- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 2, 2003

ALABAMA

Continent’s deepest mine to be shut

BROOKWOOD — The deepest coal mine in North America, where 13 workers were killed in a pair of explosions two years ago, is being shut down. Eighty employees were to lose their jobs yesterday, Walter Industries Inc. said, and the rest of the 400 workers are be laid off before the Jim Walter Resources No. 5 mine is closed late next year.

Officials of the Tampa, Fla.-based company said Monday that the mine has lost $16 million in the past 10 months. George Richmond, president of the company unit that operates coal mines, said he expects that many of the idled miners will retire rather than apply for work at Walter Industries’ other two mines in the area.

The No. 5 mine extends 2,140 feet beneath the surface, making it North America’s deepest vertical shaft coal mine.

FLORIDA

School bus crash kills motorist, hurts 13

ZEPHYRHILLS — A motorist was killed and 13 elementary school pupils were injured yesterday when the driver of a pickup truck crashed into a school bus, causing it to overturn, authorities said.

The Florida Highway Patrol said the 45-year-old woman driving the pickup truck was killed and a young passenger in her vehicle was severely injured.

Two children who were riding in the school bus were airlifted to St. Joseph’s with injuries that were not life threatening. Another child was taken by helicopter to a Tampa hospital and then released.

FHP spokesman Lt. Sterling King said it appears that the school bus and the pickup collided after the truck ran a stop sign, but the investigation is ongoing.

ARIZONA

Singer charged with drunken driving

PHOENIX — Glen Campbell has been charged with assault and drunken driving in a hit-and-run collision near his Phoenix home last month.

Mr. Campbell, 67, formally was charged with aggravated assault, drunken driving, extreme drunken driving and leaving the scene of an accident, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office said yesterday. Extreme drunken driving applies when a person’s blood alcohol level is 0.15 percent or higher.

The criminal complaint was filed last week against Mr. Campbell, who was arrested Nov. 24 at his home, accused of striking another car and leaving the scene. Nobody was hurt.

While in custody, police said, Mr. Campbell became angry and kneed an officer, who was not injured. He was freed on $2,000 bail.

CALIFORNIA

Report faults light for fatal accident

LOS ANGELES — A confusing traffic signal contributed to a collision that killed two persons and injured 32 when a commuter train struck a pickup truck, said a federal report released yesterday.

The National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) investigation faulted a flashing red light in the Jan. 6 accident in which a Metrolink train struck the truck stopped on the tracks, killing the driver of the vehicle and one rail passenger.

The report found that a left-turn arrow was flashing red as the train approached the intersection, which might have confused the truck’s driver. The NTSB recommended that the state prohibit flashing traffic lights at railroad crossings and that a median be installed between the street and the railroad tracks where the accident occurred.

GEORGIA

Police department sells bobbleheads

COVINGTON — These little cops can’t seem to keep their heads on straight, but don’t call them bumbling — bobbling is more like it.

The Covington Police Department is selling bobbleheads — complete with serious faces and shiny blue uniforms — of its officers to raise money for its Police Who Care Fund to help needy families. In a limited run, 1,000 dolls were manufactured by a bobblehead company.

The bobbleheads are being sold for $10 at the police headquarters, the Covington/Newton County D.A.R.E. office and a Wal-Mart in Covington.

The bobbleheads are supposed to depict all officers, although one officer, D.J. Seals, did pose for the manufacturer, said D.A.R.E. officer Lt. Ken Malcom.

ILLINOIS

Echinacea no help to children, study says

CHICAGO — Echinacea, touted as an herbal remedy for the common cold, did nothing to alleviate symptoms in children, said a study released yesterday.

“We found that there was no difference in both the length of cold symptoms and severity of cold symptoms in children who received either echinacea or placebo for their colds,” said James Taylor of the University of Washington, who led the study of 407 children.

“The average length of the colds in both groups was about nine days,” he said.

The 2- to 11-year-old children were given either a syrup containing echinacea or a similar-tasting placebo when they fell ill with upper-respiratory-tract infections during four-month study periods.

The echinacea group also was found to be slightly more susceptible to unexplained rashes.

IOWA

Soldiers marry at Wal-Mart

WEST BURLINGTON — A pair of National Guard soldiers were married among the plastic smiling snowmen, lighted reindeer and holiday poinsettias of the Wal-Mart store where they worked, met and fell in love.

Brett Hamilton and Erin Sapp were married last week after the bride-to-be received orders signaling a likely deployment to the Middle East.

Mr. Hamilton, who planned to ask Miss Sapp to marry him this summer, moved up his plans after she received orders to report for training on Monday. She said deployment to the Middle East is likely after training is completed.

Mr. Hamilton, who works in the Wal-Mart car care department, and his bride, a floral department employee, are members of the National Guard’s 224th Engineering Battalion.

