- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 27, 2000

4 teen-agers arrested in connection with fire

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. Dry desert wind drove a 600-acre wildfire dangerously close to luxury homes yesterday, and investigators arrested four teen-agers for investigation of arson.

The fire broke out in the middle of the night but was fully contained with no homes lost by late afternoon, the Ventura County Fire Department said. More than 600 firefighters, four water-dropping helicopters and two air tankers battled the flames.

Three 16-year-old boys and an 18-year-old man were arrested for investigation of arson, sheriff's Sgt. Ron Nelson said. Authorities said only that the four were taken into custody near the fire.

Thousand Oaks residents were warned they might have to evacuate. But as daylight broke and helicopters arrived, the wind and flames began to subside.

Cartoon co-creator dies of cancer

LOS ANGELES Thomas Yohe, co-creator of the Emmy-winning "Schoolhouse Rock" cartoons that filled the heads of a generation with catchy ditties about grammar and math, has died of cancer. He was 63.

Mr. Yohe, creative director of the hit three-minute cartoons such as "Conjunction Junction" and "I'm Just a Bill" that ran on ABC from 1973 to 1985, died Thursday at his home in Norwalk, Conn., friends said.

The animated shorts, which popped up between Saturday morning cartoon shows on ABC and were revived in 1992, entertained a generation of American children and carried educational messages about grammar, math, civics or even history.

The series ultimately earned four Emmy awards and a place in the popular culture.

Vaccine exemptions mean more illnesses

CHICAGO Children who for religious or other reasons do not get vaccinated against measles or whooping cough are more likely to contract the illnesses and spread them to vaccinated classmates, a study said yesterday.

An 11-year study of Colorado school children ages 3 to 18 found much higher rates of measles and whooping cough, or pertussis, among unvaccinated children especially among the youngest.

Measles rates were 22 times higher and whooping cough rates were six times higher in unvaccinated children than in youngsters who received the vaccinations, said the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Most states grant exemptions from mandatory childhood vaccinations on religious grounds and some grant them on philosophical grounds, the report said.

Clinton signs ban on 'shark finning'

President Clinton yesterday announced he has signed into law a measure banning "shark finning" in all U.S. waters.

Each year, fishermen catch tens of thousands of sharks, slice off at least one fin, then toss the rest of the fish overboard. Shark fin soup is a delicacy in Asia.

"The administration has actively supported the prohibition of shark finning because of the harmful impact on sharks and shark populations," Mr. Clinton said in a statement.

In 1998, the number of sharks finned in the Hawaiian waters topped 60,000, according to the Ocean Wildlife Campaign, a coalition of conservation groups.

Bush daughter well after appendectomy

AUSTIN, Texas With her mother by her side, one of President-elect George W. Bush's twin daughters was released from the hospital late yesterday after an emergency Christmas night appendectomy.

Jenna Bush, 19, was released from St. David's Medical Center, said Bush spokesman Gordon Johndroe.

"She's doing fine," he said.

Jenna spoke to her father by telephone before going home with Laura Bush, who had not planned to join her husband and other family members on a quick vacation trip to Florida, which began yesterday as scheduled.

The illness wasn't expected to affect Jenna's attendance at the University of Texas at Austin, where she is a freshman. Spring classes don't begin until Jan. 16.

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