- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Pet owners told to scoop poop

PALMER — The City Council passed a “scoop-the-poop” law after school officials complained that Swanson Elementary School had to temporarily lock up its playground, a popular destination for dog owners, because of the mess the pets left behind.

Under the law, pet owners could be fined $75 for a first offense, $150 for a second offense and $300 for a third.


Special session urged for teen sex case

ATLANTA — Black state lawmakers yesterday called for a special session of the state legislature to help free a man serving a 10-year mandatory sentence for consensual oral sex when he and his partner were teenagers, calling it “Georgia’s shame.”

The Rev. Raphael Warnock, pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church where Martin Luther King once preached, and three state senators delivered a letter to Gov. Sonny Perdue, a Republican, urging him to bring back state lawmakers for a special session to change the law keeping Genarlow Wilson behind bars.

Mr. Perdue is in Ireland as part of a two-week European trip to promote trade with Georgia.

State Sen. Kasim Reed, Atlanta Democrat, said that if Mr. Perdue declines to act, the General Assembly should take the historic step of calling itself back to the Capitol. Such a move would require the support of three-fifths of the members in each chamber.

Last week, a Monroe County Superior Court judge called Wilson’s sentence “a grave miscarriage of justice” and said Wilson should be released. The state attorney general is appealing that decision, saying it could free more than 1,000 child molesters in Georgia’s prisons. Wilson remains in prison pending a bond hearing July 5.


Health risks posed before diabetes

CHICAGO — Diabetes is dangerous even before the disease becomes full-blown, boosting the risk of death from heart disease in its earliest form, Australian researchers said yesterday.

Before most people develop type 2 diabetes, they have trouble metabolizing sugar, a problem known as pre-diabetes that affects 56 million people in the United States.

Elizabeth Barr of the International Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia, said that a large study found people with pre-diabetes had more than double the risk of death from heart disease after five years.

Type 2 diabetes is linked to obesity, poor diet and lack of exercise and is becoming a growing problem in many parts of the world. It can lead to blindness, limb loss, heart disease and early death.


Governor signs soldiers’ health bill

AUGUSTA — Gov. John Baldacci, a Democrat, signed a bill yesterday to improve health screenings for soldiers, legislation prompted by the death of a Maine National Guardsman last year.

The law creates a commission to review preventive health treatment practices, vaccinations and other medications given to members of the Maine National Guard. The bill was introduced at the urging of Barbara Damon-Day, the mother of Patrick Damon, a Guard captain who died last June in Afghanistan.

Mrs. Damon-Day said that her son’s death may have resulted from the vaccinations Capt. Damon received before his deployment. Capt. Damon was a legislative staffer who was known to many state lawmakers.


Suspect accused of revenge drawings

MOUNT LAUREL — Drawings found in the prison cell of a Muslim man suspected of plotting a terrorist attack on Fort Dix suggest that he seeks revenge against FBI agents and should remain in custody, prosecutors said yesterday.

The drawings — including one with the letters “FBI” and a gun pointing to them — are another reason that Agron Abdullahu should not be released from custody as he awaits trial, the U.S. attorney’s office said in legal documents filed yesterday.

Abdullahu, an ethnic Albanian born in Yugoslavia, seemed to be thinking about “seeking revenge against the FBI agents who caused him to be imprisoned in the first place,” they wrote. “Releasing Abdullahu now would not only endanger the community at large, but also the agents who investigated this case.”

Guards at the Federal Detention Center in Philadelphia found the drawing in the one-person cell where Abdullahu is being held.


Fake fireman gets 20 years for attack

NEW YORK — A man who dressed in firefighter’s gear to bluff his way into a co-worker’s apartment on Halloween night and then sexually tortured her over 13 hours was sentenced yesterday to 20 years to life in prison.

Peter Braunstein, 43, stood before the judge and provided his take of what happened, saying he had a death wish as he carried out the attack in Manhattan and other crimes while on the lam in Ohio and Tennessee.

“I just thought I would see America and die; you know, have the cops shoot me to death,” Braunstein said. He was convicted in May of kidnapping, robbing and sexually abusing his ex-colleague at Fairchild publications, parent of Women’s Wear Daily and W magazine.

Dressed as a firefighter, Braunstein set fires in the hallway outside his victim’s Manhattan apartment as a ruse to gain access into her home on Halloween 2005. Braunstein’s attorney argued that his client was so mentally ill that he was incapable of forming the intent to commit the crime and therefore should not be held criminally responsible.


Time-capsule leak leaves car ruined

TULSA — A car buried half a century ago in a time capsule had been transformed into a hunk of junk by the time it was pulled out of the ground on Friday as part of Oklahoma’s centennial.

The concrete vault, built in 1957 and meant to be opened this year to celebrate Oklahoma’s centennial as a state, leaked in the intervening 50 years and most of its contents were ruined, to the dismay of those hoping to find a pristine, gold ‘57 Plymouth Belvedere.

Would-be auto restorers unwrapped 1950s-era protective covering from the mud-caked relic onstage Friday evening at the Tulsa Convention Center, revealing a ruined hulk with rotting upholstery, collapsed suspension, flat tires and an engine that appeared to be a solid chunk of rust.

Officials said they feared the worst when the time capsule was opened earlier this week to reveal 4 feet of standing water.


Falling pole kills Boy Scout camper

LOYSVILLE — A 13-foot totem pole fell and struck a boy on the first day of Boy Scout camp, killing the 9-year-old, police said yesterday.

Tyler O. Shope, of Shermans Dale, died of head and chest injuries Sunday afternoon, Perry County Coroner Michael Shalonis said.

The boy’s parents were nearby when the pole fell, and his father helped lift it off him, Mr. Shalonis said. No one else was injured.

Campers were arriving at the Hidden Valley Boy Scout Camp near Loysville, about 25 miles northwest of Harrisburg, for a week of camping, police said.

The boy was waiting outside the camp’s health lodge to have his health records reviewed at the time of the accident, officials said.


Bear killed after boy’s death

AMERICAN FORK — Wildlife officers yesterday fatally wounded a bear that they thought was the same animal that snatched an 11-year-old boy from his family’s tent and killed the youngster.

The bear had been wounded early in the day and was pursued by hunters aided by a helicopter and 26 tracking dogs. It was described as a male, possibly 300 pounds and “jet black.” Authorities were sure it was the right animal because the dogs had tracked its scent from the boy’s campsite.

The bear was confirmed dead late yesterday morning near the area where the boy was killed, said Lt. Scott White of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

The boy was sleeping alone in a section of the family’s large tent late Sunday. He screamed before he was dragged away in his sleeping bag in a canyon about 30 miles southeast of Salt Lake City, said sheriff’s Lt. Dennis Harris. The boy’s body was found about 400 yards from the tent, Lt. Harris said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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