- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 12, 2006

ARKANSAS

Former governor has heart surgery

LITTLE ROCK — David Pryor, who served two terms as Arkansas governor and three terms as a U.S. senator before retiring in 1997, underwent heart surgery yesterday after complaining of chest pains.

Mr. Pryor, 72, was admitted to the hospital at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences on Monday. “My father’s doctors are prescribing the necessary treatment for a full recovery,” said his son, Sen. Mark Pryor, Arkansas Democrat.

The elder Mr. Pryor underwent bypass surgery 14 years ago. He was confirmed by the Senate in September to serve on the eight-member board of directors for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

FLORIDA

Astronauts face gyroscope problem

CAPE CANAVERAL — Mission controllers have turned off one of four spinning gyroscopes that keep the International Space Station positioned because it was vibrating excessively.

Although the space station needs only two of the four devices functioning, having one out of operation could be troublesome during Space Shuttle Discovery’s scheduled mission to the orbiting outpost in December.

During one of the mission’s three spacewalks, two other gyroscopes will be powered down so astronauts can hook up electrical cables to solar panels that were installed during last month’s flight of Space Shuttle Atlantis.

Planners need to decide whether to leave the troubled gyroscope off or spin it back up during the spacewalk, said NASA spokesman James Hartsfield in Houston.

The vibrating gyroscope was turned off Tuesday.

GEORGIA

SCLC breaks ground on new headquarters

ATLANTA — Toward the end of his presidency of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Rev. Joseph Lowery bought a vacant lot on Auburn Avenue in the hope that it would become the permanent home of the civil rights organization.

On Tuesday, ground was broken on a $3 million headquarters.

“One day, I figured we’d have a building here,” said Mr. Lowery. “Buying this land was part of my vision for the future.”

Founded in 1957 by Martin Luther King and others, the SCLC is expected to move into its headquarters in July, when the organization hosts its national convention in Atlanta and marks its 50-year milestone. SCLC President Charles Steele said he has dedicated himself to reviving King’s vision.

Many foot soldiers of SCLC and others in the civil rights movement — including Rep. John Lewis, Georgia Democrat, and the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth — attended Tuesday’s ceremony. Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, who recently celebrated the return of King’s collected papers to the city, offered her congratulations.

HAWAII

Cardiac services to expand on Maui

WAILUKU — Heart patients will have a better chance of recovery on the Valley Isle, without flying to Oahu or the mainland.

The state gave conditional approval to a certificate of need for expanded cardiovascular services at Maui Memorial Medical Center. In 2004, more than 200 patients requiring cardiac treatment waited an average of 4 hours for an air ambulance to Oahu.

ILLINOIS

Man faces charges in relatives’ deaths

CHICAGO — A man was charged with first-degree murder yesterday in the deaths of three relatives, whose battered bodies were found scattered throughout their South Side home, authorities said.

Larry Countee, 30, was charged in the deaths of Elnora White, 80, and her children, Curtis White, 56, and Elnoria Countee, 52, who were found stabbed or beaten to death on Saturday.

Prosecutor Tandra Simonton declined to comment on how Mr. Countee was related to the victims.

In all, four persons — three generations of one family — were discovered in the apartment after a concerned family friend and one of Mrs. White’s other daughters climbed through a window of the locked apartment. Police found a teenage girl alive but badly hurt near the front door, officials said.

Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn has declined to release information about Veronica Giles, 14, citing a request by family members for privacy. Police said she was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

KENTUCKY

Offenders arrested after law upheld

LOUISVILLE — Hours after a judge upheld a new state law, deputies in at least one Kentucky county arrested convicted sex offenders yesterday for reportedly violating new restrictions on how close they may live to schools and other places where children gather.

Ten sex offenders sued the state last month, claiming the restrictions were unconstitutional because they force sex offenders to move from their property without due process of law and imposes penalties after they have served their sentences.

However, U.S. District Judge John Heyburn II refused their request for an injunction Tuesday night, saying it wasn’t clear whether the law would cause irreparable harm to people who are forced to move.

Fayette County sheriff’s deputies went out shortly after midnight to enforce the law.

Fayette Sheriff Kathy Witt said about 200 registered sex offenders had moved since the summer, leaving about 50 in violation of the new boundary rule. By late morning, 13 of them had been arrested and charged with a misdemeanor violation, authorities said.

LOUISIANA

New trial ordered for convicted rapist

GRETNA — A man serving a life sentence after being convicted of raping his ex-girlfriend’s elementary school daughter won a new trial yesterday from a judge who labeled the accuser, now 19, a liar after she recanted her story.

State District Judge Charles Cusimano said he thinks John Kinsel could not have been convicted without the testimony of the young woman, who took back her accusation last year and testified before Judge Cusimano last week.

Convicted and sentenced in 1999, Kinsel, 38, remained in prison yesterday. One of his defense attorneys said she would file a motion to set bail, while the district attorney indicated he would appeal Judge Cusimano’s decision for a new trial.

Kinsel’s accuser, when she was 12, testified that he had raped her from the ages of 6 to 9, court records show.

Last year, she told her mother that she had lied about Kinsel and gave Kinsel’s attorneys an affidavit saying he didn’t rape her.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Police chief charged with windshield theft

FLORENCE — The police chief of a small town has been charged with stealing a windshield from a golf cart.

Police Chief Mike McDonald of Lamar surrendered to Darlington County police on Tuesday to face the charges of petty larceny and misconduct in office. He was released on $1,000 bail.

“I messed up, your honor,” Chief McDonald said at his bail hearing. “It’s embarrassing for my position.”

Chief McDonald was in uniform when he took the windshield from a golf cart at a used-car lot in Darlington in August, Darlington Police Lt. Danny Watson said. He didn’t give investigators any explanation, Lt. Watson said.

Chief McDonald returned the windshield, valued at $80, authorities said. The town placed him on administrative leave, Mayor Bobby Hudson said.

TEXAS

Boy, 12, crashes van, kills mother

HUMBLE — A 12-year-old boy crashed the family van through a dental office’s wall on Tuesday afternoon, killing his mother and injuring two others, authorities said.

Lisa Lewis, 44, of Humble, was standing outside the Monarch Dental Associates office when she motioned to her son to pull the van closer, authorities said. Police said the boy apparently hit the accelerator instead of the brakes.

The crash pushed his mother through the glass wall and injured two dental workers in the office reception area, Brad Carr of the Humble Police Department said in Tuesday’s online edition of the Houston Chronicle. The workers were hospitalized in critical but stable condition.

The boy, who was with his 17-year-old brother, was moving the van closer to the building because it was raining.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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