- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 31, 2006

ARIZONA

200 coyotes killed in government hunt

ELGIN — Federal authorities have killed 200 coyotes in southeastern Arizona in the past three weeks because ranchers had complained that the animals were eating calves.

The hunt, which ended Friday, was conducted from aircraft as part of a program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The shootings took place on private and public land used by 10 to 15 ranchers, the Arizona Daily Star reported Sunday.

No documentation was available last week on how many calves had been killed, but the government said it has confirmed the losses.

Rancher Rex Dalton said every lost calf costs him $500 to $650 — the amount it could have fetched if it lived to maturity.

ARKANSAS

Slayings suspect upset over marriage

DE QUEEN — A woman accused of smothering her three children was distraught over the breakup of her marriage and told police that she blessed the children before suffocating them, a prosecutor said yesterday.

Eleazar Paula Mendez, 43, pleaded not guilty to three counts of capital murder and was ordered held without bail yesterday. The judge also ordered a mental evaluation.

She told investigators that she tried to kill herself on Friday by ingesting ant poison, prosecutor Tom Cooper said. She said the children saw her take the pesticide and asked her to kill them, too, he said.

Mr. Cooper said he thinks she poisoned the children before suffocating them, but he questions other parts of her account. The children’s bodies were sent to the state Crime Laboratory for autopsies.

Police found the bodies of 7-year-old Elvis and 5-year-old twins Samantha and Samuel on a bed in their home Saturday after a call from the children’s worried father, Arturo Morales, 37, who lives in New York.

MONTANA

Student commits suicide at school

GREAT FALLS — A student fatally shot himself in a high-school bathroom yesterday, just moments after getting off the bus, authorities said.

School Superintendent Bryan Dunn said faculty members and staff had not seen any warning signs that the boy, Ryan Clancy, intended to harm himself.

Surveillance cameras at C.M. Russell High School captured the junior getting off a bus, then walking into a bathroom just inside the school doors.

The principal, who was outside the bathroom door, heard a shot, ran in and found the youngster, Mr. Dunn said. He said no one else was in the restroom.

Administrators secured the school after the shooting but decided not to send students home for the day.

NEBRASKA

College applicants get text messages

OMAHA — High-school students aren’t waiting for the mail each day to find out whether they’ve been accepted at Creighton University — they’re looking at their cell phones.

Since November, 700 students — or 44 percent — of those admitted to Creighton have been notified through a text message. The school added the option on application forms last fall.

The university is trying to respond to the needs of its students, said Mary Chase, director of admissions and scholarships at Creighton.

Opting for the text message allows students to know the university’s decision up to a week earlier. She said text messages are sent to students within 24 hours of the admission committee’s decisions, whereas letters can take several days to draft and then arrive in the mail.

“Text messaging is really popular with my friends,” said Katie Infantine, 17, of San Diego, who showed her family members her acceptance message. “So the fact a college would do that is really cool.”

NEW YORK

Indonesian kills self at country’s consulate

NEW YORK — An Indonesian man found dead in the blood-spattered basement of his country’s consulate committed suicide by repeatedly stabbing himself with various knives, authorities said yesterday.

Bambang Welianto, 36, was found Sunday with a kitchen knife in his chest and his left wrist almost severed. Several other knives, including a meat cleaver, were found around him in the four-story mansion on the Upper East Side.

The death was ruled a suicide, said a spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office, Ellen Borakove.

The man’s wife told investigators that he was supposed to be taking medication for a psychological disorder, a high-ranking police investigator, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the Associated Press.

The Jakarta man had arrived at the consulate Friday “in a stressed-out state,” Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda said in Jakarta. He asked to be put up for a few nights until his flight home this week.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Untested corn used in dog food, FDA says

COLUMBIA — Federal regulators determined that a pet food company improperly tested or failed to test corn shipments for a deadly fungus that has been blamed for deaths and illness in dozens of dogs, a newspaper reported yesterday.

According to a government report obtained by the Columbia State, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that Diamond Pet Foods allowed tainted corn into its Gaston plant and failed to properly test for the naturally occurring poison aflatoxin.

The federal agency began an investigation after the company recalled about 1 million pounds of dried dog food Dec. 20, said FDA investigator Phil Campbell.

The report, expected to be released this week, represents the agency’s findings but does not penalize the company, the newspaper reported.

Dozens of dogs in Eastern and Southern states have died or become sick from aflatoxin poisoning after eating the tainted food.

UTAH

‘Mixed-bloods’ lose tribal rights suit

SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by people of mixed ancestry challenging the termination of their rights in the Ute Tribe a half-century ago.

The statute of limitations for the claim expired by 1967 at the latest, U.S. District Judge Richard Roberts said Friday. The lawsuit was filed in 2002.

The legal action centered on the Ute Partition Act of 1954, which divided the tribe into “mixed-bloods” and “full-bloods.” Full-bloods were defined as tribal members whose ancestry was at least half Ute and more than half Indian. Under the law, 490 mixed-blood Utes lost recognition by the federal government as Indians and were removed from tribal rolls.

They also lost their rights to share in a $32 million judgment the tribe obtained over the federal government’s seizure of land in Colorado.

WASHINGTON

Mudslides shut interstate, rail line

SEATTLE — Avalanches and mudslides closed a major highway overnight and blocked Amtrak train service yesterday amid the latest in a series of storms that have drenched the Northwest since December.

The storm that hit on Sunday also knocked out power and phone service in northwestern Oregon.

Interstate 90, Washington state’s main east-west artery, was closed Sunday evening by two snowslides in the area of 3,022-foot Snoqualmie Pass. A 72-mile stretch of the interstate remained shut down until late yesterday morning, the state Transportation Department said. No injuries were reported.

Nearly 40 inches of snow fell at the pass in four days.

Mudslides during the night north of Seattle halted Amtrak passenger service and Sounder commuter trains between Seattle and Everett, Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad spokesman Gus Melonas said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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