Bahai News -- Monterey Herald - More cast changes at Law & Order: Monterey County LOCAL

Posted on Sat, Sep. 06, 2003

More cast changes at Law & Order: Monterey County

Closing arguments: The Monterey County District Attorney's Office is a little leaner in the talent pool these days after the departures of two longtime prosecutors. Assistant District Attorney Carolyn "Charlie" Keeley has called her last witness after opting for an early retirement. And Aug. 29 was the last day for Deputy District Attorney David Alkire.

Now, the Professor doesn't know Keeley's age, but it's a safe bet she's not much over 50. Retirement? Must be nice, Charlie. Word has it she wanted to spend more time with her kids, who are high schoolers.

As for Alkire, he's leaving to go back into private practice in Nevada City, mostly civil litigation.

Assistant District Attorney Berkley Brannon says both prosecutors will be sorely missed. Keeley took big cases and always won. And Alkire was one of the office's top litigators -- though it was always a puzzlement how Coast Weekly could have found that one of Alkire's better qualities as a candidate was his sense of humor. As tough on perps as he was on the press, Alkire was famous for asking for gag orders just so he'd have an excuse not to talk to the media.

Sgt. Intrigue: When the name of a former Defense Language Institute staffer surfaced this week in connection with the British scandal over the death of an arms expert, local military officials said they had no record of the woman, Air Force Master Sgt. Mai Pederson. Turns out she had a solid four-year record here.

Pederson was named Monday by the Times of London as the Baha'i spiritual adviser to David Kelly, the microbiologist who apparently killed himself July 17 near his home in Oxfordshire. Creating a political crisis for the British government, questions had surfaced about whether the government had exaggerated some of Kelly's findings about Iraqi weapons capabilities.

Pederson, the Times reported, had befriended Kelly while translating for him on a United Nations mission in Iraq in 1998. Later, she helped convert him to the Baha'i faith, and he visited Monterey several times to study the religion, which espouses multiculturalism and world peace.

More about Pederson is expected to surface in the British tabloids, but little has come out about her in the U.S. press. Here's a little more.

Pederson, 43, was assigned to the Presidio from April 1997 to February 2001.

She was on the staff of Air Force Training Squadron 311 at the language school during that time, according to Army spokeswoman Lauren Solis.

Pederson's duties included serving as chief of the Air Force commander's support staff and as supervisor of satellite personnel activities for the squadron, Solis said.

In October 1998 the Presidio's news magazine, The Globe, reported that Pederson was decorated with the Joint Service Achievement Medal.

She was assigned to the Pentagon after leaving DLI, where the Air Force reported she was involved in Air Force re-enlistments as chief of enlisted skills management. She now lives in Montgomery, Ala., and hasn't commented publicly on the Kelly matter.

Aw, isn't that nice: The Prof now will tell you about a very special student who attends Foothill Elementary School in Monterey. His name is Nick Mascarello.

Last week Foothill Principal Hal Nelson sent an e-mail telling about Nick, a second grader who had spent the summer running his very own lemonade stand. Nick had just come to school and given Mr. Nelson his earnings, $138.50 -- all for the school.

For equipment, for programs, for his classroom, whatever the school needed.

Way to go, Nick. Prof. Toro's column is a collection of items from reporters' notebooks and submissions from readers. It occasionally appears Saturdays. The professor can be reached by fax at 372-8401 or by e-mail to

©Copyright 2003, The Monterey Herlad (CA, USA)

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