- The Washington Times - Monday, December 25, 2006


Group asks state to ease speed-trap law

LITTLE ROCK — The Municipal League will ask lawmakers to amend the state’s speed-trap law to allow small towns to issue more traffic tickets. State law now sets a cap on how much municipalities can receive from traffic-ticket revenue.

State Rep. Beverly Pyle, a Republican, said some officers don’t stop speeders for fear of writing too many tickets.


Volunteers seek Cherokee connections

ROME — A local researcher is trying to drum up financial support to preserve what may be some original Cherokee Indian cabins from the early 1800s in Floyd County.

Jeff Bishop’s goal and the goal of fellow volunteers with the Georgia Chapter of the National Trail of Tears Association is to raise awareness about the subject.

The group is trying to identify sites with Cherokee connections. Mr. Bishop estimates Floyd County has 100 sites that should be researched for possible Cherokee connections.

Earlier this month, President Bush signed Rep. Zach Wamp’s Trail of Tears Study Act, which instructs the National Park Service to further research the routes used in the removal of American Indians from their homes.

The Tennessee Republican’s legislation provides no money, so volunteer groups such as the Georgia Trail of Tears chapter are listing sites for the Park Service to consider for addition to the trail.

The current Trail of Tears includes no sites in Georgia, because the Cherokees were first taken to camps in Tennessee and Alabama where they waited for months before their final journey to Indian Territory, in present-day Oklahoma.


Baby makes birthdays three times as fun

CHICAGO — Birthdays at one household in suburban Lynwood will be busy now that all three members of the family — mom, dad and baby — share the same birth date.

Dynia Humphries and her husband, Brian Montgomery, already shared a birthday, Dec. 14. Then their son, D’Majae Montgomery, was born two days after his due date — on Thursday, Dec. 14.

“No one can believe it,” said Mrs. Humphries, 26.

Mr. Montgomery, 33, said he had a feeling it might happen when his wife told him she was pregnant.

“I said that sounds like you might have the baby on our birthday, and that’s what it came out to be,” he said.

Another coincidence: D’Majae and his father were each 8 pounds, 4 ounces, at birth.

“It’s some type of sign,” Mr. Montgomery said. “I know it is.”

When Dec. 14 rolls around each year, birthday celebrations will initially focus on D’Majae, Mrs. Humphries said.

“He’ll have fun in the morning,” she said. “We’ll have fun at night.”


Flight delayed by blood threat note

PORTLAND — A New York-to-Portland flight carrying former Maine Gov. Angus King was delayed for more than two hours on Christmas Eve after a passenger passed along a note about blood and death.

The man, whose name was not released, gave the note to another passenger, Tammy Budek, who gave it to a flight attendant as the plane rolled toward the runway at New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

“He said he had AIDS, and the shedding of his blood and all our blood would cure all sickness,” Miss Budek, of Sharpsville, Pa., told the Portland Press Herald at Portland International Jetport on Sunday. She said the note suggested: “He was Jesus, and it was time for everybody to die.”

The note writer, who appeared to be about 35 years old, was taken into custody and hospitalized. Alan Hicks, spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said it was unlikely that the man would be charged with a crime.

After the US Airways Express regional jet was swept by bomb-sniffing dogs and nothing suspicious was found, the flight was allowed to take off for Portland.


Echo machines test sediment in water

TOPEKA — State water officials began a $60,000 pilot project using echo-sounding equipment to measure the amount of sediment flowing into lakes and reservoirs.

Erosion from farmland and construction sites is filling in some lakes at a rapid rate, meaning the state could face hefty costs for dredging in the future.

Officials hope to use the study data to plan ways to reverse the damage.


Sinatra’s old casino to cash in on history

CARSON CITY — State regulators approved plans by veteran gambling figure Tom Celani to run Frank Sinatra’s old Cal-Neva casino on Lake Tahoe’s north shore.

Mr. Celani says he will spend millions on upgrades and promote the resort’s “Rat Pack” history. Sinatra owned the Cal-Neva during the early 1960s but lost his license after regulators learned that Mafia boss Sam Giancana had visited.


Jewelry store robbed by kick in the wall

WADSWORTH — Thieves cut phone lines and drilled locks out of doors, but then all it took to break into a jewelry store was kicking a hole in a wall from the adjacent barber shop.

The crooks made off with about $500,000 worth of merchandise from Artistic Jeweler, said co-owner Stacey Bobbs.

Police discovered the break-in last week after getting unusual emergency calls from other stores in the area, possibly triggered automatically by the cut phone lines, Lt. Robert Wyrick said. All dispatchers could hear on the calls was static, and officers went out and discovered that phone lines had been cut on a utility pole in the area, police said.

Officers also found a drilled-out front door lock at Gimme a Haircut, next to Artistic Jeweler.

The plasterboard wall between the two stores was kicked in, opening a 16-inch space between the metal studs, said John Martino, owner of Gimme A Haircut.


Man, 100, graduates from Baylor University

WACO — When Marvin L. “Hub” Northen left Baylor University in 1929, he was one chemistry credit shy of graduating. This fall, the 100-year-old was finally granted his degree.

Mr. Northen, who lives in a nursing home in Shreveport, La., did not attend Saturday’s commencement at Baylor. But he was listed among the December 2006 graduates. He had a surprise graduation ceremony at his Shreveport church on Nov. 28 when he was presented with a Baylor diploma, a cap and gown and his official transcript.

Mr. Northen left Baylor because the Great Depression had hit and he needed to work to help his family.

According to Glenn Hilburn, the retired chair of Baylor’s religion department, Mr. Northen has been participating in a class that can be substituted for the Chemistry 101 class that he never took.

“He’s passed this substitute class with a grade of A-plus without even knowing it,” Mr. Hilburn said. “It’s Life 101. He’s mastered that course and mastered it well.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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