The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, November 30, 1993 - 7
. Home sales
WASHINGTON (AP) - Contin-
ued low mortgage rates and an improv-
ing economy helped push the sales of
existing homes to the highest level in
more than 14 years in October.
Despite such recent strength in hous-
ing, however, the nation's top business
economists predict the economy will
be only slightly betterin 1994, although
they said that will help keep down
inflation and interest rates.
Sales of previously owned single-
family homesjumped 3.6 percent, to a
seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.08
million, the National Association of
Realtors reported yesterday.
That was up from a 3.94 million
rate in September- stronger than the
3.91 million initial estimate-and the
highest since 4.09 million in May 1979,
the association said. Many analysts had
expected an increase of only 1 percent.
Realtors said sales advanced in ev-
ery region of the country.
HERE COMES SANTA CLAUS
DETROIT (AP) - Several Cana-
dian distributors refused to sell The
Detroit News and Free Press because
ofaCanadianjudge's ban on coverage
of a sensational torture-murder case.
The papers' Nov. 28 edition carried a
front-page story on the case.
Detroit Newspapers, which over-
sees operations of The Detroit News
and Free Press, said it sent papers over
the border without trouble. Canadian
distributors refused to sell them or re-
moved the front section to avoid arrest,
the News said Nov. 29.
The case involves a couple accused
of kidnapping teen-age girls, perform-
ing sex acts and then torturing and
killing them. The wife has pleaded
guilty to manslaughter in a plea bar-
Stoney Burke hands out fliers in the Diag for his new cable TV show, which is scheduled to MARK FRIEDMAN/Daily
debut on Channel 9 Dec. 14 at 8 p.m.
Federal judge says decision stands in religious dispute
Ontario Justice Francis Kovacs has
blocked the public and foreign media
from his courtroom in St. Catharines,
just west of Niagara Falls, N.Y., under
a law that allows judges to order a
virtual blackout in an attempt to ensure
a fair trial. He also has restricted the
coverage of Canadian journalists.
The News carried a Washington
Post story on Karla Homolka's case
and the upcoming murder trial of her
husband, Paul Teale. The story was
based on interviews of people with
knowledge of what was said in court
and on limited press reports.
A Canadian edition of Thp Buffal*
News didn't contain the Washington
Post story, and many Canadians went
to Buffalo to buy the U.S. edition,
which contained the article.
"All these cars with Ontario plates
were out there when 1 pulled up this
morning, waitingwfor me to open the
door because of the article," said sales
clerk Deborah Willis at Millender Cern-
terPharmacy near the Detroit-Windsor
Some Canadians trying to take the
papers back home were stopped by
police at the border and forced to hand
Homolka was sentenced last sum-
mer to 12 years in prison on two counts
of manslaughter for her role in deaths
of two teen-age girls. Her husband,
awaits trial on first-degree murder
charges in the slayings including the
rapes of 17 other women.
Homolka has filed for divorce and
is expected to testify against her hus-
band. However, the litany of rapes and
tortures he's charged of can't be pub-
lished until after a verdict in Teale's
case, thejudge ruled.
Christina Bradford, managing edi-
tor of The Detroit News, said about
24,000copies of the Sunday edition are
sold each week in Ontario.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - A federal
judge who said he has received death threats for
ordering a picture of Jesus removed from a high
school hallway rejected a plan yesterday to add
portraits of other historical figures to the display.
U.S. DistrictJudgeBenjamin Gibson in Feb-
ruary ordered the picture removed from
Bloomingdale High School. He said the settle-
ment reached by lawyers while the case was on
appeal "still violates the Constitution and pro-
motes aparticular religion excessively by a public
The lawsuit was filed last year by then-senior
Eric Pensinger, who said the large framed picture
that has been hanging in the public school's
hallway for about 30 years violated the constitu-
tional ban on government establishment of reli-
While the case was under appeal before the
6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, attorneys for
Pensinger and the school district began settle-
ment talks. Since Pensinger graduated in June,
both sides believed there was a good chance the
appellate court would dismiss the case.
Two weeks ago, the sides agreed that the
picture of Jesus could stay if similarly sized
portraits of Abraham Lincoln and the Rev. Martin
Luther King Jr. were placed on the same wall. The
display also would carry a disclaimer stating that
no public money was used to buy the pictures, and
that they do not serve to endorse a particular
But Gibson refused to amend his earlier rul-
ing, saying he believed the arrangement still
"excessively entangles the government- in this
case the school district - in religion." He noted
that the proposed additional pictures were of
primarily secular figures and did not adequately
balance the religious nature of the picture of
"How can you compromise constitutional
rights?" Gibson said. "This is not a fender-bender
where you can split the difference."
The appellate court is expected to rule in the
coming weeks on the school's motion to dismiss
the case. Gibson has allowed the picture, an
inexpensiveprintofartist WarnerSallman's Head
of Christ, to be covered with a cloth, rather than
removed, during the appeal.
The portrait had been donated to the school in
the 1960s in memory of asecretary who had died.
Neither side was particularly disappointed
with Gibson's ruling yesterday since neither had
been especially satisfied with the compromise.
Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties
Union, which represented Pensinger, said they
only agreed to settle because they feared the case
would be dismissed by the higher court.
Attorney David Melton, who represents the
school district, said board members had reluc-
tantly agreed to the settlement in order to limit
liability exposure should they lose.
"There are certain members who wanted all
along to roll the dice" and see what the appellate
court would do, Melton said.
During the hearing, Gibson said he had re-
ceived letters from all over the country since his
ruling in February. He said he had been under
police protection after receiving death threats.
Pensinger, who now works at a metal finish-
ing factory, also has been the subject of harass-
ment and threats in the small, conservative dis-
trict near Kalamazoo since filing the lawsuit in
October 1992. He was not in court yesterday.
His attorney, Susan Fall, said Pensinger would
have much preferred the picture taken down but
was willing to go along with the settlement as "the
lesser of two evils."
"After what he's been through, he'd be very
disappointed if the case is dismissed and we end
up with the same display we started with," Fall
said. No students have come forward to take up
the cause, she added.
In making his initial ruling in February, Gibson
said he relied on the U.S. Supreme Court's 1971
ruling in Lemon vs. Kurtzman. That ruling said
laws or government practices are unconstitu-
tional if they have a religious purpose, primarily
advance or promote religion, or excessively en-
tangle government and religion.
Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to
re-examine that landmark ruling.
ATETO IRTYA TUET!FLLOTTI SRE!YUmm m m m m N INSTFF
ATTENTION FIRST-YEAR STUDENTS! FILL OUT THIS SURVEY! YOU CAN WIN STUFF!
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