- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 23, 2004

HAWAII

Homeless honored nationwide

HONOLULU — Since he went from home remodeler to homeless person two years ago, Tim Cook has been robbed eight times, been beaten up five times and suffered four staph infections.

Five of Mr. Cook’s friends have died homeless, including one who had a stroke two weeks ago. Their stories and cries are rarely heard.

Honolulu joined cities across the country Tuesday in remembering the thousands who died homeless this year. A record 125 cities — 25 more than last year — are holding events this week to observe National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day.

OREGON

Tribes turning to charter schools

MISSION — There were no teachers in a room at the Nixyaawii Charter School, just a dozen or so teenagers gathered for their last class of the day.

Slouched low in their seats, baseball caps pulled down, they talked about how to behave in school.

In the first few months at Nixyaawii, the group has emerged as a linchpin, helping to hold together a school on which the hopes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation rest.

The school emphasizes American-Indian culture. Students learn traditional beadwork and basketry in art classes, discuss native fables in English and, instead of Spanish or German, are getting instruction in the languages spoken by their ancestors.

CONNECTICUT

Greenwich tops U.S. in Christmas tree cost

GREENWICH — Wealthy Fairfield County tops the United States in Christmas tree sales, according to a survey of farmers by the Agriculture Department. While fresh trees sell for about $30 in most parts of the state, the average price is $50 to $60 along the Gold Coast, growers say.

FLORIDA

Dummy satellite fails to reach orbit

CAPE CANAVERAL — A new heavy-duty Boeing rocket designed to haul supersized military satellites into space failed during a test flight to put a dummy satellite into its intended orbit, officials said yesterday.

Boeing said the failure Tuesday was apparently caused by a shorter-than-planned firing of the Delta 4 heavy rocket’s three main engines. Fired simultaneously, each of the three hydrogen-powered main engines generates 17 million horsepower.

A dummy satellite carried in the rocket’s nose cone was to have been delivered to a circular geosynchronous orbit — a spot 22,300 miles from Earth where the satellite would remain over the same spot on Earth at all times. Even after an extended firing of the rocket’s second stage, the satellite fell short of that goal.

GEORGIA

U.S. airports urged to go smoke-free

ATLANTA — Federal health researchers yesterday called on more U.S. airports to enforce smoking bans and said the policy was being undermined by allowing smoking in restaurants and bars.

The 2002 survey of about 200 U.S. airports released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that among 31 larger airports that serve nearly 70 percent of all passengers, just 42 percent had policies that banned smoking inside their facilities.

The CDC said many states, including New York and Massachusetts, have approved smoking bans in the workplace since the airport poll was conducted in 2002.

INDIANA

Heavy snow falls in Midwest

EVANSVILLE — A foot or more of snow was possible in parts of Indiana and Ohio as a storm spanning the nation’s midsection arrived in the region yesterday.

Snow was falling from New Mexico, where some schools were closed, to the lower Great Lakes.

The snow marked the leading edge of bitterly cold air flowing southward. Highs only in the teens were forecast yesterday in the northern Texas Panhandle, where wind chills today could be as low as 15 below zero, the National Weather Service said.

Eight inches of snow had fallen by late morning in the hilly terrain of southwestern Indiana, where Evansville recorded only 7 inches all of last winter.

KANSAS

Wichita settles accessibilty lawsuit

WICHITA — Wichita has settled a lawsuit that claimed many city buildings are not accessible for the disabled in the Kansas community.

The agreement, approved Tuesday by the City Council without comment, calls for an inventory of all city buildings to determine which need access improvements, the Wichita Eagle reported. A city official said the project will be “very big” and take several years to complete.

Settlement of the suit brought by the local Independent Living Resource Center also calls for city procedure changes so complaints are resolved more quickly. The organization that brought the suit received no money.

MONTANA

Judge orders review on status of trout

BILLINGS — A federal judge in Colorado has ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to re-evaluate the status of Yellowstone cutthroat trout and whether the fish should be protected under the Endangered Species Act.

The agency “arbitrarily and capriciously” concluded that a petition seeking federal protection for the fish did not present “substantial information” that such protection was warranted, federal Judge Phillip S. Figa wrote in a decision issued late last week.

Judge Figa ordered the Fish and Wildlife Service to complete a 12-month review of the matter.

NEBRASKA

Children hold shower for fatherless baby

OMAHA — The children at St. Bernadette School held a baby shower for Shane Edward Kielion Jr. He was born Nov. 15, the same day his U.S. Marine father was killed in Iraq.

Mother April Kielion says she wasn’t going to celebrate Christmas this year, but her son is because of the efforts of so many people. School counselor Linda Reese says students collected disposable diapers, baby clothing, bedding, gift cards and more than $700.

NEW YORK

Gotti brother guilty in plot to kill turncoat

NEW YORK — John Gotti’s older brother was convicted yesterday of trying to have Mafia turncoat Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano killed as payback for his testimony against the Dapper Don.

The verdict against Peter Gotti by an anonymous jury capped a trial that featured testimony from several informants and videotaped prison conversations between the Gotti brothers.

Federal prosecutors argued that Peter Gotti, 65, sought revenge against Gravano for his devastating testimony at John Gotti’s racketeering and murder trial. The boss of the Gambino crime family was convicted in 1992 and died in prison a decade later.

Gravano, once John Gotti’s underboss, abandoned the Gambino family for the Witness Protection Program and admitted to involvement in 19 murders.

Prosecutors said Peter Gotti and reputed mob captain Thomas “Huck” Carbonaro, who was also convicted yesterday, plotted in 1999 and 2000 to kill Gravano in Arizona with a homemade land mine or a hunting rifle. But Gravano was arrested on drug charges before the hit could be carried out.

NORTH CAROLINA

Dad helps deliver baby on snowy highway

GREENVILLE — Jennifer Sneed was packed and ready for the trip to a hospital to have her baby this week, but she wasn’t ready for a snowstorm.

Mrs. Sneed went into labor, and she and her husband, Gerry, headed from their eastern North Carolina town of Washington to a hospital 20 miles to the east in Greenville.

Just after 1 a.m. Monday, Gerry Sneed called Pitt County 911, telling the dispatcher his wife said the baby was coming out and they were still on the snowy highway.

“Well, stop. We need you to help deliver the baby, then,” the operator said.

“I was sitting there saying my prayers,” said Mrs. Sneed.

Madison Sneed was born at 1:47 a.m. Monday, minutes before an ambulance crew arrived. Mother and child came home from the hospital Tuesday.

WEST VIRGINIA

Wild turkey flies into truck’s windshield

BECKLEY — Jared Williams ruffled a few feathers while driving on Interstate 64.

A wild turkey flew into the truck’s windshield on Tuesday. Mr. Williams was traveling about 70 mph at the time, but managed to pull safely to the side of the road.

Mr. Williams, 22, had been driving a company truck for Appalachian Laboratories during the collision, and endured turkey jokes from his co-workers the rest of the day.

He has no interest in the bird’s remains — minus one small piece.

“I only wanted a feather for my scrapbook,” he said. “I guess I have a good story to tell when I’m an old man.”

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