Denver Archdiocese Sued Over Former Priest
Five men have sued the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Denver, asserting that church leaders protected a priest accused of repeated sexual assaults and assigned him to new parishes despite complaints from his victims.
In all, 17 men have come forward in the last four weeks to say that Harold Robert White abused them when they were boys in the 1960s and 1970s. He was defrocked by the church last year.
"He's gotten away with it for 30 years, and the church knew about this," said plaintiff Brandon Trask at a news conference last week.
One plaintiff said he was rebuffed by church officials in 2003, when he reported his experience. But another victim said he received a letter of apology from the diocese and an offer of counseling.
The diocese and the former priest have declined to comment on the charges of abuse, which have been detailed in a series of Denver Post stories this summer.
-- T.R. Reid
Virtual Tattler Helps Chicago Commuters
When a train car fire shut down one of Chicago's main lines for 90 minutes during rush hour last week, riders sent text messages to tell others to take another route.
The free text-message alert service CTA Tattler was started by Internet consultant Daniel X. O'Neil. He was fed up with public transportation delays and a lack of adequate warning from the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). The service, in which riders send and receive messages via cell phone, personal digital assistant and e-mail, was developed out of the CTA Tattler Web site run by O'Neil's brother, Kevin, where riders would post "crazy commuting tales."
CTA spokesman Sheila Gregory said the transit authority is unveiling its own electronic update system next spring, but in the meantime it welcomes the efforts of CTA Tattler subscribers. She said problems are inevitable, what with 100-year-old equipment and 1.5 million rides taken daily.
"Our main complaints are not so much about the delays," she said. "But about people not being informed ahead of time."
-- Kari Lydersen
Goldman Sachs Gets Billions to Build
One of the world's most profitable investment houses will receive billions of dollars in subsidies. Goldman Sachs had threatened to abandon plans for building a $2 billion nest at Ground Zero. Executives said security plans weren't quite up to snuff and began scouting sites in Midtown.
State and local officials responded by lavishing $150 million in tax breaks and $25 million in federal grants on the investment bank followed by $1.6 billion in federally subsidized Liberty Bonds.
And voila, Goldman Sachs signed on to a downtown site. Officials considered the securing of the investment house as a Ground Zero tenant as crucial to the rebuilding effort.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who had vowed to end corporate welfare, defended the incentives in his weekly radio address, saying, "We, in this case, thought it was necessary to help defray some of the extra security costs they would have down there."
-- Michelle Garcia
Finding a Hurricane to Call Your Own
Anyone wanna buy a hurricane?
You, too, can own your own little piece of meteorological hellishness -- as long as you can prove you're a professional meteorologist. Or, at least, a virtual piece of hellishness, in the same way that Hillary Clinton virtually owned cattle and other folks made killings -- or got killed -- on pork bellies.
This amazing, limited-time offer comes courtesy of those fun-loving guys and gals who spend their days obsessively monitoring pressure readings, wind shears and subtropical wave patterns at the University of Miami, as well as the business school types at UM and at the University of Iowa. These marketing geniuses have developed a hurricane futures markets. And they're open for business.
It works like this: Meteorologists and other weather experts are ponying up 100 bucks apiece and betting where hurricanes will make landfall. If a hurricane makes landfall in an area picked by a futures buyer, he or she will receive a $1 payout.
The scientists figure adding a little financial incentive to the game of hurricane tracking may reveal clues about human behavior, precisely, why the average citizen often makes different guesses about hurricane landfalls than the experts at the National Hurricane Center.
It might sound easy, especially for someone with access to all that whiz-bang technology meteorologists routinely get. But they should be forewarned, said David Letson, of UM's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science: "These are unpredictable events."
-- Manuel Roig-Franzia
For Some, Urge to Tan May Be an Addiction
The disorder has been called "tanorexia" and the afflicted person a "sunaholic." Those aren't terms necessarily endorsed by University of Texas skin cancer specialist Richard Wagner, but he does have this to say: Like alcohol and drugs, tanning can hook people.
Using criteria and methods employed to screen for alcoholism and drug dependency, Wagner and a team of researchers at the UT Medical Branch in Galveston surveyed 145 beachgoers three summers ago, asking questions such as: "Do you try to cut down on the time you spend in the sun, but find yourself still sun tanning?" and "When you wake up in the morning, do you want to sun-tan?"
The results of the study, published this month in the online issue of the Archives of Dermatology, show that 53 percent of the surveyed tanners were classified as "ultraviolet light tanning dependent." Some people said they tan every day.
Wagner, a professor of dermatology at the medical school, said his interest in exploring the behavior was piqued after seeing patient after patient with deep tans and skin cancer diagnoses who said, after he advised them to eliminate their exposure to the sun, "they just can't stop."
-- Sylvia Moreno
Little Ranchers Say New Lamb Law Isn't Fair
Wyoming agriculture officials are trying to bring back what might be called the Little Bo Peep method of lamb tending: leaving them alone so they'll come home wagging their tails behind them.
But their efforts triggered tears and rage this month at the state fair in Douglas as dozens of young sheep ranchers were disqualified from competition for entering animals with tails cut too short.
"I thought mine would make it," Samantha Pratt, 13, of Laramie, told the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle. "I think it's a stupid rule."
The crisp look of a close-cropped tail had become a winning style at many fairs. But veterinarians now warn that an overly short tail can cause a sheep's tailbone to stick through its skin or its rectum to prolapse. In 2002, state officials imposed a rule requiring that competition lambs have tails long enough to lift with two fingers.
But word traveled slowly. Among this month's disqualified lambs were many that had won ribbons at county fairs. While some complained the young 4H-ers and Future Farmers were treated too harshly, fair director Barney Cosner said they are the ones who need to lead change in the industry.
"You don't tell moms and dads," he said. "You train the kids to understand. They, in turn, will take better care of animal husbandry."
-- Amy Argetsinger