- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Alligator bites off man's arm
GAINESVILLE An 11-foot long alligator tore the right arm off the director of a botanical garden as he was weeding a pond. Surgeons were unable to reattach it.
Don Goodman was working Monday in a water-lily garden at the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens when the alligator bit his right arm off from just below his elbow, said Justin Lagotic, spokesman for Alachua County Fire Rescue.
About an hour after the attack, wildlife officials harpooned the male alligator, known as Mo-Jo by garden employees, said John Duncan, an officer with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Authorities then shot the alligator and slit its stomach open, finding Mr. Goodman's arm inside. Officials took the arm to Shands Hospital at the University of Florida but doctors could not reattach it.

Missile site to become Cold War museum
WALL The deadly drama underlying the Cold War will be relived in an old nuclear-missile site in South Dakota where parents and children will be able to see how the end of the world could have begun.
National Park Service officials will be interpreting the still-fresh history of the tense struggle between communism and democracy at the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site near Wall.
At a ceremony Friday, the Air Force will hand over the Delta Nine Launch Facility to the Interior Department. Craig Manson, the assistant interior secretary overseeing the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service, was once a launch-control officer there.
In an interview Monday, Mr. Manson said opening the old missile site to the public would help keep alive memories of the Cold War, a defining tension in the lives of his generation.

Gay man beaten in apparent hate crime
WEST HOLLYWOOD A homosexual man was assaulted by two men who yelled anti-homosexual epithets and wielded a metal pipe and a baseball bat the third suspected hate-crime attack in the city in less than a month.
The latest victim, an unidentified 55-year-old man, was walking alone about 3:15 a.m. Sunday when he was assaulted, Los Angeles County sheriff's Sgt. Steve Patterson said. A passing taxi driver stopped and yelled at the attackers, who fled, Sgt. Patterson said. Hours later, the man sought treatment for cuts and bruises.
The attack was near the site of the Sept. 2 beating of two persons with a baseball bat. Treve Broudy, 33, was critically injured in the assault, in which anti-homosexual epithets were also used.

State rekindling interest in hunting
WILMINGTON The number of licensed hunters in Delaware has dropped 21.8 percent in the last 20 years a change that mirrors a national shift in when and where Americans spend their recreational time, the News-Journal reports.
Reasons for the decline, state officials said, range from fewer hunting areas because of development to greater competition for the leisure time of adults and youngsters.
These pressures have caused many families to neglect the tradition of passing along hunting skills from generation to generation. To combat the decline, state wildlife officials have started classes for nontraditional hunters such as women and mentoring programs for young, would-be hunters.

Professor appeals independent panel ruling
ATLANTA History professor Michael Bellesiles has appealed a report from an independent panel that was charged with evaluating his research for his award-winning book on gun culture in America, the Emory Wheel reports.
Mr. Bellesiles' book, "Arming America: Origins of a National Gun Culture," claims that guns were more rare in early America than previously thought.
The book's thesis contradicts long-held images of frontier Americans who used guns as indispensable tools and places a different light on the Founding Fathers' intentions when they wrote the Second Amendment to the Constitution, guaranteeing citizens the right to bear arms.

Foundation awards 'genius grants'
CHICAGO A seismologist who tries to prevent disasters in poor countries, an artist who works with glass beads and a scientist who analyzes fossilized plants to study prehistoric societies were among the 24 winners yesterday of this year's $500,000 MacArthur Foundation "genius grants."
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has awarded the no-strings-attached grants to scholars, artists and others since 1981 to free them to pursue their work without having to worry about making a living.
Among this year's MacArthur fellows is Brian Tucker, a 56-year-old Palo Alto, Calif., seismologist who founded the nonprofit GeoHazards International.

Class simplifies 'Star-Spangled Banner'
ELKHART A group of Indiana fifth-graders was baffled by the words to a song they sang every morning in class. So they rewrote its lyrics to be more understandable to children.
The song just happened to be "The Star-Spangled Banner."
"We changed the words so a younger child could understand," Adriana Burton, a Daly Elementary School teacher, told the Truth for a story yesterday.
"Rampart" and "parapet" were simplified to "walls." Stripes went from "broad" to "wide." "Perilous" became "dangerous" and "gallantly" became "bravely."

