- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 29, 2004

CALIFORNIA

Storm creates mudslides

LOS ANGELES — A powerful storm battered Southern California yesterday with winds of up to 60 mph and heavy rain, causing power outages and mudslides.

Meteorologists predicted unstable, wet weather through next week — with rain possible for the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day. It hasn’t rained on the Rose Parade since 1955.

Police said the storm might have contributed to the death of a young man who apparently tried to surf in 10- to 12-foot waves. Residents were ordered to evacuate about 50 homes in one section of the San Bernardino County town of Devore.

MINNESOTA

Building explosion kills two

RAMSEY — An explosion flattened a commercial building yesterday, killing at least two persons and critically injuring a third. A fourth person was missing.

A small flame was visible in the ruins, suggesting a gas-line break. But sheriff’s Capt. Robert Aldrich said the cause of the midmorning blast was not known. The building housed a real-estate business and bank offices.

ARKANSAS

Fluoridation plan spurs criticism

LITTLE ROCK — A fight is brewing over a legislator’s suggestion that the state’s water supply be fluoridated. State Rep. Tommy Roebuck said he may introduce a bill to require all communities to fluoridate their water.

Opponent Sherry Johnson, president of the Arkansas Health Freedom Coalition, said: “If you want fluoride, go to the dentist and get fluoride.”

FLORIDA

Legendary guitarist dies of staph infection

ORANGE PARK — Legendary country, rock and jazz guitarist Hank Garland, who performed with Elvis Presley, the Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison, Patsy Cline, Charlie Parker and many others, died of a staph infection Monday, his family said. He was 74.

In addition to performing with Elvis and other stars in Nashville, Mr. Garland was at the forefront of the rock ‘n’ roll movement, enjoyed a career as a country virtuoso, pioneered the electric guitar at the Grand Ole Opry and inspired jazz instrumentalists such as George Benson.

GEORGIA

Preserve to move animals to zoo

SAVANNAH — The Bronx Zoo is closing a wildlife preserve on a coastal Georgia island and moving more than 400 animals to zoos nationwide.

The New York City zoo’s Wildlife Conservation Society started the preserve on St. Catherines Island in 1974 to breed endangered species for release into the wild.

Richard Lattis, Bronx Zoo director, said officials think the animals are needed in zoos to educate the public about conservation.

Nearly 70 free-ranging Madagascan lemurs lived on the island at one time, said Bob Lessnau, a biologist at the preserve. “This is the next best thing to Madagascar,” he said.

Moving the animals is expected to take about a year.

IDAHO

School district growth prompting bond sale

MERIDIAN — Idaho’s fastest-growing school district intends to ask taxpayers for $80 million in bonding next year to cover growth in western Ada County. The district had planned for 400 new students to arrive in September, but 1,400 showed up. An additional 175 arrived between Sept. 1 and Nov. 1.

The bonds would be used to build a new high school, a new middle school and up to four elementary schools.

LOUISIANA

Women living with animals get evaluated

SLIDELL — Louisiana officials are holding two women for mental exams after they were found living with more than 50 sick animals in a one-room house with no utilities.

Sarah Suckosh, 86, and her daughter, Leah Suckosh, 56, were taken into protective custody after deputies investigated a complaint about a horse having seizures outside the women’s tiny, unfinished house in Slidell, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported yesterday.

The 16-by-20-foot shack, which lacks water and electricity, was shared by the two women, a dozen dogs, four ducks, a rabbit, 10 chickens, four pigeons, and 28 cats — one of them dead.

MICHIGAN

Parks, Outkast agree to mediation

DETROIT — The long-running legal battle between civil rights icon Rosa Parks and the hip-hop duo Outkast over the band’s unauthorized use of her name may be drawing to a close, a Parks adviser said yesterday.

Gregory Reed, an attorney for Mrs. Parks, 91, said the parties have agreed to conduct settlement talks with a mediator, beginning early next year.

Mrs. Parks’ representatives have filed two lawsuits against record companies and bookstores, seeking billions of dollars for the 1998 song “Rosa Parks,” which made oblique reference to her historic challenge to the segregation of 1950s America.

The line “Ah ha, hush that fuss, everybody move to the back of the bus” evokes Mrs. Parks’ refusal to give up her seat to a white man in Montgomery, Ala. Her defiance touched off a 381-day boycott, which historians say marked the beginning of the civil rights movement.

NEVADA

USDA probes college over animal neglect

RENO — The government is investigating charges of animal neglect and abuse at a state agriculture college.

The incidents at the College of Agriculture at the University of Nevada, Reno, occurred over three years, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported Monday, and included some charges reported to the U.S. Department of Agriculture by a faculty member.

The teacher, Hussein S. Hussein, said that as a result the university retaliated against him and sought to have him fired.

Dean David Thawley, who has run the agriculture college since 1998, denied that the university had violated any laws or regulations covering the treatment of animals — or took any retaliatory action against Mr. Hussein.

The investigation began in September, a month after the Gazette-Journal began reporting on research at the school. The paper found that 38 pregnant sheep died in October 2002 in a paddock behind a locked gate after being without food or water for three days.

NORTH DAKOTA

Thieves target mailboxes

FARGO — Police say thieves pried open banks of mailboxes in at least 19 apartment buildings on the city’s south side during the holiday, probably looking for money in Christmas cards.

Authorities say the thieves gained access to the mail of more than 100 tenants. Officials are trying to determine the amount stolen.

RHODE ISLAND

AIDS hot line set to hang up

PROVIDENCE — The state’s AIDS hot line is going dead Friday after 18 years. It has experienced less demand as people seek information elsewhere. The hot line received up to 5,000 calls a year until the mid-1990s. This year it received about 500.

After Friday, callers will reach a national hot line operated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

WASHINGTON

Five Christian schools join to create system

EVERETT — Five Christian schools are combining to create a new school system in Snohomish County and north Seattle. The schools have more than 1,200 students.

By combining resources, school officials hope to offer more specialized classes, such as advanced placement courses for college-bound students.

WYOMING

Fire ravages historic block

CHEYENNE — A fire that broke out in a bakery heavily damaged an entire block of historic buildings, including the one where Wild West gunslinger Tom Horn was said to have confessed to murder.

The fire erupted in the three- and four-story buildings late Monday. Firefighters thought several times that they had it under control only to encounter smoke elsewhere along the block, and the blaze continued to rage yesterday afternoon.

No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire was not known.

Most of the buildings date to the late 1800s.

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