- - Sunday, April 15, 2012

NEW YORK — A New York auction house has sold an original ticket to the launch of the Titanic and a dinner menu from the ill-fated ocean liner.

On the block Sunday at Bonhams were various items offered to mark the centennial of the sinking of the Titanic. The historic ticket fetched $56,250, including the auction house premium. The menu sold for $31,250. Both went to private American buyers.

Gregg Dietrich, Bonhams’ maritime consultant, says one surprise of the auction was the comparatively low price paid for a telegraph message that read, “We have struck an iceberg.” That message - sold for $27,500 - was sent to Titanic’s sister ship, the Olympic.

One important item that did not sell is a handwritten account from the captain of the Carpathia, which rescued the survivors.

OKLAHOMA

Barrage of tornadoes kills 5 in Midwest

WOODWARD — The television was tuned to forecasters’ dire warnings of an impending storm when Greg Tomlyanobich heard a short burst from a tornado siren blare early Sunday morning, just after midnight. Then silence. Then rumbling.

The 52-year-old quickly grabbed his wife and grandson, hurrying them into the emergency cellar as debris whirled around their heads at their mobile home park in northwest Oklahoma. They huddled inside with about 20 other people before the tornado - among dozens that swept across the nation’s midsection during the weekend - roared across the ground above, ripping homes from their foundations.

“It scared the hell out of me,” Mr. Tomlyanobich said.

The storm killed five people, including three children, and injured more than two dozen in Woodward, a town about 140 miles northwest of Oklahoma City. But it was the only tornado that caused fatalities.

Many of the touchdowns raked harmlessly across isolated stretches of rural Kansas, and though communities there and in Iowa were hit, residents and officials credited days of urgent warnings from forecasters for saving lives.

FLORIDA

Vehicle smashes into supermarket; 8 hurt

PALM COAST — Authorities say a vehicle smashed through the entrance of a Florida supermarket, injuring eight customers.

Flagler County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Debra Johnson says 76-year-old Thelma Wagenhoffer drove her car through the entrance of the Publix in Palm Coast early Saturday afternoon.

Ms. Johnson told the Daytona Beach News-Journal that investigators found no apparent problems with the car’s brakes. Witnesses said the car appeared to be going about 50 mph.

Authorities said one person had been pinned beneath the car.

Publix spokesman Dwaine Stevens said one customer was airlifted to a hospital. Seven other customers with injuries that were not life-threatening were taken by ambulance to hospitals. The store was closed after the crash.

Messages left for Ms. Johnson and a Florida Highway Patrol spokesman were not immediately returned.

NEW YORK

Officials: Human remains possible at Titanic site

NEW YORK — A federal official says there may be human remains embedded in the mud of the North Atlantic where the New York-bound Titanic came to rest when it sank 100 years ago.

The director of maritime heritage at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says forensic evidence indicates signs of human remains at the shipwreck site.

James Delgado said Saturday that one 2004 photograph shows a coat and boots in the mud. He says the way they are “laid out” makes a “compelling case” that it is where “someone has come to rest.”

He released the full image this week to coincide with the disaster’s centenary. It was previously seen in a cropped version. They were taken during a NOAA expedition.

The luxury liner went down April 14, 1912, after striking an iceberg.

NEW JERSEY

Police: 2 teens scam motel, run up $3,900 bill

LONG BEACH TOWNSHIP — Authorities say two New Jersey teens pretended to be placed in a motel by a social services agency and then ran up a bill of $3,900.

Long Beach police tell the Asbury Park Press that a woman claiming to work for Ocean County Social Services called a motel last summer and requested a room for a couple and their child. The motel owner agreed to house them for two weeks but later learned that the woman who had made the arrangements did not work for the agency.

Police have determined that 19-year-old Joshua Walton of Barnegat and a 17-year-old girl had stayed in the room. Both were charged with theft by deception.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Deaths in standoff ruled murder-suicide

GREENLAND — Authorities say the two people killed in a standoff in New Hampshire where a police chief was also slain died in an apparent murder-suicide.

Police were trying to serve a warrant Thursday at a home in Greenland when a man inside opened fire, killing the chief and wounding four officers. The gunman, Cullen Mutrie, was later found dead in the home with his on-again, off-again girlfriend, 26-year-old Brittany Tibbetts.

State officials said Saturday that Tibbetts died of a gunshot wound to the head and have ruled her death a homicide. Mutrie also died of a gunshot wound to the head in what’s been ruled a suicide.

The police chief who was shot to death, Michael Maloney, was days from retirement.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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