- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 22, 2005

GEORGIA

Mrs. King leaves hospital after more than a month

ATLANTA — Coretta Scott King went home from the hospital yesterday, more than a month after suffering a stroke and a mild heart attack.

“Our prayers have been answered,” said her daughter, the Rev. Bernice King, joined by her sister, Yolanda, and Mrs. King’s physician at a press conference.

The 78-year-old-widow of Martin Luther King has been recovering at Piedmont Hospital since Aug. 16. The stroke initially left her unable to speak or move her right side, but she has made some recovery in the past five weeks, doctors said.

During her hospitalization, Mrs. King participated in daily therapy. On Wednesday, she made a “victory walk,” a distance of 80 feet, twice with a walker, Dr. Maggie Mermin said.

NEVADA

Driver crashed into crowd on purpose, police say

LAS VEGAS — A driver intentionally steered his car onto a sidewalk on the crowded Las Vegas Strip and then accelerated in a deadly scene resembling “humans being mowed down like a lawn mower,” police said yesterday.

One person died and 13 were hospitalized, many with major injuries, after the Wednesday crash. Stephen Michael Ressa of Rialto, Calif., faces charges of murder and attempted murder, said Deputy Police Chief Greg McCurdy.

Mr. Ressa, 27, also had been sought by his hometown police in a near-fatal assault Monday on his mother, who owned the car in question. Mr. Ressa was not hurt and was arrested at the scene by an off-duty officer, police said.

Associated Press

Bernice and Yolanda King announced the release of their mother, Coretta Scott King, from a hospital in Atlanta yesterday. The widow of Martin Luther King had suffered a stroke and a mild heart attack in August.

ALABAMA

Post-Herald ends 55-year run

BIRMINGHAM — The Birmingham Post-Herald, the afternoon daily in Alabama’s largest city for the past decade, is folding today after a 55-year run.

“It’s a sad day, but we have the privilege of writing our own obituary,” Post-Herald Editor Jim Willis said yesterday, shortly after announcing to the staff that the newspaper would be closing.

The newspaper is owned by Cincinnati-based E.W. Scripps Co., which announced that it was closing the Post-Herald because of “economic realities,” saying it is clear the Birmingham market no longer will support an afternoon newspaper.

Mr. Willis said that after the final edition is published he will concentrate his efforts on helping the newspaper’s 43 staff members find jobs.

ARKANSAS

Provost apologizes for fundraiser threat

LITTLE ROCK — A provost at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock apologized for sending an e-mail threatening to withhold money from departments whose chiefs did not donate at least $1,000 to a fundraising campaign.

Chancellor Joel Anderson said David Belcher’s e-mail was out of line and department heads would not be forced to give.

MASSACHUSETTS

Archbishop treated for ear infection

BOSTON — Archbishop Sean P. O’Malley has been hospitalized with an acute inner-ear infection, the Boston archdiocese said yesterday.

Archbishop O’Malley underwent tests Wednesday at Caritas St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Boston. He was admitted and cleared his schedule for several days, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Yesterday, Archbishop O’Malley was “in good condition, and we expect that he’ll be back to his normal routine by Monday,” said archdiocese spokesman Terrence Donilon.

Archbishop O’Malley, 61, was installed as archbishop in Boston in July 2003. He helped broker a $90 million settlement in September 2003 with more than 550 victims of clergy sex abuse. He also has led a massive reconfiguration of the archdiocese, brought on by declining attendance and persistent financial woes, during which more than 80 parishes will be closed.

MINNESOTA

Storm causes damage, outages

MINNEAPOLIS — A severe thunderstorm with high wind and hail pushed across central Minnesota Wednesday evening, knocking out power to thousands in the Twin Cities area, damaging homes and crunching trees over a wide area.

In Minneapolis, the storm was blamed for the death of a 45-year-old man who was struck by a tree branch.

The storm included straight-line winds gusting to 67 mph in Monticello and 68 mph in the Crystal area, said Karen Trammell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Unverified reports said tornadoes touched down in Atwater and Brooklyn Park. Funnel clouds were reported throughout the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

NEW JERSEY

Hostage standoff ends with surrender

JERSEY CITY — A man who took a jewelry store owner hostage and kept police at bay for more than six hours surrendered Wednesday night, a few hours after the hostage escaped with the help of a police negotiator.

Authorities said the hostage taker and another man had tried to rob the store, and one of them got into a tussle with the owner while the other attacked the owner’s wife. The woman escaped and alerted police as her assailant fled.

The man left inside the store told officers he had a grenade and threatened to use it, but the police negotiator distracted the man with an offer of water, allowing the hostage to escape.

The suspect remained holed up for about three more hours, until he was told police would send in a German shepherd. He quickly agreed to surrender, police said.

NEW YORK

Founders make case for Freedom Center

NEW YORK — Founders of a museum devoted to freedom pleaded yesterday to stay in a proposed cultural building at ground zero, saying their center would explore the core American values that were attacked on September 11, 2001.

The International Freedom Center “will help the world understand and appreciate the sacrifices made on September 11,” the group said in a report to the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., the rebuilding agency that is reconsidering the museum’s place at the World Trade Center site.

Relatives of September 11 victims have vehemently opposed the center, saying it would overshadow and take space from a separate memorial museum devoted to the 2,749 dead and would dishonor them by fostering debate about the attacks and other world events.

In its report, Freedom Center organizers said visitors would first see a display on the international response to the attacks. Each of the more than 90 nations that lost citizens on September 11 could contribute, the center said.

Other proposed topics for Freedom Center exhibits include the lives of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King and documents such as the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence and the South African Constitution.

NORTH CAROLINA

Grahams lend house to Katrina victims

MONTREAT — The Rev. Billy Graham and his wife have loaned a spare home they own to a New Orleans family left homeless after Hurricane Katrina more than three weeks ago.

The extended family of five expects to stay in the home for a few months while they try to get their lives back to normal. The Grahams often use the empty house to accommodate visiting Christian missionaries or members of their large family.

“If every church in America adopted a family, it would solve the problem of how to house and help so many evacuees,” Mr. Graham said.

He was moved to help Jose Medrano, 52, and his mother, Ernestina Martinez, 78, after they met Mr. Graham’s son, the Rev. Franklin Graham, in a shelter in Shreveport, La. Franklin Graham is president of the Samaritan’s Purse aid agency.

TEXAS

Record OSHA fine levied in explosion

DALLAS — BP Products North America, the owner of a Texas refinery where an explosion killed 15 persons in March, was fined $21 million yesterday, a record for the government agency that oversees workplace safety.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration also is considering whether to refer some violations to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution, said John Miles Jr., regional administrator for OSHA.

Mr. Miles said the health and safety culture at the BP plant was lax, which contributed to the blast. He said some violations had existed for years.

The OSHA fine was nearly double the previous record levied against a Louisiana fertilizer plant.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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