The Times Herald from Port Huron, Michigan on May 4, 1996 · Page 3
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The Times Herald from Port Huron, Michigan · Page 3

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Port Huron, Michigan
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Saturday, May 4, 1996
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Page 3
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SATURDAY, MAY 4, 19 I ' u 1 1 1 : PORT HURON, MICHIGAN 3A ivrr.i to mil EEFHTQ H.TT A3: HELP US WITH YOUR STORY: We want to talk with youne people who plan on becoming woria travelers this summer. Contact Jill Carlson at 989-6267 or 800462-4(57. Local&Stat TO DISCUSS LOCAL NEWS E Judah McLean, assist managing ed2or9a9-255 Peggy Walsh-Samecki. River District 765-4081 3A K3GKI NEWS OF THE STATE Man accused of faking death to avoid sentencing CHEBOYGAN A man has been arrested and accused of faking his own death to avoid sentencing on a criminal sexual conduct conviction. State police say they arrested a man they believe is Joseph Edward Jones, 48, on Thursday near Onaway. State police said he was living under an assumed name. He was awaiting a sentencing in Woodbury, N J, on the criminal sexual conduct charge in 1992. Police said he faked his death in a false boating accident in the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia. Credit card charges anger school district residents RIVER ROUGE - Some residents are upset the school superintendent charged $18,000 in school-related travel restaurant and entertainment expenses over the past two years. The spending occurred while middle school students were forced to share science textbooks. The 2,385-student district has a budget of $18.6 million. About half of the 14 largest charges involved honoring sports teams, academic achievers, teachers and volunteers. Superintendent James Doig Jr. defended the ' credit card charges. Work day causes protest over homemaker job BURTON Like thousands of women across the nation, Terry Edwards observed Take Your Daughter to Work Day with her teen-ager. But because her job is housework, a Ben-die High School attendance officer balked at giving Kimberly Edwards an excused absence for the spring cleaning she and her mom did that day. "It's belittling," said Mrs. Edwards, 40. "My work at home is my job. There's a lot of pressure on women to work outside the home." After a protest, Kimberly, a 15-year-old freshman, was excused for the day. Township lifts order forbidding pile of dirt FLINT TOWNSHIP - Township officials have lifted a stop-work order that kept Pirate's Park from adding to a 35-foot dirt pile it has amassed, but they still want more details about its purpose. At Thursday's township Planning Commission meeting, park co-owner Hod Morton might reveal additional details. But for now, he only will say that part of the plan involves using the hill as a giant toboggan run. The township building department has been pushing him for details since April. Pirate's Park features a water slide, batting cages, go-cart track, miniature golf and video games. Investigators look for source of oily coating BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP - The Coast Guard and officials in this Saginaw County township are trying to determine the source of an oily substance that has coated the water in a drainage ditch. Coast Guard crews have placed booms in the ditch to contain the material. They also have taken samples to see if they can identify the substance, Buena Vista Public Safety Director Scott A Pellerito said. Letters were sent to nearby businesses on Thursday by the Coast Guard telling them to review their disposal procedures and asking them to report spills. If investigators find someone deliberately dumping the substance, they can levy fines of up to $25,000 a day and can triple cleanup costs if the party refuses to cooperate, he said. MICHIGAN Livingston County, situated between Detroit and Lansing, was organized in 1833 and named for Edward Livingston, who had a remarkable legal career in New York and New Orleans. The county seat is Howell. Long known for its general farming and herds of sheep, it has become part of Detroit-Lansing suburbia. Source: Michigan County Flags & Histories cocnra AND AMPLIFICATIONS The Times Herald strives for fair and accurate reporting, and we regret it any time an error is made. It is the policy of this newspaper to correct substantive errors of fact that appear in Us news columns. Please bring errors to the attention of Judith McLean or Jeff Karoub at 989-6257. Brandy Pauly was misidentified in a photo caption on 3A Tuesday. -4 : - f TV A By KRISTINE M. ANDERSON. Times Herald WANTS DAUGHTER BACK: Daniel Abraham holds a snapshot of his daughter, Jessica, in front of the Harsens Island home from which she was taken Aug. 18 by her mother. Man hopes ex-wife will return daughter to him By ROBERTA STEVENSON Times Herald Michelle Lee Abraham often threatened to disappear with her oldest daughter if she lost her custody battle against the child's father. Her second husband, Daniel Abraham, never thought the threat included their daughter, Jessica Lee. "She was going to leave (Jessica) with me. She told me she'd never take her from me," Mr. Abraham said Friday. But when St. Clair County Circuit Judge Peter E. Dee-gan ruled Aug. 18, 1995, that Mrs. Abraham had to obey a Florida court order to return 7-year-old Chrystal DiDonato to the child's father, she made good on her threat. When Mr. Abraham returned to the couple's home on Harsens Island that