- The Washington Times - Monday, October 1, 2007


Drought threatens city’s drinking water

MONTGOMERY — Officials coping with a severe drought in eastern Alabama and western Georgia issued sweeping bans Friday on outdoor watering and scrambled to secure a dwindling supply of drinking water to more than 50,000 people.

Divers went into Lake Martin looking for ways to increase the depth around intake pipes that drain water from the massive lake into the water system for Alexander City. Lake Martin is the only source of water for the Alexander City system.

“The water is so low the pumps are shutting down on us,” said Eugene Mahan, superintendent of water treatment for the system, which provides drinking water to about 50,000 to 60,000 people in east-central Alabama.

There was no immediate relief in sight. The forecast for most of the region calls for clear or partly cloudy skies and little or no rain through the middle of next week.


Ground search resumes for adventurer Fossett

RENO — Search teams on foot, horseback and all-terrain vehicles resumed their quest yesterday in western Nevada for millionaire adventurer Steve Fossett, missing since taking off alone in a small plane Sept. 3.

The ground search, now in its second day, focused on a patch of rugged terrain identified by U.S. Air Force radar analysis as an area where Mr. Fossett’s aircraft was likely to have gone down, said Gary Derks, a state Department of Public Safety official overseeing the operation. Mr. Derks said the teams are expected to finish covering the search area of roughly 50 to 60 square miles by nightfall.

Yesterday’s effort consisted of about 35 searchers on foot, horseback and ATVs, joined by two Nevada Civil Air Patrol planes, Mr. Derks said.

Daily aerial searches by the Civil Air Patrol and National Guard were called off after 17 days Sept. 19.


Petition targets church development

LONGMONT — Critics of an evangelical church’s plans to effectively develop a new community anchored by a worship center, residential subdivision and sports complex are seeking to reverse the city’s decision to annex land for the project.

The City Council has approved the annexation of 300 acres for LifeBridge Christian Church’s proposed Union development. Opponents said they have collected more than 5,000 petition signatures calling for the council to either repeal the action or put it to a citywide vote.

Several residents have objected because of questions over the tax-exempt status of the church as well as the traffic congestion and the school crowding that the development could generate.


Melissa slows to a depression

MIAMI — Tropical Storm Melissa weakened into a depression yesterday far out in the open Atlantic, while the remnants of Tropical Storm Karen dwindled away in the central Atlantic, forecasters said.

At 5 p.m., the degenerating remnants of Melissa were centered about 665 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands and posed no immediate threat to land, according to the National Hurricane Center. The system was moving west-northwest near 14 mph, and its maximum sustained winds were near 30 mph — down from 45 mph on Saturday.

Karen faded into an area of disturbed weather yesterday, and the hurricane center quit issuing advisories for the system. Early yesterday, it was centered about 495 miles east of the Leeward Islands.


Man gets death in agents’ slayings

BRUNSWICK — A jury yesterday sentenced a man to death by lethal injection for the 2003 murders of two real-estate agents whom he robbed, stripped naked and shot in the head at their office.

Stacey Ian Humphreys, 34, was convicted Tuesday by the same jury in the slayings of Cyndi Williams, 33, and Lori Brown, 21. The trial lasted two weeks, and deliberations on the death sentence took nearly 19 hours.

Humphreys showed no emotion when a court clerk read the verdict yesterday morning.

Humphreys’ attorney, Jimmy Berry, said his client told him that his attorneys had done everything they could to spare his life.

The death sentence will be appealed automatically.


Woman charged in ‘80s killing

BOISE — Police arrested a 61-year-old woman and charged her with a killing they say took place nearly three decades ago but went undiscovered until now.

Judy Gough, 61, was charged with first-degree murder and felony use of a firearm on Friday, then moved to a jail in Boise, police spokeswoman Lynn Hightower said.

Authorities spent Saturday searching the woman’s former home, where they say the slaying took place around 1980. Officers learned of the killing recently, and police officials refused to release the name of the person killed, saying that it was an ongoing investigation and that family members had not yet been notified.

