- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 13, 2006

FLORIDA

Disney reopens ride after woman’s death

ORLANDO — Walt Disney World reopened its “Mission: Space” attraction yesterday, a day after a woman who became ill after leaving the ride died at a hospital.

It was the second death in less than a year related to the Epcot Center ride, which spins riders in a centrifuge that subjects them to twice the normal force of gravity. It is considered so intense it has motion-sickness bags and signs warning people with heart, back and neck problems not to board it.

The 49-year-old German woman who died Wednesday had reported dizziness and nausea after stepping off the ride on Tuesday, Disney officials said.

The medical examiner’s office identified the victim yesterday as Hiltrud Bleumel and said an autopsy was planned.

KANSAS

Kidnapping story untrue, officials say

INDEPENDENCE — A 16-year-old girl’s story of being kidnapped at gunpoint from her family’s driveway and then held in a white van for hours was a hoax, authorities said yesterday.

Police and FBI agents said Kelsey Stelting acknowledged yesterday morning that it never happened and said she instead spent the day alone not far from town.

Kelsey could be charged with filing a false police report, a misdemeanor, Police Chief Lee Bynum said. He said police will turn over reports to the county’s juvenile prosecutor to decide.

Authorities would not say what motivated the girl.

ALABAMA

Arson suspects plead not guilty

BIRMINGHAM — Three young men accused of setting fire to nine Baptist churches in rural Alabama pleaded not guilty during a brief hearing before a U.S. magistrate.

Defendants Matthew Cloyd, 20, and Benjamin Moseley, 19, were charged last month with conspiracy and nine counts of arson. Russell DeBusk, 19, was charged with conspiracy and five counts of arson.

Court documents quoted one suspect as saying the spree began as a joke that “got out of hand” during a deer hunting trip.

If convicted, the suspects face up to five years in prison on the conspiracy count and up to 40 years for each arson count.

IOWA

11 students hurt in school-bus crash

AUDUBON — A utility truck crashed into a school bus at a highway intersection yesterday, injuring 11 students, one of whom was airlifted to a Des Moines hospital in serious condition.

Five other students were hospitalized in stable condition, and the others were treated and released, authorities said. The truck driver was taken to a hospital, and his condition was unknown.

KENTUCKY

Senator in hospital after heart attack

FRANKFORT — A state senator was wheeled out of the state Capitol on a gurney and taken to a hospital Wednesday night after apparently having a heart attack.

Rep. Harry Moberly, 55, a Democrat, was “awake and aware” at Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington after experiencing chest pain during a recess, said Sen. Johnny Ray Turner.

LOUISIANA

Gumbo tradition helps rebuild eatery

NEW ORLEANS — Leah Chase’s gumbo z’herbes is an Easter tradition here.

Mrs. Chase, 83, considered the Queen of Creole cooking, has been serving the dish, which includes nine types of greens, to the city’s politicians, artists, musicians and everyday folk for a half-century on Holy Thursday.

This year she dished it up again. In turn, diners helped rebuild her famous restaurant, Dooky Chase. Supporters paid $75 to $500 for the gumbo — $75 for a traditional gumbo lunch; $500 for lunch, an invitation to Chase’s reopening and other goodies.

All proceeds will go toward rebuilding the landmark eatery, where civil rights plans for the city were once made. After Hurricane Katrina struck Aug. 29, up to 5 feet of water stood in the dining room for weeks, part of the roof collapsed and mold covered everything. The fundraiser was held at Muriel’s restaurant in the French Quarter.

Gumbo z’herbes, made only once a year, is unlike regular gumbo, with its rich, brown roux, or gravy. Gumbo z’herbes is made with a variety of greens: turnip, collard, mustard, beet and others. The gumbo is also packed with meat: sausage, ham, brisket, stew meat and sometimes veal or chicken.

NEW JERSEY

New moms to get depression screening

TRENTON — New Jersey doctors will be required to educate expecting mothers and their families about postpartum depression and screen new mothers for the disorder under legislation signed yesterday.

Gov. Jon Corzine called the requirements, which go into effect this fall, “a significant and positive step for New Jersey’s mothers, newborns and families.”

Mr. Corzine was joined at the bill-signing ceremony by Senate President Richard J. Codey and his wife, who has suffered from postpartum depression. Mr. Codey, who briefly served as acting governor after Gov. James E. McGreevey resigned in 2004, made awareness of postpartum depression a highlight of his term.

NORTH CAROLINA

Four workers injured in manhole blast

CHARLOTTE — An apparent flash fire in a manhole near the entrance to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte injured four workers yesterday morning, officials said.

One worker was in critical condition and the others suffered minor injuries, Charlotte Fire Capt. Rob Brisley said.

No injuries to students or faculty members were reported.

WCNC-TV reported that repair crews were called to the site at about 3 a.m. in response to reports of an electrical problem. The fire, which created a blast at the manhole, happened about 7 a.m., Capt. Brisley said.

OHIO

Court lets Taft keep papers secret

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Supreme Court gave Gov. Bob Taft a partial victory yesterday in his efforts to withhold documents connected to a corruption scandal, saying he has the right to keep some records secret but must do more to prove that those related to a state investment in rare coins should be sealed.

Ruling 5-2, the court for the first time gave the governor limited ability to keep certain policy-making records private, but rejected the notion that Mr. Taft has a sweeping executive privilege that makes all communication with his Cabinet directors exempt from public review.

Members of the public may have access when they can demonstrate a need that outweighs the governor’s right to confidentiality, the court said.

The ruling was issued in a lawsuit by state Sen. Marc Dann, a Democrat who had used the state public records act to try to review documents related to the unorthodox investments by the state Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. Up to $13 million is missing from the rare-coin investments handled by a prolific Republican donor, sparking a scandal that has engulfed state politics.

TEXAS

Public-intoxication stings suspended

DALLAS — The state said Wednesday it has suspended a crackdown on public drunkenness after a public outcry over the program that sends undercover officers into bars and taverns.

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission had announced last week that it was reviewing the program.

Spokeswoman Carolyn Beck said Wednesday that the agency decided to put the program on hold “just to give us time to sift through all the information we’ve received … and determine the best way to proceed.”

The agency has been doing stings in bars since 2001, but began doing more over the summer after getting additional funding from the Legislature for about 100 more employees.

A hearing on the program is scheduled for Monday.

UTAH

Rare religious texts stolen from museum

SALT LAKE CITY — Two first-edition copies of the Book of Mormon were among a dozen rare books that could be worth more than $300,000 stolen from a museum, authorities said.

The theft at Pioneer Memorial Museum on Capitol Hill was discovered early Wednesday, and investigators think someone used a hammer to shatter a glass case where the books were stored, said Lt. Tony Garcia of the Utah Department of Public Safety.

Stolen were 11 copies of the Book of Mormon, the central text of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and a Tibetan wood printing block, Lt. Garcia said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide