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Week In Review A Look Back At The Top Stories From The Past Week

Sun., May 18, 1997


The sacking of Sacajawea Sacajawea Middle School suffered its worst vandalism in memory Sunday when two 13-year-old boys smashed computers, phones and windows and splashed paint across walls, rugs and desks during a 90-minute rampage.

The damage: at least $100,000.

“It looked like what the inside of a home looks like after being struck by a tornado,” said Principal Herb Rotchford.

The boys, one of whom has a criminal record that includes convictions for car theft and burglary, were charged Monday with second-degree burglary and first-degree malicious mischief in Sunday’s vandalism spree.

Star witness

Prosecutors on Monday brought out their star witness against Timothy McVeigh, accused of the April 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building in which 168 people were killed and about 500 injured.

Michael J. Fortier, 28, testifying in chilling detail before a federal jury in Denver, said that when he raised concerns about innocent government workers being killed in a bomb attack, McVeigh, 29, told him their deaths would be justified because “they were part of the evil empire” just like in “Star Wars.”

You’re not from around here

Danish actress Annette Sorensen got her baby back after the 14-month-old girl was taken away from her by New York authorities who also arrested Sorensen and her husband with endangering the welfare of a child. The pair left their child in her stroller just outside an East Village restaurant while they dined. Customary in Copenhagen, maybe, but in New York? Why didn’t they just buy the kid a subway token?

The real surprise was that New York passers-by were concerned enough to call police, who handled the matter with their usual delicacy - taking the child away from her parents and allegedly stuffing the father’s head in a toilet.

By Friday, charges were dropped against Sorensen, but the girl’s father, Exavier Wardlaw, still faces endangering charges as well as charges of disorderly conduct.

News of the parents’ arrest sparked an international debate over child care and safety. “Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Denmark is a safer place to live in than New York.”

What city isn’t?


A change in the weather

U.S. Rep. Helen Chenoweth apologized Tuesday for her statements last week about racial diversity.

“She deeply regrets if her statements offended anyone,” Chenoweth spokeswoman Khris Bershers said. “That was certainly not her intent.”

Chenoweth had suggested that blacks and Hispanics never have been attracted to North Idaho because of its climate. “The warm-climate community just hasn’t found the colder climate that attractive.”

In Boise, the Rev. Nancy Taylor, a Boise minister and co-chairman of Idaho Voices of Faith for Human Rights, said, “Chances are it is not the chilling temperatures, but rather the chilling attitudes of Idahoans.”

The congresswoman, however, stood by her support for Kootenai County Commissioner Ron Rankin’s efforts to fight minority hiring programs at the Forest Service in North Idaho.

Manifesto quashed

For years, the League of Women Voters has provided Kootenai County residents with information about government, the judicial system and area schools in an annual voters guide published by the county.

But that was before the election of Commissioner Rankin, who objects to the brochure bearing the name of the League of Women Voters, who he says was founded by “card-carrying communists.” And anyway, the group’s local chapter opposes Rankin’s pet 1 Percent Tax initiative.

“I can’t say that that doesn’t play a part in it,” said Rankin.

The League is trying to downplay any conflict while they negotiate with the commissioners. But League Chairwoman Gloria Klotz and other League members objected to Rankin’s characterization of the group’s founders as communists. “To the best of my knowledge, we have never had any communist affiliations,” Klotz said, conceding that like many other political organizations “there might be some members somewhere back there with leftist ties.”

The organization’s roots stretch back to 1848, when some 300 women rallied for parental rights, education beyond the sixth grade, and voting rights.


Mobutu is history

Zairian President Mobutu Sese Seko, one of Africa’s most enduring and felonious figures, quietly relinquished power Friday and fled the capital in the face of an unstoppable rebellion and widespread desertions from his own military.

The abdication of Mobutu, 66, who amassed a fortune while his country slipped deep into poverty, brings to an end a regime once supported by millions of dollars in U.S. aid and military assistance.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

MEMO: Week in Review is compiled by News Editor Kevin Graman. For more information on these stories, see Virtually Northwest, The Spokesman-Review’s online publication, at

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Compiled by News Editor Kevin Graman

Week in Review is compiled by News Editor Kevin Graman. For more information on these stories, see Virtually Northwest, The Spokesman-Review’s online publication, at

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Compiled by News Editor Kevin Graman

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