- The Washington Times - Monday, January 5, 2009

CONNECTICUT

Man’s lotto ticket wins $10 million

DANBURY | On the day that Donald Peters died, he unknowingly provided financial security for his wife of 59 years and their family.

Mr. Peters bought two Connecticut Lottery tickets at a local 7-Eleven store Nov. 1 as part of a 20-year tradition he shared with his wife Charlotte. Later that day, the 79-year-old retired hat factory worker suffered a fatal heart attack while working in his yard in Danbury.

On Friday, his widow cashed in one of the tickets: a $10 million winner which, in her grief over her husband’s death, she put aside and almost discarded before recently checking the numbers.

“I’m numb,” Mrs. Peters, 78, said at Connecticut Lottery headquarters in Rocky Hill.

Mrs. Peters has 60 days to decide whether to take a $6 million pre-tax lump sum payment or stretch the winnings into 21 yearly payments of almost $477,300 each.

She does not yet know what she will do with the money.

NEVADA

Catholic diocese plans to add schools

LAS VEGAS | Catholic Diocese officials in Las Vegas said they are developing a plan to add religious schools to the region, shifting focus from adding churches as local growth slows.

Bishop Joseph Pepe said the diocese has spent the past decade adding new parishes to accommodate the demands that come with a concurrent building boom in southern Nevada.

But Catholic officials now are developing a three-year master plan to add schools. An estimated 700,000 Catholics live in Las Vegas, and 3,700 students attend the eight schools affiliated with the diocese.

Experts said the schools help the Catholic Church cultivate its next generation of followers, and add competition and diversity to local education.

LOUISIANA

Father charged in son’s killing

NEW ORLEANS | Danny Platt said he was under a lot of pressure. He apparently owed his estranged wife $4,000 in back child support.

But there were no signs of stress when the 22-year-old father, accused of killing his 2-year-old son over the child support debt, went to pick up his little boy for a weekend visit, his mother said Sunday.

On Friday, several hours after her son, Ja’ Shawn, left, Daniella Powell received a phone call. It was Mr. Platt, who said their son had been kidnapped and quickly hung up.

Mrs. Powell called back in disbelief. She said her husband gave different accounts of the kidnapping. She asked whether he had called police. He said he had, but when she called authorities, they hadn’t heard from him.

Police said Mr. Platt made up an elaborate story about his son being kidnapped by three men armed with AK-47 rifles late Friday night. Mr. Platt eventually confessed to the killing, telling authorities he “would kill either his wife or his child before he paid child support,” Police Superintendent Warren Riley said Saturday.

He has been booked on a charged of first-degree murder.

NEW YORK

Madoff victims sell memorabilia on eBay

NEW YORK | Did you get fleeced by Bernard Madoff? Or did you buy that Madoff Securities fleece jacket on eBay?

Mr. Madoff, who was arrested last month after purportedly telling investigators he lost as much as $50 billion of investors’ money in a giant Ponzi scheme, promoted his firm by putting its name on everything from T-shirts to beach towels, tote bags and umbrellas.

Dozens of the keepsakes are now being sold on eBay.

Some of the sellers say they’re former clients and employees. Others, like John Mitchell, hawked a cigar humidor bearing Mr. Madoff’s name.

“I find these things and then I resell them,” Mr. Mitchell, of Fox Grove, Ill., said Sunday. He said he bought the humidor from the manufacturer before it ever made it to Madoff’s firm.

Other Madoff items for sale on eBay include insulated coolers, binoculars, golf caps and flashlights. Several eBay postings are prodding buyers to “own a piece of history!”

The Madoff name wasn’t fetching top dollar on the Internet. Bidding for many items didn’t rise above $50.

Eleven bidders were hoping to take home a fleece jacket, size L, on Sunday; the highest bidder had offered $147.59.

NORTH CAROLINA

Baby famous after Obama hug

SANFORD | Sanford native Shanell Highfill said she has already set her 9-month-old daughter’s pink outfit aside to be saved.

After all, how often will little Peyton get to have her picture taken with a future president?

President-elect Barack Obama spotted Mrs. Highfill and her daughter, who is living in Hawaii with her Marine husband, as he worked out at a gym on Marine Corps Base Hawaii on Wednesday.

The Highfills joined about 100 other people outside the gym looking to meet Mr. Obama. As he left, Mr. Obama shook hands and thanked Peyton’s dad, Cpl. Travis Highfill, for his service.

Then he saw the little baby in the pink outfit with “hug me” written on it.

“He said, ‘Let me hold that fella,’” Mrs. Highfill told the Sanford Herald.

Mr. Obama held the child for less than a minute. But photographers, including one from the Associated Press, captured the moment and the picture ended up all over the country.

OHIO

Toddler leads police to slain mom

DAYTON | Authorities searched for the gunman who killed a woman at her home and then abandoned her 4-year-old son at a highway rest stop.

A Maryland couple found the boy Friday, wandering around a rest area along Interstate 70 in central Ohio.

The travelers, Mike and Judith McConnell, said Sunday on NBC’s “Today” that the boy told them a strange man had entered his home in Dayton without knocking and shot his mother.

Police later found the boy’s mother, Jennifer Nelson, 29, dead in her home.

The McConnells, who took the child into their warm vehicle and contacted authorities, said the boy was able to provide clear details about his home address and parents’ names.

“I began asking him questions, and he told me that a stranger had come into his house without knocking,” Mr. McConnell said via satellite from Baltimore. “And I said ‘Well, where was your mommy?’ And he said ‘He shot my mommy.’”

Two computers were stolen from the home.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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