- The Washington Times - Monday, January 13, 2003

CALIFORNIA
Tree-sitter vows legal fight
SANTA CLARITA The protester who perched himself in a tree for two months plans to take to court his bid to keep the tree where it is and stop a road to a new housing development.
Under a judge's order, sheriff's deputies removed John Quigley from the 400-year-old oak Friday night. "I did all that I could; I was there to the end," Mr. Quigley said soon after he came down from the tree.
His attorney said Saturday he may seek an injunction to keep the tree in place while they talk about other options with Los Angeles County.

MAINE
Rival protests dwarf anti-Somali rally
LEWISTON Dozens of white supremacists gathered under the watchful eye of the largest law enforcement mobilization in Maine's history over the weekend to protest an "invasion" of the state's second-biggest city by Somali immigrants.
Authorities deployed police sharpshooters and water cannons to prevent clashes Saturday between the white supremacists and the approximately 300 self-described anti-racists who gathered outside the rally and chanted slogans like "Bigots be gone."
Meanwhile, thousands of people, including Maine's governor and its two U.S. senators, attended a rival demonstration a few miles away designed as a show of support for the hundreds of Somalis who have moved to this New England college community.

ALABAMA
Man convicted of killing co-worker
MOBILE A former employee of the Mobile Register was convicted of murder for shooting a co-worker in the newspaper's packaging department.
Roderick Seals, 43, could be sentenced to life in prison at a hearing Feb. 14. A half-dozen witnesses testified that Seals was bullying and had threatened other co-workers before he shot Chris Lawrence, 29, in February.
In testimony, Seals said the shooting was accidental. He also said he sold the gun, which hasn't been recovered.

FLORIDA
Plane used in defection up for sale at auction
KEY WEST A biplane that carried eight Cuban defectors from the communist nation was to be auctioned off today to help pay a $27.1 million judgment to the ex-wife of a spy for Fidel Castro's government.
The defectors flew the government crop-dusting plane, an aging Antonov An-2 Colt, to Key West on Nov. 11 and were released from U.S. immigration custody four days later.
Cuba demanded that the United States return the plane and the people who took it. However, in December, a Florida judge ordered the plane seized and sold to partially pay the judgment awarded to Ana Margarita Martinez under an anti-terrorism law.
Mrs. Martinez had unwittingly married Cuban spy Juan Pablo Roque, who, posing as a defector, infiltrated groups opposed to communist rule in Cuba. Mr. Roque fled to Cuba before being indicted.

HAWAII
State looks to China as source of tourists
HONOLULU As Hawaii's tourism-based economy continues its slow, steady rebound since the September 11 terrorist attacks, there are those who say the state will have to look toward previously untapped markets in its effort to rebuild the industry.
One Honolulu-based company is attempting just that as it tries to lure 100 couples from China to the state for a five-day wedding event this spring.
Once isolated from the world, Chinese are traveling abroad like never before. A record 12.3 million Chinese went abroad between January and September, about 25 percent more than in the same period the previous year, said China's Ministry of Public Security.
Through the first seven months of 2002, Hawaii welcomed about 3,000 Chinese visitors per month, said the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

LOUISIANA
Fire erupts at oil refinery
GARYVILLE Fire broke out at a Marathon Oil Corp. refinery in southern Louisiana early yesterday and burned for more than four hours in the plant's crude-oil unit.
No injuries were reported from the fire, but more than three dozen people were treated at hospitals after complaining of nausea, burning eyes, problems breathing and other symptoms often related to chemicals in the air.
A malfunctioning electric transformer caught fire about 4:30 a.m., company spokeswoman Gretchen Plewak said. The refinery will remain shut down until a damage assessment is completed and officials decide what can be operated safely.

MISSISSIPPI
Lawmakers suggest short session
JACKSON Some Mississippi lawmakers are proposing shortening their 2003 legislative session.
Sen. Gray Tollison said the state could save about $462,000 by ending the session March 23 instead of April 6. The state spent about $1 million for an 83-day special session from September through November.
The Senate Rules Committee will consider the proposal.

