- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 9, 2003


Fishermen giving salmon away

PRINCETON — There was something fishy about this giveaway.

Enjoying what may be a record salmon haul, Northern California fishermen celebrated Independence Day by giving fellow citizens free fish — a move also designed to draw attention to low prices they blame on a flooded market, competition and pressure from buyers.

Large salmon are bringing fishermen $1.25 a pound, down from $2.25 last year, and smaller ones are going for as little as 75 cents a pound wholesale, they said.

“At this price, I have no enthusiasm to go out and catch these fish,” said Duncan MacLean, president of the Half Moon Bay Fishermen’s Association.


Lake overflow threatens businesses

MONTEZUMA — Water roared over a spillway yesterday from a rain-bloated reservoir, flooding the area downstream and threatening businesses after the latest in a series of thunderstorms that have battered the Midwest.

Rivers hit record levels yesterday in Indiana, and some roads in Ohio and northern West Virginia were closed by flash floods and mudslides.

Water spilling from 21-square-mile Grand Lake St. Marys threatened a doctor’s office and radio station, said Wanda Dicke, deputy director of the Mercer County Emergency Management Agency. No one had been evacuated from this northwest Ohio village of nearly 200 residents, but “it’s getting real close.”


Rudolph lawyers say death penalty sought

BIRMINGHAM — Prosecutors are requesting permission to seek the federal death penalty against serial-bombing suspect Eric Rudolph, according to defense lawyers.

Without giving details, court papers filed by attorneys for Mr. Rudolph, 38, say federal prosecutors are asking the Justice Department for permission to try him on a capital charge in a fatal abortion-clinic bombing in 2000.

The final decision on seeking the death penalty is with U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, who has not said whether he would approve such a request. Federal prosecutors, in asking to delay the trial, said a decision by the attorney general could take several months.


Ex-bishop pleads not guilty in hit-and-run

PHOENIX — Former Phoenix Bishop Thomas O’Brien pleaded not guilty Monday to charges stemming from a fatal hit-and-run accident last month that prompted his resignation.

Father O’Brien, 67, said nothing in a brief arraignment hearing at Maricopa County Superior Court, entering his plea through his attorney who also said the former bishop had waived his right to a preliminary hearing.

Some 30 supporters of the former bishop, including local priests and lay Catholics, turned up at the courtroom Monday in a show of support for Father O’Brien, who wore his clerical dress of black shirt, black pants and a white collar.


Motorist hits pedestrian, drives home with body

DELEON SPRINGS — A motorist drove home about a mile with the legless body of a pedestrian in his front windshield before calling authorities to report that he had struck the man with his car, officials said.

Deputies first learned of the accident, which happened about midnight Friday, from bar patrons who called to report finding two legs near the parking lot, according to sheriff’s reports.

With Joseph Markert’s torso lodged in his windshield, Daniel Dradeen, 19, drove a mile to the home he shared with Ronald Brownie and Brownie’s son, who called 911, the reports showed.

Mr. Dradeen didn’t stop to report the accident because he didn’t have a cellular phone with him and Mr. Brownie’s home was only about a mile from the accident site, Mr. Brownie said.

The medical examiner will determine whether Mr. Markert, 57, survived the impact, but he likely died immediately, officials said.


Official spreads campaign funds

ATLANTA — State Rep. Terry Coleman spread some of his own campaign cash among fellow lawmakers in his attempt to become speaker of the Georgia House.

Campaign disclosure reports show Mr. Coleman gave $9,000 to nine Democrats whose votes might have decided a close race.

Mr. Coleman gained the post in January after his opponent dropped out.


State to allow some hiking tours

HONOLULU — More than two years after the popular Manoa Falls Trail was closed to commercial hiking tours, the state plans to resume such tours on a limited basis, officials said.

All commercial permits were revoked in February 2001. The state said then it couldn’t keep out illegal tour operators and the trail was being overused.


Red clover fails to relieve hot flashes

CHICAGO — Red-clover supplements marketed as a way to relieve menopausal symptoms work no better than dummy pills at easing hot flashes, a study found — disappointing news for women seeking alternatives to hormone treatment.

In the past year, studies have linked prescription hormone pills, the longtime mainstay treatment for hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause, to breast cancer, heart problems and even senility.

In the red-clover study, 252 women ages 45 to 60 took either dummy pills, Promensil pills or Rimostil pills for 12 weeks. Promensil, marketed for hot flashes, and Rimostil, marketed for postmenopausal heart and bone health, are dietary supplements made from red clover, which contains estrogenlike compounds called isoflavones.

Women in all three groups reported a modest reduction in hot flashes, from about eight a day to five. There were no significant side effects from the red-clover pills.

The study appears in today’s Journal of the American Medical Association.


Officials to discuss cross-burning ban

OSCEOLA — Northern Indiana officials will discuss proposed ordinances to ban cross burnings and other actions that might intimidate or threaten people.

The push for the bans by the St. Joseph County Council and the Osceola Town Council comes after a Ku Klux Klan group announced plans to burn a cross outside the Osceola Town Hall after an Aug. 2 march.


Factory blast triggered by open oven door

CORBIN — An explosion and fire that killed seven persons at a factory in February were triggered by flames from an oven door that was left open because of a thermostat problem, federal investigators said yesterday.

