- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 10, 2007

COLORADO

School locked down after masked men spotted

BOULDER — Police searched a high school yesterday room by room after a cook reported seeing two suspicious men in the building around dawn, both in camouflage and one wearing a ski mask.

Authorities said no classes or groups were meeting in Boulder High School at that time. Police sealed off the building, and school officials canceled classes for the day.

The initial search by a dozen officers and a bomb-sniffing dog turned up nothing. Police Chief Mark Beckner said there was no indication the intruders were armed.

“This could be a spring, end-of-school-year prank. It could be a burglary. It could be kids goofing around, or it could be more serious,” Chief Beckner said. “Given the times that we live in and recent events, we have to take all precautions.”

MISSOURI

Inmates, Guard help sandbag

BIG LAKE — Inmates joined the National Guard in sandbagging efforts as floodwater neared homes and businesses across northwest and central Missouri.

Big Lake and other small communities were already submerged. In Craig, inmates and National Guard members helped move sandbags to protect the water treatment plant, schools and an ethanol plant from the rising floodwater.

State officials said dozens of levees have been topped or breached since a weekend of drenching thunderstorms raised rivers and generated tornadoes that killed 12 persons in Kansas.

FLORIDA

Boy, 10, found guilty in beating of veteran

DAYTONA BEACH — A 10-year-old boy was convicted yesterday in the beating of a homeless Army veteran that left the man so severely injured he required reconstructive surgery.

Prosecutors say the boy, another 10-year-old and Jeremy Woods, 17, ganged up on John D’Amico, 58, as he and a friend walked through a Daytona Beach neighborhood on March 27. The older man was beaten and stoned with a concrete block.

Circuit Judge John Watson found the boy guilty of aggravated battery and set sentencing for May 24. The boy, who appeared in court in shackles and an oversized jumpsuit, could be held in the juvenile system until he turns 21 if the judge considers him a habitual offender, or he could be given probation or counseling.

Mr. D’Amico, who still has a bandage over his left eye, testified that he never provoked the boys, as they claimed.

The other 10-year-old pleaded no contest to misdemeanor battery and faces up to a year in juvenile detention when he is sentenced May 24. He has been released to an aunt in Michigan. Jeremy has pleaded not guilty to aggravated battery charges.

GEORGIA

Boys charged with starting fires

SAVANNAH — Two boys were arrested and charged with starting fires in drought-stricken south Georgia, which has been battling widespread wildfires for weeks, officials announced yesterday.

One of the arrests was made after bloodhounds found a footprint left at a fire scene, according to the Georgia Forestry Commission’s arson investigation task force.

A 16-year-old boy was charged with setting a fire near Jesup; the other boy, age 12, was charged with starting a small grass fire near Waycross. Both are being charged as juveniles and have been released to their parents, authorities said.

“These fires were all very small and were knocked out quickly by the fire departments,” Georgia Insurance and Fire Safety Commissioner John Oxendine said yesterday. “But with conditions as dry as they are, they could’ve become very major.”

The fires were unrelated, and authorities don’t think they are connected to six larger fires being investigated as suspicious by the Georgia Forestry Commission’s arson investigation task force, said Darryl Jones, a forestry spokesman.

Mr. Jones said both boys admitted setting the fires when investigators questioned them.

LOUISIANA

Project supported by actor Pitt unveiled

NEW ORLEANS — The outlines of an eco-friendly residential development backed by actor Brad Pitt were sketched yesterday in a New Orleans neighborhood hit hard by Hurricane Katrina.

Environmental group Global Green USA, which is building the project, said in a ceremony it would break ground shortly on the first of five homes and an 18-unit housing project designed to use 40 percent less energy than a standard residence.

At a 1.25-acre plot in the Holy Cross neighborhood in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward, the dimensions of the first home, set to be completed by August, were marked with bales of hay. The narrow, two-story house will incorporate such things as solar energy panels and energy-efficient windows.

