- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 22, 2003


Beached sea turtle rescued

BOSTON — In a rare rescue, a 600-pound sea turtle was hauled back into the ocean after it washed up on a Cape Cod beach, a spokesman for the New England Aquarium said Monday.

The six-foot leatherback was found on a beach in the remote, outer edge of Cape Cod on Friday. It took seven persons and two stretchers, ordinarily used to rescue dolphins, to push the turtle back into the Atlantic Ocean.

Leatherbacks, which are the world’s largest turtles and can weigh up to a ton, are seldom seen on land. Those that do wash up are usually in critical condition, said aquarium spokesman Tony LaCasse. This particular leatherback was exhausted and confused but in good physical condition, Mr. LaCasse said.

Leatherbacks are an endangered species that visit New England waters during the summer to feed on jellyfish. These turtles are so named because they have black, leathery skin, instead of a hard shell or scales.


Winds threaten to revive fires

BRUSETT — Rising temperatures and wind yesterday threatened to revive a cluster of range fires that had burned 105,000 acres of north-central Montana, posing danger to isolated farm and ranch homes.

Hundreds of firefighters had succeeded in protecting buildings, including the farm complex where the antigovernment Montana Freemen holed up in a 1996 confrontation with federal agents.

However, about 50 people had been evacuated as the fire blackened stands of ponderosa pine and charred pastures and hayfields.

“We expect more wind today,” said information officer Pat McKelvey at the main fire camp outside Jordan.

The fires made little progress Monday, when the high had been in the 80s, but temperatures were headed into the 90s yesterday, Mr. McKelvey said.


Chief justice appeals commandments ruling

MONTGOMERY — Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore wants the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether a monument to the Ten Commandments in the Alabama Judicial Building is constitutional.

Justice Moore said yesterday he will file a direct appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court challenging a federal appeals court decision that he must remove a 5,300-pound Ten Commandments monument from the lobby of the state judicial building.

A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit on July 1 upheld the ruling of U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson, who said the monument violates the First Amendment.


SOS on beach gets four rescued

ANCHORAGE — Four persons who intended to climb Augustine Volcano on an island in Cook Inlet near Anchorage were rescued by the Coast Guard after writing an SOS on the beach where they became stranded.

A plane saw their SOS and alerted authorities.


Cadets investigated over sex charges

COLORADO SPRINGS — Air Force Academy officials said yesterday that two male cadets are under investigation after accusations of two sexual assaults were reported over the weekend.

“The cases are under investigation. It would be inappropriate to comment,” academy spokesman John VanWinkle said. “We will investigate any and all misbehavior.”

The academy’s Office of Special Investigations became involved in the cases immediately, complying with a new mandate that sexual assault reports be routed to investigators and commanders.


Historic restaurant to be razed

ATLANTA — The restaurant that served as unofficial headquarters of the civil rights movement will be demolished to make way for a college dormitory, officials said.

The decision to raze Paschal’s restaurant was based on finances, said its owner, Clark Atlanta University. The eatery is losing $500,000 a year, an amount that the university cannot afford to cover. Clark Atlanta itself faces a $7.5 million operating deficit.

“We understand the historic legacy of this establishment,” said university President Walter Broadnax. “But we are not restaurateurs and cannot be competitive.”

The university obtained a demolition permit in April and expects to close the restaurant Monday.


Vegetarian diet lowers cholesterol

CHICAGO — A low-fat vegetarian diet including soy, eggplant and almonds can reduce cholesterol levels about as much as widely used statin drugs, a small, one-month study suggests.

The study was funded in part by the Canadian government and the Almond Board of California and was published in today’s Journal of the American Medical Association.

It involved 46 men and women with high cholesterol levels. Sixteen ate the vegetarian diet for one month, 16 consumed a low-fat diet, and 14 ate the low-fat diet and took 20 milligrams of lovastatin (sold as Mevacor) every day for a month.

The vegetarian group showed an average drop of 28.6 percent in their LDL cholesterol, the “bad cholesterol” that could raise the risk of heart disease. That was about equal to the 30.9 percent reduction seen in the low-fat diet plus statin group.


Storage tanks cited as risk

DES MOINES — More than 1,200 underground fuel storage tanks are still classified by state officials as posing high risks to the environment.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources started a program to rid the state of leaky underground tanks in 1988. Officials initially put the number at more than 20,000 tanks. That number has dwindled to less than 8,000, but officials say about 1,200 need to be monitored.


State sues company selling worm farming

FRANKFORT — Attorney General Ben Chandler filed suit against a company pitching investments in worm farming.

The lawsuit said the company violated the Consumer Protection Act through false claims about how much farmers would make.


Governor announces $33.1 million surplus

AUGUSTA — Gov. John Baldacci announced a state budget surplus of $33.1 million for the year ending June 30, $13 million more than anticipated three weeks ago.

He said $10.6 million will go to a rainy-day fund. An equal amount will be used for the state retirement fund.


Kevorkian sought for testimony

LAPEER — Jack Kevorkian, the former pathologist imprisoned for helping a chronically ill man commit suicide, has been called as an expert witness in chemical exposure and pollution lawsuits.

Kevorkian was to give a deposition on the effects of mercury exposure on humans, a topic he studied in the early 1970s. If the lawsuits go to trial, Kevorkian could be called to testify, said his attorney, Mayer Morganroth.

Mr. Morganroth said the cases involved a plant worker in North Carolina who claimed he suffered health problems from chemical exposure and property owners who said their marshland was polluted by a plant in Georgia.

