- The Washington Times - Monday, May 9, 2005

FLORIDA

Man struck by lightning twice

SPRING HILL — A Florida man who was in a truck struck by lightning in 1986 has been knocked to the ground by another thunderbolt.

Emory Johnson, 54, had just collected his tools and gone inside the four-unit Spring Hill villa that he was working on Wednesday to avoid an oncoming rainstorm when a lightning bolt struck a tree, sending a powerful charge across a length of metal duct work and into the window at which he was standing, the St. Petersburg Times reported.

“There was a loud bang, and it felt like I was burning inside, and I passed out,” Mr. Johnson said later between shakes and garbled stutters at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point. “When I woke up, I was shaking so bad I couldn’t quit.”

“I don’t know if it’s trying to follow me still or what,” Mr. Johnson said, recalling the 1986 incident that burned his truck’s seats and destroyed its electrical system.

ILLINOIS

Car-wash employees restore Mary image

CHICAGO — A stain on the wall of an expressway underpass that some think resembles the Virgin Mary is again attracting visitors after two car-wash employees cleaned graffiti and brown paint off the image.

Rosa Diaz and Anna Reczek used a degreaser to clean the wall Friday on their lunch break.

Onlookers said they again could see the Virgin Mary. The Illinois Department of Transportation has said the stain was likely the result of salt runoff on the emergency turnoff area under the Kennedy Expressway.

Someone scrawled the words “Big Lie” in shoe polish on the image Thursday night, and authorities charged Victor Gonzalez of Chicago with criminal damage to state-supported property, a misdemeanor. Mr. Gonzalez, 37, told relatives that he thought visitors were worshiping a graven image in violation of the Second Commandment, said Mandy Gonzalez, who identified herself as Mr. Gonzalez’s niece.

On Friday, Chicago police directed transportation workers to paint over the image with brown paint for safety reasons.

LOUISIANA

Mold forces governor out of mansion

BATON ROUGE — Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco is vacating the governor’s mansion for the summer because of mold. Construction workers will clean the air ducts and replace heating and air conditioning units.

The governor and her husband will live in a rental house in Baton Rouge until the project is finished.

MONTANA

Bear cub prompts lockdown at school

CHOTEAU — Two grizzly bear cubs wandered into a back yard in this Rocky Mountain Front community — prompting a bear lockdown at a nearby elementary school.

Chuck Gameon, principal of the Choteau Elementary School, said the bears didn’t cause too much of a stir because many of the students are from ranches and “they see lots of bears.” But it did force the school to cancel recess Thursday.

A state bear specialist and deputies used rubber bullets to scare the bears. Sheriff George Anderson and Mike Madel of the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks followed the bears into a creek bottom on foot and chased them west.

Mr. Madel said the yearling cubs probably were searching for birdseed.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Lawmakers reverse hemp-growing plan

CONCORD — The state Senate has said no to growing hemp. The House in March passed a bill allowing farmers to grow the plant. But a majority of senators nixed the plan, saying hemp is considered a controlled substance.

Hemp is a relative of marijuana, but its strong fiber is used in a range of products including brake liners, canvas, rope and fiberglass.

OHIO

Technology foils bank robbery

CINCINNATI — Police say modern technology foiled an old-fashioned bank robbery.

A teller placed an electronic global positioning system (GPS) device in a bag of stolen money, allowing police to track down a suspect in just 42 minutes Thursday.

“Around here, [GPS] is still relatively rare,” Hamilton County sheriff’s office spokesman Steve Barnett said. “But with the advancement in technology and the continued success of catching bank robbers, soon I would hope that other financial institutions would jump on board.”

Authorities said that after William Ingram, 46, left a U.S. Bank in suburban Colerain Township, the GPS device tracked him to a car dealership in Hartwell, where he was returning a Honda that he had borrowed for a test drive but actually used as a getaway car.

When Mr. Ingram was confronted, money began spilling from his pockets, officials said.

PENNSYLVANIA

1,003 guns collected in buyback program

PHILADELPHIA — Police said a monthlong buyback designed to get guns off the street netted 1,003 weapons.

Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson said about 60 percent of the weapons were pistols and semiautomatic weapons.

TENNESSEE

Dispatcher helps mom revive her son

KNOXVILLE — A 911 dispatcher helped a distraught mother resuscitate her child who had stopped breathing as first-responders and an ambulance were reaching them.

The exchange between dispatcher Juan Manning, 60, and Brandy Lewis, mother of 13-month-old Chris Dixon, was caught on tape.

After another dispatcher took information from the distraught mother, Mr. Manning came on the line and said, “I’m going to give you some help.”

In a slow and gentle voice, Mr. Manning instructed her on how to position Chris for CPR and then how to give it.

As the child was revived, Mr. Manning told Chris’ mother to relax, and that it would be OK to “pick him up and hold him in your arms.” Chris was treated at a local hospital and released, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.

WASHINGTON

Governor signs bill on drug importation

DES MOINES — Gov. Christine Gregoire appeared at a senior center to sign a bill to allow state pharmacies to import prescription drugs from Canadian wholesalers.

But Washington residents won’t see any savings yet on their prescriptions.

The Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved the plan.

WISCONSIN

Marquette rejects return of ‘Warriors’

MILWAUKEE — Capping a nearly yearlong debate, Marquette University declined to reinstate its old Warriors nickname, which offended some American Indian groups. Instead, it took on a new moniker, the Gold.

The university abandoned the Warriors name and Indian logo in 1993, but the nickname adopted a year later, the Golden Eagles, never seemed to catch on.

The debate started last May when two university trustees said they would offer $1 million each to the school to restore the Warriors name.

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