Wednesday, October 31, 2001

Kentucky News Briefs

Calendar contest has patriotic theme

        COVINGTON — The deadline for the “Why I Love America” calendar contest, for students in grades K-12 in all public and private schools in Kenton County, is Thursday for postmark entries and Friday for hand-delivered entries.

        Entries should express the student's personal reflections on America, as well as the student's personal feelings about the recent attacks on our country, through an 8 1/2- by 11-inch original artwork. One winner will be selected from each grade level, and each entrant will receive a finished calendar. Winners will receive a $250 U.S. Savings Bond. Those getting honorable mention will receive a $25 U.S. Savings Bond.

[photo] MAKING A STATEMENT: Students from Two Rivers Middle School in Covington march down Sixth Street near their school as part of a drug-education program, “Red Ribbon Week.”
(Patrick Reddy photo)
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        Proceeds from the calendars sold to the public will be donated to the families of firefighters and police officers who perished while working to rescue victims of the attacks. The contest is sponsored by the office of the Kenton County Attorney.

        Entry forms may be downloaded from Completed forms can be brought to the Kenton County Attorney's Office on Friday at 303 Court St., Room 307, Covington, KY 41011.

Animal shelter seeks donations of blankets

        COVINGTON — The Kenton County Animal Shelter needs donations of blankets for the dogs at the shelter during winter.

        Blankets can be dropped off at 1020 Mary Laidley Drive, which is off Ky. 17 between Covington and Independence.

        Hours are: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; and 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturdays. Information: (859) 356-7400.

Unclaimed tax rebates total $1.5M in state

        LOUISVILLE — The Internal Revenue Service says nearly $1.5 million in income tax refund or advance payment checks were returned to the agency because they could not be delivered to Kentuckians.

        The IRS is urging about 3,800 Kentuckians whose checks were returned to act quickly so their checks can be processed and mailed to them by the end of December.

        The undelivered checks include more than 3,100 advance payment checks the IRS started issuing in July. Taxpayers need to act on these checks by Dec. 5, the IRS said. After that date, taxpayers can't get advance payment checks, but instead will have to claim them after Jan. 1 on their 2001 tax returns.

Judge releases Mauritanian detainees

        LOUISVILLE — Two Mauritanians detained after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks were released by an immigration judge in New Orleans and were headed back to Louisville.

        Sidi Mohamed Ould Abdou and Sidi Mohamed Ould Bah, among the four Mauritanians detained in Louisville, were freed on $5,000 bond Monday, said their lawyer, Dennis Clare. The two were on their way back to Louisville by bus. The other two Mauritanians were released earlier.

        Mr. Clare said all four men still could face deportation for staying in the United States on expired visas.

        None of the four was involved in terrorist activities, Mr. Clare said, and none have been charged with anything but immigration violations.

        Cheikh Meleinine Ould Bellal was released from a federal prison in Oakdale, La., on Oct. 22 on $2,000 bond. Isselou Bah was released from a jail in Memphis, Tenn., on $10,000 bond on Oct. 17, Mr. Clare said.

        Federal officials took the four men into custody Sept. 14 and held them more than a month while members of Louisville's Mauritanian community tried to raise money for their bonds.

        Mauritania is an Islamic country on Africa's northwest coast.

        Originally, three of the men were held on $10,000 bonds and Mr. Bellal was kept in custody without bond. Mr. Clare said an immigration official originally told him Mr. Bellal had taken flying lessons in the United States. That “turned out to be incorrect,” Mr. Clare said.

        Mr. Clare said three of the men were in the country on pleasure travel visas that expired about a year ago. One of them apparently filed a request for political asylum, Mr. Clare said.

        The fourth Mauritanian was here on a student visa that expired when he didn't enroll in the University of Louisville as scheduled, Mr. Clare said.

Indiana to appeal Commandments case

        INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether it can display a monument of the Ten Commandments on the Statehouse grounds.

        “We recognize that the chances are slim that the high court will hear our case,” Gov. Frank O'Bannon said Tuesday in a statement. “But if the court agrees to hear it, we think our chances of winning are great.”

        A three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a preliminary injunction in July that barred the monument. The majority said the monument, which also would include the preambles of the Indiana Constitution and the Bill of Rights, amounted to the state endorsing a religion.

        The state has argued that the monument is not an endorsement of religion, but an acknowledgment of the historical importance the Ten Commandments have to the state.

Casinos won't back dockside campaign

Proponents of dockside gambling legislation in Indiana may not get support from one corner that seemed a sure bet — the state's riverboat casinos.

        The Casino Association of Indiana, the industry's trade group, intends to remain neutral in the dockside debate expected in the coming General Assembly session, the Courier-Journal of Louisville reported Tuesday.

        While the 10 casinos all favor some form of dockside wagering, they disagree on the details, the newspaper said.

        “It's difficult to get all 10 of the riverboat operators on the same page,” said Larry Buck, general manager of the Grand Victoria casino at Rising Sun. “We all have our differences.”

        Dockside gambling would eliminate the current requirement that the boats conduct wagering only during two-hour cruises. Allowing customers to come and go freely would likely increase the casinos' business, and the state's cut of the revenue.

        A bill to legalize dockside gambling failed to pass last year. But this year, lawmakers are looking for ways to shore up shaky state finances.

        The state ended the fiscal year June 30 having taken in less than the previous year, the first time that's happened in 20 years.

Schools recognized for technology use

        GLASGOW — The Barren County school district is one of three in the country being recognized by the National School Boards Association for innovative use of technology.

        The association, based in Alexandria, Va., said technology permeates classroom practices as well as school administration in the Barren County system.

        Local individuals and businesses contribute services and expertise to the school system. In return, Barren County students return community services such as Web page design, brochures, programs and building plans.

        Other school districts were Milford, Conn., and Poway, Calif. The three are to be showcased in a video presentation at the association's annual conference on technology and learning, scheduled for Nov. 8-10 in Atlanta.

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House GOP proposes sales-tax holiday
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- Kentucky News Briefs
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