- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 17, 2004

FLORIDA

Plane lands on highway

VERO BEACH — The pilot of a Piper Mirage Malibu light aircraft had to make an emergency landing onto the busy U.S. Highway 1, the Palm Beach Post reports.

The plane began to lose power shortly after take-off from Vero Beach Municipal Airport and was going about 75 mph when it hit the northbound lanes of U.S. 1 in a gap in traffic at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Indian River County sheriff’s Detective Joe Flescher said.

Pilot Charles Leemon of Wellington was not hurt, and the plane, which was to undergo maintenance, was not damaged.

“He just missed a traffic light,” Detective Flescher said. “He was fortunate he didn’t hit any electrical wires either.”

OREGON

Greenpeace blocks timber road

GLENDALE — Three Greenpeace protesters were arrested Tuesday after being dislodged from a 20-foot shipping container they had put in the middle of a logging road to block workers from getting to 236 acres of forest designated for a timber sale.

Two men equipped with a video camera and a laptop computer were locked inside the steel container, giving Internet updates. Another protester sat outside the container, her arm through a hole and locked inside a concrete-armored box.

After authorities removed the three, loggers hooked a chain to the back of a pickup truck and dragged the container to the side of the road, beginning work seven hours late on the Soukow Timber Sale, about five miles west of Glendale.

ARIZONA

Forest bans all campfires

TUCSON — All campfires will be banned in the Coronado National Forest starting today, forest officials said. Campfires in undeveloped areas have been banned since late May.

Gas stoves and heaters will be allowed. Coronado already has had several wildfires this year, including a 40-acre blaze that was contained this week.

ARKANSAS

State eliminates 52 school districts

LITTLE ROCK — State education officials said Arkansas will have 52 fewer school districts when classes start this fall.

The districts were eliminated during mergers this spring under a new state law to help address an Arkansas Supreme Court ruling that the state’s school system was unconstitutional. As of July, Arkansas will have 256 school districts instead of 308.

CALIFORNIA

Officer describes Peterson search

REDWOOD CITY — A police officer described in painstaking detail yesterday the search for Laci Peterson after her husband, charged in her killing, reported her missing.

Modesto Police Sgt. Ron Cloward was put in charge of the search efforts Dec. 26, 2002, two days after Scott Peterson said he last saw his pregnant wife.

Searchers first scoured a park near the couple’s home looking through “bushes … piles of leaves, anything at all” and checked with registered sex offenders and recent parolees in the area, Sgt. Cloward testified at Mr. Peterson’s trial.

The search then expanded to cover the entire city of Modesto, in manholes, rivers, alleys, canals and orchards, Sgt. Cloward said.

Mr. Peterson’s attorneys have accused authorities of conducting a sloppy investigation and focusing too quickly on Mr. Peterson to the detriment of other leads.

COLORADO

Bishops approve clergy abuse audit

DENVER — U.S. Catholic bishops voted overwhelmingly to conduct a new audit this year to see whether each diocese is doing what is necessary to combat clergy sexual abuse, a spokesman said yesterday.

The vote was taken Tuesday at a closed meeting held in a Denver suburb.

Two years ago in Dallas, the bishops announced reforms to deal with the sexual abuse scandal and approved a charter that requires the church’s Office of Child and Youth Protection to conduct an annual review. Speculation arose that the audits might not be continued or could be delayed after a few bishops said they were reluctant to continue them.

The vote was 207-14, with one bishop abstaining, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said.

GEORGIA

Blind man charged in golf cart incident

PEACHTREE CITY — A blind man was charged with reckless conduct after he drove a golf cart through the city with help from an inebriated friend.

Samuel McClain, 35, drove two miles through winding streets — also accompanied by his guide dog — before running into a parked car, police said.

No one was hurt, but Mr. McClain and Michael Johnston, 47, were charged with reckless conduct. A police report said Mr. McClain drove the cart Saturday while Mr. Johnston gave directions after having six or seven beers.

HAWAII

University president fired ‘with cause’

HONOLULU — The University of Hawaii Board of Regents fired the school’s president after a closed-door session. Although it did not immediately disclose a reason, the board said the action was “with cause.”

Tuesday’s vote to fire university President Evan Dobelle was unanimous, said board Chairwoman Pat Lee.

Miss Lee did not elaborate on the reason for Mr. Dobelle’s firing, but the board signaled it did not intend to pay him the $2 million severance package in his contract.

The board named David McClain, vice president of academic affairs, acting president effective immediately.

LOUISIANA

Edwards, wife are divorcing

NEW ORLEANS — Former Gov. Edwin Edwards and his wife are divorcing, he said in a letter from prison, explaining to friends that Candy Edwards has “suffered enough and given enough” since he began a 10-year sentence for corruption.

“She has been very supportive and helpful since I got here 19 months ago. But it has taken a toll on her and she just cannot handle the stress and depression of this forced separation,” Edwards, 76, wrote from the federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas. “She wants to restart her life and I cannot and do not blame her.”

Edwards and Candy Picou were married in a governor’s mansion ceremony in 1994. Edwards had divorced his first wife, Elaine, in 1989 after 40 years of marriage.

MASSACHUSETTS

Men face more risk of second blood clot

BOSTON — Dangerous blood clots in the legs recur far more often in men than in women, a study has found.

The finding is something of a paradox: Men and women are known to run similar risks for having their first clot. It is not clear why men would have a higher risk of another clot.

The findings suggest that some women might be able to take anticlotting drugs for a shorter amount of time after their first clot. The drugs can cause excessive bleeding.

