- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 26, 2006

ARKANSAS

Little Rock celebrates school integration

LITTLE ROCK — Forty-nine years have passed since the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School, but one of the nine black students who integrated the campus said her home city only recently has begun to face its ugly past.

“Before, it was, ‘Let’s change the conversation,’ ” said Elizabeth Eckford, who lives in Little Rock. “Now it’s like we meet it head-on and actually have discussions about it.”

Miss Eckford and two of the other students who were barred from entering the Little Rock school in 1957 by Gov. Orval Faubus marked the 49th anniversary of the school’s desegregation yesterday.

Miss Eckford, Thelma Mothershed Wair and Minnijean Brown Trickey began the countdown to a series of 50th anniversary events with a celebration at the high school.

Ten marble benches — one for each of the Little Rock Nine and one in honor of the school’s past, present and future students — were presented around a reflecting pool on the campus.

ILLINOIS

Evaluation ordered in pregnancy slaying

EAST ST. LOUIS — A judge yesterday ordered a psychological examination for a woman accused of killing a pregnant acquaintance and cutting her baby from her womb.

Tiffany Hall, 24, looked sullen as she appeared at an arraignment hearing via video conference from the St. Clair County Jail, where she is being held on $5 million bail.

Prosecutors say she killed Jimella Tunstall, 23, who was about seven months pregnant, and her unborn baby.

St. Clair County Associate Judge Heinz Rudolf entered not guilty pleas on Miss Hall’s behalf on charges of first-degree murder and intentional homicide of an unborn child. Each charge carries a penalty of 20 to 60 years or life in prison, prosecutors said. The murder count could be punishable by the death penalty.

Authorities said Miss Hall told police she also drowned Miss Tunstall’s three children — ages 7, 2 and 1 — and stuffed them into a washer and dryer at the apartment they shared with their mother. Miss Hall has not been charged in the children’s deaths.

St. Clair County’s State’s Attorney Robert Haida declined to discuss a motive in the slayings, saying doing so would involve airing facts of the case.

KENTUCKY

Co-pilot loses leg, needs surgery

LEXINGTON — The co-pilot who survived Comair Flight 5191 has lost a leg and must undergo surgery on a fractured spinal cord, his family said yesterday. He doesn’t remember the events of the Aug. 27 crash that killed 49 persons.

Doctors have amputated the left leg of James Polehinke, the lone survivor of the crash at the Blue Grass Airport. He also has undergone surgery to repair complicated fractures on his right left and foot, and faces several orthopedic surgeries, one involving a spinal fracture, the family said.

“He is more wakeful at times and more communicative, but is still not completely lucid and currently has no recollection of the accident,” the statement said.

Mr. Polehinke remains in serious condition at University of Kentucky Hospital.

Also yesterday, the National Transportation Safety Board said toxicology testing on Mr. Polehinke and the flight’s captain, Jeffrey Clay, detected no traces of alcohol or illegal drugs in their systems.

NEW MEXICO

Unmanned rocket crashes in desert

UPHAM — An unmanned rocket that took off from New Mexico’s spaceport crashed in the desert yesterday, failing in its mission to reach suborbital space, officials said.

The 20-foot SpaceLoft XL rocket, among the first to be launched from a commercial U.S. spaceport, was carrying various experiments and other payloads for its planned journey 70 miles above Earth.

The rocket took off at 2:14 p.m. and was due back about 13 minutes later at White Sands Missile Range, just north of the launch site. But something apparently went wrong, sending the rocket prematurely to the ground.

The landing site and the condition of the rocket were not clear.

NEW YORK

U.S. rejects visa for Muslim scholar

NEW YORK — The U.S. government has rejected a prominent Muslim scholar’s application to enter the country on the grounds that he donated several hundred dollars to French and Swiss groups that provide humanitarian aid to Palestinians, a civil rights group announced yesterday.

Tariq Ramadan learned that his visa application was rejected last week, three months after a judge ordered the government to decide whether he can enter the country to speak before groups that had invited him, the American Civil Liberties Union said.

The Bush administration contends the French and Swiss groups, which the ACLU said are legitimate charities, gave funds to Hamas and invoked a law allowing it to exclude people who it thinks have supported terrorism.

Mr. Ramadan, who teaches at Oxford University, said he was disappointed by the government’s decision but was glad that the State Department had abandoned its initial accusation that he endorsed terrorism.

Jameel Jaffer, an ACLU attorney, said the civil rights group would decide whether to pursue the issue through the courts once it speaks with organizations it represents that filed a lawsuit challenging the government’s exclusion of Mr. Ramadan.

PENNSYLVANIA

Girl, 5, killed by stray bullet

PHILADELPHIA — A 5-year-old girl riding in the back seat of a car was killed by a stray bullet, and police said she may have been caught in the crossfire of a moving gunbattle.

Cashae Rivers died Sunday morning after being struck in the chest while riding in a vehicle driven by her mother.

“All this attention, I really don’t want. I just want to find out who did this to my child,” the girl’s mother, Alisha Corley, 22, said yesterday morning as anti-violence activists rallied outside a relative’s home.

Many different shell casings were found near the site and at a location two blocks away in the city’s Strawberry Mansion section. That, along with statements from residents, led detectives to theorize that the car may have been caught in a shootout between people in other vehicles.

No arrests have been made.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Earthquake shakes residents awake

WALLACE — A minor earthquake awakened residents early yesterday in Marlboro County, the second quake to hit the area in several days.

The magnitude 3.7 quake hit at 1:44 a.m. and was centered near Society Hill in the northeast corner of South Carolina, according to the National Earthquake Information Center.

No damage or injuries were reported, but authorities received calls from residents who were woken by their shaking houses, said Roy Allison, director of emergency management for Marlboro County.

A magnitude 3.5 quake shook the area Friday. The center of the two quakes were about 10 miles apart.

There were some reports of cracked windows in Friday’s quake but no serious damage.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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