- The Washington Times - Monday, December 17, 2007


House fire kills parents, 2 children

YORK — An electrical fire destroyed a family’s home early Saturday, killing a man, his pregnant wife and two of their children, authorities and family members said.

Jose Hernandez, 40, his wife, Aracely, 38, a daughter, Gema, 13 and son, Jose Jr., 1, died in the fire, officials said. Mrs. Hernandez was pregnant, said Jose Gomez, a brother-in-law who lives in the other half of the charred brick duplex.

Three other daughters, all teenagers, escaped the blaze and were taken to a hospital, said Mr. Gomez, who is married to Mrs. Hernandez’s sister. Mr. Gomez’s family escaped unharmed.


Suspect tried to help dying sheriff’s deputy

COLUMBIA — A passenger handcuffed after a car chase with police early Friday tried to save a sheriff’s deputy who suffered a fatal heart attack moments after arresting him, authorities said.

Police later arrested the driver of the car, who fled after the 5:30 a.m. chase. He is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the deputy’s death, authorities said.

Deputy Darral Lane, 41, tried to stop the car after noticing some suspicious activity at a convenience store, authorities said. The car sped off and stopped behind a house after about two miles.

The driver ran, and Deputy Lane ordered the other two men inside to the ground, police said. Deputy Lane handcuffed one man and then crumpled to the ground, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said.

The man who was handcuffed tried to use the police radio to call for help, Sheriff Lott said. Deputies who already had been dispatched after Deputy Lane radioed about the chase arrived and tried, unsuccessfully, to resuscitate him.


Global warming harms walruses

ANCHORAGE — In what some scientists see as another alarming consequence of global warming, thousands of Pacific walruses above the Arctic Circle were killed in stampedes earlier this year after the disappearance of sea ice caused them to crowd onto the shoreline in extraordinary numbers.

The deaths took place during the late summer and fall on the Russian side of the Bering Strait, which separates Alaska from Russia.

Unlike seals, walruses cannot swim indefinitely. The giant-tusked mammals typically clamber onto the sea ice to rest, or haul themselves onto land for just a few weeks at a time.

But ice disappeared in the Chukchi Sea this year because of warm summer weather, ocean currents and persistent eastern winds, said Joel Garlach-Miller, a walrus expert for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

As a result, walruses came ashore earlier and stayed longer, congregating in extremely high numbers, with herds as big as 40,000 at Point Shmidt, a spot that had not been used by walruses as a “haul-out” for a century, scientists said.

Walruses are vulnerable to stampedes when they gather in such large numbers. The appearance of a polar bear, a hunter or a low-flying airplane can send them rushing to the water.


Schools to pay fees in socks case

SAN FRANCISCO — Officials in a Northern California school district might not think Tiggers are such wonderful things after agreeing to pay $95,000 in lawyers’ fees to five families who sued the school over its dress code.

The parents went to court after a student was disciplined for wearing socks with the “Winnie the Pooh” cartoon character Tigger on the first day of school last year.

The district’s superintendent said Thursday that the settlement money is for the plaintiffs’ lawyers; the district is also on the hook to pay the lawyers it hired.

The settlement said Redwood Middle School may no longer require students to wear only solid-color clothing.


Woman accused of 10 marriages

MIAMI — The honeymoons are over for a 26-year-old woman who authorities say has at least 10 husbands.

Eunice Lopez has been charged with bigamy, accused of marrying 10 men from 2002 to 2006 without divorcing any of them, federal immigration authorities said. The Miami Herald reported Saturday that a records search by the newspaper found seven additional marriages under the bride’s name and birth date.

She arrived in South Florida from Cuba in 2002 and was a legal U.S. resident.

“I can tell you that none of the individuals she married had any type of residency,” said Terry Chavez, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade office of the state attorney.

Prosecutors said she charged her husbands to help them secure immigration status and continued asking the men for money long after the wedding, threatening to expose them if they didn’t pay.

Mr. Chavez said the state attorney’s office began investigating after being tipped off by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.


Holiday card mailed in 1914 arrives

OBERLIN — A postcard featuring a color drawing of Santa Claus and a young girl was mailed in 1914, but its journey was slower than Christmas. It just arrived in northwestern Kansas.

The Christmas card was dated Dec. 23, 1914, and mailed to Ethel Martin of Oberlin, apparently from her cousins in Alma, Neb.

It’s a mystery where it spent most of the past century, Oberlin Postmaster Steve Schultz said.

“It’s surprising that it never got thrown away,” he said. “How someone found it, I don’t know.”

Mrs. Martin is deceased, but Mr. Schultz said the post office wanted to get the card to a relative. That’s how the 93-year-old relic ended up with Bernice Martin, Mrs. Martin’s sister-in-law. She said she thought the card had been found somewhere in Illinois.

The card was placed inside another envelope with modern postage for the trip to Oberlin — the one-cent postage of the early 20th century wouldn’t have covered it, Bernice Martin said.

“We don’t know much about it,” she said. “But wherever they kept it, it was in perfect shape.”


Doe breaks into basement

SAULT STE. MARIE — When Jody Fabry descended the basement stairs to her seasonal home and saw broken glass on the floor, then spied what caused the mess, she didn’t know who was more frightened — her, or the deer that was the culprit.

A young doe apparently got into the basement through a window, then couldn’t get out. Miss Fabry called officers to her home, but it was difficult to remove the animal.

Officers eventually ended up chasing it around the basement until it jumped back out the way it came, then bounded off.

The deer, which Miss Fabry guessed had been in the unoccupied home for a day, appeared to be uninjured.


Singer Fogelberg dies at age 56

NEW YORK — Dan Fogelberg, the singer and songwriter whose hits “Leader of the Band” and “Same Old Lang Syne” helped define the soft-rock era, died yesterday at his home in Maine after battling prostate cancer. He was 56.

His death was announced in a statement by Anna Loynes of the Solters & Digney public relations agency and posted on the singer’s Web site, www. danfogelberg.com.

He discovered that he had advanced prostate cancer in 2004.

His music was powerful in its simplicity. He didn’t rely on the volume of his voice to convey his emotions; instead, they came through in the soft, tender delivery and his poignant lyrics. Songs like “Same Old Lang Syne” — in which a man reminisces after meeting an old girlfriend by chance during the holidays — became classics not only because of his performance, but also for the engaging storyline.

Mr. Fogelberg’s heyday was in the 1970s and early 80s, when he scored several platinum and multiplatinum records fueled by such hits as “The Power of Gold” and “Leader of the Band,” a touching tribute he wrote to his father, a bandleader. He put out his first album in 1972.

Later in his career, he wrote material that focused on the state of the environment, an issue close to his heart. His last album was 2003’s “Full Circle,” his first album of original material in a decade.


Musician banned from performing

WAUKESHA — A 21-year-old heavy-metal musician convicted of having sex with a 15-year-old was banned from playing in public for five years by a judge who said he used music to win the favor of underage girls.

Randall Shesto II of Waukesha, described in Internet postings as having performed with a band called Nailwounds, was convicted in June of second-degree sexual assault of a child. He was accused of having a sexual encounter with an underage girl last December whom he met through MySpace.com.

He also was convicted this year of having sex with another 15-year-old girl.

Waukesha County Circuit Judge Ralph Ramirez sentenced Shesto to 2½ years of prison and 2½ years of extended supervision, but stayed the term and placed him on probation for five years. He also was ordered to serve a year in jail — including one month behind bars and 11 months on work release.

Shesto was ordered by Judge Ramirez to register as a sex offender and told that, while he is on probation, he cannot have access to the Internet or a cell phone unless approved by his probation agent.

From wire dispatches and staff reports