- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 16, 2002

FLORIDA

Bobcat attacks hiker, park rangers

ORLANDO A bobcat attacked a hiker at a state nature reserve, charged a park ranger's truck and lunged at another ranger before it was killed, authorities said. They suspected the cat was rabid.

A wildlife officer shot the cat Sunday as it hung from a ranger's arm, officials said.

Hiker Todd Long, 37, and Lt. Laura DeWald of the Department of Environmental Protection were taken to Central Florida Regional Hospital in Sanford for treatment and testing.


HAWAII

Actor's nationality questioned for role

HONOLULU Pro-wrestler-turned-actor The Rock could get some competition when he plays a real-life king.

Last month, The Rock, whose real name is Dwayne Johnson, said he would portray Hawaii's Kamehameha the Great for Columbia Pictures in a still-untitled version based on a screenplay by former Maui resident Greg Poirier. The casting of Mr. Johnson raised some eyebrows in the Hawaiian community because the former Hawaii resident is of Samoan and African ancestry.

North Shore Pictures Entertainment Inc. of Glendale, Calif., said it also is planning to produce a film about Kamehameha the Great that would feature a Hawaiian actor in the title role.

"We are looking at two actors of Hawaiian descent who will make a great Kamehameha," said Gary German, a principal with North Shore. "It would be a great taboo for the part of Kamehameha to go to a nationality that was a fierce enemy of the Hawaiians during that time."

Kamehameha the Great ruled from 1795 to until his death in 1819.


ALASKA

Four men dead in plane crash

ANCHORAGE A plane carrying senior citizens on a fishing trip crashed in the mountains, killing all four persons aboard.

A plane spotted the wreckage of the float plane Sunday evening in the Chigmit Mountains, southwest of Anchorage, Alaska Air National Guard Maj. Mike Haller said. It had vanished Friday.

The passengers were men older than 65 from the Kent Senior Activity Center in Kent, Wash., a suburb of Seattle, and were part of a nine-member group in two planes, said John Hodgson, director of the Kent parks department.

The float plane, a single-engine deHavilland operated by Big Foot Air, had been flying from Lake Hood to Iliamna Lake, where the passengers were planning to fish.

A dozen civilian planes and a National Guard HC-130 were involved in the search.


ARIZONA

Severe thunderstorm delays flights

PHOENIX Severe thunderstorms cut power to much of Sky Harbor International Airport and delayed or diverted flights, and stalled travelers had to spend the night sleeping at the sprawling complex.

Flights resumed this morning, but delays were expected throughout the day, airport spokeswoman Suzanne Luber said.

The airport was shut down for about four hours Sunday night as two powerful monsoons tore through the area, damaging parked airplanes and spreading debris on taxiways and streets. There were no injuries.

Incoming flights were diverted to Tucson and Las Vegas.

About 250 delayed travelers slept at the airport, and others stayed at motels.


ARKANSAS

Surprise tests emergency foam system

HIGHFILL Workers at Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport got a vivid, though inadvertent, demonstration that their emergency foam dispensers work.

Two mechanics were working on an engine in a hangar Thursday morning when a flame tripped the system, flooding the 32,000-square-foot hangar with 800 gallons of foam. The system is designed to fill the structure, which has ceilings 36 feet high. Five aircraft were covered.

The workers didn't get a chance to turn a shut-off valve.

"The emergency shut-off was on the other side of the hangar from where the mechanics were working," Regional Jet Center manager Perin Blount said.

The hangar is set more than 400 yards from the main runway, so air traffic was unaffected. Firefighters used hoses to wash away the biodegradable foam, which flowed from the open hangar doors, looking like a July snowbank.


CALIFORNIA

Judge refuses to block star's prosecutors

LOS ANGELES A judge here threw out yesterday a bid to disqualify prosecutors from pursuing a shoplifting case against Hollywood movie star Winona Ryder, dismissing assertions that officials were trying to humiliate her.

The ruling came after Miss Ryder's lawyer filed a motion to oust the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office from the case on the grounds that the "Little Women" star was supposedly not getting "fair treatment."

"I've never had a DA's office act the way this DA's office has," attorney Mark Geragos told the judge, adding that he was worried there had been "an effort to try to humiliate my client."

Mr. Geragos, who refused to reveal details of his allegations against prosecutors, said he was concerned about statements made regarding the case by a spokeswoman for the District Attorney's Office.


COLORADO

Investigators to finish search for child's body

GRAND JUNCTION Investigators plan to complete their search of a landfill this week for the body of 6-year-old Abby Blagg, who disappeared with her mother in November.

Jennifer Blagg's body was found in the landfill five weeks ago. An autopsy showed she was shot in the left eye, investigators said.

Michael Blagg, Jennifer's husband and Abby's father, is being held on murder charges.


CONNECTICUT

Law school applications increase in Connecticut

HARTFORD Applications to major law schools in Connecticut are up significantly this year, officials said.

They attribute the increase to a poor job market for recent college graduates and layoffs in other fields.

The University of Connecticut School of Law saw a 46 percent increase. Applications increased by 28 percent at the Quinnipiac University School of Law and 10 percent at Yale University.


