- The Washington Times - Friday, December 31, 2004

Scientists free right whale

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Scientists freed a young Atlantic right whale from tangled fishing gear yesterday after riding alongside the animal on a U.S. Coast Guard cutter for nearly 24 hours, a spokeswoman said.

Rescue team members off the South Carolina coast untangled the whale before noon, said Connie Barclay, a spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. More than 150 feet of fishing line and lobster gear were attached to the animal, one of an endangered species, authorities said.

“They were able to … get all the ropes and gear off the whale and completely free it,” Miss Barclay said.

With the whale still growing and the lines tightly wrapped around its head, it might have died, officials with the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, Mass., said.

Felons escape charity work crew

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California’s youth prison system pulled its public crews from local communities statewide Thursday after two of its wards who were accused of violent crimes escaped while doing charity work.

A 22-year-old who was incarcerated for second-degree murder and a 21-year-old committed for assault with a deadly weapon remained at large after walking away from their task of sorting winter coats donated to charity in Sacramento.

“There was a serious breach of public safety,” said Nancy Lungren, an assistant director of the California Youth Authority.

Crews statewide will no longer be permitted to operate outside institutions while the work and public service crew policy is reviewed, Miss Lungren said. Changes could include limiting which wards are allowed to participate.

Snowboarder dies after hitting tree

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. — A 42-year-old snowboarder hit a tree at the Breckenridge ski area and died yesterday, the third accidental death this season at a Colorado resort.

The Ski Patrol took the snowboarder to Breckenridge Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. His identity was not immediately released.

Alexander Jensen, 12, of Wylie, Texas, died Tuesday in Denver after hitting a tree while snowboarding at Winter Park a day earlier.

Ashley Stamp, a 13-year-old ski racer from Steamboat Springs, died Dec. 19 when she was struck by a snowmobile at Vail before a race.

The boyfriend of actor Clint Eastwood’s daughter, 42-year-old Michael Combs of Calabasas, Calif., died of a seizure disorder while snowboarding at Vail. His body was found Dec. 14, a day after he was reported missing.

Professors oppose chiropractic school

PENSACOLA, Fla. ? A growing number of professors in the Florida State University College of Medicine are saying they will resign if administrators continue to pursue a proposed chiropractic school.

“I would no longer wish to volunteer my teaching energies to FSU medical school, should it encompass a school of chiropractic,” wrote Ian Rogers, an assistant professor at the school’s Pensacola campus, in a Dec. 15 e-mail. “This is plainly ludicrous.”

The threatened resignations — at least seven to date, all from assistant professors who work part time — reflect a belief among many in the medical establishment that chiropractic is a “pseudo-science” that leads to unnecessary and sometimes harmful treatments. Professors are even circulating a parody map of campus that places a fictional Bigfoot Institute, School of Astrology and Crop Circle Simulation Laboratory near a future chiropractic school.

But the professors’ stance has a political aim, too.

Opposition is clearly mounting as the chiropractic school heads for crucial votes.

Patrick Kennedy won’t seek Senate seat

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy has decided not to follow in his father’s footsteps and make a bid for the U.S. Senate — at least not yet.

Mr. Kennedy, 37, about to begin his sixth term in Congress, believes he can better serve Rhode Islanders from his place on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, said his spokesman, Ernesto Anguilla, ending speculation that the congressman would try to challenge incumbent Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee in 2006.

“He’s been able to demonstrate a real ability to steer resources to the state,” Mr. Anguilla said yesterday.

The congressman’s father, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, has said he’ll seek another Senate term in 2006. He was first elected in 1962.From staff reports and wire dispatches.

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