- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 31, 2006

Classmates claim to beat subway record

NEW YORK — Six former high school classmates say they’ve broken the record for stopping at every station on New York City’s massive subway system — all 468 of them.

The group set out Thursday to beat the fastest time — 26 hours, 21 minutes — for riding through the entire subway system and making every stop. That record was set in 1989.

According to their Web site, www.rapidtransitchallenge. com, the six friends finished Friday in 24 hours, 54 minutes and 3 seconds, shaving about 1 hours off the previous record.

The friends said they started talking about taking on the subway-riding record when they were students at Regis High School in Manhattan.

Missing twins found; mother arrested

RALEIGH, N.C. — A mother accused of kidnapping her 17-month-old twins from their adoptive parents in North Carolina has been arrested in Canada, and authorities say the children are safe.

Allison Lee Quets, 49, and the twins were found Friday night when police in Ottawa, Canada, acted on a tip, the FBI said early yesterday. The toddlers, Tyler Lee and Holly Ann Needham, were placed in the custody of Canadian Social Services.

Miss Quets could face federal charges of international parental kidnapping.

A custody agreement allowed Miss Quets to take the children for a brief visit Dec. 22-24, but authorities said she never returned them.

Officials with the FBI Victim-Witness Assistance Program were arranging for the adoptive parents to travel to Canada to be with their children.

Wisconsin apologizes to taxpayers

MILWAUKEE — Wisconsin’s revenue agency said Friday that it sent as many as 170,000 forms to taxpayers with mailing labels mistakenly printed with their Social Security numbers.

The state Department of Revenue was scrambling to alert taxpayers to be on the lookout for the mailings.

“We want to prevent any chance identity theft might occur,” department spokeswoman Meredith Helgerson said. An agency press release included an apology to taxpayers and a statement that steps were being taken “to make sure that this will never happen again.”

The misprinted labels, blamed on a computer error while they were being prepared, went to taxpayers who have used the basic Form 1, a long paper form for individuals, according to the department.

Man protests mosque construction

KATY, Texas — A man unhappy with an Islamic association’s plans to build a mosque next to his property has staged pig races as a protest during afternoon prayers.

Craig Baker, 46, sold merchandise and grilled sausages Friday for about 100 people who showed up in heavy rain. He insisted he wasn’t trying to offend anyone with the pigs, which are forbidden from the Muslim diet.

“I am just defending my rights and my property,” Mr. Baker said. “They totally disrespected me and my family.”

The dispute began when the association asked Mr. Baker to remove his cattle from its newly bought land. The association plans to build a mosque, community center, athletic facilities and a school.

Holiday effect on environment noted

SEATTLE — Researchers at the University of Washington say all that holiday baking and eating has an environmental effect: Puget Sound is being flavored by cinnamon and vanilla.

“Even something as fun as baking for the holiday season has an environmental effect,” said Rick Keil, an associate professor of chemical oceanography.

Mr. Keil and UW researcher Jacquelyn Neibauer’s weekly tests of treated sewage sent into Puget Sound from the West Point treatment plant in Magnolia showed cinnamon, vanilla and artificial vanilla levels rose between Nov. 14 and Dec. 9, with the biggest spike right after Thanksgiving.

Teen enters plea in machete attack

VALPARAISO, Ind. — A teenager charged with attacking several Valparaiso High School classmates with a machete and a tree saw in 2004 pleaded guilty but mentally ill Friday to eight felony charges.

James Lewerke, 17, faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced Feb. 23 in Porter Superior Court.

Lewerke was accused of attacking fellow students in November 2004 at the beginning of a Spanish class at the school about 20 miles southeast of Gary. Seven students were cut or hurt trying to flee before Lewerke was subdued by administrators.

From staff reports and wire dispatches

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