- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 3, 2003

NEW YORK

Ex-POW Lynch makes book deal

NEW YORK — Jessica Lynch, the former prisoner of war whose capture and rescue from an Iraqi hospital made her a national hero, has agreed to a $1 million book deal with publisher Alfred A. Knopf.

“Many folks have written, expressing their support for me and for the thousands of other soldiers who serve their country,” Miss Lynch said in a statement issued yesterday by Knopf.

“I feel I owe them all this story, which will be about more than a girl going off to war and fighting alongside her fellow soldiers. It will be a story about growing up in America.”

“I Am a Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story,” co-written by Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Bragg, is scheduled to come out in mid-November with a first printing of about 500,000 copies, Knopf spokesman Paul Bogaards said.

PENNSYLVANIA

FBI releases photos in pizza-deliveryman case

ERIE — The FBI yesterday released photos of a metal collar found around the neck of a pizza deliveryman who robbed a bank and then was killed when a bomb strapped to his body exploded.

FBI Agent Bob Rudge said the bureau hopes that by releasing photos of the collar and locking device, someone may come forward to help law enforcement solve the strange case.

Arrested Thursday after a bank robbery, Brian Douglas Wells told authorities someone had forced him to rob the bank. He told officers a bomb was attached to him, but he died when it exploded before the bomb squad could get there.

ALASKA

Aggressive bear threatens kayakers

GLACIER BAY — A 12-mile stretch along Glacier Bay’s east shoreline was closed to overnight camping after a group of kayakers encountered an aggressive brown bear.

Park officials said the shoreline is rich with salmon, and the bear might have been acting territorially when it encountered the four kayakers camped out there.

ARIZONA

Mayoral candidate raises almost $1 million

PHOENIX — Former City Councilman Phil Gordon has reported raising more than $964,000 in his race for mayor, more than six times the amount raised by opponent Randy Pullen.

Mr. Pullen, a venture capitalist and software executive, lost to Mayor Skip Rimsza by a 2-1 margin in 1999. Mr. Rimsza is leaving in January because of term limits.

The election will be held Sept. 9.

CALIFORNIA

Judge postpones hearing in Peterson case

SAN FRANCISCO — A judge in Modesto, Calif., yesterday postponed next week’s preliminary hearing in the double-murder trial of Scott Peterson for more than a month to allow the defense team more time to review the evidence.

Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Al Girolami moved the hearing, in which prosecutors are expected to present their case against the 30-year-old salesman accused of killing his wife, Laci, and unborn son, Conner, to Oct. 20 from Tuesday after defense attorneys said they needed more time to evaluate recently received evidence.

Also during the hearing, Mr. Peterson’s attorney Mark Geragos said he would seek to block prosecutors from presenting some information including DNA test results and a witness who was interviewed while under hypnosis.

Mr. Peterson, who has pleaded not guilty, has been held without bail since his April arrest and could receive the death penalty if convicted. His attorney has suggested that a satanist group could have killed Mrs. Peterson and the child.

FLORIDA

Antiabortion extremist sees ‘reward in heaven’

STARKE — An unrepentant Paul Hill boasted yesterday on the eve of his execution for the shotgun slaying of an abortion doctor: “I expect a great reward in heaven.”

Barring an unlikely last-minute stay, the 49-year-old former minister will be put to death by lethal injection tonight for the 1994 murders in Pensacola of Dr. John Britton and his escort. He has not appealed.

Hill will be the first person executed in the United States for antiabortion violence.

In a jailhouse interview, Hill suggested the state will be making a martyr out of him.

Abortion rights groups worry that Hill’s execution will trigger reprisals by those who share his steadfast belief that violence to stop abortion is justified. Several Florida officials connected to the case received threatening letters last week, accompanied by rifle bullets.

Gov. Jeb Bush, who was named in one of those threatening letters, said yesterday the threats would not keep him from carrying out the law.