evening, he found his wife and both girls gone. She had also taken his pickup, tax records and every photograph of herself and the children, he said. Mr. Abraham and Chrys-tal's father and stepmother, Ronald and Janice DiDonato of Englewood, Fla., are now turning to the public in hopes someone will recognize Mrs. Abraham and the girls and call police. Their story will be featured tonight on a segment of the Fox network program Michigan's Most Wanted, airing at 10 p.m. on channel 2. A $5,000 reward also is being offered for the return of the children. Mrs. Abraham, 25, is wanted in Michigan and Florida for parental kidnapping, said St. Clair County Prosecutor Elwood L. Brown, who was interviewed for the program. She also is wanted by the FBI for unlawful flight from prosecution. Mr. Abraham, who has been granted a divorce and custody of Jessica since his wife's disappearance, thinks her family is helping Mrs. Abraham hide. "They have gotten so involved in this case they have lost all sense of right and wrong or common law," he said. "They really think they're saving the children from some great danger, and they're being told to do this by God." Mrs. Abraham's father, Richard Armour of Marysville, MISSES OS HELP FIND THEM Anyone with information about Michelle Lee Abraham, Chrystal Lauraine DiDonato or Jessica Lee Abraham is asked to contact: The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, (800) 843-5678 Hank Mallol at the Manatee County (Fla.) Sheriff Department, (941) 741-3250 The SL Clair County Sheriff Department, 985-8115. said his daughter is not guilty of kidnapping. "That's man's law, that's what that is, and she's protecting her children from abusive ex-husbands two of them," he said. Mr. Armour referred all other questions to his lawyer, Johannes J. Van De Graaf of St. Clair Shores. Mr. Van De Graaf said Mrs. Abraham is protecting her children from abuse and fled because she could not get a fair hearing in Florida. "(Chrystal) was being abused down there," he said. "It's a good ol' boy system down there. ... While she was gone, the character up here starts a divorce action here, knowing she wasn't going to appear." Mr. Abraham said his ex-wife and her family turned on him when he refused to support her in making what he knew to be false allegations of sexual abuse against Chrystal's father. He also stopped giving her money to fight Mr. DiDonato, he said. "When I stopped giving her money, I became the enemy," said Mr. Abraham, who now is living with family in New Haven. Mr. Abraham does not fear his ex-wife will harm their daughter, but he worries about their living conditions. "In my heart, I feel she's being properly cared for as far as mothering, but they could be living in the back of a car for all I know." Mr. Abraham said he is interested only in getting his daughter back, ideally before her second birthday May 23. "1 don't even want her (his ex-wife) to go to jail," he said, "I want her to get psychological help. Jail is not going to help her." S . i- -.1 k I i . ' sJtfV ' f MISSING GIRLS: A snapshot shows half-sisters Chrystal DiDonato, 7, and Jessica Abraham, 23 months. The girls' mother is suspected of abducting them. Couple pray for safe return of girl Ronald and Janice DiDonato have not heard from his daughter, Chrystal, since June 15, 1995, when Mrs. DiDonato brought her to Detroit Metropolitan Airport for a visit with her mother. Mr. DiDonato said goodbye to his daughter in Florida to avoid a scene with his ex-wife, Michelle Lee Abraham. He and his wife live in Englewood, Fla. Janice DiDonato, who was going to visit her family in Michigan, said she was apprehensive about the custody exchange. Mrs. Abraham had warned that she would flee with the girl if she lost a court battle for custody, she said. Chrystal also told her stepmother she did not want to go for the visit. "On the airplane she was very fearful," Mrs. DiDonato said. "She said, 1 don't want to go because I'll never see you or Daddy again. My mom is going to keep me and change my name.' "I tried to reassure her that we loved her and told her if anything happened, we'd bring her home," she said. A broadcast today on Michigan's Most Wanted is another attempt to keep that promise, Mrs. DiDonato said. "We're just praying somebody is going to see it and know something and give us a call," she said. "We miss her, and we want her to come home." Suburban airport likely to be sold The Associated Press TROY Big Beaver Airport will likely close and be sold to a private developer. The Oakland County airport belonged to Anna Main, who died last month of heart disease at age 79 after fighting to keep developers from buying the 50-acre property. "It's going to be sold one way or the other. There is no choice," said Gerald Gase, who was an attorney for Mrs. Main. "The trustees will doubtlessly sell the airport to perform their duties under the terms of the trust." The two-runway airport, which opened in 1945, caters to private and commercial pi lots. It has five full-time employees, including two instructors. Like many airports of its kind, Big Beaver Airport sits on land worth more than airport business can generate, said John Wagner, an aviation safety specialist for the Michigan Department of Transportation's bureau of aeronautics. Unpaid bills may cost Yale, Capac County may cut them off from dispatch service By IRVIN L JACKSON Times Herald Pay up or hang up may be the ultimatum to Yale and Capac from the SL Clair County Board of Commissioners. The commissioners, during a meeting of their Judiciary-Public Safety