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Archive for Thursday, July 31, 2003

Briefly

July 31, 2003

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Baltimore

Missing 1913 nickel worth million dollars

A million-dollar mystery was solved early Wednesday with experts certifying that a nickel that had been missing for decades is the fifth 1913 Liberty Head nickel.

Relatives of the late George Walton, a North Carolina coin dealer, took the coin to the experts at the American Numismatic Assn. convention that opened Wednesday. The relatives did not want to be identified.

The family had put the coin away after Walton's death because they didn't believe it was genuine, said Paul Montgomery, president of Bowers and Merena Galleries, a Louisiana-based coin dealer and auction house.

They decided to bring it out for inspection after learning that Montgomery had offered a $1 million reward for the coin and $10,000 just to be the first to see it.

The association brought the six experts together late Tuesday. After comparing the coin to four documented coins, they declared the coin authentic early Wednesday.

Arkansas

Emergency chief quits over e-mailed poem

Arkansas' top emergency official resigned Wednesday after coming under fire for forwarding to his 66 employees an e-mail poem making fun of immigrants and welfare recipients.

Gov. Mike Huckabee's office said that it accepted W.R. "Bud" Harper's apology and resignation.

Harper said earlier that he received the verse, titled "Illegal Poem," from someone else and sent it along because he found it humorous.

Among the poem's lines: "Welfare checks, they make you wealthy, Medicaid it keep you healthy." Another line accuses immigrants of bilking the system: "By and by, I got plenty of money, Thanks to you American dummy."

Harper said he regretted sending the e-mail.

Arizona

Mexican ranch to serve as jaguar sanctuary

Conservationists from Mexico and Arizona announced Wednesday in Tucson that a 10,000-acre ranch south of the border will become a jaguar preserve and research center.

Jaguars -- North America's largest native cat -- were indigenous to Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, and once roamed through Mexico to Argentina

But the animal has all but vanished within the United States. The two most recent sightings of jaguars in southern Arizona were in 1996 and 1997.

Naturalia, a Mexico City-based nonprofit organization, bought the ranch, 120 miles south of Arizona. Three to five jaguars typically can be found on the ranch at any one time, experts said.

New York City

Columbia University plans for new campus

Columbia University plans to build a new, separate campus on a 17-acre block of land in Harlem, an attempt to offer its 20,000 students more space to live and learn.

The planned expansion would include an arts complex, research space and residence halls to supplement the university's main campus in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

"This is not to just go in and throw up some buildings. These would be beautiful, magnificent buildings on the order of what we have in Morningside Heights," Lee Bollinger, Columbia's president, told the Times.

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