- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 19, 2006

ALABAMA

Wreckage of train carrying cyanide burns

LINCOLN — Wreckage from the fiery crash of a train carrying sodium cyanide continued to burn yesterday, but no hazardous chemicals were detected in the air, and most nearby residents were allowed to return home.

The fire mostly involved paper and automobile parts, said Jerome Hand, a spokesman for the state environmental management agency. Plastic-lined cardboard boxes containing sodium cyanide spilled inside a train car, but none leaked, Mr. Hand said.

The flames broke out Wednesday after the train rear-ended another that was carrying automobiles.

Three crew members were treated at a hospital, and a plume of black smoke could be seen 40 miles away in Birmingham.

FLORIDA

Climber protests brother’s disappearance

MIAMI — A man who thinks his brother disappeared four decades ago while on a secret anti-Fidel Castro mission climbed a radio tower behind the Miami Herald building yesterday and demanded that the U.S. government release information about his sibling.

The man, who identified himself as Robert Annable, left a written statement at the base of the tower pleading with federal officials for information about his brother, Harrison, who disappeared from a fishing boat on Nov. 17, 1962, the Miami Herald reported on its Web site yesterday.

The man spent four hours on the tower and hung an American flag upside down before climbing down to where authorities were waiting to lead him away.

COLORADO

Pot charge dropped on technicality

DENVER — Citing a faulty police search, prosecutors have dropped the first marijuana case filed since city voters legalized small amounts of the drug for adults.

Police and prosecutors said Wednesday that they still intend to enforce state laws that forbid marijuana possession, despite the city ordinance approved in November.

Advocates of legalization claimed victory, saying public pressure persuaded prosecutors to drop the case.

Eric Footer, 39, was arrested on a marijuana possession charge Nov. 17, a day after the ordinance took effect. Assistant City Attorney Greg Rawlings dropped the charge Wednesday, saying he could not find a valid reason for police to begin the search that turned up the marijuana.

Police had stopped Mr. Footer’s car after a complaint from another motorist about a confrontation. Officers said they asked Mr. Footer for permission to search the car after he dropped his keys to the floor, making them suspect he might be reaching for a weapon. Mr. Footer, who said he uses marijuana to dull back pain, consented to a search.

HAWAII

Passer-by saves girl from sinking car

HONOLULU — A 15-year-old girl was rescued from a car that sank in Ala Wai Harbor, but the passer-by who saved her was unable to rescue her grandfather, authorities said.

The teenager, whose name was not released, managed to call 911 from inside the sinking car.

The girl’s grandfather, lawyer Michael McCarthy, was pronounced dead Saturday night after rescue crews located him in the car. The girl was released from a hospital Monday.

Mr. McCarthy was backing his car out of a parking stall at the Waikiki Yacht Club when it hit two parked vehicles and plunged into the water, police said.

MICHIGAN

Driver dies when dog falls from overpass

LIVONIA — A dog apparently fell from a freeway overpass and crashed through a car windshield, fatally injuring the driver, police said yesterday.

Charles G. Jetchick, 81, died Wednesday of injuries suffered in the accident over the weekend in suburban Detroit. A passenger suffered minor injuries.

Investigators do not think the 60- to 70-pound Labrador retriever was thrown, but rather fell while trying to avoid a car, State Police Sgt. Michael A. Shaw said. Police questioned the dog’s owner. The dog died after a fall of about 16 feet.

MISSISSIPPI

Governor vetoes cigarette tax bill

JACKSON — Gov. Haley Barbour vetoed a bill Wednesday that would phase out a state sales tax on groceries and increase the tax on cigarettes.

“It’s irresponsible to cut Mississippi’s budget revenue while we’re trying to recover from Hurricane Katrina,” the Republican said.

Mr. Barbour, a former Washington lobbyist for tobacco companies, called the proposal “ill-conceived, barely researched, poorly timed and passed in great haste.”

The bill would eliminate the 7 percent grocery tax by 2014. The bill also would increase the cigarette excise tax from 18 cents a pack to 75 cents a pack this July 1 and $1 a pack a year later.

OHIO

Man sentenced to attend church

CINCINNATI — A judge sentenced a suburban Cincinnati man to attend services for six weeks at a predominantly black church for threatening to punch a black cabdriver and using racial slurs in a fight with the man.

Brett Haines, 36, of Anderson Township, picked church over spending 30 days in the Hamilton County Jail. Judge William Mallory Jr. offered the choice last week after Haines was convicted of disorderly conduct.

Haines was arrested in November for threatening cabdriver David Wilson and Mr. Wilson’s wife, and telling them he hated black people. Prosecutors said Haines was drunk.

The church services could expand Haines’ cultural awareness, Judge Mallory said. He told Haines that he must go to six consecutive Sunday services and get the minister to sign a church program to prove he attended.

TENNESSEE

Expelled activist returns to Vanderbilt

NASHVILLE — The Rev. James Lawson, who as a student was kicked out of Vanderbilt University 45 years ago for his civil rights activism, is returning to the campus to teach religion courses.

Mr. Lawson will return to the private university this fall as a distinguished visiting professor, Vanderbilt officials announced Wednesday when he was presented a distinguished alumni award.

“I’ve never had any ill will toward Vanderbilt,” Mr. Lawson said. “I was a student here in the school of theology in the 1950s and 1960s and have always had deep appreciation for my time here, for the faculty and for my opportunity to study and grow.”

Mr. Lawson was active in the civil rights movement in Nashville, organizing sit-ins at downtown businesses that refused service to blacks. His activities prompted university officials in 1960 to ask Mr. Lawson to withdraw. When he did not, he was expelled, igniting a national controversy.

TEXAS

911 dispatcher dies on the job

KERRVILLE — An emergency dispatcher found herself with a crisis of her own when a fellow dispatcher passed out while taking a call and later died.

Natalie Dunlap, a Kerr County dispatcher, took the telephone and calmly dealt with the emergency call, authorities said. She then summoned help and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on her 59-year-old colleague, Aaron Dale Saul, while maintaining her post.

Mr. Saul, who had complained about feeling dizzy, was taken to Sid Peterson Memorial Hospital, where he died Tuesday.

Officials said Wednesday night the cause of death had not been determined.

WISCONSIN

Campaign workers tied to slashed tires

MILWAUKEE — Witness testimony, cell phone records and other evidence show that five Democratic campaign workers punctured tires on vehicles Republicans intended to use to get out the vote on Election Day 2004, a prosecutor told jurors in closing arguments yesterday.

The son of a congresswoman and the son of a former Milwaukee mayor are among those accused of the vandalism near a Bush-Cheney campaign office.

Milwaukee County District Attorney David Feiss told jurors that testimony from several national campaign workers brought to Milwaukee indicated that the defendants acted together to cause the damage and that the workers overheard the defendants talking about the vandalism.

Defense attorney Rodney Cubbie questioned the credibility of the national operatives, saying each of them lied to investigators.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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