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Post-Standard, The (Newspaper) - May 18, 2005, Syracuse, New York r The Post-Standard Affiliated with WEDNESDAY, MAY 18. 2005 FINAL EDITION C 200S !he Pos'.-Stanckxd SYRACUSE, N.Y. 50 CENTS GOOD MORNING A BIT WARMER Dry weather is expected for the next few days in Central New York. Tempera- tures will begin to return to normal as a slow-moving dis- turbance in the jet stream drifts away from the East Coast. Complete forecast D-10 NiNIo Electric Rate Is Nation's Second-Highest Niagara Mohawk vs. USA Here's how NiMo's price has compared to the national average over the years: CENTS PER KWH 121 10 HIGH: 65 LOW: 39 BtsiMsses say energy costs are hurting chances of survival in the area. Senate passes highway bill; Bush veto threatened The Republican-controlled Senate brushed aside a presiden- tial veto threat Tuesday and passed a billion highway bill, arguing that massive spend- ing on bigger and better roads was necessary to fight conges- tion and unsafe roadways. STORY, PAGE A-5 Diocese wanted to bar Rep. Boehlert from church Rep. Sherwood Boehlert vol- untarily canceled his speech to the 70 graduates of St. Eliza- beth's College of Nursing at a Utica church after the Syracuse Diocese said it would bar the congressman from the church. Boehlert, a Catholic, supports abortion rights. LOCA1, PAGE 1-2 U.S. detains Cuban exile sought in airline bombing Fidel Castro led hundreds of thousands of Cubans past the U.S. mission Tuesday to demand the United States arrest a Cuban exile sought in the bombing of an airliner in 1976. Hours later, U.S. officials confirmed the mil- itant was in custody. STORY, PAGE A-6 Iron's foreign minister visits Iraq, pledges help Iran's foreign minister visited Baghdad, pledging to secure his Iran's borders to stop militants from entering Iraq and saying the "situation would have been much worse'' if Tehran were ac- tually supporting the insurgency. STORY, PAGE A-7 Nixon's son-in-law may run against Clinton in '06 Republican Edward Cox, a son-in-law of the late President Richard Nixon, will soon form an exploratory committee to pre- pare for an expected run against Democratic Sen. Hillary Rod- ham Clinton, a top adviser said. STORY, PAGE A-10 Here's a job: Drink beer, watch TV, take a pill Researchers with Harvard-af- filiated McLean Hospital had no trouble finding volunteers for a study on binge drinking: Volun- teers had to hang out in a labora- tory set up like an apartment, with television and recliner, and drink beer and watch TV for 90 minutes. The findings: Those who took the pills made from the kudzu vine drank less. STORY, PAGE A-14 Corrections Mother Marianne Cope's Baldwinsville woman, skate- board Bishop Ludden's win over Marcellus in girls Call Deputy Executive Editor Tim Bunn at 470-2240 to dis- cuss a correction on a news story. Subscription questions? Call 470-NEWS By Tim Knauss Staff writer Niagara Mohawk has the sec- ond-highest electric prices among the nation's 24 largest utilities, according to a survey of the electric rates paid by me- dium-sized commercial and in- dustrial customers. Only Consolidated Edison, the New York City utility, charges higher prices, according to the survey by NUS Consulting Group, of Park Ridge, NJ. The results come as no sur- prise to Randy Wolken, presi- dent of the Manufacturers Asso- ciation of Central New York, who said local companies are ac- customed to paying prices that are well above the national aver- age. Revere Copper Products, of Rome, spends about more on power each year than similar-sized competitors in low- cost states, said M. Brian O'Shaughnessy, president and chief executive officer. "At some point, energy costs will have the potential to be a major factor in our O'Shaughnessy said. NUS Consulting, which pro- vides energy cost-management services to industrial and com- mercial customers, surveys utili- ty prices each year in April, said David Brown, vice president. The company compares utility rates as they apply to a hypothet- ical industrial customer using kilowatt-hours per month under specified condi- tions. Only the nation's largest utili- ties are included in the survey. Niagara Mohawk's price of 11.97 cents per kilowatt-hour came in about 50 percent higher than the average of 7.95 cents, the study reported. Officials at the Syracuse- based utility concede that their prices are high compared with the national average, but say much of the problem is beyond their control. Source: NUS Consulting Group The Post-Standaid The biggest part of a custom- er's bill is the wholesale cost of power, which is determined in the competitive market, said NIAGARA, PAGE A-M COLD SNAP TRIMS APPLE CROP C.W. McKeen Staff photographer LINCOLN LAMEY (left) and Leonardo Salvador, workers at Beak Skiff Apple Farms in LaFayette, inspect Idlewild Red Cort- land apple blossoms Tuesday. In that part of the orchard, more than 55 percent of the crop was killed by a freeze. A frosty week Workers at Beak Skiff Apple Farms in LaFayette assessed damage Tuesday from last week's killer freeze that de- stroyed about a third of the orchard's apple crop. More damage was possible Tuesday night as the farm prepared for a light frost, the third cold-weather threat to apple blossoms in a week. Workers at the 350-acre orchard turned on wind machines Monday and Tuesday nights to help prevent frost damage. A killer freeze Friday destroyed c.w. McKeen staff photographer about a third of the farm's apple blos- LEONARDO SALVADOR, of Beak Skiff Apple Farms, cuts up a fruit-set Tuesday soms, said Mark Fleckenstein, Beak to see how many apples survived the freeze. If the inside is brown or black in the Skiffs production manager, center, it would have produced no apples, said Mark Fleckenstein, the orchard's _ staff writer Mark Weiner production manager. If it's green, it means the fruit set survived. White House blames Newsweek for deaths Index Business____C-l CNY_______E-l Comic______E-8 Editorials ___A-l 2 Efitertoininent. 