In Washington Appointment of new postmaster general...

NATIONAL DIGEST

May 20, 2001

In Washington

Appointment of new postmaster general expected

Career postal executive John E. Potter is expected to be named the next postmaster general.

Industry speculation has focused on Potter, and postal sources confirmed the choice yesterday. The Association for Postal Commerce and Direct Marketing News was also reporting Potter's probable selection.

The U.S. Postal Service is expected to make the formal announcement tomorrow. Postal officials had no comment on the report yesterday.

In the Nation

Jesse Helms undecided about run for re-election

RALEIGH, N.C. -- After nearly three decades in the Senate, Jesse Helms said yesterday he hasn't decided whether to run for re-election next year.

The Republican told about 400 people attending the state Republican Party convention that he expects to announce his decision by September. Helms, 79 and a member of the Senate since 1973, said he and his wife, Dot, will decide together whether he'll run in 2002.

Helms, 79, has been battling ailments that have raised questions about whether he will be able to run again.

Suspected killer of woman, children commits suicide

LODI, Calif. -- A California man suspected of killing a former girlfriend's mother and children took his life yesterday atop his wife's grave.

Police found Roger Leroy Johnson, 48, lying face down at the Cherokee Memorial Park & Funeral Home.

Johnson raised an arm and threw a grenade at officers before collapsing again, said San Joaquin County Sheriff Baxter Dunn.

Investigators subpoena N.J. Democratic records

TRENTON, N.J. -- Federal investigators have subpoenaed Democratic Party records in Sen. Robert G. Torricelli's home county to determine whether his 1996 campaign evaded campaign finance restrictions, two newspapers reported yesterday.

The Bergen County Democratic Organization accepted large contributions from big corporations during the 1996 race, the New York Times and the Bergen County Record reported.

Public records and interviews indicate that the Bergen group then paid thousands of dollars in salaries and other expenses for Torricelli's campaign, an arrangement that may have violated federal election laws, the Times said.

Wildfires continue to burn in drought-stricken Fla.

MIAMI -- At least nine large fires burned yesterday in areas of Florida that have been parched after months of drought, and no soaking rain is in the forecast.

This year, 2,648 wildfires have charred nearly 194,000 acres in the state.

Among fires burning yesterday was one in central Florida that has sent smoke drifting across Walt Disney World Resort at Orlando since Thursday. The 450-acre fire, 2 miles from Walt Disney World, was 35 percent contained yesterday.

Tour adds actor's street after wife's shooting death

LOS ANGELES -- The neighborhood where the wife of "Baretta" television star Robert Blake lived and died will become the latest stop on a $55 tour of the city's most notorious crime scenes.

Lonnie Levine, owner of Crime Scene Tours, is adding Blake's home, as well as the restaurant where he and wife Bonny Lee Bakley dined the night she was shot and killed two weeks ago, to his regular rotation.

"Obviously, any high-profile celebrity we're going to put on there," Levine said.

Woman foils rape attempt; injury leads police to man

CHICAGO -- A man has been charged with trying to rape a woman who castrated him during the attack, police said.

Erik Williams, 21, is accused of trying to force a 42-year-old woman to perform a sex act on him early Friday; while the two struggled, the woman bit off his testicles, police said.

The woman went to police headquarters and gave the testicles to officers, authorities said. Williams later arrived at Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center with injuries matching the woman's description, police said. Doctors were unable to reattach his testicles, hospital spokeswoman Sandra Wilks said.

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