- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 16, 2007

Kennedy ponders writing book

NEW YORK — Sen. Edward M. Kennedy held preliminary discussions with publishers about writing a book on his career, an adviser to the senator told the Associated Press yesterday.

Mr. Kennedy, whose books in recent years include a policy work and a children’s story, has retained Washington, D.C., attorney Robert Barnett. Mr. Barnett’s many literary clients include former President Bill Clinton, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.

“After many years of being requested to do so, and after writing several other books in recent years, Sen. Kennedy has decided to consider the possibility of writing a book about his career and his views about some of the most critical historical events in modern times,” Kennedy adviser Stephanie Cutter said.

“When and if the time comes, we’ll announce further details,” she said.

GM, UAW resume talks

DETROIT — General Motors Corp. and the United Auto Workers made progress at the bargaining table yesterday but still face significant hurdles and weren’t expected to agree on a new contract until later in the weekend.

Union subcommittees — which handle issues such as pensions, benefits and job security — have wrapped up talks, but an agreement wasn’t expected yesterday because negotiators were still dealing with some key issues, according to a person who was briefed on the negotiations.

Several local union officials who have been in touch with bargainers said the outstanding issue is retiree health care expenses. GM wants the union to take over responsibility for retiree health care costs using a company-funded trust, while the union was asking for job guarantees in exchange for taking on the costs.

Carriage horse dies in accident

NEW YORK — One of the horses that pulls carriages around Central Park died Friday after breaking loose and running into a tree, police said. No people were injured.

Witnesses said the horse, which became startled by a street performer playing a drum, ran nearly a block along the sidewalk on the southern edge of the park before colliding with the tree, said Joseph Pentangelo, assistant director of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

The 13-year-old animal, named Smoothie, had been a carriage horse for only a year, an official said.

The witnesses, who spoke to ASPCA inspectors, said the crash also spooked a second horse that took off into the busy street, carriage still attached. The buggy collided with a Mercedes Benz sedan, and both vehicles sustained minor damage. The horse was not injured, officials said.

VA suspends surgeries at hospital

MARION, Ill. — The Department of Veterans Affairs suspended all in-patient surgeries at its medical center here after an uptick in the number of post-surgical deaths, and two top hospital officials were reassigned.

The department said Friday it made the changes at the hospital, in southern Illinois, after an inspection Aug. 31 by the Veterans Affairs National Surgical Quality Review team.

The VA said it is investigating possible reasons for the increase in the number of deaths after certain in-patient surgeries earlier this year.

Details on the investigation and the deaths were not immediately available.

The department Thursday reassigned the hospital’s director, Robert Morrel, and chief of staff, Dr. Joe Herman. Pete McBrady was named acting director of the Marion center.

Cornfield maze a tribute to Ford

RICHLAND, Mich. — It’s a corny tribute to Gerald R. Ford — and it can be fully appreciated only from the air.

A farm not far from where Mr. Ford grew up created a maze in a cornfield in the likeness of the nation’s 38th president, who died in December.

Each year, Gull Meadow Farms near Richland cuts a maze in its cornfields.

A company that specializes in corn-maze design drew up the plans for the Ford portrait, which says “PRESIDENT FORD” across the top and “THANKS” below.

“Instead of just creating a path for people to travel through, we decided to make it a tribute to the late President Ford,” said Justin Wendzel, a spokesman for the farm.

From staff reports and wire dispatches

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