- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 17, 2005

CALIFORNIA

Half of freshmen need remedial classes

LONG BEACH — More than half of California State University’s freshmen needed to brush up on their English or math skills before they were ready to tackle college — a showing significantly worse than the school’s proficiency goals.

Just 43 percent of the incoming freshmen last year were proficient in both English and math, the study released Tuesday found.

According to the report, 37 percent of the students needed remedial classes in math and 47 percent needed them in English, based on assessments after they were admitted. Some students needed classes in both subjects.

The 2004 goal had been to lower the remedial levels to 26 percent for math and 22 percent for English.

GEORGIA

Beauty queen acquitted of murder

SAVANNAH — A beauty queen who fatally shot her two-timing boyfriend was found not guilty of murder yesterday.

Sharron Nicole Redmond admitted shooting her boyfriend outside the home of another woman he was dating, but said she was acting in self-defense. Miss Redmond, 23, had faced an automatic life sentence if convicted of Kevin Shorter’s death on Dec. 16, 2003. Four months earlier, she had been crowned Miss Savannah.

The jury of nine women and three men deliberated for more than nine hours over two days before reaching their verdict.

Miss Redmond, wearing a striped prayer shawl, gasped and sobbed as she was found not guilty on each of the three charges against her. She mouthed the words “thank you.”

KENTUCKY

Escaped wallaby startles townspeople

POOLE — A strange sight from down under startled residents of this western Kentucky community.

Members of the Poole Homemakers Club were at a meeting downtown Tuesday when they looked out and saw what they thought was a kangaroo. Nedra Wilson, first to spot the animal, said it hopped up a driveway and around a carport.

The animal that club members saw was likely a wallaby, a small kangaroo that is native to Australia. Two of them were on the loose after they escaped from their pen.

The animals belong to the family of Stephen and Betty Bell. The family moved to Poole about six months ago. Mr. Bell is from Australia.

MINNESOTA

‘TIPSY’ vanity plate leads to arrest

MOORHEAD — Having a vanity plate that reads “TIPSY” might not be such a great idea after all.

Josiah Johnson, 23, said his license plate might have tipped off the Clay County sheriff’s deputy who pulled him over Friday after he left Coach’s Sports Pub in Moorhead.

He faces third-degree drunken-driving charges after his blood alcohol level reportedly registered at twice the legal limit.

Mr. Johnson said he bought the personalized license plate for his Jeep to describe the way it rode — then kept it as a joke when he got a Chevy Silverado because he likes to party.

MISSISSIPPI

Broken bones threaten trial delay

JACKSON — Reputed Klansman Edgar Ray Killen may face additional surgery after breaking his legs in a woodcutting accident, raising doubts about whether he can go to trial next month in the 1964 slayings of three civil rights workers.

Jerry Killen said yesterday that doctors likely will have to drain fluid from one of his brother’s hips. Last week, doctors at the Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson used steel pins to repair Mr. Killen’s broken bones.

Mr. Killen, 80, was indicted last month by a state grand jury on three counts of murder, accused of orchestrating the killings of James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman. Mr. Killen has denied taking part in the murders. He had been scheduled to go on trial April 18.

MISSOURI

State executes woman’s killer

ST. LOUIS — A man who threw a woman to her death off a Mississippi River bridge after stealing her car was executed yesterday.

Stanley Hall, 37, was pronounced dead at 1:06 a.m. after an injection of lethal chemicals at the Potosi Correctional Center, a spokesman said.

Hall was convicted of the January 1994 killing of Barbara Jo Wood, 44, whom he kidnapped at gunpoint in a shopping mall parking lot as she arrived for work. Hall and an accomplice went to the mall to steal a car to use in a planned revenge attack on a rival.

His final words were in the form of a written statement that read: “My statement to the Wood family is to let them know how truly and sincerely sorry I am for being involved with what I was and I’d like them to know that I’m sorry. Signed, sincerely sorry, Stanley Hall.”

