- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Commandments sign violates covenant

LOST BRIDGE VILLAGE — After posting the Ten Commandments in his yard, Dean Pride discovered his village has an 11th commandment: no yard signs.

Mr. Pride says he simply wanted to discourage burglars after some of his neighbors’ houses were broken into. His sign underlined the commandment “thou shall not steal.”

He put up the sign in August and recently received a letter from the village’s property owners association outlining the covenant on signs.

Mr. Pride admits the sign violates the covenant, but says he drove through the village and photographed several prohibited signs in other yards. He says the covenant is not being enforced equally. Steve Herwig, president of the Lost Bridge Village Board of Trustees, says Mr. Pride can appeal to the board.


Poll shows support for gay ‘marriage’ ban

DENVER — A majority of Coloradans support a state constitutional amendment banning homosexual marriage, a poll by the Denver Post shows. In all, 55 percent said they back amending the constitution, while 36 percent opposed such a plan, according to the poll of 625 registered voters.

Domestic partnerships that would give same-sex couples rights similar to married couples were supported by 50 percent of poll respondents and opposed by 41 percent. The poll’s margin of error was four percentage points.


Jails move inmates after racial brawls

LOS ANGELES — Hundreds of county jail inmates were being transferred to the state corrections system after a series of racially motivated brawls killed two inmates and rocked the county jail system for more than a week, authorities said yesterday.

About 200 inmates already have been moved out and 400 others were expected to be transferred this week, said Los Angeles County sheriff’s Chief Marc Klugman, head of the nation’s largest jail system.

The county jail system, which held 18,425 inmates as of yesterday morning, remained on lockdown, meaning restricted movement within the jails and a loss of privileges such as visiting rights, sheriff’s Deputy Alba Yates said.

The latest inmate death occurred Sunday afternoon after a fight between four Hispanic and two black prisoners in a six-man cell at the downtown Men’s Central Jail. A 38-year-old black inmate collapsed and died after the fight.


Woman who wed teen gives birth

ATLANTA — A woman accused of molesting a 15-year-old boy she later married gave birth to the couple’s child over the weekend, the woman’s lawyer said yesterday.

Lisa Clark, 37, gave birth to a 7-pound, 9-ounce boy Saturday night at the Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, according to her attorney, Daniel Sammons.

The baby could be put in state custody unless she can arrange the necessary paperwork for a friend to take temporary custody before she is discharged from the hospital and returned to jail, where she will be held without bond, Mr. Sammons said.

An arraignment in the case is set for Feb. 24.


6 jail escapees back in custody

CHICAGO — Six inmates who escaped from jail were back in custody after the final two fugitives surrendered early yesterday, ending a standoff at an apartment where they sought refuge with a woman and five children. No one was injured.

Their escape late Saturday — which began when an inmate threw hot, soapy water in the face of a lone guard at a jail shower — was the second in two days at the Cook County Jail, which officials said was short-staffed.

A third fugitive, who was charged with murder, surrendered from the apartment late Saturday. Two other inmates were captured Sunday about 7 miles from the jail in Oak Park. Another inmate was arrested Sunday evening, said Chicago police spokeswoman JoAnn Taylor.

On Friday, an inmate facing armed robbery charges broke out by apparently slipping into a laundry truck. He was arrested Saturday at a suburban motel, authorities said.


House-value error results in shortfalls

VALPARAISO — A house estimated to be worth $121,900 was erroneously valued at $400 million.

Now officials say the glitch has resulted in budget shortfalls, and could lead to possible layoffs in municipalities and school districts.

An outside user of Porter County’s computer system may have triggered the mess by accidentally changing the value of the house, said Sharon Lippens, director of the county’s information technologies and service department.

County Treasurer Jim Murphy said the home usually carried about $1,500 in property taxes; this year, the owner was billed $8 million.

Miss Lippens said her agency identified the mistake and told the county auditor’s office how to correct it. But the $400 million value ended up on documents that were used to calculate tax rates.


Governor undergoes gallstone procedure

FRANKFORT — Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher underwent a procedure yesterday to remove a gallstone after he was hospitalized overnight for discomfort, a spokesman said.

The spokesman, Brett Hall, said Mr. Fletcher remained hospitalized in good condition.

Dr. Kathleen Martin said she removed a small stone during the 15-minute procedure, in which a scope was inserted through Mr. Fletcher’s esophagus.

Dr. Martin said Mr. Fletcher could leave the hospital today, but she has encouraged him to have his gallbladder removed.


Clinton announces youth-obesity plan

NEW YORK — Former President Bill Clinton and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation announced an $8 million initiative yesterday to fight childhood obesity by promoting healthier food and more exercise in schools.

Speaking at a Harlem public school, Mr. Clinton said 285 schools in 13 states had been chosen for the pilot phase of the program, beginning next fall, and additional schools will be able to apply for the program.

The schools will get help in improving the nutritional value of the food served in cafeterias and vending machines, increasing physical activity, providing health lessons and promoting staff wellness.


Man fires at soldiers, but no one injured

KILLEEN — A man fired several times into a formation of soldiers at Fort Hood, the largest U.S. military base, yesterday, but no one was injured, a base spokeswoman said.

The shooter escaped, but was captured outside the base by police in the adjacent central Texas town of Killeen, said public-affairs officer Delena Kanaus.

The man, whose name has not been released, was said to be a civilian, but no motive for the incident was known.

He fired from his car into a battalion from the 13th Corps Support Command, which provides logistical support for the Army’s III Corps, said III Corps spokesman Lt. Col. James Hutton.

The unit was in “physical training” formation, meaning it was performing its morning exercise.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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