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The Baltimore Sun from Baltimore, Maryland • Page A2

The Baltimore Suni
Baltimore, Maryland
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Page 2a Wednesday, June 19, 2002 The Sun SUN JOURNAL National Digest Juneteenth crossing nation Si! It Holiday: The African-American independence day, which began in Texas, is now an official holiday in seven more states and widely celebrated. 4 By Bob Dart COX NEWS SERVICE IP ASSOCIATED PRESS PHOTOS Astronaut Dr. Bernard Harris, the grand marshal, waves during the Juneteenth Freedom Parade in San Antonio. With him at Saturday's parade were his wife, Sandra, and daughter Alex, 9. Leading the fun at a Juneteenth celebration Sunday in Tyler, Texas, was hoop-swinger Diondre Allen, 6, of Whitehouse.

was banned on domestic flights in 1990. Based on a 1997 class-action settlement, the jury had to presume that secondhand smoke caused her chronic sinusitis, a persistent inflammation of the sinus. French had to prove secondhand smoke significantly contributed to her illness. Jailed sect members released after four months ATTLEBORO, Mass. Two members of a religious sect who were jailed for refusing to say what happened to their youngest child were freed yesterday after four months behind bars.

"I don't think this court is going to be more successful than it has been with further incarceration," Juvenile Court Judge Kenneth Nasif said. He noted that the case is now before a grand jury. Rebecca and David Corneau had refused for months to even acknowledge Rebecca had been pregnant, then claimed she had a late-term miscarriage. But state social workers have said that the Corneaus might be hiding the baby and that the child could be in danger. The judge had ordered the Corneaus to produce the baby or say where the remains were buried.

Earthquake in Midwest does little serious damage EVANSVILLE, Ind. A moderate earthquake rang church bells and rattled nerves yesterday in portions of the Midwest and South, but authorities had no immediate reports of serious damage. The quake, which struck at 12:37 p.m. CDT, registered a magnitude 5.0, said John Bellini of the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colo.

The epicenter was 10 miles northwest of Evansville, near the small town of Darmstadt. Missing girl's sister did not speak to man, police say SALT LAKE CITY Police investigating the disappearance of 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart said yesterday that contrary to what had been reported, the kidnapper did not threaten the girl's little sister or even realize she saw him. Two weeks ago, Elizabeth was reported taken by gunpoint from the bed the two girls shared. Police initially said that the kidnapper warned 9-year-old Mary Katherine Smart to remain quiet and that the little sister waited two hours before alerting her parents. But police who have interviewed the youngster three times now say that the man did not speak to the child.

They said the account changed as investigators with skills at interviewing child witnesses talked to the girl Bus driver indicted on 13 kidnapping counts PHILADELPHIA A federal grand jury indicted a school bus driver with a history of mental illness yesterday on 13 counts of kidnapping for taking a load of children on an unauthorized trip to suburban Washington. Although the indictment of 63-year-old Otto Nuss was largely procedural, it could disrupt a plan in which Nuss would have been freed from jail while awaiting trial. At a hearing last week, U.S. Magistrate Charles Smith said he might release Nuss if his attorney could come up with a plan that would allow him to be supervised by his friends and family. But the indictment will ultimately transfer supervision of the case from Smith to a federal district judge.

From wire reports WASHINGTON Juneteenth is busting out all over. Celebrated in Texas for more than a century, June 19 is gaining global significance as independence day for African-Americans. It's now an official holiday in seven other states from Florida to Idaho. The holiday is not official in Maryland. More than 300 communities nationwide have Juneteenth celebrations scheduled today.

In Washington, there will be gospel and jazz concerts and a rally at the Capitol. In Atlanta, there will be a barbecue on Auburn Avenue, the famed boulevard of the civil rights movement. There's a Blues and Sweet Potato Pie fest in Pompano Beach, and a June-Bug Car Parade on Daytona Beach, and a "Forever Free" celebration at the Westley Community Center in Dayton, Ohio. In the Baltimore area, celebrations have been going on since last weekend, and an African-American Family Festival is scheduled in Druid Hill Park at the end of the month. Folks will observe Juneteenth with a soul food tasting at Ka-dena Air Base in Japan and with soul music from "Downtown" Ambrose Brown at the U.S.

Naval Air Base in La Maddelena, Italy. Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration of the ending of slavery, its adherents claim. "It's America's second Independence Day," says John Thompson, president of Juneteenth America, based in Ontario, Calif. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers led by Major Gen. Gordon Granger landed at Galveston, Texas.

These soldiers in blue brought the news that the Civil War had ended and that all the slaves of the South were now free. The revelation came more than two years after President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. Officially, slaves had been freed when it went into effect Jan. 1, 1863, but a war would have to be won before Union troops could come to enforce Lincoln's order. Advocates are petitioning President Bush to make Juneteenth a National Holiday Observance, like Flag Day.

This designation would not burden taxpayers with another paid federal holiday, says Ronald Myers, chairman of the campaign for a Juneteenth Independence Day. He says the observance is needed "by Americans of African descent who were not freed on the Fourth of July" in 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress. While embracing Juneteenth, Bush has not directly addressed In Washington Senate OKs version of bill to aid cost of terrorism insurance The Senate approved a bill yesterday to help allay the costs of terrorism insurance, setting up a showdown with the House over how to help businesses survive possible future disasters. President Bush warned that he wanted the final measure to include protections against "predatory lawsuits." The Democratic-controlled Senate approved the bill 84-14, sending it to a House-Senate conference committee and beginning a new fight over a final version to send to the president. The House approved a version of the bill last year, and the two sides will now get together and try to work out their differences.

