- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 26, 2002

Balloonist trying to cross Atlantic crash lands
HEBRON A British balloonist abandoned his attempt yesterday to become the first person to cross the Atlantic in a traditional open-wicker basket and crash-landed his balloon in a stand of trees in Connecticut.
When asked if he was hurt, David Hempleman-Adams, responded, "Only my pride."
Mr. Hempleman-Adams decided to land because the autopilot mechanism on his balloon wasn't working right, his flight team in western England said.
The basket landed on the ground, but the top of the balloon stuck out about 50 feet above the tree line, in a wooded area dotted by dairy farms about 20 miles east of Hartford. Mr. Hempleman-Adams, 45, was alone in the 7-foot-by-4-foot basket. He was carried by a white AM-8 Roziere balloon, which uses hot air and helium and is as tall as a 12-story building. The trip started Tuesday at Allegheny County Airport near Pittsburgh and was meant to end five to six days later in Portugal.

Virginia family hikes Appalachian Trail
MILLINOCKET The Witchers are finished walking.
Homer and Therese Witcher and their children, 11-year-old Taylor and 8-year-old Bennett, reached the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, high atop Maine's Mount Katahdin.
In reaching the 5,287-foot summit of Katahdin, the Daleville, Va., family accomplished their goal of hiking the entire Appalachian Trail in one crack, and brought to an end a 2,168-mile hike that began March 23 at Springer Mountain in Georgia.
They finished the trip Sept. 21, two days ahead of schedule, the Bangor Daily News reports.
Father and pacesetter Homer Witcher conceded he sometimes had his doubts that the family could complete the odyssey. "There were some times in North Carolina and Tennessee when I thought we'd never make it this far," he said.
As they hiked through 14 states, they faced freezing cold, stifling heat, depressing rain, yellow-jacket stings, close encounters with rattlesnakes, and homesickness. Homer Witcher lost about 20 pounds. Fifty-pound Bennett nearly got blown off a Tennessee mountain by 70 mph winds.

More condors to be released today
FLAGSTAFF Biologists from the Peregrine Fund are planning to release four additional California condors today on top of the Vermilion Cliffs, near the Grand Canyon. They plan to release three more later this year, the Daily Sun reports.
The California condor, protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty and the Endangered Species Act, is North America's largest bird, weighing up to 24 pounds and having a wingspan of nearly 10 feet.
With the addition of these four, the Arizona population of free-flying California condors will be 31, with only 205 in the world.
"Visitors to Grand Canyon National Park continue to be delighted by the sight of condors soaring near the rim," said Joseph Alston, superintendent of Grand Canyon National Park.

Teens arrested in bomb threats
JACKSONVILLE Two teenage boys have been arrested for making bomb threats to local high schools last week, according to the Patriot.
Since Sept. 10, three high schools have received five bomb threats, central Arkansas law enforcement officials say. Last week, Sylvan Hills High School had three bomb threats, while Jacksonville High School and North Pulaski High School encountered one bomb threat each.
The bomb threats at Sylvan Hills High School occurred on September 10, 11, and 12. On Friday morning, Sept. 13, Sherwood Police Department detectives entered Room 102 at the high school and arrested junior Brandon Davis, 16, accusing him of phoning in one of the hoaxes.

Wanted man found, arrested
COLORADO SPRINGS A man wanted in connection with 14 sexual attacks on women and children since 1999 in Arizona, California, Nevada and Oklahoma was arrested at a veterans medical clinic.
James Selby, 35, was arrested Tuesday on a federal warrant for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, police Lt. Skip Arms said. He was in jail without bond.
In Cleveland County, Okla., he faces charges of rape, sodomy, burglary and kidnapping in the Sept. 16, 1999, assault on a 9-year-old girl. Police said she was pulled out of her bedroom window in the middle of the night and raped in nearby woods.
Mr. Selby is wanted in Tucson, Ariz., in five rapes and sexual assaults between October 2001 and May of this year.