Car-deer collisions rise in new season
TOPEKA With the deer-breeding season just around the corner, the Kansas Highway Patrol worked three accidents yesterday in northeast Kansas involving collisions with the animals.
There were no reports of injuries, a patrol dispatcher told the Capital-Journal.
Most vehicle-deer accidents occur during breeding season the three-month period between October and December. The patrol also reports a slight increase in April and May, which is fawning season.
One accident occurred yesterday morning on Interstate 70 west of Topeka in Wabaunsee County. Authorities said another collision occurred on the U.S. 75 highway, while the third incident was reported in Douglas County.

Surgeon sues patient after Web posting
BOSTON A cosmetic surgeon filed a defamation lawsuit against a patient who posted Internet photos of what she said was botched surgery and called him a "butcher."
Dr. Joel Feldman, a former board member of the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, told the Boston Globe his lawsuit against Lucille Iacovelli, 52, was necessary to defend "my reputation and the caring that I've given to my patients."
The last straw, he said, came in March when a woman walked into his Cambridge office with Miss Iacovelli's photos and canceled surgery.
Dr. Feldman won a court order in May requiring Miss Iacovelli to remove any misleading photos or defamatory statements from the Internet. She's also been barred from contacting Dr. Feldman and two other surgeons.

Trial delayed in pipe bomb case
MINNEAPOLIS Trial for the Minnesota man accused of planting 18 pipe bombs in mailboxes between Illinois and Colorado has been delayed until spring.
Luke Helder, 21, will be tried April 14, in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He had been scheduled for trial Nov. 18 before Chief Judge Mark Bennett.
Mr. Helder is accused of putting 18 pipe bombs and anti-government letters in mailboxes in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, Colorado and Texas in early May. Six pipe bombs exploded in Iowa and Illinois, injuring four letter carriers and two residents.
Mr. Helder, of Pine Island, Minn., also faces trial in Iowa, Illinois and Nebraska.

Senate offering medical malpractice bill
JACKSON Senators said they will offer a counterproposal on a medical malpractice bill yesterday after rejecting the House's 12th offer Monday.
"We submitted a comprehensive proposal last Wednesday that we thought had come about as far as we could come, but now we're going to go back and see what more we can do," Sen. Tommy Robertson, Moss Point Republican, said Monday night.
Monday was the 17th day of a special session that so far has cost taxpayers $533,498.
The House's latest offer included a $1 million upper limit or "hard cap" on pain-and-suffering awards in medical malpractice lawsuits.

Dachshunds run race at German Heritage Days
GRAND ISLAND Greyhounds aren't the only dogs that can attract a crowd for a day at the races.
More than 100 dachshunds known to some as wiener dogs ran Sunday in the grand finale of the city's German Heritage Days.
Scores of people filled the stands at a softball field to watch the dogs as they were coaxed to the finish line with chew toys, scarves, bells and other antics displayed by their owners.
Race categories included Little Smokies for dogs younger than 1 year of age, Frankfurters for 1- to -5 - year-olds and Senior Sausages for the older dogs.

Pioneer pilot dies at 81
ALBUQUERQUE Faith "Bucky" Richards, one of an elite group of women pilots who flew bombers during World War II, died Friday. She was 81.
The Women's Airforce Service Pilots, or WASPs, flew bombers and other planes from their factories to Army air bases and elsewhere in the United States during the war but never overseas and never in combat.
She flew planes from Wilmington, Del., and did some "test hops" and some shuttling of personnel, according to a statement released by her family.
Miss Panama crownednew Miss Universe
NEW YORK Four months after she became the first Miss Universe from Russia, Oxana Fedorova was replaced yesterday because she was too busy to keep up with her travel duties.
The Miss Universe Organization said it fired the 24-year-old law student Monday the first time in the pageant's 52-year history that it has ousted a woman wearing the crown.
The first runner-up, Miss Panama Justine Pasek, 23, was crowned in her place yesterday.

