- The Washington Times - Friday, December 26, 2003

ARKANSAS

Plant changes kept confidential

SEARCY — A White County utility board plans to overhaul its water and wastewater treatment plant after studying its vulnerability to terrorist attacks.

But Dan Dawson, assistant general manager for the board, said federal officials ordered that the study and details, including the cost, remain confidential for security reasons.

CALIFORNIA

Addresses painted on school rooftops

LOS ANGELES — Police and fire helicopter crews soon will be able to identify the school district’s 1,042 campuses by addresses painted on rooftops.

The district began painting addresses this week and hopes to complete the project by spring. The first campus to get the rooftop identification was Taft High School in Woodland Hills, scene of a drive-by shooting in September.

CONNECTICUT

Homemade chili attracts a grinch

NORWICH — Someone appreciated a hardware store’s “customer appreciation day” a little too much. Salesman William Plantz was serving up his homemade chili over the weekend at an Ace Hardware Store when a thief spoiled the party.

Mr. Plantz left the pot unattended on a grill. When he returned, his saw someone running away with the pot and ladle. The thief hopped into a waiting car and sped off.

The cook jumped into his car and tried to chase them, to no avail.

DELAWARE

Governor proposes bonus for workers

DOVER — Gov. Ruth Ann Minner proposed a one-time, $500 bonus for state employees in recognition of their cost-saving efforts during the recession.

Mrs. Minner, a Democrat, will ask the General Assembly to approve the proposal next month so that most workers would receive the money in February. It would cost $18 million. Part-time state employees would receive prorated bonuses.

FLORIDA

Polite thief makes off with thousands

HOLLYWOOD — This thief is charmed, not armed. Police say a bank robber has used his good manners to rob thousands of dollars, usually wishing tellers a merry Christmas before he steals the money.

He walks into a bank, always unarmed, approaches a teller and offers a warm greeting, police said.

“I hope you have a merry Christmas,” he says as he hands over a note demanding money.

Police said the note says, “I am a robber, give me all the money, don’t give me any dye pack, you have 20 seconds.”

The man then takes the cash, puts it into his own envelope and calmly leaves. Police suspect he hit banks in Broward and Miami-Dade counties over the past month. The latest strike came Monday at a Wachovia Bank in Hollywood, when he walked off with more than $5,000.

ILLINOIS

Shoppers attacked on Christmas Eve

FOREST PARK — Police here spent yesterday looking for six suspects who beat two Christmas Eve shoppers outside a Wal-Mart in this Chicago suburb.

Matthew Baures told WBBM NewsRadio 780 he was in a busy checkout line Wednesday night when a woman and girl cut in front of him. Mr. Baures said he was “totally polite,” but one woman grew increasingly hostile.

Mr. Baures said the woman went into the parking lot and made a call on her cell phone. As he exited the store with a female friend, a car screeched into the parking lot and several men jumped out, including one armed with a bat, he said.

MAINE

Three indicted in virus scheme

PORTLAND — Three former executives of a biological laboratory were indicted in connection with a scheme to smuggle a chicken virus into the country from Saudi Arabia so they could produce a vaccine.

The laboratory then reportedly developed a vaccine for the virus and illegally shipped it back to a Saudi company. Prosecutors say the virus could have wiped out chicken flocks but never posed a threat to humans.

NEW JERSEY

Kidnapped infant returned to mother

NEWARK — A 3-day-old girl spent Christmas in her mother’s arms thanks to some quick work by police who recovered the kidnapped infant. Jasiniah White was abducted from Newark Beth Israel Hospital on Christmas Eve by a woman who had befriended the mother in the hospital, the Newark Star-Ledger reported yesterday.

Within three hours of the infant’s disappearance, police found her unharmed in the apartment of Martina Allen, who claimed the child was hers, the newspaper said. Police brought Miss Allen and Jasiniah back to the hospital where the mother, Jasmine Wingate, confirmed it was her child, the baby’s grandmother told the newspaper.

“Then Jasmine punched her,” she said of the suspect.

Miss Allen was charged with kidnapping and endangering the welfare of a child, police said.

NEVADA

6 killed in crash at airport

NORTH LAS VEGAS — A small airplane crashed during takeoff at the North Las Vegas airport yesterday, killing all six persons aboard, officials said.

The Beechcraft Bonanza had just lifted off when the plane crashed, said Diana Joubert, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration in Los Angeles.

NEW YORK

Man found dead in plane’s wheel well

NEW YORK — A man was found dead inside the wheel well of a passenger jet that arrived in New York on Christmas Eve from Jamaica, officials said.

Maintenance crews discovered the body late Wednesday, several hours after American Airlines Flight 1190 landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport, said Dan Maynard, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The flight had originated in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

The man was about 25 years old but his identity had not been determined, Mr. Maynard said yesterday.

MICHIGAN

Union board backs 5 percent pay cuts

DETROIT — An advisory board for the union that represents workers at Farmer Jack supermarkets in Michigan agreed to a 5 percent wage cut to prevent mass store closures.

If approved by union members, the contract would take effect Jan. 1. The company could close as many as 30 of its 106 stores in Michigan and Ohio, employees said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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