- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 13, 2006

CALIFORNIA

Karr back to face child-porn charges

SAN FRANCISCO — John Mark Karr returned to California with considerably less attention than when he last arrived in the state as a suspect in the JonBenet Ramsey slaying.

Karr, 41, who faces child-pornography charges here, is being held without bail at a jail in Santa Rosa after landing at Oakland International Airport late Tuesday. He is scheduled for arraignment today.

Karr, who had been held in Colorado for several weeks, was released by Boulder County authorities earlier Tuesday. Despite his confessions, authorities found no connection between him and the JonBenet slaying in her Boulder home in December 1996.

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department said deputies initially went to pick up Karr, who was arrested in Thailand on Aug. 16, last Thursday but abandoned the effort “due to an evolving prospect” that federal charges were possible.

ILLINOIS

Episcopalians fail to solve split on gays

CHICAGO — A high-level meeting called by the archbishop of Canterbury failed to find a way to stop the U.S. Episcopal Church from splintering further over homosexual issues, church leaders said yesterday.

“We were unable to come to common agreement on the way forward,” said 11 bishops representing differing views on the volatile issues after a two-day meeting in New York.

The summit was called after seven U.S. dioceses asked to be removed from the jurisdiction of the U.S. church leadership. They requested oversight from elsewhere, perhaps a Latin American or an African bishop who shares their opposition to the 2003 consecration of the church’s first openly homosexual bishop and the blessing of same-sex unions.

The bishops said they had “confronted the depth of the conflicts that we face,” but “we could not come to consensus on a common plan to move forward to meet the needs of the dioceses that issued the appeal for” alternative oversight.

KENTUCKY

Crash probe delays airport construction

LEXINGTON — The airport has halted plans to build a new taxiway until the completion of an investigation into the crash of a jet that taxied onto the wrong runway, killing 49 persons, the facility’s director said yesterday.

Blue Grass Airport had planned to begin taxiway construction shortly after the Aug. 27 crash, but Executive Director Michael Gobb said officials put those plans on hold this week to avoid altering the crash scene. Mr. Gobb said the project probably would be delayed no more than 30 days.

The National Transportation Safety Board had requested the delay, and one victim’s family planned to ask a judge today to stop the work, he said.

MICHIGAN

Detroit teachers vote to end walkout

DETROIT — Teachers voted yesterday to end their more than two-week-old strike, paving the way for Detroit’s 130,000 students to return to their classrooms today.

The union’s executive board approved a tentative three-year contract Tuesday, and teachers voted yesterday to return to work while the ratification vote is conducted by mail.

The walkout began Aug. 28, after teachers rejected a two-year contract proposal.

The two sides eventually agreed on a one-year pay freeze, followed by increases of 1 percent the second year and 2.5 percent the third.

MONTANA

Capitol evacuated over natural-gas leak

HELENA — The state Capitol and nearby Montana Historical Society were temporarily evacuated early yesterday because of a natural-gas leak.

There were no injuries and no fire, and employees of both buildings were allowed to return a short time later.

A contractor working on state property apparently hit a natural-gas line serving the Historical Society, said Claudia Rapkoch, a spokeswoman for NorthWestern Energy.

Wind had carried the gas into the Capitol, so it also was evacuated. Employees were allowed back in starting at noon. About 280 people work in the Capitol and about 60 in the Historical Society.

NEW YORK

$100 million given to Yeshiva University

NEW YORK — An oil executive has donated $100 million to Yeshiva University — the largest gift in the school’s history — to further undergraduate Jewish education, the university announced.

The donation of Ronald P. Stanton, chairman of petrochemical and fertilizer fuel company Transammonia Inc., will create a fund overseen by university President Richard M. Joel to recruit top faculty, renovate and acquire university facilities, and support research and scholarship.

“We are extremely grateful to Ron for his historic beneficence, as well as his steadfast confidence in Yeshiva University’s mission,” Mr. Joel said yesterday.

PENNSYLVANIA

Woman, 73, gets life for killing neighbor

EASTON — A judge convicted a 73-year-old woman of first-degree murder yesterday for killing her older neighbor with 37 hammer blows to the head and sentenced her to life in prison without parole.

Kathy MacClellan was found guilty of attacking 84-year-old Marguerite “Tuddy” Eyer with the claw end of a hammer on Feb. 7, 2005, in a mobile-home community north of Bethlehem, about 45 miles north of Philadelphia.

Miss Eyer identified MacClellan as her killer before she died in the emergency room, and police testified that MacClellan’s face, hair and clothing had been covered in Miss Eyer’s blood.

TENNESSEE

Police investigate ‘feline jihadist’

RED BANK — A man who wrote about launching a “feline jihad” to rid his Chattanooga suburb of stray cats has attracted the attention of police.

Max Gerskin wrote a two-part series in the Chattanooga Pulse weekly publication, the first of which was published Aug. 9. The second installment was published yesterday.

In his commentary, Mr. Gerskin said the strays fed by a “neighborhood cat lady” have brought filth and disease to his home, and local Humane Society officials haven’t been able to stop it. As a result, he wrote, “I’ve officially become a trapper and it’s time to take a walk to the river.”

TEXAS

Poisoned pigeons fall from sky

TEXARKANA — Poisoned pigeons began nose-diving into pavement and dying on downtown sidewalks, marring the city’s annual Quadrangle Festival.

Authorities cleaned up more than 25 sick or dead birds that apparently had eaten poisoned corn from the roof of a nearby bank branch over the weekend.

“The death of these pigeons was more than an unfortunate accident,” local CapitalOne Bank President Lacy McMillen said.

WASHINGTON

Teacher won’t shave till bin Laden is caught

EPHRATA — After the September 11 terrorist attacks, Gary Weddle followed the news so closely that he forgot to shave. After a week, he decided not to shave until Osama bin Laden was caught or killed.

Mr. Weddle, 46, who expected the al Qaeda leader to be caught in a month or so, has not trimmed his facial hair in the succeeding five years as he went from substitute teacher to science instructor at Ephrata Middle School.

At the start of each school year, he gives students a brief explanation of his beard, which stretches more than a foot and has started turning gray.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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