MEMPHIS -- Jacqueline Smith, a tenant who once gave tours of the motel where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed, said the motel is her home and defied a state deadline to leave so it can be turned into a $8 million civil rights museum.
"I feel once I move out, there will be no help for the homeless or poor in this area," Smith said. The last tenant scheduled to move, she has lived there for 11 years, and her room is decorated with King posters.
King was assassinated on the motel balcony on April 4, 1968. Smith, 37, said the building, which closed last month, should be be used to house the poor.
"You know the story -- the rich move out and the poor move in. The rich moved out when Dr. King was assassinated. We didn't leave," said Smith, who was a tour guide at the motel until it was closed.
The state attorney general's office said it will seek an eviction notice against Smith, who has been offered relocation funds. Agency Fires Geologist CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. -- The U.S. Geological Survey has said it fired a geologist because he warned Jefferson County residents that a wood treatment plant threatened the local water supply.
Initially, USGS District Chief David Appel denied that geologist Robert Beckett of Shepherdstown was fired, saying his services no longer were needed because a new worker had been hired.
But Appel said last week that Beckett was fired Feb. 1, a day after the geologist testified at a public hearing. "Since this a scientific study, Mr. Beckett agreed to refrain from becoming involved with any politically sensitive ground-water issues -- but he has," Appel said.
The USGS is conducting a $200,000 ground-water study in Jefferson County, and Beckett was working for the agency as an outside observer. Appel said USGS policy forbids workers from being involved in "politically sensitive" issues.
Beckett said the agency had warned him "to keep a low profile," but he said the issue of ground-water contamination was too important. He said a wood treatment plant being built by Universal Wood Products at Ranson is a potential threat to Jefferson County's water supply because county limestone caverns and underground streams make ground water susceptible to spills. The plant would use chemicals such as arsenic. Ancient Tree Condemned CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The city is within its rights to use eminent domain to condemn a tree estimated at 1,511 years old and to use the land for a park, the state attorney general's office said. The privately owned Angel Oak on John's Island is believed to be the oldest living thing east of the Rockies.