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September 29, 2002

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New Jersey: Laureate's 9-11 poem elicits resignation call

Gov. James E. McGreevey has called for the resignation of the state's poet laureate, citing a poem critical of Israel that Amiri Baraka read at a festival earlier this month.

Baraka read his poem, "Somebody Blew Up America," Sept. 19 at the 2002 Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival at Waterloo Village in Stanhope.

"Who knew the World Trade Center was gonna get bombed," read a line from the poem, which was cited by the Jewish Standard weekly newspaper. "Who told 4,000 Israeli workers at the Twin Towers to stay home that day? Why did Sharon stay away?"

Some Jewish groups have characterized the poem as anti-Semitic.

McGreevey spokesman Kevin Davitt said the governor strongly condemns any racist or anti-Semitic behavior.

Baraka said he had no intention of resigning.

New York: Building near WTC site ordered demolished

Streets were blocked off around a two-story building near the World Trade Center site Saturday after cracks were found in an exterior wall and the windows began bulging outward.

Officials were making plans to demolish the building, which sits on the corner of Greenwich and Rector streets, directly above a subway station that was closed for more than a year after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The building is four blocks south of the World Trade Center site.

It wasn't immediately clear what caused the structural problems.

Frank McCarton, deputy commissioner for the city's Office of Emergency Management, said the building posed an immediate danger.

"It is a life safety issue," he said.

Indiana: More troubles for mom accused in beating

A woman accused of hitting her 4-year-old daughter in a beating caught by a surveillance camera surrendered to face new charges of giving police false addresses.

Madelyne Gorman Toogood turned herself in Friday night on the misdemeanor charge of false informing, said St. Joseph County jail officer Jay Dooley. Toogood was released after posting a $2,000 bond.

Toogood, 25, had been out on bond after pleading innocent to felony battery of a child. That charge was filed in a Sept. 13 beating in a department store parking lot, which was caught on videotape and televised nationally.

Authorities say Toogood gave them addresses for commercial mailbox businesses.

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