- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 31, 2002


Manatees beached in Boca Raton

BOCA RATON Beachgoers were treated to a heavyweight spectacle yesterday: a female manatee that beached herself to avoid the advances of five males, which followed her onto the sand.

"A lot of people are running for their cameras," city biologist Kirt Rusenko said of the 100 or so onlookers gathered behind orange barricades protecting the creatures.

The manatees, or sea cows, were not in any danger and appeared healthy, Mr. Rusenko said. By midmorning, as the tide rolled in, two of the manatees had returned to the ocean, and the others appeared to be headed back, too.


Town says goodbye to slaying victim, 6

VALLEY PARK The 6-year-old schoolgirl who was snatched from her father's home and slain last week was remembered yesterday with roses, a kiss from her mother, and a church elder's testimony to her budding faith.

Mourners gathered at Twin Oaks Presbyterian Church for Cassandra Williams' funeral.

Johnny Johnson, 24, an ex-convict, is accused of abducting Cassandra, trying to rape her and killing her. Johnson was being held without bond in a psychiatric unit of the St. Louis County Jail.


Baby drowns after fall into mop bucket

MONTGOMERY A 1½-year-old boy drowned after apparently falling off a laundry pile into a mop bucket as his mother slept a few feet away, police said.

Lt. Huey Thornton said the case was not considered a homicide. But he said investigators didn't know how Marquez Gadson got into the 2-foot-tall bucket by himself.

Earlier Saturday, the family had attended a funeral. The boy's mother, Mary Gadson, said she fell asleep on her recliner after the funeral while the children played inside.

She said she didn't know CPR but did her best to revive her son.

Her 9-year-old son has been placed in foster care pending the outcome of the investigation.


Climber dies in fall from peak

ANCHORAGE A Utah man died over the weekend after falling from a mountain in Alaska's Tongass National Forest, the Alaska State Troopers said yesterday.

Marc Springer, 30, died sometime between Friday night and Saturday, shortly after two of his climbing companions were flown by helicopter from Devil's Thumb, a 9,077-foot peak on the Canadian border in southeast Alaska, about 30 miles northeast of Petersburg.

The two, Mark Anderson, 22, of New Mexico and Janelle Jakulewicz, 26, of Utah, had left the mountain Friday night. They left Mr. Springer and the fourth member of the climbing party, Mike Anderson, also of Utah.

Poor weather prevented a return helicopter trip to the mountain until Monday, the troopers said.


Firefighters have goat as mascot

MONROVIA So much for Dalmatians. Firefighters near the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains have a goat as a mascot.

Two days after the City Council voted to consider using goats to keep flammable dry brush in check, an abandoned baby goat appeared Thursday on the steps of the public library. The fire chief took it home.

Not that taking care of a goat is easy. After spending a day with the animal, Chief Mike DiGiovanna said he has newfound respect for single mothers.

Several California cities bordering dry hills have used goats to nibble away dry brush, including Laguna Beach, Malibu, Claremont and San Luis Obispo.

Yesterday, Monrovia's council voted to spend $45,000 to study the feasibility of putting goats in Ruby Canyon, where vegetation has not burned in 50 years.


City garnishes wages of city workers

WATERBURY The city has begun garnishing the wages of nearly 200 city workers who are delinquent in paying their motor-vehicle taxes.

The city put 342 workers on notice three weeks ago. Some have since paid up. Tax collector Karen Mulcahy said the rest owe a total of $117,808.14.

The city will take 25 percent of the workers' paychecks until their taxes are paid.


State ranks 12th in teacher salaries

WILMINGTON The average teacher salary in Delaware ranks 12th in the nation, behind neighboring states Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the News-Journal reports.

Delaware's average teacher salary is $47,047, according to the National Education Association's most recent report, which lists state salaries from 2000-'01. New Jersey ranks first at $53,281, and Pennsylvania is sixth with $49,528. Maryland is 13th, just behind Delaware, with an average salary of $45,963. The national average is $43,335.

Salary isn't the only determining factor for teachers choosing jobs, but it is among the top three, according to a University of Delaware poll of recent education graduates.


Police break up cockfight on Oahu

HONOLULU Three Oahu men face animal-cruelty charges in connection with running a cockfighting operation in Wahiawa.

Police said that about 500 spectators were watching the cockfights when authorities raided the property.

The charges of animal cruelty and possession of the razor-sharp knives attached to the roosters' legs carry fines of as much as $1,000.


Holocaust survivor dies while telling her story

SPRING GROVE Lisa Derman had told her story countless times, recounting how she watched the Nazis massacre thousands of Jews but managed to escape their fate.

