- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 13, 2002


Nearly 100 dogs taken from breeder

FENTON Nearly 100 dogs were rescued yesterday from a breeding kennel so filthy that dogs had developed skin diseases, parasites, and infected eyes and ears, authorities said.

The dogs had matted hair and appeared to have both internal and external parasites, said Katherine McGowan of the Humane Society of Missouri. The animals were living on concrete floors covered with urine and feces.

Frank and Karen Wilson, the owners of Guys and Dolls Kennel, were present as the 94 dogs, including 23 puppies, were removed. No charges were immediately filed.

The dogs will not be euthanized if they respond to treatment, Miss McGowan said.


Cabinet issues snowmobile rules

HELENA The federal government issued a proposal yesterday for managing snowmobiles in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks that some critics fear could spell doom for business in their town.

Although the plan proposes to cap the number of snowmobiles at a level above the current average daily use, it will also set a strict limit on the number allowed to enter Yellowstone through the West Yellowstone entrance, the most popular entrance for snowmobilers.

"What this plan means, basically, is that our business would be cut right in half," said Glen Loomis, a snowmobiler and owner of Polaris West in West Yellowstone. "They're trying to spin this as allowing an increase in snowmobile use, but that's not what's going to happen here at all."

The Interior Department released an environmental-impact statement yesterday detailing the plan. It is intended to be a compromise between the unlimited access wanted by snowmobile makers and users, and the ban that had been proposed earlier and supported by environmentalists.


Actor refuses to give deposition

LOS ANGELES Actor Robert Blake, in jail on charges that he murdered his wife, refused to meet yesterday with an attorney representing the dead woman's children, who have sued him for wrongful death.

Mr. Blake, who has been held at the Men's Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles since his arrest in April, refused to take part in a scheduled deposition, officials for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said.

Eric Dubin, who represents four children of 44-year-old Bonny Lee Bakley, said Mr. Blake's attorneys had earlier agreed to the session in which Mr. Blake, the star of "Baretta," would answer questions under oath about the May 4, 2001 killing.

"We had a properly noticed deposition, and I had verbal and written confirmation," Mr. Dubin said.


Investigators probe animal mutilations

DENVER Someone is killing cats with almost surgical precision in Denver and nearby Aurora.

Animal-cruelty investigators in both cities are comparing notes on at least 10 mutilation cases.

On Monday the Dumb Friends League offered a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for the mutilations.

But so far investigators do not have any suspects, said Barbara Novoryta, chief investigator for the Dumb Friends League.

Such cases are worrisome because frequently people who display severe cruelty to animals go on to commit violent crimes against people, Miss Novoryta told the Rocky Mountain News.


RFK Jr. plans article defending Skakel

NORWALK The Atlantic Monthly plans to run an article by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. proclaiming the innocence of his cousin, Michael Skakel, who was convicted in June of the 1975 murder of Martha Moxley.

Mr. Kennedy's article is expected to be published in the magazine's January/February edition.

"We think it's a compelling, important article," said Michael Kelly, editor at large of the publication, adding that Mr. Kennedy raises questions about the case.

When reached by the Associated Press, Mr. Kennedy would not disclose details of what he planned to write.

Skakel, 42, a nephew of Ethel Kennedy, was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.


181 sickened on cruise ship

FORT LAUDERDALE Nearly 200 people contracted a stomach virus during a Caribbean cruise that ended Monday, company officials said.

None of the 163 passengers or 18 crew members who became sick on Holland America's Amsterdam had to be hospitalized, cruise spokeswoman Rose Abello said.

The ship had about 1,900 people on board, 25 of whom left early because of the virus, Abello said.

The illness was identified as a common "Norwalk-like" virus, which can cause diarrhea and vomiting for 24 to 48 hours.

Although the virus can be passed through contaminated food and water, officials determined that it was contracted from person-to-person contact on the ship and began with an infected person on a previous cruise.


Bobby Brownordered to face trial

ATLANTA A Georgia judge yesterday ordered singer Bobby Brown, arrested last week in Atlanta on drug and speeding charges, to stand trial later this month on 1996 charges including driving under the influence of alcohol.

Mr. Brown, the 33-year-old husband of pop diva Whitney Houston, stood silently in a courtroom in the Atlanta suburb of Decatur as DeKalb County Judge Wayne Purdom ordered him to return to court Nov. 25 to face trial on the 6-year-old misdemeanor charges.

