- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 5, 2008

LOUISIANA

Trailer occupant killed in standoff

NEW ORLEANS | A man fatally shot by police after a 10-hour standoff Wednesday had suffered with mental illness for much of his life, and it worsened in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a family member said.

Eric Minshew, 49, ordered Federal Emergency Management Agency workers to leave his trailer when they arrived for an inspection Tuesday afternoon, according to accounts from police. Later, police said, he fired at them several times and was fatally shot after pointing a handgun at officers who tried to arrest him. No officers were injured.

The man had moved into the family home about eight years ago, with no money and no job, his brother, Homer M. Minshew III, said Wednesday. He survived the hurricane, but the family was awaiting government aid so they could either pay the house off or fix it up and sell it.

MISSISSIPPI

Skeletal remains found on base

JACKSON | Authorities were trying to determine Wednesday whether the remains of a soldier found in the woods of a National Guard training base are of a Kentucky guardsman who went missing before his unit deployed to Iraq.

Forrest County Coroner Douglas “Butch” Benedict Jr. said the remains, found Tuesday on the grounds of Camp Shelby, were in an Army uniform. Firearms were nearby.

Lt. Col. Doril Sanders, a base spokesman, would confirm only that human remains were found on the base. He said the Army’s crime lab will use DNA and dental records for identification.

Pfc. Ryan K. Longnecker, who was 19 at the time, was training at Camp Shelby when he disappeared Aug. 6, 2007, along with his military-issued 9mm pistol and M4 assault rifle.

He is the only soldier reported missing from Camp Shelby, Col. Sanders said. However, neither Col. Sanders nor Mr. Benedict could confirm if the remains belong to the soldier.

ALASKA

Iditarod raises race entry fee

ANCHORAGE | Mushers wanting to run the world’s best-known sled dog race will have to pay a lot more for a shot at a smaller guaranteed purse.

The entry fee for the 2009 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race will be $4,000, a nearly $1,000 increase from this year’s event and more than double the $1,860 fee from the previous year.

Also, the competitive field will be limited to 100 teams.

Race organizers blamed the changes on increased expenses, most notably those linked to soaring energy costs.

ARKANSAS

Chickens exposed to bird flu killed

WEST FORK | All of the chickens exposed to a strain of the bird-flu virus at a Tyson Foods Inc. contract farm in northwest Arkansas have been killed and buried, state officials said Wednesday.

Jon Fitch, director of the state’s Livestock and Poultry Commission, said workers finished the job just after midnight Wednesday. Mr. Fitch said Tyson has provided more than 1,000 blood samples from other birds for testing, but no other exposures have been found.

Tyson began killing 15,000 hens from a flock that tested positive for antibodies of H7N3, a less virulent strain of the virus.

The H5N1 bird-flu virus has killed 240 people worldwide and scientists worry it could mutate into a form that spreads easily among people.

CALIFORNIA

Blackwater allowed to use facility

SAN DIEGO | A federal judge Wednesday ordered the city of San Diego to allow military contractor Blackwater Worldwide to begin using a new counterterrorism training facility in a warehouse outfitted with an indoor firing range.

District Court Judge Marilyn Huff ruled that the company would suffer irreparable harm if it could not begin holding classes for Navy sailors at the facility.

Blackwater sued in May to force the city to issue final occupancy permits after the required inspections were already approved. The city responded that the company misled officials about the nature of the facility, which includes a ship bulkhead built out of cargo containers.

Classes for Navy sailors were originally set to begin there Monday.

Blackwater, the largest private security company in Iraq, has been under scrutiny as a federal grand jury in Washington investigates the company’s involvement in the shooting deaths of 17 Iraqi civilians. The company also is under investigation for possible weapons smuggling.

Blackwater denies the allegations.

FLORIDA

Police ID suspect by pants stains

POMPANO BEACH | Authorities said they arrested a Pompano Beach bank robbery suspect after he failed to change his pants following a dye pack explosion in his pocket.

The Broward County Sheriff’s Office said Algernon James, 39, was arrested at a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., gas station after a tipster informed deputies of his location, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Wednesday.

Broward Sheriff’s Detective Tony Hierrezuelo said Mr. James had disguised himself with fake dreadlocks under a multicolored cap, but he was still wearing pants stained from a dye pack explosion the day before.

Mr. James robbed a Pompano Beach bank Tuesday and shoved the stolen cash in his pocket, along with a dye pack that had been inserted with the loot, police said.

Authorities said the dye pack malfunctioned and failed to explode after the suspect left the bank, but it detonated about an hour later when Mr. James entered a Fort Lauderdale pawn shop that used a security system similar to that employed by the bank.

IOWA

Tot dies in crash of charity flight

DES MOINES | A small plane crash in Iowa City claimed the life of a Georgia toddler who was being flown home after medical treatment for clubfoot.

Two-year-old Sydney Blanton, of Thomasville, Ga., was aboard the flight arranged by Angel Flight Central Inc., an organization that provides free travel for people in need of health care. Her grandfather, Alan Harden, also of Thomasville, confirmed Wednesday that she died from injuries she sustained in the crash.

Sydney was in Iowa City to be treated for clubfoot, a condition in which the foot is turned in sharply so that a person seems to be walking on an ankle.

She had been undergoing treatment at University of Iowa Hospitals for more than two years, Mr. Harden said. Doctors were treating her with a technique that uses foot manipulation and casting, not surgery, to correct the deformity.

On the most recent trip, doctors were trying to repair a ligament that was tightening up, Mr. Harden said.

