- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 30, 2002


Vacationers come to aid of beached whales

DENNIS About 50 pilot whales beached themselves on a stretch of Cape Cod sand yesterday, and at least nine died before vacationers and other volunteers could push the animals back out to deeper water in a feverish rescue effort.

Hundreds of vacationers lined a quarter-mile of Chapin Beach and watched as rescuers tended to the small, glistening black whales first discovered stranded at about 6 a.m.

At least nine of the whales died after spending hours in the hot sun. Some of the carcasses were taken away in a dump truck while volunteers poured buckets of water over the others and draped them with wet towels to keep them moist.


Former Rep. Pease, 70, dies of heart attack

OBERLIN Former U.S. Rep. Donald J. Pease, a Democrat who served in the House for 16 years, died Sunday of a heart attack. He was 70.

Mr. Pease was elected to Congress for a term starting in 1977 and was re-elected seven times, serving until January 1993.

He represented northeast Ohio's 13th District, an area west of Cleveland.

In retirement, Mr. Pease taught at Oberlin College and was appointed by President Clinton to the board of directors of Amtrak, serving five years.


Styx, Kansas to rock arsenal

HUNTSVILLE Redstone Arsenal is known across the world for its rockets, but on Aug. 24, the Army installation will be known for '70s-style rock.

Styx and Kansas, two popular bands of that era, will perform at the arsenal in an outdoor concert open to the public, the Times reports.

Styx's biggest hits include "Come Sail Away," "Rockin' the Paradise" and "Lady"; Kansas is known for "Dust in the Wind" and "Carry On, Wayward Son."


Man charged with assaulting girl

CONWAY An 8-year-old girl was rousted from her bed by a stranger who told her the house was on fire and sexually assaulted in her yard as her family slept, police said.

Bobauk Akhaui, 20, was arrested just hours after the Sunday assault about five blocks from the girl's home, police Maj. Mark Elsinger said. He was charged with burglary, rape, public intoxication and kidnapping.

"This guy is our main suspect in the case," Maj. Elsinger said. Police said they knew of no connection between Mr. Akhaui and the girl's family.

Maj. Elsinger said the girl was in good condition yesterday.


Firefighters killed in plunge down mountain

HAPPY CAMP A flag over the fire camp was lowered to half-staff and U.S. Forest Service members wore black bands in tribute to three firefighters killed when their truck plunged down a mountainside.

In the latest tragic turn of a fire season that has become one of the deadliest in recent memory, three persons were killed Sunday when the Forest Service firetruck drove off a narrow, smoke-shrouded road in the dark of night and plunged 800 feet. Two firefighters were injured.

The deaths brought to 14 the number of firefighters killed this summer as wildfires raged across the West. The National Interagency Fire Center reported that 32 major fires that were active yesterday had burned 559,000 acres.


Drought-stricken state gets tough on water use

AURORA Jim Hoaglin stops his van and kills the engine to listen for the ch-ch-ch of a sprinkler.

Mr. Hoaglin, a city water cop, also is looking for water-stained gutters, hose-soaked gardens and other signs that someone has broken tough new water restrictions in this drought-stricken Denver suburb.

Colorado is in its worst drought in a century, and communities across the state are limiting water use. The mandatory restrictions in Denver and Aurora are the cities' first in 21 years. Denver even has an ad campaign asking residents to "Only Wash the Stinky Parts" and "Instead of Washing Clothes, Don't Wear Any."


Court upholds removal of Scouts from list

HARTFORD Connecticut did not violate the rights of the Boy Scouts when it dropped the group from a list of charities to which state employees contribute through a payroll-deduction plan, a federal judge has ruled.

A state panel removed the Boy Scouts of America from the list in 2000, after a state human rights commission found that including the organization violated state anti-discrimination laws because of the Scouts' ban on homosexual troop leaders.

The Irving, Texas-based Boy Scouts and a Connecticut scouting council filed a discrimination lawsuit against the state, arguing that exclusion from the list violated the group's First Amendment rights.


Toddler left in van dies

LEHIGH ACRES A 23-month-old boy died after his parents returned home from church and accidentally left him in their sweltering van for five hours, authorities said.

Daniel James McCray died Sunday.

The boy's parents, David and JoAnn McCray, each thought the other had retrieved the child from his car seat, said sheriff's spokeswoman Kim Swanson. Daniel was the youngest of the couple's five children.

