- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 8, 2004

FLORIDA

Carrier Kennedy leaves for overseas

MAYPORT — As the USS John F. Kennedy left for a planned six-month deployment yesterday, its commanding officer, Capt. Stephen G. Squires, said the carrier’s 5,000 sailors and airmen “have fire in their eye” to fight the war on terrorism.

About 150 family members, wives and girlfriends yelled their final goodbyes and already are waiting for the warship’s return.

The Kennedy’s first task will be to participate in an exercise involving all branches of the military and other countries, using bombing ranges in Florida and North Carolina. The Navy will not release details of when the carrier will leave for an overseas destination.

PENNSYLVANIA

Tree strikes tent, kills Cub Scout

GARDNERS — A 40-foot pine tree fell in a state park, killing a 7-year-old Cub Scout and injuring his father and another boy while they slept in tents during the weekend.

Owen R. Lentz, a first-grader from Camp Hill, was killed when a diseased tree fell during calm weather early Sunday, Pine Grove Furnace State Park manager Kenneth J. Boyles said.

Lee Lentz, who was struck on the head, was treated at Carlisle Regional Medical Center and released. Scout Christopher Carey, asleep in another tent, suffered a broken pelvis. He was in satisfactory condition yesterday.

ARKANSAS

Researchers to study state’s songbirds

CHOCTAW ISLAND — Researchers with the state Game and Fish Commission are netting songbirds as part of a study to determine the state’s diversity of cardinals, thrushes and warblers, among others.

A drop in bird populations can be a sign of too much pollution, pesticide use or habitat loss.

CALIFORNIA

Police kill coyote that attacked children

SIMI VALLEY — Police fatally shot a coyote that attacked four children in a neighborhood near the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, authorities said yesterday.

No one was seriously hurt, and authorities were testing the animal for rabies.

One of the youngsters was hospitalized with bites on his neck and face. Police said the coyote grabbed the 3-year-old boy by the head and tried to drag him away.

GEORGIA

Students testify against classmates

WINDER — Two middle-school students accused of plotting a Columbine-style killing rampage on the last day of classes had a simple list of targets: “Everybody,” a classmate testified yesterday.

The 14-year-old boys — identified only by their first names, Adam and Joseph — are on trial in juvenile court, charged with conspiracy to commit murder, making terroristic threats and disruption of a public school.

Five fellow Russell Middle School students — four girls and one boy — were among the first to testify as the trial began.

One of the girls testified that the boys said they were upset with a teacher picking on them. Another student testified that she saw a gun in Joseph’s locker.

Police arrested the two boys on May 14 after classmates told a resource officer about a plan to kill a teacher and anyone else who got in their way on the last day of school.

IDAHO

Rising gas prices lead to thefts

BOISE — Record-high gas prices are promoting gasoline thefts statewide, station owners say. In Pocatello, gas drive-offs have increased more than 30 percent from this time last year.

The National Association of Convenience Store Owners says fuel theft worsens as prices rise.

ILLINOIS

TV may cause sleep problems

CHICAGO — Adolescents who watch a lot of television are more likely to develop sleeping problems than those who watch less, researchers said yesterday.

Forty million Americans have chronic sleeping problems, and the authors of an eight-year study of 759 families said the roots of the problem might be too much TV.

The study, authored by Jeffrey Johnson of the New York State Psychiatric Institute at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York and published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, found that three or more hours of television viewing each day at age 14 was associated with difficulty sleeping in early adulthood.

MASSACHUSETTS

FDA approves test for anthrax

BOSTON — More than two years after anthrax killed five persons in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has approved the first blood test for the bacteria, the Boston-based company that developed the process said yesterday.

Immunetics Inc., a diagnostics technology firm, developed the test at the behest of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after anthrax-laced letters provoked a scare just weeks after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

MISSISSIPPI

Church debates tie to bluesman

GREENWOOD — Some members of Little Zion Missionary Baptist Church are upset that it has become a stop on a tour chronicling the life of bluesman Robert Johnson.

Mr. Johnson was buried in the church cemetery in 1938 after his death at age 27. He was poisoned by the husband of a woman with whom he was having an affair.

Sylvester Hoover, a deacon at Little Zion, said he has recently opened a tour service that will charge $75 to take visitors to a number of Johnson sites, including where the bluesman once lived, where he played his music and where he is buried. He said that if his tour business is successful, he intends to “do something for our church.”

Church member Arnnette Cleveland said she and some other members have told the Rev. McArthur McKinley they don’t like the idea of the church being part of a tourist attraction.

MONTANA

State offers ‘bald’ as hair choice

HELENA — Bald is a hair color in Montana. Montana’s Web site lists “bald” as an option when applying online for a fishing license. You also can choose to declare your shiny pate on your driver’s license.

The Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks doesn’t keep track of how many people admit to being bald, said Neal Whitney, one of the agency’s computer specialists.

OKLAHOMA

Defense opens case at Nichols’ trial

McALESTER — Defense attorneys opened their case yesterday to keep Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols off death row, displaying childhood photos that show him goofing off with his brothers, cradling his baby niece and feeding a pet deer on his family’s farm.

Nichols’ oldest brother, Leslie Nichols, and younger sister, Suzanne McDonnell, were the first two defense witnesses to testify in the penalty phase of the trial. They recalled a happy childhood growing up with Nichols and described their brother as a hardworking farm kid.

Nichols was found guilty of 161 state murder charges on May 26.

TENNESSEE

Court affirms ban on Bible classes

CHATTANOOGA — A federal appeals court yesterday upheld a ruling that stopped 50 years of teaching Bible classes in the public schools of Rhea County, home of the “Scopes Monkey Trial.”

A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati upheld a February 2002 ruling by U.S. District Judge R. Allan Edgar of Chattanooga.

Judge Edgar ruled that the Bible Education Ministry program violated the First Amendment.

From staff reports and wire dispatches

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