- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 10, 2005

CALIFORNIA

Couple ticketed when chicken jaywalks

RIDGECREST — Linc and Helena Moore might have learned the answer to that age-old question: Why did the chicken cross the road?

Because the chicken did not know that jaywalking is illegal.

Kern County Sheriff’s Deputy J. Nicholson does know, however. The deputy issued a ticket March 26 because one of the couple’s chickens reportedly impeded traffic in Johannesburg, a rural mining community near Ridgecrest, about 220 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

The Moores were in Superior Court last week to plead not guilty. A trial was scheduled for Monday.

The chicken’s owners say they think they were cited because they were among several people who complained that sheriff’s deputies haven’t done enough to control off-road vehicle riders who create dust and noise in their neighborhood.

FLORIDA

Coastal residents not storm-ready

MIAMI — Many residents along the East and Gulf coasts don’t plan to take simple steps to protect themselves and their homes from hurricanes, despite the devastation caused by five hurricanes that struck the United States last year, according to a poll released yesterday.

Fifty-six percent of those surveyed said they felt “not too” or “not at all” vulnerable, the Mason-Dixon poll said. One in four would do nothing to prepare for a storm, even after a watch or warning was issued.

“We can’t afford to wait for a hurricane to get close to prepare,” said Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center.

The poll also found that one in four residents thought they could evacuate flood-prone areas 30 minutes to an hour before a hurricane made landfall.

“That is dangerous folly,” Mr. Mayfield said. Flood-prone roads likelywill become impassable, he said. Gridlock also could prevent a last-minute evacuation.

GEORGIA

Governor approves statewide smoking ban

ATLANTA — Gov. Sonny Perdue approved a bill yesterday that will ban smoking in most public buildings in Georgia effective July 1, ending a guessing game he had fueled for weeks by saying he was undecided over the measure.

The law will allow smokers to light up only in a few places, including bars and restaurants that do not admit people younger than 18. Violators of the law will be fined $100 to $500.

Mr. Perdue, a Republican, had maintained for weeks that he had misgivings about the bill, saying the government should not become “the end-all and be-all nanny for all people.”

His decision to sign the bill into law came a day short of the deadline for him to sign or veto bills passed during the most recent session of the legislature.

ILLINOIS

Anti-cholesterol drug eyed for Alzheimer’s

CHICAGO — Statin drugs, which are designed to lower elevated cholesterol levels, also may stave off dementia in patients thought to have Alzheimer’s disease, a preliminary study said yesterday.

The positive findings from the study, which was completed by 46 persons thought to have the mind-robbing disease, have prompted two larger trials of statins, said the report by the Sun Health Research Institute in Sun City, Ariz.

Pfizer Inc., the maker of the statin Lipitor, provided funding and the drugs used in the study, which was published in this month’s issue of Archives of Neurology.

The yearlong study concluded that prescribing 80 milligrams of Lipitor daily to patients diagnosed with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s “may have a positive effect on the progressive deterioration of cognitive function and behavior” compared with patients taking a placebo, lead author Larry Sparks wrote.

LOUISIANA

Corps of Engineers to limit canal access

BOGALUSA — The Army Corps of Engineers plans to shut down boat launches, parking lots and other facilities along the 20-mile waterway bordering the Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge. It cites maintenance costs of $200,000 to $250,000.

After June 30, the canal will be closed to everyone but government and emergency personnel and people with access to private roads and launches.

NEW JERSEY

Runaway bride toast refused by bidder

STILLWATER — A man who auctioned off a slice of toast carved with his drawing of the runaway bride feels burned because the winning bidder has refused to pay for the item.

Perry Lonzello, 48, of Stillwater, used a piece of toasted Wonder Bread as the canvas for his rudimentary portrait of Georgia bride-to-be Jennifer Wilbanks and posted it at the online auction site EBay on a whim.

The auction debuted with a bid of $1.11 on May 1, but the amount grew quickly after the item drew national attention. When the auction ended Sunday, Mr. Lonzello said a California man had submitted the winning bid of $15,400.

Mr. Lonzello — who has said he planned to donate money from the auction to charity — was prepared to hand over the toast on national television yesterday, only to learn that the buyer had a change of heart.

“The purchaser reneged on the sale,” Mr. Lonzello told the Star-Ledger of Newark, adding that the man no longer was returning his calls. “He said he was goofing around. I think some legal action will be coming out of this.”

PENNSYLVANIA

Ex-treasurer convicted in city corruption case

PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia’s former treasurer was convicted yesterday on charges that he accepted free trips, Super Bowl tickets, cash and other lavish gifts to help businessmen obtain city contracts.

Corey Kemp, 35, became the highest-ranking official convicted in a City Hall corruption investigation that became public in 2003 when police discovered an FBI bug in Mayor John F. Street’s office.

Mr. Street has not been charged, and no evidence in the Kemp case directly implicated him in any crime.

The jury also convicted four others in its 19th day of deliberations, including two Commerce Bank executives, who were found guilty of arranging for the bank to receive special treatment from City Hall.

Mr. Kemp was convicted of charges that include extortion, conspiracy, fraud and filing false tax returns. He faces years in prison.

RHODE ISLAND

Dog dies helping owner escape fire

PROVIDENCE — James Gonsalves said he was able to escape a fire in his third-floor apartment with help from his dog, Otis.

As smoke filled the dark apartment, Mr. Gonsalves said, he followed the sound of the dog’s barks toward the door.

Mr. Gonsalves, 22, escaped with second-degree burns on the arms and hands and a laceration on the head, caused by a piece of falling debris.

Otis, the city fire marshal told the Providence Journal, “succumbed to the smoke and heat.” The dog was 16. Mr. Gonsalves had adopted him when he was a puppy.

SOUTH CAROLINA

NAACP suit driven by profit, city says

CHARLESTON — Myrtle Beach, defending charges that it discriminates against black bikers each Memorial Day weekend, says profit, not righting a wrong, may be behind a federal lawsuit brought by the NAACP.

The city has asked a federal judge to compel the civil rights group to produce documents relating to its economic boycott of South Carolina and its settlement discussions of discrimination lawsuits brought against three Grand Strand restaurants.

The motion, filed late last week, also asks for copies of settlement agreements in which the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People obtained monetary relief from national companies, including Coca-Cola, Texaco and Abercrombie & Fitch.

“These documents may provide proof that ‘profit’ is an alternative basis for the plaintiffs’ lawsuits, not merely to ‘right’ a civil injustice,” said the motion filed by lawyer Cynthia Graham Howe, who represents the city.

WASHINGTON

Woman gets $45,000 in mauling of cat

SEATTLE — A woman who sued a neighbor after his dog fatally mauled her cat has been awarded more than $45,000.

Retired teacher Paula Roemer’s 12-year-old cat, Yofi, was attacked in her back yard in February 2004 by a chow belonging to her neighbor, Wallace Gray.

Miss Roemer, 71, said the death of the black-and-white cat left her with sleep disturbances, panic attacks and depression, causing her to begin smoking heavily. The amount awarded included $30,000 for the pet’s special value and $15,000 for emotional distress.

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