- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 2, 2009

CALIFORNIA

Garrido blames drugs in ‘downfall’

SAN FRANCISCO | Court documents show the man accused of kidnapping and holding captive Jaycee Lee Dugard had blamed drugs for his “downfall” in a plea to reduce a previous kidnap sentence in the 1970s.

Phillip Garrido was sentenced to 50 years in prison in 1977 for abducting a woman from a South Lake Tahoe parking lot.

Weeks after the sentencing, he wrote a federal judge asking to have his sentence reduced.

Garrido said in the letter he was “ashamed” and had changed his ways. He also said he finished high school behind bars and was prepared to take college classes at Leavenworth Prison in Kansas.

The letter was among court documents in Garrido’s case made public Monday.

The judge turned down his request. Garrido was released after serving a little more than 10 years.

GEORGIA

Teacher furloughs eyed to save budget

ATLANTA | Schools across the country are being forced to furlough teachers in order to deal with massive state budget cuts.

Georgia is the only state so far to have imposed statewide furloughs for educators this fiscal year but similar plans are being considered in other states.

Ed Muir, deputy director of research and information services for the American Federation of Teachers, said furloughs are being used in individual districts in states like New Mexico, Florida and California.

Georgia is already $900 million in the red for this fiscal year.

The furloughs for all state employees include teachers for the first time in more than 25 years. The forced days off will save about $135 million, with the majority of that coming from salaries for 128,000 educators.

IDAHO

No GOP apology for ‘Obama tags’

BOISE | Idaho Republican Rex Rammell said Tuesday the hoopla over his remarks about hunting President Obama has been a boon to his campaign, and he again refused to apologize for what he called a joke.

“This country needs to lighten up,” the Republican gubernatorial candidate said during a news conference in a Boise park Tuesday.

Last week, a Republican rally attendee shouted a question about “Obama tags” during discussion of Idaho’s upcoming wolf hunt, where hunters must purchase an $11.50 tag as a license to kill a wolf.

Mr. Rammell responded, “The Obama tags? We’d buy some of those.”

Idaho’s Republican governor and congressional leaders criticized Mr. Rammell for his response.

But Mr. Rammell said the publicity has been good for his run for office.

MASSACHUSETTS

Traffic plane lands on highway

MANSFIELD | A traffic-reporting plane with engine trouble made an emergency landing on a highway southwest of Boston late Tuesday morning, but the two men on board were not injured.

The pilot called Norwood Memorial Airport about 11 a.m. to report that he was having engine trouble and would have to land on Interstate 495 in Mansfield, about 25 miles southwest of Boston, said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Jim Peters.

Mr. Peters did not know where the Piper Cherokee was from or where it was headed. The assistant manager of the Norwood airport said he did not think the plane was headed there.

MISSISSIPPI

One killed in copter crash

JACKSON | A helicopter practicing aerial maneuvers crashed into a duplex Tuesday, killing one person on board and injuring another, authorities said. No one on the ground was hurt.

Jack Mazurak, a spokesman for the University of Mississippi Medical Center, said the injured person was in critical condition and the other person on board had died. Neither was immediately identified.

Police said it appeared no one was in the duplex, in a residential neighborhood, when the helicopter hit it. A renter came home later in the afternoon but declined to talk to reporters.

The crumpled helicopter sat nose-down near the wooden porch, and a piece of one of the rotor blades had pierced the porch roof.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the helicopter, a Robinson R-44, went down about 2:30 p.m. about a half-mile east of Hawkins Field, a municipal airport.

NEW YORK

Schools to offer swine flu shots

NEW YORK | The nation’s largest school district said Tuesday it will offer free swine flu vaccinations to its 1-million-plus schoolchildren as New York City takes bold steps to avoid becoming the country’s flu epicenter again in the fall.

Hundreds of school districts nationwide have agreed to allow vaccinations in school buildings, once the vaccine becomes available in mid- to late October as the nation prepares for a spike in swine flu cases in the coming months.

New York officials said the vaccine, also available to private-school children, would mostly be given to children through a “mist” in the nose rather than by injection.

The virus was first detected in the country this past spring among students at a private high school in Queens. Officials estimate as many as 1 million people were sickened in the city, and at least 50 people died. Nationwide, swine flu has killed about 500 people.

President Obama said Tuesday that while swine flu vaccine will be voluntary, the government will “strongly recommend” that people get it.

A White House report suggests up to half the U.S. population could be infected.

“We know New Yorkers are concerned, very understandably, about the risks that they might face,” New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said. “Our job is to plan in case it is a big deal.”

TEXAS

Stanford in jail with leg aneurysm

CONROE | A lawyer for Texas billionaire R. Allen Stanford said his client is back in jail after medical tests detected a non-life-threatening aneurysm in his leg.

Attorney Dick DeGuerin said doctors at Conroe Regional Medical Center said the condition diagnosed Monday could be resolved through elective surgery. Mr. DeGuerin said he worries the condition could worsen.

Mr. Stanford has been returned to an infirmary at a private jail in Conroe that houses federal detainees. The 59-year-old financier was taken to the hospital last week with a high pulse rate.

The illness caused Mr. Stanford to miss a court date in the trial that accuses him of orchestrating a $7 billion fraud. He has denied the allegations.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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