Archive for Thursday, October 17, 2002

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October 17, 2002

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Minnesota

Strip club address tip in vote fraud

Prosecutors charged 95 people with forgery Wednesday for an alleged scheme in which they all registered to vote using the same address: a strip club in Coates recently shut down by city officials.

Most of the alleged forgers lived outside the town. The scheme, in which the club's owner also was charged, could have given club supporters a political majority in the town of 163 people. The mayor and two council members are in contested races next month in Coates, where 79 voted in the 2000 general election.

Club owner Richard J. Jacobson, 32, of Prescott, Wis., was charged with conspiracy to commit forgery and conspiracy to commit unlawful voting for allegedly orchestrating the scheme. The other 94 were charged with forgery and conspiracy to commit forgery. All the charges are felonies, and each carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison.

PITTSBURGH

Study: Light drinking still pregnancy risk

Children born to mothers who drink even small amounts of alcohol early in pregnancy are shorter and weigh less at age 14 than children born to mothers who abstain, a study says.

The federal government has long said that no amount of alcohol is safe for a pregnant woman to drink. University of Pittsburgh researcher Nancy Day, the study's principal investigator, said her study reinforces that thought.

The deficiencies found in the study are slight and fall within normal height and weight ranges, Day said, but were still surprising. The differences also were statistically significant, meaning they were not a matter of chance.

California

Evicted tree-squatter moved into motel

A woman who called a 300-year-old oak tree home for more than a decade has moved into temporary housing, but her husband is staying put for now.

Thelma Caballero lived for 12 years with Besh Serdahely in the shelter they built with scrap lumber and corrugated plastic amid the roots and branches of a coastal oak in San Bruno Mountain County Park in Brisbane, about 10 miles south of San Francisco.

San Mateo County officials who knew about the couple but didn't realize they were on county land until recently issued an eviction notice in August.

The Shelter Network helped Caballero move into a motel room with a kitchenette last week, and will help her find long-term housing, said Michele Jackson, executive director of the nonprofit group.

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