- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 8, 2009


Tribes appeal snow-making ruling

FLAGSTAFF | American Indian tribes are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review a lower court’s decision that allows for snowmaking on an Arizona peak the tribes consider sacred.

The tribes met a deadline for an appeal in the Arizona Snowbowl case.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco cleared the way for the snowmaking last August after a years-long court battle.

The appeals court granted a request to delay any construction at the ski resort near Flagstaff until the high court decides whether it will hear the tribes’ appeal.

The tribes, in their petition to the high court, contend that allowing snow making on the San Francisco Peaks would violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.


Vets’ suit hits military experiments

SAN FRANCISCO | Six veterans who claim they were unwittingly exposed to dangerous chemicals and germs during government-sponsored Cold War experiments have sued the CIA, Department of Defense and other agencies.

The vets volunteered for military experiments they say were part of a program started in the 1950s to test nerve agents, biological weapons and mind-control techniques. They say in their federal lawsuit filed Wednesday in San Francisco that they are in poor health today because of the experiments. They are demanding health care and a court ruling that the program was illegal.

The organization Vietnam Veterans of America is also part of the lawsuit, which seeks class action status on behalf of all participants who were purportedly exposed to unhealthful experiments without their knowledge.


Salmonella spreads to 42 states

ATLANTA | Health officials are investigating a salmonella outbreak that reportedly has sickened nearly 400 people in 42 states, but they do not yet know exactly how the bacteria has been spreading.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not named all the states, but Ohio health officials have reported at least 50 people in 18 counties have been sickened by salmonella bacteria since October.

Most people infected with salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment.


$67,000 spent on espresso makers

CHICAGO | An inspector’s report shows Chicago Public Schools employees bent rules to spend $67,000 for espresso machines that largely haven’t been used.

The report shows the nation’s third-largest district bought 30 cappuccino machines for a culinary arts program.

But several months after the purchases only three were in use, though not for the program. One has disappeared and 22 hadn’t even been opened.

The report by school district Inspector General Jim Sullivan reveals employees separated the purchases to stay under $10,000 so they wouldn’t have to seek competitive bids or school board approval.

A school official says one employee was fired and disciplinary action is pending against three others.


DA can’t afford $15 million payout

NEW ORLEANS | New Orleans’ new district attorney is warning that his office may need to file for bankruptcy protection because it can’t afford to pay $15 million to a man who spent 18 years on death row before being exonerated.

District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro has asked for state authority to file for bankruptcy over the jury award to John Thompson, who was convicted in 1985 of killing hotel executive Raymond Liuzza Jr. An appeals court upheld the civil judgment last month.

Mr. Cannizzaro, who inherited the five-year-old civil case when he was elected in November, said his office will exhaust its appeals before deciding whether a Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing is necessary.


Three charged in bias attacks

NEW YORK | Three white New Yorkers, riled by Barack Obama’s victory, spent election night hunting down black people to beat up and yelling insults about the president-elect, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

The men beat a Liberian immigrant teen, pushed a black man to the ground and drove their car over a white man they thought was black, according to the indictment unsealed in Brooklyn.

Ralph Nicoletti, 18, Michael Contreras, 18, and Brian Carranza, 21, were arrested early Wednesday. They were to be arraigned on charges of conspiracy to interfere with voting rights.


‘Joe the Plumber’ to be reporter

TOLEDO | “Joe the Plumber” is putting down his wrenches and picking up a reporter’s notebook.

The Ohio man who became a household name during the presidential campaign said he is heading to Israel as a war correspondent for the conservative Web site pjtv.com.

Samuel J. Wurzelbacher said he will spend 10 days covering the fighting. He told WNWO-TV in Toledo that he wants to let Israel’s ” ‘Average Joes’ share their story.”

Mr. Wurzelbacher gained attention during the final weeks of the campaign when he asked Barack Obama about his tax plan.

He later joined Republican John McCain on the campaign trail.


Teen in school plot pleads to charge

POTTSTOWN | A Pennsylvania teenager accused of planning an attack at his high school pleaded to a charge of attempted murder in juvenile court Wednesday.

A magisterial district judge said prosecutors agreed to drop all charges except the single count. The case also was moved to juvenile court.

Investigators said the 15-year-old boy planned to attack Pottstown High School schoolmates last month with guns stolen from his father.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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