- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Judge tosses out inmate transfer plan

SACRAMENTO — A judge yesterday threw out Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s plan to transfer thousands of inmates to other states to relieve prison overcrowding.

Mr. Schwarzenegger said he would immediately appeal, warning that dangerous convicts might otherwise have to be released early.

The governor invoked emergency powers in October when he ordered the Corrections Department to send thousands of inmates to private prisons in other states. Two employee unions, including the one representing guards, filed lawsuits claiming the order violated state law.

Superior Court Judge Gail Ohanesian agreed with the unions, saying that while prison overcrowding is dangerous, “this is not the type of circumstance generally covered by the Emergency Services Act.”

Judge Ohanesian delayed her ruling from taking effect for 10 days to allow the governor time to appeal.


Cold war brewing over ‘Icebox’ title

DENVER — A cold war is brewing over a chilly title.

City officials in the town of Fraser have filed for a federal trademark on the nickname “Icebox of the Nation,” hoping to snatch the title from another chilly locale, International Falls, Minn.

The Minnesota city of about 6,300 on Monday acknowledged it had inadvertently failed to renew its federal trademark back in 1996, even while keeping a state trademark up to date.

International Falls officials said they didn’t even know their trademark had expired until a Denver Post reporter called them with Fraser’s news last week.

The battle won’t be the first for the chilly municipalities. Fraser has claimed the “Icebox” title since 1956, but gave up its “official” claim back in 1986, for a payment of $2,000 from International Falls.

International Falls City Administrator Rod Otterness sounded ready to defend the title when he learned of the controversy.

“We beat them once, and I’m sure we can beat them again,” he said.


Tiny baby to go home

MIAMI — A premature baby only slightly longer than a ballpoint pen at birth is expected to be sent home in the coming days from a Florida hospital after four months of neonatal intensive care, the hospital said yesterday.

The Baptist Children’s Hospital in Miami said Amillia Sonja Taylor was born at 21 weeks and six days on Oct. 24, making her possibly the most premature baby on record to survive. The claim was based on the University of Iowa’s registry of the tiniest babies.

Amillia weighed just under 10 ounces and measured 9.5 inches in length when she was born.

The tiny baby had been scheduled to go home yesterday but doctors “decided to keep her for a few more days observation,” according to a hospital spokeswoman.

Conceived by in vitro fertilization, she was delivered via Caesarean section after attempts to delay a premature delivery failed, the hospital said. She breathed without assistance at birth and even tried to cry.

“She’s truly a miracle baby,” said Dr. William Smalling, a neonatologist at Baptist Children’s Hospital.


Carter breaks ground on biodiesel plant

PLAINS — Former President Jimmy Carter, an early advocate of alternative energy and conservation, helped break ground on a $25 million biodiesel plant in his rustic hometown yesterday, saying it will be good for farmers like him and for the nation.

“I’m very pleased, happy, not only for Plains but also because it accomplishes some of the goals that I set for the nation during my administration,” said Mr. Carter. “It’s very important for us to use the crops that grow on our own land to make energy.”

Energy initiatives during his administration, including improved home insulation and a 55 mph speed limit, allowed the United States to reduce oil imports from 9 million barrels a day to 5 million barrels within five years, he said.

Alterra Bioenergy will build the plant in two stages, producing biodiesel from soybeans, canola and cotton seeds. Capacity should reach 15 million gallons by the end of the year and double to 30 million gallons in 2008, officials said.


Lost ring found in underwater cave

SOUTH EUCLID — A college ring lost more than 20 years ago by a former undercover officer for the CIA has been found in an underwater cave off the coast of Africa.

Steve Ruic, a writer on staff at Notre Dame College, received an e-mail about two weeks ago from a professional diver from Germany. Wilfried Thiesen wrote that he had found a class ring bearing the college’s name while diving off Mauritius.

Mr. Ruic publicized the discovery in both an e-mail to college staff and a newsletter to alumni, but no one came forward to claim it. Then, while interviewing a member of the class of 1976 for an unrelated alumni magazine story, Mr. Ruic asked Dr. Maryellen Amato Stratmann if she had ever been to Mauritius.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Mr. Ruic said. “She said, ‘No, but Clare Cavoli Lopez has.”’

The 1976 Notre Dame College graduate and former CIA undercover officer was stationed at Port Louis, Mauritius, from 1983 to 1985. During a dive, the ring slipped from her finger.

Mr. Ruic sent Mr. Thiesen’s address to the former CIA officer. She has exchanged e-mails with Mr. Thiesen, she said Monday, and they are arranging for him to mail it.


Former state senator gets more prison time

PROVIDENCE — A former state senator already headed to federal prison for corruption pleaded no contest yesterday to similar state charges that got him an additional 1 years behind bars.

John Celona entered his plea to one felony count of accepting money under false pretenses and a misdemeanor ethics charge related to his work for a hospital. He was sentenced to serve four years, plus a suspended sentence and probation.

Celona had already pleaded guilty to related charges in federal court and was sentenced last month to two and a half years in prison for selling the influence of his office to Roger Williams Medical Center, drugstore chain CVS Corp. and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Rhode Island.

Superior Court Judge Daniel Procaccini said the state sentence could be served at the same time as the federal term.


Singer’s family, partner agree on burial

COLUMBIA — The six adult children of singer James Brown and his partner, Tomi Rae Hynie, have agreed on where the entertainer will be buried, an attorney for the woman said yesterday.

Miss Hynie’s attorney, Robert Rosen, said the resting place is being kept confidential at the request of Mr. Brown’s children. Mr. Rosen said the burial may take place in the “next few days.”

Mr. Brown died Christmas Day at age 73. His body is being kept in a confidential location, said Charles Reid, manager of the C.A. Reid Funeral Home in Augusta, Ga., which handled Mr. Brown’s funeral.

Meanwhile, a South Carolina judge in a ruling made public yesterday said the trustees accused of mismanaging Mr. Brown’s estate will keep handling his property and trust, but a special administrator will oversee their work.

The singer’s six adult children were in an Aiken County court Feb. 9 in an attempt to remove three trustees who are handling the late singer’s estate. They claim it has been mismanaged. The children and Miss Hynie had both asked the court to appoint a special administrator to oversee the trust.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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