Miss Hightower declined to say how police learned of the slaying.


Lawmakers seek to avoid shutdown

LANSING — With only hours left before the new fiscal year, lawmakers scrambled yesterday to craft a budget deal that would plug a $1.75 billion deficit and avoid a partial government shutdown.

The Legislature needs a spending plan finished in time for the fiscal year to start today or most government operations will cease, including food-safety and gas-pump inspections, liquor deliveries, lottery-ticket sales, the issuance of driver’s licenses and road construction.

Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm, a Democrat, has told about 35,000 of the state’s more than 53,000 workers not to report to work today if a shutdown occurs. The remaining workers, mostly related to public health and safety, would stay on the job.

The state House and Senate last night overwhelmingly passed a temporary budget extension that would give them 30 more days to craft a long-term deal and sent it to Mrs. Granholm for her signature.

But the threat of a shutdown remained, because the budget extension can’t take effect without passage of measures increasing the income tax rate and either extending the sales tax to services or ending tax exemptions for some businesses.

The Democrat-led House yesterday passed a bill placing the state’s 6 percent sales tax on a wide range of services. A proposal to raise the income tax rate from 3.9 percent to 4.35 percent faced action in the House; that measure also would need Senate approval.


Clinton joins stars for youth activism talk

NEW YORK — After getting hundreds of pledges to tackle the world’s problems at his philanthropic summit last week, former President Bill Clinton did what any good host would: He threw a party.

Music, celebrity and politics mixed Saturday night at Harlem’s Apollo Theatre, where Mr. Clinton was joined by Bono, Chris Rock, Shakira and Alicia Keys for a round-table discussion on youth activism.

Mr. Clinton called on each young member of the audience to “be a citizen servant, a giver, because we have to have a vital society,” before announcing the Clinton Global Initiative’s first youth summit, called CGI U, planned for next year at Tulane University in New Orleans.

Like the three-day Clinton Global Initiative philanthropic summit last week, the college version aims to tackle global issues such as sustainable development and poverty.

The former president and the other superstar panelists took questions from the audience before giving up the stage to performances by hip-hop artist Wyclef Jean and Miss Keys.


Martyred priest proposed as saint

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City has begun the process of seeking sainthood for an Oklahoma-born priest who was killed by Guatemalan guerrillas in the 1980s.

The Rev. Stanley Rother, who was born in Okarche, Okla., in 1935, would become the first Oklahoman to be canonized.

Father Rother, who was ordained as a priest in May 1963, spent 13 years as a missionary in Guatemala. While in Guatemala, Father Rother assisted in the translation of the New Testament into the Tzutuhil language, and, in 1973, he began to celebrate Mass in that language.

Oklahoma City Archbishop Eusebius Beltran said the process of seeking beatification for Father Rother, the step before sainthood, will formally begin Friday with the commissioning of a canonization committee after a special Mass at Holy Trinity Church in Okarche.


2 golfers, 2 aces, 1 lucky hole

YORK — It’s a good golf game when someone gets a hole-in-one. But what about when two persons get aces — in the same game?

Bill Maslowski and Carl Workinger got their holes-in-one while in a threesome with Steve Fahs at York County’s Grandview Golf Course at about 8:30 a.m. Thursday.

According to a Golf Digest study, the odds of two players in the same foursome acing the same hole are 17 million to 1.


Winkler visit blocked by court

JACKSON — An appeals court Friday blocked a supervised visit between a woman convicted of killing her minister-husband and their children.

The court issued a stay against the Saturday visit after a last-minute application from the children’s paternal grandparents, who have had temporary custody of the three young girls since Mary Winkler went to jail after the March 2006 shotgun shooting.

Winkler, 33, was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in April for shooting Church of Christ minister Matthew Winkler at their residence in Selmer.

The stay is only temporary pending an investigation of Dan and Diane Winkler’s accusations that the judge who originally granted the visit ruled erroneously, said Winkler’s attorney, Kay Farese Turner.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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