- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 19, 2006

ALABAMA

Pardons near for Rosa Parks, others

MONTGOMERY — The Alabama Legislature gave final approval to a bill that sets up a process to pardon civil rights icon Rosa Parks and hundreds of others arrested for violating segregation-era laws.

The sponsor of the bill, Democratic Rep. Thad McClammy, said the legislation could lead to pardons for Mrs. Parks, Martin Luther King and hundreds of others convicted of violating laws aimed at keeping the races separate. Mr. McClammy said the arrests date back as far as the early 1900s.

Mrs. Parks was arrested 50 years ago for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery city bus, an event that sparked the historic Montgomery bus boycott.

The state House voted 91-0 to approve Senate changes and pass the bill, named The Rosa Parks Act, late Monday. The legislation now goes to Gov. Bob Riley, who has not said if he plans to sign it. Spokesman Jeff Emerson said Mr. Riley would review the bill and then decide.

CALIFORNIA

Marshal claims win in whistleblower suit

LOS ANGELES — A federal air marshal is claiming victory in a yearlong lawsuit against his agency, which he says unconstitutionally restricted his free speech.

“This is a good settlement,” the marshal, Frank Terreri, told United Press International regarding the deal. “It gives me a venue to speak out to the public about the deadly policies” followed by the Federal Air Marshal Service.

Critics of the service’s management have long maintained that procedures at airport screening checkpoints and boarding lounges force air marshals to identify themselves to other passengers. Under the agreement, the service has agreed to send an e-mail to staff clarifying its policy on what marshals can say publicly.

According to a statement from Mr. Terreri’s lawyers at the ACLU of Southern California, the message will tell marshals that, while the agency’s policy does prohibit employees from undermining teamwork or public confidence, “nothing in the [directive] is intended to limit the free public expression of an employee’s personal opinions about matters of public concern relating to the Federal Air Marshal Service provided the individual complies with all laws and policies safeguarding the unauthorized disclosure of official information.”

COLORADO

Traffic-light changer gets $50 ticket

LONGMONT — A man who said he bought a device that let him change traffic lights from red to green received a $50 ticket for suspicion of interfering with a traffic signal.

Jason Niccum of Longmont said the device, which he bought on EBay for $100, helped him cut his time driving to work.

Mr. Niccum was issued a citation March 29 after police said they found him using a strobe-like device to change traffic signals. Police confiscated the device, called an Opticon. It is similar to what firefighters use to change lights when they respond to emergencies. It emits an infrared pulse that receivers on the traffic lights pick up.

HAWAII

Humuhumu set to be state fish again

HONOLULU — The humuhumunukunukuapuaa officially lost its title as the state fish more than a decade ago, but is set to reclaim the honor.

A bill reinstating the critter — known as humuhumu for short — passed the Legislature on Monday and heads next to the office of Gov. Linda Lingle for her signature.

The little fish with the long name was deposed in 1990 by a clause in the law that gave it its crown, which made the measure expire after five years. But few in the state were aware of the change and the fish, also known as the rectangular triggerfish, has continued to be touted as Hawaii’s state fish.

KANSAS

Judge rebuffs state in juvenile sex case

WICHITA — In a victory for a pro-choice group, a federal judge ruled yesterday that abortionists are not required under Kansas law to report underage sex between consenting youths.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten was a setback for Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, who argued that a 1982 state law requiring doctors, teachers and others to alert the state and law enforcement about potential child abuse covers consensual sex between minors. He argued that the law applies to abortion clinics, and later extended that to other health professionals and teachers.

The Center for Reproductive Rights challenged that interpretation in court, and the judge, who was appointed by President Clinton, sided with the organization.

MICHIGAN

Proof gunfight claims 2nd fatality

DETROIT — A man who police say was shot by rapper Proof just before Proof himself was killed died of his wounds early yesterday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Keith Bender had been in critical condition since being shot in the head a week ago at the CCC, a nightclub on Eight Mile Road, the boundary between Detroit and the northern suburbs.

Police have said witnesses told them that Proof, a hip-hop artist and friend of Eminem, shot Mr. Bender during a dispute at the after-hours club. Mr. Bender’s cousin, Mario Etheridge, then fatally shot Proof, whose real name was Deshaun Holton, they said.

TENNESSEE

Tests fail to show bear was killer

KNOXVILLE — Preliminary results from a forensic examination failed to establish that a captured black bear was the one responsible for the death of a 6-year-old girl and injuries to her mother and brother, officials said yesterday.

Tissue and hair samples collected from a necropsy completed Monday at the University of Tennessee Veterinary School will undergo further tests.

Meanwhile, trapping will continue around the Cherokee National Forest swimming hole in southeast Tennessee, where Elora Petrasek of Clyde, Ohio, was fatally mauled and her mother, Susan Cenkus, 45, and 2-year-old brother, Luke Cenkus, were injured in the bear attack April 13.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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