- The Washington Times - Monday, January 17, 2005

FLORIDA

Child returned in adoption dispute

ATLANTIC BEACH — The woman who raised a boy at the center of a custody dispute tearfully handed the 3-year-old child to his mother Saturday, then dropped to the ground and repeatedly screamed: “How can they do this to a little boy?”

Evan, who could be heard wailing inside the home, was carried outside by Dawn Scott and her husband, Gene, who cared for the child for most of his life. Evan was driven off in a van with Amanda Hopkins and her husband, Michael.

The adoption was supposed to be made final in August 2001. But a month before the deadline, Evan’s father, Stephen White, blocked the adoption by filing a motion for custody.

Mrs. Hopkins supported the adoption until it appeared the court might grant Mr. White custody. Mr. White will have liberal visitation rights.

LOUISIANA

Inmate freed after four decades

LAKE CHARLES — In the nation’s bloodiest prison, Wilbert Rideau became an award-winning journalist who has been called “the most rehabilitated inmate in America.” After more than 40 years behind bars, he is a free man.

Mr. Rideau, convicted three times of murdering a bank teller, walked free Saturday when a racially mixed jury found him guilty of a lesser charge of manslaughter, freeing him for time served.

“I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it,” he said. “Jail is so far distant. It’s distant.”

ALASKA

Crewman dies in crab boat sinking

ANCHORAGE — A crab boat carrying six crew members sank in the Bering Sea on Saturday, killing at least one. The Coast Guard is searching for three members who are missing.

The Coast Guard and Alaska State Troopers said three crewmen were recovered: One survived, one died, and the condition of the third man, who remained aboard a trooper vessel, was not known.

Seas were listed at 25 feet and winds were more than 40 mph in the area, Trooper Sgt. Lonnie Gonzales said.

The commercial crab-fishing season in Kodiak and the Bering Sea opened at noon Saturday. The Big Valley was seeking snow crab.

ARIZONA

Sheriff deputies using pink handcuffs

PHOENIX — Maricopa County sheriff’s deputies started using fluorescent pink handcuffs to transport inmates.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio said he introduced the pink handcuffs because he thinks they will be easier to spot and harder to lose than traditional silver cuffs.

Patrol deputies still will carry the silver cuffs, which they pay for themselves.

ARKANSAS

Police say restaurant was meth lab

RUSSELLVILLE — Police raided a restaurant they say doubled as a methamphetamine lab and quarantined food that may have been cooked with some of the utensils used to produce drugs.

Police who raided the West Main Cafe last week found methamphetamine in a room next to the kitchen, coffee filters with drug residue, and other ingredients used to make the drug, said Larry Johnson, director of the district drug task force.

Health inspector John Jones said anyone who ate at the restaurant and feels ill should see a doctor. The restaurant has been closed temporarily. Health officials want to make the shutdown permanent because of contamination fears.

The restaurant manager and an employee were arrested and held in lieu of $25,000 bail Friday. They were set to appear in court Feb. 7.

CALIFORNIA

Authorities discover 32 stowaways

LOS ANGELES — Thirty-two Chinese men were found inside two cargo containers on a ship arriving at the Port of Los Angeles from Hong Kong, authorities said.

The suspected illegal immigrants were discovered Saturday night when a crane operator saw three men climb out of a container on the Panamanian-flagged NYK Athena, said Los Angeles Port Police Lt. Titus Smith.

The 28 men and four male teenagers appeared to be in good health and were being held at a federal detention center pending an immigration hearing.

The men apparently had been in the 40-foot containers for 10 days with a supply of food, water, sleeping bags and battery-powered fans.

INDIANA

Sprinklers fueled fire, investigators say

ANDERSON — A magnesium recycling plant’s sprinkler system helped turn a small fire in a scrap bin into a toxic inferno, fire investigators said.

Officials are trying to determine why the Advanced Magnesium Alloys Corp. plant had a working sprinkler system in the area where the metal is stored. Water causes burning magnesium to flare up and explode.

After magnesium in a scrap bin caught fire Friday, plant workers immediately tried to put it out with dry material, said Anderson Deputy Fire Chief Mike McKinley.

“Before they could put it out, the sprinkler went off,” he said Saturday.

The water helped fuel the burning magnesium, forcing the evacuation of about 5,000 nearby residents because of hazardous fumes.

NEW YORK

Black musicians club reveals treasures

BUFFALO — No one could say how long the browning pages of handwritten sheet music had been stacked there, or exactly who that was in the black-and-white photo with “November 1941” penciled on the back.

More than just history has been piling up at the Colored Musicians Club since it opened in 1918 as a union for black musicians.

More than 30 AmeriCorps volunteers spent a service day Friday sorting, moving, crating and pitching the clutter that had accumulated in the downtown jazz club.

Over the years, as musicians came and went, documents, instruments and other objects had been stored haphazardly in various rooms of the two-story building.

With the old broken beer bottles and useless paper thrown out, library science students from Buffalo State College can begin archiving and preserving the buried treasure, which includes newly discovered sheet music signed by Lionel Hampton.

Club leaders hope to display of some of the items.

OKLAHOMA

Drill sergeant guilty of taking bribes

FORT STILL — A drill sergeant was convicted of taking bribes from trainees under his command so they could buy “insurance” to guarantee they would pass basic training.

Sgt. 1st Class Larry T. Jones, 35, was given a five-year prison sentence after his conviction on nine charges and 18 specifications that included bribery, assault, conspiracy and making false statements to investigators.

UTAH

Body recovered after avalanche

SALT LAKE CITY — Search teams digging through tons of snow yesterday found the body of one of the five persons thought to have been buried by a powerful avalanche in an area that skiers had been warned to avoid.

The body of a man who appeared to be in his 20s was found under 4 feet of snow after trained dogs alerted the teams searching the area of the Friday slide, Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds said.

The body was not identified, but Sheriff Edmunds said the man’s clothing matched that of a missing snowboarder.

The only person identified as having been caught by the avalanche was Shane Maixner, 28, of Sandpoint, Idaho.

A friend told a 911 dispatcher that he saw Mr. Maixner being caught by the cascading mass of snow, Sheriff Edmunds said earlier.

WEST VIRGINIA

Governor earns his black belt

SOUTH CHARLESTON — Don’t mess with Gov. Bob Wise — the outgoing West Virginia chief executive won his black belt in tae kwon do on Saturday.

Nearly two decades after his initial attempt and three months after surgery on both knees, Mr. Wise performed a series of body moves, traded arm chops and leg jabs with a partner, and kicked and elbowed through pieces of wood at the Kang Tae Kwon Do Academy.

“I’m ecstatic, really,” said Mr. Wise, 57. “This is something I’ve worked for a long time.”

Mr. Wise was one of 80 students who competed for higher ranks Saturday in front of an overflow crowd.

An extramarital affair led Mr. Wise not to seek re-election; fellow Democrat Joe Manchin will be inaugurated as his successor today.

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