Mrs. Derman, who committed her life to making sure the world never forgot the Holocaust and was president of the Holocaust Memorial Foundation of Illinois, told her story for the last time Sunday. Mrs. Derman, 75, of suburban Northbrook, died apparently of a heart attack while giving a testimony of her life at the Illinois Storytelling Festival.

"It gives me chills to say it, but her last public words were, 'Please remember this story and tell it to others because I don't know how long I will be here,'" said her son Daniel, of Evanston.

Mrs. Derman, who was born in Poland, was 14 when the Nazis invaded her town. Her family fled to Russian-occupied territory before the Nazis seized it, too, forcing them and thousands of other Jews into a ghetto.


State approves dockside gambling

INDIANAPOLIS The Indiana Gaming Commission gave approval for six riverboat casinos to offer dockside gambling starting tomorrow.

But the commission punished four other casinos for advertising the start of such gambling before the commission's approval.

The new rules allow customers to come and go freely rather than take cruises on Lake Michigan or the Ohio River on schedules.


Stepfather puts vodka through feeding tube

LOUISVILLE A 7-year-old boy with a rare medical condition was admitted to the hospital with a potentially deadly blood alcohol level after his stepfather fed him vodka through a medical feeding tube, police said.

Officials at Kosair Children's Hospital would not release the boy's condition, but his mother, Cherie Glover, said the child was in stable condition Monday night. The child arrived at the hospital Saturday with a 0.59 percent blood alcohol level almost double the level considered fatal in adults.

Chris Harmon was charged with first-degree criminal abuse and was being held in the Jefferson County Jail.

The boy's mother said her son, who was born with VACTERL syndrome, couldn't sleep without special medication. But they stopped buying the medication recently, after the health care program she used stopped paying for it.


Student stages sit-in over Rebel flag

GULFPORT Where past generations held some of the Deep South's first civil rights protests, 21-year-old Jason Whitfield is taking a peaceful stand against what he views as an emblem of hatred.

The setting: the beaches of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where blacks and whites often mingle to sunbathe, hold family reunions and take their chances at gambling houses. The symbol: the Confederate battle flag.

Mr. Whitfield, a senior at historically black Alcorn State University, is holding a sit-in at a public display on the beach where the Rebel flag flies. Yesterday marked his 21st straight day. The only time he has left is for an occasional shower at his parents' home in Gulfport.

The monument, a landmark along beachfront U.S. 90, is overseen by the five-member county Board of Supervisors. As recently as Monday, the board reiterated its decision to keep the flag flying.


Library book returned years after due date

LINCOLN A book expected back to the library during Lyndon Johnson's presidency has finally been returned.

Someone slipped a copy of "Miss Abby Fitch-Martin" in a library book drop Sunday, more than 13,500 days past its due date.

"The theory is someone was cleaning out a relative's house that passed away and found the book," said Barbara Hansen of Lincoln City Libraries.

The 178-page hardback book was withdrawn from circulation years ago.

Miss Hansen said the library would not try to collect the late fee of about $3,400.


Angler catches pit bull

SEA GIRT It's no fish story; one angler really caught a pit bull.

Twenty-one-year-old Keith Blauvelt and his family had been fishing off the coast Sunday and were about to go home when Mr. Blauvelt saw something in the water.

"I thought it was a piece of wood, and then I realized it was moving," Mr. Blauvelt told the Asbury Park Press of Neptune. "I said, 'I think I see a dog,' and my dad looked at me like I was crazy. But my brother said, 'It is a dog.'"

The animal, an 11-year-old American pit bull terrier named Rok-C had apparently fallen off another boat while its owner was scuba diving with friends.

Mr. Blauvelt's reached into the water, scooped up the panting pet, toweled her off and brought her back to shore. The family alerted the Coast Guard. Lorraine Rooker said the Coast Guard informed her that her dog had been found, and she was reunited with Rok-C.


American-Indian author dies at age 53

ALBUQUERQUE Louis Owens, a leading American-Indian writer and literary critic, fatally shot himself last week at Albuquerque's airport, hospital officials said Monday. He was 53.

Mr. Owens was a professor at the University of California at Davis and was of Choctaw, Cherokee and Irish ancestry. He had been a major voice in American-Indian literature as well as a leading critic on the work of American great John Steinbeck.

Mr. Owens won a Wordcraft Circle Writer of the Year award in 1998 for "Mixedblood Messages: Literature, Film, Family, Place." He was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship in 1989.


Suspected drug dealer shot and killed

PROVIDENCE A suspected small-time drug dealer was shot and killed on Prairie Avenue early yesterday morning the fourth young man slain on these few blocks in South Providence this year and the second to die over the weekend, the Journal reports.

