- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 10, 2008

FLORIDA

Crane accident injures 1 worker

MIAMI | The arm of a mobile construction crane came loose Monday in Miami, injuring at least one worker and leading to the partial evacuation of a nearby hotel as a precaution.

The accident happened shortly before 3 p.m., with the arm swinging into the machine’s vertical base, Miami Fire Rescue spokesman Ignatius Carroll said. The crane did not collapse or fall, but a worker who was midway up the 212-foot machine was hospitalized with severe injuries to his right arm.

The man’s son, who was also working on the crane, was taken to the hospital as a precaution. Both were wearing harnesses.

This is the second crane accident in Miami this year; one in March at a high-rise condominium left two workers dead and five more hurt. Two similar accidents in New York City - in March and May - killed nine people this year.

HAWAII

Harbor traffic flows fine

WAILUKU | Traffic near Maui’s Kahului harbor has been moving at an acceptable pace since the Hawaii Superferry started service from Honolulu, a report for the state said.

In response, a judge planned to lift an order requiring officers to direct traffic in the area when the ferry arrives and departs.

The order was in response to a lawsuit filed by community groups and joined by Maui County.

ILLINOIS

McDonald’s, others pull tomatoes

CHICAGO | McDonald’s, Wal-Mart and other U.S. chains have halted sales of some raw tomatoes as federal health officials work to trace the source of a multistate salmonella food poisoning outbreak.

Burger King, Outback Steakhouse and Taco Bell were among other restaurants voluntarily withdrawing tomatoes from their menus, following federal recommendations that consumers avoid red plum, red Roma or round red tomatoes unless they were grown in certain states and countries.

McDonald’s Corp., the world’s largest hamburger chain, has stopped serving sliced tomatoes on its sandwiches as a precaution until the source of the bacterial infection is known, according to a statement Monday from spokeswoman Danya Proud.

The source of the tomatoes responsible for the illnesses in at least 16 states has not been pinpointed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said at least 23 people have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.

MICHIGAN

Meteorite grabs $20,000 at auction

DETROIT | A meteorite resembling Michigan’s Lower Peninsula has been sold at auction, but bidders weren’t quite as smitten with the mitten as the seller expected.

The 75-pound nickel-and-iron meteorite sold for $20,000 Sunday at Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas. It had been expected to sell for $32,500 to $40,000.

Michigan native Darryl Pitt, the meteorite’s owner, says he is disappointed by the low price. He says he thinks the space rock is worth $50,000.

There was more interest in a three-quarter-ton nickel-iron meteorite that resembles the Indian subcontinent. It sold for $90,000.

PENNSYLVANIA

Church trial begins for Episcopal bishop

PHILADELPHIA | An Episcopal bishop accused of concealing his brother’s sexual abuse of a 14-year-old decades ago once told the girl’s mother he didn’t think it was his place to inform her family, her mother testified Monday at a church trial.

The testimony came as the trial opened for Bishop Charles E. Bennison Jr. of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania. His brother became a priest after the abuse is said to have begun.

A panel of bishops, priests and church members will decide whether Bishop Bennison, the leader of the nation’s fifth-largest Episcopal diocese, may resume his duties. Bishop Bennison, 64, was ordered to cease all “ministerial and canonical acts” in November.

The 76-year-old mother of the girl, now 50, testified that she found out about the abuse when her daughter was in college and asked Bishop Bennison about it. She said he told her he had known about it but thought it was the girl’s place to tell her family.

At the time of the reported 1973 abuse, Bishop Bennison was rector of St. Mark’s Church in Upland, Calif., in the Diocese of Los Angeles, and his brother was a married lay minister there.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Child shoots self with grandmother’s gun

COLUMBIA | A 4-year-old girl shot herself in the chest Monday after snatching her grandmother’s handgun from the woman’s purse while riding in a shopping cart at a Sam’s Club store, authorities said.

A witness, Lueen Homewood, said store workers grabbed first-aid materials off store shelves to help the grandmother as she cradled the wounded child near the store’s pharmacy, the Columbia State newspaper reported on its Web site.

The girl was rushed to a hospital in critical condition and was recovering Monday afternoon after surgery, said police department spokesman Brick Lewis. Hospital officials would not release her condition after the operation.

Mr. Lewis said the grandmother, Donna Hutto Williamson, has a permit to carry a concealed weapon. The purse containing the small-caliber handgun was in the cart near the child, Mr. Lewis said. The 47-year-old Williamson, of Salley, was not immediately charged with a crime.

Officials said the shooting, which was captured on store surveillance cameras, appeared to be accidental.

TEXAS

Arson probe expands into mansion fire

AUSTIN | Texas fire officials brought in canine teams and a national arson investigation unit Monday to search for exactly how and where a devastating fire started inside the governor’s mansion.

They also interviewed more witnesses and viewed dozens of hours of video surveillance that helped them initially determine the weekend blaze was intentionally set, said state Fire Marshal Paul Maldonado.

The fire erupted at the 152-year-old mansion shortly before 2 a.m. Sunday and severely damaged the building, as Texas Department of Public Safety troopers guarded the premises. Parts of the roof buckled and the fire charred much of the front of the white structure and its Greek revival-style columns.

Investigators declined to discuss what the surveillance videos show. They think one person set the fire, but they haven’t ruled out that more people were involved, Marshal Maldonado said.

Dog teams will help locate possible accelerants, he said.

Gov. Rick Perry and his wife, Anita, are not living in the mansion. They moved to a private home in Austin last year so the structure could undergo $10 million in renovations, including the installation of a fire sprinkler system.

WEST VIRGINIA

Huntington mayor opposes his raise

HUNTINGTON | A West Virginia city council is hoping to overcome opposition to giving the mayor a raise from the proposal’s biggest foe: the mayor.

Huntington Mayor David Felinton has vowed to veto a proposal to raise his pay by nearly $28,000 to $90,000. He currently earns about $62,000.

Mr. Felinton says it sends the wrong message to the city’s employees, and that the town of 49,000 has other priorities.

But City Council members say the raise is needed to attract top candidates for the next mayoral election in 2012. The council is to vote on the proposal Monday night.

The Huntington mayor hasn’t had a raise since 1996.

If Mr. Felinton vetoes the raise, eight council members would need to vote to override his veto.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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