Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona on January 29, 1997 · Page 15
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Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona · Page 15

Phoenix, Arizona
Issue Date:
Wednesday, January 29, 1997
Page 15
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THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC CRASH ACQUITTAL A man is acquitted in a 1994 car accident that killed a 14-year-old , Jirl. B2 WEDNESDAY ' JANUARY 29, 199J. - Editcb, JohnD'Anrfa ' 271-8222 - I Mom still afraid, even after tot's return , I II ; , JKJ J i ' -l By Clint Williams Staff writer The woman who took Zenith Elaine Helton is under house arrest more than ,4,000 miles away, yet the toddler's mother is still afraid. "This vision of mine was to have my children together and safe," Kelly Helton said Tuesday. "I've had that dream for years, but to be honest with you, I just don't feel safe." ' The woman Helton fears the woman accused of snatching Zenith is Helton's own mother. "It's hard for me to let my daughter, play out front," Helton said. "I know it's not over." Adding to the strain, she said, "It's so hard for me tcj fight my own mother." . Kelly Helton was reunited with 4-year-old Zenith last week, nearly 15 months 'after Helton's mother, Connie Jean Hanes, took Zenith for a drive in Scottsdale and never came back. Stories about the case on Maury Pdvich's television talk show and the NBC prpgram Unsolved Mysteries generated enough tips to lead the FBI to Reykjavik, Iceland, where they found Connie Hanes, her husband, Donald, and Zenith. The Haneses went to Iceland, where Donald works as a computer programmer, soon after Connie Hanes drove off with Zenith. "Here in Iceland, we have found the end of the rainbow," Connie Hanes said last week in a telephone interview. Hanes said that by taking Zenith, she was rescuing the child from being "emotionally . abused and spiritually abused." , Helton dismissed that claim as a "fantasy." Hanes said Helton gave up her parental rights shortly after Zenith was born in October 1992. Helton said she signed Zenith over to Hanes because she was depressed and alone, a single woman on welfare with two children. And Hanes, who is 51, she said, desperately wanted a baby. On some level, Helton added, the agreement may have been an attempt to please her mother. In any case, Helton changed her mind. After months of legal battles filled with character assaults from both sides, Helton regained custody of Zenith in January 1995. Only to lose custody, unwillingly, in October 1995, when Zenith was taken to Iceland. . Connie and Donald Hanes, who are also suspected of entering Iceland with invalid documents, face extradition and' deportation. "It's the call of the Icelandic authorities," an FBI spokesman said. Back! in Scottsdale, Zenith plays with a j i See MOM, page B2 if1: v7 I V". Ar "?T fj, t' 1 ,0 W J l Legislation takes aim at state wildlife By Steve Yozwiak Staff writer The Legislature appears to be declaring open season on Arizona's wildlife, critics say. Bills have been introduced that could let livestock run on a wildlife refuge, allow citizens to kill any wildlife if they threaten life or property, and end enforcement of the federal Endangered Species Act. Environmentalists and animal-rights advocates say the effect of one measure, House Bill 2339, would be to overturn a citizens initiative that voters overwhelmingly approved in 1994 to outlaw use of steel-jaw traps on public lands. The sponsor, Rep. Gail Griffin, R-Sierra Vista, said her intent was to ensure that people could protect their lives and those of loved ones. The bill reads: "Any person has the right of self-protection and the right to defend members of the person's family and property from attack, injury and damage by wildlife using any i means of defense reasonably available." Critics say the language is written so broadly that the measure would allow the killing of endangered species and unrestricted hunting of wildlife, in addition to overturning the steel-trap ban. - "It would be open season!" said Larry Maggiacoma of Phoenix, an interested citizen. "I could go through the forest and shoot everything I saw, just because I felt threatened." ' Bill Goethe, president of the Arizona Lobby for Animals, said the measure is another attempt to overthrow a law developed and passed by the people. "Our Legislature has a long history of tampering with laws passed by citizens-initiative effort," See STATE'S, page B2 Hurt in the line of duty T7 II I U fed W:l vV:.' -- In - I '"'7 'is""""'','' " I "-v ?.;jtf .