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Around the Nation

- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 27, 2005

ARKANSAS

40-foot stocking made for needy kids

CONWAY -- Once it is stuffed, a Christmas stocking being stitched by students at the University of Central Arkansas would pull down a chimney if anyone tried to hang it from a fireplace mantle.

The students are working on a 40-foot stocking to hold 10,000 toys and 5,000 articles of clothing that they will distribute to Arkansas children. They also hope to get their creation in the Guinness World Records.

CALIFORNIA

Suspect arrested as he leaves hospital

NEVADA CITY -- A man accused of killing his estranged wife with a nail gun last month was arrested after spending five weeks in a hospital for nail-gun wounds to his chest and abdomen.

Nevada County Sheriff's Department deputies were waiting to arrest Richard Williams, 51, a landscaper from Grass Valley, when he was released Friday.

Mr. Williams had been hospitalized since Oct. 22, when authorities found him injured and his wife, teacher Hetty Williams, 48, dead from two nail-gun wounds to the head.

At the time, Nevada County Sheriff's Lt. Ron Smith said authorities found a suicide note in the home indicating that Mr. Williams' estranged wife was seeing someone else. The note said the author, thought to be Mr. Williams, wanted their bodies cremated and the ashes spread together, Lt. Smith said.

If he had been arrested immediately after the Oct. 22 incident, the county would have been at least partly responsible for costs associated with his health care, officials said.

COLORADO

Teen who hit cyclist likely text-messaging

HIGHLANDS RANCH -- A 17-year-old likely will face misdemeanor charges after reportedly losing control of his car while text-messaging and hitting a bicyclist.

The bicyclist, Jim R. Price of Highlands Ranch, died Friday, two days after the accident.

"We do not believe it was an intentional act, but it was inattentiveness to the roadway," said Lt. Alan Stanton, spokesman for the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.

"The investigation showed that he was text-messaging on his cell phone" at the time of the accident, Lt. Stanton said.

The driver could be charged with careless driving resulting in death, Lt. Stanton said. Under Colorado law, the teen faces up to a year in prison.

FLORIDA

Tropical Storm Delta nears Canary Islands

MIAMI -- Tropical Storm Delta picked up strength in the central Atlantic yesterday and could strike the Canary Islands with strong wind, forecasters said.

Delta, the 25th named storm of the record 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, had top sustained wind of 50 mph, up from 40 mph earlier in the day, the National Hurricane Center said. The minimum for a tropical storm is 39 mph.

Delta was expected to lose the characteristics of a tropical storm before reaching the Canary Islands off the northwestern coast of Africa today but still could pack stiff wind when it nears the islands, the hurricane center said.

IDAHO

Couple celebrates 70th anniversary

BOISE -- When 19-year-old Ron Ramey fell in love with 14-year-old Marcella, doubters said it would never last -- they were just too far apart in age.

But the young couple didn't listen, spiriting away to get married in secret. On Nov. 20, the Rameys celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.

He's 90 and she's 85, both in good health. And the romance that began so long ago is far from losing its luster.

"I still love him so much," Mrs. Ramey said. "When we go to bed at night, we always hold hands. 'I love you' are the last words we say to each other."

"Sometimes I worry about which one of us will go first," she said. "I tell him he's not going anywhere without me."

NEW YORK

Iraq soldiers' wives 'walking' to Baghdad

FORT DRUM -- A group of women whose husbands are serving in Iraq with the 10th Mountain Division are "walking" the 5,918 miles from Fort Drum to Baghdad without leaving the unit's military base.

The group has tallied more than 5,400 miles in and around the base. The wives say the project allows them to cope with the stress and anxiety they feel while their loved ones are at war.

PENNSYLVANIA

Shot four times, bear attacks hunter

HARRISBURG -- A black bear bit and clawed a hunter who had just shot it four times in what game authorities said appeared to be a first for the state.

Samuel H. Beauchamp, 47, said he was approaching the downed 320-pound bear in Rothrock State Forest in Central Pennsylvania last Monday, the first day of bear-hunting season, when it came after him. He turned to run, but the bear put a claw around his hip and bit him twice, once in each thigh, before dying.

"The bear wasn't attacking 100 percent. I mean, really, it was dead on its feet when it came up. If it would have been 100 percent, I wouldn't have been standing there," Mr. Beauchamp said.

Other hunters nearby heard a growl and came to Mr. Beauchamp's aid.

Mr. Beauchamp was released from the hospital after about two hours of treatment. One bite went down to the bone.

TEXAS

Woman mauled to death by dogs

THORNDALE -- A pack of six dogs fatally mauled a 76-year-old woman as she worked in her yard, authorities said.

Lillian Loraine Stiles was riding on a lawn mower in her front yard Saturday when she was confronted by the dogs, described as pit bull-Rottweiler mixed breeds, said Milam County Sheriff Charlie West.

Investigators say the woman was attacked when she got off the mower and headed into her house.

She had severe bites over her body, and a man who tried to help her was bitten on one leg, authorities said.

The dogs were found at the home of her neighbor, Jose Hernandez.

WISCONSIN

Turkeys join walker for stroll

PORTAGE -- The day before Thanksgiving, a Wisconsin woman had some timely companions for her daily walk -- two full-grown wild turkeys.

The birds, about 3 feet tall, stepped out of the brush and joined receptionist Caryl Schultz for her stroll during a lunch break at Penda Corp.

"I had people stopping and asking me, 'Do you walk them every day?'" Miss Schultz said.

She said one of the male turkeys pecked at her heels a little, but otherwise they simply came along for a few blocks.

Tim Rainer, Portage parks and recreation director, said the turkeys probably belonged to a flock of 12 to 20 that lives in the area.

From wire dispatches and staff reports