1-5 Local news___1-1 Movies___ New York.... Obituaries- Sports____ Stocks....... Television... .A-2 .E-6 .A-6 .1-4 .0-1 .C-3 .1-7 A high-ranking U.S. general says it was Afghan politics, not magazine's story. News service reports Washington The White House is holding Newsweek magazine responsible for at least 17 deaths linked to rioting in Af- ghanistan over a report alleging American desecration of the Quran, even though a high mili- tary official has dismissed any such connection. Gen. Richard Myers, chair- man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Voice of America and other news agencies on Thursday that the report which claimed that interrogators at the Guanta- namo Bay, Cuba, facility hold- i ing suspected Islamic terrorists tossed the Muslim holy book into a toilet had little if any- thing to do with the protests. Myers said he spoke with I Gen. Carl Eichenbeny. the U.S. i commander in Afghanistan, who i played down reports that the demonstrations were caused by anger over the alleged Quran in- cident "It is the judgment of our commander in Afghanistan, General Eichenbeny, that in fact the violence that we saw in Jala- labad was not necessarily the re- sult of the allegations about dis- respect for the Quran, but more tied up in the political process and the reconciliation process that President (Hamid) Karzai and his Cabinet are conducting in Myers said. "He thought it was not at all tied to the article in the magazine." Scott McClellan, the presi- dent's press secretary, said Tues- day that the report carried "seri- ous consequences." j "People did lose their McClellan said. "The image of the United States abroad has been damaged. There is lasting damage to our image because of this report." Asked about Myers' charac- terization. McClellan maintained that "clearly, the report was used to incite violence by people who oppose the United States and want to mischaracterize the values and the views of the Unit- ed States of America." WHITE HOUSE, PAGE A-ll AILIPOD NYC school teaches languages, classics with it A business born: Helping people load music What does President Bush have on his? Accessories abound TECHNOLOGY, PAGE F-1, F-4 I N S I D E V A TASTE OF STAR WARS The Eats Beat checks out "Star Wars" foods. The movie opens at a.m. Thursday. CNY, PAGEE-1 11 RECIPES Artichokes to lemon cake to ham noodie casserole and more. CNY, PAGES E-2.E-4 The Daily Dose 5 steps to see if you are ready to buy a house. A cloaking device for your computer screen! Optimist-Pessimist dial in on cell phones CNY, PAGE E-10 CNY voters reject only five school budgets Staff reports Across Central New York, voters in five districts rejected school budgets Tuesday: Onon- daga County, Fabius-Pompey; Cayuga County, Southern Cayu- ga; Madison County, Stock- bridge Valley and Oswego County, Hannibal and Pulaski. The Fabius-Pompey school district's million school budget failed Tuesday by 51 votes, 703-652. "We're certainly disappoint- said Superintendent Martin Swenson. "The board will meet and discuss the next step to pro- pose a second budget to the community." Voters in the 16 other school districts in Onondaga County, plus Cazenovia, Phoenix and Central Square, which have stu- dents in Onondaga County, ap- proved budgets and propositions except for a proposition to extend fitness center hours in Tully. But Tully voters did ap- prove a proposition to reinstate driver education class- es. Staff writers Ngoc Huynh and Debra J. Groom contributed to this report. RESULTS, PAGE B-1 Fight over filibuster begins today in Senate By Jesse J. Holland The Associated Press Washington Senate Re- publicans on Tuesday picked Texas judge Priscilla Owen to be the flash point of a historic battle over the powers of the White House and minority parties in the Senate to shape the federal judiciary, with the vote expected to occur next week. A small group of moderate senators worked furiously be- hind the scenes to head off what's been dubbed the "nuclear option" because of its potential for escalating parliamentary war- fare between Democrats and Re- publicans that could stall Presi- dent Bush's legislative agenda. Republicans announced that Owen's nomination for an ap- peals court seat will be the vehi- cle for the attempt to prohibit Democrats from blocking Bush's nominees through filibuster threats that require 60 votes to overcome in the 100-member Senate. She and another stalled nomi- nee. California judge Janice i Rogers Brown, met Tuesday with the president at the White House and later with Senate GOP leaders at the Capitol. Owen and Brown did not speak to the media at either loca- i tion. though they appeared at a photo shoot with Senate Majori- ty Leader Bill Frist R-Tenn.. and Majority Whip Mitch I McCoimeJl. R-Ky. SENATE, PAGE A-4 4 J ;