed gradually since the mountain reawakened in October, scientists said Tuesday.

Molten rock has been oozing from the surface of the volcano’s crater since the fall, building a new lava dome that has a total volume of 44 million cubic yards. That is big enough to contain 134 buildings the size of the basketball arena where the Portland Trail Blazers play.

The update came nine days after a small explosion at the north end of the new dome sent ash nearly two miles from the crater, an explosion on a similar scale to explosive events in October, said Jon Major, research hydrologist for the U.S. Geological Survey.


Second special session likely for lawmakers

CHARLESTON — Two days into Gov. Joe Manchin’s first special legislative session, the administration suggested that a second one might be called in the spring to tackle state salaries.

Manchin spokeswoman Lara Ramsburg said it depends on how much money is available. That won’t be known until the end of both the current session and the regular 60-day session, which resumes Feb. 9.

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