Archive for Thursday, April 1, 2004


April 1, 2004


Washington, D.C.

HUD secretary confirmed

The Senate confirmed former Dallas housing chief Alphonso Jackson late Wednesday as housing secretary, despite a Democratic threat to block all of President Bush's nominees to protest the appointment of two controversial judges.

Democrats made an early exception for Jackson, a friend and former neighbor of Bush in North Dallas who has spent the last three years as deputy secretary of housing and urban development.

"I am honored by the Senate's vote and the confidence the president has put in me," Jackson said through an aide. "I look forward to leading the hard-working people at HUD to address the nation's housing challenges and bring the American dream of home ownership to more low-income families."

Jackson won unanimous committee approval Tuesday after dropping a proposal to streamline home-buying rules. Many senators opposed the plan, along with key real estate industry players.

Jackson replaces Mel Martinez, who is running for the Senate in Florida.


Two deputies shot to death while serving warrant

Two sheriff's deputies were fatally shot Wednesday while serving a warrant for a minor offense at a junkyard in rural Pennsylvania, authorities said.

Authorities were hunting for the suspect who got away, identified on wanted posters as Dustin F. Briggs, 27.

The shootings happened at Briggs' junkyard in Wells Township, a rural farming community about 10 miles southwest of Elmira, N.Y., said Walt Beach, the police chief in neighboring Lawrenceville.

Police described Briggs as armed and dangerous. They set up roadblocks in the area, stopping every car that passed. Schools also locked down.

Briggs had been wanted on a warrant for failing to appear in court and was previously convicted of criminal possession of a weapon, a felony.

The slain deputies were identified as 36-year-old Michael VanKuren and 30-year-old Christopher M. Burgert. Both were wearing bullet-resistant vests, and a gun belonging to one of them was missing.

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