- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Remembrance procession to open span

MINNEAPOLIS | State troopers will lead a slow, somber procession of motorists across the Mississippi River early Thursday to mark the opening of a bridge replacing the one destroyed in a collapse that killed 13 people last year.

With the hum of construction equipment behind them, government officials gathered Monday to announce the opening and unveil the design of a permanent memorial to the dead and 145 injured.

The new concrete span for Interstate 35W includes high-tech sensors and backup features lacking in the 40-year-old steel truss bridge it replaces. The $234 million bridge was fast-tracked to restore the major Minneapolis artery, a traffic route that accounted for 140,000 trips a day.

The new bridge was completed 11 months after work began and about 13 months after the collapse.


Prosecutor cites proof of threats

LAS VEGAS | A prosecutor told jurors Monday they will learn “the true face” of O.J. Simpson during the former football star’s trial on charges of robbing sports memorabilia dealers in a Las Vegas hotel room.

Prosecutor Chris Owens began his opening statement by playing an audio recording of the confrontation and pointed out one voice barking commands: “Don’t let nobody outta here. … Stand … up before it gets ugly in here.”

Mr. Simpson, who flashed a thumbs-up sign when he arrived at court, sat impassively while Mr. Owens described the rest of the recording.

In his opening statement, defense attorney Yale Galanter asserted that the evidence will not show that Mr. Simpson intended to commit a crime, but rather that he simply wanted to recover stolen personal effects.


Pipe manufacturer faces federal fines

PLAINVILLE | Federal labor officials are proposing more than $117,000 in fines against a Plainville manufacturer, saying safety violations there could have been deadly.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says it cited Atlantic Pipe Corp. for 57 serious violations and others deemed less serious.

The company makes precast concrete pieces, retaining-wall systems, pipes and other products.

C. William Freeman III, OSHA’s Hartford area director, said the size of the proposed $117,250 fine reflects the severity of the hazards. He says workers were at risk of falls, burns, being crushed or cut, hearing damage, amputations and electrocution.

Marcia Toffolon, Atlantic’s chief financial officer, said Monday that it is contesting the majority of the charges and will meet Tuesday with OSHA officials to review the allegations.


Friend describes homeless beating

FORT LAUDERDALE | A man told a South Florida jury on Monday that he watched a friend repeatedly swing a baseball bat at the head and face of a homeless man, who died of a crushed skull.

William Ammons, 21, said he was about 10 feet away when he saw blood spray as Thomas Daugherty swung repeatedly at 45-year-old Norris Gaynor on Jan. 12, 2006.

Mr. Daugherty, 19, and Brian Hooks, 21, are charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder for their roles in Mr. Gaynor’s death and the separate beatings of two other homeless men that night.

One of the nonfatal attacks was captured on surveillance video and broadcast around the world, helping lead authorities to Mr. Hooks and Mr. Daugherty.

Both men have pleaded not guilty. They each face life in prison if convicted.

In exchange for his testimony, Mr. Ammons pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and aggravated battery. He faces up to 20 years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled Sept. 24.


Killer to receive clemency hearing

ATLANTA | The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles hastily scheduled a clemency hearing for convicted killer Jack Alderman after a judge ruled Monday that his execution could not proceed without one.

Alderman, 57, is Georgia’s longest-serving death-row inmate. If the five-member board denies clemency, his execution could go forward as scheduled at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Alderman’s legal team also has asked the Georgia Supreme Court for a stay.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Melvin Westmoreland on Monday halted Alderman’s execution until the state Board of Pardons and Paroles provides a second hearing, where supporters can explain why Alderman’s life should be spared.

Alderman has been on death row for 33 years. He was sentenced to die for the 1974 slaying of his wife, Barbara, in Chatham County. Alderman and an accomplice beat her with a crescent wrench, then choked her before dumping her body in a creek near her family’s home in Rincon.

Prosecutors said the two wanted to collect $20,000 in life-insurance money.


Mom charged with endangerment

BURLINGTON | A Burlington woman who police say head-butted her daughter after they argued about chores has been charged with child endangerment.

Police say Shelly Lynn Worley, 34, sent her daughter to her room on Aug. 5 after they argued.

They say Ms. Worley sat on top of the 14-year-old girl, pinned her to the bed, grabbed her daughter’s head and head-butted her twice.

Police say she later returned and threw an inflatable mattress on top of her daughter, sat on top of it and punched it repeatedly.

Ms. Worley was first charged with serious assault, but the charge was recently amended after it was learned the girl suffered a bruised head and a sprained neck.


