Originally created 08/13/02

Across the southeast



Schools fight to end federal oversight

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -Forty-five years after President Eisenhower was forced to dispatch federal troops to integrate Little Rock's Central High School in a historic 1957 racial confrontation, the school district is still fighting to end its federal court oversight.

A federal judge in Little Rock recently completed a series of hearings to determine whether the state's largest school district, with 25,000 pupils - 70 percent of whom are black - can finally be declared desegregated, or "unitary," and therefore free of judicial control.

Black pupils, represented as a class known as the Joshua interveners, have opposed the schools' efforts, arguing that the district has failed to comply with a 1998 desegregation plan to enhance the academic performance of blacks.

U.S. District Judge Bill Wilson Jr. has said he will rule "before the first killing frost."

Governor talks about his errant daughter

ORLANDO, Fla. - Gov. Jeb Bush choked up on the campaign trail Monday as he thanked members of a Pentecostal church for their prayers for his daughter Noelle, who is in a drug treatment program.

"Every time I think about my daughter, it's very hard," Mr. Bush said after speaking at the Restoration Christian Center. "I appreciate the fact that thousands of people are praying for her and praying for our family. I know there are others out there who are going through similar things."

Ms. Bush, 24, was arrested in January at a Tallahassee pharmacy drive-through window on charges of trying to buy the anti-anxiety drug Xanax with a fraudulent prescription. A judge last month found her in contempt of court and jailed her after she was found with prescription pills at the center where she was receiving court-ordered drug treatment.

Detox center patient dies of drug overdose

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - A patient at a drug treatment center died of an overdose of heroin that was smuggled into the facility, police said.

Aaron Kononitz died Saturday, a day before he was to graduate from Operation PAR's residential drug treatment program in Largo.

Initially, authorities said the heroin was brought into the center by another resident. After interviewing other residents, however, investigators determined that wasn't the case.

Sometime late Friday night or early Saturday morning, Mr. Kononitz and two other residents hid in a storage room and used the drug. The other two were jailed Monday after admitting they had violated probation.