- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 17, 2002


Body same age as missing girl found

STANTON Detectives investigating the kidnapping of 5-year-old Samantha Runnion were sent yesterday to Riverside County, where the body of a child about the same age as the missing girl was found.

Samantha was abducted outside her Orange County apartment Monday night by a man who drove up and asked for help finding his dog. "There are enough similarities in the individual who's out there to lead us to believe that it could be Samantha," Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona said last night.

Her mother, Erin Runnion, wept yesterday as she pleaded for Samantha's return. "We don't want vengeance. We just want our baby back," she said.


Construction crew finds ancient tusk

PARKER A crew digging a road for a suburban housing development unearthed an 18-foot-long woolly mammoth tusk that is at least 10,000 years old.

The tusk, broken into two pieces, was discovered Monday near a creek bed about 20 miles south of Denver.

"I had a moment of 'Indiana Jones' going on there," construction foreman Dave Smith said. "It was amazing."

Officials believe the tusk belonged to a fully grown male Columbian mammoth, a 7-ton animal that disappeared about 10,000 years ago.


Lawsuit filed over tank collapse

DOVER The federal government has filed a civil lawsuit against Motiva Enterprises, claiming gross negligence led to a sulfuric acid storage tank collapse last year that killed one man and injured eight.

The complaint by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency accuses Motiva of violating the Clean Water Act and other federal laws.


Woman shot after struggle with intruder

JEROME Sometimes, it might be best to just run and hide.

That could be the best course of action for somebody facing an intruder in the home, said Sgt. Jack Johnson of the Twin Falls County Sheriff's Office.

A Jerome woman was shot and wounded in the leg early Saturday after she took a revolver and went to investigate an apparent intrusion into her home, according to the Times-News.

She later told investigators that she stumbled into an intruder who was wearing a ski mask, and a struggle over her gun ensued, said Jerome Police Detective Dan Chatterton. It's evident that the woman shot herself with the .357 magnum, Detective Chatterton said.


Rabid skunk bites 2 family members

DES MOINES A rabid skunk crawled through a torn screen into a house in rural northwest Iowa and bit two family members before a third shot it, health officials said.

The skunk got into the house in rural Plymouth County about 5 a.m. on June 18. It jumped on a sleeping 25-year-old man and bit him on the back, said Dr. Russell Currier, an environmental epidemiologist with the Iowa Department of Public Health.

The man's mother chased it out of the house with a broom and then it turned on her, biting her on the hand, Dr. Currier said.


Summer months see school renovations

WICHITA The din of demolition and construction dominates school halls around Wichita this summer. Thirty-three schools are under construction in the first of the three busiest summers of renovation, expansion and new construction financed by the school district's $285 million bond issue, reports the Wichita Eagle.

The work now includes five new schools; the district will build seven in all. Sixty-three others will be expanded with new classrooms so they can lose the long-familiar portable classrooms that clutter their grounds. Eight schools will see expansions of multipurpose rooms, cafeterias or libraries.

One of the most popular benefits for the district's 49,000 students air conditioning will come to eight more schools by the time classes start Aug. 26.


LSU labs to watch meat production

BATON ROUGE The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine is joining a network of labs that will monitor local meat production for signs of a bioterrorist attack on U.S. farms.

The school will participate in a $20 million federal program set up to quickly detect potential attempts to destabilize the U.S. economy by using disease to make meat unmarketable.


Homosexual minister may lose post

KALAMAZOO A homosexual preacher ordained last month by the Church of the Brethren could lose his post because delegates at the Protestant denomination's annual convention voted to bar homosexual clergy.

The fate of 34-year-old Matthew Smucker but came into question after the convention's 900 delegates decided by a 2-1 margin to affirm a 1983 policy paper against recognizing the ordination of homosexual ministers. The conference, held in Louisville, Ky., ended July 3. State church officials plan to review the vote in August.

"I plan to keep walking on this journey as far as I can. I have nothing to lose and a lot to gain," Mr. Smucker, who was raised in the denomination and ordained at Skyridge Church in Kalamazoo, told the Kalamazoo Gazette.


Fake cowboy sues over real arrest

MINNEAPOLIS A man who dressed as a cowboy to deliver a singing telegram at the Hennepin County Government Center in downtown Minneapolis has sued over his arrest by deputies who were concerned about the fake pistol on his hip.