Jamal G. Bailey, 24, had survived another shooting several blocks away in the fall, and he'd served time for shooting a teenager a few streets over in 1998.

Yesterday, just four months out of jail for other convictions, Mr. Bailey was shot again. He was driving from Oxford Street onto Prairie Avenue a few minutes after 2 a.m. when someone fired at him, police said. His car crashed into a utility pole. Last night, police were still searching for Mr. Bailey's killer.


Court rules inmate can forgo appeals

COLUMBIA The state Supreme Court said a death-row inmate is mentally competent to drop his appeals and be executed for burning his 2-year-old daughter to death nearly four years ago.

The court unanimously rejected Monday an appeal filed against Michael Passaro's wishes by a state-assigned lawyer.

Passaro appeared before the court in May to defend his right not to appeal his sentence, saying, "I can't live like this anymore."

Passaro killed his daughter in 1998 to get back at his estranged wife, Karen, because of a custody dispute. He doused his van with gasoline outside the woman's Myrtle Beach home and set it ablaze with his daughter, Maggie, strapped inside.


Drugs, fatigue likely cause of bus crash

DALLAS A fatigued driver disoriented by the drugs cocaine and Valium was cited as the likely cause of a bus crash last month that killed him and four teenagers heading to a church camp, according to an official report released yesterday.

The report said the bus driver, Ernest Carter, 51, was likely to have taken five drugs, including cocaine and Valium, just hours before driving a bus carrying 47 passengers, mostly young people, from the Metro Church of Garland, a suburb east of Dallas, that slammed head-on into a concrete bridge support June 24.

"The primary contributing factor is a result of driver fatigue and/or falling asleep, with a secondary contributing factor of driving under the influence of drugs," the Texas Department of Public Safety said in its report.

Department spokesman Lt. Ben Valdez said records from the driver's cell phone indicate he had been up most of the previous night talking and that he had been talking on the phone while driving the morning of the crash.


'Survivor' contestant starts foundation

SOUTH BURLINGTON Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien didn't take home the $1 million prize, but the "Survivor: Marquesas" contestant says that appearing on the reality television show changed her life in ways she didn't expect.

She is hoping to help other women move out of their element through the Real Foundation, which she has designed to grant money for counseling and special projects, such as outdoor adventures.

Miss Vavrick-O'Brien, 48, says that competing in the CBS show, whose finale aired in May, challenged her psychologically.

Miss Vavrick-O'Brien, who finished third, says that while participating in the show she learned about the importance of tapping into her inner strength and connecting with others.

She's using part of her $80,000 earnings from "Survivor" and is soliciting donations from around the country in the hopes of offering women a life-changing experience like the one she had while in the South Pacific's Marquesas islands.


DNA evidence used to convict man

OLYMPIA A prison inmate linked by DNA evidence to the long-unsolved killing of a teenager in 1973 has been convicted of first-degree murder.

Jurors convicted William Cosden Jr., 55, on Monday in the stabbing death of 14-year-old Katherine M. Devine.

Cosden has maintained his innocence and will appeal, his lawyer said.

Cosden, a suspect from the beginning, is serving a 48-year term for a rape conviction in 1976, and he was sent to a mental hospital in Maryland for killing a woman in 1967.

Miss Devine, of the Seattle area, was last seen getting into a stranger's vehicle while hitchhiking Nov. 25, 1973. Her body was found days later in a forest near Olympia.


Serial killer dies in prison

WAUPUN Serial killer David Spanbauer, who murdered two girls and a woman, has died in prison, apparently of natural causes. He was 61.

Spanbauer, who had liver and heart disease, died Monday in an infirmary cell at Dodge Correctional Institution.

Spanbauer was a paroled sex offender when he abducted and killed two girls, ages 10 and 12, in 1992 and 1994 as they bicycled on rural roads.

He also killed a woman in her home in 1994. Spanbauer, who had also confessed to many rapes, was sentenced to three life terms plus 405 years in 1994.


Dispute escalates at frontier festival

CHEYENNE A confrontation last week between a Cheyenne City Council member and the son of another council member resulted in accusations of drunkenness and assault, the Tribune-Eagle reports.

But a police investigation into the matter has concluded only that the men had a dispute that escalated slightly.

Cheyenne City Council member Tom Segrave is accused of grabbing the shirt worn by council member Judy Case's son during a dispute at Cheyenne Frontier Days on Thursday, according to a Cheyenne Police Department news release.

The report did not say what Mr. Segrave and Rocky Case Jr. argued about but said security was called and the matter resolved.

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