GEORGIA

Habitat for Humanity goes to college

AMERICUS — Habitat for Humanity International is opening its own university to train leaders on the finer points of carrying on its mission of providing housing for the needy.

The ecumenical housing ministry officially opens the university today in a refurbished Victorian house near its world headquarters in Americus, a town of 17,000 located about 175 miles south of Atlanta.

Founded in 1976 by Linda and Millard Fuller, Habitat and its 16,000 affiliates have built 150,000 homes in 89 countries, but there are still more than 1 billion people living in substandard housing or homeless.

“Our greatest need is for new leaders to continue this movement,” Mr. Fuller said. “Strong, successful leadership, which Habitat for Humanity University is designed to help develop, will continue to propel this housing ministry forward.”

The university will offer seminars and online courses for sharing information and ideas, including tips on the financial management of affiliates, construction practices and the selection of families for Habitat homes.

KANSAS

Bodies of 2 missing in flood are found

EMPORIA — Searchers yesterday found the bodies of two persons missing since floodwaters swept their vehicles off the Kansas Turnpike over the weekend, including a woman whose four children drowned in the high water.

The body of Melissa Rogers, 33, of Liberty, Mo., was found in a pond about two miles from Interstate 35, Fire Chief Jack Taylor said.

Another body, preliminarily identified as Al Larsen, 31, of Fort Worth, Texas, was also found yesterday, Chief Taylor said. He was missing from a separate vehicle.

Mr. Larsen and the Rogers family drowned after heavy rain sent torrents of floodwaters over Interstate 35 late Saturday. Mrs. Rogers’ husband, Robert, 37, survived.

Mr. Rogers said he kicked out the window in a desperate and frantic effort to save his family. But he was quickly pulled by the rushing water from the vehicle, found on its roof Sunday about 1 miles from the highway in south-central Kansas.

LOUISIANA

Appeals court to hear jail abortion case

NEW ORLEANS — A federal appeals court will consider a woman’s lawsuit over her claim that south Louisiana jailers unconstitutionally prevented her from getting an abortion while incarcerated, forcing her to give birth after her release.

The woman, known in court papers as Victoria W., sought an unspecified amount of money in damages for pain and suffering. She contends her constitutional right to an abortion was obstructed by a Terrebonne Parish jail requirement that she hire a lawyer and get a court order authorizing the procedure.

A federal district judge threw out her case last year before it made it to trial. A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear arguments today.

Victoria W. was 25 weeks pregnant and no longer able to get an abortion in Louisiana when she finished her sentence for simple battery in October 1999, her lawsuit claimed. She gave birth in January 2000, and the child was placed with adoptive parents, her attorneys said.

MAINE

Lobster catch off by one-third this year

PORTLAND — Maine’s lobster catch is off by one-third this year, raising fears that a string of record annual catches may be at an end, industry sources say.

An estimated 58.8 million pounds of lobster valued at more than $188 million was caught in Maine last year. About 20 million pounds have been caught so far this year, compared with more than 30 million pounds at the same point in 2002.

MICHIGAN

Worker, guest shot in hotel robbery

TROY — A hotel worker was fatally shot and a guest wounded early yesterday in an apparent robbery at the hotel, police and hotel officials said.

The two women were found about 1:30 a.m. at the Troy Holiday Inn in this Detroit suburb. They were identified only as a 35-year-old hotel employee from Wayne County and a 28-year-old guest from Cedar Park, Texas.

Troy Police Lt. Steve Zavislak would not say where in the hotel the women were discovered except to say they were in separate locations.

The robber or robbers disabled the hotel’s surveillance system, Lt. Zavislak said. He said property was taken but gave no details.

MINNESOTA

Counties join to form tax-free zones

MINNEAPOLIS — Some rural counties are banding together to increase their chances of winning one of 10 tax-free areas created by the state’s Job Opportunity Building Zones program.

Twelve counties along Interstate 90 near the state’s southern border agreed to file a joint application for one of the 5,000-acre zones. Another group combines seven counties and other local governments in northeastern Minnesota.