The study, led by researchers at the Medical University of Vienna in Austria, was published in today’s New England Journal of Medicine. They looked at 826 patients for an average of three years after an initial episode of deep-vein thrombosis, as these blood clots are called.

Twenty percent of the men developed a second clot, compared with 6 percent of the women. After adjusting for age and other factors, the risk of another episode was more than triple for men.

MINNESOTA

State appeals Wellstone funds

ST. PAUL — Attorneys for the state asked an appeals court for a greater share of the insurance settlement paid to victims of the plane crash that killed Sen. Paul Wellstone in 2002.

The state is scheduled to pay nearly $1.5 million to the families of four campaign staffers not covered by worker’s compensation. A lower court gave the state $200,000 as its share of a $25 million insurance settlement.

MISSISSIPPI

Reputed Klansman dies in prison

JACKSON — Ernest Avants, a reputed Ku Klux Klansman convicted last year in a 1966 murder that prosecutors say was part of a failed plot to assassinate Martin Luther King, has died in prison at 72.

Avants died Monday of complications from heart problems, said his attorney, Tom Royals. He had been serving a life sentence in Fort Worth, Texas.

Avants was convicted for his role in the 1966 slaying of Ben Chester White, a black sharecropper. Prosecutors said the killing was intended to lure King to Natchez, Miss., where he was to be assassinated.

The civil rights leader did not visit Natchez after Mr. White’s slaying. He was assassinated two years later in Memphis, Tenn.

MONTANA

Truck haulingbees crashes

BOZEMAN — A tractor-trailer overturned on a curve on a highway, spilling its load of hundreds of beehives and unleashing about 9 million angry honeybees.

The bees buzzed furiously as driver Lane Miller struggled to flee his rig after it overturned Monday in Bear Trap Canyon west of Bozeman. The truck slid across the highway before coming to a stop between guardrails.

Mr. Miller, 41, walked away from the crash. The state road was closed for 14 hours as crews and beekeepers cleaned up the 512 hives Mr. Miller was hauling from Idaho to North Dakota.

NEW YORK

Gallery execs charged in fake-art scheme

NEW YORK — The owner and manager of a Lower Manhattan art gallery were accused Tuesday of selling $7 million in forged paintings that were intricately detailed and almost indistinguishable from the originals.

In at least one case, a phony painting and the original landed at competing auction houses for sale in the same month, federal prosecutors said in announcing the charges.

Ely Sakhai, identified in court papers as the owner of the Exclusive Art gallery, and Houshi Sandjaby, identified as its manager, were indicted on conspiracy charges. Mr. Sakhai also was charged with mail fraud and wire fraud.

Prosecutors said the forgeries included works by Marc Chagall, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Paul Gauguin.

PENNSYLVANIA

Lynch visits camp for military children

WERNERSVILLE — Former prisoner of war Jessica Lynch visited a summer camp Tuesday designed to help children who are separated from their parents by military deployments.

Miss Lynch greeted some of the 156 children attending Camp Keystone Courage, signing autographs and posing for pictures. She announced a $10,000 donation from her charitable foundation to fund future camps.

The camp, about 55 miles northwest of Philadelphia, began operating over the weekend. It is the first of 12 summer camps being set up across the country by the National Military Family Association to help children cope with the stress of a parent’s absence.

The camp offers traditional standard summer camp activities but also provides counseling.

Miss Lynch is recovering from injuries she suffered when her convoy was attacked after taking a wrong turn in the Iraqi town of Nasiriyah in March 2003. Eleven American soldiers were killed and six, including Miss Lynch, were captured.

SOUTH DAKOTA

Rain floods homes, city streets

SIOUX FALLS — A two-hour storm dumped nearly 8 inches of rain on southwest Sioux Falls early yesterday, flooding streets and basements and spilling the Big Sioux River into parks and bicycle trails.

City officials said it was the worst flooding in Sioux Falls in 10 years.

While the southwest part of the city got 7.79 inches, Sioux Falls Regional Airport on the city’s north side measured 3.54 inches, said National Weather Service meteorologist Todd Heitkamp.

Several parks were closed along the river, and water was rising nearly to the bottom of some bridges in the Sioux Falls area, authorities said.

The downpour washed out a parking lot in eastern Sioux Falls, creating a jagged gully with a stream gushing through it.

UTAH

Ecoterrorism suspected in fire

SALT LAKE CITY — An extremist environmental group has claimed responsibility for a $1.5 million lumberyard fire in Utah, officials said yesterday.

“We’re taking it most seriously,” said FBI Agent Bob Wright.

The FBI has determined the Stock Building Supply fire in West Jordan was arson and said the letters “ELF” were spray-painted on property at the site of the blaze. The ELF letters are those of the Earth Liberation Front, an extremist environmental group responsible for millions of dollars in damage.

The FBI also is investigating a one-page fax sent to Salt Lake City radio station KSL with an ELF heading and claiming responsibility for the fire. The fax said the Stock Building Supply lumberyard was targeted because it ignored warnings to repair its polluting forklifts.

The FBI says the fax also identified four other Utah businesses as targets, prompting law enforcement to beef up security at those locations.

WASHINGTON

Guards delay jail smoking ban

MONROE — Inmates in Washington state prisons have guards to thank for a four-month reprieve from a smoking ban.

The ban affects inmates and prison staff and was scheduled to take effect July 1. It was postponed to Nov. 1 under a negotiated agreement with Teamsters Local 117, said assistant deputy corrections secretary Lynne DeLano.

The union had two concerns with the ban, said Teamsters attorney Spencer Thal. One concern was that inmates could become violent if they are cut off from tobacco. The other was that guards who were longtime smokers would have difficulty quitting.

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