- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 2, 2008

CALIFORNIA

Thousands crowd city for Rose Parade

PASADENA — A pickup truck that morphed into a spacecraft, a giant blossoming rose and a Chinese dragon undulating in the breeze were among the floats that got cheers from thousands of spectators as the Rose Parade rolled by yesterday.

Those who spent New Year’s Eve camped curbside were joined at dawn by giddy visitors arriving by car, bus and train. The city estimates that more than 1 million people visit Pasadena during the parade and Rose Bowl game festivities.

The 119th edition of the Tournament of Roses began as sunshine bathed the 5½-mile parade route.

About 1,200 law-enforcement officers were assigned to the parade to deal with any disruptions. Twenty-three persons were arrested, many during the night for public drunkenness violations, police said.

MASSACHUSETTS

At least two killed in fire

BOSTON — Firefighters found a second victim yesterday inside a condominium building destroyed by a fire so intense that crews were ordered away before they could find out whether anyone was trapped.

The body of a woman was found during a search of the building’s remains, fire department spokesman Steve MacDonald said. A 47-year-old man died after he had a heart attack while being removed from the building during the fire Monday night, officials said.

Crews were ordered out of the building about 45 minutes after they arrived at the 18-unit brick building shortly before 8 p.m., Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Finn said.

FLORIDA

Purple pearl found in clam dish

LAKE WORTH — A Royal Palm Beach man was about halfway through a $10 plate of steamed clams when he chomped down on something hard — a rare, iridescent purple pearl.

George Brock and his wife, Leslie, had been spending a day at the beach Friday in South Florida and stopped at Dave’s Last Resort & Raw Bar for a bite. Their find could be worth thousands.

“Few are round, and few are a lovely color, so this is rare,” gemologist Antoinette Matlins said.

The Brocks plan to have the pearl appraised and said they may sell it if it is valuable.

The gems occur most frequently in large New England quahogs, though the restaurant said these clams came from the Florida Panhandle and are known for violet coloring on the inside of their shells.

ILLINOIS

No charges likely for ‘missing’ wife

CHICAGO — Criminal charges will not be filed against the Indian-born married woman whose disappearance caused authorities to mount a costly search using underwater divers and helicopters, authorities said Monday.

Cook County prosecutors and police concluded criminal charges were not appropriate against either 24-year-old Anu Solanki or the man she fled with, sheriff’s police spokeswoman Penny Mateck said.

Authorities have not determined whether restitution will be sought for the $250,000 cost of the days-long search, she said.

Mrs. Solanki seemingly vanished near the Des Plaines River only to be found days later with 23-year-old Karan C. Jani across the country. Her husband, Dignesh Solanki, said he thought his wife was abducted or was swept into the suburban Chicago river trying to dispose of a broken Hindu idol on Christmas Eve.

“I completely trusted her. I would never have run away with another girl,” Mr. Solanki, 27, told the Chicago Sun-Times. “I would have tried to work it out.”

Mrs. Solanki returned home last week after learning of the search. She told authorities that she never meant for people to think she’d drowned and simply wanted a clean break from her husband.

MASSACHUSETTS

Suspect’s plan to escape foiled

DEDHAM — A burglary suspect planned to escape using a handcuff key that his girlfriend would pass him during either a hug or a kiss in court, but he forgot one crucial factor, authorities say.

The problem, they said, was that James Miller purportedly discussed the plot with Theresa Fougere during phone calls from jail, which are monitored by the Norfolk County sheriff’s department.

Mr. Miller, 38, who was being held on a charge of heroin possession and was a suspect in several store burglaries, now has been charged with attempted escape and conspiracy.

Miss Fougere, 46, was arrested Monday on charges of attempting to aid a felon to escape. A spokesman for the sheriff’s office didn’t know where she got the key.

MICHIGAN

Fast, furious storm drops foot of snow

DETROIT — A fast-moving New Year’s Day storm dumped more than a foot of snow on southeastern Michigan, a record blast that made driving hazardous.

