Design Is Altered

For Flight 93 Memorial

PITTSBURGH -- Designers of a Flight 93 memorial have made a bowl-shaped piece of land its centerpiece, replacing a crescent-shape design that some critics had said was a symbol honoring terrorists, officials said Wednesday.

The new design for the memorial, to be built on the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, crash near Shanksville, Pa., features most of the details of the original, which victims' relatives helped select after a worldwide design competition.

But a round, bowl-shaped area will replace a "Crescent of Embrace," a crescent-shaped cluster of maple trees.

After the original design was unveiled in September, Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) criticized it in a letter to the National Park Service, saying many questioned the shape "because of the crescent's prominent use as a symbol in Islam -- and the fact that the hijackers were radical Islamists."

Paul Murdoch, president of Paul Murdoch Architects, which designed the memorial, had called the criticism an "unfortunate diversion," but said the firm is sensitive to the concerns.

Colorado Ends Work

On Voter Registration

DENVER -- Colorado pulled the plug on its problem-plagued voter registration computer system and will miss a Jan. 1 federal deadline for having it up and running.

Dana Williams, a spokeswoman for Colorado's secretary of state, said the system had trouble registering voters and other problems. She said a letter was sent to the data-processing company Accenture canceling the $10.5 million contract.

The Help America Vote Act of 2002 requires states to have statewide voter registration systems in place by Jan. 1.

Federal officials will not seek to take over the elections of states that miss the deadline, "but we could seek an order from a federal court to comply," said Justice Department spokesman Eric Holland.

Accenture spokesman James McAvoy said the system could have been operating by the deadline had Colorado not scrapped the deal. He blamed the state for key delays, including decisions on software and hardware and giving Accenture access to information.

* PITTSBURGH -- A hit-and-run victim lay dead on a Pittsburgh roadside for three days, probably because the body was covered by snowfall, police said. Jason Knight, 32, was killed Friday night by a vehicle that struck him while he was walking along a road in Venango County, outside Pittsburgh, and was not discovered until Monday, Pennsylvania state police said. He died of head injuries.

* TOPEKA, Kan. -- George Tiller, an abortion doctor who has been the target of protests for years, has been cleared by state regulators in the death of a mentally retarded Texas woman who received a late-term abortion at his clinic.

* YORK, Pa. -- Relatives of Lillie Belle Allen, a black woman shot to death in an attack by a mob of whites during a week of racial violence in York in 1969, will receive $2 million from the city under a tentative settlement, according to the Patriot-News of Harrisburg.

* LAS VEGAS -- A former armored car driver who turned herself in after more than a decade in hiding pleaded guilty Wednesday in a $2.9 million heist on the Las Vegas Strip. Heather Tallchief, 33, surrendered in September in Las Vegas after living for years in Amsterdam under an assumed name. Her lawyers said she was tired of hiding and wanted her son to have a normal life.

-- From News Services

An artist's rendering shows the "Sacred Ground" Sept. 11 memorial.