Tenn. Governor Plans to End

Expanded Medicaid Program

NASHVILLE -- The governor announced plans to dissolve Tennessee's expanded Medicaid system and drop 430,000 poor and disabled people from the rolls of the health care program that has been devouring a large chunk of the state budget.

Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen said Tennessee will instead return to a cheaper, more basic Medicaid program.

The move followed months of legal wrangling over the TennCare program, whose $7.8 billion price tag was projected to mushroom in coming years.

The governor held out some hope for saving the program, saying he will try for seven more days to work out an agreement with advocates who have won several court decisions about the level of health care the state must provide to TennCare recipients. But he said such a deal is unlikely.

TennCare provides health care coverage for the poor, uninsured and disabled, covering 1.3 million Tennesseans, or about 22 percent of the state population.

* SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- New Hampshire authorities said they cannot prosecute former Springfield Bishop Thomas L. Dupre on charges he abused two teenagers in the 1970s because it was not a crime at the time to have sex with youths their age. William Delker, New Hampshire's senior assistant attorney general, said the state did not prohibit adults from having sex with 16- and 17-year-olds until 1986. Saying the statute of limitations had expired, officials in Massachusetts have also declined to prosecute Dupre over allegations he abused the same boys in that state in the 1970s.

* SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. -- A resolution under consideration by leaders of Tennessee's 1 million Southern Baptists urged the promotion of Christian schools and home-schooling. It is part of a "moral values" drive in at least 10 states that is one step short of asking Baptist parents to pull children from public schools.

* COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Two brothers who allegedly kicked the supports of a porch and caused a collapse that killed a 12-year-old friend have been charged with involuntary manslaughter. Kareem VanCleaf, 13, and Javon VanCleaf, 11, could receive as many as five years in a juvenile detention center. Dwayne Gordon was killed Oct. 30 when the porch on the abandoned house gave way as the boys were kicking the posts, police said.

* BOSTON -- The Big Dig is riddled with leaks that are dumping millions of gallons of water into the $14.6 billion tunnel system, an engineer hired to investigate the cause of a massive leak in September said. Locating and fixing the hundreds of leaks could take as many as 10 years, said Jack K. Lemley, a consultant hired by the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority to investigate the problem. The last major leg of the Big Dig project opened less than a year ago.

* CLEVELAND -- A judge has rejected a mosque leader's request to postpone the date he goes to prison to aid his wife during her bout of depression. Fawaz Damra, 42, was sentenced to two months in prison and four months of house arrest earlier this year after the imam was convicted of lying about connections to terrorist groups when he applied in 1994 to become a citizen. His citizenship also was revoked.

-- From News Services