Family members did not notice Daniel was still in the vehicle until they were getting ready to return to church for evening services, Miss Swanson said.

The temperature outside was in the mid-90s.


Prison-camp survivors sue United States

CHICAGO A group of American survivors of brutal World War II Japanese prison camps in the Philippines filed a lawsuit in federal court yesterday accusing the U.S. government of intentionally sacrificing them in 1941 to give the United States justification to enter the war.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of 598 plaintiffs, including survivors of Japanese prison camps and their descendants, demands unspecified compensation from the government, said Northwestern University law professor Anthony D'Amato, an attorney for the plaintiffs.

Mr. D'Amato said he believes he can get around a statute of limitations on such old claims because relevant documents surfaced only recently.


Police quack stolen-duck case

DES MOINES Police say they have quacked the case of a stolen duck.

Rita Cane came forward after seeing a story in the newspaper about the stolen pet, a white duck named Peepers. She said she scooped the duck out of the street last week to rescue him, adding that she was no ducknapper.

"I'm a good Christian woman, and I plan to stay that way," the 62-year-old Des Moines woman said. "I'm a good Samaritan."

Duck owner Brad Moureau said he received a call early Thursday that Peepers was safe and that he owed $41 to get the duck out of the animal shelter.

That was when the insurance man stepped in. Bill Robertson, a regional sales coordinator for Aflac, heard that Peepers resembles the company's TV spokesduck and that passers-by often yell, "Aflac, Aflac," when they see Peepers in Mr. Moureau's yard. Mr. Robertson paid the shelter's fee.


Appalachia cleanup targets 'hillbilly squalor'

HAZARD For the first time in five years, Amy Banks can sit on her front porch and enjoy the fresh mountain air and the colorful flowers that surround her mobile home in the hills.

Her malfunctioning septic system used to spew foul-smelling human waste across her lawn into a stream flowing through the Appalachian community of Browns Fork, but the 62-year-old said she couldn't afford a new septic system.

Two months ago, she was able to replace the septic system with a grant from PRIDE, a government-sponsored environmental organization created five years ago to help poverty-stricken eastern Kentucky shed its image as a place of hillbilly squalor.


West Nile cases rise to 32

MANDEVILLE Thirty-two human cases of West Nile virus have been confirmed in Louisiana, doubling what is already the first large outbreak of the virus in the South, state health officials said yesterday.

The latest numbers were released at a news conference on plans for scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study the Louisiana outbreak.

The newest human cases are in areas of the state where the disease already had occurred in other people or in horses, birds, mosquitoes: the parishes north of Lake Pontchartrain and east of the Mississippi River, and the Baton Rouge area.


Farms seen at risk of terrorism

OMAHA Protecting the nation's farms and food supply from terrorism will require speedier responses to threats and better communication at all levels, a government official said yesterday.

"We need to make sure that our front line of defense is solid and cannot be penetrated," Jim Moseley, deputy agriculture secretary, said at the start of a two-day "agricultural bioterrorism" summit of governors and officials from 13 Midwest states.

"The most important thing we have to do is to compress and shorten the response time we have," Mr. Moseley said. "Early detection, rapid-detection technologies are very important," along with better communications among local, state and federal governments, he added.

Nebraska Gov. Mike Johanns said the meeting called by the Midwestern Governors' Conference would review plans already drawn up by states and share information. He said the event generated a "tremendous response," drawing twice as many participants as expected.


10,000 bras raised for cancer awareness

LAS VEGAS About 10,000 bras were strung from the Mandalay Bay resort to the Stratosphere hotel-casino to raise awareness of breast cancer.

A 3.2-mile chain of new and used bras was held up by about 250 volunteers on Sunday. It stretched about 6 miles along the Las Vegas Strip amid neon, erupting volcanoes and a pirate battle.

The event brought in more than $16,000 for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Many celebrities also donated autographed bras for auction.


Movie transforms pugs into new dog darlings

SALEM Step aside, Spot. Six years after "101 Dalmatians" spurred a furry frenzy, another breed of dogs is stealing the hearts of moviegoers.

Requests for pugs are pouring into area pet stores thanks to Frank, the fast-talking pug featured in "Men in Black II."

In 1996, the release of "101 Dalmatians" prompted thousands of people to buy the spotted dogs, but many ended up returned, given to shelters or euthanized when they didn't live up to expectations. Pug lovers worry members of their favorite breed will suffer a similar fate.


