DR. JACK KEVORKIAN said in New York he plans to mount a city-to-city campaign across Michigan for a state constitutional amendment to overturn a ban on assisted suicides. Dr. Kevorkian also repeated his promise to refrain from assisting any more suicides until courts decide whether Michigan's law against the practice is valid.
``What I am going to do now instead is carry on a whistle-stop campaign, city-to-city, getting this guaranteed by a vote of the people as a fundamental right,'' Kevorkian said in interviews for Sunday editions of The Detroit News and The New York Times.
Michigan law permits such amendments to be placed on a statewide ballot if enough signatures are gathered by petition.
Kevorkian, a retired pathologist from Royal Oak, Mich., has witnessed 20 deaths since 1990. He faces two charges of breaking Michigan's ban on assisted suicide, a law enacted this year specifically to stop him.
Each of the two charges is punishable by a maximum four years in prison.
After he was ordered to stand trial for the 19th death he had witnessed, Kevorkian refused solid food during 17 days in the Oakland County Jail. He was released Dec. 17 on $100 bond on the condition he desist from assisting suicides.
``I never once before said I'd stop totally, but I have now,'' he told the Times.
Kevorkian said his stay in solitary confinement changed his mind about what actions are needed next. ``It became clear to me in jail that the issue is now at the stage where it needs resolution,'' he said. ``My decision to desist has helped clear the muddy waters.''
Should he be jailed again, Kevorkian said it was unlikely he would fast.
``I have doubts about the hunger strike,'' he told the News. ``This law has been declared unconstitutional twice. I don't want to dignify their silly games. Beside, it offended so many of my supporters, they felt like I was abandoning them.''
Kevorkian, who said he never has registered to vote, has not yet drafted the language for his proposed constitutional amendment. Late Payment Accepted
It took 20 years, but a man who stole a Christmas tree from a city golf course finally paid for it.
``It was something that had been chewing on him,'' said Stan Shaver, the golf pro at Pawnee Prairie Municipal Golf Course in Wichita, Kan. ``He finally told his wife, and she told him, `Go make restitution.' ''
A man called the pro shop on Christmas Eve and said he had been broke 20 years ago when he snuck onto the course and chopped down a tree.
``I told him, `I couldn't give you a figure on it, it's 20 years ago. I'd just say forget about the tree and send me $20.' '' Shaver said. ``He said, `That sounds fine.' ''
About an hour later, a man walked into the pro shop, admitted he had stolen the tree and a garden hose and left $40. The man - who didn't give his name - shook hands with Shaver and left.
``It's kind of hard to face up to when you do something like that,'' Shaver said. ``I thought it was really something.''