- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 19, 2003

CALIFORNIA

Millennium-old sequoia falls

SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK — A 200-foot-tall giant sequoia tree fell along Sequoia National Park’s main road, crushing a vehicle into a pile of crumpled metal, park officials said.

The giant sequoia, believed to be about 1,000 years old, fell along Generals Highway several miles east of the Giant Forest Museum, park spokeswoman Alexandra Picavet said.

No one was hurt, but a Jeep Grand Cherokee parked in a turnout alongside the road was destroyed, Miss Picavet said Monday.

OHIO

Gunman, woman dead in plant shooting

ANDOVER — A factory worker who was denied vacation because he filled out a form improperly and had just learned he had cancer opened fire inside the plant yesterday, killing one person and wounding two others before killing himself.

The gunman’s mother said her son, Ricky Shadle, 32, got upset when he was denied a two-week vacation in July because he made a mistake in filling out his request for time off.

Theodora Mosley, a 61-year-old woman who worked at the plant as a payroll clerk, was fatally shot in the back after 8 a.m. at Andover Industries, about 80 miles northeast of Cleveland.

“He was so mad” about the vacation, Rosalie Shadle said, adding that her son also said he would kill himself before allowing his leg to be amputated — a possibility the cancer had raised.

ALABAMA

Justice continues Commandments fight

MONTGOMERY — Supporters made plans for a round-the-clock prayer vigil yesterday as Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore renewed his appeal to keep a Ten Commandments monument in the state judicial building.

Justice Moore immediately asked the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider yesterday after it declined to stay an order requiring him to remove the 5,300-pound monument by midnight tonight.

Justice Moore, who installed the monument in the rotunda of the building two years ago, insists it represents the moral foundation of American law and that a federal judge has no authority to make the state’s chief justice remove it.

The 11th Circuit earlier this year agreed with U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson of Montgomery, who ruled that the monument violates the First Amendment.

ARIZONA

Leaders endorse immigrant program

PHOENIX — A group of state Republican legislators has endorsed a proposed federal guest-worker program that would make it easier for foreign workers to enter the country legally.

The bill would allow foreign workers to temporarily take jobs that can’t be filled by U.S. citizens.

ARKANSAS

Woman leads effort to restore school

ARKADELPHIA — Carroll Forte, one of 31 graduates in the Peake High School class of 1955, is leading an effort to restore the school.

The one-story, red-brick school was built in 1928 and dedicated for the education of black children. The school was one of 5,000 or so funded by Sears, Roebuck executive Julius Rosenwald to educate Southern black children in the early 1900s.

COLORADO

Crews remove plutonium from site

GOLDEN — Crews have finished removing more than 12 tons of weapons-grade plutonium from Rocky Flats, a former nuclear weapons site, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said yesterday.

The 6,000-acre site 15 miles northwest of Denver is slated to become a national wildlife refuge after the $7 billion cleanup ends in 2006.

“Rocky Flats … is no longer in the nuclear weapons business,” Mr. Abraham said in a statement issued in Washington.

Removal of the plutonium was finished 12 years ahead of schedule, Mr. Abraham said. The material will be shipped to a site in South Carolina for conversion into fuel for nuclear reactors.

For 40 years, Rocky Flats manufactured plutonium triggers for nuclear weapons before it was shut down in 1989.

FLORIDA

Man saves two from dog attacks

TARPON SPRINGS — Craig Lucas has never been much of a dog lover, and things haven’t changed since he saved two persons from attacking dogs.

Claudia Corona, 27, was the first victim of a pack of Rottweilers that escaped their fenced yard. The dogs chased her bicycle and attacked her when she dismounted.

Mr. Lucas, 55, was driving to work when he saw Miss Corona cowering behind her bike. He drove his pickup truck toward the dogs, and helped Miss Corona get into the truck’s passenger seat.

Moments later, the dogs were on the hunt again. Vincent Gray, 71, was their second target. Mr. Lucas again came to the rescue. Hopping out of his truck, he shooed the dogs away with a rake.

Police rounded up the five dogs, the St. Petersburg Times reported.

GEORGIA

Authorities arrest fugitive pastor

ATLANTA — The leader of the House of Prayer church who was convicted of child cruelty has been taken into custody, five months after he skipped a probation hearing.

The Rev. Arthur Allen, 71, was being held yesterday, authorities said.

