- The Washington Times - Friday, March 14, 2008

CALIFORNIA

3 stranded on boat arrested in smuggling

SAN DIEGO — Three of the 15 persons who were stranded on a boat for three days off the Pacific Coast have been arrested on suspicion of smuggling migrants.

Others aboard the rickety vessel told investigators they had agreed to pay $4,000 each for the illegal trip from Mexico to California, said Lauren Mack, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Four women and 11 men were rescued from the boat Wednesday about 12 miles off the San Diego coast and 20 miles north of the Mexican border. Aside from the suspects, three passengers were being held as material witnesses. The rest were being sent home to Mexico or El Salvador.

The trip started in a Mexican fishing village south of Tijuana and near Playas de Rosarito, said Mike Unzueta, the lead ICE investigator in San Diego.

The smugglers switched boats on Mexico’s Coronado Islands, but the boat’s engine died about 20 minutes after they left. It may have had engine trouble or ran out of fuel.

CONNECTICUT

School rethinks penalty for candy

NEW HAVEN — An eighth-grade honors student who was suspended for a day, barred from attending an honors dinner and stripped of his title as class vice president after he was caught with contraband candy in school will get his Student Council post back, school officials said.

Superintendent Reginald Mayo said late Wednesday that he and Principal Eleanor Turner met with student Michael Sheridan’s parents and that Miss Turner decided to clear the boy’s record and restore him to his post.

Michael was disciplined after he was caught buying a bag of Skittles from a classmate. The classmate’s suspension also will be expunged, school officials said.

The New Haven school system banned candy sales in 2003 as part of a districtwide school wellness policy, school spokeswoman Catherine Sullivan-DeCarlo said.

FLORIDA

Voters don’t show for referendum

TAMARAC — Every vote counts, but what happens when no one votes at all?

That is the case in Tamarac. No voters showed up Wednesday night to cast a ballot in an annexation referendum for an unincorporated Broward County community.

The 200-resident Prospect Bend neighborhood has 68 registered voters. Tamarac officials have proposed annexing the neighborhood.

Details were mailed to voters. If just one had shown up, that one vote would have decided the neighborhood’s fate.

The cost of keeping a polling site open for 12 hours: $2,500.

HAWAII

Diploma to recognize high-level graduates

HONOLULU — The state Board of Education approved a new high school diploma for graduates who get through higher-level English and math classes.

The “College and Career Ready Diploma” will be offered in addition to regular diplomas starting with the class of 2013.

School officials said the new diploma is meant to serve as an incentive, but some parents fear it might stigmatize students who don’t attain it.

MASSACHUSETTS

Cardinal’s body blocks land transfer

BOSTON — When Boston College bought land from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, the college had one request: The church would have to remove the body of a dead cardinal entombed on the land.

Four years later, the church is still trying to meet that request.

Church leaders are planning to meet with the great-nieces and great-nephews of Cardinal William O’Connell for a second time.

The family members want Cardinal O’Connell’s remains left untouched, but Boston College said it needs the body removed.

The church is caught in the middle, trying to keep its promise to the college and honor the memory of one of its former leaders.

MISSOURI

Child hurt in fall at bear exhibit

ST. LOUIS — Zoo officials in St. Louis said a child fell into a bear exhibit and suffered a minor head injury.

Zoo spokesman Wyndel Hill said the girl, age 3 to 5, visited the zoo with her mother Wednesday, climbed onto a rail and fell into the exhibit.

Mr. Hill said neither of the two bears could have come into contact with the girl because of several security measures, including a 6-foot-deep moat and a wall.

The zoo plans to review security.

NEW YORK

Deliberations begin in girl’s slaying

NEW YORK — Jurors began deliberating whether the stepfather of Nixzmary Brown is guilty of torturing and killing the 7-year-old girl in an abuse case that shocked many New Yorkers.

The jury began deliberating yesterday afternoon after receiving final instructions from a state judge in Brooklyn.

Prosecutors argued that Cesar Rodriguez killed the starving child in January 2006 after catching her stealing yogurt, and then tried to shift the blame to the girl’s mother.

A defense attorney described Nixzmary as unruly and cast the defendant as an overwhelmed family man. The attorney said Mr. Rodriguez beat the girl but that her mother was the killer.

RHODE ISLAND

Amtrak express train kills track inspector

PROVIDENCE — An Amtrak express train fatally struck a worker inspecting the tracks in downtown Providence yesterday, a spokesman said.

Spokesman Cliff Cole said two other workers were seriously injured when they were hit by the northbound train.

Two of the workers are Amtrak employees; the other works for a contractor. Information about the person who was killed was not released.

The injured workers were sent to a hospital.

TENNESSEE

Spaceship house up for auction

CHATTANOOGA — For auction: rare flying saucer house on Chattanooga mountain. Buyer needs fascination for outer space, tolerance for gawkers and at least $100,000.

The home, an eye-catcher for almost four decades on a twisting road to Signal Mountain, will be sold to the highest bidder tomorrow.

Boldly built by Curtis W. King in 1970, just after television executives grounded the original run of the Starship Enterprise, the circular house has multiple levels, three bedrooms, two bathrooms and an entrance staircase that lowers and retracts with the push of a button.

Lois Killebrew, a real estate agent who handled an open house at the first sale decades ago, said hundreds of people lined up to see the ultramodern structure.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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