- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 28, 2008


Haircut gets kindergartner suspended

PARMA — A kindergarten student with a freshly spiked Mohawk has been suspended from school.

Michelle Barile, the mother of 6-year-old Bryan Ruda, said nothing in the Parma Community School District handbook prohibits the haircut, characterized by closely shaved sides with a strip of prominent hair on top. The school said the hair was a distraction for other students.

Mohawks violate the school’s policy on proper grooming, Principal Linda Geyer said. Also, the school district’s dress code allows officials to forbid anything that interferes with the conduct of education. Bryan’s hair became a disruption last week when he arrived freshly shorn, Miss Geyer said.

Bryan’s mother said she will enroll him at another school. Changing the hairstyle is not an option, she said.


4 killed in shooting at housing complex

BRISTOL — A man fatally shot four persons at a public housing complex yesterday, fled the scene and apparently killed himself several miles away, police said.

Rusty L. Rumley opened fire at about noon during a domestic dispute at Edgemont Towers, Bristol police spokeswoman Stephanie Hoskins said. She had no other details on a motive for the shootings.

Four persons were shot at the 118-unit apartment complex, which is operated by the city’s public housing authority. Three died at the scene and the fourth died at Bristol Regional Medical Center. Details on the victims were not available.

Miss Hoskins said Rumley, 26, fled the scene in his vehicle before crashing it about 15 miles southwest of Bristol, which is near the Virginia line. The vehicle was empty when officers arrived, but they eventually found Rumley dead, Miss Hoskins said.


Gunman shoots 1 during bank robbery

WATERBURY — A gunman opened fire at a bank yesterday, then fled, police said. Seven schools were locked down while police searched, and a car crash that occurred minutes later was believed to be connected to the robbery.

Police had one person in custody and were searching for another. It wasn’t clear whether the robber got away with any money, authorities said.

The robbery happened just after 11 a.m. at a Webster Bank branch. Minutes later, a car matching a description of one that fled the scene was involved in an accident on a nearby highway, said state police Lt. J. Paul Vance. Police were searching for one man who fled the car, and had another in custody.

City officials identified the man who was shot in the leg during the robbery as an off-duty fire battalion chief. Waterbury Hospital said Battalion Chief Felix Sambuco was in stable condition.


Flu shots urged for all children

ATLANTA — All children — not just those under 5 — should get vaccinated against the flu, a federal advisory panel said yesterday.

The panel voted to expand annual flu shots to virtually all children except infants younger than six months and those with serious egg allergies.

That means about 30 million more children could be getting vaccinated. If heeded, it would be one of the largest expansions in flu vaccination coverage in U.S. history. The flu vaccine has been available since the 1940s.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices said all children should start getting vaccinated as soon as possible.


Site of shooting to be demolished

DEKALB — The Northern Illinois University building where a gunman killed five students in an auditorium lecture hall, then committed suicide on the stage, will be demolished and replaced, school officials said yesterday.

Cole Hall — a huge classroom building at the center of the 25,000-student campus — will be replaced with a state-of-the-art general classroom building to be named Memorial Hall, the university said.

Students on campus seemed torn about the announcement.

“Some people can’t stand to look at it, and others see it as a memorial as it is,” 19-year-old freshman Cassie Dodd said. “Personally, I think it should stay. It’s a part of us now.”


Student starved by host family

HALLOWELL — Jonathan McCullum was in perfect health at 155 pounds when he left last summer to spend the school year as an exchange student in Egypt.

But when he returned home to Maine just four months later, the 5-foot-9 teenager weighed a mere 97 pounds and was so weak that he struggled to carry his baggage or climb a flight of stairs. Doctors said he was at risk for a heart attack.

Mr. McCullum said he was denied sufficient food while staying with a family of Coptic Christians, who fast for more than 200 days a year, a regimen unmatched by other Christians. But he does not view the experience as a culture clash. Rather, he said, it reflected mean and stingy treatment by his host family.

After returning to the U.S., he was hospitalized for nearly two weeks. The 17-year-old has regained about 20 pounds.