Neighbor finds home for breeder cow
CUMMING After JoAnne Leach bonded with her neighbor, a friendly breeder cow named Ginger, she knew the animal would make a better pet than a steak.
So when the cow's owner was forced to sell off some of his livestock, Mrs. Leach couldn't let Ginger be sold to the stockyard.
The Forsyth County resident pleaded Ginger's and her unborn calf's case over a popular community Web site. One community activist sent out 150 e-mails on the bovine's behalf.
Mrs. Leach forged her friendship with Ginger at a pasture fence. "She helped dispose of our apples and pears this summer and enjoys dinner leftovers," Mrs. Leach told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

School officials send political e-mail
BOISE Two Idaho school district superintendents used their schools' e-mail systems this month to distribute information to other superintendents and educators lauding candidates for the state's superintendent of public instruction, the Statesman reports.
Stan Kress, superintendent at Cottonwood School District, sent an e-mail Sept. 10 urging educators to financially support the campaign for incumbent Democrat Marilyn Howard.
Gary Larsen, Nampa School District superintendent, sent an e-mail with an attachment dated Sept. 13 outlining the work that Republican candidate Tom Luna did as a trustee in the district. He ended the letter by saying, "I feel that Tom is deserving of support he earned mine."

Official arrested, accused of rape
TOPEKA The director of the Kansas Water Office has been arrested on suspicion of entering a sleeping woman's home in May and raping her.
Alan L. LeDoux, 55, who has served two Republican governors and is a Sunday school teacher, was arrested Tuesday and ordered held in lieu of $500,000 bond.
Mr. LeDoux was scheduled to be arraigned yesterday on charges of aggravated kidnapping, rape by fear of force, aggravated criminal sodomy and aggravated burglary.

Man jailed for biting off ear
PONTIAC A man was sentenced to a year in jail for biting off part of his neighbor's ear in a fight.
John Everett Barbara, 49, got into a brawl with the neighbor after the man flashed his car lights at Barbara to warn him he was driving erratically.
During the fight, Barbara bit off a portion of the neighbor's left ear.
"This is so barbaric," Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor Kenneth E. Frazee said in court Tuesday. "Many times people recover from stab wounds or other injuries or they're not visible. But everywhere he goes, people can see he lost half his ear."

Man found inside trash truck dies
ST. LOUIS Police hope an autopsy today will provide clues to how a partly paralyzed man ended up inside a trash bin and whether he was crushed to death by accident or slain.
All that detectives were sure about Tuesday was that a St. Louis garbage truck driver found Sonny Thompson, 36, calling for help from inside compacted trash in the vehicle, fatally injured, the Post-Dispatch reports.
Most everything else was fraught with questions, including a big one about whether Mr. Thompson, whose left leg was amputated below the knee just four weeks ago, had the ability to hoist himself into the bin.

Bees sniff out land mines
MISSOULA Trained honeybees have shown a remarkable ability to sniff out land mines, suggesting a possible new way to find the estimated 110 million unexploded land mines around the world, according to researchers at the University of Montana.
Jerry Bromenshenk has studied bees as pollution sensors and environmental sensors for the past 30 years. He said honeybees have proven themselves to be easier to train, harder-working and more accurate than bomb-sniffing dogs.
Honeybees have a very refined sense of smell, live in packs of thousands, cover ground more quickly than dogs, and learn a new task in a matter of days, he said.

Two killed when TV tower falls
HEMINGFORD A 1,965-foot television tower collapsed Tuesday in a western Nebraska field, killing two workers and injuring three others.
The cause of the collapse was not known. The injuries were not considered life threatening, said Gary Bauer with the Alliance Volunteer Fire Department.
The tower, which was built in the late 1960s, had been the tallest structure in Nebraska. It was more than 500 feet taller than the Sears Tower in Chicago and 700 feet taller than the Empire State Building in New York.

Wrong baby buried after hospital error
CAMDEN A family buried the wrong infant after a mistake in a hospital morgue, officials said Tuesday.
Hospital staff recognized the error Sept. 18, days after one baby was buried by the wrong family, said Wendy Marano, spokeswoman for Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center. The second infant had not yet been taken to a funeral home.
The employee responsible for the mistake was fired, Miss Marano said.
Miss Marano said she could not identify the two New Jersey families involved because of hospital confidentiality rules. Both babies died at the hospital.

