The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on December 1, 1997 · Page 1
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December 1, 1997

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 1

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Monday, December 1, 1997
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T DolpWnTI I Will Starbucks spark a I &J ('wfT Win Dig COFFEE "V Israel votes to withdraw some I si & Jordan, defense ai r9 troops from West Bank5A H3l tr'P ' 1 6 r WEATHER: Partly cloudy, pleasant. High 74, low 55.2A V V T?J ACCENT, 1J V ti- PANTHERS 1, RANGERS 1 SPORTS, 1C The Palm Beach Post 1 FINAL EDITION MONDAY, DECEMBER 1, 1997 3 . 86 PAGES 50 CENTS PART 2 OF A THREE-PART SERIES Prison time a matter of geography CRIME WITHOUT Since 1994, 96 percent of the criminals in the Glades got reduced sentences, the highest in the state. PUNISHMENT Convicts eligible for prison are more likely to avoid it completely or serve less time if they're prosecuted and sentenced in the Glades rather than on the coast. How often Judges sentence below guidelines, Jan. 1,1994. Sept. 1. tences, the highest record of any courthouse in the state. In that time, all 107 people convicted of murder, robbery, a stabbing or a shooting were sentenced below state guidelines, including a drug dealer who got probation for shooting at a police officer. Judges argue that the county's liberal sentencing practices reflect a mix of compassion, rehabilitation and common sense. But the lenient record in the Glades is unquestionably a product of neglect and indifference by decision-makers on the coast toward one of the poorest and most crime-ridden areas of the state, local officials said. Please see SENTENCESiZ4 Burglary: coast rr Glades ". , r 1 Q Aggravated battery coast r,:1:: l1, jlbj ' ; Glades L..V YJrTSffl ! Armed robbery , .. - -coast czrzEn "All the rules of the state attorney and the chief judge end 20 miles down Southern Boulevard," State Attorney Barry Krischer said. "It's a different world past the 20-mile Bend." In recent years, Palm Beach County has become the state's most lenient judicial district, sentencing criminals below the minimum guidelines nearly 80 percent of the time. In Belle Glade, almost nobody goes to prison. Since 1994, 96 percent of the criminals in the Glades eligible for prison received reduced sen BELLE GLADE The sheriffs report says Brian Bell died because he stumbled into a gun-fight between a killer and a career criminal. In reality, Glades residents say, the teenager died because Palm Beach County's justice system stops on a long stretch of road halfway between the mansions of Palm Beach and their farm worker homes, about the spot where strip malls turn to cane fields and a large wooden sign shouts "Welcome to Western Palm Beach County." Child molesting coast r )J, i;a Glades L f Glades STORY BY JOHN HOLLAND Unarmed robbery Coast IT" rM-f SOURCES: Palm Beach County circuit a court records and Honda Dept. of Corrections Glades CZI SEAN TEVISStaff Artist This lesson stinks ;yif -'f.-Ji..: , T-i! .Debate heats up on fusion reactors m 1 A V v ;i V t I - , A UF professor and his colleagues claim a breakthrough in the 'holy grail' of science - cheap electricity through safe nuclear fusion. By Jenny Staletovich Palm Beach Post Staff Writer The way we power the world is about to change, according to a University of Florida physicist who with two colleagues has designed a miracle machine that works without deadly radiation or pollution and costs just dollars a day. Sound remarkable? You have no idea. Unveiled in last week's edition of Science, the design calls for a newly configured fusion reactor and attempts to harness the elusive power behind stars and hydrogen bombs that has engaged scientists for decades and consumed billions in research dollars. For this discovery to appear now, in a leading journal, in the midst of an intensely competitive, highly motivated community of scientists is, putting it mildly, startling. Its creators say they simply perfected an idea they've been studying for three years, which passed muster with other scientists who reviewed the article for the journal. Their detractors say what they perfected is a colossal leap of faith. "We're going to rattle the establishment," Hen-drik Monkhorst, 59, a UF professor since 1979, said the day before the article appeared Nov. 21. "There are people who prefer the status quo, people who feel threatened that their life's work will be