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By DENNIS DAILY, United Press International   |   Jan. 24, 2002 at 1:14 AM   |   Comments

COLORADO OFFICIAL'S BUYING HABITS QUESTIONED

A new audit shows that the second highest-ranking elected state official in Colorado may have developed some interesting buying habits -- using state money. The Denver Post says that Lt. Gov. Joe Rogers may have spent as much as $55,000 of state money on a range of what it calls "unconventional" items, including a cellular telephone for his wife, a boom box and campaign telephones in his state office.

The publication says that he also spent nearly $100 to get a copy of a videotape of state Treasurer Mike Coffman, a political rival.

Rogers accepted responsibility for the spending Wednesday and says he will repay the charges that he thinks are inappropriate.


WOMAN SENTENCED IN WTC CASE

Remember in the hours after the collapse of the World Trade Center towers there was word that as many as a dozen New York City policemen might still be alive, trapped in an uncrushed part of the buildings? Well, the reason for the hope was the claim by a woman that she had received a cellular phone call from her husband -- a local police officer -- from within the building. She later admitted that her claims were a hoax.

The New York Times says that Wednesday she was sentenced to three years in prison for reckless endangerment for her remarks. Court records show that 24-year-old Sugeil Mejia had even lied about being married. A prosecutor remarked that he was pleased that the verdict could be reached without calling in police officers to testify.


FLOOD VICTIMS LEFT IN THE LURCH

It was bad enough for thousands of homeowners and businessmen in the Houston area to have had their buildings flooded by Tropical Storm Allison last year, but now comes word that none will see any tax relief. It seems, according to the Chronicle, that none of the more and 400 taxing units in the area of the flooding thought to ask for new appraisals in the wake of the storm.

The non-action, according to the publication, came even though some state tax officials were actively encouraging state and county officials to re-think their past figures. The bottom line is that thousands will be shacked with pre-storm assessments the next time property taxes are due. Many will be assessed on structures that no longer exist.

Allison killed 22 people and did an estimated $5 billion in damage in Texas.


DISCOVERY CHANNEL DOCUMENTARY IS A DUSEY

The new Discovery Channel documentary "The Blue Planet: Seas of Life" is a four-hour look at the lifeblood of the planet, our oceans. The two-day series (next Sunday and Monday) was five years in the making and cost more than $10 million to produce.

Many reviewers are calling it must-see television.

The documentary points out that a mere one percent of the world's oceans have actually been explored. The series' unseen narrator, Sir David Attenborough, notes that scientists know more about the surface of the moon than they know about much of the world's oceans.

Much of the film was taped at the deepest depths possible, providing a rare glimpse of some of the planet's rarest and strangest creatures.

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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