- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 10, 2008

5th body found in sugar-plant blast

PORT WENTWORTH, Ga. — Crews yesterday found another body in the remnants of a sugar refinery devastated by an explosion and fire, raising the death toll to five and leaving three others still missing, officials said.

The body was found near the silos used to store sugar after crews shored up the plant’s wobbly remnants, Fire Chief Greg Long said. Three workers and a supervisor were believed to be missing, but it was not clear whether the body is that of a worker or the supervisor.

“We operate on the policy that everyone is alive until we get to them,” he said.

The search was expected to be suspended for the night, and resume again today.

Robber seeks, gets extra prison time

ADRIAN, Mich. — Ask and you shall receive in Lenawee County Circuit Court.

A man who pleaded guilty to unarmed robbery faced no more than a year in the county jail, but asked to be sent to prison instead to help his chance of rehabilitation.

Michael Thomas Isaacson got what he wanted when a judge sentenced him last week to from 17 months to 15 years in state prison, with a recommendation for a psychological evaluation and counseling. Isaacson told Judge Timothy P. Pickard he believes programs available in state prisons will help him “get back on my feet,” while a year in the county jail would leave him as he had been.

Isaacson was caught minutes after robbing a movie-theater employee, who was carrying a bank deposit bag. Defense lawyer Robert Jameson said his client does not understand why he committed the robbery.

“He chose the cinema because he used to work at the cinema. He knows the victim. He perceived it as a low-risk crime,” Mr. Jameson said.

Chrysler says job cuts likely over

SAN FRANCISCO — The vice chairman of Chrysler LLC said Saturday he sees no further employment cuts as the automaker continues to restructure toward a more customer-focused company offering fewer models and better quality.

Chrysler, which is restructuring after a majority stake in the automaker was sold last summer to private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP, announced in November it planned to cut up to 11,000 jobs, including 8,000 to 10,000 hourly and 1,000 salaried positions.

“We hope that’s going to be the extent of it,” Vice Chairman Jim Press told reporters during a roundtable discussion at the National Automobile Dealers Association Convention. “You never know what the market is going to throw at us, but yes, the answer is that we have made the appropriate decisions.”

Bush chides Senate over judge delays

President Bush expressed more frustration yesterday over the Senate’s failure to vote on more than 180 of his nominations, including more than two dozen to the federal bench.

“Some have been waiting for more than a year,” said Mr. Bush, who invited many of the nominees to the White House for an event on Thursday.

“As a result, careers have been put on hold, families have been placed in limbo and our government has been deprived of the service of these fine nominees,” he said in yesterday’s radio address.

Democrats counter that Mr. Bush is equally responsible because he has nominated people whom a Democrat-led Congress will not approve.

Handshake leads to assault charge

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A lawyer has been charged with assault for shaking a federal prosecutor’s hand so hard, authorities said, that it injured her shoulder.

Kathy Brewer Rentas was arrested Thursday after attending a court hearing for her husband, who was accused of violating the terms of his probation for a cocaine-distribution case. Anthony Rentas was sentenced to 90 days of house arrest.

After the hearing, Mrs. Brewer Rentas asked to shake hands with Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Keene. A court security officer reported that she shook the prosecutor’s hand so forcefully the prosecutor’s arm was nearly ripped out of its socket.

“With Keene in hand, Brewer made an upward, then a quick downward motion and pulled Keene toward the ground moving her forward, almost causing Keene to fall to the ground,” Deputy U.S. Marshall Robert Kremenik Jr. wrote in an arrest report.

Fight over lawn care ends in probation

OREM, Utah — When 70-year-old Betty Perry was accused of neglecting her lawn, she became defiant.

Ms. Perry was arrested, handcuffed and briefly jailed in July for declining a ticket for failing to water her lawn. She agreed Friday to resolve her case by pleading guilty to a disorderly-conduct charge and paying a $100 fine. She also faces six months of probation.

Ms. Perry was scheduled to go on trial tomorrow on a more serious charge of resisting arrest for refusing to give her name, accept a citation or allow herself to be handcuffed on her front steps.

“It accomplishes what we set out to accomplish from the very beginning,” prosecutor Andrew Peterson said, adding that he was planning to drop the lawn-neglect charge anyway because Ms. Perry has started taking care of her lawn.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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