- - Wednesday, August 5, 2009

ALASKA

Cruise line suspects passenger suicide

ANCHORAGE — A spokeswoman for Holland America Line says a passenger missing from its cruise ship Zaandam in Alaska appears to be a case of suicide.

Spokeswoman Sally Andrews says no evidence of foul play has been found.

The Zaandam remains on schedule. It was in Sitka on Tuesday and due to return to Seattle on Friday after a weeklong cruise.

The woman thought to have fallen overboard is 45-year-old Amber Malkuch of Washington state.

She was reported missing by a traveling companion Monday morning when the Zaandam was in Glacier Bay National Park, about 75 miles northwest of Juneau. She was last seen hours earlier after she ordered room service, when the vessel was near Alaska’s Douglas Island.

A woman’s body was found Tuesday afternoon by a search helicopter.

MONTANA

Missoula man killed in skateboard crash

MISSOULA — Montana officials say a 20-year-old man has died after slamming into a tree while skateboarding alone.

Sgt. Tony Rio of the Missoula County Sheriff’s Department says the man was skateboarding with a group of friends along a road Friday night and stayed behind when they left. When the man missed a wedding the next day, the friends called emergency workers.

Deputies found the man’s body by the side of the road and determined he died sometime Friday night after crashing into a tree.

The man, who was not immediately identified, wasn’t wearing a helmet or other protective gear.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

State negotiating over rescue fine

CONCORD — New Hampshire and a Massachusetts Eagle Scout who needed to be rescued from Mount Washington are negotiating the size of his fine, which the state initially set at $25,000.

Scott Mason, 18, of Halifax, Mass., spent three nights alone on the Northeast’s highest mountain after spraining his ankle and veering off marked trails. Officials praised him for using his Boy Scout skills to stay alive, but criticized him for being unprepared for treacherous spring conditions.

The fine is thought to be the largest sought under a 9-year-old law allowing New Hampshire to recoup rescue costs. In Mr. Mason’s case, that included the cost of a helicopter.

The bill was due Sunday, but Mr. Mason’s lawyer and the attorney general’s office expect negotiations to continue.

Mr. Mason had planned to spend one day hiking 17 miles in the New Hampshire mountains in April but ended up lost after he hurt his ankle and took a shortcut. The shortcut led him into rising water and deep snow caused by unseasonably warm weather.

NEW MEXICO

Low-altitude rocket launched in desert

UPHAM — A Florida-based avionics company successfully fired what officials hope will be the first of two low-altitude rocket launches Tuesday at the New Mexico Spaceport.

Moog Industries fired the rocket after a roughly 90-minute delay brought on by a glitch in a GPS antenna.

New Mexico Spaceport officials say the research-and-development test is important because it demonstrates commercial applications beyond space flights for tourists.

It was not immediately clear whether a second launch planned for later in the day could go ahead. Spaceport officials have said that if successful, it would be the first time a private company completed two launches from the same site in one day.

The first rocket rose to 2,200 feet above the New Mexico desert, then glided in for a belly landing.

NEW YORK

Baby born outside upstate firehouse

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Firefighters in an upstate New York city didn’t have to go far to help a woman deliver her baby.

When Cora Burns of Saratoga Springs went into labor Monday morning, the plan was for her neighbor to drive her to a hospital in city 20 miles away. But the baby was in a big hurry, and after calling for help, the pair drove to meet an ambulance at a Saratoga firehouse.

They pulled into the driveway, and firefighters rushed out to help. Two minutes later, Mrs. Burns gave birth in the car to her fourth son. Baby Grahm, who weighed 7 pounds, 4 ounces, and his mother were then taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital, where they were doing well.

Mrs. Burns and her husband say they plan to treat the firefighters to dinner to say thanks.

PENNSYLVANIA

Philly alehouse nears milestone

PHILADELPHIA — If he were alive today, William “Pa” McGillin probably wouldn’t recognize the nachos and watermelon martinis being served at his namesake pub in Philadelphia.

Yet he’d no doubt be heartened to see that its core commitment to beer and camaraderie has remained largely unchanged since he opened it 150 years ago.

McGillin’s Olde Ale House began celebrating its sesquicentennial this week, cementing its status as the city’s oldest continuously operated tavern and one of the oldest in the nation.

Its 150th year begins Jan. 1, but the festivities kick off 150 days before that. On Tuesday, the pub started an anniversary countdown clock, and an Abe Lincoln re-enactor will tap the first batch of McGillin’s 1860, an India pale ale created by Stoudt’s Brewing.

Lincoln was elected president the year McGillin’s opened.

RHODE ISLAND

State fights noisy parties with stickers

NARRAGANSETT — Renters and homeowners in this southern Rhode Island beach town say the punishment for hosting a loud house party is tantamount to a scarlet letter: a large orange sticker plastered on the front door.

Police in Narragansett are allowed to place the stickers on homes where parties of five or more people have disturbed the neighborhood. The goal is to rein in rowdy behavior, especially among students at the nearby University of Rhode Island.

More than 300 homes have been cited since 2005.

A federal judge will hear arguments next month on a lawsuit that seeks to strike down the sticker ordinance. The suit from students and landlords says the stickers are like scarlet letters that shame them before the neighborhood.

WISCONSIN

Special Olympics bus crashes, hurts 2

WAUPUN — Wisconsin authorities say a bus with about 20 adult Special Olympics athletes crashed while returning from Nebraska, leaving two people with serious injuries.

Dodge County Sheriff Todd Nehls says the bus driver lost control Tuesday about 3:30 a.m. and crashed into a guardrail near Waupun, which is about 50 miles northeast of Madison. The guardrail prevented the bus from plunging down an embankment and instead kept it on the road, where it tipped over.

Sheriff Nehls says the 42-year-old bus driver and one athlete were in serious condition. The other 20 passengers were treated at a hospital and released.

Sheriff’s Capt. Molly Soblewski told reporters the athletes were golfers and softball players returning from Lincoln, Neb.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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