Saturday, March 11, 1995

Northwest Florida Daily News

Location: Fort Walton Beach, Florida

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Northwest Florida Daily News (Newspaper) - March 11, 1995, Fort Walton Beach, Florida WEATHER TODAY Partly cloudy. High upper 60s; low 45-50. East wind 10 mph/2A. SPORTS INSIDE NBA's best hangs up his baseball glove PAGE 1C SATURDAY, MARCH 11, 1995 Daily Warrant issued for drifter in woman's death PAGE IB INDEX Business...............8B Calendar.............10B Church News........7C Classifieds...........12C Comics...............110 Crossword...........10B Dear Abby...........118 Editorials...............4A Local News...........IB Movies.................11B Obituaries..............5B Public Record.......2B Sports....................1C TV Schedule.......11B r 4 sections, 48 pages Fort Walton Baach. Fla. Copyright« 1995 The Daily News NORTHWEST FLORIDA 500 Unemployment rate Percent of civilian labor force, seasonally adjusted Annual 10 8 , 6 4 2 0 '84 •94 ....«,,,1.3! 12 10 8 6 4 2 FMAMJJASONDJF Monthly percentage ol U.S. wort<er8 who are looldng for jobs; Indicates growth (or shrinkage) of business and Industry. SOURCE: Bureau Of Labor Statistics Unemployment rate drops ■ The Labor Department said the jobless rate fell to the lowest rate since July 1990, the largest single-month drop since last May. Knlght-Rldder Tribune WASHINGTON (AP) - The nation's unemployment rate matched a 4i/2-year low in February as businesses created nearly a third of a million new jobs. Wall Street soared to record levels, hailing the news as a sign the long economic recovery was not faltering. "This is an economy that won't lie down," said Norman Robertson, an economics professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. The Labor Department said Friday the jobless rate dropped 0.3 percentage point to 5.4 percent last month, equaling December's rate that was the lowest since July 1990. It was the biggest one-month drop since last May. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 52.22 points to close at a record 4,035.61, well over the previous high of 4,011.74. Short-term Treasury rates also were higher and the dollar was extending its recovery. Employers added 318,000 new jobs to nonfarm payrolls, the most in three months. And the report showed stronger job growth in INSIDE ■ Dow Jones average up to a record high of 4,035/8B. both December and January than was initially estimated. President Clinton said it signaled continued economic vitality, which he attributed to his administration's economic policies. "The fundamentals of this economy overall are healthier than they have been in a generation," he told a news conference, noting that 6.1 million new jobs had been created since he took office. State jobless rates improve TALLAHASSEE (AP) -Florida's un^mpioyment rate fell sharply in Februaiy to 4.5 percent irom 5.8 percent in Januaty, a state economist said Friday. "It's a really large drop, but we will need to watch over the next several months to see if this is sustained," said RebeCca Rust, bureau chief of labor market information. "We are attributing it to continued strong job growth in the Florida economy." More than 6.4 million Florida workers had jobs in Febniaiy, while 301,000 were unemployed. Among the nation's most 11 populous states, only Ohio had a better unemployment rate at 4 percent, Rust said. California was the highest at 7.3 percent. The national unemployment rate stood at 5.4 percent, an improvement firom 5.7 percent in January and 6.6 percent in February 1994. Florida's unemployment rate a year ago stood at 5.9 percent. Fuhrman unveils evidence ■ The jurors broke for the weekend with the image of a shovel and other items from O.J.'s Bronco. LOS ANGELES (AP) - In another Friday afternoon cliffhanger" for the jury, prosecutors in the O.J. Simpson case had Detective Mark Fuhrman unwrap three items found in the back of Simpson's Bronco: a dirty towel, a long-handled shovel and a jumbo plastic bag. Fuhrman also unwrapped a sharp piece of wood that was discovered in the grass near the Bronco at Simpson's estate the morning after the murders. The jurors were sent back to their hotel for the weekend without an explanation of what the items have to do with the slayings of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. But experts speculated that prosecutors might be trying to imply either that Simpson had planned to buiy something in the bag — perhaps a body, perhaps bloody clothes — or that the items gave police good reason to suspect foul play at the Simpson estate and to scale the wall. Minority leaders claim racism in Edwins ruckus ■ Dr. Barnes' pending transfer from her position as principal is bringing, out opposition. By SHERRY SAPP Daily News Sla« Writer Racism is alive and well in Okaloosa County and minority community leaders said they are fed up. , They are angry about the pending transfer of the only black principal in the school district, they said at a news conference Friday afternoon. Sabu Williams, vice president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, with the Rev. John Sanders, of the Okaloosa County Black Ministerial Alliance; David Preston, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; and Orandangie Owens and Deborah Evans, also of the SCLC, each read statements or spoke in opposition to the transfer of Dr. Naomi Barnes, principal at Annette P. Edwins Elementary School. "We believe