- The Washington Times - Friday, January 7, 2005

ARIZONA

Storms cause rivers to flow again

TUCSON — For the first time in seven years, virtually every river in Arizona is doing what rivers are supposed to do: flowing with water.

Winter storms for the past two weeks have pumped runoff from rain or snow into riverbeds statewide. And with more Pacific storms headed into Arizona by today and early next week, the water should keep coming for a while.

Water releases over the Granite Reef Diversion Dam were flowing in the normally dry Salt River bed through metropolitan Phoenix. Water has been scarce for decades because of a combination of factors, chief among them drought and increased groundwater pumping because of population growth.

FLORIDA

Shuttle team welcomes redesigned fuel tank

CAPE CANAVERAL — A redesigned fuel tank for NASA’s first post-Columbia launch emerged from a darkened barge into the morning sunlight yesterday, inspiring dozens of space shuttle workers who had gathered to watch.

The arrival of the external fuel tank from a manufacturing plant in Louisiana moved the space program closer to its goal of a late spring liftoff for Space Shuttle Discovery. It was a suitcase-size piece of insulating foam from Columbia’s fuel tank that triggered that shuttle’s explosion as it re-entered the atmosphere over Texas nearly two years ago.

Some workers photographed the 154-foot orange-yellow tank as it was hauled atop a wheeled flatbed into the Vehicle Assembly Building, and others walked alongside, pointing out new features.

ALASKA

Jokester leaves ‘grizzly bear’ tracks

FAIRBANKS — A jokester — or perhaps a deformed bear — is trying to freak out hikers.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has received several reports of people walking trails at Creamer’s Field who came across grizzly bear tracks. But, upon closer inspection, officials are ruling out a real bear.

“It’s either a person or a circus bear with two left front feet walking on its hands,” said state wildlife biologist Harry Reynolds. “There are no hind tracks.”

The tracks feature a foot pad, toes and claws that stretch out 3 inches from the toes. Mr. Reynolds said it is either a boot or some attachment someone is putting on a boot.

GEORGIA

Crematory operator to plead guilty

ATLANTA — A former crematory operator who admitted dumping 334 bodies and passing off cement dust as their ashes will plead guilty to related charges in Tennessee today and begin serving his sentence in Georgia, his attorney said.

Ray Brent Marsh, 31, was to surrender at the Walker County Jail in northwest Georgia late yesterday to be transported to Cleveland, Tenn., today for a plea and sentencing hearing, defense attorney Ken Poston said.

As part of an agreement between officials in both states, Marsh will be sentenced to serve no more than 12 years in prison, followed by a lengthy probation, to be served concurrently, Mr. Poston said.

Marsh, who pleaded guilty in November to 787 counts of theft, abuse of a corpse, burial service fraud and making false statements in Georgia, is scheduled to be formally sentenced on the Georgia charges on Jan. 31.

LOUISIANA

Chokehold killed tourist, coroner says

NEW ORLEANS — A college student who died in front of a French Quarter bar on New Year’s Eve was killed by the bouncers who held him down in a chokehold for 12 minutes, the coroner said yesterday.

Coroner Frank Minyard said the cause of death of Levon Jones, 25, a student at Georgia Southern University, was suffocation.

“The bouncers killed that man — period,” Mr. Minyard said at a press conference.

Mr. Minyard said Mr. Jones’ death was caused by a combination of the chokehold and pressure on his back that prevented him from taking breaths.

The coroner’s announcement came one day after a wrongful-death lawsuit was filed against the owners of the bar. The lawsuit, filed by Mr. Jones’ parents, says a fight started after bouncers selectively enforced a dress code to keep black people out of the Bourbon Street bar.

MASSACHUSETTS

Boston Tea Party chest bought

BOSTON — Museum and city officials Wednesday showed off what might be called a Boston Tea Party favor: an empty tea chest that a teenage patriot purportedly plucked from the shores of Boston Harbor the morning after the famous act of rebellion against British rule.

The Goodman family of Laredo, Texas, the descendants of that young American, John Robinson, recently sold the chest to the operators of the Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum for an undisclosed amount. The museum, destroyed by a 2001 fire, will display the chest under glass when it reopens in spring 2006.

MISSISSIPPI

Man arrested in civil-rights killings

PHILADELPHIA — A 79-year-old man was arrested yesterday on murder charges in one of the most notorious crimes of the civil rights era — the 1964 “Freedom Summer” slayings of three young civil-rights workers.

Sheriff Larry Myers said Edgar Ray Killen was arrested at his home without incident and held on three state counts of murder in the deaths of James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman.

“We went ahead and got [Mr. Killen] because he was high-profile and we knew where he was,” the sheriff said, adding that more arrests would come.

Nineteen men — many reported to be Ku Klux Klansmen, including Mr. Killen — were indicted in the 1960s on federal conspiracy and civil-rights violations. Seven were convicted, but Mr. Killen was not among them. He has always denied the slayings.

The arrest followed a grand jury session yesterday that included testimony from persons thought to have knowledge of the slayings.

NEW YORK

Memorial board holds first meeting

NEW YORK — Robert De Niro, Barbara Walters, David Rockefeller and other members of the foundation charged with raising money for a World Trade Center memorial held their first meeting Wednesday.

The 33-member board set up governance and executive committees before meeting with trade center master planner Daniel Libeskind and memorial architect Michael Arad near the building site.

UTAH

Antics in court delay Smart case hearing

SALT LAKE CITY — The drifter and self-proclaimed prophet accused of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart arrived at his competency hearing 90 minutes late yesterday and was kicked out after he started singing a Bible verse. The hearing was delayed until Feb. 15.

Brian David Mitchell, 51, and his wife, Wanda Barzee, 59, are charged with kidnapping, sexual assault and burglary counts in the 2002 abduction of the Utah girl.

Mr. Mitchell’s courtroom antics yesterday marked the second time in recent weeks that he broke out into song in court. In December, he began singing a Christmas hymn during a court appearance.

WEST VIRGINIA

Governor declares flood emergency

CHARLESTON — West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise declared a state of emergency yesterday for 12 northern counties threatened by flooding, urging residents to “be very careful, use common sense and get out if they need to.”

The declaration came after 3.4 inches of rain across the region over three days swelled the Ohio River, with forecasters predicting a crest at nearly 7 feet above flood stage in Wheeling by early today. Three bridges in the Wheeling area were shut down after 12 barges broke loose on the river.

Mr. Wise’s emergency declaration allows the state to deploy National Guard teams and power companies to ask their employees to work extra hours.

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