The deposition is set for Aug. 4 at Thumb Correctional Facility in Lapeer County, where Kevorkian is serving 10 to 25 years for the 1998 injection death of Thomas Youk, 52, who had Lou Gehrig’s disease.


Blind girl, 7, drowns in lake

MINNEAPOLIS — A 7-year-old blind girl drowned in a lake with two lifeguards on duty, after asking a blind camp counselor who accompanied her into the water if she could head back to shore.

Brianna Nelson, who had retinopathy of prematurity, a blinding disease that affects premature babies, had tired of playing Marco Polo in Lake Calhoun on Friday and asked one of the three blind counselors if she could head back. That was the last anyone heard from Brianna, of Grant, Mich., whose body was found some 60 feet from shore.

The organization that sponsored the swimming trip and Brianna’s father said blindness had nothing to do with her death.

Joyce Scanlan, executive director of Blind Inc., who is blind, said that the blind counselors have techniques for keeping tabs on the children, such as listening, touching and staying close to them.


Schools urge waiver of out-of-state fees

JACKSON — State university leaders say they again will ask the Legislature to allow their schools to waive out-of-state fees for students in adjoining states. The proposal previously died in committee.

Supporters see it as a way to boost enrollments; critics fear a drain on state coffers.


Lobbyist spending jumps 22 percent

JEFFERSON CITY — State records show lobbyist spending jumped by 22 percent during the last legislative session, when 90 House freshmen took office and Republicans controlled the General Assembly for the first time in 50 years.

Spending on gifts, food and entertainment for elected officials, their families and aides totaled $645,000 for the five months the legislature met, the Springfield News-Leader reported.


Pizza date leads to pizza wedding

GRAND ISLAND — A first date at Godfather’s Pizza led to more dates at the pizza parlor, and finally a wedding at the restaurant.

Jack Briggs and Betty Pokorneys exchanged vows at the front of the eatery Saturday and the reception featured — what else? — pizza.

Susie Henk, who co-owns Godfather’s Pizza, said the couple eat at the restaurant three or four times a week at the noon buffet. Sometimes, they come every day of the week.


Burial site sought in missing-children case

CONCORD — Prosecutors who charged a man with murdering his two children said yesterday they were searching for a burial site, most likely in or near northern Indiana or northeastern Illinois.

An indictment announced Monday said Manuel Gehring fatally shot his children — Sarah, 14, and Philip, 11 — in New Hampshire sometime around July 4 and then disposed of the bodies during a cross-country trip to California.

The site was described as a rural, grassy area up to 10 miles on either side of Interstate 80, from around the Indiana-Ohio state line to Joliet, Ill., a distance of 190 miles. The site is near a two-lane road, authorities said. A $5,000 reward has been offered to anyone who finds the site, state Attorney General Peter Heed said.


Daily News editor to retire next year

NEW YORK — Edward Kosner, editor in chief of the Daily News, has announced that he will retire when his contract ends in March, the newspaper reported in yesterday’s editions.

Mr. Kosner, who will turn 66 this week, has been with the Daily News since November 1998. He first worked as Sunday editor, then as editor in chief.

During his tenure, the paper’s audited daily circulation increased to 737,030 from 723,148 and on Sundays remained at more than 810,000.


Marriage proposal gets big cheer

RALEIGH — The proposal getting the biggest cheer in the North Carolina legislature wasn’t in a bill.

Rep. Michael Gorman, speaking Saturday from the House floor, asked girlfriend Debbie Pons to marry him. Miss Pons, seated above in the gallery, nodded “yes” in response — as everyone in the chamber stood and clapped.

Mr. Gorman, a Republican, said he had racked his brain for a week on a way to pop the question from the House floor. He was running out of time as the General Assembly planned to adjourn its session Sunday.


Faulty maps blamed in accident

PITTSBURGH — Faulty mine maps were to blame for the flood that trapped nine coal miners underground for 77 hours last summer, state investigators said in a final report yesterday.

Pennsylvania officials said the accident underscores the need for tighter legislation governing the mapping of abandoned mines and the issuing of mine permits.

Investigators said there were no warning signs immediately before the July 24 flood. That contradicted some of the Quecreek miners, who said the mines were wet in the days before they breached an abandoned, adjacent mine.

The breach released more than 50 million gallons of water. The men managed to reach a high spot in the mine where they waited three days until rescuers could dig a hole to reach them. All survived.


Day care center pays burn settlement

CHATTANOOGA — A toddler who suffered mysterious burns that caused the skin to peel off his hands will receive more than $700,000 in a settlement with a day care center.

An attorney for the Imani Cultural University day care center said the center did not acknowledge any negligence.

An employee at the center, Tiffany Lewis, told police that she was drying 14-month-old Jaylen Johnson’s hands with a paper towel last year when the skin on his right hand peeled off from the wrist down. His left hand was blistered, she said.

The cause baffled emergency room doctors and welfare workers. Lab tests showed no sign of any chemical on Jaylen’s skin, and police found nothing suspicious at his home.

The boy’s mother, Crystal Johnson, said Jaylen is ridiculed by other children when they see the scars.


Teens sentenced for mob beating

MILWAUKEE — The last two defendants charged in connection with the fatal mob beating of a man last year have been sentenced to prison.

Don J. Dixon, 14, was given a two-year term. Lee Mays, 17, was ordered to serve 3 years.

Charlie Young Jr., 36, was beaten Sept. 29 with broomsticks, shovels, a folding chair and a milk crate after he had a confrontation with one of the 12 youths. He died Oct. 1.

Of the defendants, 15-year-old Marlin Dixon received the longest prison term — 18 years.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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