- The Washington Times - Friday, January 5, 2007

MICHIGAN

Betty Ford, family visit grave site

GRAND RAPIDS — Betty Ford and her family stopped at former President Gerald R. Ford’s grave site on the Grand River for a few moments in private yesterday, a day after a stirring funeral and burial service.

Each family member touched a stone wall bearing the epitaph, “Lives Committed to God, Country and Love,” and the names Gerald and Betty Ford.

A short time later, the grounds of Mr. Ford’s presidential museum were opened, and dozens of visitors headed toward the burial site, which was cordoned off by a wrought-iron fence.

Mr. Ford was laid to rest late Wednesday as thousands of people lined nearby streets and bridges to catch a glimpse of history.

NEW YORK

City rewards ‘Subway Superman’

NEW YORK — A New Yorker dubbed “Subway Superman” received the city’s highest civic award yesterday after pinning down a stricken stranger on subway tracks just enough to allow an oncoming train to run over the top of them.

Wesley Autrey, 50, jumped onto the subway tracks at a station in Manhattan’s Harlem neighborhood Tuesday to help Cameron Hollopeter, who had suffered a seizure and fallen. Mr. Autrey held down Mr. Hollopeter’s convulsing body in the track bed as the train passed just centimeters above them. Both were uninjured, but Mr. Hollopeter, 20, remains hospitalized undergoing tests.

Mr. Autrey played down his daring act as he accepted the Bronze Medallion — for exceptional citizenship and outstanding achievement — from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

“You see somebody in distress, you help out,” Mr. Autrey said.

CALIFORNIA

O.J. Simpson book funds frozen

LOS ANGELES — A judge has frozen the money O.J. Simpson was paid for his aborted book and interview deal after a lawsuit by the father of murder victim Ron Goldman, an attorney in the case said yesterday.

U.S. District Judge Manuel Real barred Simpson from spending his advance at least until a Jan. 24 hearing on the lawsuit, said David Cook, Fred Goldman’s attorney.

Mr. Cook said that at the hearing, the judge could order Simpson to pay the advance money to the Goldmans or keep it frozen until a trial on the matter. Simpson’s attorney, Yale Galanter, could not be reached for comment.

A public furor over the book “If I Did It,” in which Simpson muses over how he could have killed his ex-wife and Ron Goldman, prompted News Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch to scrap it and an accompanying television special in November.

CONNECTICUT

Cruise line to pay honeymooner’s estate

NEW HAVEN — Royal Caribbean agreed yesterday to pay more than $1 million to the estate of a Connecticut man who vanished during his honeymoon cruise of the Mediterranean in 2005.

His widow accepted the deal, but his parents and sister dismissed it as a “sellout.”

George Allen Smith IV, 26, of Greenwich, disappeared from Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas between Greece and Turkey after what appeared to be a late night of drinking. The FBI is investigating, but no one has been charged and no body was ever found.

In settling, the Florida-based cruise line denied any wrongdoing.

The agreement, which is subject to a judge’s approval, was filed in Connecticut probate court, which declared Mr. Smith dead in 2005.

Mr. Smith’s widow, Jennifer Hagel Smith, who stands to get most of the money, said she will start a fund in memory of her husband with an initial donation of $25,000 that the cruise line will match.

LOUISIANA

City logs 6 homicides since New Year’s

NEW ORLEANS — Since New Year’s Day, when the police chief declared New Orleans’ homicide rate under control, the city has logged six slayings, including five shooting deaths in a 14-hour span.

Three persons were killed Wednesday and two early yesterday. The other was shot on New Year’s Day.

Police also were investigating the death of a woman whose body showed trauma. The case had not been ruled a homicide.

At a press conference Monday, Police Superintendent Warren Riley detailed how homicides in the city spiked in April, May and July, but he said he thought initiatives had brought the problem under control in recent months.

Police spokeswoman Bambi Hall said that after 19 killings in October and another 19 in November, December’s total was 15. For last year, 161 homicides were reported in the city.

OHIO

Boy killed by school bus

COLUMBUS — A 6-year-old boy was struck and killed by a school bus yesterday as he jumped from his grandmother’s car outside an elementary school, police said.

The boy was waiting in the car outside Scottwood Elementary for the bus that takes him to the school he attends, Maybury Elementary, about five miles away, said Sgt. Kevin Corcoran.

“He saw the bus coming, he got out of Grandma’s car, ran across the street in front of the bus, and the bus struck him,” Sgt. Corcoran said.

The driver apparently didn’t see the child, he said.

The boy, who was not identified, was taken to Columbus Children’s Hospital, where he died, police said.

RHODE ISLAND

Health scare closes schools

CRANSTON — State officials canceled school yesterday and today for more than 20,000 students because of a suspected case of meningitis and the death of a second-grader from encephalitis.

Health specialists are trying to determine whether the cases are connected.

“Given the parents’ concerns and our concerns, we felt that out of abundance of caution we would keep schools closed for the next two days,” said Dr. David Gifford, state public health director.

In addition, the Catholic Diocese of Providence closed eight schools in three communities, with a combined 2,600 students, as a precaution. No cases of meningitis or encephalitis have been reported among the students, diocese spokesman Michael Guilfoyle said.

The case of suspected meningitis was reported Wednesday in an unidentified student in Coventry. Also, two weeks ago, Dylan Gleavey, a Warwick elementary school student, died of encephalitis.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Guard unit ready for Afghanistan tour

COLUMBIA — Thousands will gather at a college football stadium here tomorrow for what officials are calling the largest single deployment of South Carolina’s National Guard since World War II.

The rousing send-off will be for 1,800 men and women in the South Carolina Army National Guard leaving to train members of the Afghan army and police.

They will depart for two months of training — some going to Camp Shelby, Miss., and others to Fort Riley, Kan., — before leaving in April for a yearlong deployment to a base dubbed Camp Phoenix outside the city of Kabul.

TEXAS

Boy who hanged self saw Saddam execution

HOUSTON — A 10-year-old U.S. boy who hanged himself may have been inspired to do it by television coverage of Saddam Hussein’s execution, police said yesterday.

Relatives told police in Webster that Sergio Pelico had seen the video of the former Iraqi leader’s hanging and asked about it before the incident Sunday.

“We’re theorizing he tried to experiment or mimic the behavior, and it got out of control,” Webster Police Capt. Thomas Claunch said.

Police said the boy apparently went to his room, attached a piece of clothing to a bunk bed and tied it around his neck. Adults and other children were in the house at the time.

WASHINGTON

Diocese to pay millions to abuse victims

SPOKANE — The Spokane Catholic Diocese has agreed to pay at least $48 million to people molested by priests as a part of a deal to emerge from bankruptcy, a federal mediator announced yesterday.

Federal Bankruptcy Judge Gregg W. Zive in Reno, Nev., said the settlement also includes noneconomic provisions that will provide survivors “with some measure of closure and allow them to move forward and continue the healing process.”

The settlement also “provides a mechanism for the payment of future claims,” Judge Zive said.

The proposed reorganization plan was filed in federal bankruptcy court in Spokane. It still must be approved by victims and another bankruptcy judge.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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