the decision by the superintendent of schools to retract her initial decision is reflective of the system of decision-making presently in force; is a Please see EDWINS/5A Barnes' attorney threatens district with court action Los Angeles Police Department Detective Mark Fuhrman (foreground) and Superior Court Judge Lance Ito (rear) crane their heads to look at an overhead monitor in a Los Angeles courtroom Friday during the O.J. Simpson double-murder trial. FRIDAY'S DEVELOPMENTS ■ To be continued: Once again, prosecutors end a week In drannatic fashion. Moments before the Jurors were excused for the weekend, Detective Mark Fuhrman unwrapped and Identified a well-worn shovel, dingy white towel, unused jumbo plastic bag and a piece of wood -all found in or around Simpson's Bronco the morning after the killings. ■ Rarely alone: : Fuhrman testified he was seldom ak>ne at the murder scene. Most of the time, he was with his supervisor. Detective Ron Phillips, or the first responding officer, OffkMr Robert Riske. It was RIske who showed Fuhrman the knit cap and glove found near the oodles of Nteole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman._ ■ Kato's test: Fuhrman testified he found house guest Brian "Kato" Kaelln wKh messed-up hair and bloodshot eyes and wearing a T-shirt and kjose-fitting pants. Because Kaelln seemed a bit disoriented, th« detective administered a sobriety test, Fuhrman said. Kaelln was found to be sober. ■ What's next: Fuhmruin returns to the stand Monday. - THE ASSOCIATED PRESS By SHERRY SAPP Daily News Staff Writer Okaloosa County Superintendent of Schools Bernadette Cover has no intention of bowing to the pressure of minority groups. But Anne Curtis Terry says Cover is bowing instead to the pressure of a group of long-term teachers. If she does, she'll end up in court. Terry is a Tallahassee attorney who specializes in equal opportunity employment cases and now represents Dr. Naomi Barnes, who has been the target of a formal harassment complaint by a group of teachers at Annette P. Edwins Elemen tary School. In January, teachers filed a 138-page harassment complaint containing documentation by other employees, parents and community members. The complaint charges that the principal lied, spread rumors, told employees to falsify documents and publicly ridiculed teachers. Since August, five school employees have quit or requested transfers and several school volunteers and a PTO president have quit. Both the lead principal, at step one of the grievance, and the superintendent, at step two of the grievance, ruled there was Please see C0URT/5A House bill limits punitive damages ■Í) ■ Final passage on a vote of 265-161 sent the measure to an uncertain fate in the Senate. WASHINGTON (AP) - Wrapping up a sweeping series of recommended changes in the nation's legal system, the House passed Republican legislation Friday that would make it easier for businesses to prevail in product-liability cases and harder for consumers to win certain damage awards. Final passage on a vote of 265-161 sent the measure, along with two companion bills, to an uncertain fate in the Senate. White House spokesman Mike McCurry said the package of bills "doesn't do enough to protect the interests of the American consumer," and consumer groups and the nation's trial lawyers FWB attorneys don't favor GOP litigation legislation By JEFF NEWELL OallyN«M8MIWirlt«f Fort Walton Beach lawyer Dennis Brannon said the dispute over product Uabillty lawsuit reforms amounts to a disagreement over federal and state jurisdiction over the cases.. "I'm a Srm believer in letting states determine what limits shwild be imposed." said Bran-non, who recently obtained a 1500.000 Judffomt Kir a ^ent In a nursing-home abuse case. "The problem is that a lot of' products are in interstate commerce. which the federal government believes it should control." "We've been through this ai-reac^ in Floridly during the mid-'80s, when a constitutional amendment was rejected that had a tot of the same provisions that induded a cap on pain and suOiBrbig awards," he said. "It's nol^ new. I don't like ham stringing juries. Instead of a trial by jury, you have trial by legislation." "One of the principle Directives of insurance companies , and businesses is to deny poor people access to the courthouse," said George "Bud" Day, who last month obtained a 1340,000 veidiet for a client who was ii\iured by a drunk driver who fled the scene. The verdict PleaM see FWB/SA vowed to press for substantial changes. In addition to establishing a first-ever nationwide standard of proof in product-liability cases and capping punitive damages in all civil suits brought in state and federal courts, the measure passed Friday grants special relief in two categories. It puts a $250,000 cap on pain and suffering awards in medical malpractice cases, and immunizes the makers of Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs and medical devices from paying punitive damages, which are designed to punish and deter future misconduct. PEEKING AT CAREERS Daily News/DAVIO LEE HARTLAOE Courtney Eddings, 10, peeks out of the front turret of an LAV 25 (light armored vehicle) on display for "Careers on Wheels Day" Friday morning at Longwood Elementary School in Shalimar. Tech. Sgt. Randall S. Vis of Eglin Air Force Base, in the rear with some of Eddings' unidentified classmates, was showing the vehicle and various explosives used by Explosive Ordnance Disposal.