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June 4,  2002

PASTOR ADMITS TO MOLESTATION
A former central Texas pastor faces jail time, after admitting to molesting a ten year old boy. John William Hayden was pastor of a church near Waco. Yesterday, he struck a deal, pleading guilty to two counts of indecency with a child. The 42 year old Minister now faces up to five years in prison for this act.

 

CATHOLIC POLICY VOTE
Roman Catholic Bishops around the country will vote on a proposed national policy on sex abuse next weekend in Dallas. Since hundreds of allegedly abused children have stepped forward, more than 225 clergy have either resigned, or been taken off duty.

 

OKLA. H.S. BASEBALL PLAYER KILLED
One of Oklahoma's top high school baseball players has been killed in a freak accident. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says two wheels broke loose from a tractor-trailer rig, flew across Interstate 44, and through the windshield of Justin Sullivan's car. The 18 year old was named to the Daily Oklahoman's All-State Baseball Team just yesterday.

 

NAPSTER FILES FOR CHAPTER 11
In preparation for a takeover of its assets, former online music-swapping giant Napster has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection. According to papers filed in a Delaware court, Napster has agreed to sell its assets to German media company Bertelsmann for eight-million dollars, and the assumption of certain liabilities. Three years ago, Napster set off the controversy of online song-swapping. At one time, the company handled nearly 60 million users a day.

 

SLEEPING LAWYER
A Texas death row inmate whose attorney slept during his murder trial will have to be released or re-tried. Calvin Burdine was sentenced to death in 1984 for the fatal stabbing of his gay lover. Until yesterday's ruling, Burdine had lost several appeals, even though the judge and jury testified they was his lawyer sleeping. Burdine is expected to plead innocent in his retrial.

 

INTELLIGENCE INVESTIGATION
On Capitol Hill today, a House and Senate joint intelligence committee begins its look at intelligence failures prior to the September 11th attacks.
The investigation beginning this afternoon is said to be largely organizational, how to arrange what will likely be months of hearings and ensure the process is less a blame-game than a search for ways to bolster U.S. security. The intelligence hearing is taking place behind closed, soundproof doors on the Capitol's top floor. The goal? To find out what intelligence agencies knew before 9-11 and what they did or didn't do with the information.
The latest allegation is of a missed signal from Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak.
He says Egyptian intelligence warned U.S. officials about a week before September 11th that Osama bin Laden's network was far along in plotting an attack against the U.S., a claim the CIA today flatly denied.
The joint intelligence committee will also look into the role of the National Security Agency, the group with worldwide eavesdropping capability designed to warn of a surprise attack at home.
As President Bush visits the NSA today, lawmakers want to know why the largest and most expensive U.S. intelligence agency failed. One top Republican says the investigation doesn't conflict with ongoing U.S. military operations.
The hearing involves no witnesses today, only lawmakers and tens of thousands of documents, 30,000 documents in fact. So much material one lawmaker on the panel predicts the investigation will take all summer.

 

AIRLINE DELAYS
There's good news and bad news about the nation's airports. The good news is flight delays are way down. In fact in the first four months of this year about 80 percent of flights arrived on time. That's the highest percent in at least eight years.
One expert says the bad news is the reason for that. He says the reason is air traffic still hasn't returned to its pre-September Eleventh levels. There were 1.7 million flights during the first third of 2002. That's compared to 2.1 million flights last year. He says once air traffic returns to normal, "It will be just as bad as it used to be."
Government officials disagree with expert assessments. They say its the new air routes, and more frequent weather updates that are helping to keep planes on time.

 

USER FEES ON THE RISE
More and more, banks, credit card companies and other businesses are tacking on 'User Fees' for various services. To many people, they're just another cost of living. To others, they're frustrating and unfair.
Does it seem like you're paying a lot more fees at the bank these days? Or what about additional charges to use your cell phone? Well, if you sense that you're shelling out more money than ever for everyday things, your hunch is correct.
Call them "Because they can" fees. They're a slew of charges, and surcharges, that critics say companies charge simply because they can.
Take so-called Corking Fees, for example. That's where a restaurant without a liquor license allows you to bring in an alcoholic beverage. But you have a pay a corking fee to do so.
Then there are credit cards. Some of them include an annual fee, over the limit fees, late fees, and other charges.
That worries consumer advocates like Ken McEldowney. He says credit card companies are turning using a variety of fees as a way to drum up revenues. "Late fees and going over the limit fees now represent the third largest revenue stream for credit card companies after interest rates and merchant fees."
Banks are also making money with fees. If you go to an ATM that's not your own bank, you could pay $1 to $2 fee for that.
And ATM's are busy. There are 324,000 ATM machines in the U.S., 13.6 billion ATM transactions took place in 2001. That works out to nearly 3,500 transactions per ATM each month.
Paying ATM fees is definitely a big pet peeve among consumers. Many people feel like why should I have to pay for the privilege of getting my own money? But the American Bankers Association says the issue is overblown. In fact, the Association says 57% of all consumers pay nothing at all in monthly ATM fees.
Still, a host of other bank charges, such as a fee to use a live teller, have some customers complaining that they're being nickled and dimed to death.
Banks say the fees are necessary because they cover the cost of providing additional services. But consumer groups disagree. They say many banks are simply price gouging.
According to the Consumer Federation of America, it costs a bank anywhere from 50 cents to $1.50 to handle a bounced check. But banks charge anywhere from $15 to $30 to process returned checks. Experts say you could have some recourse though. "If in fact, you are a good customer of that bank and you get hit with these fees, always call and complain. They don't want to lose you as a customer. So at least once or twice they're going to write those fees off." That should take away at least some of the sting.

