- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 30, 2005

GEORGIA

Lights still out after ice storm

ATLANTA — More than 230,000 customers had no electricity yesterday in Georgia as crews worked to repair power lines snapped by an ice storm, and about 300 people stranded by canceled flights spent the night sleeping at the airport.

Two traffic deaths in Georgia and one in South Carolina were blamed on the storm that spread sleet and freezing rain across parts of the Southeast on Saturday. Weather warmed considerably yesterday with highs in the 40s forecast for northern Georgia and in the 60s in the southern part of the state, the National Weather Service said.

Atlanta’s international airport was finally operating yesterday with all four runways, but fewer than 100 departures were scheduled yesterday morning.

MICHIGAN

Auction house sells Klan gear

HOWELL — Ku Klux Klan robes sold for up to $1,425 and a KKK knife drew a $400 bid Saturday during an auction of paraphernalia from the racist group that critics have blasted as insensitive.

Auctioneer Gary Gray said a steady stream of people visited the auction house in Howell in the hours leading up to the sale, where participants could bid on 12 KKK robes and capes, as well as buttons, books, swords, patches and movies.

One of the robes was bought for $700 by the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University in Big Rapids. The auction raised at least $24,000. Many of the people who bought items did not give their names.

About 10 people protested outside the auction house, holding signs that read, “Hate has no home here.”

FLORIDA

Woman left dangling from open drawbridge

HALLANDALE BEACH — A 79-year-old woman suffered only bruises after a drawbridge opened beneath her as she walked across it, leaving her dangling from the structure.

Helen Koton said she did not hear any warning signals before the bridge began to open with her nearly halfway across. She said she was able to grab the railing.

As the bridge rose to its full height, motorists got out of their cars and told the bridge attendant about the woman. The attendant lowered the span after several minutes.

“Finally, I came down. When I came down, I fell on my face, so I bruised my forehead and my nose,” she told Miami television station WSVN.

Brian Scott, the bridge tender’s supervisor, said the incident was under investigation. He declined to comment further.

HAWAII

Marcos’ son to appear in court

HONOLULU — The son of former Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos has been ordered to appear in federal court during a goodwill visit here next month.

The order, issued Wednesday, allows Ferdinand “Bong Bong” Marcos Jr. to travel to Hawaii despite contempt-of-court charges pending against him and his mother, former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos. It bars him from speaking in public about pending litigation, however.

Judge Manuel Real ordered Mr. Marcos to appear in court on Feb. 7. Mr. Marcos is due to meet with Filipino communities and sign a sister state-province agreement with Gov. Linda Lingle during a weeklong visit starting tomorrow.

Judge Real is overseeing the distribution of assets to thousands of Filipinos who won a $2 billion judgment against the Marcos estate in 1995.

ILLINOIS

Governor orders rehiring of paraplegic

SPRINGFIELD — A paraplegic state employee who was laid off and forced to give up his government-owned wheelchair got his job — and wheelchair — back Friday, under orders from Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich.

Arthur “Red” Burchyett has returned to his job repairing equipment at the Union County Wildlife Refuge near Jonesboro in southern Illinois, officials said. Mr. Burchyett, who has repaired equipment at the refuge for 24 years, had been among about 120 workers laid off by the Department of Natural Resources because of budget cuts.

Reacting to news accounts about the man’s plight, Mr. Blagojevich said the state needs to balance common-sense fiscal decisions with compassion.

Mr. Burchyett, 61, was hurt in a tractor accident at his farm in 1994. State officials said the chair was purchased out of sensitivity to the Americans With Disabilities Act. The $25,000, motorized wheelchair can elevate someone to a standing position or lower him, for example, to work underneath a vehicle. The department said he uses it only at work.

MASSACHUSETTS

Firefighters take time getting to blazes

BOSTON — Firefighters across the country are arriving at fires later each year, and barely over a third of calls nationwide meet national standards for response time, according to an analysis by the Boston Globe.

In Massachusetts, only 54 percent of local fire departments were able to reach 90 percent of building fires within six minutes, a standard set in 2001 by the National Fire Protection Association. People waited 10 minutes for firefighters at 214 building fires in 2002, the last year that data was available.

Nationwide, only 35 percent of departments were able to meet the six-minute goal in 2002, compared with 75 percent in 1986, when alarm times first began to be collected.

The Globe reviewed public records of 3.3 million building fires collected by the National Fire Incident Reporting System by 20,000 fire departments nationwide. The newspaper published the findings yesterday in the first of a two-part series.

The Globe found that more than 4,000 people died in fires in which the firefighters took more than six minutes to respond.

MINNESOTA

Teen runs down snowball throwers

MINNEAPOLIS — A teenager who is accused of driving his car through a group of students who pelted him with a snowball has been charged with assault.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported that Steven Arnold admitted to police that he “freaked out.”

Police say Mr. Arnold, 18, of New Brighton, was driving near Irondale High School, where he is a student, when he passed three of his fellow students. One threw a snowball at his car, and he reportedly turned it around and drove onto the sidewalk, hitting two of the boys.

One was knocked unconscious, and the other suffered an injury to his hand.

Police said Mr. Arnold left the scene. He was arrested at his home after witnesses gave investigators his plate number.

NEBRASKA

Mistake gives drivers good deal on gas

OMAHA — A misplaced decimal point gave drivers a surprisingly good deal on gas and fueled some threats of violence.

Carolyn Folsom, who occasionally helps her brother and father run the self-service Shell station, said she goofed Wednesday when entering prices into the computer that runs the fuel tanks. A gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline was supposed to sell for $1.89 but ended up costing only 18 cents.

Miss Folsom said about 500 gallons of gas were sold during the several hours that the price was down, costing the business about $1,000. The station does not have an attendant and the only way to pay is at the pump, so the mistake went unnoticed for hours.

A fuel-truck driver who came to deliver gas discovered the problem and tried to block the entrance of the station with his truck, Miss Folsom said. She said one person threatened to hit the fuel truck driver with a hammer if he didn’t move.

OREGON

Nazis adopt road, receiving sign credit

PORTLAND — The American Nazi Party has volunteered to pick up trash along a quiet stretch of rural road in Oregon state, causing an uproar after getting a sign placed there crediting its work.

The issue has flared up in the same week that world leaders and aging survivors gathered in the Polish town of Auschwitz to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the infamous Nazi death camp.

“American Nazi Party” reads the sign, which is part of the Adopt-A-Road program, a widely promoted effort encouraging local groups to clean up roadside litter.

Marion County officials say there is nothing they can do about the Nazi litter pick-up because barring the group from the program would violate its free speech rights.

WISCONSIN

Police say toddlers started house fire

MILWAUKEE — Two young boys playing with a cigarette lighter accidentally started a fire early yesterday that killed their three young cousins, police said.

The boys, ages 2 and 3, ran from the kitchen where the fire started in the second-floor apartment to a room shared by their 24-year-old mother and her 40-year-old sister, police Capt. Sue Edman said.

The women broke out a window and screamed, getting the attention of a man in an adjacent building, Capt. Edman said. The neighbor broke his bathroom window and helped the women and boys into his apartment, the officer said.

The women were overcome by smoke and couldn’t go back to rescue Iralisha S. Hinton, 6; Zaria I. Hudson, 3; and Zacarra A. Hinton, 2, who were sleeping in an adjacent bedroom, she said.

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