- The Washington Times - Friday, December 24, 2004

CALIFORNIA

Gorilla goes home to rule zoo’s exhibit

SAN FRANCISCO — A 23-year-old ape from Buffalo, N.Y., has returned to the San Francisco Zoo, as the new king of Gorilla World. In early January, he’ll be liberated from quarantine and become the exhibit’s star, filling a vacancy created in May when Kubi, its longtime patriarch, died.

Since May, the four females have been left to their own devices.

The gorilla from upstate New York, who answers to OJ, was born in July 1981 at the Columbus Zoo in Ohio, moved to San Francisco in November 1982 and shuffled off to Buffalo in March 1987, where he was officially renamed “Rich” because the city’s Rich Products Corp. sponsored him.

WISCONSIN

Woman receives decades-old letter

INDEPENDENCE — Jane Matchey recently became better acquainted with the late father she never met after receiving a letter he wrote six decades ago.

“I can’t describe the feeling I had the first time I held that letter,” Mrs. Matchey, 59, said. “After 60 years, good grief, the man finally seems real to me.”

Sgt. Henry Longmier was killed by a German sniper in Belgium in the waning days of the Battle of the Bulge on Jan. 25, 1945. Prior to that, in late 1944, he stayed at the home of the Neederlants family.

It seems Mr. Longmier neglected to mail the letter to his wife. Only recently did the Neederlants’ grandson, Lando Mulleneers, 38, become curious about its intended recipient. After an Internet search, a contact made through the Independence Public Library called Mrs. Matchey. Mrs. Matchey then e-mailed Mr. Mulleneers.

On Nov. 26 — which would have been her mother’s 90th birthday — the letter arrived. Addressed from “somewhere in Holland,” Mr. Longmier mostly wrote about whether his wife should get rid of his summer clothes.

TEXAS

School expels senior for ‘immoral behavior’

ADDISON — A top student and varsity athlete at Trinity Christian Academy was forced out after administrators found he was running a Web site about homosexuality.

The 18-year-old senior had attended the school since kindergarten, winning multiple service and citizenship awards and helping younger students with their Bible studies. But he was forced to leave the school months before graduation because school administrators deemed the Web site forum he designed to help teens discuss their sexuality “immoral behavior,” the Dallas Morning News reported.

“I feel completely violated. The big lesson here for me is that you can’t really trust anybody. That, and I should have kept my mouth shut,” said the student, who asked the newspaper not publish his name.

He will finish his senior year at a school in Plano. The paper said he has already been accepted to a prestigious university.

MINNESOTA

Man on wrong trains, reaches Minnesota

MANKATO — Juan Rivera, left his home in Juarez, Mexico, last week. He slipped into El Paso, Texas, and went to Riverside, Calif., to look for a temporary job. When he couldn’t find work, he asked someone which train headed back to El Paso.

But the train went to the wrong city. So he got on another train, then another. Somehow he ended up in Mankato in the middle of the night, according to Blue Earth County Sheriff Brad Peterson, who heard Mr. Rivera’s story through an interpreter.

Wearing only jeans and three shirts, Mr. Rivera walked to a convenience store and crawled into a trash bin to stay warm. But about 5:30 a.m. Monday, a garbage truck dumped the contents of the trash bin, including Mr. Rivera, into the truck.

When the truck got to its next stop, Mr. Rivera crawled out the back and the driver called 911. He was treated at a local hospital for minor injuries.

Although he entered the country illegally, Sheriff Peterson said the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement had no interest in him. Having broken no local laws, and considering his harrowing experience, the sheriff told Mr. Rivera he was free to go.

Donors bought a bus ticket and gave traveling money to Mr. Rivera for his trip back to Texas.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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