- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 13, 2006

CALIFORNIA

Hacker gains access to personal data

LOS ANGELES — The University of California at Los Angeles alerted about 800,000 current and former students, faculty and staff yesterday that their names and certain personal information were exposed after a hacker broke into a campus computer system.

Only a small percentage — “far less than 5 percent” — of the records in the database were actually accessed, UCLA spokesman Jim Davis told the Associated Press. Still, it was one of the largest such breaches involving a U.S. higher-education institution.

The attacks ended Nov. 21 of this year, when computer-security technicians noticed suspicious database queries, according to a statement posted on a school Web site set up to answer questions about the theft.

GEORGIA

Husband presents wife with blanket of snow

ATLANTA — Living in balmy South Georgia, Gene Long knew his wife, Crystal, pined for the winter snows of her native Pennsylvania. So he decided to do something about it.

Armed with a homemade snowmaking machine, the 41-year-old paramedic and firefighter stayed up overnight during a rare subfreezing snap and crisscrossed their property. Saturday morning, he presented her with an inch-deep blanket of snow on their lawn in South Georgia’s Long County.

“She thought it was pretty cool,” Mr. Long said. “We actually had a little snowball fight.”

Tapping into plans he found on the Internet, Mr. Long built the snow maker from a pressure washer and an air compressor.

ILLINOIS

Study: Don’t wait on prostate cancer

CHICAGO — Older men with early stage, localized prostate cancer live longer if the disease is treated with radiation or surgery instead of simply waiting and watching it as is often recommended, a study said yesterday.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia said they found that patients whose cancer was treated had a 31 percent lower risk of death during the 12 years they were tracked than those who did nothing.

Even though the disease is considered a slow-developing one, the study “suggests a reduced risk of mortality associated with active treatment for low- and intermediate-risk prostate cancer in the elderly … population examined,” concluded the report published in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

MASSACHUSETTS

Mayor proposes selling City Hall

BOSTON — Boston Mayor Thomas Menino proposed selling City Hall to private developers yesterday in a move he said would “galvanize the vitality of our downtown.”

A new City Hall could be built on a city-owned site at the South Boston waterfront, Mr. Menino said.

“This sale will open up prime real estate for facilities and open space that will galvanize the vitality of our downtown and strengthen Boston’s future,” said Mr. Menino, outlining the plan during a breakfast event sponsored by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.

The hulking City Hall building, which opened in 1968, is jarringly out of place with Boston’s historic Colonial architecture and has long been considered an eyesore at the site across from Faneuil Hall.

NEW JERSEY

Firefighters need help to save firehouse

PLAINFIELD — Firefighters were so busy battling a warehouse blaze yesterday that they needed outside help — to protect their own fire station.

The blaze near downtown Plainfield destroyed a mattress warehouse that stood just 15 feet away across an alley from the city’s fire department headquarters.

The heat shattered firehouse windows and damaged the firefighters’ living quarters and a storage area, said Fire Chief Cecil Allen. It took nearly 100 firefighters from throughout Union County to bring the warehouse blaze under control.

There was no immediate word on the cause of the fire, and no injuries were reported.

NORTH CAROLINA

Marine ordered to end auction

RALEIGH — A North Carolina-based Marine was ordered yesterday to stop an online auction in which he promised to legally change his name to whatever the highest bidder wanted it to be.

Sgt. Cody Baker, 29, could have become “Mr. Clean” or even “Finest Freshest Fastest,” but he was told the auction violated military rules against commercial endorsements, said a Camp Lejeune spokesman.

The highest bid had reached $30,000.01, offered by the Web site www.FreebieStore.com. Sgt. Baker had said he wanted to raise money for college, support his wife and infant son, and help an orphanage in Thailand for children affected by AIDS.

OHIO

Mom pleads not guilty in microwave death

DAYTON — A woman suspected of killing her month-old daughter in a microwave oven pleaded not guilty to murder yesterday.

China Arnold, 26, remained in the Montgomery County Jail for the video arraignment. Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge John Kessler kept her bond at $1 million. The baby, Paris Talley, died Aug. 30, 2005.

OREGON

Search resumes for 3 lost climbers

COOPER SPUR — More searchers headed up Mount Hood yesterday, joining rescuers who had spent the night on the mountain in the hunt for three missing climbers.

The weather was windy but dry yesterday, following blizzard conditions that hampered the search the day before.

“At least they will be able to see today. You could barely see anything yesterday,” said Dick Arnold, a member of team of volunteers from Hood River.

Two more storms are expected this week, with one beginning early today, the National Weather Service said. “Today is a window of opportunity between storms,” said Bill Schneider, science and operations officer at the National Weather Service’s Portland office.

WASHINGTON

Christmas trees return to Seattle airport

SEATTLE — Seattle airport officials have put back the 14 Christmas trees that were taken down in response to a local rabbi’s request to include a giant menorah in the airport’s holiday decorations.

The Port of Seattle, the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s operator, decided to put back the trees late yesterday after receiving assurances from Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky that his organization, Chabad Lubavitch, would not pursue a lawsuit seeking to have a menorah included in the airport’s holiday decorations.

“There’s been such an outcry from the public — from people of all faiths — who believe that the trees should be reinstalled,” Port of Seattle Commission President Pat Davis said in a statement.

A menorah was not added to the display when the Christmas trees were reinstalled, but the port said it plans to work with the rabbi and other members of the community to develop a plan for next year’s holiday decorations at the airport.

Mr. Bogomilsky insists — and the Port of Seattle confirmed — that his organization never asked for the trees to be taken down.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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