Bush lauds deal with uranium-enrichment firm The Bush administration says a deal reached with the nation's only uranium-enrichment company should help ensure that the United States does not become dependent on foreign sources for nuclear fuel. The Energy Department announced yesterday that it had signed an agreement with USEC Inc. of Bethesda for the company to build a high-tech urani-um-enrichment plant in Kentucky or Ohio within a decade. The plant would replace a 50-year-old facility in Paducah, Ky. USEC will continue producing 30 percent of the nation's nuclear fuel at the old plant until the new, more efficient one is able to do that.

The agreement also requires USEC to continue buying uranium fuel from Russia that is recycled from old Soviet weapons. Under the program, USEC buys the fuel and sells it to U.S. utilities. Report says riding bus safest way to get to school Riding a yellow bus is by far the safest way to get to school even safer than walking, a study says. The most dangerous way: riding in a car with a teen-ager behind the wheel.

Researchers looked at the ways children get to school and found that school buses account for one-fourth of all trips but only 2 percent of children's deaths in school-related traffic accidents. By contrast, teen-age drivers account for 14 percent of trips and 55 percent of traffic deaths. Accidents with adults driving accounted for 20 percent of students' deaths; children walking accounted for 16 percent, biking 6 percent. The study was done by the independent National Research Council. In The Nation Judge prohibits S.C.

from blocking plutonium AIKEN, S.C. A federal judge prohibited Gov. Jim Hodges yesterday from blocking government shipments of bomb-grade plutonium to South Carolina that could begin as soon as this weekend. Friday, Hodges sent state police to the government's Savannah River Site weapons installation near the Georgia state line to stop any vehicles carrying the radioactive material, which is to be brought in from the closed Rocky Flats weapons plant in Colorado. The governor said he would abide by the judge's order.

"Against our will, the blockade is over," Hodges said. "I don't apologize for our efforts, our suit or our blockade." $5.5 million awarded in secondhand smoke case MIAMI A former flight attendant who blames her sinus disease on secondhand smoke in airplanes was awarded $5.5 million yesterday in her lawsuit against four tobacco companies. Lynn French, 56, had worked 14 years before in-flight smoking So she helped organize a local Juneteenth observance that this week will mark its 11th consecutive year, and she helped push through state recognition of the holiday. A national Juneteenth is needed "to show the significance that legal slavery had on the development of American society," she said. "And it is needed to pay honor to our ancestors." "Juneteenth is already a big holiday here in Atlanta for some of us," said Felton Eaddy, an arts educator and leader of the Georgia campaign for a national holiday observance.

Usually, "it's a potluck event featuring short speeches by historians, readings, story telling, music, poetry and a showing of artists' slides," he said. However, this year there will also be discussion "of our campaign to obtain official holiday status for Juneteenth in the state of Georgia." "I've been involved in Juneteenth all my life. I grew up in California but my parents are from Texas," said Galloway, the Michigan activist who said she organized the first national Juneteenth association. "I saw a need for a national cohesiveness with Juneteenth groups across the country." The groups lobbied for passage of a congressional bill to recognize the significance of Juneteenth. It was introduced in the House by Reps.

J.C. Watts, an Oklahoma Republican, and Sanford D. Bishop a Georgia Democrat, she said, and in the Senate by then-Majority Leader Trent Lott, a Mississippi Republican, and then-Minority Leader Tom Daschle, a South Dakota Democrat. The legislation passed easily in 1997. The Juneteenth movement has always enjoyed bipartisan support, said Myers, the Mississippi physician and preacher who heads the drive for a Juneteenth national holiday observance.

Republican backers have ranged from House Majority Leader Dick Armey of Texas to Gov. Dirk Kempthorne of Idaho, who signed that state's Juneteenth observance law. the holiday issue. The president has noted that Juneteenth has its roots in Texas but is now observed around the country, says Scott McClellan, a White House spokesman. In celebrating Juneteenth, Bush has said he "encourages all Americans to reaffirm their commitment to achieving equal justice and opportunity for all citizens." Millions of Americans of all racial backgrounds have barely even heard of Juneteenth, much less of any clamor for a national observance.

So some advocates believe the first order of business should be spreading the word on Juneteenth. Creating a national holiday observance "is not that important. June 19th is already ours. We already claim it," says Lula Briggs Galloway, president of the National Association of Juneteenth Lineage, which has its headquarters in Saginaw, Mich. "Education is more important," says Galloway, whose group is not part of the national effort to establish a Juneteenth holiday.

"There are people who still do not know what it is. We're working to get it into the school curriculum. We need to educate children and their parents about Juneteenth." The document that General Granger read in Galveston was called General Order No. 3. It began: "The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.

This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer." The announcement inspired jubilation among black residents of the Lone Star State. Thereafter, they and their de-scendents celebrated "Juneteenth" as the day freedom finally came to Texas. Many would make an annual pilgrimage to Galveston for the observance. Over the years, though, festivities sprang up in communities across the state. On Jan.

1, 1980, Juneteenth became an official state holiday in Texas, largely through the efforts of Al Edwards, an African-American state legislator. But Edwards and other activists believed that Juneteenth was too important to confine to Texas. "Migration, mostly black people in Texas moving to Northern states, carried the message of Juneteenth across the nation," said James Carter of Arlington, Texas, the state coordinator in the movement to make Juneteenth a national holiday observance. "It is the real freedom day for people of African-American descent." When Jeannie Blue moved from Houston to St. Petersburg, she was dismayed to find "there was no Juneteenth.

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