- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Hecklers upstage sheriff at forum

PHOENIX | Hecklers in the audience broke into a loudly sung version of “Bohemian Rhapsody” and forced a high-profile Arizona sheriff to abandon a First Amendment forum sponsored by Arizona State University’s journalism school.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was asked by a panel of journalists Monday night to explain his relationship with the media, his law enforcement policies and whether his office conducts racial profiling.

Sheriff Arpaio told the panel that his office is an “equal-opportunity law enforcement agency” that will arrest anyone who violates the law.

Later in the interview at the university’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, protesters began singing a version of “Bohemian Rhapsody” and chanting as Sheriff Arpaio was asked about a federal investigation and his policies on illegal immigration.

The sheriff told the panel the outburst was “ridiculous,” and he left the stage.

Journalism school Dean Christopher Callahan later called the protest misplaced.


Firefighters win rank after court fight

NEW HAVEN | The 14 Connecticut firefighters who won a reverse discrimination case in a landmark ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court have had their promotions approved by New Haven’s Board of Fire Commissioners.

A formal promotion ceremony is scheduled for Dec. 10.

Matt Marcarelli, who earned the top score on the captain’s exam in 2003 and assumed his new rank Tuesday, said the action by the board was historic. The board approved the promotions after another city board certified the results of the 2003 exam that was at the center of the legal dispute.

Thirteen white city firefighters and one Hispanic firefighter were promoted to lieutenant or captain. They were among the firefighters who sued after the city threw out of the test results because too few minorities would have been promoted.


Chest X-rays may be risky

CHICAGO | Low-dose radiation from mammograms and chest X-rays may increase the risk of breast cancer in young women who are already at high risk because of family history or genetic susceptibility, Dutch researchers said Tuesday.

They said high-risk women, especially those under 30, may want to consider switching to an alternative screening method such as magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, which does not involve exposure to radiation.

“Our findings suggest that low-dose radiation increases breast cancer risk among these young, high-risk women, and a careful approach is warranted,” said Marijke Jansen-van der Weide of the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands.

Miss Jansen-van der Weide presented her findings at the Radiological Society of North America meeting in Chicago.

For the study, Miss Jansen-van der Weide pooled data from six published studies that involved 12,000 high-risk women from Europe and the United States.

Her team found that of the 8,500 women who had been exposed to radiation from chest X-rays or mammograms before age 20 or those who had had five or more exposures were 2.5 times more likely to develop breast cancer than other high-risk women who had not been exposed.


Soldier’s mom sues over ‘deceased’

DULUTH | A woman is suing the federal government after a letter she mailed to her son in Iraq was returned with the word “deceased” stamped on the envelope, even though the soldier is alive.

Joan Najbar filed the lawsuit last month in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, claiming emotional distress and negligence.

Mrs. Najbar sent her son the letter in September 2006. It was returned several weeks later with the red stamp mark.

Mrs. Najbar contacted the Red Cross and learned her son had not been killed.


Washington letter to be auctioned

NEW YORK | A letter in which George Washington makes an impassioned argument for the ratification of the newly drafted Constitution will be auctioned in New York. Its presale estimate is $1.5 million to $2.5 million.

The letter, written in 1787 to his nephew, Bushrod Washington, will be offered Friday.

Christie’s said the nephew’s English descendants have owned the letter for more than 100 years.

In it, Washington said the Constitution was not “free from imperfections.” But he added, “The power under the Constitution will always be with the people.” He said its adoption by the states comes down to one question: “Is it best for the States to unite, or not to unite?”


Man indicted; lived with bodies

CLEVELAND | A registered sex offender who police say was living with 10 dead bodies and a skull has been indicted on 11 counts of aggravated murder, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

Anthony Sowell, 50, previously had been charged with five murders. Now, he is indicted on a total of 11 murder counts and dozens of others, including kidnapping, abuse of a corpse, attempted murder, assault and rape charges.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason expects to seek the death penalty.

Sowell’s home was searched after a woman said he had attacked her there Sept. 22. He has been charged with rape, kidnapping, felonious assault and attempted murder in that attack and has pleaded not guilty.

Sowell, who served 15 years in prison for a 1989 attempted rape, was arrested while walking in the neighborhood Oct. 31, two days after police began searching his home.


Giant egg only a joke

CLENDENIN | A mystery egg has turned out to be nothing more than a practical joke.

Days after Sherman Farley found a giant egg while hunting in central West Virginia near Clendenin, another man has admitted planting it in the woods as a joke.

Herbert Herold said he got the ostrich egg from Benedict Haid Farm, about three miles from where Mr. Farley found it. Mr. Herold left it in the woods, hoping his brother Bill, who was hunting nearby, would find it.

But Mr. Farley found it first, and the 4 1/2-pound egg with a diameter of 18 inches had wildlife experts puzzled.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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