- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 30, 2007

Girl injured in fight over parking spot

BELLEVUE, Wash. — A driver rushing to beat someone else to a parking spot slammed into a department store Friday night, injuring a 14-year-old girl inside the building, police said.

The girl was treated at Overlake Hospital for scrapes and bruises, police Cpl. Marcia Harnden said. The driver, a 37-year-old woman from Bellevue, was arrested for investigation of driving under the influence.

“She was just racing to get in and beat the other person to the parking spot,” Cpl. Harnden said. “She said she stepped on the accelerator and she just couldn’t get herself stopped after that.”

The car smashed through the automatic sliding glass doors of a T.J. Maxx and took out several clothing racks. It came to a stop 20 yards inside the store.

Shutdown looms for state government

LANSING, Mich. — Two-thirds of Michigan’s government workers were told to not report to work tomorrow as negotiations continued on a budget plan that could avert a partial state government shutdown.

Messages went to about 35,000 state workers, telling them they were being placed on a temporary layoff beginning at 12:01 a.m. tomorrow and not to go to work unless otherwise notified.

About 18,000 state employees will remain on the job, including 12,000 prison employees, said Liz Boyd, a spokeswoman for Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

On Friday, a Wayne County judge gave the three Detroit casinos permission to stay open even if the state is unable to oversee them during a shutdown. The casinos contribute $1 million a day to state public schools and Detroit public safety, a casino spokesman said.

Negotiations center on raising the state’s personal income tax rate, now at 3.9 percent, to as high as 4.6 percent. Another key issue is extending the sales tax to some new services.

Authorities search for toilet paper thief

FOND DU LAC, Wis. — Someone is either too cheap to buy his own toilet paper or planning a big prank.

Fond du Lac County Executive Allen Buechel said someone has been repeatedly stealing toilet paper from the men’s public bathrooms at the Fond du Lac City County Government Center since June.

Mr. Buechel suspects the person comes in once or twice a week around midday and gets about six rolls a week from dispensers.

The thefts haven’t been a big loss.

“We don’t buy the best toilet paper,” Mr. Buechel said.

Courthouse officials are on the lookout for suspicious activity.

Suburb’s stop signs use humor

OAK LAWN, Ill. — A big red sign that says “Stop” sometimes isn’t enough to get everyone to stop. Maybe a laugh will get their attention.

This Chicago suburb has installed second stop signs beneath the regular ones at 50 intersections with messages, including “WHOAAA” or “Stop … and smell the roses.”

“I thought it might make people smile and take notice,” Mayor Dave Heilmann said as he started the campaign Friday.

It might be too soon to know whether the alternative signs will work. But while the mayor was posing for a photo with one of the new signs, a driver sped by without stopping.

Missing student case suspect extradited

LOS ANGELES — A convicted sex offender suspected in the disappearance of a San Diego State University student was extradited Friday from Florida to Los Angeles, where bail agents revoked his bond.

John Steven Burgess arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday night and was immediately booked at a Los Angeles County jail, said Richard Montelius, president of the bail recovery firm Redline Risk Management.

Burgess had been free on $250,000 bail while awaiting an Oct. 10 pretrial hearing in Los Angeles on a charge of failing to register as a sex offender while he was living in the city.

Burgess is a suspect in the disappearance of Donna Jou, 19. He has not been charged and has refused to talk to investigators about her. He has denied any involvement in the teen’s disappearance, according to his lawyer.

Miss Jou was last seen June 23 at a party at Burgess’ rented house in West Los Angeles.

From staff reports and wire dispatches

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