Authorities reported no deaths or serious injuries from the six-hour burst of snow that started around midnight, but said there were multiple spinouts and minor accidents.

The storm left 10 to 16 inches of snow across parts of Oakland, Lapeer and St. Clair counties north of Detroit, the National Weather Service said. The western St. Clair County community of Capac reported 16 inches.

“This storm most definitely packed quite a wallop,” said weather service meteorologist David Shuler in Oakland County’s White Lake Township. “This will be a memorable storm for the amount of snow it dumped in such a short amount of time.”

He said it was the region’s heaviest New Year’s Day snowstorm on record and was unusual for its intensity and short time frame. In the heart of the storm, snow fell at a rate of at least 2 inches an hour, with periods of 4 inches an hour.

Utility officials reported scattered power outages yesterday morning.

Farther east, the weather system spread snow across upstate New York and northern New England.

NEW MEXICO

Pair shoot selves in self-tattoo effort

CHAPARRAL — Getting a tattoo can be a painful proposition, but usually it’s just the needle you have to worry about.

Two men trying to trace a loaded .357-caliber Magnum as a pattern for a tattoo accidentally shot themselves, the Otero County Sheriff’s Department said this week.

Robert Glasser and Joey Acosta, both 22, were treated at a hospital in El Paso, Texas, after the shooting last week in nearby Chaparral.

Authorities said Mr. Glasser was struck in the hand when the gun accidentally went off, and Mr. Acosta was hit in the left arm. Their injuries were not life-threatening, authorities said.

NEW YORK

State investigates 1990 murder case

NEW YORK — State investigators are probing how police and prosecutors handled the killings of a couple whose son served 17 years in prison for it before an appeals court ordered him freed, a newspaper reported Monday.

The Commission on Investigation will examine the police investigation that led to Martin Tankleff’s 1990 conviction and how the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office dealt with the emergence of new witnesses in 2003 who supported Mr. Tankleff’s claims of innocence, commission Chairman Alfred Lerner told Newsday.

The commission has been gathering evidence for a year and will issue a report in the next five to six months, he said.

Mr. Tankleff, 36, was released Thursday on $1 million bond after a state appeals court said new evidence suggested that someone else killed Seymour and Arlene Tankleff on Sept. 7, 1988, in their Long Island home.

District Attorney Thomas Spota has not decided whether to retry the case and has not been contacted by the commission, a spokesman said Monday.

UTAH

‘Mormon meetings’ to stay public

SALT LAKE CITY — Transcripts of 1996 meetings involving the governor at the time discussing how to incorporate Mormon principles into policy will remain available to the public because the talks involved state business, an official said Monday.

Michael O. Leavitt, now U.S. secretary of health and human services, had asked the Utah State Archives to review the transcripts’ classification after they were obtained by the Salt Lake Tribune and the subject of a story Sunday.

The documents are transcripts of “Early Morning Seminary” meetings involving Mr. Leavitt, staff members and others at the governor’s mansion. Meetings opened with a prayer, followed by stories from the Book of Mormon and discussion of how the lessons could apply to government.

Mr. Leavitt had argued that some people at the meetings expressed beliefs that were personal or “even sacred.” But archivist Patricia Smith-Mansfield said the records appear to involve state business and will remain accessible.

WISCONSIN

Boy, 11, cherishes Packers jersey

GREEN BAY — A boy who hasn’t stopped wearing his Brett Favre jersey since he got it for Christmas in 2003 has finally attended his first Green Bay Packers game.

David Witthoft, 11, of Ridgefield, Conn., traveled with his family to Lambeau Field to watch the Packers’ 34-13 victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

David concedes that he will probably soon have to hang up the jersey.

“I thought I would keep wearing it as long as I could get it over my head,” he told the Green Bay Press-Gazette after the game. “But I’ll probably take it off in the next year, certainly. Then I’ll hang it up in a frame.”

His mother, Carolyn, washes the jersey every two days and has had to mend it.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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