- The Washington Times - Monday, December 8, 2003


Suspect’s sister warned police

CROOKSTON — The sister of the suspect in the case of a missing University of North Dakota student pleaded with a local police officer to keep tabs on her brother after his release from prison in May because she feared he might strike again.

Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., 50, has been charged with kidnapping in the disappearance of Dru Sjodin, 22, who was abducted from a mall parking lot Nov. 22.

Rodriguez’s sister, Ileana, called Sgt. Gerry Moreno several times after her brother completed a 23-year prison term for stabbing and trying to kidnap a woman. She asked Sgt. Moreno to keep her brother locked up or away from the community.


Wood is violin’s secret

KNOXVILLE — Researchers have debated for centuries whether special varnishes or wood treatments were the secret to the classic Stradivarius violin’s rich resonance, which some consider superior to contemporary violins.

Now two scientists say the wood developed special acoustic properties as it was growing because of an extended period of long winters and cool summers.

Henri Grissino-Mayer at the University of Tennessee and Lloyd Burckle at Columbia University suggest a “Little Ice Age” that gripped Europe from the mid-1400s until the mid-1800s slowed tree growth and yielded uncommonly dense Alpine spruce for Antonio Stradivari and other famous 17th-century Italian violin makers.


Judge approves wolf-control plan

ANCHORAGE — An Alaska judge has rejected a bid by Connecticut-based Friends of Animals to stop a state-sponsored program allowing hunters in Alaska to shoot wolves from airplanes.

The move last week opens the door to a threatened nationwide boycott targeting Alaska’s $2 billion tourism business, the same tactic that halted a similar wolf-eradication effort a decade ago.

Superior Court Judge Sharon L. Gleason refused to grant the injunction, also sought by seven Alaskans, and lifted a temporary restraining order that had kept three pilot-and-hunter teams grounded since Nov. 26.


Osbourne says he did show drugged

LOS ANGELES — Rock star Ozzy Osbourne said he was “wiped out” on prescription medications when he gave stupefied performances on his reality TV show and in public, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday.

The heavy-metal musician who staggered through many episodes on MTV’s hit series “The Osbournes” told the newspaper that he took as many as 42 pills a day, including Valium, while being treated by a Beverly Hills doctor.

The rocker’s dysfunctional image was treated lightly on the reality series, which catapulted him and his family to new fame in recent years.


Saudi student faces terror probe

COEUR D’ALENE — A University of Idaho graduate student under investigation for suspected terrorism ties obtained unauthorized access to a campus lab containing radioactive material, according to court documents.

Sami Omar Al-Hussayen, a Saudi national working on his computer-science doctoral degree, quietly moved his student office from the computer-science department into the school’s engineering isotope lab, apparently without his adviser’s knowledge, according to the documents.

“The investigation of Sami Al-Hussayen has, from its outset, been focused on suspected material support to terrorism, particularly to Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network,” FBI agent Michael Gnecknow said in the documents.

FBI agents say they were worried that the nuclear waste could be used in a “dirty bomb.” Mr. Al-Hussayen is scheduled to stand trial on Jan. 20 on charges of student visa fraud.


Study: Exercise wards off osteoporosis

CHICAGO — Girls who do regular jumping exercises at about age 10 might add bone mass that could delay the onset of osteoporosis in later years, researchers said today.

The conclusion came from a two-year study of 34 girls given the exercise regimen during regular school physical-education classes who were compared with 46 girls who did not do the exercise.

Those who completed the exercise course three times a week during their school years had a nearly 5 percent better gain in bone minerals, the study found.

The study was done by researchers at British Columbia’s Children’s Hospital and the University of British Columbia.


Panel to rehash fishing regulations

PORTLAND — The New England Fishery Management Council will meet early next month to review strict restrictions placed last month on fishermen, said Sen. Olympia J. Snowe, Maine Republican.

The regulations — designed to help rebuild New England’s devastated stocks of cod and other bottom-dwelling fish — cut days at sea but allow fishermen to lease unused days to other boats. Mrs. Snowe said she’s concerned that some fishermen might be driven out of business.


Convict’s escape aided by wife

PARCHMAN — An investigation into the Nov. 17 escape of convicted killer Larry Hentz from a Mississippi penitentiary revealed that his wife had smuggled a saw blade, wire cutters and $500 in cash inside the prison.

A report by the Mississippi Department of Corrections estimated that it had taken three weeks for Hentz to cut through a security bar on his cell window. Hentz is still at large.


Siblings join Air Force together

BOONVILLE — Christine Chase and her siblings learned how to salute, run, climb and use ropes to overcome obstacles a long time ago.

Now, the trio will use those skills in the Air Force.

Miss Chase, 21; her sister, Ricki Alleman, 25; and brother Michael Chase, 19, recently decided to join the military together — a rare family phenomenon in military recruiting, Air Force recruiter Sgt. Jonas Patterson said.


Cincinnati mayor pushes stun guns

CINCINNATI — Cincinnati’s mayor yesterday urged the city to buy stun guns for its police force in response to the death of a man after a struggle with six officers a week ago.

“I am looking for any avenue to avoid another struggle,” Mayor Charlie Luken wrote in an e-mail to City Council members yesterday that asked them to find $1 million in the 2004 budget to pay for the nonlethal weapons.

Nathaniel Jones, 41, died Nov. 30 after the scuffle in a restaurant parking lot. A police cruiser videotape showed the 350-pound man lunging at one officer before he was brought down and struck repeatedly with metal nightsticks.

The coroner ruled Mr. Jones’ death a homicide but cautioned that the designation did not imply that police had used excessive force.


Cancer center gets $10 million gift

SEATTLE — The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has received a $10 million donation from the chief executive officer of a California software company.

The gift from Don Listwin, chief executive of Openwave Systems Inc. and head of the Listwin Family Foundation, was the center’s largest ever and will be used to develop systems for early diagnosis and prevention of cancer, the center said this weekend.

Based in Redwood City, Openwave Systems provides software for Internet-surfing cell phones.


Band wins contest with duct tape song

FOND DU LAC — A love song about duct tape may never crack the pop charts, but it did make a Waukesha band $2,500 richer.

The ska band Something to Do’s jingle “When I’m Stuck I Turn to Duck Tape” beat 154 entries in Duck brand duct tape’s “Rock About the Roll” contest.

“When we first heard it, everyone in the office was humming it and singing it afterward,” said Michelle Heffner, contest administrator for Henkel Consumer Adhesives, Duck brand duct tape’s parent company.

Band member Nate Tredinnick said the band considered spending the $2,500 on beer and ice cream, but instead will invest it in making CDs and promotional shirts.

The winning lyrics include: “I never had much luck with nails. So, I turn to Duck tape. Staples always seem to fail. So, I turn to Duck tape. Wood glue can’t help but go stale. So, I turn to Duck tape.”


Bacterial disease confirmed in cattle

CHEYENNE — A herd of cattle in western Wyoming is infected with a bacterial disease that hasn’t been seen in domestic livestock since April last year, authorities said last week.

The herd of 400 cows in the Upper Green River Basin will be slaughtered because several animals tested positive for brucellosis, which causes cows to abort their calves. The last case was reported in eastern Idaho.

The ailment has been nearly eliminated from the nation’s livestock, although it survives in wild elk and bison in the Yellowstone region, where cattle also graze.

Though rare in humans, brucellosis is a potentially debilitating and chronic disease that can be transmitted by drinking unpasteurized milk or handling infected cows.

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