 

SEYMOUR DOCTOR
Just two weeks after his contract wasn't renewed, the only doctor at the Seymour hospital has already move out of the office, leaving the board of directors looking for a replacement. Right now a former doctor who once worked with Dr. Joe Mendoza has come back to help out and could soon be the permanent replacement.
Dr. Chris Opella is filling in this week, but has obligations next week. So another doctor will come fill in. And Thursday, the board of directors will be meeting to discuss whether or not Opella will be hired to fill the vacant position permanently. "We will just have to wait and see about contracts and that type of thing."
Supporters of Mendoza are circulating a petition to have him reinstated. But Ondricek says the decision is definite. Right now Mendoza is only working at the Crowell clinic, where he has been splitting his time for several years. Opella has been working in Olney since he left Seymour.

 

NEAR DROWNINGS UPDATE
There's good news for two of the three children who nearly drowned in their grandparent's swimming pool on Sunday. A spokesperson from Shepherd Air Force Base says one 2 year old boy was released from the base hospital this morning, and another 2 year old at Cook Children's Hospital in Fort Worth has been upgraded from critical to good condition. Her three year old brother remains critical. Wichita Falls police sergeant Joe Snyder says the incident has been ruled an accident, and no charges will be filed.

 

POOL DRAINS
In an effort to make swimming pools at apartments and hotels safer, the city is taking a page from the state. Several cases of children getting trapped at the bottom of pools prompted Texas to pass a law requiring businesses with pools to install two drains. This to lessen the pulling effect that some single drains have. Ben Coker spoke with apartment and hotel managers today to see what problems the new law is causing.
In new pools, they say there's just a few added costs, but in existing pools like the one at the Hampton Inn. They say adding a second drain costs a lot of time and a LOT of money.
Hampton Inn general manager, Donna Ritchie says they planned on opening their pool for Memorial Day weekend, but instead, they're still busy getting in compliance with state and city code by installing a double drain system. "I understand the philosophy behind it, but the pool's been here for seventeen years and we've never had a problem."
Ritchie says it's already cost over $2,000 to install the additional drain. And it's costing her customers every day. "We've had to give out several 100 percent satisfactions because the guests weren't 100 percent satisfied."
And at the Traveler's Inn, where the pool currently has only one drain, management isn't looking forward to the added expense. "It's kind of a hassle with all the work that we have to put into it and all the cost, but we have to compete with other hotels and we're definitely going to do what satisfies the customer."
And what satisfies the city, pools 5 feet or deeper must comply by October 2004. And those less than five feet deep must have the double drains installed by October 2003. "We want to make sure that the citizens of Wichita county are are safe and it is gonna be a lot of cost initially."
Fernando Tezaquic with the Wichita County Health Department says the law came after entrapment fears with single drains.
This pool going in at the Harrison apartments is already equipped with the double drain. And Sue Gentry with the Summit Apartments says while she doesn't like the added cost. "We certainly don't want any children to drown or anything."
And Tezaquic says the cost of prevention is worth it if it can save lives. Texaquic says those pool owners not in compliance by the deadlines will not be issued a permit. And they'll face substantial fines if they continue to operate the pool without one.

 

CATHOLIC VOTE
Roman Catholic church Bishops will vote next week on a proposal to defrock any priest who sexually abuses a child in the future, or has abused more than one child in the past. But a church panel recommends the church tolerate one past assault under certain conditions.
The reverend Thomas Doyle, who's been active in helping victims, calls the report a new beginning. And he says the apologies it makes to victims are extraordinary. But he cautions promises have been made in the past and that any continuing hostility toward victims could shake the church's credibility.

 

DALLAS CAR CHASE
A high-speed pursuit through the Metroplex ends in a fiery crash this afternoon. A man in a large Ford pickup truck led police on a chase through Fort Worth and Dallas freeways after apparently stealing the truck in Garland. It ended with the man crashing the pickup head-on into the concrete column of a Dallas overpass. Police immediately ran to the truck and arrested the man. There's no word on the man's condition.

 

ISRAELI RAID
Israeli forces moved into the West Bank town of Hebron today. This, as CIA chief George Tenet held talks with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Israeli troops threw stun grenades in several markets to clear the streets and impose a curfew. The raids have followed a resurgence of Palestinian suicide bombings in a 20 month old uprising against Israeli occupation.
Israel says it has carried out the raids to seek out militants blamed for the suicide bombings. Meanwhile, Jewish soldiers shot and killed a young Palestinian in a small West Bank village. He was part of a group of Palestinians throwing stones at Israeli forces.