Mr. Pitt, who funded an architectural competition for the buildings and helped select the winning designs, was in Prague where his partner, Angelina Jolie, is filming a movie.

Global Green said the Home Depot Foundation had agreed to be lead funder for the $9 million project, which is expected to be finished by August 2008.

MASSACHUSETTS

Fight breaks out at Boston concert

BOSTON — Something else popped at the Boston Pops’ opening night concert — a brawl broke out at Symphony Hall.

Before rocker Ben Folds appeared as a special guest Wednesday night, two men caused a disruption in the balcony as the orchestra performed a medley from the movie “Gigi.”

The fight started after one of the men tapped the other on the shoulder with a program to complain about noise, police said.

Television video of the fight showed the two struggling — one with his shirt partially pulled off — as several people stood around them.

Conductor Keith Lockhart briefly halted the performance while the men were escorted out. Boston police spokesman David Estrada said no charges were filed. No injuries were reported.

MICHIGAN

Ex-cop avoids charges despite pot brownies

DEARBORN — A police officer will avoid criminal charges despite admitting he took marijuana from criminal suspects and, with his wife, baked it into brownies.

The police department’s decision not to pursue a case against former Cpl. Edward Sanchez left a bad taste in the mouth of at least one city official, who vowed to investigate.

“If you’re a cop and you’re arresting people and you’re confiscating the marijuana and keeping it yourself, that’s bad. That’s real bad,” City Council member Doug Thomas said.

Mr. Sanchez, who resigned last year from the department in this Detroit suburb, declined comment Wednesday to the Detroit Free Press.

The department’s investigation began with a 911 call from Mr. Sanchez’s home on April 21, 2006. On a five-minute tape of the call, obtained by the Free Press, Mr. Sanchez told an emergency dispatcher he thought he and his wife were overdosing on marijuana.

His wife also was not charged.

NEW YORK

Golfer found in pond had heart attack

CAMILLUS — A 65-year-old golfer apparently suffered a heart attack and drowned while trying to retrieve a ball from a country club pond, according to a medical examiner.

Peter Bancheri of Geddes was golfing alone Tuesday when he fell into an 8-foot-deep water hazard at Pine Grove Country Club near Syracuse.

A passer-by found him and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation, but Mr. Bancheri was later pronounced dead at Community General Hospital, authorities said.

Dr. Mary Jumbelic, Onondaga County’s chief medical examiner, said Wednesday that Mr. Bancheri’s heart was enlarged from high blood pressure. She said he probably went into the water to get his lost ball, suffered a heart-related “event” and drowned.

SOUTH CAROLINA

$5,000 found in pj’s donated to Goodwill

GREENVILLE — Someone left more than $5,000 in cash in an envelope tucked into a pair of pajamas donated to Goodwill.

The note, signed with only a first name, said the donor had been saving it awhile and hoped the person who found the cash would spend it wisely, said Bill Wylie, president and chief executive officer of Goodwill Industries of Upper South Carolina.

Goodwill has placed the money in a safe, waiting to see whether someone claims it. If no one does, it will become a donation, Mr. Wylie said.

Kelli Owens found the money Tuesday morning while sorting through clothes as part of a job-training program. The 21-year-old single mother of three children said she could think of plenty of ways to spend the cash. Instead, she took it straight to her supervisor, then returned to finish the final six hours of her shift.

“I’m an honest person,” Miss Owens said. “I was brought up that way. I’m always going to be that way.”

TENNESSEE

Homeless get pizzas per murderer’s wish

NASHVILLE — A convicted murderer put to death in Tennessee this week got his last meal wish after he died.

Philip Workman had turned down the usual final meal of his choice traditionally offered the condemned, asking instead that a vegetarian pizza be given to a homeless person.

Prison officials refused to send out a pizza and Workman was executed Wednesday by injection.

But press accounts of his request touched a nerve with the public.

Nashville’s Union Rescue Mission received 170 pizzas. Press reports said listeners to a radio station in Minnesota also ordered pizzas sent to another organization for troubled youngsters.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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