NEBRASKA

First-time golfer drills hole in one

OMAHA — His first time on a golf course, 10-year-old Drew Buganjy drilled a hole in one.

“My dad said, ‘you’re standing wrong,’” Drew said Monday. Once his father straightened his stance, Drew unleashed a swing at the ball. “It just flew and bounced twice and went in,” he said

The shot came Saturday while the Nebraska Cornhuskers were beating Oklahoma State in football, and Steve Buganjy thought the Westwood Heights Golf Course would be relatively empty because of the game.

It gave his son a chance to swing at the ball on a golf course instead of a driving range and not feel pressured by onlookers.

Drew drove the ball 130 yards on the par 3, eighth hole.

“It was one of those wonderful little adventures,” Mr. Buganjy said.

NEVADA

Officials offer to buy water

LAS VEGAS — Southern Nevada water officials offered to buy $82 million in water from California in an effort to broker a long-delayed Colorado River water-sharing deal.

The $82 million offer would allow Nevada to draw an additional 330,000 acre feet of Colorado River water over 20 years, a share that would come from California’s river allotment.

NORTH CAROLINA

Dectector requirement eyed for homes

CHARLOTTE — Mecklenburg County officials are considering a requirement for a carbon monoxide detector in every home.

County officials said they started thinking about the requirement after December’s ice storm when some people tried to heat their homes with charcoal grills or gas-powered generators, releasing carbon monoxide. In Mecklenburg County, one person died and about 200 were sickened.

OHIO

Motorist kills man over thrown tomato

MOUNT HOPE — A motorist whose car was pelted with tomato as he passed a cornfield fired a shotgun into the field, killing a 23-year-old man, authorities said.

Steven L. Keim was with about 10 others, ages 15 to 23, who were hiding in the field Monday night, throwing tomatoes and firing paintball guns at passing cars, the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office said.

According to the sheriff’s department, after the car was struck with tomatoes, the driver stopped, got out and threatened to shoot whoever threw them.

The car continued on, but turned around and drove past again and was struck with tomatoes a second time.

About 25 minutes later, the car traveled past the cornfield two more times. On a third pass, the driver stopped and challenged the group to throw more tomatoes, then fired three to five rounds into the cornfield, striking Mr. Keim several times.

No suspect had been arrested yesterday.

TEXAS

3 employees found slain in restaurant

TEXARKANA — Authorities were investigating whether robbery was the motive for the slayings of three employees inside an Outback Steakhouse.

The bodies were found in the office area of the restaurant Monday.

“At this point we’re unsure what the motive was. It’s likely that it was robbery, but we don’t know that for sure,” police Sgt. Danny Presley said.

Mr. Presley said officers were sent to the restaurant at about 3 a.m. after receiving a call from the wife of manager Matt Hines.

Police identified the victims as Mr. Hines, 31, Chrissy Willis, 23, and Rebecca Shifflet, 24.

Co-worker Mary Gerrard said the victims were working late on end-of-the-month inventory.

WASHINGTON

1 dead, 2 badly hurt in church van rollover

MARYSVILLE — A church van blew a tire and overturned, killing a 77-year-old woman and injuring 14 other passengers, the State Patrol said.

Two severely injured women were flown by helicopter to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after the crash late Monday. The other 12 persons in the van were treated for less-severe injuries, Trooper Lance Ramsay said.

The group was returning from a gathering in Vancouver, British Columbia, to the Chinese Baptist Church in Seattle.

There was no indication that the driver was speeding, but investigators were trying to determine if the van was overloaded, Trooper Ramsay said.

WISCONSIN

Mourning dove hunt begins in state

MADISON — Wisconsin’s first-ever mourning dove hunt got under way with 20,000 to 30,000 hunters expected to participate.

A citizens’ group successfully sued to stop the mourning dove hunt in 2001, but an appeals court overturned that ruling earlier this year.

The state estimates hunters will take 120,000 to 150,000 doves during the 60-day inaugural season.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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