Other items: Winter storm hits Plains, Midwest; New Sudafed formula will change ingredient; and the Maryland priest accused of abuse is defrocked.

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A judge yesterday cleared the way for a voter-approved initiative to become law that will deny some public benefits to illegal immigrants.

Judge David Bury denied a request for a preliminary injunction and lifted a temporary restraining order he granted Nov. 30. Opponents said they would appeal.

The initiative, Proposition 200, requires proof of immigration status when obtaining certain state services, and proof of citizenship when registering to vote. Government workers who don’t report illegal immigrants seeking benefits could face jail time and a fine.

Winter storm hits Plains, Midwest

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A winter storm battered states from the Plains through the Midwest yesterday, sending travelers sliding over icy roads, dumping a foot of snow over some areas and bringing bitterly cold temperatures. In International Falls, Minn., the temperature dropped to 26 below.

Snow fell from New Mexico, where some schools were closed, to the lower Great Lakes. The storm marked the leading edge of bitterly cold air flowing southward. There were at least six weather-related traffic deaths: three in Ohio and one each in New Mexico, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Evansville, Ind.

New Sudafed formula will change ingredient

The maker of Sudafed is offering a new version of the cold and allergy medicine without an ingredient often used to produce the illegal and highly addictive drug methamphetamine.

Pseudoephedrine will be replaced with another substance, phenylephrine, in a new product called Sudafed PE, which will become available Jan. 10 in the United States, Pfizer spokeswoman Erica Johnson said yesterday. Pfizer will continue to offer the old Sudafed, too.

Johnson said the new formula could help curtail meth production. In many states, pharmacists keep Sudafed behind a counter.


Priest accused of abuse defrocked

A priest who was shot and wounded in 2002 by a former altar boy he allegedly molested more than a decade ago has been defrocked, an Archdiocese of Baltimore spokesman said yesterday.

Maurice Blackwell, 58, is scheduled to go on trial Jan. 3 on four counts of child sexual abuse against Dontee Stokes. The alleged abuse began in 1989 and ended in 1992.

Blackwell has denied sexually abusing Stokes, who was a teenager at the time. Stokes was acquitted of attempted murder in December 2002 but was convicted on gun charges and served a sentence of home detention.


Kerik resigns: Bernard Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner and one-time Cabinet nominee, said yesterday he will leave the consulting firm run by former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

Stolen baby: Lisa Montgomery, the Kansas woman accused of strangling a pregnant woman and cutting the baby from her womb earlier this month, often faked being pregnant to get attention, even though she had her tubes tied 14 years ago, according to her ex-husband, Carl Boman of Bartlesville, Okla.

Airport patdowns: In response to numerous complaints from women, the government has ordered airport-security personnel to avoid touching female passengers between their breasts when performing patdowns.

Search ends: The Coast Guard called off its search yesterday for five fishermen lost at sea when their scallop boat capsized off Nantucket, Mass., on Monday.