made obsolete. So it is in science." Those people, leading physicists at labs where the U.S. Department of Energy has wagered most of its resources, contend Monkhorst and his partners University of California professors Norman Ros-toker, a pioneer in fusion research, and Michl Binder-bauer have not solved the riddle of a viable fusion reactor that cheaply and safely produces electricity. "It would be great if it could work, but many people have doubts about the assumptions made in the calculations," said Robert Goldston, director of HEATHER SELWITZStaff Photographer WEST PALM BEACH Tara Pillersdorf, (left) and Arielle Harrilal, ty's recycling plant on a field trip. The Wellington Elementary fifth-both 10, smell out the day's lesson as they ride through the coun- graders learned about recycling's importance. STORY, IB Insurer fears being burned by ex-Denny's owners An insurance company suit accuses the couple of arson in the destruction of their Juno Beach restaurant. U.S. District Judge Kenneth Rys-; kamp already has dismissed one suit by Valiant that also had asked him to nullify the policy. The Scherers' law-! yers said that suit was filed in a "race to; the courthouse" to outflank the Scherers, who were threatening a suit of their own. The Scherers will ask to have the most recent suit thrown out on the same grounds, and they could file their Please see FIREZ4 court batde with an opponent perhaps more tenacious than police or prosecutors: the insurance company. Valiant Insurance of Des Moines, Iowa, has filed a federal lawsuit asking to nullify the Scherers' $2 million insurance policy. The suit says the couple concealed information from the company and accuses them of setting the fire for the insurance money. Valiant refuses to pay the claim, which is estimated at more than $700,000. Jupiter couple, who faced bills for unpaid taxes and bought a new insurance policy just three weeks before the blaze. The Scherers were not charged with starting the Denny's fire. No one has been. The Scherers' lawyers say the fire was more likely the work of a "firebug." But now the Scherers are facing a By Scott Hiaasen Palm Beach Post Staff Writer When they fell on hard times five years ago, Robert and Betty Fay Scherer dallied in marijuana farming to help pay the bills. So it's not surprising that after the Scherers Denny's restaurant in Juno Beach was burned out last year in an arson, investigators focused on the Please see FUSI0Ni2A Inside $26 million ticket here Lantana vendor sells lottery's only winning ducat ANN & ABBY 2D CLASSIFIEDS 6B 60 4B COMICS DEATHS PALM BEACH Weather, 'V INTERACTIVE news, sports www.GoPBI.com and views FOR HOME DELIVERY SERVICE 8204663 1-800-654-1231 EDITORIALS 14A. SB 20 FLA. NEWS HOROSCOPE LOTTERY PEOPLE Drawing attention to World AIDS Day An Indian boy whose parents died from AIDS-related disease holds a banner at a Bombay intersection Sunday. In the West, the children of Haiti have been hit particularly hard by the virus. STORY, 3A i p r 2A 2A 10C 40 2C SCORES THEATERS TV SPORTS 41 percent this week, but the exact number of tickets sold wasn't available. Another 403 people won $1,379 for picking five-of-six, and 20,560 won $64.50 for picking four of six for Saturday night's drawing. Another 381,459 hit three-of-six winning numbers and won $4.50. The big winner will get payments of $1.3 million a year before taxes, about $25,000 per week, for the next 20 years. The odds of picking all six numbers are about 1 in 14 million. A single winner isn't uncommon. It happened in January and several times last year. The largest single Florida winner was a Winter Springs woman who won $516 million in 1988. A Lantana vendor sold the only ticket to win Saturday's $26 million Florida Lotto jackpot, the lottery department said Sunday. The payoff will be the largest for any lottery ticket sold in Palm Beach County. A Palm Beach Gardens physician won $20 million in January 1996 for the previous record. Lottery officials, who were not available for further comment Sunday, haven't specified which vendor sold the winning ticket. Saturday's drawing was the lottery's 500th. It was large because no one won in the previous two weeks. When that happens, lottery officials combine the unclaimed prize with the new one. ( Officials said Hie big prize drove sales Aip Copyright 1997 Palm Beach Pott Vol. 89 No. 208 8 uctloni TV LISTINGS IN ACCENT CROSSWORDS SECTIONS B,D 7ll2u,1100ilOl,B7

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