- - Sunday, July 31, 2011

ALASKA

Two small planes collide; 4 are confirmed dead

TRAPPER CREEK — Two single-engine float planes collided as they flew near an Alaska lake and one of them crashed and burned, killing the four people aboard, authorities said. The second plane landed safely despite significant damage.

The Cessna 180 was destroyed by the impact and fire, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor told the Associated Press.

“It was engulfed in flames on the ground,” Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said.

The crash around Amber Lake near Trapper Creek, 80 miles north of Anchorage, came nearly three weeks after another in-flight collision that remarkably left the 13 people aboard the two aircraft unhurt.

The second plane in Saturday’s crash, a Cessna 206, sustained significant damage but was able to return to Anchorage International Airport and make an emergency landing.

Pilot Kevin Earp, 56, of Eagle River, was alone in the aircraft and uninjured, Miss Peters said in a news release.

She said late Saturday that four bodies were recovered from the wreckage. Authorities initially said at least two people were killed.

The state medical examiner’s office was working to identify the dead.

LOUISIANA

Ex-Gov. Edwards, 83, weds prison pen pal, 32

NEW ORLEANS — Former Gov. Edwin Edwards, who turns 84 next month, on Friday married a 32-year-old woman who befriended him during his federal prison sentence for bribery and extortion.

Mr. Edwards, a Democrat who served four terms as governor in the 1970s,”80s and ‘90s, did most of the talking after he and bride Trina Grimes Scott emerged from an elevator at the Monteleone Hotel in the French Quarter.

“People who don’t know me don’t know what a wonderful, pleasant, modest fellow I am,” Mr. Edwards said when asked how a man his age managed to land a much-younger wife.

He also told reporters how his new bride, who started writing him letters while he was in prison, visited him there regularly on weekends and holidays in recent years.

The two have not talked about what prompted her to choose him as a pen pal.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Divers search pond for sign of missing girl

STEWARTSTOWN — Divers were deployed to a pond in northern New Hampshire on Sunday in the search for an 11-year-old girl who’s been missing for several days.

State Fish and Game Department divers searched Back Pond for any sign of fifth-grader Celina Cass, Senior Assistant Attorney General Jane Young said. The small pond is less than a mile from Celina’s home in Stewartstown, a community of 800 residents with one blinking streetlight and a handful of stores.

Vermont and New Hampshire state police, the FBI and other agencies also were continuing their ground search in those states and in Canada, Ms. Young said.

“We’re searching for Celina Cass as a missing person,” she said. “We have no evidence to categorize this any other way.”

Celina, who lives with her mother and stepfather, was last seen Monday night at her home computer in her small town in far northern New Hampshire.

In the search for the tall, gap-toothed girl, investigators have knocked on hundreds of doors, and hundreds of fliers with her photo have been put up throughout Stewartstown and nearby communities. Law enforcement agencies have set up a command post at the local school.

The FBI is offering a $25,000 reward for information in the case, and a community member has added $5,000.

NEW MEXICO

Judge: Abortion billboard can stay, for now

ALAMOGORDO — An Alamogordo man can keep his controversial billboard along the city’s main thoroughfare, for now, a state district judge has ruled.

Judge James Counts wants to schedule a full hearing in the case since it concerns freedom of speech and the right to privacy, the Alamogordo Daily News reported Friday. He made the decision during a hearing Thursday.

Greg Fultz, 35, put up the billboard in May. It shows him holding the outline of an infant. The text reads, “This Would Have Been A Picture Of My 2-Month Old Baby If The Mother Had Decided To Not KILL Our Child!”

The woman has taken Mr. Fultz to court for harassment and violation of privacy.

OHIO

Shots fired near musician George Clinton’s concert

CLEVELAND — A shooting occurred near a family unity festival in Cleveland headlined by funk musician George Clinton, police said Sunday.

Shots were fired in the parking lot of a nearby food store, “relatively close” to Luke Easter Park, where the annual “Family Unity In the Park” festival was held on Saturday, according to an official of the investigative unit for homicide for the City of Cleveland Division of Police.

The official, who declined to be named, said he could not confirm reports one person was killed and three others injured in the shooting.

A 16-year-old boy was shot in the head and a 20-year-old female was hit in the neck when shots broke out during a fight, TMZ and BET reported Sunday. The reports said emergency services transported others to the hospital for their wounds, but no one had been arrested.

According to the Cleveland Police official, a note on the incident put the time of the shooting at 9:55 p.m.

Mr. Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelic were due to take the stage at the free family event just after 8 p.m., according to an announcement for the event.

The police official said he could not give details of the shooting.

“Detectives on that one are out there right now investigating,” he said. “We don’t share information; we just work with the families.”

PENNSYLVANIA

Flight 93 crash site marked by huge boulder

SHANKSVILLE — The western Pennsylvania site where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed after passengers confronted hijacking terrorists during the Sept. 11 attacks almost a decade ago is being marked by a gigantic boulder.

National Park Service superintendent Keith Newlin says victims’ relatives approved the idea. He says the 17-ton boulder was recently moved into place by a stone company that’s building the entrance road at the memorial in Shanksville. He tells Somerset’s Daily American newspaper he suggested a smaller rock but the company’s foreman said the victims deserve the big boulder.

Word of the boulder came as more than two dozen relatives of victims gathered Saturday with park and memorial officials for the ceremonial planting of the first three of 40 sweet gum trees to honor the victims.

WYOMING

Deputy found dead in river after rescue bid

DOUGLAS — The body of a Wyoming deputy who jumped in the North Platte River to assist a struggling girl was discovered Sunday.

It was the fourth day of searching for 29-year-old Bryan P. Gross of the Converse County Sheriff’s Office, who went in the river Thursday evening after a teenage girl who appeared to be struggling. The girl survived, but Deputy Gross was swept away in the river swollen by heavy snowmelt.

County Sheriff Clinton Becker said Deputy Gross’ body was found late Sunday morning in the river about a mile and a half from where the deputy entered.

Searchers from several law enforcement agencies and civilian volunteers checked the banks of the river. Divers, dogs and a helicopter helped in the search. The sheriff did not describe how Deputy Gross was located.

From wire dispatches and staff reports