He was with his wife and seven children when he was arrested Monday night in Sope Creek Park by National Park Service rangers. They found him in a parked car and turned him over to the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, authorities said.

Allen had eluded police since March, when he skipped a hearing to determine whether he had violated probation by not attending counseling courses.

Allen and five others were found guilty in October of whipping two boys, then 7 and 10, at the northwest Atlanta church in February 2001.

ILLINOIS

Heart attacks linked to risk factor

CHICAGO — Most heart-attack patients have at least one major risk factor such as high cholesterol or hypertension, according to two new studies that cast doubt on the doubters.

The findings suggest that doctors should pay even more attention to screening patients for proven risk factors to help prevent heart disease, the nation’s leading killer, the researchers and other heart specialists say.

The idea that major risk factors are absent in at least 50 percent of all patients with coronary disease is a common perception built on tidbits of data but that hasn’t been systematically studied, according to the new reports.

“People don’t get heart disease out of the blue,” said Dr. Philip Greenland of Northwestern University, lead author of one of the studies.

INDIANA

State fair breaks attendance record

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana State Fair broke its attendance record with 878,114 fair-goers, about 10 percent higher than attendance in 2002, fair officials said.

It was the fifth time in the past six years the fair has set an attendance record.

IOWA

Manager sentenced for fiery bar stunt

IOWA CITY — A former bar manager accused of performing a fiery stunt that burned nine onlookers at a bar last year has been ordered to perform 100 hours of community service.

Police said Troy Kline, 27, ignited a puddle of grain alcohol poured into the bar’s drink well. Nine persons standing near the fire were burned when more liquor was poured on the blaze.

In a deal with prosecutors, Kline on Monday admitted igniting the fire but denied that his actions were knowingly reckless. He was placed on unsupervised probation and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service.

“I’m sorry,” the defendant said during hearing in Johnson County District Court. “I’m sorry most of all to those who were injured, some of whom were friends.”

The bar’s former owner was fined $1,000 by the state, had his liquor license suspended for two weeks and ultimately gave up his liquor license.

LOUISIANA

Man fatally shot near bus stop

MERAUX — A man holding his 2-year-old son was fatally shot and the child was seriously wounded near a crowded school bus stop yesterday when a man grabbed a shotgun out of his car and started firing, investigators said.

Another man, who had taken his son to get on a bus, was wounded in the leg.

Louis Schenck III was arrested shortly after the shootings were reported about 7:15 a.m., said Lt. Mike Sanders, spokesman for the sheriff in St. Bernard Parish, just east of New Orleans.

Danny Foto, 39, was killed and his son, Bryson, was taken to Charity Hospital in New Orleans.

Mr. Schenck faces charges of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.

MAINE

Nude resort annoys neighbors

ALBION — A new “clothing optional” resort along a secluded pond in this small farming town has drawn neighbors’ ire.

Barbara Kimball said nudity at Yorktown Recreation threatens public safety and property values. Tony Takacs counters that his resort has high standards.

“We are not promoting sex,” he said.

MINNESOTA

Arson dog last of his kind

ST. PAUL — Minnesota is down to its last arson dog. Nick works in Cloquet in northern Minnesota, sniffing fire scenes for gasoline or other accelerants common in arson.

Ron Rahman, acting chief investigator for the state fire marshal, said the dogs are effective, but too costly.

MISSOURI

Jailer sentenced to scrub toilets

SPRINGFIELD — A former Greene County jailer was ordered to scrub toilets while serving 15 days behind bars for urinating from a roof onto four inmates playing basketball.

Justin Hastings, 23, who resigned from the department, was placed on probation for two years.

NEBRASKA

Woman taking finals goes into labor

OMAHA — Final exams in college are stressful enough, but Joy Conner had even more to deal with while taking four finals in one day: She went into labor.

The expectant mother’s contractions started Wednesday as she was in the middle of her second final exam of the day at Metropolitan Community College.

Her due-date was not until Friday, and she was hoping the baby could wait. But her labor pains were only five minutes apart while taking the test.

“I took the test and after every question, I’d kind of sit there and breathe,” she said.

She completed all her finals for the day before heading to the hospital and eventually giving birth to a daughter, Evelyn Leigh.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Newspaper prints bogus obituary

MILFORD — Police are trying to determine who told a weekly newspaper that the wife of a local teacher had died, resulting in a published obituary for the woman who was still alive.

