Archive for Thursday, February 21, 2002

Nation Briefs

February 21, 2002

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Florida: Astronauts receive call from John Glenn

Two spacewalking astronauts got a call of congratulations Wednesday from John Glenn.

"I'm envious at what you're doing up there," said Glenn, celebrating his 40th anniversary as the first American in orbit. "I never got to do a spacewalk. But I've joked and I said that NASA wouldn't let me do that because they were afraid at my age on that last flight in '98 that I might wander off someplace."

Glenn, 80, orbited the Earth on Feb. 20, 1962, and 36 years later rode aboard a shuttle to became the oldest person ever to fly in space.

On board the space station, astronauts Carl Walz and Daniel Bursch emerged early from the American-made Quest air lock and quickly completed advance work for the next assembly mission in April.

Florida: Citrus officials stirred by martini campaign

When the girls from "Sex and the City" sipped grapefruit martinis to toast Carrie's engagement, the Florida Department of Citrus saw a way out of a slump.

"After that episode ran, we all screamed, 'Did you see that?' They had been drinking cosmos on the show for so long," said Michelle Chandler, the department's deputy executive director of marketing. "This is a great opportunity to contemporize grapefruit juice."

The Florida Citrus Commission in Lakeland, which oversees the department, has approved $470,000 to promote the drink  called the Ruby  at trendy clubs and bars across the country and sweeten the juice's stodgy image.

The target market? Young, single, urban women.

Cleveland: Representative looks past trial to campaign

Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. said Wednesday he will run for re-election as an independent in the newly formed 17th Congressional District.

He made the announcement as he left his federal corruption trial, which was entering its third week. He said the trial leaves him no time to mount a primary campaign for the Democratic nomination.

"If I'm convicted I have no shot as it is," Traficant said. "If I'm not convicted, I have to run in an area that I've never run in before. ... At this point I think the dynamics of this case have put me into a position where I don't have much choice."

Traficant is charged with accepting gifts and favors for his political influence, tax falsification and racketeering. He denies the allegations.

Florida: Brother kills sister in estate dispute

A man shot his sister to death at a law office Wednesday during an argument over their parents' estate, then fled to the late couple's vacant house and killed himself.

Retired firefighter Charles Thomas Ott, 55, shot Margret Ott Jones, 53, and drove off in a pickup. Police spotted him and followed him.

Ott pulled in front of his parents' vacant home, stepped out and shot himself in the chest, police spokesman Jeff Kelly said. He died at a hospital.

Arkansas: Chicken producer to switch antibiotics

Tyson Foods said it will stop using an antibiotic in its broiler chickens in response to consumer worries that the drug makes people more susceptible to drug-resistant bacteria.

Springdale-based Tyson said that its use of fluoroquinolone was already minimal and that it did not believe the antibiotic did any harm.

Tyson said it would switch to another antibiotic.

The government wants to ban Baytril, a type of fluoroquinolone sold by Bayer Corp., from being used in poultry because of evidence that the drug's use in chicken makes people more vulnerable to drug-resistant bacteria.

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