- The Washington Times - Monday, February 12, 2007


Cheating charge roils defense campus

AIR FORCE ACADEMY — All 4,000 Air Force cadets were confined to campus over the weekend after a scandal in which 28 freshmen are suspected of cheating on a test, school officials said Thursday.

The entire corps remained on school grounds to reflect on the Air Force Academy’s honor code, which forbids lying, cheating, stealing or tolerating violaters. Also, the only bar there was closed.

The accusations of cheating were reported Feb. 2 and involved a basic-knowledge test that does not count toward cadets’ grade point average but is required for first-year cadets. Some cadets admitted obtaining answers to a test and forwarding them through an Internet social group and private computer messages.

Cadets caught cheating can be expelled or placed on probation. No individual punishments have been handed down.


Carnival cruise ship hit by barge

NEW ORLEANS — A barge struck a cruise ship Saturday on the Mississippi River, leaving a 30-foot gash on the ship and forcing the cancellation of a five-day cruise to the Caribbean.

There were no injuries reported on Carnival Cruise Lines’ Fantasy ship or the barge, authorities and company officials said.

The barge collided with the river bank, then struck the port side of the cruise ship as it waited to dock, according to a statement from the cruise line.

There was minor damage to the barge, which was one of six rice barges being pushed by the towing vessel Repentance.

Carnival said the 2,050 passengers who had been allowed to board were later told their cruise had been canceled because repairs would take several days. The cruise line said they would receive a refund and a discount on a future cruise.


Dog swallows wedding ring

RAISINVILLE TOWNSHIP — Tina Burlett thought someone broke into her house and stole her custom-made, $5,000 wedding ring, so she called the police.

But Mrs. Burlett’s grandmother had a different suspect in mind: the family pooch. X-rays proved the grandmother right. The valuable bauble was inside the belly of Mrs. Burlett’s pit bull, Missy, who previously was caught gnawing on Mrs. Burlett’s diamond earring.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Mrs. Burlett told the Monroe Evening News for a story Thursday.

Dr. Linda Fung of the Country Creek Animal Hospital said she was not surprised to learn that Missy had swallowed jewelry.

“I did have a dog eat a watch once,” Dr. Fung said. “Animals swallow a lot of stuff. It’s not an unusual thing. We just made her throw it up.”

Dr. Fung gave Missy some peroxide, and the ring came out intact.


University ESP lab to close this month

PRINCETON — The extrasensory perception laboratory at Princeton University will be shuttered at the end of the month. Maybe you already knew that.

The Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research lab will close after 28 years of studying ESP and telekinesis, research that embarrassed university officials and outraged the scientific community.

PEAR’s founder, Robert G. Jahn, said the lab, with its aging equipment and dwindling finances, has done what it needed to do.

“If people don’t believe us after all the results we’ve produced, then they never will,” Mr. Jahn, 76, former dean of Princeton’s engineering school and an emeritus professor, told the New York Times for Saturday editions.


Changes proposed in cohabitation law

BISMARCK — Living together out of wedlock would be downgraded from a sex crime to fraud, and only if the couple claims to be married, under a proposal that passed the state Senate on Friday.

The bill was changed from an outright repeal of the state’s anti-cohabitation law. The amended proposal would make the false representation of marital status a misdemeanor crime for a man and woman who live together.

Cohabiting couples who do not falsely claim marriage would not be penalized.

The proposal now goes to the state House. The punishment would be the same, with a maximum 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.


Snorkeler recovering after being shot

EUGENE — A snorkeler who was shot in the head after apparently being mistaken for a swimming rodent was in good condition after surgery, a hospital said Saturday.

John William Cheesman, 44, of Springfield, underwent eight hours of surgery Thursday to remove shrapnel and bone fragments from his face, said his wife, Shelley.

He was listed in good condition at Oregon Health & Science University Hospital in Portland.

William Roderick, 60, of Reedsport, who told deputies that he thought Mr. Cheesman was a nutria, has been charged with assault, being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of methamphetamine and marijuana. He was being held in the county jail.


Lovelorn polar bear undergoes surgery

MEMPHIS — As first dates go, this one didn’t end well. A male polar bear who was trying to court a female polar bear apparently pushed her over the edge of a 14-foot drop while playing this week, Memphis Zoo officials said.

Cranbeary, the 5-year-old female, had surgery Saturday to insert two steel plates and 26 screws to repair a broken leg.

Payton, the 3-year-old male, is on loan from the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois as part of a breeding program.

Cranbeary will stay in her cage for at least 10 weeks until her leg is strong enough for her to return to the exhibit, zoo officials said.


Cabbie returns wallet with nearly $6,000

LYNNWOOD — A taxi driver found a wallet containing almost $6,000 in the back of his car, then raced to the airport in time to return it to its owner.

Vinod Mago, 55, says he never thought twice. The owner thanked him with $100, which Mr. Mago used to take his family out for dinner.

Mr. Mago, who drives a Seattle-Tacoma International Taxi Association cab, had just started his shift Feb. 1 when taxi coordinator Stanley Lal called to say a man identified only as Peter was missing his wallet. Mr. Mago pulled over and found the wallet, stuffed with bills totaling $5,950.

The man, who was planning to buy a car with the cash, said, ” ‘That’s my life savings,’ ” said Mr. Lal, who was rewarded with $20.

Months ago, Mr. Mago found $640 in his taxi and returned that money, too.

“If money doesn’t belong to me, I don’t keep it,” Mr. Mago said. “I know God is watching everybody, every second.”


Agency rejects plan to kill wolves

CHEYENNE — Wolves will remain protected for now in Wyoming, where officials want to manage the animals by killing some, even as they come off the endangered species list in five states, federal officials said Friday.

Top state officials vowed to keep fighting the federal government in court over wolf-management issues.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rejected a state proposal to allow the killing of some wolves to protect the state’s elk herds. The agency wants to take wolves off the protected list in Wyoming, too, but not if the state insists on culling its population, according to a letter to state leaders from agency Director Dale Hall.

Wyoming House Speaker Roy Cohee said the Friday decision means wolf-management legislation moving through both houses of the Legislature is moot.

Last month, the Interior Department said it would remove about 4,000 wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin from the endangered and threatened species list within 30 days.

From wire dispatches and staff reports



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