- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 24, 2005

ARIZONA

Ex-POW Lynch receives warriors medal

PHOENIX — An American Indian veterans group awarded a “warriors medal of valor” yesterday to former prisoner of war Jessica Lynch in a ceremony on the mountain named after her best friend and fallen comrade, Army Spc. Lori Piestewa.

The ceremony on Piestewa Peak marked the second anniversary of the ambush on a convoy in Iraq in which Spc. Piestewa, a Hopi Indian, was killed and Miss Lynch was taken prisoner.

“She was a very strong-minded woman,” said Miss Lynch, a former Army supply clerk from West Virginia who is still recovering from injuries suffered in the ambush. “Her strength rubbed off on me.”

The medal was presented to her by the Native American Veterans Council.

NEW JERSEY

States consider casino smoking ban

ATLANTIC CITY — A smoking ban? In casinos?

Sitting at a Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino slot machine, cigarette in hand, Robin Cancelli, 48, of Grafton, Mass., considered the question and quickly dismissed it. “It goes together: smoking, drinking and gambling,” said the smoker, pausing at a “Jeopardy” slot machine. “If they did that, we’d probably stop coming.”

Legislation for a smoking ban that would apply to casinos is advancing in New Jersey and Colorado, threatening to force gamblers to take their coin cups outside when they want to light up.

Like Las Vegas casinos, gambling halls in Atlantic City, N.J., allow smoking in most areas, setting aside some places for nonsmokers. The only smoke-free casino in the nation is the Taos Mountain Casino in Taos, N.M., the American Gaming Association reports.

CALIFORNIA

Jackson trial judge allows porn evidence

SANTA MARIA — Prosecutors yesterday presented the Michael Jackson trial jury with an avalanche of sexually explicit magazines and videos seized from his home, but lost a bid to include adult material from Internet sites found on the pop star’s computers.

Superior Court Judge Rodney S. Melville said it could have been automatically stored by the computers and “there wouldn’t be any way of knowing if anyone looked at the material.”

District Attorney Tom Sneddon put into evidence hundreds of pornographic magazines, DVDs and photos, but none involving children.

The day ended with an ambulance being summoned for one of Mr. Jackson’s attorneys, Brian Oxman, who leaned forward and put his head down at the counsel table after testimony concluded. The lawyer’s wife, Maureen Jaroscak, said he had a touch of pneumonia.

FLORIDA

Miss America contest planned for teens

ORLANDO — The Miss America Organization is creating a spinoff pageant for teenage girls, officials said yesterday.

Miss America’s Outstanding Teen, a pageant for girls 13 to 17 years old, will be held in August in Orlando. It will pit state winners against one another in talent and evening wear — but not swimsuit — competitions.

The junior Miss America pageant, scheduled for Aug. 17-20, will be a smaller-scale version of the event that has been held in Atlantic City since 1921. It will be held at the Orange County Convention Center, and negotiations are under way for a television deal.

IOWA

Senate OKs increase in deer hunting

DES MOINES — The Senate approved a bill to increase the number of deer-hunting licenses, aiming to reduce the state’s white-tailed deer population by an additional 135,000 per year.

The bill would make it easier for farmers to get a second license and allow increased hunting in certain areas. Statistical models put the state’s deer population at 350,000 to 400,000. The House also approved a similar bill.

LOUISIANA

Weather service keeps ‘skinny black line’

NEW ORLEANS — The National Weather Service will stick with the familiar “skinny black line” used to project the paths of hurricanes and tropical storms, despite misgivings by some who fear too much attention is paid to the skinny line and not enough to the wide margin for error.

Scott Kizer, the tropical cyclone program manager with the weather service, made the announcement yesterday just before the opening of the annual National Hurricane Conference.

He said the decision to stick with the line was made after 63 percent of the responses to the weather service’s solicitation of opinions favored keeping the skinny line.

KENTUCKY

Army captain charged in abuse of recruits

FORT KNOX — An Army captain was charged with dereliction of duty for reportedly failing to stop his drill sergeants from abusing basic-training recruits.

Capt. William C. Fulton, 35, also was charged with punching a soldier in the chest.

Early last month, 25 recruits in a unit under Capt. Fulton’s command were kicked, pushed and slapped, the Army said yesterday. Four drill sergeants under Capt. Fulton have been charged with abuse.

MASSACHUSETTS

Priest acquitted in child rape case

BROCKTON — A 76-year-old priest was acquitted yesterday of raping a boy in a church office in the late 1980s.

The Rev. John P. Lyons closed his eyes and bowed his head as the jury’s verdict was read. “I’m delighted,” he said.

His accuser, a 26-year-old former parishioner at St. Rose of Lima Church in Rochester, testified that Father Lyons molested him from 1987 until 1989, starting when he was 8.

NEBRASKA

Official quits amid hiring flap

LINCOLN — The state official who offered a job to a man convicted in absentia in the murder of an American wildlife researcher in Africa has resigned.

Richard DeLiberty, administrator for behavioral health for the state Health and Human Services (HHS) System, resigned late Tuesday, the governor’s office said.

In his resignation letter, Mr. DeLiberty apologized to Gov. Dave Heineman, a Republican, and HHS Director Nancy Montanez.

The health agency announced last week that Wayne Richard McGuire had been hired as program director of a mental health program. The job offer was withdrawn hours later after the Associated Press reported that McGuire had been found guilty in absentia in Rwanda in the 1985 slaying of Dian Fossey, the researcher whose work in Africa was the subject of the movie “Gorillas in the Mist.”

MISSISSIPPI

Mogul offers millions to reward graduates

JACKSON — Business mogul Jim Barksdale is making Mississippi lawmakers an unusual offer.

The former president of Netscape and FedEx told the Mississippi House and Senate he will put up $50 million to reward some students who read at the appropriate grade level and graduate from high school.

The catch? He wants legislators to fully fund public education and a teacher pay raise for the state budget year that starts July 1.

PENNSYLVANIA

‘Most wanted’ fugitive captured by marshals

PHILADELPHIA — A man wanted in the drugging and sexual assault of young boys in his care at a juvenile housing facility in South Carolina, was captured yesterday by deputy U.S. marshals at an apartment above a sports apparel store.

Charles Leroy Dean had been the object of a manhunt since he was placed on the U.S. marshals 15 “most wanted” list four months ago. He was arrested by members of the U.S. Marshals Violent Crime Fugitive Task Force and the Philadelphia Police Department’s Major Crimes Unit.

Dean, 50, was arrested on several counts of sexual assault against children in March 2000, and initially appeared for his trial that October. He disappeared and was subsequently convicted in absentia by a jury in Georgetown County, S.C.

WISCONSIN

Trail of coins leads to arrest

APPLETON — An officer investigating a robbery at a store was checking outside for footprints in the snow when he noticed a quarter.

“He walked a little farther and saw another coin, and then a little farther he saw another one,” Appleton Police Sgt. Pat DeWall said Tuesday.

Officers followed the trail south for four blocks, then turned west for a block, with the number of coins increasing as they proceeded — including a full roll of dimes at one point, he said.

Eventually, they found several coins on the front porch of a home. Two of the home’s residents were arrested.

Among the items missing were nine cartons of cigarettes and $785 in bills and coins. Sgt. DeWall said the burglars loaded the stolen rolls of coins into a milk crate , and he speculated that some of the rolls started breaking apart and the coins fell through the slats.

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