Beware of unknown charities, warns Blumenthal

As state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal warned residents to only donate to reputable relief organizations, more Connecticut groups pledged aid to the New York and Washington attack victims. The Knights of Columbus, the Catholic fraternal organization headquartered in New Haven, announced it will give a total of $1 million to the families of rescue workers lost in rescue efforts at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon Tuesday. Each family will receive a grant of $2,500. Rimage Salon and Spa on Chapel Street will be collecting donations for the relief effort and will contribute a percentage of its revenue during the month of September to relief efforts. Blumenthal cautioned that hucksters may try to exploit grief by collecting money in the victims’ names and use it for some other purpose.

“If people wish to give — and we encourage them to do so — they

should contribute only to established and known charities,” Blumenthal said. “We encourage people to contribute in this time of tragedy with their heads as well as their hearts.”

USPS expecting minimal delays, back to normal soon

The U.S. Postal Service will continue to deliver mail normally throughout the United States in coming days, despite restrictions in place in New York and Washington, postal officials in New Haven said yesterday. The Postal Service was doing its best to move mail throughout the nation despite a federal ban on commercial flights, which was lifted in part late yesterday afternoon, said Al Lazaroff, the Postal Service’s lead executive for the state of Connecticut.

“The Postal Service is functioning on fairly normal footing,” Lazaroff said. “The only conceivable problems may occur in Washington, New York, or for people sending packages over great distances.”

Since most mail sent to addresses less than 500 miles away is usually

moved by ground transportation anyway, Lazaroff said only those sending mail overseas or to distant parts of the U.S. would notice any difference in delivery time. For those sending letters and packages within New England, New York and New Jersey, Lazaroff said delivery would be “business as usual.” But customers will not be compensated if express or priority mail does not reach its destination as quickly as usual, he added.

Lazaroff said it would take about a week for the Postal Service “to return to totally normal operations” once planes start flying today or tomorrow.

–James Collins

Large response moves blood drive to City Hall

There have been so many donors showing up at Connecticut blood drives that today’s drive in New Haven has been moved to the first floor of City Hall, 165 Church St. Walk-ins will be welcome at the American Red Cross drive between noon and 6 p.m., and anyone who has an appointment at Temple Medical or the Red Cross Chapter House on Whitney Avenue should come to City Hall at the scheduled time. “New Haven’s response to this unimaginable tragedy has been a true inspiration,” Mayor John DeStefano Jr. said. “In the midst of such sorrow, people from all walks of life are coming together to show just what America is all about.” Anyone who weighs more than 110 pounds and is at least 17 years old may be eligible to donate blood.

–Associated Press

State extends due date for taxes by one month

HARTFORD — People and businesses affected by the terrorists attacks over the past week will be getting something of a tax break in Connecticut.

Tax Commissioner Gene Gavin said Thursday that taxpayers, business and practitioners have been granted an automatic one-month extension for

meeting filing and payment due dates. The decision involves: estimated tax payments due on for before Sept. 17; all tax returns due on or before Oct. 1; and all tax returns due on extension on or before Oct. 1 or Oct. 15. Gavin said that in the wake of Tuesday’s tragic events he wanted to assure the public there will be quick resolution of any potential tax problems that might arise from the disasters.

–Associated Press

Terrorist’s brother created scholarship at Harvard Law

A brother of terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden set up a scholarship fund at Harvard Law School in 1994.

Sheik Bakr Mohammed bin Laden made a large donation to the law school to fund visiting scholars to do research in Islamic legal studies. Harvard Law spokesman Michael Armini would not disclose the amount of the gift, but typically it takes about $1 million to establish a research fellowship. The sheik established a second scholarship at the Harvard School of Design. Harvard officials were quick to distance the school from Osama bin Laden, emphasizing that he has no role in the scholarship programs.

“This is in no way connected to Osama bin Laden, who has been ostracized from his family and from Saudi Arabia,” Armini said. “The purpose of this gift was to foster mutual understanding between the Western and Islamic legal worlds.”

The FBI is closely investigating bin Laden’s ties to the Boston area: two of his associates once worked as Boston cab drivers, and another relative, Mohammed M. bin Laden, owns six condominiums in the Charlestown district of the city.

–Associated Press

Sen. Dodd proud father of a newborn baby girl

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., and his wife are the new parents of a baby girl. Dodd’s wife, Jackie Marie Clegg, gave

birth Thursday night at a Northern Virginia hospital.

The baby is named Grace after both her grandmothers. She was born at seven pounds and 20 inches long.

“They’re doing terrific,” Dodd spokesman Marvin Fast said. “Both of them are elated.”

Dodd, 57, and Clegg, 39, the vice chairwoman and chief operating officer of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, were married in 1999 after many years of dating. This is the first child for both.

–Associated Press

A year after car accident, police charge city man

Police have charged a city man with manslaughter after, they said, he drove drunk a year ago and crashed into another car, killing the other driver.

On Aug. 11, 2000, Gilberto Baez and a female passenger were in his Nissan 280ZX. They crashed into a Honda Civic on Ella T. Grasso Boulevard near Adeline Street around 11:30 p.m. The driver of the Civic, Gene Black, 36, of West Haven, was transported to the Hospital of Saint Raphael where he was pronounced dead, suffering massive head and body trauma. Baez and his passenger were transported to Yale-New Haven Hospital. Baez, 35, of Arch Street, was charged yesterday with second-degree manslaughter, driving under the influence, and operating a motor vehicle under suspension.

— Associated Press