Girl, 10, killed brother, police say
LAS CRUCES A 10-year-old girl reportedly beat her 4-year-old brother to death on instructions from her father to punish the little boy for bed-wetting, state officials said Tuesday.
The father, who supposedly watched and gave orders, is being held on child-abuse charges, the officials added.
Las Cruces police spokesman Mark Nunley said 4-year-old Devon Booth was being punished for bed-wetting and drinking from the toilet over the weekend when his sister reportedly kicked and hit her younger brother after her father, Louie Guerrero, 38, told her to.
The child was airlifted to University Hospital in Albuquerque, 224 miles north of Las Cruces, after his 16-year-old brother found him unconscious. Devon died on Monday from the beating, hospital officials said.

WTC artwork is removed
NEW YORK An arts center has removed a window display of silhouettes depicting people who jumped or fell to their deaths in the World Trade Center attacks.
The Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning in Queens said the artwork, which went up September 11, was taken down on Tuesday because of complaints that it was insensitive.
The center had planned to show the work through Oct. 5.
The display placed in the window panes of the center's neo-Renaissance building is the second artwork depicting falling trade center victims to be removed in less than a week in New York.

Scientists poison fish to save Lightning Lake
TURTLE LAKE Dressed in get-ups suited for a low-budget sci-fi flick, biologists spread roughly one ton of poison on this 17-acre fishery on Tuesday, killing nearly everything with gills, reports the Bismarck Tribune.
"This is just a sample," said Jeff Hendrickson, with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, of the hundreds of dead yellow perch, carp, bullheads, trout and bluegill that lined the shoreline. "By the end of the day, there will be a lot more [dead fish]."
Scientists had to poison Lightning Lake, located near the town of Turtle Lake, in order to save it.

State executes convicted killer
LUCASVILLE A man convicted of abducting an 11-year-old girl from a park 20 years ago and then raping and strangling her was executed yesterday for the crime.
State and federal courts had turned down Robert Buell's last-minute appeals that were based on objections to the hypnotizing of witnesses at his trial.
Buell's execution was the state's fifth in three years.
Buell claimed he was innocent and that there was no eyewitness or DNA evidence connecting him to the crime. Prosecutors said fibers on the girl's body matched fibers taken from carpet in Buell's van.

Dollar is souvenir at painter's birthplace
NORTH KINGSTOWN Visitors who happen to have a $1 bill in their pocket while they are taking a tour of this 18th-century home don't need to buy a souvenir they already have one.
That's what docent Sandra Rhodes tells guests during a tour of Gilbert Stuart's birthplace as a way of showing how the acclaimed portrait painter's influence lives on, the Providence Journal reports.
Mr. Stuart, who was born in 1755 at this picturesque spot, painted the portraits of the first six U.S. presidents, including the likeness of George Washington that appears on the bill.
"We know what our Founding Fathers looked like, thanks to Gilbert Stuart," Miss Rhodes said. "Otherwise, they'd just be names in a book."

Videotape convicts 3 men of sex abuse
SALT LAKE CITY Davis County jurors who recently convicted three men of sexual abuse had unusual evidence to consider: a videotape of the assaults.
The images on the tape, however, did not end the debate over what happened, reports the Salt Lake Tribune.
Jurors struggled to decide whether the tape proved the prosecutors' case. Activists still question the convictions, pointing out that the three men are black and the victim, who was intoxicated during the taping, is white. Prosecutors defend their decision to file charges, saying state law prohibits sex with an incapacitated partner.
A judge refused to set aside the jury's verdict Tuesday, sentencing all three men to probation and 1 year in jail.
Daughter follows steps of majorette mom
CHARLESTON Some mothers teach their daughters how to cook or ride a bike. Ashley Parsons' mother taught her how to twirl a baton.
"I picked it up when I was 5," she told the Daily Mail. "My mom was a majorette, and I wanted to be just like her."
The lessons paid off for the Capital High sophomore who out-twirled, out-danced and out-spun 18 other girls to win the title of Miss Kanawha Majorette at the 56th annual Daily Mail Kanawha County Majorette and Band Festival Tuesday night.
"I had no idea when I started that I would get this far," said Ashley, clutching a dozen red roses and a giant trophy against her black-sequined costume.

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