Committee on Wednesday, voted unanimously to decide at their May 8 meeting whether they will send an ultimatum to Yale and Capac for two years of payments to the county's communication system. The ultimatum would give the two communities 30 days to pay up on what the county says is a delinquent bill for the services or be shut off from the county's central police and emergency dispatch system. Losing their connection with the county's central dispatch would mean the cities' police and fire vehicle movement would not be coordinated by the St. Clair County Sheriff Department. County Administrator Donald Dodge said 30 days would give the communities plenty of time to either pay for past services or choose another communication system. The cities' 911 emergency services would not be affected, Mr. Dodge said. If the two communities are cut off, they would have to form their own dispatch service, said Sheriff Dan Lane. His department now handles most of the county's dispatch services and 911 calls. He said the sheriff department still would receive 911 calls from Yale and Capac residents, but would have to arrange to give the information to the respective police and fire departments in those communities. Yale and Capac also would need someone available to answer nonemergency calls at all times. "I don't think it would be a big hassle for us. It would be more of an inconvenience for them," Sheriff Lane said. "If I were their (police) chief and this was going to happen, I'd be having conversations with the city council on how the police department was going to handle this." For the last two years, the two communities, and the rest of St. Clair County, have been without a communication sys- PAYuS TEE ELL FUNDING Operating the county's communication system costs about $650,000 a year, according to County Administrator Don Dodge. Here is a breakdown on how much the cities, townships and sheriff department pay: Cities: St Clair $15,914 Memphis: $1,512 Marysville: $29,480 Marine City: $17,714 Charter Townships: East China: $3,248 China: $2,670 Port Huron: $7,694 Fort Gratiot $9,374 The St. Clair County Sheriff Department puts in $322,390. The remaining $272,154 is paid for by a 78-cent fee on residents' monthly telephone bills. tem contract Since then, the county has been providing dispatch services. Mr. Dodge said the two communities owe the county for those services. According to county records, the city of Yale owes the county $22,794.54 in unpaid service; the village of Capac owes $20,403.22. John Osborn, Yale city manager, said his community is under no obligation to pay for services given by the county not under contract. "If the other communities wish to make a voluntary contribution, that is up to them," he said. "Any contract that the city had with the county expired in 1993. We recognize no bills, in any form, since then." Mr. Dodge said negotiations between the two communities have been stalled for the last three years. "There just wasn't any communication between us and them. It was never brought together," he said. Mr. Osborn said the county has made no attempt to negotiate a new contract. He also said he was surprised that the city wasn't contacted by Chairwoman Judy Keegan, R-Goodells, concerning the matter. Yale is in Mrs. Keegan's district. "I find it rather apalling that our county commissioner would take such action without speaking to us," he said. The communication system costs about $625,000 a year to run. Kevorkian's mood swings between calm and stormy The Associated Press PONTIAC - Dr. Jack Kevorkian on Friday told jurors in his assisted suicide trial that he felt a mixture of fear, anxiety and relief after attending the suicides of two women in 1991. Dr. Kevorkian appeared calm on the stand a marked contrast to his outburst earlier Friday at two of his lawyers for their handling of witnesses. While testifying, he raised his voice only when he talked about the unwritten common law he is charged with violating. "I never considered this a real trial with real law," he said. "Whoever would call this a real law, a real crime I have nothing but contempt for them." Also Friday, the state Court of Appeals ruled that a homemade videotape of the two women whom Dr. Kevorkian is accused of helping die is inadmissible even though jurors have viewed the tape. The appeals court said jurors must disregard the more than nine minutes they have seen and ordered the defense not to mention the tape for the rest of the trial. The court also said jurors could see a tape of the Australian version of 60 Minutes in which Dr. Kevorkian said, "I'm Dr. Death." Defense attorney Geoffrey Fieger had objected to jurors seeing the Australian tape but later dropped his opposition and allowed the tape to be shown Friday before the appeals court ruled. On the tape, Dr. Kevorkian told the interviewer that he should have tested his suicide machine, which was shown on the video, on animals first. Dr. Kevorkian is charged with two counts of common-law assisted suicide in the deaths of Sherry Miller, 43, of Roseville and Marjorie Wantz, 58, of Sodus. Mrs. Wantz, who had severe pelvic pain, died of an injection of drugs. Mrs. Miller had multiple sclerosis and died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Dr. Kevorkian lashed out at Mr. Fieger and attorney Michael Schwartz in a courthouse hallway for allowing two friends of Mrs. Miller testify. "It was against my wishes that they were put up on the stand," he shouted. "This is a political lynching, not a trial."

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