Portland 7 trial delayed

U.S. District Judge Robert Jones has postponed the so-called Portland Seven terror-cell trial until January. He also released defendant October Martinique Lewis after she agreed to a series of conditions.

On Tuesday, Jones delayed the start of the trial from Oct. 1 at the request of the six defendants who were in custody. Defense lawyers representing Jeffrey Leon Battle, Ahmed Ibrahim Bilal, Muhammad Ibrahim Bilal, Patrice Lumumba Ford and Maher Mofeid Hawash argued that they needed the delay because the case is complex and involves a large amount of evidence.

The seventh indicted co-conspirator, Habis Abdulla Al Saoub, remains at large.

Lewis agreed to the postponement even though her attorney, John Ransom, said he was prepared to go to trial in October. Jones said he took her willingness to wait into consideration when he released her. He ordered all other defendants held until the trial is over.

Jones said Lewis, who is married to Battle, will live with a couple in Vancouver, Wash., who have been approved by the U.S. Protective Service. He ordered her to find work or enroll in school. She is prohibited from having contact with any of the other defendants and must wear an electronic monitoring bracelet at all times.

Because of the delay, Jones canceled a two-day hearing on pretrial motions that he had set for June 9-10. Instead, he rescheduled the hearing for Oct. 1, the original trial date.


Two groups pursue recall

Two committees from different ends of the political spectrum have been formed to recall Portland Mayor Vera Katz.

The Recall Vera Katz Committee filed its recall petition with the Elections Division of the city auditor's office Tuesday. Chief sponsor Marvin Moore said the drive is largely based on Katz's handling of the Portland Police Bureau. Since Katz was elected mayor and became police commissioner, he says, the bureau has engaged in a pattern of violence against minorities and political dissidents.

The second group is the Better Portland Alliance, which charges that the police are too easy on political protesters. Chief sponsor Jack Peek said Katz should be recalled because the police allowed antiwar demonstrators to shut down city streets, bridges and freeways, hurting the business community.

Moore's committee has 90 days from Tuesday to collect 29,877 valid voter signatures. Peek is hoping to meet with Moore in coming days to see if the two groups can work together. If not, the alliance must decide whether to file its recall petitions on June 6 as planned.


Acting FBI director named

Laurie Bennett has been appointed acting special agent in charge of the FBI's Portland division until a permanent replacement has been named for Charles Mathews, who retired Monday.

Bennett has been the assistant special agent in charge of the Portland office since last year. She joined the bureau in 1990 and was assigned to the Washington Metropolitan Field Office, where she investigated international terrorism, drug trafficking, violent crimes and organized crime.

She also was deployed to Saudi Arabia to investigate the Khobar Towers bombing and served as a supervisor in the FBI's Minneapolis division.

Mathews' successor should be selected by FBI Director Robert Mueller within the next few months.

Police win awards

A 34-year-old North Precinct night shift officer will receive the Police Officer of the Year award from the American Legion, St. Johns Post.

Officer Steven Jaquot, a seven-year officer who came to Portland four years ago from the Honolulu Police Department, is being commended for his work with new recruits and on drug investigations.

'I enjoy my job as a community police officer, and I like working with people,' said Jaquot, who is investigating marijuana-growing operations.

Last week, eight officers were presented with the bureau's highest award, the Medal of Valor. They included:

Officer Andrew Kofoed, for diving into Laurelhurst Pond to rescue a 75-year-old woman; officer George Weseman, who was shot in the head while apprehending a suspect at a check-cashing store; officer Nathan Wollstein, who risked his life by grabbing onto a man trying to jump off the Fremont Bridge; and Sgt. Larry Wooten and officers Gary Barbour, Peter Mahuna, Joe Savage and Mike Stradley, members of the Special Emergency Reaction Team who responded to an incident in which a man fired shots from his apartment at a TriMet bus, citizens and officers.


Cartoonist honored

Portland native Matt Groening won cartooning's highest honor last weekend when the National Cartoonists Society gave him the Reuben award for outstanding cartoonist of the year.

Groening, a 1972 graduate of Lincoln High School, is the creator of 'The Simpsons,' Fox's wildly successful animated sitcom that borrows generously from Groening's family and Portland childhood. The show will begin its 14th season this fall.

'It's an award that's long overdue,' Steve McGarry, the society's president, told the Tribune. 'He's acknowledged as an absolute pioneer in our profession.'

The Reuben is named for legendary cartoonist Rube Goldberg, who became the society's first president in 1946 and later designed the statuette that accompanies the award.

Previous winners include Al Capp, creator of 'Li'l Abner'; Charles Schulz of 'Peanuts'; Lynn Johnston of 'For Better or for Worse'; and Scott Adams of 'Dilbert.'

The 570 voting members of the society chose Groening over three other finalists: Pat Brady of 'Rose Is Rose,' Greg Evans of 'Luann' and Dan Piraro of 'Bizarro.' Groening accepted the award at the society's banquet Saturday night in San Francisco.


Hormones hold dangers

Women who take an estrogen-progestin hormone combination to prevent disease are actually at greater risk of having a stroke and of developing Alzheimer's disease, dementia and a diminished ability to think clearly, according to three studies partially conducted in Oregon and Southwest Washington.

Results of the studies, released this week, 'strengthen the view that women should not take the estrogen-plus-progestin combination long-term to prevent diseases,' said Cheryl Ritenbaugh, a Kaiser Permanente researcher in Portland who was an investigator in the study.

An earlier study, released last summer, showed that postmenopausal women (ages 50 to 79) taking the hormone combination were at risk of developing breast cancer and heart disease.

For years, doctors have prescribed the estrogen-progestin combination to relieve menopausal symptoms and to help prevent some diseases. Ritenbaugh said the studies indicate that replacement hormones may still help prevent osteoporosis and colon cancer, but the studies show that the risks far outweigh their benefits.

Ritenbaugh said women probably could still use the hormone therapy for a short while. She recommended that they consult their doctors and consider taking the lowest dose possible, tapering off or stopping entirely.

Nearly 400 women in the Portland-Vancouver, Wash., area participated in the study, which involved 16,600 women nationwide. In Oregon, the study was conducted at Kaiser's Center for Health Research in North Portland.

Tribune staff

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