GEORGIA

Teenager shot at gun show dies

NORCROSS A 13-year-old boy who was shot in the head while attending a gun show with his father died yesterday.

Stephen King of Prattville, Ala., was struck in the right eye by a bullet that lodged in his brain. He died after surgery at an Atlanta hospital.

Police said he and his father, Anthony Grant, were visiting from Montgomery, Ala., to attend the gun show Sunday. Mr. Grant, 38, said his son was standing on his left side and facing a vendor's counter when the gun fired.

It was not clear how the shooting happened or whose gun, a .38 caliber revolver, was involved. Police said they believe it went off accidentally.


ILLINOIS

Judges upset over salary freeze

SPRINGFIELD Some Illinois judges say they may go to court to challenge a pay freeze imposed by legislators facing a budget shortfall.

They say the state constitution prohibits cutting judges' pay. Lawmakers chose to forgo annual cost-of-living pay increases of nearly 4 percent for themselves and other state officials.


INDIANA

Pair said to pass meth during wedding kiss

TERRE HAUTE A new bride who wed her jailed groom behind bars is accused of passing methamphetamine during the kiss that sealed their vows.

Vivian Frazier, 32, is charged with transferring 2 grams of meth in a balloon to her new husband, Jeremy Guinther, as they puckered up July 5 at the Vigo County Jail.

A guard became suspicious after noticing that Guinther had a slight bulge in his cheek after the kiss, according to a police report. When ordered to open his mouth, the 26-year-old Guinther swallowed, police said. The drug was recovered during a hospital stay, police said.

Miss Frazier, who was arrested Thursday, was charged Friday with trafficking with an inmate.

The meth incident has led to a new rule at the jail: No kissing in weddings behind bars.


LOUISIANA

Judges expelled from gym championships

NEW ORLEANS Four judges were expelled from the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships after purportedly favoring teams from their own countries, a scandal that comes five months after the Winter Olympics were tarnished by a similar judging controversy.

The judges made "big mistakes" on Friday and Saturday, the first two days of competition, the International Gymnastics Federation said.

"They pushed their own country up in order to make a big disadvantage," International Gymnastics Federation spokesman Philippe Silacci said Sunday.

Sanctions were handed out after routine reviews of tapes from competitions on Friday and Saturday, the first two days of events. Because there were fewer events during the final Sunday, replacement judges weren't needed. No standings were changed as a result of the removal.


MASSACHUSETTS

Ozawa bids farewell with Tanglewood concert

LENOX In an emotional coda to his career directing the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Seiji Ozawa ended 29 years as music director Sunday by turning his back to the orchestra and conducting his audience in the first musical piece he encountered in Massachusetts as a young student.

The short choral piece by Randall Thompson, "Alleluia," brought the two-hour concert to a tearful end for Ozawa, who came to Tanglewood Music Center as a cash-strapped 25-year-old student from Japan in 1960.

Tanglewood, the orchestra's summer home in the Berkshires and training ground for some of the world's most promising young musicians, was packed with 14,303 patrons who waited to bid farewell to the iconic conductor, who is leaving to direct the Vienna State Opera.

James Levine, music director of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, was appointed his successor in October.


MONTANA

Program helps ranchers tend historic sites

BILLINGS On Doug Ensign's ranch along the Yellowstone River, cattle graze not far from where explorer William Clark once camped. Not far from Mr. Ensign's house, remnants of a frontier fort stand.

For years, the Livingston rancher has worked on his own to balance what he feels is a responsibility to preserve historic areas on his property with his need to use the land for ranching. Now, a new partnership of government agencies, environmental groups and a Montana livestock organization is helping Mr. Ensign and others better strike that balance.

Called Undaunted Stewardship, the program is meant to help ranchers protect valued historical sites and environmentally sensitive areas on their property while also teaching them ways to operate more efficiently.


MICHIGAN

Man gets life for killing Arab-American

DETROIT A Michigan man who said anger over the September 11 attacks helped prompt him to kill an Arab-American man last year was sentenced to life in prison yesterday for first-degree murder.

Brent David Seever, 38, shot and killed Ali Almansoop, a 44-year-old native of Yemen, on Sept. 19 after chasing him out of his ex-girlfriend's home in a Detroit suburb.

Seever said at the time that he shot Mr. Almansoop in the back of the head and lower back partly because he was enraged by the attacks in New York and Washington.

A Wayne County jury found Seever guilty of first-degree felony murder last month, after learning that he had been stalking his ex-girlfriend and was angered by her relationship with Mr. Almansoop, authorities said.


NEBRASKA

Transient helps police catch thieves

LINCOLN A transient with a cellular telephone helped police catch some suspected cigarette thieves in the act.

"I can't recall another transient with a cell phone helping us solve a crime in circumstances like this," Police Chief Tom Casady said. "It just goes to show you how much our culture has changed."

The arrests came less than a day after police said someone had committed smash-and-grab cigarette thefts at seven stores.