Klein to head school system

NEW YORK The one-time head of the Justice Department's antitrust division was named yesterday as chancellor of the city's 1.1-million pupil school system.

The appointment of Joel Klein, who as antitrust chief initiated the case to break up Microsoft, was announced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He most recently worked for Bertelsmann AG, where he headed the U.S. operations of the German media conglomerate.

"We need somebody with intelligence, we need somebody that is innovative, we need somebody with impeccable integrity, we need somebody with management skills, we need somebody with scholarship," Mr. Bloomberg said. "We have found exactly that person in Joel Klein."

Mr. Klein will succeed Harold Levy as leader of the nation's largest school system, which is beset by low test scores, high dropout rates and teacher shortage.


FAA investigates pilot's breath test

WILMINGTON The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating whether a pilot for a Delta Air Lines regional carrier failed a breath test before boarding his Atlanta-bound flight.

The 28 passengers aboard were removed at around 6:40 a.m. Sunday, nearly a half-hour after scheduled departure from the Wilmington International Airport, said airport director John Rosborough. All passengers were diverted to other flights.

Mr. Rosborough couldn't confirm whether the co-pilot of the twin-engine plane failed the test. FAA spokesman Christopher White said his agency was investigating "the alleged violation of an alcohol-related regulation regarding [Atlantic Southeast Airlines] Flight 4240."

The pilot was not identified.


Cheney boosts GOP candidate

FARGO Vice President Richard B. Cheney was scheduled to be the guest of honor at a fund-raiser yesterday for Rick Clayburgh.

The Republican hopes to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Earl Pomeroy in the November election. Campaign manager Brandon Waters said more than 100 people have paid $1,000 to attend a reception that includes a chance for a photograph with Mr. Cheney.


Teenager nipped on foot by shark

MYRTLE BEACH T.J. Nimmons, 13, became the Grand Strand's first shark-bite victim of the season.

He was surfing with a friend just south of Springmaid Pier when he was nipped on the foot, just missing his Achilles tendon.

Dr. Jarratt Lark said the teeth marks indicated it was a 4-foot-long black tip or sandbar shark common to the area.


Wind, hail flatten crops, batter homes

SINAI Wind up to 60 mph and hail as big as softballs destroyed crops and damaged homes across east-central South Dakota and into southwestern Minnesota.

Many rural areas of South Dakota remained without electricity yesterday morning, utility officials said. About 100 customers in and around Sinai had no power yesterday, down from a peak of about 2,000, utility officials said.

Tens of thousands of acres of crops were damaged in east-central South Dakota from Huron to Elkton, a distance of about 95 miles.

The National Weather Service reported wind gusts of up to 60 mph and higher. In Minnesota, hail as big as softballs pounded an area outside Tyler, about 150 miles west of Minneapolis, and up to 3 inches of rain fell.


Two soldiers die in tank fire

FORT HOOD Two U.S. Army soldiers were killed and nine injured when their tank, one of the most advanced armored vehicles in the nation's military arsenal, caught fire during a training exercise yesterday.

It was the second fire in an Abrams M-1A2 tank, one of the world's premier battle tanks, in three months.

"There was a fire inside the tank. The tank was on a gunnery range at the time," said Cecil Green, a spokesman for Fort Hood, about 120 miles southwest of Dallas.

Seven of the injured have been released from a hospital, said base spokeswoman Patricia Simoes. They were treated for injuries, including smoke inhalation and burns.

The cause of the fire was under investigation, she said.


Actor attends class reunion

MORGANTOWN Don Knotts sat at the head table at the 60th reunion of Morgantown High School's Class of 1942, but it wasn't because he was an Emmy-winning actor and star of one of television's most beloved programs. Mr. Knotts was the senior class president.

The 78-year-old actor, who portrayed bumbling Barney Fife on "The Andy Griffith Show," kept a low profile Saturday as he mingled with about 60 classmates at a hotel.

Mr. Knotts did take the microphone and rattle off a few jokes.

"That's just Don," classmate Mary Pompili Balint said. "He makes it fun, but we've always had fun. This is just a special class."


Beaches show high levels of pollution

MILWAUKEE Area beaches smell worse and have shown dangerous levels of bacterial pollution more often this summer than in previous years, scientists said.

Since the swimming season opened June 15, Bradford beach has registered high levels of E. coli on 21 days, compared with 16 days in the entire swimming season last year, according to Milwaukee Health Department figures. McKinley beach has had 15 days of high levels so far, compared with six days last year.

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