 

INDIA & PAKISTAN SHELLING
Pakistani military officials say at least six civilians have been killed and 11 more wounded in the Indian shelling along Kashmir's disputed line of control. The Pakistanis accused Indian soldiers of lobbing mortars and artillery with no regard to people living near the front lines. Cross-border fire between the Indian and Pakistani troops has increased dramatically in recent weeks, causing many residents to flee their homes. The fighting has also sparked fears that the two nuclear armed countries may soon fight another war over the disputed Kashmir territory.

 

SCHLIEPER TRIAL UPDATE
Several applicants to the Wichita Falls police academy who were rejected during the screening process were later admitted to the academy under the direction of former chief Jack Schlieper. That's according to testimony in Dallas in Schlieper's wrongful dismissal suit against the city. More Wichita Falls police officers were called to the stand today in the city's defense.
According to training officer Steve Beggs, once he completed background checks for applicants to the academy some of them were disqualified. He said under Schliepper's orders background checks were redone and they came out the same way as the first time. Despite this, he says some of the rejected applicants were still admitted the 1998 academy.
About Schliepper, Beggs said: He hadn't been involved in it up until now and I don't know why he would want to get involved in this one."
Lt Laura Arnold testified she once had an officer under her command fly in a Department of Public Safety helicopter in an investigation of an auto theft ring. She said Schleiper became angry with her for not notifying here superior, Captain Glen Smith in advance. Arnold said she did notify Captain Smith and through tears said Schlieper told me if it came between a Lt. and a Captain he would always believe a Captain'.
"Personally this crushed me and I knew my future with the department was gone."
Under cross exam, Arnold said she requested a transfer not because of Schlieper but because Captain Smith did not support her. There was also more testimony about conflicts with the district attorney and police at a double murder scene in 1998.
Testimony resumes at 9am tomorrow and former chief Schlieper is expected to be recalled to the stand later this week.

 

SKAKEL TRIAL GOES TO JURY
Deliberations are underway at a Connecticut courthouse where Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel faces murder charges. Skakel is accused of beating Martha Moxley to death with a golf club in 1975. Skakel and Moxley were both 15 years old at the time.
Prosecutors told jurors Skakel made up stories about what happened in an attempt to use Skakel's own words to pin the crime on him. Defense attorneys say Skakel was a troubled teen, not a killer. Skakel was also scolded by the judge today because Skakel wasn't there while deliberations were taking place.

 

SCHOOL TRANSFERS
Transferring your child from one elementary school to another may be little more difficult this time around. Yesterday was the first day parents could apply for the transfer. There were about 80 more applications this year than last year. More than 270 requests filed yesterday alone. But unlike the previous year, the district won't grant transfers if it means adding extra staff to accommodate the extra number of students, due to budget cuts. Denise Williams, the district's student assignment coordinator says the process in determining who's approved for the transfer is a bit more rigorous this year. "The district as a whole is looking carefully at staffing, making sure if we approve transfer we're not allowing building to accumulate additional staff for transfers."
Williams says parents will receive a letter, hopefully by the end of the week, whether or not their child's transfer was approved or denied.

 

WESTERFIELD TRIAL UNDERWAY
The trial is underway in California for the man accused of killing seven-year-old Danielle Van Dam. David Westerfield sat in a San Diego courtroom today as judge William Midd began the trial. Westerfield is charged with kidnapping and murdering Danielle Van Dam who disappeared from her home in early February. Van Dam's badly decomposed body was found dumped by a roadside almost four weeks after she disappeared from her bedroom in the middle of the night. Westerfield was a neighbor to the Van Dam family. The 50 year-old Westerfield has pleaded not guilty and could face the death penalty if convicted.

 

ENDEAVOR LAUNCH DELAYS
The weather forecast still isn't looking good for tomorrow's scheduled liftoff of space shuttle Endeavor. NASA has been trying to launch Endeavor since last Thursday, but has postponed it because of weather and equipment problems. NASA says there's only a 40 percent chance that nature will cooperate for the liftoff, which is scheduled sometime between 4 and 8 this evening from Florida's Kennedy Space Center.

 

EVIL KNEIVEL COMEBACK
The most famous dare-devil in the world is talking about making a comeback. Evil Kneivel says he wants to make one more motorcycle jump. The event would mark the grand opening of his "Evil Kneivel Xperience Cafe," a sports bar and museum about a half-hour outside of Las Vegas. Kneivel will turn 64 this fall. So far, there's no details as to what he'll jump over but if he pulls it off, a 200 foot jump would be the longest of his life, and his first since 1980.

 

LAMP RECALL
Portable lamps by Luxo Corporation are being recalled. There's been 10 reports of the lamps overheating and shorting out. No injuries were reported, but consumers should know the lamp could break apart and cause burns. About 18,000 lamps are under recall. The lamps were also sold under the names "Big Dipper" and "Little Dipper." Consumers with recalled lamps can call the company at 1-800-222-5896 for a replacement.

 

 

 

 


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