Man pleads guilty in evacuation of tower
COLUMBUS A man whose remark about hiding a bomb in a state office tower led to the evacuation of the building on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks pleaded guilty yesterday to inducing panic.
Oscar Sesmas, 35, also pleaded guilty to an unrelated charge of credit-card theft.
The illegal immigrant will be deported to his native Mexico and serve a year's probation.
Sesmas was installing window blinds when a state employee asked him what he was doing. "I'm here to hide a bomb," he replied.

Jury selection begins in Einhorn trial
PHILADELPHIA Jury selection began yesterday in the murder trial of Ira Einhorn, and attorneys for the former hippie guru said they may call musician Peter Gabriel and actress Ellen Burstyn as witnesses.
Mr. Einhorn, who is accused of murdering his girlfriend in 1977, spent two decades hiding out in Europe.
Jury selection began with a pool of 120 jurors, about half of whom were immediately excused after indicating they would suffer a hardship if forced to sit through a long trial.

State may ban secret legal settlements
COLUMBIA South Carolina is taking the lead in trying to put an end to confidential legal settlements in everything from product liability cases to child-molestation claims and medical malpractice suits.
Plaintiffs' attorneys and others believe that making settlements public would allow quicker discovery of faulty products, such as the Firestone tires the government says contributed to 300 deaths in the late 1990s.
Similarly, some people around the country have complained that sealed settlements between the Roman Catholic Church and victims of child-molesting priests kept the public in the dark about the scope of the problem and the danger to youngsters.

Child sex abuse to be forum's focus
NASHVILLE Sexual abuse will be the topic tonight at St. Ann's Catholic Church during an educational forum partially inspired by the national priest sexual-abuse and cover-up scandal, reports the Tennessean.
The 6:30 p.m. program at 5101 Charlotte Pike is open to all people. It is not about issues specific to the Catholic Church, but will address learning how to identify child sexual abuse and what to do if abuse is suspected.

Death penalty law ruled unconstitutional
MONTPELIER A federal judge declared the federal death penalty unconstitutional yesterday in the second such ruling in less than three months.
U.S. District Judge William Sessions said the law does not adequately protect defendants' rights.
In July, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in New York City became the first federal judge to declare the 1994 Death Penalty Act unconstitutional. He cited evidence indicating that innocent people have been put to death.

Climber killed on Mount Rainier
LONGMIRE Mountaineer Ed Hommer defied death time after time, scaling astounding heights and daring blustery mountains with every step of his prosthetic legs.
Monday, it was the mountain that took him.
Mr. Hommer, 46, was killed less than 3,000 feet from Mount Rainier's 14,411-foot summit by a large rock, the "size of a basketball," that fell and hit him in the head, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports.
The double amputee from Duluth, Minn., and three companions were ascending the southeast face of the mountain up Disappointment Cleaver.

Asbestos claims go to trial
CHARLESTON Thousands of asbestos claims against two dozen corporations went to trial yesterday in a potentially multimillion-dollar case that has renewed criticism of trial lawyers and brought demands for legal reform.
Jury selection began yesterday in state court.
The case originally pitted nearly 8,000 claimants against more than 250 corporations that either made asbestos products or used them.
But settlement talks on Monday cut the number of defendants to fewer than two dozen manufacturers, including Mobil Corp., Owens-Illinois and Westinghouse, and one company that used asbestos, Union Carbide.

School teaches chain-saw carving
HAYWARD Students need more than sharpened pencils and notebooks at a school in this town.
The Wisconsin School of Chainsaw Carving recently held the first weeklong session for four students. Much of their curriculum involves calculating percentages to get proper proportions of sculptures.
"We're taking sculpting and applying to it a process of using a chain saw as a tool," said Doris Johnson, the school administrator. "If it was totally talent how do you teach talent?"

WYDOT beefing up snow fleet
CHEYENNE After a heavy Wyoming snowstorm, residents of towns along Interstate 80 can sometimes feel like they're on a secluded desert island.
If the busy highway closes, they can't leave town, and they can't receive visitors. Like castaways, they're stranded.
In an effort to eliminate such predicaments, the Wyoming Department of Transportation has announced it is taking steps to keep the number of closures on I-80 to a minimum.

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