Mayor loses attempt to seal scandal

DETROIT — Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s legal fight over documents that detail his affair with a top aide ended yesterday when the state’s highest court rejected an appeal in which the embattled mayor sought to keep them secret.

The documents were to be released once the Supreme Court returns them to Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Robert Colombo Jr. That was expected to happen later yesterday.

The documents are part of an $8.4 million settlement the city made with former police officers in a whistleblowers’ lawsuit last summer. They don’t contain the steamy text messages sent between Mr. Kilpatrick and former Chief of Staff Christine Beatty, but are related to the affair.

The Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News sued the city to get the sealed documents. The city argued the documents should remain sealed because they involved communications between attorneys during court-ordered mediation, but the high court ruled “there is no FOIA exemption for settlement agreements,” referring to the state’s Freedom of Information Act.


Girl’s quip wins planets contest

GREAT FALLS — Those having trouble remembering the newly assigned 11 planets, including three dwarfs, can thank a fourth-grader.

Maryn Smith, the winner of the National Geographic planetary mnemonic contest, has created a handy way to remember the planets with the phrase: My Very Exciting Magic Carpet Just Sailed Under Nine Palace Elephants.

The 11 recognized planets are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Ceres, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and Eris. Ceres, Pluto and Eris are considered dwarf planets.

National Geographic Children’s Books created the contest in response to the recent announcement about the planets.

The Riverview Elementary School student’s mnemonic will be published in astronomer David Aguilar’s next National Geographic book, “11 Planets: A New View of the Solar System.”


Judge won’t put off April Simpson trial

LAS VEGAS — The judge in O.J. Simpson’s armed robbery case yesterday refused defense lawyers’ requests to postpone his trial.

“I’m here to tell you all that the April 7 trial date is going to be preserved,” Clark County District Court Judge Jackie Glass told defense lawyers and prosecutors, noting that lawyers agreed on the date in November.

“There have been months to be able to prepare for this case,” the judge said. “This is, despite what you’ve told me, not a complicated case.”

The former football star and co-defendants Clarence “C.J.” Stewart of North Las Vegas and Charles Ehrlich of Miami weren’t required to be in court for the brief hearing. They are accused of robbing two sports collectibles dealers peddling Simpson memorabilia at a Las Vegas casino hotel in September. The three have pleaded not guilty to all charges.


City’s black taxis going green

NEW YORK — New York City unveiled new fuel emissions standards for the city’s 10,000 black taxis yesterday that will compel the town car owners to switch to hybrid technology within five years.

The move — part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to decrease the city’s carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030 — comes less than a year after Mr. Bloomberg announced the city’s 13,000 yellow taxi cabs will go hybrid by 2012.

Black town cars carry mostly corporate clients and are responsible for 2 percent of the city’s transportation-related emissions, Mr. Bloomberg said. He said the change will cut their emissions by half.


Ex-cop gets life for killing girlfriend

CANTON — A former police officer was sentenced yesterday to life in prison with a chance of parole after 57 years for killing his pregnant lover and their unborn child.

Jurors spared Bobby Cutts Jr. the death penalty on the most serious charge, an aggravated murder count in the death of the fetus.

Cutts, 30, had sobbed on the witness stand when he claimed the death of 26-year-old Jessie Davis from an elbow to the throat last June was an accident during an argument. He said he dumped her body in a park in a panic. He returned to the stand after his conviction to ask jurors to spare his life.


Man gets life in poisoning death

KENOSHA — A man convicted of poisoning and suffocating his wife was sentenced yesterday to life in prison without parole. Before she was killed, his wife had written a letter foreshadowing that her death might be suspicious.

Mark Jensen, 48, was found guilty last week of first-degree intentional homicide, a crime that carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison. The decision on whether he was eligible for parole was left to the judge.

“I’ve come to the conclusion that if I were to impose anything less than the maximum sentence in this case, I’d feel I had cheated the other people because your crime is so enormous, so monstrous, so unspeakably cruel, that it overcomes all other considerations,” Judge Bruce Schroeder said.

Julie Jensen, 40, was found dead in her home in Pleasant Prairie on Dec. 3, 1998, after being sick for a few days. Mark Jensen claimed his wife was depressed and killed herself, framing him for her death.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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