- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 5, 2006

State waits for OK to reopen tunnel

BOSTON — Safety repairs to a portion of the Big Dig tunnel where a motorist was killed by falling ceiling panels have been completed, and the section will reopen when federal authorities give the go-ahead, Gov. Mitt Romney said yesterday .

Mr. Romney gave no estimate when federal authorities would finish their review. However, the Republican governor said he was open to making any changes that the Federal Highway Administration and U.S. Department of Transportation’s inspector general may recommend to ensure the tunnel is safe.

“If so, those will be made. If not, we’ll be ready to roll,” Mr. Romney said.

Phone messages to the Federal Highway Administration and Department of Transportation’s inspector general were not returned.

Embattled chief of ATF resigns

Carl J. Truscott resigned yesterday as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives amid an inquiry into spending on the agency’s new headquarters.

A former senior official with the Secret Service, Mr. Truscott was picked by then-Attorney General John Ashcroft in April 2004 to head ATF, which has about 5,000 employees, half of them agents.

His tenure was marked by complaints from within the agency that he was spending too much time and money on the agency’s new headquarters building about a mile north of the Capitol, particularly at a time of tight budgets. The building is supposed to open later this year.

Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine earlier this year began investigating complaints that Mr. Truscott approved or proposed additional spending on the building and other projects, including a pricey trip to London.

“While there is always more to achieve, of course, I am confident that we have laid the groundwork for ATF to continue to realize great progress,” he said in a prepared statement.

Love’s Arthur Lee dies at age 61

LOS ANGELES — Arthur Lee, the eccentric singer/guitarist with influential 1960s rock band Love, died in a Memphis hospital after a battle with leukemia, his manager said yesterday . He was 61.

“His death comes as a shock to me because Arthur had the uncanny ability to bounce back from everything, and leukemia was no exception,” Mark Linn said in an e-mail to Reuters news agency. “He was confident that he would be back on stage by the fall.”

Mr. Lee died Thursday at Methodist University Hospital with his wife, Diane, at his side, Mr. Linn said.

Mr. Lee, a Memphis native who referred to himself as “the first so-called black hippie,” formed Love in Los Angeles in 1965, emerging from the same scene as groups such as the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, the Doors, and the Mamas & the Papas.

Court upholds HIV conviction

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa Supreme Court yesterday denied appeals for a man convicted of having unprotected sex with four persons while knowing he carried the virus that causes AIDS.

The court said Adam Donald Musser, who is serving 50 years in prison for criminal transmission of HIV, deserved a long sentence because intentionally exposing someone to the virus “is just like the first-degree robber who attempts to inflict serious injury on his victim.”

Court documents indicate Musser, 25, of Iowa City, learned in July 2000 that he carried HIV after being tested at a free health clinic. Although he knew he carried the virus and was taking medication for it, he had unprotected sex on several occasions with different partners.

Children get mystery rash

CLAYTON, Mo. — More than 300 people have called health officials to report a mysterious rash that children developed after playing in a mud-filled obstacle course at a county park.

Mike Williams, director of communicable disease control for St. Louis County, said health officials confirmed 23 cases of folliculitis, an inflammation of hair follicles caused by contact with certain bacteria.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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