- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Exxon Valdez oil lingering, study says

ANCHORAGE — Oil spilled by the Exxon Valdez 17 years ago extends farther into Alaska’s tidal waters than previously thought and could be causing long-term harm to wildlife, a study concludes.

Research chemist Jeffrey Short and colleagues at the National Marine Fisheries Service in Juneau concluded that oil was found between the high- and low-tide lines, where predators such as sea otters and sea ducks may encounter it while disturbing sediment in search of prey.

The study is to be published in the June 15 edition of Environmental Science & Technology, the journal of the American Chemical Society.

Exxon Mobil Corp. spokesman Mark Boudreaux said that more than 350 studies done by independent academics have not found a significant, lingering impact on species as a result of the spill.

The Exxon Valdez ran aground March 24, 1989, spilling 11 million gallons and soiling more than 1,200 miles of rocky beach. The spill was the largest in U.S. history.


Funding restored for Navajo Head Start

WINDOW ROCK — Federal officials partly restored funding for the Navajo Nation’s Head Start program, which was suspended after the tribe was accused of failing to do employee background checks.

The decision frees up $9.2 million for the Early Head Start program.

The Administration for Children and Families told tribal officials earlier this month that they were prohibited from using money earmarked for its Head Start and Early Head Start programs. Authorities said the tribe failed to perform background checks and that an investigation turned up dozens of employees with criminal records.

The remaining funding for the Head Start program will be suspended until the Navajo Nation implements its corrective action plan, which Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. submitted to the federal government May 8.


Electricity cut off for one cent

FLINT — It was just a penny, but to Consumers Energy it was enough to cut off power in a local home.

Jacqueline Williams, 41, had an electricity bill of $1,662.08 and paid all of it, except for one cent. That wasn’t enough for the power company, which blacked her out for seven hours yesterday.

The CMS Energy Corp. subsidiary told her the power would not be turned on until the penny was received.

“I went down there, paid my penny and got a receipt,” she said. Shortly afterward, the electricity was turned back on.

“All of this for one penny,” said Miss Williams, who went to the state Department of Human Services for help in April and was told the agency would pay most of the bill.

But she was still short more than $500. The Social Security recipient went to the Salvation Army, where she received $430.67, and Consumers Energy agreed to match $430.66 toward the bill. However, she was still one cent short.

Consumers Energy spokesman Terry DeDoes said that the utility had no choice in the matter.


Unwed couples face possibility of eviction

BLACK JACK — The City Council has rejected a measure allowing unmarried couples with multiple children to live together, and the mayor said those who fall into that category could soon face eviction.

Olivia Shelltrack and Fondrey Loving were denied an occupancy permit after moving into a home in this St. Louis suburb because they have three children and are not married.

The town’s planning and zoning commission proposed a change in the law, but the measure was rejected Tuesday by the City Council in a 5-3 vote.

The current ordinance prohibits more than three persons from living together unless they are related by “blood, marriage or adoption.” The defeated measure would have changed the definition of a family to include unmarried couples with two or more children.

Mayor Norman McCourt declined to be interviewed, but said in a statement that those who do not meet the town’s definition of family could soon face eviction.


Ex-GOP official gets 10 months

CONCORD — A former Republican National Committee official was sentenced yesterday to 10 months in prison for his role in the jamming of New Hampshire Democrats’ telephones on Election Day 2002.

James Tobin, the third person sent to prison in the case, was found guilty in December of harassment by telephone. Prosecutors had asked for two years behind bars.

Tobin was convicted of helping to arrange more than 800 hang-up calls that jammed get-out-the-vote phone lines set up by the state Democratic Party and the Manchester firefighters’ union for about an hour. Republican John E. Sununu defeated then-Gov. Jeanne Shaheen for the Senate that day in what had been considered a cliffhanger.

Tobin also was fined $10,000 and given two years of probation.


Sex offender must warn date’s parents

TRENTON — An appeals court on Tuesday ordered a teenage sex offender to warn the parents of anyone he dates about his conviction until he turns 18.

Lawyers with the New Jersey Office of the Public Defender, which represented the youth, said they will appeal to the state Supreme Court.

Tuesday’s decision upheld an earlier ruling. The three-judge panel said that the unusual restriction placed on the teen did not violate the state’s Juvenile Code or circumvent Megan’s Law.

Megan’s Law establishes a registration and notification system for sex offenders. The law is named for 7-year-old Megan Kanka, a New Jersey girl who was raped and killed in 1994 by a twice-convicted sex offender.

The defendant in Tuesday’s case pleaded guilty in 2004 to committing a sex act against his 6-year-old half-sister when he was 14.


Governor grants death-row reprieve

NASHVILLE — Gov. Phil Bredesen granted a 15-day reprieve to a man who was scheduled to be executed yesterday for the rape and murder of a 19-year-old Marine in 1985.

The State Board of Probation and Parole recommended that the governor issue the reprieve to allow further DNA testing. Mr. Bredesen said Tuesday that he thinks the man is guilty, but he reluctantly issued the reprieve out of respect for the board’s recommendation.

The governor ordered defense attorneys to request the new testing in Shelby County, where the crime took place. If the courts reject the testing, the state Supreme Court would be asked to set a new execution date.

Sedley Alley confessed to most of the crime, which included raping and impaling Marine Lance Cpl. Suzanne M. Collins with a tree branch, but has recanted his statement to police.


Man, 91, eyes getting pilot’s license

ARLINGTON — Cliff Garl ignored his doctor’s doubts that the 91-year-old should choose to earn a pilot’s certificate.

In a single-engine Cessna 172, at an altitude of 1,000 feet, Mr. Garl flew twice around Arlington Municipal Airport — about 10 miles — last month to make his first solo flight as a student pilot.

Mr. Garl said he was considering logging more flying hours to earn a recreational or private pilot’s certificate.

Before attempting his license, Mr. Garl needed medical clearance from the FAA.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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