NEW MEXICO

Curriculum proposed on ‘healthy choices’

LAS CRUCES — New Mexico State University officials have proposed adding a “making healthy choices” curriculum to English 111, a basic course taken by most students in their early semesters.

They think its small classes and discussion format make it ideal for talking about the dangers of party life and violence in relationships. The school has recorded two student deaths from drinking since November.

NEW YORK

Woman abandons baby at bus stop

NEW YORK — A New York City woman wearing a disguise abandoned an 18-month-old baby boy at a bus stop in the Bronx, police said.

Witnesses said the woman left the boy in a stroller at a bus shelter outside 961 Morris Park Ave. at about 6 p.m. Tuesday, the New York Post reported.

Police say the woman is black, 5 feet 6 inches tall, and 25 to 35 years old. She was wearing a blond wig and a large brown sweater with a white shirt underneath.

NORTH DAKOTA

Third-grader travels to school by mule

BISMARCK — Saje Beard’s half-hour commute to class is the envy of her four classmates at a one-room schoolhouse just south of here. Most mornings, the third-grader makes the trek on Ruth the mule.

“I feel more safe with her riding a mule than having her ride in a car or on a bus,” said her father, Marty Beard.

At the Manning School, Saje, 9, “parks” Ruth by tying her with a bowline to a tree near swing sets and monkey bars. Saje’s classmates, who are in kindergarten through fourth grade, help take off Ruth’s saddle and tack.

The mule prances and kicks up dirt as the children recite the Pledge of Allegiance and sing the national anthem.

The trip home always is a little faster: Ruth knows she will have some grain waiting, so she picks up the pace without prodding, Saje said.

OHIO

Trooper kills driver after cars rammed

SUNBURY — A man who rammed his pickup into several cars along a freeway yesterday was fatally shot by a trooper after the man got out of the truck and charged the officer with an ax, authorities said.

Police received numerous calls from drivers on Interstate 71 north of Columbus reporting the truck was running into other vehicles, including one driven by a trooper on his way to work, patrol Capt. Clark Kiner said. Police were trying to confirm the man’s identity.

Another trooper, Anh Nguyen, followed the truck, which pulled off the right side of the interstate at about 7:30 a.m., Capt. Kiner said.

When the man charged Trooper Nguyen with the ax, the trooper “was forced to fire his weapon at the suspect,” Capt. Kiner said.

TEXAS

Truck passenger heard aliens’ pleas

HOUSTON — A truck driver accused of capital murder in the deaths of 19 illegal immigrants could hear the aliens hitting the walls of his sweltering tractor-trailer but refused to help, a woman who accompanied the defendant testified yesterday.

Fatima Holloway, 30, said as she and Tyrone Williams, 34, drove from Harlingen in May 2003, she could hear noises coming from the back of the trailer.

“I said, ‘Did you hear that?’ He said no,” Miss Holloway testified. “I didn’t believe him because I could hear it.” She said after more noises, he acknowledged hearing them as well, she said.

Mr. Williams’ attorneys said he transported the 70 immigrants but did not know they were dying. Prosecutors contend Mr. Williams ignored the immigrants’ screams for help.

WEST VIRGINIA

Hundreds of goats seized in cruelty case

CHARLESTON — A man accused of leaving a trail of dead goats through several states has lost custody of his 200-plus remaining animals pending the outcome of animal cruelty cases in Ohio and West Virginia.

Christopher Weathersbee, 64, fled to West Virginia with 16 of his goats, including a dead one he had been storing in a freezer, in late February amid an impoundment and seizure by agents in Scioto County, Ohio.

Ohio agents found an estimated 80 goat carcasses on his rented property — including one in the house and another nine in a freezer, said Teresa Landon, director of the Ohio Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. They also seized about 220 live goats.

In West Virginia, shelter officials found another goat dead after a passer-by notified officials that the goats appeared thin and weak. Officials seized the 14 living animals — a seizure that was upheld Tuesday.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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