- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 16, 2004

CALIFORNIA

Buffalo moving to frigid prairie

SANTA CATALINA ISLAND — After a life spent on a balmy Pacific island, 98 buffalo are being sent back to an authentic — and frigid — home on the range.

The buffalo began their journey Wednesday from Santa Catalina Island, off the coast of Southern California, to South Dakota, where they will live on the traditional rangelands of the Rosebud Lakota reservation.

The animals are the descendants of an original herd of 14 brought from the prairie to appear in the 1920s silent movie “The Vanishing American.” Once the film was completed, the buffalo were left on the island.

NEW YORK

Evicted hawks can rebuild nest

NEW YORK — Come back, Pale Male and Lola. All is forgiven.

A week after the two red-tailed hawks were evicted from their nest outside a luxury apartment building, the board that runs the high-rise on Fifth Avenue has given in to the demands of bird lovers and agreed to let the couple rebuild their nest.

Hopes for the return of Pale Male and Lola came after a week of angry protests. Scores of demonstrators flocked nightly to the corner of 74th and Fifth, often joined by actress Mary Tyler Moore, an ardent hawk advocate who lives in the building. The board had had the nest pulled down and carried away, citing hazards from falling debris.

Associated Press

Third-graders from New York’s Nightingale-Bamford School watched for two hawks that will be permitted to rebuild their nest at a Fifth Avenue address.

COLORADO

Court dismisses wildfire sentence

DENVER — An appeals court yesterday threw out a 12-year state prison sentence given to a former forestry worker who started the largest wildfire in Colorado history.

The Colorado Court of Appeals said state District Judge Edward Colt gave Terry Lynn Barton too harsh a sentence and had at least “the appearance of prejudice” because smoke from the fire had prompted him to leave his own home for a night.

The court ordered a new sentencing hearing before a new judge for Barton, who admitted setting the June 2002 fire when she burned a letter from her ex-husband in a drought-stricken area.

FLORIDA

Castro’s grandchild becomes U.S. citizen

MIAMI — A granddaughter of Cuban President Fidel Castro has been sworn in as a citizen of the United States in ceremonies in Miami Beach.

Alina “Mumin” Salgado, 26, was sworn in along with 6,000 others in ceremonies Wednesday, the Miami Herald reported yesterday.

She is the daughter of Alina Fernandez, one of Mr. Castro’s daughters in exile who fled Cuba with the use of a Spanish passport in 1993. Miss Salgado, then 16, was left behind.

ILLINOIS

Age limit sought on video games

CHICAGO — Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich is proposing to make it a misdemeanor for businesses to sell violent and sexually explicit video games to minors, a step that other states have tried with little success.

Mr. Blagojevich’s proposed legislation would prohibit the distribution, sale, rental and availability of mature video games to children younger than 18.

“We’re talking about violent games that use realistic depiction of human-on-human violence, video games that include dismemberment and disfigurement, video games where the kids control the process,” said Mr. Blagojevich.

IOWA

Value of farmland hits record high

AMES — The value of Iowa farmland has hit an-all time. An annual survey by Iowa State University shows that farmland values jumped 15.6 percent this year, hitting a record $2,629 per acre. That is an average increase of $354 an acre.

Scott County’s average price was $4,167 an acre, the first time the average price of farmland in Iowa topped $4,000.

MINNESOTA

Social Security pay goes to Salvation Army

MINNEAPOLIS — A prosperous businessman didn’t want his 2004 Social Security payments, so he became an early Santa Claus for the Salvation Army.

Last week, the man dropped a check for $14,845 into a bell ringer’s red kettle in downtown Minneapolis.

On Friday, the man, who declined to be identified, released a statement through Salvation Army spokeswoman Annette Bauer. He said he will receive $20,295 in Social Security payments in 2004 and doesn’t need it. He deducted the amount of Social Security taxes he will pay this year, $5,450, from the total.