Judge Purdom also told Mr. Brown to remain in Georgia and report to county authorities each week until the trial.


Enrollment declines on fiber-optic network

DES MOINES Budget cuts and greater demand for Web-based courses have reduced the number of college students taking classes on the state's fiber-optic network.

The Board of Regents reported enrollment on the Iowa Communications Network decreased 5.4 percent last year.

The $350 million network, built eight years ago, links schools, colleges and other state institutions.


Classrooms prepped for violent weather

WICHITA Classrooms in the new wing at Kensler Elementary School have built-in protection against tornadoes.

The so-called safe rooms being created at 30 Wichita schools are fortified to shelter students and staff from splintering glass, flying debris and winds up to 250 mph.

A $285 million bond issue and federal storm-safety grants are funding the project.


Shipbuilder launches namesake destroyer

BATH Navy shipbuilder Bath Iron Works launched a guided-missile destroyer named for the late Rhode Island senator and former Navy Secretary John Chafee.

Ships have traditionally been launched at the BIW by sliding them down a ramp into the Kennebec River, but the Chafee floated free on Monday when its dry dock filled with water. It was the first ship to be launched that way.


Film premieres at Kennedy library

BOSTON All he could see was a torpedo launcher and part of its steering mechanism protruding from the sand, but undersea explorer Robert Ballard knew what he had found: John F. Kennedy's sunken World War II patrol boat.

Mr. Ballard found the famous PT-109 in May 1,300 feet below the ocean surface and nearly 59 years after it was rammed and sunk by a Japanese destroyer in the South Pacific.

The oceanographer, who also located the Titanic in 1985, helped as host of the premiere screening of the movie Monday about his PT-109 expedition at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum. "National Geographic Explorer: The Search for Kennedy's PT-109" airs Nov. 24.


Border Patrol expands anti-terror traffic stops

KIMBALL TOWNSHIP A federal program to randomly check cars in a search for terrorists and illegal immigrants was being brought to Michigan, home of the largest concentration of Arabs in the United States.

U.S. Border Patrol agents at the random checkpoints will ask passengers their citizenship and will have leeway to ask a host of follow-up questions.

"It's all about homeland security. Bottom line, we are here to be vigilant about the safety and security of the American people," Immigration and Naturalization spokesman Greg Palmore said before a news conference yesterday.

New York, Vermont and New Hampshire are among the northern border areas that already have similar programs in place.


2002 a deadly year for city's motorists

LAS VEGAS With seven weeks left, 2002 is already the deadliest year ever for motorists and pedestrians here.

Police reported a record 118 traffic-related fatalities in southern Nevada, eclipsing the previous high of 108 in 1996.

Police said one reason is traffic congestion in Clark County, where the population more than doubled to more than 1.4 million from 1986 to 2000.


Coast Guard replaces lighthouse beacon

CAPE MAY POINT A U.S. Coast Guard team is replacing the World War II-era beacon in Cape May Lighthouse.

The weeklong project involves disassembling the existing beacon, carrying the pieces down the lighthouse's 165-foot spiral stairway and hauling replacement parts back up.

The new beacon will shine for 24 miles, assisting pleasure boats and commercial shipping entering Delaware Bay.


Mayor to sex offender: Get out of town

ALBUQUERQUE David Siebers, a recently freed, registered sex offender, is trying to get on with life in his new city.

But after Mr. Siebers, 46, recently visited a public library, Mayor Martin Chavez announced that he's going to purchase a one-way bus ticket for Mr. Siebers to get out of town, the Albuquerque Tribune reports.

Mr. Siebers didn't want to comment on the mayor's bus-ticket offer Sunday during a brief interview through a crack in his trailer door.

Police are watching his every move. Officers and the mayor say they are almost certain Mr. Siebers will offend again.

Mr. Siebers served 19 years in prison for numerous rapes and other related offenses.

Law-enforcement officials in the last city Mr. Siebers lived in, Toledo, Ohio, went about the situation the same way: pressuring and then paying him to move on.


TV host Raphael sues National Enquirer

NEW YORK Television personality Sally Jessy Raphael filed a libel lawsuit yesterday against the National Enquirer accusing the tabloid of falsely reporting that she had suffered a mental breakdown after her long-running talk show was canceled.

