- - Saturday, July 5, 2008

Statue of Liberty access to be studied

NEW YORK — The National Park Service is considering reopening Lady Liberty’s crown for the first time since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to documents a congressman released on July Fourth.

The park service requested bids last month to study what it would take to safely open the Statue of Liberty’s iconic headpiece to the public, according to documents released by Rep. Anthony Weiner, New York Democrat.

The statue’s base, pedestal and lower observation deck reopened in August 2004, after a $20 million effort to enhance fire safety. But the crown and its interior observation deck, which soar about 265 feet above New York Harbor, remained closed because the Park Service said emergency evacuation was impossible.

Mr. Weiner, a member of the House Judiciary subcommittee on crime, terrorism and homeland security, said keeping the observation deck shuttered hurts the city’s economy: Since the crown closed, the number of visitors to Lady Liberty has dropped 44 percent, from 3.6 million in 2000 to 2.5 million in 2006.

“The bureaucracy which had stubbornly refused to open the crown is finally moved in the right direction,” Mr. Weiner said Friday. “Today’s news means that America is one step closer to providing what everyone wants: safe access to the heights of Lady Liberty.”

Four killed in street shooting

MILWAUKEE — At least one person fired a gun into a crowd in a street early Friday, killing four people and sending panicked revelers running for cover, police said.

Kindrick L. Jackson, 24; Jacoby E. Claybrooks, 28; Theresa Raddle, 23; and Marielle Fisher, 27, were killed at about 2:30 a.m. on the city’s northern side, police spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz said. Two other people were injured.

More than 100 people were on the street when shots were fired, some possibly from a party, Ms. Schwartz said.

“We know a number of people were in the street when all of a sudden someone came out and started shooting,” she said. “We are not clear how many shooters there were, if there was somebody in the crowd who shot back. Those things are still under investigation.”

No suspects are in custody. Police were having difficulty getting cooperation from witnesses, Ms. Schwartz said.

Theresa Raddle’s sister Kesha Peeler, 27, said knew all those killed. “This is crazy,” she said. “Why all this violence, why?”

Judge rejects brief as not brief enough

TACOMA, Wash. — A federal judge in Tacoma, Wash., has sent a 465-page lawsuit back to the lawyer who authored it for a rewrite, telling him it’s too long.

U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton told lawyer Dean Browning Webb to edit his racketeering lawsuit against GMAC Mortgage because he did not follow federal civil rules that call for a “short and plain statement” of accusations, the Seattle Times reported Friday.

The judge cited an 18-page section naming six defendants as consisting “largely of useless repetition” and said the first allegation in the suit isn’t made until Page 30. He said Mr. Webb “embarks on an odyssey through his claims for relief” that goes on for 341 pages.

However, Judge Leighton pointed out that Mr. Webb “successfully states his allegations in two pages” in a court filing he made to oppose a motion filed by the opposition in the case.

The judge stated his order in a limerick: “Plaintiff has a great deal to say, but it seems he skipped Rule 8(a). His complaint is too long, which renders it wrong, please re-write and re-file today.”

Meat-plant bosses face aliens charges

DES MOINES, Iowa — Two supervisors at an Iowa meatpacking plant that was raided by federal immigration agents in May were arrested and charged with encouraging people to live in the United States illegally.

Juan Carlos Guerrero-Espinoza, 35, and Martin De La Rosa-Loera, 43, were also charged Thursday with and aiding and abetting the possession and use of fraudulent identification. Mr. Guerrero-Espinoza was charged with aiding and abetting aggravated identity theft.

Federal immigration officials raided Agriprocessors, the nation’s largest kosher meatpacking plant, on May 12. Nearly 400 workers were detained and dozens of fraudulent permanent resident alien cards were seized from the plant’s human resources department, court records said.

Since the raid, critics had asked federal officials why no top executives at the plant had been arrested even though more than a third of the plant’s employees faced immigration charges.

“I’m still waiting to see whether federal officials will pursue an investigation into Agriprocessors itself for apparent workplace safety and immigration law violations,” said Rep. Bruce Braley, Iowa Democrat. “As I’ve said before, until we enforce our immigration laws equally against both employers and employees who break the law, we’ll continue to have a problem with illegal immigration.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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