- The Washington Times - Monday, March 20, 2006

COLORADO

Nuclear plant suit could cost millions

DENVER — The federal government faces $100 million in legal costs in a lawsuit over the former Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant, attorneys and others said.

A jury found that plutonium drifted onto private property and said the contract operators of the plant should pay landowners $554 million. The Denver Post reported that the government has spent $62 million in legal costs, and attorneys for the landowners are seeking $36 million for their costs.

CALIFORNIA

Dog wins honor for Katrina rescue

LOS ANGELES — A Labrador retriever who saved a man from drowning in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina received a standing ovation Saturday night at an awards dinner attended by leading animal rights supporters.

The dog, now called Katrina, was brought on stage and named guest of honor at the 20th annual Genesis Awards, given by the Humane Society of the United States to those who help advance the cause of animal rights.

Katrina the dog was featured on a report from Los Angeles television station KCAL. The man she rescued said the black dog helped pull him from the floodwaters to higher ground and saved his life.

After broadcasting the report, KCAL sent a team back to New Orleans to rescue the dog.

CONNECTICUT

Marijuana paintings ruled not illegal

WINSTED — Having marijuana in your house is illegal, but having marijuana images on your house is not, said town officials.

Five months after Christopher Seekins was arrested and charged with cultivating marijuana in his home, neighbors have complained about the giant marijuana leaves he has spray-painted on the outside of his home on High Street.

“There’s no reason anybody should have a problem with it,” Mr. Seekins said Wednesday.

Town officials said the marijuana paintings apparently do not conflict with local laws.

Mr. Seekins says the large leaves are in support of the cause of the legalization of marijuana. He believes firmly in the usefulness of hemp, the coarse fiber of the cannabis plant, in making textiles, paper products and other items.

IOWA

School study may help fight gambling

DES MOINES — A two-year study by the University of Iowa’s medical school based on interviews with pathological gamblers and their families may help researchers target ways to combat gambling.

An investigator said something was being passed along in these families that increased the person’s likelihood of engaging in impulsive and self-destructive behavior.

MICHIGAN

Man apologizes for Rosa Parks attack

MUNISING — A man who beat civil rights icon Rosa Parks and took $53 from her during a break-in at her Detroit home in 1994 says he dreams of redemption.

In a prison interview published yesterday in the Detroit News, Joseph Skipper, 40, repeatedly apologized for the attack and said he cried when he learned that she died in October.

Skipper is serving an eight- to 15-year sentence at the Alger Maximum Correctional Facility in Michigan. He told the newspaper that he had hoped for a face-to-face apology someday.

She was treated at a hospital after the assault and moved into a high-rise apartment building. She died in Detroit on Oct. 24 at 92.

NEW JERSEY

First lady gives grant to schools

NEWARK — First lady Laura Bush delivered a grant of nearly $14 million to help Newark’s middle- and high-school students who are behind in reading.

The school district will use the money over the next five years to boost the reading ability of about 1,800 of its children in grades six to eight.

NEW MEXICO

Three killed in clinic crash

SANTA FE — In an instant, stunned witnesses watched as a pickup truck plowed through a plate glass window into the waiting room of a medical clinic at a strip mall, triggering screams inside and sending debris everywhere.

Three persons were killed in the Friday crash, including the receptionist and a mother and her teenage son. Eight, including the driver, were injured, police said.

The driver, whose name was not released, was taken to the hospital for a medical evaluation. Authorities do not think alcohol was a factor in the crash, but they will do tests to determine whether she was under the influence of any intoxicants.

NEW YORK

ABC news anchor dies at 75

NEW YORK — Bill Beutel, the longtime television news anchor and host of the show that became ABC’s “Good Morning America,” has died, the network announced. He was 75.

Mr. Beutel, whose trademark sign-off “Good luck and be well” closed WABC’s nightly local newscast for more than 30 years, died Saturday at his home in Pinehurst, N.C., the network said. The cause of death was not disclosed.

In 1975, Mr. Beutel hosted “AM America,” the network’s national morning news show.

He “proved you could be a tough newsman and a gentleman at the same time,” Dave Davis, WABC president and general manager, said yesterday. “He was never shrill, always measured, and universally respected — the original class act.”

SOUTH CAROLINA

Gunman strikes at fraternity party

COLUMBIA — A man opened fire at a fraternity party in a banquet hall across the street from the South Carolina Capitol early Saturday, wounding five persons.

None of the injuries was thought to be life-threatening, but at least one victim was hospitalized in intensive care, authorities said.

No arrests have been made.

A man who had been kicked out of the party after an argument went to his car and returned with a gun just after 1 a.m., said police Sgt. Florence McCants.

Witnesses said the man shot into the crowd and at the mirrored ceiling of the rented banquet hall on the ground floor of an office building, according to a police report.

WISCONSIN

Irishtown gets green firetruck

CHIPPEWA FALLS — Most firetrucks are red and some are yellow, but there’s only one color for the truck built for the fire department of Irishtown, Pa. — green.

“Don’t go to Irishtown and tell them you want to paint their trucks red,” Irishtown Fire Chief Greg Kessel said.

The Darley Corp. of Chippewa Falls also picked an appropriate time — St. Patrick’s Day — for delivery of the truck, called “Leprechaun No. 2.”

But it’s not the first such holiday delivery.

A Darley firetruck also was delivered to Irishtown on St. Patrick’s Day in 1993.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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