The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court, asked for punitive damages exceeding $100 million from the National Enquirer and its parent, American Media Operations.

The suit stemmed from the tabloid's Oct. 22 issue, which carried a front-page headline reporting "Sally Jessy rushed to mental ward! Shocking reason behind her breakdown." Sandwiched between the headline was an unflattering photograph of Miss Raphael cupping her face with her hands. The story reported that the 59-year-old Miss Raphael had recently received treatment in a psychiatric clinic at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan.


Dogs improving students' behavior

AKRON In Renee Smith's classroom, attendance is up, trips to the principal's office are down and students are handing in assignments on time.

Miss Smith, a Springfield High School teacher, says she's seen great progress since adding to her class a few new students: five Labrador puppies and their father.

The seven human students in Miss Smith's class have a history of discipline problems. But since they've started teaching the dogs obedience, their own behavior has improved, Miss Smith told the Akron Beacon Journal for a Saturday story.

Chuck Reynolds, a dog trainer who owns a kennel in Cuyahoga Falls, teaches the students a new trick each week that they then work on with the puppies.


Ex-principal promises to reimburse district

SLIPPERY ROCK A former middle school principal is accused of using $6,632 from his students' magazine sales to pay gambling debts and carry on an extramarital affair.

Paul Makarevich, 48, who faces forgery and theft charges, agreed to repay the district without being ordered to do so by a court, Lee Beaton, superintendent of the Slippery Rock School District, said.

Mr. Makarevich left his position at Slippery Rock Middle School on Oct. 21.

Police said Makarevich acknowledged spending the money on things he did not want his wife to find out about.


Earthquake reported off Charleston coast

COLUMBIA A small earthquake struck off the coast of Charleston on Monday but did not cause damage, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The quake was recorded at 6:39 p.m. and had a preliminary magnitude of 4.2, according to information on the National Earthquake Information Center Web site.

The National Weather Service in Charleston said the quake was centered about 16 miles south-southeast of Seabrook Island and was felt as far north as the North Carolina border and as far south as Savannah, Ga.


Norton cites park's maintenance backlogs

GATLINBURG Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton toured renovated tunnels at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park yesterday and stressed the need for parks to catch up with upkeep and improvements.

The Smokies, the nation's most-visited national park, has an estimated $160 million backlog of projects, including guard rails, road paving and sewer lines.

The Bush administration is asking for $2.7 billion from Congress this year for projects on existing National Park Service roads. An additional $2.2 billion is needed to revamp landmarks, sewers and trails.

Reasons for the backlog in the Smokies, which straddles the Tennessee-North Carolina border, include an $11.5 million operating-budget shortfall and heavy use.


Locked-out man stuck in chimney

FORT WORTH A man who was locked out of his house tried to get in through the chimney and had to be rescued by firefighters yesterday.

The man, who accidentally locked his keys inside the home, was stuck for about an hour before rescuers were able to pull him feet first from a hole knocked in the side of the chimney.

It was not immediately clear who placed the call for help.

Seven Fort Worth Fire Department units responded to the scene.


'Northern Exposure' actress dead at 84

SEATTLE Margaret "Peg" Phillips, a retired accountant who took acting classes at age 65 and won fame as the tart-tongued shopkeeper Ruth-Anne Miller in the television series "Northern Exposure," has died. She was 84.

Miss Phillips, an unrepentant smoker, died Thursday of lung disease at a Seattle care center.

CBS issued a statement saying, "Peg Phillips' memorable portrayal of Ruth-Anne Miller on 'Northern Exposure' left an indelible imprint with the millions of loyal fans of this groundbreaking series, as well as with everyone at the network who had the opportunity to know and work with her."


Rent-A-Center pays to settle suit

MADISON Rent-A-Center Inc., the nation's biggest rent-to-own company, agreed to pay $8.4 million yesterday to settle accusations that it deceived Wisconsin customers by not fully disclosing its charges.

Rent-A-Center, which rents appliances, furniture and other products, will pay $7 million in restitution to Wisconsin customers and $1.4 million in penalties, the state Justice Department said. The company based in Plano, Texas has 26 stores in the state, including 13 in the Milwaukee area.

About 25,000 Wisconsin customers from 1998 to 2002 may be eligible for partial refunds.

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