- The Washington Times - Monday, June 30, 2008

ALABAMA

Wind topples tents, kills child at air show

HUNTSVILLE — A county coroner in Alabama said a 5-year-old was killed when strong winds blew over a row of tents at an air show in Huntsville.

Witnesses told the Huntsville Times that a generator fell on the child Sunday. The Madison County coroner’s office confirmed the death.

Huntsville Hospital spokeswoman Pam Sparks said 12 others were treated for injuries, but only one — a different child - was admitted to the hospital. That child was in serious condition.

A meteorologist with the National Weather Service said winds reached 48 mph during the storm, which canceled the air show.

CALIFORNIA

Marriage focus of gay pride parade

SAN FRANCISCO — Revelers at San Francisco’s gay pride parade are celebrating their newfound freedom to marry as the city’s 38th annual march got under way with a matrimonial touch.

Members of the lesbian motorcycle group Dykes on Bikes wore bridal veils and wedding gowns and tossed bouquets as they led Sunday’s parade. Some of the motorcycles were adorned with signs reading “Just Married.”

Same-sex marriage has been legal in California since a California Supreme Court decision made it so June 16.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom received ovations along the parade route for his role in working to overturn the state’s gay marriage ban. A ballot measure would restore the ban if approved by voters in November.

FLORIDA

Anti-Obama messages found on vehicles

ORLANDO — Police on Sunday were investigating a case in which vandals spray-painted dozens of city vehicles here, some with disparaging messages about the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama.

Authorities think the vandalism to about 60 vehicles, estimated at $10,000 in damage, occurred Saturday afternoon, police spokeswoman Sgt. Barbara Jones said.

The vehicles were parked across from City Hall and investigators said culprits tagged messages including “Obama smokes crack” and a racial epithet.

They left business cards on the vehicles that disparage both the Illinois senator and his rival, Republican Sen. John McCain. The cards voice support for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Mr. Obama’s former opponent.

Mike Lowe, a videographer working for the Associated Press, first told police about the damage. He saw three cars with anti-Obama messages, while the others were just heavily painted.

Police also found that many of the vehicles had open gas tanks.

Mrs. Clinton won the Florida Democratic primary, but the contest was held early in violation of party rules. Party leaders initially said the state’s delegates would not be seated as punishment, then eventually agreed to seat half of them at the national convention.

Mrs. Clinton’s supporters wanted the state’s delegation fully restored. Instead, the compromise pushed Mr. Obama toward the nomination.

GEORGIA

Teen killed by Six Flags coaster

AUSTELL — A teenager was decapitated by a roller coaster after he hopped a pair of fences and entered a restricted area Saturday at Six Flags Over Georgia, authorities said.

Six Flags officials are not certain why the unidentified 17-year-old from Columbia, S.C., scaled two six-foot fences and passed signs that said the restricted area was off-limits and dangerous to visitors, spokeswoman Hela Sheth said.

Authorities are investigating reports from witnesses who said the teenager jumped the fences to retrieve a hat he lost while riding the Batman roller coaster, said Cobb County police Sgt. Dana Pierce.

The teen was struck and killed by the roller coaster “while it was in operation,” according to the park’s news release. Police said the ride was going full-speed when the teen was struck. The ride’s top speed is 50 mph, according to the park’s Web site.

No one riding on the roller coaster was injured, Miss Sheth said. The teen was with another boy who also entered the restricted area but was not injured, Sgt. Pierce said.

The ride is expected to reopen Monday, a spokeswoman said.

NEVADA

High fuel prices hurt brothels

RENO — Rising fuel prices are putting a pinch on the world’s oldest profession.

Nevada brothels that cater to long-haul truckers are offering gas cards and other promotions after seeing business decline as much as 25 percent from a year ago, industry officials said.

Geoffrey Arnold, president of the Nevada Brothel Owners’ Association, said truckers account for up to 75 percent of business at the state’s rural brothels along Interstate 80 and U.S. Highway 95.

He said business is down about 19 percent at his two northern Nevada brothels along I-80.

Diesel fuel costs roughly $4.70 a gallon, up 67.5 percent from a year ago, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Of Nevada’s 28 legal brothels, 16 are located in rural areas that are being hurt by truckers’ higher diesel costs, Mr. Arnold said. Others closer to Reno and Las Vegas, which rely more on tourists and conventioneers, said business is up this year.

NORTH DAKOTA

Moose mascot ‘weds’ town’s namesake

ANAMOOSE — The male moose mascot of a tiny North Dakota town has a mate, and she’s the city’s namesake.

Joe the Moose has long been the mascot on the sign leading into Anamoose, in north-central North Dakota. But officials of the town of about 260 decided to give him a mate, Ana, and held a mock wedding Saturday in celebration.

Maury Becker, a resident who acted as minister of the ceremony, told the guests he was joining Joe and Ana “in an estate of continual turmoil,” and officially declared them “miserable mates.”

The moose couple — Ron Cartwright as Ana and Barb Martin as Joe — cut the wedding cake and handed out what they called moose droppings.

“Really, you’ve got to have a little fun and live a little,” said Danelle Olson, the pastor of the United Community Baptist Church of Anamoose. “It’s a silly event. But, you know, sometimes you’ve got to act a little silly to keep your sanity in life.”

TEXAS

Officer controlling traffic struck, killed

HOUSTON — A car slammed into two police officers working traffic control at a construction site early Sunday, killing one and seriously injuring the other, authorities said.

The car crashed through barricades, plowed into two of the three officers at the construction site on the Katy Freeway and tore the driver’s side door off a patrol car, police said.

“There did not appear to be any braking on the part of the driver,” Capt. Bruce Williams said.

The driver was arrested but there were no immediate charges.

Police said the driver’s demeanor at the scene led them to think he was intoxicated. At one point, they said, he was laughing at the officers.

Officers Gary Gryder was pronounced dead at Memorial Hermann Hospital, and Officer Joe Pyland was listed in critical condition. The third officer jumped out of the way and wasn’t harmed.

WASHINGTON

Apartment fire kills 3, injures 6

BURIEN — A fast-moving fire gutted an apartment complex in suburban Seattle early Sunday, killing three people, injuring six others and displacing about 50 residents.

The fire started after midnight and left one two-story building gutted and another heavily damaged, King County fire spokesman Dave Nelson said. The cause was under investigation.

The injured, suffering from cuts and smoke inhalation, included a girl who jumped from a second-story window. They were taken to a hospital.

About 50 people were displaced by the blaze in Burien, about 10 miles south of Seattle.

A damage estimate was not available.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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