- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 2, 2004

COLORADO

Snowstorm hits Denver

DENVER — Up to a foot of snow fell on the Front Range of the Colorado Rocky Mountains yesterday, closing Interstate 25, cutting power and disrupting the morning commute.

Temperatures were expected to drop overnight, which could produce icy conditions early today when voters head to the polls on their way to work.

About 30,000 customers in the Denver area temporarily lost electricity after snow-covered tree branches fell onto power lines. I-25, the north-south corridor, was closed south of Denver during the rush hour after several tractor-trailers jackknifed.

OHIO

Corn game popularity spreads

CINCINNATI — The projectiles are lighter than horseshoes and safer than lawn darts, but the idea is the same: Players try to hit a target several paces away.

Corn-toss players try to throw cloth bags filled with corn into a hole. It is an Ohio phenomenon that is catching on elsewhere across the Midwest and beyond.

“It’s easy to play, you don’t have to dig a pit, drive stakes or tear up your lawn,” Mike Whitton said. The game is so popular around Cincinnati that nearly 400 teams competed for the $2,000 first prize in a February tournament.

KANSAS

Man convicted in decapitation

WICHITA — A jury convicted a truck driver yesterday of killing and decapitating a housekeeper nearly a dozen years after he was mistakenly freed in a rape case because of mislabeled evidence.

Douglas S. Belt, 42, was convicted of capital murder, attempted rape and arson for the slaying of 43-year-old Lucille Gallegos. Belt faces a death sentence when the trial’s penalty phase begins today.

Prosecutors said Belt had a pattern of violent behavior that began in the late 1980s and ended with Mrs. Gallegos’ slaying in the Wichita apartment where she worked in June 2002.

Last year, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation said Belt mistakenly was cleared of a 1991 rape when another person’s DNA sample accidentally was labeled with his name in an agency lab. His own sample had been labeled “unknown.”

The mistake was discovered after Belt’s arrest for the housekeeper’s death when a DNA sample matched the blood evidence from the 1991 case, as well as several other rape cases.

MASSACHUSETTS

Man sent to prison for 1975 killing

CAMBRIDGE — A man was sentenced yesterday to 19 to 20 years in prison for strangling a 14-year-old girl in 1975, a case that remained closed for more than 20 years until police read a diary kept by the man’s mother.

David Allen Jones, 45, was the 16-year-old neighbor of Robin Gilbert when her body was found on a golf course in Reading.

Shortly after her death, a medical examiner ruled that she died as a result of heart disease. The case remained closed until 1996, when authorities received a tip that led them to a diary kept by Jones’ mother.

Robin’s body was exhumed, and in 1997, a different medical examiner concluded that the girl had been strangled.

MISSOURI

Town seeks relief from train whistles

ST. JOSEPH — The warning whistles that wail 60 times a day as freight trains approach downtown crossings do more than jolt people in nearby homes, businesses and hotels.

Officials say they also threaten the city’s efforts to attract downtown development. They hope new federal rules allowing railroad “quiet zones” will force trains to sound their horn only during emergencies.

MONTANA

Halloween treats going to troops

BILLINGS — A dentist has hit on a sweet idea: He plans to keep local children from eating too much candy and gather sweets for troops in Iraq.

Dr. Michael Stuart said he would be at the Kmart parking lot yesterday afternoon to buy candy from trick-or-treaters for $1 per pound. Fliers advertising the offer were distributed to elementary schools in the Billings area.

Dr. Stuart, a father of seven, said he didn’t expect the children to turn over all of their goodies.

“We fully expect the children to pick out the good stuff they like and bring us the remainder,” he said.

The dentist and his staff have worked on the project since September.

NEVADA

Storms replenish drought reserves

RENO — A string of early season storms has boosted the flow of the Truckee River and allowed local water officials to halt the use of drought reserves. For the first time in a decade, the Truckee Meadows Water Authority recently was forced to tap into backup water supplies after continued drought lowered Lake Tahoe below its spillway.

Storms that dumped up to 6 feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada in the last two weeks of October have swelled the river’s flow to meet water demand.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Stress counselors to treat police

MANCHESTER — Police investigating the gruesome killing of a woman and her two children are getting some emotional support on the job. Police Chief John Jaskolka has invited a special team to help his officers deal with what they saw when they discovered the bodies of Tricia Doyle and her two children stabbed to death last month.

Chief Jaskolka said the investigation has been hard on his detectives because many of them have young children of their own.

NEW YORK

City rates tops among visitors

NEW YORK — New York is the best U.S. city to visit, restaurant lovers in Philadelphia are the biggest tippers, and sunny climates seem to bring out the most diners, according to new national Zagat Surveys published yesterday.

Philadelphia diners are kindest to waiters, with an average tip of 19.2 percent of the bill, nipping Atlanta at 19.1 percent.

More than 110,000 avid restaurantgoers in 41 U.S. markets participated in the online survey for the 2005 “America’s Top Restaurants” guide, while 16,000 travelers filled out surveys for the “Top U.S. Hotels, Resorts & Spas.”

When asked “What is the best U.S. city to visit?” 38 percent in the hotel guide named New York. San Francisco was a strong second with 22 percent.

RHODE ISLAND

Babe Ruth contract will be auctioned

PROVIDENCE — Now that the curse is reversed, Rhode Island philanthropist Alan Shawn Feinstein is joining the rush of Red Sox memorabilia sales by auctioning the original 1919 contract that sent Babe Ruth from Boston to New York.

Starting bid: $50,000 on EBay, the online auction store. The EBay descriptor calls the document “the most famous sports contract in history.”

Mr. Feinstein paid $99,000 to Leland’s Auction House in 1993 to obtain the only known copy of the agreement that fans came to believe cursed the Red Sox and their world-championship dreams.

Mr. Feinstein told the Providence Journal that all the money will go to charity, including a million-dollar national anti-hunger campaign that he has promised to endow.

TEXAS

Church van flips, crashes; 14 injured

KILGORE — A church van carrying mostly teenagers from a birthday party flipped and crashed when its driver swerved along an East Texas highway, injuring 14 passengers. Two persons remained hospitalized early yesterday, police said.

The members of the Holy Prayer Apostolic Church were returning from a restaurant in Tyler when the van crashed late Sunday afternoon on Interstate 20. Several passengers were thrown from the van.

Authorities said the van left the roadway and the driver apparently overcorrected, causing the vehicle to flip several times before ending up in the median.

WISCONSIN

Christian convention leaves university

MADISON — InterVarsity Christian Fellowship announced that its Mission Convention for college students, held on the University of Illinois campus in Urbana since 1948, will move in 2006 to the Edward Jones Dome and adjacent America’s Center in St. Louis.

The evangelical event, usually held every three years the week before New Year’s, is one of the largest religious gatherings for North American college students. About 19,000 people from the United States and other nations attended December’s convention to learn about foreign missionary careers.

InterVarsity sponsors 832 student chapters on 564 U.S. campuses and is part of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students, which operates in 150 countries.

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