- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 2, 2005

ARKANSAS

Fire hits hazardous-waste plant

EL DORADO — A fire at a hazardous-waste incineration plant forced the evacuation of hundreds of the city’s 23,000 residents yesterday, officials said.

No injuries were reported, and officials were monitoring air quality as thick smoke rose from the Teris plant in southern Arkansas, said Union County Sheriff Ken Jones. Police estimated that about 1,500 people within a few miles of the plant were evacuated.

Residents reported hearing a series of explosions. Sunday church services were canceled.

PENNSYLVANIA

Young mayor resigns a year before his term ends

PITTSBURGH — One of the youngest mayors in the country has resigned three years into his four-year term to pursue opportunities outside the state.

Chris Portman, who was 19 when he took office three years ago in Mercer, a borough of 2,400 people, submitted his resignation in a letter dated last Tuesday. He did not specify why he was leaving.

Mr. Portman’s election drew national attention, but he missed most council meetings in the past year, said John Zohoranacky, a council member.

Last January, Mr. Portman missed the first meeting with the newly elected council and the deadline for a grant to replace the borough’s broken weather siren. Mr. Portman also squabbled with the council over his insistence on riding with police and having an MTV documentary crew follow him.

CALIFORNIA

Church school roiled by gay parent issue

COSTA MESA — Some parents and parishioners have accused the Roman Catholic diocese in Orange County of violating church doctrine by allowing two homosexual men to enroll their adopted children in a church school.

St. John the Baptist School in Costa Mesa rejected a demand from a group of parents that the school accept children only from families that pledge to abide by Catholic teachings, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday.

“The teachings of the church seem to have been abandoned,” John R. Nixon told the paper. “We send our children to a Catholic school because we expect and demand that the teachings of our church will be adhered to.”

Catholic teaching opposes adoption by homosexuals, and some parents have promised to ask the Vatican to intervene in the situation at St. John the Baptist.

“The boys are being used as pawns by these men to further their agenda,” said Monica Sii, who has four children at the school.

COLORADO

5-year-old rescued from icy pond

WESTMINSTER — A Colorado man rescued a 5-year-old boy, blue and unconscious, from an ice-covered pond near a hospital.

The boy and two girls were playing unsupervised next to the retention pond Friday when the boy fell through the ice, the Denver Post said Saturday.

Dermet Carroll heard the girls screaming and sprinted from a nearby apartment, took off his shoes and got onto the ice, which immediately broke and dumped him chest-deep into near-freezing water, said Laurie Chavez, who was walking nearby and called 911.

Mr. Carroll performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the child before he was rushed to a hospital several hundred yards away, where he was stabilized and then transported to Children’s Hospital in Denver. Details about his condition were not available.

FLORIDA

Marchers protest police custody deaths

JACKSONVILLE — About 200 people chanting “No justice, no peace” marched through the city Saturday to protest the deaths of two black men in police custody.

At a rally on the steps of the Jacksonville sheriff’s office, Rep. Corrine Brown, Florida Democrat, civil rights leaders and ministers called for the creation of a citizens review board on police brutality.

A white police officer has resigned since the death of one of the men, Sammie Lee Evans, 49, whose neck was broken as police tried to arrest him on Dec. 3 for possession of an open container of alcohol outside his home.

In the other death, Ezra Jones, 29, suffered a heart attack while in restraints on Dec. 5. Mr. Jones, who was homeless, had been arrested for blocking a public sidewalk. The county medical examiner’s office found that the heart attack was caused by cocaine use and the stress of the restraints.

KANSAS

Machine guns found near Fort Riley

MILFORD — A fisherman found a heavy machine gun on the ice of a creek near Fort Riley, and sheriff’s deputies later found two more.

The three Browning .50-caliber weapons were in working condition, Geary County Sheriff’s Lt. Sandy Popovich said, but none was loaded.

Sheriff Jim Jensen said he did not know how the weapons got there, and the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division is looking into the matter. The weapons were turned over to the Army.

LOUISIANA

Prisoner prevented from donating kidney

NEW ORLEANS — Louisiana prison officials reportedly have prevented inmate Stephen Stage from determining whether he can donate a kidney because of the expense of guarding him.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that Stage wants to donate a kidney to Charlene Wiltz, whose Medicaid coverage would take care of all the medical expenses. But prison officials say the department doesn’t have the money to cover the salaries of sheriff’s deputies who would have to accompany Stage to the hospital.

Stage is not related to Miss Wiltz but read about her need for a kidney in the Times-Picayune.

MAINE

Firewood sales surge in New England

PORTLAND — Firewood sales are rising in New England and parts of the West this winter, fueled by the increasing expense of oil and kerosene.

The strong demand has pushed prices to their highest levels so far, said Peter Lammert, a forester with the Maine Forest Service.

Seasoned firewood is selling for $180 to $230 a cord compared with $140 to $160 a year ago in Maine, he said. Similar prices are being reported in New Hampshire and Vermont.

Oil prices are hovering at close to $2 a gallon in Maine, up more than 30 percent from a year ago.

MISSOURI

Dispute over will leaves three dead

BUFFALO — A man apparently upset over his share of a family inheritance fatally shot his sister and brother-in-law and then killed himself, authorities said.

Dallas County Coroner Bret Viets said Carolyn Martin called authorities Friday and reported that her brother, Bobby Malone, was trying to get into the couple’s home near Buffalo in southwest Missouri.

“It was some kind of property dispute over an inheritance,” Mr. Viets said.

NEW YORK

State’s costliest home is Hamptons retreat

WAINSCOTT — New York’s most expensive home is no longer a posh Manhattan high-rise — that title now moves to the state’s other tract of astronomically priced real estate.

An 18,000-square-foot Hamptons retreat has been sold for $45 million and is situated on 25 acres of waterfront property on eastern Long Island. Known as Burnt Point, it has 14 bathrooms and is equipped with geothermal air conditioning.

The buyer was Stewart Rahr, chief executive officer of Kinsey Inc., a pharmaceutical distributor.

The sale, first reported by the New York Post, comes just weeks after billionaire News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch paid $44 million for a Manhattan penthouse.

OHIO

Police save couple after home invasion

UPPER ARLINGTON — Two men accused of invading a couple’s home and forcing an elderly man to withdraw $10,000 from his bank were arrested after tellers noticed a bruise on the 73-year-old man’s forehead and alerted police.

Two men entered the home of John and Judith Hansel in a Columbus suburb Friday, said police spokesman Officer Don Stanko.

According to police reports, Robert E. Jackson, 23, forced Mr. Hansel to drive his car to a bank while Michael Lathon, 19, stayed with Mrs. Hansel, 66. Mr. Jackson reportedly ordered Mr. Hansel to withdraw the money, but suspicious tellers called police, Officer Stanko said.

Police chased the car, which Mr. Jackson crashed nearby, Officer Stanko said. Mr. Jackson was arrested. A police SWAT team sent a trained dog into the couple’s home, but Mrs. Hansel had worked free from the duct tape that had bound her and escaped, Officer Stanko said. Mr. Lathon surrendered, police said.

WASHINGTON

Judge delays divorce of pregnant woman

SPOKANE — A judge has refused to grant a divorce to a pregnant woman trying to leave her husband two years after he was jailed for beating her, ruling that she must wait until the child is born.

Shawnna Hughes’ husband was convicted of abuse in 2002. She separated from him after the attack and filed for divorce in April. She later became pregnant by another man and is due in March.

Under Washington law, a husband is presumed to be the father of any child born within 300 days of a divorce. Superior Court Judge Paul Bastine said paternity of the child needs to be determined before he can finalize a divorce.

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