- The Washington Times - Monday, July 31, 2000

Hostage-taking ends with two injured

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) Three employees were taken hostage early yesterday during an attempted robbery at a McDonald's restaurant. One escaped, and the others were freed 4 and 1/2 hours later after the suspects' fathers talked them into surrendering.

One of the hostages had been shot and was in serious condition yesterday, and another was sexually assaulted, Police Chief Willie Johnson said.

After one hostage escaped, the suspects shot another suspect three times to show they were serious, authorities said.

The standoff ended about 10:30 a.m. after the fathers of both suspects helped police talk them into surrendering. The men, identified as Michael Sheppard, 20, and Mario Baldwin, 21, were arrested.

Park sky lift stops, stranding 50 riders

ALTOONA, Iowa An amusement park sky lift came to an abrupt stop following electrical trouble, stranding riders about 50 feet above the ground.

Rescue crews used fire ladders and a crane to bring the 50 passengers safely back to the ground Saturday night at Adventureland Park, about 10 miles northeast of Des Moines.

No one was injured.

A park spokesman said the ride shut down because of a flipped breaker switch.

Historic call letters to leave airwaves

CHICAGO The city's oldest radio station, where millions of fans turned the dial to hear "Amos 'n' Andy" and "Fibber McGee and Molly" before television took over the night, is signing off this week for the final time.

Tomorrow, the frequency WMAQ-AM has held for nearly eight decades will become an all-sports station.

WMAQ's demise stems directly from federal regulations and the marriage of broadcasting giants CBS Inc. and Viacom Corp. Federal ownership rules required that CBS subsidiary Infinity sell one of its eight Chicago radio stations. The company chose to get rid of a weaker frequency used by the sports station and move the sports station to the frequency held by WMAQ.

July in Northeast cooler than normal

NEW YORK The sky was gray and mist fell yesterday as one of the region's coolest, dampest Julys on record shrugged toward a close.

At what should be one of the hottest times of the year, the temperature barely made it to 72 yesterday in Central Park.

While the South had a wilting heat wave for part of the month, it was only the second time in 100 years that July has passed in New York without the mercury ever reaching 90 degrees, meteorologists say. The average was 72.54 degrees, not even up to the long-term average of 76.8.

First female officer leaving The Citadel

CHARLESTON, S.C. The Citadel's first female officer and coach is resigning next month to pursue a medical career.

Assistant Commandant Bonnie Jo Houchen was hired in 1997 to help assimilate women into the corps of cadets, but she said she still questions whether the school's leadership in moving forward quickly enough in that effort five years after Shannon Faulkner became its first female cadet.

"My energy and enthusiasm have waned, and you need that energy to come at the monster every day," Assistant Commandant Houchen said.

The Citadel's greatest challenge still remains changing attitudes at the formerly all-male school rather than driving them underground, she said.

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