- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 1, 2007


Doctor visit halts Spector trial

LOS ANGELES — Testimony in Phil Spector’s murder trial was canceled yesterday because one of his attorneys had to see a doctor, the judge said.

Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler did not say why defense attorney Bruce Cutler had to see a physician, but he told jurors that court would reconvene tomorrow.

Outside court, Mr. Cutler’s co-counsel Roger Rosen said only that Mr. Cutler was not hospitalized.

Mr. Spector, 67, whose “Wall of Sound” transformed rock ‘n’ roll in the 1960s, is accused of murder in the Feb. 3, 2003, shooting of actress Lana Clarkson at his castlelike mansion in suburban Alhambra.

Today’s session of the trial also was canceled, because of immigration reform rallies planned in the downtown area. Last year’s rally drew hundreds of thousands of people.


Migraines linked to teen suicide risk

CHICAGO — Adolescents with daily headaches — and especially those with migraines — may be at greater risk of suicide, Taiwanese researchers reported yesterday.

They said young teens with migraines, a debilitating kind of headache, are also at higher risk for other psychiatric disorders, such as depression and panic disorder.

Researchers evaluated 7,900 students ages 12 to 14 at five middle schools in Taiwan. Writing in the journal Neurology, the researchers found that 20 percent of 121 Taiwanese middle-school students they identified with chronic daily headaches were at high risk of suicide.

The teens’ suicide risk was assessed using a standardized questionnaire that ranks suicidal thoughts and associated behaviors.


Fire destroys historic church

BURLINGTON — Fire destroyed a historic church downtown early Sunday morning, leaving only its two main spires.

The First United Methodist Church, built in 1889, is a block and a half from the city’s main fire station. More than 30 firefighters reached the scene. The cause of the fire was unknown.


Campuses closed by e-mail threats

MEDIA — A series of e-mails threatening violence at five community college campuses forced officials to close the schools yesterday for a third day of classes.

Two campuses of Delaware County Community College received about a dozen e-mails Thursday threatening “violence against numerous persons,” said police, who suspect that the sender is a student.

Officials closed the campuses in part because of the massacre last month at Virginia Tech, where a gunman killed 32 persons in the deadliest shooting rampage in modern U.S. history.

Community college officials said they would wait for authorities to deem the campuses safe before resuming classes.


Zoo may keep injured bald eagle

WATERTOWN — A bald eagle that was shot and is recovering at Bramble Park Zoo may become a permanent resident.

The eagle can’t be returned to the wild because of its injuries, and zookeeper John Gilman has asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for permission to keep it. No arrest has been made in the shooting.


Illegally parked gator snarls freeway traffic

SAN ANTONIO — All it takes is one illegally parked troublemaker to tie up freeway traffic — especially if it’s an 8-foot alligator sprawled across the pavement.

“I don’t remember any of this in the academy,” police Officer Albert Silva said of the traffic jam early Sunday. “As far as I know, there’s no procedure on this other than: ‘Don’t get bit.’ ”

Police car sirens didn’t persuade the big reptile to budge off Loop 410. Police threw orange traffic cones at the gator, but it just snapped at the cones and flung them away. The gator even assaulted a police car, biting a chunk out of its bumper.

Officers finally used a lasso and metal poles to coax the alligator into a drainage ditch leading to a lake.


Congresswoman gives birth to a boy

SPOKANE — It’s a boy for Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the first member of Congress to give birth in more than a decade, her office said yesterday.

Cole McMorris Rodgers arrived a month early on Sunday at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland. He weighed 5 pounds, 9 ounces and was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to address minor complications.

“Although he arrived early, both the baby and I are doing well and recovering at the hospital,” Mrs. McMorris Rodgers said.

Cole is the first child for the 37-year-old Republican, who is the fifth woman to give birth while serving in Congress, all in the House, according to research by her aides.


8th-graders offered path to college

MADISON — Wisconsin is rolling out the nation’s most expansive guarantee of higher education to students in hopes of raising college aspirations and improving preparedness.

The state’s 75,000 eighth-graders can sign the Wisconsin Covenant agreement starting May 10, promising to earn a B average, take courses to prepare for college and be good citizens.

In exchange, the state will guarantee a spot in one of its universities or technical colleges and a combination of work study, loans and scholarships to help low-income students pay their way.

The program does not guarantee students admission into the school of their choice. The budget of Gov. James E. Doyle, a Democrat, includes an additional $10 million annually in financial aid. To qualify, students must meet state and federal requirements. Awards will vary.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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