Fritz Herring, who was 72 when he was arrested on March 5, 2001, claims he was taken to jail and held for nearly 12 hours. Sheriff Pat McGowan said at the time that Mr. Herring was released after about seven hours.

Mr. Herring said the gun was a prop designed to look like a .44-caliber pistol, according to the Minneapolis Star. Mr. Herring had gone to the Government Center to perform a routine for a county employee who was a fan of country and western music.


Man charged with grilling kitten

KANSAS CITY A Kansas City-area man was charged with felony animal abuse yesterday after he and several friends were said to have tortured an 8-week-old kitten by roasting the animal alive in an outdoor grill.

Charles Benoit, 24, of Liberty faces up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine if convicted.

Authorities said the incident occurred July 12, when a group of people cheering and making "meowing" noises around an outdoor grill caught the attention of a neighbor, who decided to investigate.

The woman was able to retrieve the burned kitten from the coals, but it was so badly injured it could not be saved, said Jim Roberts, spokesman for the Clay County prosecutor's office.


Lewis and Clark camp to be preserved

HELENA State officials approved plans to more than double the size of a state park where the Lewis and Clark expedition is believed to have camped on its trek across the West nearly 200 years ago.

The additional land will allow construction of an access road, parking and other visitor services away from the actual encampment site, known as Travelers Rest. It will also preserve the view around the campsite and the conditions along nearby Lolo Creek, officials said.


Vandals torch American flags

RIDGEFIELD PARK Another American flag was torched Sunday night, less than 24 hours after more than a dozen flags in the village were ignited, police said.

Answering her doorbell just before midnight, Theresa Arribi found a police sergeant stomping out flames on her flag. The Stars and Stripes, which she had hung outside her front door, was destroyed.

Early Sunday, six residents reported damage to either flags or American symbols outside their homes, the Herald News and Record reports. In one case, a figurine of Uncle Sam was set ablaze. In another, a U.S. Marine Corps flag was torched. Although no one was injured, two houses sustained fire and smoke damage.


Nuclear dump receives 1,000th shipment

CARLSBAD As the federal government accelerates shipment of waste out of eastern Idaho, the nation's underground nuclear waste dump in New Mexico has received its 1,000th shipment since opening more than three years ago.

The milestone was reached with a shipment from the former Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant in Colorado last weekend, said Dan Balduini, spokesman for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad.

It was one of 26 shipments received last week, he said.


Irish famine memorial opens in Manhattan

NEW YORK A haunting memorial to the victims of the Irish famine of the mid-19th century was formally displayed in New York yesterday, overlooking the harbor that welcomed many of its survivors.

The $5 million structure is part memorial and part living museum, with a ruined stone cottage as the centerpiece of what is essentially a slice of historic rural Ireland transplanted to lower Manhattan.

Several million Irish people died and millions more were forced to emigrate after successive potato harvests were wiped out by a blight that triggered the 1845-52 famine.

"We will not forget the tragedy that brought so many Irish emigrants to these shores," said Irish President Mary McAleese, who attended the ceremony. "Nor the generosity of America in embracing our poor, restoring their dignity, and giving our ancestors the opportunity to forge this great nation."


Toddler's shooting death remains a mystery

WELCOME The driveway where 2-year-old Dillion Wilson was fatally shot sits like the stage of a suburban amphitheater, with at least a dozen houses rising from the ridge around it.

That means the bullet that struck the toddler in the head as he played on an April evening could have come from just about anywhere, deepening the mystery in a neighborhood where nearly everyone owns a gun, and shots fired by hunters and target shooters are often heard in the woods nearby.

After three months, investigators don't know where the shot came from, let alone who fired it, or why.

Dillion was playing in his driveway shortly before 5 p.m. on April 2. His mother, Stacy Hodges, was outside around the corner of the house, on the phone. Dillion's 7-year-old brother was playing nearby.


Salon-perfect lady is tenacious racer

NEWPORT Dawn Correiro curls her long, lavender nails around the stick shift of her white Ford pickup truck and tears out of the dusty pit at Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway, where the smell of burning rubber is as thick as the mascara on her eyelashes.

An official waves a green flag and the vehicles are off, careening around a hot asphalt track at about 75 mph and fighting to get ahead of the pack.

