- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 22, 2007


Lawmaker proposes pink DWI plates

LITTLE ROCK — It would be easy to spot those convicted of drunken-driven offenses under a measure proposed by one Arkansas lawmaker: Hot-pink license plates, starting with the letters DWI, would be issued to repeat offenders.

The proposal, by state Rep. Pam Adcock, a Democrat, would require anyone convicted three or more times of driving while intoxicated to display the pink DWI license plates on his or her car.

The proposal would affect drivers who are required to have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles. Such devices test for alcohol on a driver’s breath before the vehicle can be started.

The hot-pink license plates would be required as long as the ignition interlock device is required, according to the measure.

The House Transportation Committee was scheduled to consider the bill this week.


Medical pot advocates sue Uncle Sam

OAKLAND — Armed with a study showing the drug can ease pain in some HIV patients, medical marijuana advocates sued the federal government yesterday over its claim that pot has no accepted medical uses.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court by Americans for Safe Access, accuses the government of arbitrarily preventing “sick and dying persons from seeking to obtain medicine that could provide them needed and often lifesaving relief.”

The Food and Drug Administration’s position on medical marijuana “is incorrect, dishonest and a flagrant violation of laws requiring the government to base policy on sound science,” said Joe Elford, chief counsel for Americans for Safe Access.

California is one of 11 states that have made marijuana legal for people with a doctor’s recommendation. But because the U.S. government does not recognize pot’s medical benefits, patients still can be arrested by federal authorities.

Last week, researchers from the University of California at San Francisco reported in the journal Neurology that a test involving 50 HIV patients showed that those who smoked pot experienced much less pain than those given placebos.


Tiny baby released from hospital

MIAMI — Parents of one of the world’s smallest premature babies got to take her home yesterday for the first time since she was delivered last fall.

Amillia Sonja Taylor has known only an incubator for a bed at Baptist Children’s Hospital since she was delivered in October after less than 22 weeks in the womb.

“The baby is healthy and thriving and left Baptist Children’s Hospital today after four months in our neonatal intensive care unit,” hospital spokeswoman Liz Latta said.

Amillia, who was just 9 inches at birth and weighed less than 10 ounces, will still require oxygen at home, and a developmental specialist will follow up with her. The infant now weighs about 4 pounds and is more than 15 inches long.

Doctors had hoped to release Amillia from the hospital Tuesday but kept her an extra day to monitor a low white-blood-cell count that could have indicated a vulnerability to infection.

Amillia suffered respiratory and digestive problems, as well as a mild brain hemorrhage, but doctors don’t think those problems will have major long-term effects.


Grain elevator collapse kills 2

CARROLLTON — A grain elevator collapsed and buried two workers in corn Tuesday, killing the men, officials said.

Firefighters were called to the Ray-Carroll County Grain Growers elevator at 11:30 a.m. and began digging by hand and with heavy equipment, Fire Chief Curtis Shields said.

The men’s bodies were recovered a little more than three hours later under 10 to 20 feet of corn, Chief Shields said. It wasn’t clear what type of work they were doing.

Chief Shields would not speculate on the cause. Federal officials are expected to lead the investigation, he said.


Big Apple rated as tax capital

NEW YORK — Taxes take a bigger bite out of the Big Apple than any other urban area in the nation, according to an analysis released yesterday.

The Independent Budget Office report said local government taxes absorb $9.02 of every $100 of taxable resources here. The rate is 47 percent more than the $6.16 average for the most populous U.S. cities.

“No other large city comes close,” the report said.

After New York, Philadelphia rated next highest, with $7.16 per $100, and Los Angeles followed with $6.88. Of the nine cities, Dallas had the lowest rate, with $5.20 per $100.

The report noted that much of New York’s extra tax burden is caused by costs from Medicaid and other need-based programs. Although federal and state governments typically share the costs of such programs, New York bears more of those expenses.


Ousted teen sues polygamist leader

SALT LAKE CITY — An 18-year-old man who says he was kicked out of his home and church filed a lawsuit seeking to force a polygamist church leader to help him get back in touch with his family.

Attorneys for Johnny Jessop sued Tuesday seeking a court order to force Warren Jeffs, head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), to disclose the whereabouts of Mr. Jessop’s 62-year-old mother, Elsie. Mr. Jessop has not spoken with his mother in more than 18 months, attorney Roger Hoole said.

Mr. Jessop says he was among several boys who were kicked out of the FLDS church in the past four years by Mr. Jeffs for being disobedient or because they were seen as competition to older men seeking young brides.

The FLDS practices polygamy and arranged marriages. The faith has an estimated 10,000 members, mostly in the border towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz. Mr. Jessop grew up in Hildale, Mr. Hoole said.

Mr. Jeffs, 51, is in jail on two felony counts of rape as an accomplice for his suspected role in a 2001 marriage between a 14-year-old girl and her older cousin. On the run for nearly two years, Mr. Jeffs was arrested last year in a traffic stop in Nevada.


Movie sound blamed in neighbor’s break-in

OCONOMOWOC — A man says he broke into an apartment with a cavalry sword because he thought he heard a woman being raped, but the sound actually was from a pornographic movie his upstairs neighbor was watching.

“Now I feel stupid,” said James Van Iveren, who has been charged in the case. “This really is nothing, nothing but a mistake.”

According to a criminal complaint, the neighbor told police that Mr. Van Iveren pounded on the door and kicked it open without warning Feb. 12, damaging the frame and lock.

“Where is she?” Mr. Van Iveren demanded, thrusting the sword at the neighbor, the complaint said. “Where is she?”

The neighbor told police that Mr. Van Iveren became increasingly aggressive as he repeated the question, insisting that he had heard a woman being raped. The neighbor later played for police the part of the video he thought Mr. Van Iveren heard downstairs.

Mr. Van Iveren, 39, of Oconomowoc, was charged with criminal trespass, criminal damage and disorderly conduct, all while using a dangerous weapon, and is due in court March 5.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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