Senator’s defense denies corruption

TRENTON | Federal prosecutors on Monday began laying out their case to jurors that former state Sen. Wayne Bryant’s receiving a job at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey was a bribe.

His defense attorney challenged that assertion in his opening statement in a corruption trial that is expected to last six to eight weeks, saying Mr. Bryant did nothing nefarious he was just conducting politics as usual in the Garden State.

Mr. Bryant, 60, Camden Democrat, faces 12 charges in all and could face several years in prison if he is convicted. Being tried with him is Michael Gallagher, the former dean of the university’s School of Osteopathic Medicine in Camden.

The central claim of the government’s case is that the university created a job for Mr. Bryant that involved practically no work but paid him $35,000 per year and increased his state pension. In return, Mr. Bryant would use his position as chairman of the important Senate budget committee to get more money for the school.


Stations suspected of gas-price-gouging

RALEIGH | North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper has sent subpoenas to seven gasoline retailers who reportedly charged as much as $7.32 a gallon for regular fuel last week.

Mr. Cooper told a news conference Monday afternoon that more subpoenas are being prepared and that retailers will have 10 days to explain why their prices went so high.

The seven targeted in the first round of subpoenas were cited for charging more than $5.49 a gallon for fuel.

Subpoenas went to gas stations in Anson, Ashe, Cherokee, Guilford, Montgomery, Stanly and Transylvania counties.

Gas prices went up shortly after Hurricane Ike struck the Texas coastline and its numerous oil refineries.

Mr. Cooper said gouging for greed will not be tolerated in North Carolina.


County to end molestation case

FARGO | The Cass County prosecutor says he’s moving to drop the last charge against a former Fargo YMCA worker accused of molesting girls last summer.

A jury cleared Jatten Heinen of five felony charges earlier this month.

State’s Attorney Birch Burdick says prosecutors met with the family of another girl who made similar allegations.

He says they considered the recent acquittal and the potential trauma to her family in deciding to drop the charge.

Mr. Heinen testified during his earlier trial and denied the allegations.


State senator wants new election

PROVIDENCE | A state senator from West Warwick has asked for a new election after apparently losing a close race.

Attorneys for state Sen. Stephen Alves filed a request Monday seeking a new election, claiming there were irregularities. A recount in the race was scheduled for Monday at the Board of Elections office in Providence.

Election officials did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Initial returns show challenger Michael Pinga beating Mr. Alves in Tuesday’s Democratic primary by 17 votes.

Mr. Alves heads the Senate Finance Committee, which allows him to help draft the state’s $6.9 billion budget. He is part of Senate President Joseph Montalbano’s leadership team.


Corps finishing sandbar projects

SIOUX FALLS | Crews hope to beat the winter freeze and finish work on three sandbars being built in the Missouri River for two endangered species of birds.

The U.S. Corps of Engineers’ habitat-recovery project benefits the least tern and piping plover, two birds that migrate north and use sandbars for summer nesting.

The natural rise and fall of the river before the Missouri River dams were built created sandbars or scoured existing sandbars of vegetation, providing nesting habitat for the birds.

Now it’s contractors hired by the corps who use bulldozers and dredges to create the sandbars in wide stretches of the Missouri River below Gavins Point Dam at Yankton.

A 74-acre sandbar was completed this summer just upriver of the Vermillion-Newcastle, Neb., bridge. Crews hope to finish two smaller sandbars slightly downriver from there and will start a 76-acre sandbar several miles upstream.


Water-line break closes Capitol

SALT LAKE CITY | The Utah Capitol campus closed Monday after a water line broke inside an underground tunnel, keeping hundreds of state workers at home and forcing a scheduled demonstration outdoors.

The leak prompted state officials to close four buildings that house about 800 workers. The Capitol lawn, steps and monuments remained open to the public on Monday, and landscapers continued their work largely unaffected by the water problems.

A demonstration urging lawmakers to expand access to health care for the poor was rescheduled to take place on the Capitol steps, where curious tourists were greeted with signs telling them the building was closed.


Mine rescuers to carry more air

CHARLESTON | New federal rules will require mine rescue teams to carry more air underground.

The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) said Monday that the rules double the capacity of self-contained breathing equipment to four hours.

MSHA says the rules also require two extra oxygen bottles for every six sets of breathing equipment.

Rescue teams also must have eight hours of liquid air, liquid oxygen, pressurized oxygen or oxygen-generating and carbon-dioxide absorbing chemicals to extend breathing equipment.

MSHA says teams must carry four detectors for each gas that may be encountered, up from the old requirement of two.

MSHA director Richard Stickler says it’s critical for teams to have the latest equipment to rescue injured or trapped miners.

Compiled from staff and wire reports.

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