- The Washington Times - Monday, January 25, 2010

CALIFORNIA

Tots lost in river remain missing

SAN DIEGO | Two children swept away by the Tijuana River south of the border last week remained missing Sunday, after a search for a reported body near storm-swollen waters in San Diego County turned up nothing, authorities said.

Migrants near Border Field State Park reported they may have seen a body in the water early Sunday, said Maurice Luque, a spokesman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. Fire crews assisted by lifeguards and U.S. Customs and Border Protection searched the area for several hours but found nothing.

A 2-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy were caught in the north-flowing river in Tijuana after a car crash Wednesday and have not been seen since, Mr. Luque said.

Mexican authorities said the family’s car crashed into the water, killing their 9-year-old sister, according to Mr. Luque. The children’s parents were also in the car but their conditions were unknown, he said.

Authorities said last week’s storms caused the dam upstream to nearly crest and that there is a large amount of water flowing through the area. The Tijuana River empties into the ocean just north of the border.

FLORIDA

Beer with burgers at fast food chain

MIAMI BEACH | Burger King is opening a restaurant in Miami Beach that will serve beer along with burgers and fries, the chain’s first U.S. location with alcohol.

At the Whopper Bar South Beach, guests can pair a Whopper sandwich with Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors brews. With fries, the combo will run $7.99. The restaurant will offer outdoor dining, a walk-up window and delivery service. It’s scheduled to open mid-February. The announcement was made Friday.

Morningstar analyst R.J. Hottovy says adding beer at selected locations around the world is part of Miami-based Burger King’s effort to reinvent itself as a fast-food restaurant with a sit-down feel.

ILLINOIS

Man wakes up, sees deer in kitchen

BELLEVILLE | An Illinois man says it didn’t take him long to decide not to mess with the uninvited, antlered guest he found in his kitchen.

Belleville resident Mark Page and his wife were sleeping Saturday when the sound of breaking glass and — was that hooves? — woke them up.

Mr. Page went downstairs to find a 10-to-12 point buck in the kitchen with its head in the sink. He says he looked at the animal for “not even a fraction of a second” before turning tail and heading back upstairs. He says he doesn’t mess with deer, especially big ones.

The animal also was spooked and barreled through a closed window to escape. Mr. Page says the deer jumped through a different window to get into his home.

He says the animal was injured, but police couldn’t find it.

NEW YORK

Wal-Mart lays off 11,200 at Sam’s Club

NEW YORK | Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will cut about 11,200 jobs at Sam’s Club warehouses as it turns over the task of in-store product demonstrations to an outside marketing company.

The move is an effort to improve sales at Sam’s Club, which has underperformed the company’s namesake stores in the U.S. and abroad. The cuts represent about 10 percent of the warehouse club operator’s 110,000 staffers across its 600 stores. That includes 10,000 workers, mostly part-timers, who offer food samples and showcase products to customers. The company also eliminated 1,200 workers who recruit new members.

Employees were told the news at mandatory meetings on Sunday morning.

“In the club channel, demo sampling events are a very important part of the experience,” said Sam’s Club CEO Brian Cornell in a phone interview with the Associated Press. “Shopper Events specializes in this area and they can take our sampling program to the next level.”

OHIO

Truck speed cited in crash with bus

SPRINGFIELD | Investigators say the driver of a tractor-trailer that hit a bus carrying residents of a special needs center in Ohio, killing four, was driving too fast during a snowstorm.

The Clark County prosecutor’s office says it will determine whether charges should be filed. The crash near Springfield killed the bus driver and three passengers and injured six other passengers two weeks ago.

A report released Thursday by the Ohio Highway Patrol says truck driver Zygmunt Wieckowski was driving too fast when he lost control two weeks ago. The Chicago man’s truck slid across Interstate 70 and into oncoming traffic.

Mr. Wieckowski declined to comment Friday.

PENNSYLVANIA

Three Mile Island generator moving

MIDDLETOWN | A generator in storage for more than three decades after the accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant is heading to North Carolina.

Officials at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission say the electrical generator from the damaged Unit 2 reactor at TMI will be used at Progress Energy’s Harris Nuclear Plant in North Carolina.

NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said Thursday that preliminary work is under way to move the generator. It will be moved in two parts weighing a combined 670 tons. TMI’s Unit 2 reactor has been shut down since a stuck valve caused a partial meltdown in 1979. Mr. Sheehan says the generator was not contaminated.

TEXAS

Oil spill threatens shore wildlife

DALLAS | Crews worked Sunday to protect two sensitive wildlife areas after a crude oil spill shut down parts of a major southeast Texas port, state Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said.

Plastic walls known as booms and oil-sucking skimmer boats were used to safeguard a lake that is a crucial breeding ground and a wildlife management area that lost its protective gates when Hurricane Ike roared ashore a year and a half ago, Mr. Patterson said.

The U.S. Coast Guard said about 462,000 gallons — or 11,000 barrels — of oil spilled into the water Saturday when an 800-foot tanker collided with a towing vessel pushing two barges near Port Arthur, about 90 miles east of Houston.

The spill was the largest seen in Texas since 1994, but still well shy of one 20 years ago involving Norwegian tanker Mega Borg that leaked 4.3 million gallons of crude oil about 60 miles off Galveston.

UTAH

Pro-gay film avoids Sundance picket

PARK CITY | Despite rumored anti-gay protests, a Sundance Film Festival documentary about the Mormon church’s role in a 2008 California political battle over gay marriage played to a friendly audience on Sunday in Park City.

Only about two dozen gay marriage activists chanted — “Separate, church from 8” — in a parking lot outside the premiere of “8: The Mormon Proposition.” The film by Reed Cowan, a former Mormon, contends that the locally based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the driving force behind Proposition 8, which declared marriage the union of a man and a woman.

Before the screening, festival director John Cooper had said he expected a small, but loud, group of “haters,” might picket the film, but doubted that Mormon church members would be among them. “It’s not really the Mormon style,” Mr. Cooper said.

A Utah-based group, America Forever, sent out 80,000 faxes Friday denouncing the movie, its makers and the festival. Internet chatter among other anti-gay groups had also hinted they might come to Sundance, activist Eric Ethington said.

“They must be in church today,” said Emily Pearson, one of the movie’s producers.

VERMONT

Deadline set in lesbian custody case

RUTLAND | A judge is giving a Virginia woman at the center of a lesbian custody dispute 30 days to appear in court with her 7-year-old daughter or face possible arrest.

Vermont Family Court Judge William Cohen made that ruling Friday in the long-running custody dispute between two women who were once joined in a civil union.

Janet Jenkins, of Fair Haven, Vt., had asked Judge Cohen to hold her former partner, Lisa Miller, in contempt of court. Miss Miller, of Forest, Va., was supposed to turn over the child, Isabella, to Miss Jenkins on Jan. 1. She hasn’t done so.

The couple broke up in 2003. Miss Miller, the girl’s biological mother, moved to Virginia, renounced homosexuality and became an evangelical Christian.

Miss Miller’s lawyer says she doesn’t know where Miss Miller and Isabella are.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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