Archive for Sunday, August 5, 2001

National briefs

August 5, 2001


Washington: Recommended censure of FBI director rejected

Justice Department officials who reviewed the FBI's flawed investigations of the 1992 siege at Ruby Ridge called for disciplinary action against FBI Director Louis Freeh and three other FBI veterans, but the recommendations were secretly rejected in the closing days of the Clinton administration, The Washington Post reported today.

Stephen Colgate, an assistant attorney general who had authority to mete out final sanctions in the Ruby Ridge case, denied a recommendation to censure Freeh for condoning the shortcomings of the FBI investigations.

But FBI agents who spent years turning up flaws in the FBI's initial inquiries into the events at Ruby Ridge denounced Colgate's refusal to impose sanctions on top FBI officials as "outrageous" and "a whitewash."

The agents told the Senate Judiciary Committee, which learned only last month of Colgate's decision, that they were especially dismayed because senior FBI officials had subjected them to threats and retaliation for conducting a thorough investigation.

New Jersey: Swing set limitations written into borough's ordinance

Noise and privacy complaints have prompted borough officials in the affluent shore community of Rumson to consider regulating the size and location of elaborate backyard swing sets.

The equipment play delights for some but a nuisance for others can cost thousands of dollars, tower above 6 feet and feature slides, playhouses and other amenities.

"We don't want people to think we are going to prohibit little children's swing sets," Borough Administrator Gary Sammon said.

"The complaints we have been getting are on larger gym sets. They're almost the size of those on small parks."

Alix Arlinghaus, who has lived in the borough for 50 years, complained about a neighbor's new swing set and attached playhouse that towers over her 6-foot wooden fence.

"My neighbors could have put it closer to their house," Arlinghaus said. "I am not denying children the right to play, but they could be more considerate."

Honolulu: Creationism requirement in public schools rejected

The Hawaii Board of Education has unanimously rejected a proposal to require the state's public schools to teach biblical creationism in science classes.

The board's Education Committee had wanted to include multiple theories of how humans began as part of a performance standard for science. That would have effectively included the belief that God abruptly created life.

Before Thursday's vote, scientists from the University of Hawaii and science teachers ridiculed the idea as an alternative theory to evolution.

"I hope and trust that the majority of the board has the wisdom to ensure that the state of Hawaii does not become the laughing stock of the scientific world," said Gareth Wynn-Williams of the university's astronomy program.

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