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A bond hearing took a turn for the weird, says a defendant who claim

June 27, 1997

ST. MARYS, W.Va. (AP) _ A bond hearing took a turn for the weird, says a defendant who claims the judge bit him on the nose.

The state police asked the FBI to investigate Bill Whittens’ allegation.

Whittens went to court for a bond hearing Thursday while he is appealing his conviction on a charge of breaking-and-entering, said state police Capt. Terry Snodgrass.

Whittens’ bond request was denied. As he left the courtroom, he made a derogatory remark toward Pleasant County Circuit Judge Joseph Troisi, Snodgrass said.

Whittens said the judge then left the bench and attacked him in front of a half-dozen onlookers. His nose required medical attention, he said.

Snodgrass could not confirm the nature of Whittens’ injury.

Troisi, who has not been charged, declined to discuss the allegation.

The judge does not have a history of odd behavior in the courtroom.

``I’ve never heard of a thing like this in my life,″ Snodgrass said.


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) _ Levi Panovitch will probably skip happily into an El Paso County courtroom to answer his summons for jury duty.

He won’t serve, though _ Levi is only 3.

The preschooler’s jury summons came in the mail last week, ordering him to report on July 18. It even included his middle initial, even though neither his dad nor relatives shares his name.

The summons got Levi’s mom thinking.

``Maybe 3-year-olds could better choose what’s truthful or not,″ Tonya Panovitch mused. ``They don’t care what people have to say. They just like them or not.″

Mistake or not, she plans to take Levi to court.

``I know what the lady is going to say: `We told you not to bring your children,‴ Panovitch said in Thursday’s editions of The Gazette. ``And I’m going to say, `This is juror number 53.‴


MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) _ Tim Hazekamp figures he’s inventoried about 2,000 to 3,000 trees so far this summer, but who’s counting?

He is. It’s his job to record tree locations, sizes and conditions for the Muskegon Forestry Department.

Riding his bike and toting a hand-held computer, the 20-year-old Grand Valley State University senior frequently gets taken for a snoop.

``I get stopped about 40 times a day by people wanting to know what I’m doing,″ Hazekamp told The Muskegon Chronicle in a story published Thursday.

The city has an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 trees, and the inventory will help foresters learn about its tree population, said Larry DeCou, supervisor of the Cemetery and Forestry Department.

That will help with future staffing and equipment budgets, he said.

Hazekamp is earning two college credits and $9 per hour.


SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) _ Next time you stop in at Ralphs Grocery Co. for milk and bread, don’t forget to charge it. The electric car, that is.

The supermarket chain is believed to be the first to open its own electric car charging-and-parking spot. There are 56 such chargers across Southern California.

Electric vehicle, or EV, customers won’t pay to use the chargers at the new station, which opened at a Santa Monica store on Thursday. Ralphs plans to open three more in Marina del Rey, Los Angeles and Pasadena.


WILDWOOD, N.J. (AP) _ Eleven-year-old Michael Thomas is losing his marbles.

Well, not exactly. But as the new boys’ division champion of the 74th National Marbles Tournament, he’s ineligible to compete again.

That’s why Michael, of Upper Darby, Pa., told his mother this week that he didn’t want to win. But the eagle-eyed sharpshooter bested Danny LaGamba, 14, of Allegheny County, Pa., 8-4 for top honors on Thursday.

Megan Winkelman, 12, of Frederick, Md., won the girl’s division of the tourney, played on the boardwalk in this southern New Jersey resort town.

She bested Megan Pilarcik, 14, of Middletown, Md., 8-3.

Sixty-four children, ages 8 and 14, played more than 1,000 games over four days leading up to the finals.

The king and queen didn’t exactly win all the marbles, but they did pick up nice prizes: a $2,000 college scholarship and trophy, among other goodies.

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