MASSACHUSETTS

Missing lighthouse found in California

WELLFLEET | Local historians for decades thought the 30-foot tall lighthouse that once overlooked Wellfleet Harbor had been taken down and destroyed in 1925.

Turns out, it had just been moved to the California coast.

The fate of the cast-iron tower was uncovered last year by lighthouse researchers and reported by Colleen MacNeney in this month’s edition of Lighthouse Digest.

Wellfleet historian Helen Purcell said the discovery of the lighthouse at Point Montara at the southern end of San Francisco Bay was a genuine shock.

Miss MacNeney told the Cape Cod Times in Wednesday’s edition that she discovered correspondence that proved the lighthouse, first erected in 1881, had been moved by the Coast Guard from Wellfleet to Yerba Buena, Calif., and eventually to Point Montara.

There is no known documentation explaining how it was moved across the country, Miss MacNeney said.

The lighthouse is used as a navigational aid and a hostel.

MICHIGAN

8-foot Jesus statue stolen off cross

DETROIT | Thieves seeking copper to sell as scrap may have stolen an 8-foot statue of Jesus Christ off a cross in Detroit. Problem is, it’s made of plaster.

The Rev. Barry Randolph said the statue at the Church of the Messiah is a green color and looks like copper. The church has made a public plea for help.

It’s not clear when the statue was snatched. A parishioner noticed it missing recently, and a small piece of plaster was found nearby.

MINNESOTA

Bridge closed after inspection

WINONA | The Minnesota Department of Transportation abruptly closed a bridge over the Mississippi River here indefinitely Tuesday after inspectors discovered rust and corrosion at several locations.

“This is clearly a precautionary measure,” Transportation Commissioner Tom Sorel said. “We’re erring on the side of public safety.”

The bridge at Winona could remain closed for several weeks, said Kristine Hernandez, a transportation department spokeswoman.

The Highway 43 bridge, which was built in 1941, is the only Mississippi River crossing at Winona.

The Winona bridge is 2,289 feet long and carries two lanes of traffic and about 11,600 vehicles per day.

NEW YORK

Feds arrest nine in reputed mob case

NEW YORK | Nine suspected mobsters, including a reputed acting Colombo boss, have been arrested as part of a takedown of the organized crime family, federal authorities said Wednesday.

In addition to the arrests, including one in Los Angeles, authorities are charging other suspects already behind bars.

Three of the defendants are accused of four homicides dating back to the early 1990s. One of those cases was a double homicide, part of a bloody war between two factions within the Colombo family, authorities said.

It’s the second mob case in a week in New York City.

Last week, a reputed Gambino family captain, on the run for nearly four months, surrendered to the FBI on charges he ordered a decades-old gangland hit that took an innocent bystander’s life.

Nicholas Corozzo, who authorities say was a one-time crony of notorious mob boss John Gotti, was ordered held without bail after pleading not guilty to racketeering, extortion and murder charges.

OKLAHOMA

Judge delays law aimed at entry

OKLAHOMA CITY | A federal judge has delayed part of an Oklahoma law aimed at illegal immigration from taking effect in July.

U.S. District Judge Robin J. Cauthron’s preliminary injunction on Wednesday said provisions of the law are “substantially likely” unconstitutional.

Those provisions require private companies to verify the employment eligibility of all new hires or face penalties.

The decision came on a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Oklahoma Chamber and other business groups.

State Chamber official Mike Seney said the ruling was timely since the employer portions of the law were to take effect July 1.

PENNSYLVANIA

College gets $50 million gift

PHILADELPHIA | The founder of women’s shoe company Nine West has given $50 million to the University of Pennsylvania, one of the largest donations in school history.

Jerome Fisher, a 1953 Penn alumnus, and his wife Anne donated the funds to help build a biomedical research facility on the university’s campus in West Philadelphia. Mr. Fisher is the founder and chairman emeritus of the Nine West Group Inc., which makes women’s shoes and accessories.

Slated to open in 2010, the Anne and Jerome Fisher Translational Research Center will emphasize an accelerated pace for converting laboratory discoveries into medical therapies.

Each floor will be the size of a football field, dramatically increasing the school’s research space, university officials said. It will house about 100 principal researchers and 900 additional staff.

TEXAS

Graduating twins may set record

FORT WORTH | Officials at a Fort Worth high school said a graduating class that includes 10 sets of twins and one set of triplets may be a world record.

The North Crowley High School senior class, which graduated Wednesday night, includes six sets of identical twins, four sets of fraternal twins and one set of triplets - surpassing the record of eight sets of twins in a single graduating class that was included in the 2007 Guinness World Records, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Wednesday.

School administrators said they have submitted the information to Guinness and are waiting to hear back.

WASHINGTON

Billionaire opens planes to public

SEATTLE | A rare collection of vintage World War II airplanes from five countries, owned by billionaire and Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen, will be opened to the public at a new museum.

The Flying Heritage Collection provides access to 15 planes that comprised most of the significant fighter aircraft of five World War II participants: Germany, Russia, Japan, Britain and the United States.

The museum opens Friday, 64 years after D-Day, the start of the Allied forces’ invasion of Normandy, at Paine Field in Everett, Wash.

Mr. Allen, whose father was in the second wave of U.S. soldiers to land on Omaha Beach during the invasion, has bought the planes during the past decade and restored most to flyable condition using original parts and materials.

The collection includes a one-of-a-kind Focke-Wulf Fw 190D-13 Dora, an advanced propeller plane that the Germans introduced near the end of the war, and Germany’s Messerschmitt 163B Komet, the world’s first rocket-powered plane.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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