KANSAS

Funding formula ruled unconstitutional

TOPEKA — A judge found that Kansas’ school-funding formula is unconstitutional yesterday, saying it doesn’t provide enough money to meet students’ educational needs, with poor and vulnerable students hurt the most.

Shawnee County District Judge Terry Bullock gave lawmakers and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, until July 1 to fix the method it uses for distributing more than $2.6 billion in education aid.

The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed in 1999 on behalf of parents and administrators in Salina and Dodge City. Their attorneys argued that districts with higher concentrations of poor students, minority students and students with limited English skills struggled to meet their needs.

MASSACHUSETTS

Widespread blackouts hit Cape Cod

SANDWICH — About 300,000 customers lost electric service on Monday night in blackouts that knocked out power on Cape Cod and affected wide areas of southeastern Massachusetts.

The combination of a fire at a power plant and an out-of-service transmission line between Walpole and Carver might have caused the outages, officials said.

The blackouts, which began at about 6:15 p.m., affected both residential and commercial customers. Lights also were out on both the Bourne and Sagamore bridges, the only two passenger bridges across the Cape Cod Canal. Power was restored about 90 minutes later.

MISSOURI

Burke named new archbishop

ST. LOUIS — The head of the Roman Catholic diocese in La Crosse, Wis., for nearly a decade was named archbishop of St. Louis by Pope John Paul II yesterday.

Bishop Raymond Burke, 55, succeeds Cardinal Justin Rigali, who left as archbishop of St. Louis in October to take over the Philadelphia Archdiocese and later became a cardinal.

Bishop Burke’s installation as archbishop is scheduled for Jan. 26.

NEW JERSEY

Aunt enters plea in child-abuse case

NEWARK — The aunt of a 7-year-old boy whose battered body was found in a basement early this year has pleaded not guilty to charges of child endangerment, kidnapping and attempted murder.

Sherry Murphy entered her plea Monday during a brief court hearing. It was the first time that Miss Murphy has appeared in court since she was arrested in January.

A trial date has not been scheduled, and she remained in the county jail on $250,000 bail.

Faheem Williams’ body was found stuffed in a plastic bin at Miss Murphy’s Newark home on Jan. 5, one day after his twin, Raheem, and another brother, 4-year-old, Tyrone Hill, were found emaciated in an adjoining room. Miss Murphy had been caring for the boys.

Miss Murphy was charged with attempted murder and kidnapping in relation to the other boys, who survived.

NEW YORK

City acts to limit ferry crash liability

NEW YORK — The city moved Monday to limit its liability in a ferry crash that killed 10 commuters and injured dozens more, asking a federal judge for cap damages at $14.4 million.

The move angered plaintiffs’ attorneys. Nearly 90 people have notified the city that they intend to sue for a total of about $2 billion, the city’s legal department said. It said the proposed cap would limit liability to the approximate value of the damaged Staten Island ferry under a provision of maritime law and would encourage plaintiffs to settle out of court.

City officials fired ferry captain Michael Gansas last week for refusing to speak with federal investigators about the Oct. 15 crash. The pilot, Richard Smith, has said he passed out at the controls before it crashed into a pier.

TEXAS

Police find $5.3 million among frozen rolls

DALLAS — It sure was a lot of bread.

Texas police say they made the state’s largest seizure of cash during a traffic stop when troopers pulled over a truck hauling frozen dinner rolls — and found $5.3 million in bills sealed in plastic wrap.

Two troopers stopped the truck last week about 100 miles north of the Mexico border near the town of Alice as part of a routine vehicle inspection, the Texas Department of Public Safety said. When the troopers got different stories from those in the truck, the troopers poked into the dinner rolls and found the cash.

One man was arrested and charged with money laundering.

“This is one heck of a bust,” said Col. Thomas Davis Jr.

State police were busy counting the cash, which will go to law-enforcement activities if it was used for illegal activities. But the shippers made it easy for police to ring up a tally by writing the amount in big black numbers of each bundle of cash sealed in plastic wrap.

WASHINGTON

Metal falls from Navy plane

ARLINGTON — At least three large chunks of metal fell off a U.S. Navy jet flying over this Snohomish County town. No one was hurt, but resident Irene Silva says a local high school student usually parks his car right where she saw a 3-foot piece of metal crash.

The Navy confirmed the panels came from one of Whidbey Island Naval Station’s radar-jamming jets and is investigating.

WYOMING

Governor recommends ‘practical’ budget

CHEYENNE — Gov. Dave Freudenthal is recommending a “practical” budget that will spend much of the state’s new revenue boom on one-time school construction and prison projects.

The governor, a Democrat, presented a budget recommendation that includes $1.9 billion in general fund spending over the 2005-06 period. No tax increases are recommended, and a $66.7 million reserve would remain.

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