- The Washington Times - Friday, April 25, 2008

CALIFORNIA

New monorail debuts today

ANAHEIM — Disneyland has updated its monorail train that glides through the park, with window-facing seating and splashes of color.

The new Monorail Red train debuts today.

The first cars have blue glass and red stripes that change color in the sunlight.

The next two cars are blue with purple glass and orange with blue glass.

FLORIDA

Man jumps in front of train, survives

MIAMI — A man jumped in front of a commuter train at a suburban stop yesterday, but survived after the impact pushed him to the side of the tracks, officials said.

The 19-year-old severely hurt his right arm and possibly broke his legs, Miami fire department spokesman Ignatius Carroll said. The man, whose identity wasn’t released, was treated at Jackson Memorial Hospital and was in critical condition yesterday.

Police said it was an attempted suicide.

GEORGIA

Judge wants to keep court shooting case

ATLANTA — The judge overseeing the murder trial of accused courthouse shooter Brian Nichols said yesterday that he won’t step down from the case, but will ask another judge to consider a defense request to remove him.

Attorneys for Nichols said in court papers earlier this week that Superior Court Judge James Bodiford was quoted in a newspaper article four days after the March 11, 2005, shootings saying that he was friends with the judge killed in the rampage.

Nichols’ attorneys questioned Judge Bodiford’s ability to be impartial, and asked he step down.

It was not clear how long it will take for an administrative judge to assign another judge to hear the defense’s recusal motion or to schedule a hearing and resolve the issue.

INDIANA

4 nabbed in pregnant teller’s shooting

INDIANAPOLIS — Police arrested four men in connection with the shooting of a pregnant bank teller during a robbery, but they were still searching for the gunman.

The four men face preliminary charges of conspiracy to commit robbery after police questioned as many as eight people described as “persons of interest.” Authorities said none of the four were thought to be the gunman.

At least three of the four people were taken into custody after a SWAT raid at a duplex on the city’s east side Wednesday.

Tuesday morning, a masked gunman entered a Huntington Bank branch, jumped over the counter, shot teller Katherin Shuffield and grabbed cash from her drawer, police said.

Mrs. Shuffield, 30, is five months pregnant with twins. The bullet entered her abdomen but missed both fetuses. Her husband, Jason Shuffield, said Wednesday she remained in critical but stable condition at Methodist Hospital.

MICHIGAN

Woman lives with sister’s body

DETROIT — Detroit police said they have found the partially mummified body of a woman in her 80s on the kitchen floor of a house where her mentally troubled sister was living.

Police said they think the surviving sister had been living with the body for one to three years. They said the body was partially covered with newspapers and that a cat and dog apparently ate part of it.

The Detroit Free Press said authorities removed the surviving sister Wednesday night and took her to a crisis center. She also is in her 80s and appears to have mental problems.

NEW YORK

Worker critically hurt after scaffold fall

NEW YORK — Only hours after the city announced plans to ratchet up scrutiny of construction dangers, a construction worker was critically injured in a 25-foot plunge off a scaffold at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, authorities said.

The worker fell off a platform in the famed arts complex Wednesday night and was taken to a hospital in serious condition, the fire department said. He was in critical condition yesterday, authorities said.

Authorities and construction managers are investigating what caused the fall. The worker had been certified to work on a scaffold and was wearing a safety harness, said Chris McFadden, a spokesman for construction manager Turner Construction Co. It wasn’t clear what the worker was doing when he fell.

The man’s fall came amid heightened attention to construction accidents, which have killed 13 people in the city so far this year.

PENNSYLVANIA

Subway mural worth $15 million

PITTSBURGH — A mural in a subway station is worth $15 million, more than the cash-strapped transit agency expected, raising questions about how it should be cared for once it is removed before the station is demolished.

“We did not expect it to be that much,” Port Authority of Allegheny County spokeswoman Judi McNeil said yesterday. “We don’t have the wherewithal to be a caretaker of such a valuable piece.”

Miss McNeil said it would cost the agency more than $100,000 a year to insure the 60-foot-by-13-foot tile mural by Romare Bearden, who was paid $90,000 for the mural, titled “Pittsburgh Recollections.”

TEXAS

State separates sect moms, children

SAN ANGELO — Dozens of mothers from a polygamist retreat were bused away from their children yesterday, their legal efforts to stay united rejected as Texas officials sort out their massive custody case.

Two buses took the women from the San Angelo Coliseum, where they had been temporarily housed with their children. Texas officials were preparing to move the last of more than 400 children to group homes, shelters and residences, some hundreds of miles away, over the next few days.

One woman held a handwritten sign out the bus window that read: “SOS. Mothers separated. Help.”

“There are no words to describe how it was,” said Velvet, a mother who was forced to leave her 13-month-old. She and other sect women have refused to give their last names, fearing it will affect their custody cases.

“We’ve been staying up nights to watch over the children because we didn’t know what would happen,” she said in a press conference outside the ranch gates.

In Austin, the state’s 3rd Court of Appeals yesterday rejected the mothers’ pleas to immediately stop authorities from busing the children taken from the ranch to foster homes. The court agreed to hear arguments Tuesday, but attorney Robert Doggett, who represents 48 mothers, said that “having a hearing after the fact” was pointless.

WEST VIRGINIA

Governor’s daughter’s degree questioned

MORGANTOWN — An independent panel has chastised West Virginia University for retroactively awarding the governor’s daughter a master’s degree she did not earn.

University President Mike Garrison said late Wednesday it’s not clear whether disciplinary action should be taken against the high-ranking academic officers who ordered a change in the academic records of Heather Bresch, daughter of Gov. Joe Manchin III.

The independent panel led by two WVU faculty members issued a report Wednesday that said there was no academic foundation for last year’s decision to grant Mrs. Bresch a 1998 executive master’s of business administration degree.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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