- The Washington Times - Friday, September 2, 2005

CALIFORNIA

State Senate approvessame-sex ‘marriage’ bill

SACRAMENTO — The state Senate yesterday voted 21-15 to approve legislation to legalize same-sex “marriage.” The bill now goes to the state Assembly, which narrowly defeated a similar legislation in June.

Supporters of the bill, written by openly homosexual Assembly member Mark Leno, said it would put equality into state law. Opponents said the bill violates a voter-passed initiative that defines marriage in California as only the union of one man and one woman.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has not stated his position on the bill.

FLORIDA

Abduction suspect appears in court

PORT MANATEE — The man accused in the videotaped kidnapping of an 11-year-old girl in a car wash parking lot appeared in court yesterday for the first time in more than a year.

Investigators say Joseph Smith is the man seen on videotape approaching Carlie Brucia as she cut through a car wash lot. The girl’s battered body was found days later in a field near a church miles away.

The pre-trial hearing was to consider drug possession charges indirectly tied to the slaying. Deputies say they found drugs on Mr. Smith while questioning him about the disappearance.

The hearing was held at the Port Manatee jail because of concerns over Mr. Smith’s security. He had not appeared at any previous hearings. He is expected to go on trial Nov. 7 on murder and kidnapping charges.

ARIZONA

Campaign begins to ban smoking

PHOENIX — Health groups on Wednesday started a campaign to ask Arizona voters to ban smoking in restaurants, bars, offices and other enclosed workplaces and public places.

Several Arizona communities, including Flagstaff and Tempe, already have anti-smoking laws, but supporters of the Smoke-Free Arizona campaign said a statewide ban would, among other benefits, protect the health of employees at bars and restaurants from secondhand smoke.

“This is a public health law. This is an occupational health law,” said Bill Pfeifer, the campaign’s chairman and chief executive and president of the American Lung Association’s Arizona affiliate.

The signature-collecting drive is aimed at getting the initiative on the November 2006 ballot. If passed, the ban would take effect in May 2007.

ARKANSAS

Castrated rapist dies in prison

FORREST CITY — A castrated rapist, paroled from prison in Arkansas and later convicted of murder in Missouri, was found dead in his cell Wednesday, a day after losing an appeal in the Missouri Supreme Court.

Prison officials said Wayne DuMond was diagnosed two months ago with cancer of the vocal cords. They said his death at the Crossroads Correctional Center in Cameron, Mo., appeared to have been natural.

DuMond’s case became notorious after he was castrated while free on bail as he awaited trial for an 1984 rape in Arkansas.

DELAWARE

Student schedules locked in database

WILMINGTON — Hundreds of students in the state’s largest school district don’t know where to go to class or when to show up because officials cannot access the state’s student database to retrieve their schedules.

The problem affects mostly high school students, but some middle school children as well, said district spokeswoman Wendy Lapham.

Some students are sitting idle at the schools because they don’t know where to go, Miss Lapham said.

GEORGIA

Mental records sought in slayings

ATLANTA — Attorneys for accused courthouse gunman Brian Nichols are asking prosecutors to turn over any records that may show he was mentally or emotionally disturbed when he reportedly killed a judge and three others.

The attorneys in a motion released yesterday also said they want the state to produce any records that show Nichols reasonably thought there was a “moral justification” for reportedly escaping March 11 from the Fulton County Courthouse during his rape trial and committing the slayings.

In a separate motion, the defense also asked that the case be moved out of the downtown courthouse where the shooting rampage started, noting that it is the crime scene. The motion did not suggest an alternative site for further hearings and the trial.

Prosecution spokesman Erik Friedly declined to comment on the defense motions. A status hearing is scheduled for Thursday. No trial date has been set. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

MASSACHUSETTS

Ex-police chief denied pension raise

SPRINGFIELD — The Retirement Board rejected an attempt by former police Chief Paula Meara to increase her pension.

She retired June 30 in a $300,000 buyout, about half of which was negotiated as retroactive pay increases. The board said the money shouldn’t count toward her pension because she never signed a contract that included those raises.

If her request had been granted, her annual pension would have risen from about $109,000 to almost $150,000.

MISSOURI

Girl fears driver, takes students off bus

AURORA — A teenager took matters into her hands when a substitute school bus driver who smelled of alcohol sped down the road with youngsters in tow, police said.

The 17-year-old girl, whose name was not released, ushered a group of remaining students off the bus when she reached her stop.

The driver, Daniel Adams, 55, was charged Tuesday with 10 counts of child endangerment, one day after he failed a sobriety test, authorities said. The Lawrence County prosecutor’s office said additional charges could be filed. Mr. Adams remained jailed on bond.

Six students were left on the bus Monday when the 17-year-old passenger ordered the youngsters to get off at her stop, Aurora Police Chief Rick Batson said. The girl’s family took the remaining children home.

“She was our little hero,” Chief Batson said.

TENNESSEE

Foggers eyed to repel birds

CHATTANOOGA — Officials have tried just about everything to get rid of a pesky flock of starlings that seems to prefer city life, including using noisemakers, artificial birds and pyrotechnics to scare them away.

This month, officials have a new plan of action: foggers that will fill the air with the scent of grapes. Apparently, the birds hate it.

The smell comes from a food additive made from Concord grapes. It is harmless to people and animals but acts as an irritant to the birds.

UTAH

University appeals ‘Ute’ restriction

SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah has added its name to the list of schools appealing the NCAA’s decision to restrict the use of American Indian nicknames, logos and mascots in post-season play.

The university, home of the Utes, filed an appeal Wednesday requesting to be removed from the list of 18 schools with American Indian nicknames deemed “hostile or abusive” by the National Collegiate Athletic Association in its Aug. 4 decision.

“The university has proudly used the ‘Ute’ name and imagery through the years with the permission of the [Ute] tribe, and the tribe has derived significant pride and benefit from the university’s use of its tribal name,” university President Michael K. Young said in his letter.

Accompanying the appeal was a letter from Maxine Natchees, chairwoman of the Ute Tribal Business Committee, stating that the Northern Ute Indian Tribe supports the use of the Ute nickname.

The Ute committee underscored its support by unanimously approving a resolution Aug. 24 saying that the tribe “does not believe that the university’s use of the Ute name is ‘hostile or abusive.’”

WASHINGTON

Navy dry dock arrives from Virginia

SEATTLE — A Navy dry dock arrived in Elliott Bay after a trip from Norfolk around the tip of South America.

At 552 feet long and 130 feet wide, it was too big for the Panama Canal. The dry dock was carried by the 625-foot heavy lift ship, Mighty Servant One. The dry dock is on a 20-year lease to Todd Pacific Shipyards and will be used to work on Navy and Coast Guard ships.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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