- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 26, 2004

ARKANSAS

Teen goes home with new heart

LITTLE ROCK — Giving a bearhug to his surgeon and a thumbs up to other hospital staff, a 14-year-old boy went home for Christmas — the first child to receive a new heart after relying on a newly developed miniature heart pump.

“This is a good feeling. It’s nice to win one,” surgical assistant Carl Chipman said Thursday as Travis Marcus and his family left Arkansas Children’s Hospital and headed home to Cabot.

Doctors implanted the miniature pump — the DeBakey Child Ventricular Assist Device — Sept. 16, and Travis received his new heart two months later.

MASSACHUSETTS

Police end parishioner vigil

NATICK — A protest vigil at a parish slated for closure by the Boston Archdiocese ended yesterday when police sealed off the 114-year-old church after its final Mass and ordered parishioners to leave.

About a dozen parishioners had resumed the vigil at Sacred Heart Church yesterday morning after two church members, Anne Green and Leo Ryan, were arrested for refusing to leave after Christmas Eve Mass on Friday night.

Brendan Melchiorri, 14, who left Sacred Heart weeping with the other evicted parishioners, said the closure was “one of the worst days of my entire life.”

The closure is part of a reorganization plan announced in the spring by Archbishop Sean O’Malley.

ARIZONA

Surplus to be used to tutor students

PHOENIX — The state plans to use an anticipated $10 million in surplus school aid to add tutoring for students having difficulty passing the AIMS graduation test. So far, only half of the state’s high-school juniors have passed the math portion.

The governor and state superintendent of schools agreed to use the surplus money rather than wait for a legislative appropriation.

TENNESSEE

Planned cemetery

angers neighbors

SOMERVILLE — Muslims planned to turn an old sod farm near Memphis into a cemetery, but angry neighbors protested, complaining the burial ground could become a staging ground for terrorists or spread disease from unembalmed bodies.

It was not the first time a group faced opposition when trying to build a cemetery or a mosque, but the dispute stood out for the clarity of its anti-Muslim rhetoric.

“We know for a fact that Muslim mosques have been used as terrorist hide-outs and centers for terrorist activities,” farmer John Wilson told members of a planning commission last month.

Similar disputes have arisen elsewhere when Muslim groups sought to develop mosques or cemeteries, which are often the first Islamic institutions in some communities.

Opponents of a proposal to open a mosque in Voorhees, N.J., distributed an anonymous flier warning that Islamic worshippers might include “extremists and radicals.” Arguments over a proposed Muslim cemetery near Atlanta persisted for more than a year before officials approved preliminary plans.

LOUISIANA

Fast-food worker saves driver

BATON ROUGE — A McDonald’s worker ran to the rescue of a drunken-driving suspect whose car was rolling toward a canal, pulling the man from behind the wheel about 10 feet before the vehicle fell into the water and submerged.

“He saved that man’s life,” fellow McDonald’s employee Priscilla Morgan said of co-worker Tonio Harris.

The pair were working early Thursday morning when motorist Brian Broussard, 20, pulled up to the drive-through service window.

“He was blacked out, leaning over the steering wheel,” Miss Morgan said.

East Baton Rouge sheriff’s deputies say when Mr. Broussard’s foot slipped off the brake, the car began to roll toward a canal across the street from the McDonald’s. Mr. Harris took off after it, pulling Mr. Broussard from the still-moving car just before it plunged into the canal.

Mr. Broussard was charged with driving while intoxicated.

MINNESOTA

Fish dish finding its way to troops

GLENWOOD — Each year, Mike Field ships anywhere from 200,000 to 300,000 pounds of lutefisk from his small shop here to customers all over the United States.

But his latest order of the stinky fish crosses a new horizon.

One lutefisk-loving soldier ordered 25 pounds of the pungent lye-soaked fish to be shipped to Afghanistan as a “treat” for the servicemen and women stationed there.

“This is a first for this little outfit,” said Mr. Field, owner of Mike’s Fish and Seafood Inc.

The order came from Mike Lindemoe, a U.S. soldier stationed in Afghanistan — and yes, he’s the one who called it a “treat,” Mr. Field said.

Mr. Field said lutefisk is a holiday tradition for many of Scandinavian heritage.

Shipping his product to Afghanistan will require some ingenuity. Because the product must be refrigerated, timing is everything. Mr. Field plans to pack the lutefisk with freezer gel packs in an insulated container.

NEBRASKA

Brothers recycle birthday card

HASTINGS — When Earl Marian, 73, sends birthday wishes to his brother, he can count on getting the same exact birthday wishes from Floyd Marian, 80, the next month.

It’s a card-swapping tradition that started in 1975 when Floyd, whose birthday is Dec. 10, received a birthday card from his brother, whose birthday is Jan. 31.

In it, Linus of the Peanuts comic strip tells the reader, “This is the age of ecology! Don’t throw this card away. Recycle it to a friend.”

For 29 years, the brothers have kept their same-card exchange going, freshening the card up with one-line messages that now have taken up most of the card’s open space.

“It’s getting worn out a little bit,” Floyd said.

NEW JERSEY

Delaware crossing re-enactment canceled

WASHINGTON CROSSING — Thousands of spectators along the Delaware River were disappointed Saturday when high, fast-flowing waters forced the re-enactment of George Washington’s historic crossing to be canceled for the third straight year.

The rush of water, caused by recent heavy rains, was too much for re-enactors to replicate the 1776 feat by Washington and his Continental troops that set the stage for key Revolutionary War victories.

Spectators lining the riverbanks in Pennsylvania and New Jersey still got a show as several dozen re-enactors, dressed in period uniforms and clothing, marched with weapons and drums.

Bad weather also forced re-enactments to be postponed in 2002 and 2003, but river conditions in 1776 were even rougher.

NORTH CAROLINA

Winter hits hard over holiday weekend

RALEIGH — Snow, sleet and freezing rain pelted the Carolinas yesterday, knocking out power to thousands and causing hundreds of accidents on one of the busiest travel and shopping days of the year. At least two persons were killed.

Portions of eastern North Carolina received more than 9 inches of snow, surprising residents who often go an entire winter without seeing snow.

OHIO

Seven stabbed at birthday party

AKRON — Seven persons were stabbed in a fight at a birthday party for a 2-year-old girl, and police said yesterday they charged two men with assault.

The toddler was not hurt, police said. The victims of the melee on Saturday night were hospitalized, and at least one victim required surgery, police Sgt. Terry Hudnall said.

Tam T. Nguyen, 25, and Vi Tran, 35, were charged. Mr. Nguyen was jailed and Mr. Tran was being treated at a hospital for injuries he suffered in the fight, Sgt.Hudnall said.

“We have no idea right now what started the fight,” police Lt. Rick Edwards said.

TEXAS

Gorilla’s escape cost Dallas $10,000

DALLAS — Mayor Laura Miller says the city will pay a $10,000 federal fine over the March escape of a gorilla from the Dallas Zoo. She disagrees with the fine levied by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but says the city wants to avoid a protracted legal dispute.

Jabari, 13, leaped across a moat and went on a rampage that left four persons hurt. Police fatally shot the animal.

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