Archive for Saturday, October 7, 2000

National briefs

October 7, 2000



Mascot theft prank turns violent

Kidnapping another team's mascot is usually a harmless prank, but police say what happened to an English bulldog went too far.

The Centennial High School mascot was stolen from its owner's backyard Sept. 27, the night of Centennial's victory over a football rival. "Blu" was forced to fight another dog, then left chained to a stake on the 50-yard line of Centennial's field.

The next morning a school staffer found the mascot, bleeding and soaked by lawn sprinklers, with a Mojave High T-shirt tangled in its chain.

Five Mojave students were arrested late Thursday after they turned themselves in to police. The juveniles' names were not released, but police said some are football players. The students face felony charges of cruelty to animals and theft, and misdemeanor counts of maiming an animal and conspiracy. More arrests are expected next week, an officer said.


Nuclear waste storage plan OK'd

A plan by American Indians to lease reservation land to a consortium of electric utilities for disposing nuclear waste was deemed safe on Friday by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

But the NRC still must hold hearings on a final environmental impact statement, still to be issued, and the project must win approval of three other federal agencies.

Up to 44,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel could be stored at Skull Valley in the desert 45 miles southwest of Salt Lake City if the plan is approved.

Gov. Mike Leavitt accused the NRC of lacking objectivity because it is under pressure to find a site to store the country's nuclear waste.

Private Fuel Storage, a consortium of eight electric utility companies that made the agreement with the Goshutes Indian Reservation, praised the NRC's finding.


Sealt-belt problem prompts recall

An auto parts maker has recalled seat-belt buckle latches in nearly 300,000 General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. vehicles over concerns they may not adequately restrain an occupant in a crash.

Affected Ford vehicles include Explorer sport utility vehicles, Ranger pickups, F-150 pickups, Lincoln Town Cars, Escorts, Explorer/Mercury Mountaineers, Mercury Villager van, Ford Contour/Mercury Mystique sedans and Windstar vans.

GM models include Buick Century sedans, Chevrolet Lumina and Impala sedans and Monte Carlo coupes, Chevy Blazer SUVs, Chevy Venture minivans, GMC Jimmy SUVs, Oldsmobile Intrigue sedans, Olds Silhouette minivans, Olds Bravada SUVs, Pontiac Grand Prix sedans, Pontiac Montana minivans, and Saturn L-Series vehicles.


Court allows firm's firing practice

The California Supreme Court sided with employers, ruling that they can fire nonunion workers even if company policy is to terminate only for disciplinary reasons.

The 6-1 decision issued Thursday reversed a closely watched appeals court ruling that said a San Francisco man could sue Bechtel National Inc. for laying him off to save money, even though he had no formal contract.

Employer groups had argued that if the court backed John Guz, it would be nearly impossible to lay off workers to cut costs.

Workers' advocates decried the ruling.

The high court ruled that Bechtel could eliminate jobs "as it saw fit," Justice Marvin Baxter wrote for the majority.

Bush trusted, Gore tops on issues
People favor Republican George W. Bush over Democrat Al Gore as being trustworthy enough to serve as president, according to a poll out Friday. Gore got better grades in the first presidential debate, was seen as right on most of the issues, and considered more experienced to handle the presidency, the Time-CNN poll found.
But the race remains extremely close, and the poll indicated that Gore's most vulnerable point now may be trust a trait consistently identified by voters as a top consideration in the presidential race this year.
When those in the poll were asked whether Bush was honest and trustworthy enough to be president, 67 percent said he was. Just over half, 54 percent, said that of Gore. Six in 10 said Gore would say anything to get elected president, while about four in 10 said that of Bush.

Police raid wrong house, kill owner
A 61-year-old man was shot to death by police while his wife was handcuffed in another room during a drug raid on the wrong house.
Lebanon Police admitted their mistake, saying faulty information from a drug informant contributed to the death of John Adams Wednesday night. They intended to raid the home next door.
"They need to get rid of those men, boys with toys," said Adams' 70-year-old widow, Loraine.
John Adams was watching television when his wife heard pounding on the door. "I thought it was a home invasion. I said 'Baby, get your gun!" she said.
Police say her husband fired first with a sawed-off shotgun and they responded. He was shot at least three times and died later at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.

Gays seek change in Scout access
A gay-rights advocacy group plans to lobby school districts across the country to stop sponsoring Boy Scout troops unless the organization reverses its ban on gays.
The initiative is a centerpiece of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network's annual conference, which began Friday in the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights.
M.K. Cullen, the group's public policy director, said the goal is to end the "unique and special access" the Boy Scouts get to schools.
"The Boy Scouts can present in someone's homeroom, they can get the school lists of students, they can have posters in the halls," she said. "It's a very unique, special access that most other clubs do not enjoy, and at the same time they are a discriminatory club."
The organization has been urging schools to shift support from the Boy Scouts to other youth groups, such as 4-H or the Boys and Girls Clubs.

Tire recall more than half-finished
The recall of 6.5 million Firestone tires could be completed as early as November, now that the tire industry has increased production of replacement sizes, Ford Motor Co. said Friday.
Ford spokesman Mike Vaughn said as of Friday, 3.79 million recalled tires had been replaced 58.3 percent of all those recalled. Bridgestone/Firestone offered a similar estimate of recalled tires, and said the companies were replacing more than 79,000 a day.
When the recall of certain 15-inch Firestone ATX, ATX II and Wilderness AT tires was announced in August, the companies estimated it would take until next summer to complete. But after a public outcry, Ford and Bridgestone/Firestone allowed the use of tires from other manufacturers.

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