“It never occurred to us that someone would be sick enough to do this,” said Michael Cleveland, editor of the Cabinet Press.

The obituary for Kathleen Connor-Allwarden, with an accompanying photograph, was dropped off at the newspaper in time for Thursday’s edition.

After it was published, family members alerted the newspaper that Mrs. Connor-Allwarden, the wife of music teacher Bobby Allwarden, was alive and well. A retraction was printed on its Web site.

Mr. Cleveland said the newspaper has given the submitted obituary and photograph to police.

NEW JERSEY

Dad pleads not guilty in sons’ deaths

NEWARK — A father accused of leaving his two young sons inside a car in midday heat has pleaded not guilty in their deaths.

A judge allowed Derrick C. Strothers to remain free Monday on $100,000 bond after his plea on two counts each of aggravated manslaughter and child endangerment.

Authorities said Mr. Strothers had dropped off his wife at her job, then headed to the East Orange post office, where he works as a customer service supervisor.

Detectives said while Mr. Strothers worked, Derrick Jr., 2, and Dylan, 1, were left strapped in their car seats in Mr. Strothers’ Nissan Pathfinder with the windows closed for about 21/2 hours Friday afternoon, when temperatures reached the high 80s.

After witnesses told him the boys were in the back of the vehicle, Mr. Strothers, 38, drove to a medical building and summoned help. Emergency workers found the boys dead.

NEW MEXICO

Trial delayed in missile case

ROSWELL — The start of a trial for a Canadian man accused of illegally stockpiling about 2,400 armor-piercing missiles was postponed yesterday after the judge removed himself from the case, court officials said.

U.S. District Judge John E. Conway, who was to hear the case, recused himself late Monday for unspecified reasons, his office said. A new judge has not been named and no date given for the start of court proceedings.

David Hudak, a Canadian citizen and president of High Energy Access Tools, an institution in Roswell, has been charged with possession of unregistered destructive devices and being an illegal immigrant in possession of a firearm.

Mr. Hudak’s lawyers said he purchased the explosives through Halliburton, the Houston-based oil field services company. Halliburton officials were not immediately available for comment.

NORTH CAROLINA

Parole granted in wife-killing case

WILMINGTON — A retired Special Forces colonel and Nazi concentration-camp survivor who was convicted of killing his wife was released after serving about five years in prison.

George Marecek, 70, was convicted in 2000 and was serving a 15-year sentence. He will be on parole until July 2005.

He was released from prison Aug. 11 for good behavior, work-program participation and credit for time served, parole and corrections officials said yesterday.

Marecek killed his wife, Viparet, so he could collect on a new life insurance policy and marry another woman.

OKLAHOMA

Investigators probe series of explosions

TULSA — Investigators rummaged through charred debris at a gas distributor yesterday searching for what caused a series of explosions and a massive fire that destroyed two empty homes and about 100 vehicles.

The explosions Monday in the storage facility of an Airgas Mid South plant sent ruptured steel canisters and other debris hurtling hundreds of feet through the air as 75 persons worked at the plant. No one was injured.

The facility stored high-pressure steel cylinders containing oxygen, propane, acetylene and other gases, said Skip Mason, Tulsa’s chief fire investigator.

The blaze and explosions also damaged four homes and a business, and prompted authorities to evacuate a three-quarter-mile radius around the fire and close Interstate 244 in both directions.

UTAH

Officials plan safari for tourists

SALT LAKE CITY — Governments in San Juan County are organizing an “ATV Safari” next month that they hope will generate tourism dollars.

Environmentalists fear the off-road vehicles will degrade archaeological and ecological resources. The Bureau of Land Management has given preliminary approval.

WEST VIRGINIA

Police get leads in sniper shootings

CHARLESTON — Investigators have narrowed hundreds of tips down to 10 solid leads in their probe of sniper shootings that killed three persons outside Charleston-area convenience stores, authorities said yesterday.

Investigators also are pursuing a possible drug link in at least two of the shootings, Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Phil Morris said.

Interviews with Campbells Creek residents uncovered public concerns about the sale and use of methamphetamines in the unincorporated area where two of the victims lived and where one of the shootings occurred.

“We would be remiss in not mentioning the possible drug connection,” Deputy Morris told reporters. “A number of people we have talked with are trying to tie this to drugs.”

Deputy Morris would not say whether the victims had drug ties or how many shooters were involved. He also said investigators had not determined if the victims knew each other.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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