- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Students protest dress code ban

MESA — Some American Indian high school students are protesting a rule that will keep them from wearing eagle feathers attached to their caps at graduation.

Mesa Public Schools officials say the Westwood High School students are only allowed to wear a cap, gown and honor cord designating academic achievement at the ceremony tomorrow.

Leaders within the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community planned to meet with school officials yesterday.

Tribal Council member Ricardo Leonard said tribal elders and family members give feathers to students to recognize their accomplishment of graduating from high school.


Candidate attacks rival’s health

SACRAMENTO — A candidate for the California state Assembly says vote for me, not my rival, because the opponent — a heart-transplant recipient — could die in office.

“Can you imagine the costs to taxpayers for a special election when poor health renders him unable to fulfill the duties of office?” former Modesto City Council member Bill Conrad wrote in a mailing to voters.

Mr. Conrad faces Tom Berryhill in the Republican primary for the 25th District in the lower house of the Legislature. The primary is June 6.

The mailer says in bold red letters, “Tom Berryhill doesn’t have the HEART for State Assembly,” and suggests that he might not survive the two-year term if elected because he had a heart transplant five years ago.

Mr. Berryhill, the son of a former state legislator, said his health is fine. He described the mailing as one of the harshest things he’s seen in 40 years of politics.


Five run over outside McDonald’s

COVINGTON — A man ran over three toddlers and two adults with his car in the parking lot of a McDonald’s restaurant yesterday, police said, and one witness described him as having a smile on his face.

Lanny Barnes, 46, was in custody and charges against him were pending.

“All indications are that he intentionally hit them,” Assistant Police Chief Almond Turner said.

The children — ages 2 to 4 — were airlifted to a hospital in Atlanta and were in critical condition, Chief Turner said. The two women were taken to a Covington hospital. One was in critical condition, and the other was stable, he said.

Mr. Barnes’ mother, Mary, told the Associated Press her son has battled mental illness.


District to monitor student blogs

LIBERTYVILLE — High school students are going to be held accountable for what they post on Web logs, or blogs, and on social-networking Web sites such as MySpace.com.

The board of Community High School District 128 voted unanimously Monday to require that all students participating in extracurricular activities sign a pledge agreeing that evidence of “illegal or inappropriate” behavior posted on the Internet could be grounds for disciplinary action.

The rule will take effect at the start of the next school year, officials said.

District officials won’t regularly search students’ sites, but will monitor them if they get a worrisome tip from another student, a parent or a community member.


Investigators enter coal mine

HOLMES MILL — A team of federal and state investigators yesterday entered the underground coal mine in southeastern Kentucky where five miners died in an explosion several days earlier.

Concerns about flammable methane and poisonous carbon monoxide gases had kept the investigators out of the Kentucky Darby Mine No. 1 until its ventilation system could be repaired and the gases were brought down to safe levels.

The mine had been cited 41 times in the past five years for not cleaning up coal dust and other combustible materials, including three times this month, according to statistics from the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Kentucky Darby officials have declined to comment since the explosion Saturday.


Court orders release of teen witness

AKRON — An appeals court ordered the release of a 14-year-old girl who had been jailed for 12 days after she ran away to avoid testifying against the man accused of molesting her.

The state’s 9th District Court of Appeals ruled Monday that she should not have been held without a hearing or placed in an adult jail. She was released after the ruling.

Prosecutors have said the girl ran away to avoid testifying against Galo Sanchez-Pesantes on May 8.

Mr. Sanchez-Pesantes, 20, of Akron, is accused of having unlawful sexual conduct with the teen in January. He is free on bond.


$1.6 million sought in dead-dog suit

PORTLAND — An Oregon man has filed a $1.6 million “loss of companionship” claim against a neighbor who ran over his family’s 13-year-old dog, Grizz.

Raymond Weaver ran over the golden retriever and cocker spaniel mix in 2004 with a pickup truck, forcing the owner, Mark Greenup, to have the animal euthanized, according to a lawsuit by Mr. Greenup.

Mr. Greenup says the dog provided each member of his family with solace, affection, friendship, love and protection.

Larry Dawson, the driver’s attorney, said the dog’s injuries were not serious enough to require euthanasia and wants the court to dismiss the claim.


State moves toward smoking ban

NASHVILLE — Tennessee, one of the nation’s top tobacco-producing states, took a major step yesterday toward banning smoking in all buildings owned or operated by the state.

The state Senate unanimously approved a bill that would ban smoking in Tennessee’s 528 buildings — 172 state-owned and 356 maintained and operated by the state. Even areas of the legislative office complex where smoking is now allowed would be covered by the ban.

The measure must still be approved in the House.

The ban would take effect in most buildings as soon as the measure becomes law. There is an exception for state prisons, though, which would have until July 1, 2007, to wean inmates off cigarettes.


Woman sues over Lotto ticket

AUSTIN — A woman who claims she was part of a $36 million Lotto Texas jackpot pool but was excluded from the winnings has sued six other women and the Texas Lottery Commission.

Betty Domingo of Lubbock claimed in her lawsuit filed Friday that she is due $2.9 million, as her share of the April 29 Lotto drawing. The six women named as defendants selected the lump sum $20.9 million cash-value option.

A judge issued a restraining order Friday to prevent the commission from distributing the money until the dispute is settled.

Miss Domingo did not return a phone call seeking comment yesterday. Her attorney, Arthur Walker Jr., declined to comment.

Efforts by phone to reach the six women named in the lawsuit were unsuccessful.

From staff reports and wire dispatches

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