- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 20, 2006

ARKANSAS

Ex-worker opens fire at food plant

PINE BLUFF — A Tyson Foods Inc. employee who had just been suspended from his job returned to the poultry-processing plant carrying two pistols and opened fire, wounding a co-worker before police shot the gunman, officials said.

The victim, Ronny Smith, 34, was shot in the groin but listed in good condition at a hospital yesterday morning. The suspected gunman, identified as Julian English, 24, was in critical condition.

Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson said the worker had been escorted out of the plant Wednesday evening but reappeared later that night with weapons. Arkansas State Police spokesman Bill Sadler said Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies and local police responded. There was a brief standoff and officers from both agencies fired, he said.

Shuntae Kye, a worker at the plant, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that the gunman had a pistol in each hand and was looking for one employee in particular.

CALIFORNIA

Third-grader takes teacher’s van for ride

MODESTO — An 8-year-old boy swiped his teacher’s car keys and took her minivan for a joyride, cruising safely home and into the record books as the city’s youngest auto thief, police said.

The third-grader told officers he “just wanted to drive around for a while” when he left the James Marshall School on Monday, Officer Michael Amarillas said.

The diminutive driver snatched the keys from teacher Caren Brady’s purse when she turned her back to the class. In order to operate the Dodge Caravan, he raised the driver’s seat, lowered the steering wheel, adjusted the rearview mirror and turned off the radio.

The boy, whose identity was not released, was suspended from school, Miss Brady said. Nothing was damaged and no one was hurt. Police said they wouldn’t charge the boy with a crime.

FLORIDA

Sit-in continued at governor’s office

TALLAHASSEE — A sit-in at Gov. Jeb Bush’s office stretched into a second day yesterday as about 30 college students protested the state’s response to the boot-camp beating of a teenager who later died.

The students, who met with Mr. Bush on Wednesday, are demanding the arrest of guards who were videotaped beating and kicking 14-year-old Martin Lee Anderson.

Mr. Bush’s office said the governor planned to meet with Martin’s parents yesterday, and that the student protests won’t change the way the case is being investigated.

GEORGIA

Computer glitch led to airport shutdown

ATLANTA — A bomb scare that shut down security checkpoints for two hours at the world’s busiest airport was the result of a computer software glitch, the nation’s top security administrator said yesterday.

Transportation Security Administration Director Kip Hawley said a screener at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport spotted what looked like an explosive Wednesday on an X-ray machine.

She pressed a button that should have signaled a routine security test was being conducted but it failed to respond, Mr. Hawley said. The screener notified her supervisor of the suspicious image on the X-ray machine monitor.

Officials then closed security checkpoints for two hours. By the time checkpoints reopened, no planes had departed for more than an hour and all arrivals were delayed by at least 90 minutes. At least 120 flights were affected, officials said.

KANSAS

Five students held in shooting plot

RIVERTON — Five teenage boys accused of plotting to kill other students in a shooting rampage at their high school were arrested yesterday after details of the suspected scheme appeared on the Web site MySpace.com.

Sheriff’s deputies found guns, ammunition, knives and coded messages in the bedroom of one suspect, Sheriff Steve Norman said. Authorities also found documents about firearms in two suspects’ school lockers.

Deputies’ interviews with the suspects indicated they planned to wear black trench coats and disable the school’s camera system before starting the attack between noon and 1 p.m. yesterday, Mr. Norman said. The suspects, ages 16 to 18, apparently had been plotting since the beginning of the school year.

Officials at Riverton High School began investigating on Tuesday after learning that a threatening message had been posted on MySpace.com, he said. The message discussed the significance of April 20, which is Adolf Hitler’s birthday and the anniversary of the 1999 Columbine High School attack in Colorado, in which two students wearing trench coats killed 13 persons and committed suicide, the sheriff said.

KENTUCKY

Creationist to head theological seminary

LOUISVILLE — A Tennessee professor who teaches creationism has been named to lead the Center for Theology and Science at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Kurt P. Wise, a professor at Bryan College in Dayton, Tenn., is replacing William Dembski, a leading proponent of intelligent design, who left to take a teaching job closer to his Texas home.

Mr. Wise, who holds degrees in philosophy and paleontology from Harvard University, advocates a form of creationism that says God created the Earth relatively recently. The intelligent design concept touted by Mr. Dembski and others says life is too complicated to have arisen by chance, though it does not explicitly identify the designer as God.

Federal courts have ruled that intelligent design is religion masquerading as science and teaching it alongside evolution would violate the constitutional separation of church and state.

MINNESOTA

Dalai Lama touts role of compassion

ROCHESTER — The Dalai Lama followed up a routine medical exam at the Mayo Clinic with an address to 300 employees of the renowned health care institution, telling them that love, forgiveness and tolerance can help a body heal.

The Dalai Lama walked into the Mayo meeting hall Monday to silence, greeting people in the front row with clasped hands and bows.

The day before, the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize winner spoke in Minneapolis to many of the 1,500 Tibetan refugees in the area. Minnesota has the largest Tibetan refugee community in the United States outside of New York.

The Dalai Lama has lived in exile since 1959, when Chinese communist forces invaded Tibet.

NEW YORK

Gambling granny ins $10 million

NEW YORK — A 5-cent slot machine in Atlantic City disgorged a $10 million windfall for an 84-year-old grandmother who promptly received four marriage proposals, according to reports yesterday.

Josephine Crawford, a widow, had lost $35 in the machine and was down to the last of her modest stake money when she hit the jackpot Tuesday evening at Harrah’s casino in the New Jersey gambling mecca.

It was the largest ever U.S. nickel slot machine jackpot and the largest jackpot in Atlantic City history.

“I’m going to take care of my family,” she said. “I have five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. We are going to have a good time with it.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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