-:, rTTZTT-. -., "v. ...,:'':l'i't.:::;o:,,:,'; -iv.ii'l Photos by Suzanne StarrStaff photographer Plll: t, j-W I Ij I Y Jfmmm O n D ffi Paramedics comfort one of two state Department of Public Safety officers who were hurt, neither seriously, in stopping a state Department of Transportation truck that was stolen at a freeway ramp Tuesday morning. A 90-minute chase from central Phoenix to the far southwest, then east to the Tempe area, ended with the unidentified suspect hospitalized in serious condition. A 'a '' La Barwood must face recall, judge rules Frances Emma Barwood She has already announced she will not seek re-election to the Phoenix council. By Chris Fiscus Staff writer A Maricopa County Superior Court judge has ruled that Frances Emma Barwood must face a recall election to keep her Phoenix City Council seat. The decision means the city may have to spend an estimated $150,000 to $200,000 to decide whether to elect a temporary replacement for Barwood, who already has announced she will not run for re-election in September. Opponents originally filed more than enough petition signatures to force the recall. But after some were tossed out as invalid by City Clerk Vicky Miel, the recall drive officially fell short by 13 signatures. Recall organizers turned to the courts, saying Miel's actions were "an abuse of her discretion." Judge Robert Myers, in a preliminary ruling that will become official in the next two weeks, found that the opponents had enough valid signatures, with 14 to spare. They needed 2,447 signatures; the court found 2,461 that were valid. "We're very pleased. We were confident the judge would see it our way," said Chris Klein, the plaintiff against the city and the city clerk. "The prime message is, 'We're watching.' " Myers ordered that a recall election for Barwood's seat be held "as soon as practical and pursuant to law." The judge also granted attorneys' fees and costs to the plaintiff. City officials said they are reviewing the judge's findings. - See BARWOOD, page B2 Kelly Helton gets a giggle out of j her daughter, t Zenith, 4. Since; getting Zenith j back in a legal i dispute with her; own mother, j Helton says that she stilfisfearf(jl that the ordeal is not over and ! that she -.. hesitates to let ' Zenith play out t front. I Michael GingStaff photographer i i ( i foiled i Ex-Mse to tell panel of Agassi fee Share of deal could net him over $2 million By Eric Miller Staff writer In October, Judge Lawrence Fleischman of Pima County Superior Court told a state ethics panel that he got free clothing, made several friends and had a lot of fun but would pocket no more than $250,000 to negotiate tennis star Andre Agassi's $100 million contract with Nike Inc. He didn't mention a 2.1 percent fee that also could net him more than $2 million for his part in the lucrative endorsement deal he put together for Agassi. The previously confidential agreement between Fleischman, 45, and Las Vegas-based Agassi Enterprises Inc. was subpoenaed earlier this month and made public this week by the Arizona Supreme Court. ' The agreement calls for Fleischman to be paid $175,000 up front, 2.1 percent of the first $100 million paid to Agassi, and 3.5 percent on all money received in excess of $ 1 00 million. lfI It does not detail the specific amounts or precisely when the money is to be paid to Fleischman but says it must be paid when Agassi Enterprises receives payment from Nike. On Oct. 30, the commissitin found that Fleischman had violated state legal-ethics canons and recommended to the Supreme Court that he be suspended for 60 day&' On Jan. 7, Fleischman resigned the judicial post that he had held since 1985. In his resignation letter, he said he believed he ha'd done nothing wrong. Although he indicated in his financial-disclosure forms that he was a "tennis marketing consultant" for Agassi Enterprises, the commission said the Agassi negoti- - See LUCRATIVE, page B2. Watchdog group sues state to halt corporate tax breaks By Kerry Fehr-Snyder Staff writer A public watchdog group went to court Tuesday to take on a 6-year-old law that doles- out hefty property-tax breaks to huge corporations such as Intel Corp. and Sumitomo Sitix. The Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the state, contending that its practice of granting tax breaks for multimillion-dollar projects is unconstitutional. "The principle is you can't tax the same kind of property differently," said Tim Hogan, the center's executive director. "That's why we have a uniformity clause in our state Constitution so there's at least some fairness in the tax code." The suit, filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, lists Chandler resident Sandy Bahr as the plaintiff. Bahr lives in the Chandler Unified School District near Intel's new $1.3 billion chip factory. The complaint states that Bahr has to pay more money in taxes to support the school district because the state has slashed Intel's taxes by 80 percent as part of its foreign-trade-zone status. SGS-Thomson Microelectronics, Wal-Mart Stores and Conair Corp. also take advantage of the breaks. Sumitomo Sitix, which is building a $400 million silicon-wafer factory in Phoenix, has applied for foreign-trade-zone status to get the tax breaks. In Sumitomo Sitix's case, the designation would slash the company's property-tax bill by $11 million a year. The lawsuit is the first challenge to a state law passed in 1991 that cuts a company's annual taxes from 25 percent of assessed valuation to 5 percent. The law applies to both property and personal taxes paid by companies in foreign-trade zones. The center's lawsuit did not come as a surprise to many in the See GROUP, page B2 VALLEY NEWSIN BRIEF Arpaio says limits of tent cities make new county jail inevitable PHOENIX The man who created "tent cities" to house Maricopa County inmates now says it's time to start planning a new jail. And, perhaps, raising taxes to pay for it. "It's very difficult, because I am the one who's been saying I'll put up tents from here to Mexico, but the reality is, I cannot put dangerous criminals in tents," Sheriff Joe Arpaio said Monday, reversing the no-new-jails position he had held for years. County jails have space for 4,900 inmates but are holding up to 6,800 inmates, with most of the excess living in tent complexes. Officials estimate they'll need space for 8,300 inmates by 2001. Arpaio suggested the county . build a medium- to maximum-security jail for 3,000 inmates. The likely cost would be $150 million to $300 million, plus $10 million to $40 million a year for operation. Although Arpaio has opposed tax increases for new jails in the past, he may change that position, too. "I didn't mention the funding, but something has to give," he said. County Supervisors Chairman Don Stapley said he and Arpaio will discuss jails at a news conference this week. Scottsdale cameras snap 216 infractions SCOTTSDALE - The city's new photo-radar program has snapped enough shots to make the rest of us think twice about speeding. Police Lt. Mike Keeley said the city's three photo-radar cameras took 216 pictures Thursday and Friday, the first two days of operation for the program. Figures for this ' week have not been compiled. Speeders will have to pay $122 per violation, unless they can prove they weren't the driver in the photo. Information about camera locations, or how to fight your ticket, is available by calling 274-3730 or e-mailing the program at . Avalanche warnings issued for N. Arizona If you're planning to visit the frozen north in the next few days, beware of avalanches. The National Weather Service is warning that avalanche danger is high in the San Francisco Peaks north of Flagstaff. A weekend storm added about 2 feet of wet snow to the snowpack, increasing the danger in the backcountry around Flagstaff. That danger will remain high for several days. In February 1995, an avalanche on the southern face of the peaks killed a Northern Arizona University student from Vermont while he and a friend were snowboarding outside established ski areas. Tumbleweed Park' drifts into Chandler CHANDLER Park it here: The first recreation area named by Chandler residents is official. The name Tumbleweed Park recently got the nod from the City Council, and its dedication is not far away. ! Tumbleweed was the winning entry in a contest held to name the city's planned 154-acre regional park at McQueen and Germann roads, in southern Chandler. The name was picked by the city's Parks and Recreation Board from 28 entries. Small water system gives Gilbert trouble GILBERT Problems with the ' Tankersley Water System mean Gil-, bert is not complying with mini-. ,1 mum state health requirements, the Maricopa County Health Depart- ; mentsays. "This could have a disastrous effect on growth, because we will not approve any expansions until the system is brought into compliance,",, said Tom Waldbilling, a county en-' . vironmental-health specialist. The main problem is that a 12,000-gallon reservoir used in one . part of the system is too small. ',. Gilbert has been operating the ; private system since April and -hopes to buy it.

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