Anyone who would meet Miss Correiro on the street could guess she is a cosmetologist. Her perfectly plucked eyebrows and her flawlessly painted fingernails might give her away.

What they would be unlikely to assume is that Miss Correiro is also a feisty racer at Seekonk Speedway, one of only two female racers at the track.

Each Saturday, she heads to the speedway to race her pickup truck against other drivers.

"My hands are dirty, but my nails still look good," she said.


Schools face transfers under new law

NASHVILLE Tennessee schools that did not perform well enough on the state standardized tests including three elementary schools in Nashville must give parents the option of sending their children to other, better-performing schools in the district. Some schools may have to give parents vouchers to pay for outside tutoring services.

In Nashville, that means principals of Warner, Kirkpatrick and Shwab elementary schools have been on the phone with parents since last spring, the Nashville Tennessean reports.

That was when brochures went home with students explaining why their school was in trouble, what parents' options were and what changes would be made to improve the school.

For students who have chosen to transfer only 15 at this point the district must pick up the cost of transporting them to their new schools, said Wanda Holman, Title I coordinator.


Driver killed by truckload of dirt

BURLESON A truck hauling dirt jackknifed and spilled its load on a car yesterday, killing its driver.

The truck driver had apparently turned suddenly to avoid an accident in the road ahead, investigators said. The car was buried under the dirt.

"They did remove enough dirt to attempt to find out if there were other people in the vehicle," police Sgt. C.P. Aaron said. "They couldn't find any other occupants."


Budget cuts force 'gate money' change

SALT LAKE CITY For years, paroled Utah State Prison inmates could count on the state giving them about $100 just before they cleared the prison gates.

Now statewide budget cuts have changed the practice. Many parolees no longer get so-called "gate money" unless they can prove it is sorely needed.


FBI probe 'ridiculous,' terror suspect says

SEATTLE One of the Seattle men suspected by the FBI of supporting Islamic terrorism calls the federal investigation "horrible and utterly ridiculous."

In a press release issued by a family friend Monday, Mustafa Ujaama said neither he nor his brother, James Earnest Ujaama, is a terrorist.

The Ujaamas formerly known as Jon Thompson and James Earnest Thompson are among the Seattle Muslims being investigated by the FBI and a federal grand jury in Seattle.

Members of the now-defunct Seattle mosque, Dar-us-Salaam, are suspected of conspiring to support Islamic terrorism, including helping scout a property in southern Oregon as a possible training camp.


Imported produce confuses market

CHARLESTON At Capitol Market, it takes considerable detective work to determine who is selling homegrown produce and who is selling produce straight from the wholesaler.

The problem of who is and who isn't growing their own has festered for many years at Capitol Market and, before that, the old Charleston Farmers' Market. But the last two seasons, the offenders have grown more brazen, according to farmers who sell only what they grow. A Huntington wholesaler now drives onto the market, and several farmers unload the crates and boxes, reports the Charleston Gazette.

In theory, the state Department of Agriculture supervises the outdoor market and sets standards: At least 50 percent of the produce has to come from the farmer's own fields, and another 25 percent has to come from West Virginia. Only 25 percent can come from out of state. The farmers are supposed to label what is grown in West Virginia and what is not.


Work begins to clear derailment

ALLENTON A crane was brought in to help clear nearly three dozen freight cars that derailed, some of them catching fire, authorities said yesterday.

A 107-car Canadian National Railway train carrying hazardous materials derailed Monday, sending 34 cars off the track.

One of the cars that derailed was carrying potash, a moderately hazardous chemical, said Allenton Assistant Fire Chief Ron Naab. Crews contained the chemical from spilling into a nearby creek, he said. There were no reported injuries.

Three cars caught on fire, but they were carrying lumber, waxes and plastics, not hazardous materials, Chief Naab said. A fourth car holding potato products was smoldering.


Residents asked to curb water use

CHEYENNE Despite the continued drought, the Cheyenne Board of Public Utilities will not impose mandatory water restrictions this year, reports the Tribune-Eagle.

Instead, the board again is asking Cheyenne residents to voluntarily curb water use by not watering during the heat of the day and by using common-sense conservation measures.

Jerry Jesson, president of the board, said Monday it would be pointless to try to impose water restrictions this summer, since it would take all of July and most of August to get any measure through the BOPU and city government processes.

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