He noted the donation was tax-deductible, adding, “Undoubtedly, the Salvation Army will make more productive use of the money than would be the case if I returned it to the government.”

NEVADA

Truck accident spills millions of honeybees

LAS VEGAS — A truck carrying 12 million honeybees hit a wall on a highway ramp, dumping its load across the pavement shortly before the evening rush hour.

The truck was carrying 480 bee colonies, each with 25,000 insects, to California to pollinate the state’s almond crop when it struck the wall Wednesday afternoon. The collision forced troopers to close the southbound ramp between Interstate 15 and U.S. Highway 95 for more than four hours.

State police think the driver lost control on the curving ramp.

Authorities summoned beekeepers to help but decided capturing the bees alive would take too much time and money.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Man reunited with lost dog

NASHUA — A man who was separated from his dog during a traffic accident two weeks ago has been reunited with the tiny rat terrier.

Didas escaped from the car of William Baker, 71, who was unharmed, and ran off after the accident in Amherst. Distraught family members had returned to the area daily to look for the 41/2-year-old terrier.

Then on Sunday night, the family received a phone message from Rod and Lynn Spencer of Merrimack, about five miles from the accident scene. They saw the dog and recognized him from a picture in the newspaper.

NEW JERSEY

Missing snake found in parcel

CLIFTON — A Missouri family’s pet snake, missing for a while, turned up alive and slithering in a box they had sent to New Jersey, about 1,000 miles away.

The box contained a digital video disc player that was being sent for repairs. The family thinks Paco the python crawled into the box before they sealed it and sent it to the factory via UPS.

Sheila Himmerick, of Jefferson City, Mo., said her family had been looking for the snake when she received a call from the New Jersey repair shop, CVE Inc., wondering whether the snake in the box belonged to her and whether it was her way of expressing customer dissatisfaction.

Paco, a 3-foot-long, 4-pound ball python, will be shipped back home to Missouri, this time in temperature-controlled comfort.

NEW MEXICO

Degree in American Indian studies offered

ALBUQUERQUE — The University of New Mexico says it will offer a bachelor’s degree in American Indian studies.

Greg Cajete, director of the school’s American Indian studies program, predicted 100 students will enroll either as majors or minors by 2006. UNM, which has about 3,000 American Indian students, created a minor in American Indian studies in 1999.

NORTH DAKOTA

Peltier’s attorneys call sentence illegal

FARGO — Attorneys for imprisoned American Indian activist Leonard Peltier say the government did not have the right to try him for crimes that occurred on a South Dakota reservation.

Peltier, 60, is serving life in prison for the killing of two FBI agents during a 1975 standoff on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He was convicted in 1977.

In a motion filed Wednesday in federal court, Peltier’s attorneys claim the sentence is illegal and he should be released from federal prison in Leavenworth, Kan.

OKLAHOMA

Marijuana found hidden in caskets

SALLISAW — Talk about your killer weed. Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers found 610 pounds of marijuana hidden in caskets being hauled in a truck stopped near this eastern Oklahoma town.

The driver, Timothy G. Hynd, 26, and his passenger, Robert Dean Harper, told a trooper they were working for a Tucson, Ariz., casket company and their destination was Atlanta. They were pulled over early Friday for going 6 mph over the speed limit.

The marijuana was found after troopers were given permission to search the truck. Mr. Hynd and Mr. Harper were charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and were freed on bond Monday. Both men said they had no idea there was marijuana in their cargo.

TEXAS

Americans vanish in border town

SAN ANTONIO — The U.S. Consulate is warning about an increase in kidnappings and disappearances of Americans in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, since mid-August.

There have been 21 known victims in the city that sits directly across the Rio Grande from Laredo, Texas, the San Antonio Express-News reported yesterday.

U.S. Consul Michael Yoder said in Nuevo Laredo that his office thinks the kidnappings are for money, drugs or vengeance. He warned that people don’t have to be involved in drug trafficking to be caught up in the violence.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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