The break came literally early Friday morning when the sound of shattered glass attracted the attention of the transient, whose name was not released. The man called police to say he'd seen two men break the front glass of a business and then go inside, Officer Katherine Finnell said.


NORTH CAROLINA

Military: No charges in shooting death

FORT BRAGG The Army concluded yesterday that no military criminal charges are warranted in the case of a sheriff's deputy who mistakenly shot and killed a Special Forces soldier during a war game earlier this year.

The Army's John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School said the shooting Feb. 23 was a case of mistaken identity, and that all four persons involved "were acting according to their training and their understanding of the situation."

The report said no criminal charges under the military's justice system are called for. State investigators had already ruled the shooting justifiable homicide.


OKLAHOMA

Teen set to blow into bubble battle

GUYMON Codi Rocha's bubble just kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger so big it won him a trip to New York City.

Codi, who celebrated his 13th birthday Sunday, is one of six finalists in a national Dubble Bubble Blowing Contest, the Oklahoman reports. He and his mother, Denise Rocha-Groves, will leave Wednesday for New York.

Thursday morning Codi and the other young finalists will compete for the grand prize on NBC's "Today" program, where he will try to outdo the 21½-inch bubble he blew June 1 during a local contest sponsored by Wal-Mart.

"I saw a whole bunch of kids trying to blow bubbles, and I got in the contest, too. I ended up blowing a big bubble," Codi said. "It popped all over my face and all over my glasses, and it was a mess. First, I blew an 18-inch bubble, and I picked the gum out of my hair and started over."


OREGON

New Miss Oregon sets sights on East Coast

SEASIDE Brita Stream entered the Miss Oregon pageant so she could sing on stage one more time before moving to New York this fall to be a nanny, the Oregonian reports.

Instead, Miss Stream, who was Miss Linn-Benton, beat 21 local pageant winners and took the Miss Oregon crown on her 22nd birthday as Oregon's first Miss America, Katie Harman, watched.

Miss Stream begins six weeks of preparation before leaving for Atlantic City, where she will represent Oregon in the Miss America Scholarship Pageant on Sept. 21. But first she must buy a wardrobe and plan her year of service as Miss Oregon or as Miss America, if lightning strikes twice.

Miss Stream won the Miss Oregon pageant on the strength of her vocal performance of the Etta James' classic song "At Last."


PENNSYLVANIA

High-speed crash kills five youths

HARRISBURG Two cars collided on a two-lane rural road, killing five young persons and injuring three others, authorities said.

The crash occurred shortly before 10 p.m. Saturday, when a Ford Mustang that one witness estimated was traveling at 100 mph apparently careened out of control.

Police said it spun sideways into oncoming traffic, where it collided with a Toyota carrying five persons. The Mustang then struck a telephone pole and finally slammed into a tree.

Police said alcohol was suspected as a factor.

Two persons in the Mustang and three in the Toyota were killed. The youngest among the dead was 8, the oldest 22.


SOUTH DAKOTA

Aircraft enthusiasts gather for fly-in

SPEARFISH More than 50 Navion Aircraft enthusiasts gathered at Eagle Aviation in Spearfish this week for the American Navion Society's annual fly-in.

Navions are aircraft that were manufactured by North American Aviation shortly after World War II. Many Navion aircraft are modified, according to Judy Sorten of the society.

Society members from 27 states and two Canadian provinces are at the fly-in, Miss Sorten told the Black Hills Pioneer.

Rollie Zavada flew his Navion from New York, which is about a nine-hour flight. Mr. Zavada's flying career began in 1947, and he bought his first aircraft in 1952.


UTAH

Judge arrested after family calls police

HIGHLAND A county judge was arrested at his home after his family called police and then turned over drugs they said belonged to him.

Fourth District Judge Ray M. Harding Jr. was arrested Saturday. Authorities found cocaine, heroin and barbiturates, Alpine-Highland Police Chief Kip Botkin said.

A family member had made a police complaint about narcotics and a domestic disturbance, police said.

Utah County Attorney Kay Bryson said he plans to ask the Attorney General's Office to handle prosecution. The Utah County Major Crimes Task Force will oversee the investigation.


VERMONT

Man loses dentures during sky-diving jump

ADDISON Carl Root wishes he'd kept his mouth shut.

Mr. Root, 34, let out a war whoop and lost his false teeth at 9,000 feet during his maiden sky-diving jump as a cameraman documenting his tumble to earth.

By the time he landed, Mr. Root had narrowed the search for his teeth to Addison County's 770 square miles. But he wasn't sure where to begin.

"Chances of them ever being found are pretty slim," he said.

He called his dentist and ordered a new set. He got his new upper teeth Thursday after going without for nearly a week.


WISCONSIN

Swearing carries big price tag

LA CROSSE Robert Kissane didn't expect that his rude comments to his niece's ex-boyfriend would cost him $212.

And when Roberta Parrish was handed a $95 ticket for leaving an off-color message on her ex-husband's answering machine, she asked an officer, "Well, what did I say to deserve this?"

They didn't know Wisconsin is one of nine states with laws against public swearing or using profanity on the telephone.


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