NEW JERSEY
Young sisters killed in house fire
BLOOMFIELD Fire broke out at a house here Saturday afternoon, killing 5- and 12-year-old sisters, authorities said. The girls' 4-year-old brother ran screaming from the burning house and survived.
The boy did not appear to be injured, said neighbor John Meyer, who called 911 after the boy ran to him. After calling for help, Mr. Meyer ran with several neighbors to the front door of the 2-story wood-frame house about 15 miles east of New York but decided it was too dangerous to go inside.
Firefighters found the older child and her younger sister on the bathroom floor, where they had been overcome by smoke, Bloomfield Fire Chief Joseph Intile said. Both were dead upon arriving at hospitals.
There was no immediate word on the cause of the fire, although Chief Intile said it did not appear suspicious.

NORTH CAROLINA
Man drowns trying to rescue stray dog
MINT HILL A man drowned after he and his wife fell into a pond at a golf course when he tried to rescue a stray dog in the water, authorities said.
Charlotte Fire Department divers found Glen Doherty, 49, about 15 feet from the shore in the pond on the course in the Olde Sycamore community in Mint Hill, authorities said.
His wife, Barbara, had been clinging to a drainage pipe in the frigid water and told firefighters she went into the pond to rescue her husband, who was not a good swimmer.
Firefighters also pulled three dogs from the water: the stray and two dogs that belonged to the couple.

OREGON
Searchers find stranded climbers
TIMBERLINE LODGE Rescuers on snowy, wind-whipped Mount Hood have reached a party of five climbers who got lost in whiteout conditions and were stranded overnight, authorities said.
"They appear to be doing OK," said Kathleen Walker, a spokeswoman for the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office. "We are rehydrating them, and will be assisting them down the mountain."
The five had dug a snow cave with a cell phone, Miss Walker said yesterday. The climbers also had a mountain-locator unit, which let rescuers hone in on their location.
Because of the elevation, rescuers could not use a helicopter and instead reached them on foot. They were to walk down to a point on the mountain where snow-transportation vehicles were waiting for them.

PENNSYLVANIA
Alcohol-detection locks kept drunks from driving
PHILADELPHIA Breath-alcohol detectors installed in the cars of convicted drunken drivers prevented them from driving under the influence more than 10,000 times in the first year of Pennsylvania's Ignition Interlock Law, a study showed.
Drivers must pass a breath test before the system will let them start the vehicle, and they must periodically test themselves throughout the drive. Their blood-alcohol level must be below 0.025 percent about one drink and far below the legal limit to keep the car running.
Pennsylvania lets drunken drivers have suspended licenses back after one year if they install the device in their vehicles.

TENNESSEE
Wedding rings donated to church
FRANKLIN A Christmas Eve collection envelope at Christ United Methodist Church contained an engagement ring and a wedding band.
Church leaders said they have no idea who left the unmarked envelope or why.
About 550 people attended services that night, half of them visitors. Rev. Tom Gildemeister said the church, founded in 1997, has a relatively large number of divorced members.
Perhaps the gift showed gratitude to God for giving someone strength to persevere through hard times, said Hanes Sparkman, a church member and jeweler who is appraising the rings. He described the rings as "an awful generous gift" but declined to estimate their value.

WASHINGTON
Mountain town put up for sale
MONSE For sale: Tiny mountain town with Okanogan River views. Asking price: $575,000.
For the past six months, this 60-acre town with seven residents and no business or industry to speak of has been on the market.
"Right now, it's nearly a ghost town," said Jay Roberson, an agent with Laura Mounter Real Estate, which has the listing.
Monse sits on a placid stretch of the Okanogan River in north-central Washington. Selling points: fiber optics, water rights, railroad access, a public boat launch, a bridge and bass fishing.


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