The flames ignited a cloud of dust on a production line at CTA Acoustics in Corbin, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board said in a preliminary report. The plant makes insulation for the automobile industry.

Bill Hoyle, lead investigator for the federal agency, said the temperature control on the oven had been malfunctioning for several days and more than one door may have been left open to cool the oven. The oven is used to dry out insulation, one of the final stages of the manufacturing process.

Investigators said the initial explosion and fire Feb. 20 happened on a production line that was partially shut down and being cleaned, stirring up a thick cloud of dust.


Plagiarism prompts NABJ treasurer to quit

KANSAS CITY — A Kansas City Star reporter resigned as treasurer of the National Association of Black Journalists this week after an alternative newspaper reported he had been disciplined by the newspaper for plagiarism a year ago.

Glenn Rice, who had served nearly four years as treasurer for the association, did not cite the matter in a resignation letter he sent to the NABJ, the association’s president, Condace Pressley, said in e-mail to members Monday.

The plagiarism was brought to light last week by the Pitch, an alternative Kansas City weekly.

The Star’s editor, Mark Zieman, confirmed Monday that the paper disciplined Mr. Rice for a concert review he wrote of jazz singer Dianne Reeves in May 2002. The review contained paragraphs with little or no changes from reviews in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale and the Seattle Times.

Mr. Zieman said the Star took several disciplinary steps against Mr. Rice, including reassignment from the Jackson County, Mo., government beat.


Report says mobster played fire-probe role

NEWARK — A mob hit man helped prosecutors make their case against two students charged with setting a dorm fire that killed three Seton Hall University students in 2000, according to a published report.

The Star-Ledger of Newark, citing an unidentified law enforcement source, said yesterday that Thomas Ricciardi’s cooperation was instrumental in advancing an investigation that had bogged down. Because of his help, Mr. Ricciardi was released from prison in 2001, a year ahead of schedule, and is now in the federal Witness Protection Program, the newspaper said.

Robert Cleary, the former U.S. attorney for New Jersey, confirmed an arrangement between investigators and Mr. Ricciardi, who the newspaper said was a high-ranking enforcer with the New Jersey faction of the Lucchese crime family and has admitted a role in nine slayings.


Fire swirls near historic pueblo

SANTA FE — A wildfire blazing near the Taos Indian Pueblo got a bit smaller yesterday but continued to threaten the historic American Indian site as it spread smoke over the resort town of Taos.

The Encebado Fire in northern New Mexico, ignited by lightning Friday, was 5 percent contained yesterday morning and had scorched 2,500 acres. The burned area was down from an earlier estimate of 3,000 acres, state officials said.

The fire had shifted slightly away from the Taos Pueblo, a U.N. World Heritage Site, but was threatening its watershed, which provides water to the pueblo’s 1,500 residents, said Mark Lujan, secretary for the pueblo governor’s office.

“Embers, ash and debris are being carried into the watershed,” Mr. Lujan said. “The fire and wind behavior is still erratic.”

Nearly 700 firefighters were fighting the blaze.


Fetus charge dropped in Nichols case

OKLAHOMA CITY — A murder charge against Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols for the death of a fetus was dismissed yesterday by a state judge who refused to throw out 161 other murder counts against him, including the death of a second fetus.

The judge said prosecutors did not give Nichols sufficient notice of one of the fetus murder counts. Nichols, 48, is already serving a life sentence on federal charges in the death of eight federal law officers in the 1995 bombing that killed 168 persons.

The state charged Nichols in the deaths of the 160 other victims as well as the unborn children. The trial is set for March 1, and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

An Oklahoma appeals court decided last year that the death of a fetus at 24 weeks of gestation or later can be considered first-degree murder.


Winner of bid for tower vanishes

SUBLIMITY — The winning bidder for the town’s obsolete water tower has disappeared, officials say. Michael Duhrkoop, 20, bid $212.50 for the 50,000-gallon tank on the Web site EBay.

He failed to meet a June 30 deadline for submitting a plan to remove the tower. His phone number was disconnected, and he hasn’t responded to e-mail.

Officials say they will contact the next highest bidder.


Shoe-shaped house is up for sale

HELLAM — House hunters and footwear fanatics, take note: A three-bedroom, two-bath house that happens to be shaped like a giant shoe is for sale.

The Haines Shoe House, a York County landmark near Route 30 in Hellam Township, was put on the market three weeks ago.

Ruth and Charles Miller are asking $129,000 for their well-heeled house.

The Shoe House was built in 1948 by central Pennsylvania shoe magnate Mahlon Haines, who used it to promote his 40-plus stores by giving away honeymoon weekends at the house. The company folded shortly after his death in 1962. Mr. Haines’ granddaughter bought it in 1987 and renovated it, and Ruth Miller bought it in 1995.

“She came home and said, ‘I bought a shoe,’” Charles Miller recalled.


Police search for missing snake

GLOCESTER — The police are looking for him and the town has been put on alert, but Slick remains on the lam.

The 14-foot-long yellow-and-orange Burmese python slipped out of his 300-gallon tank Friday.

Snake owner Jeffrey Fine called the police that morning to report that Slick had slithered away sometime after 11 the previous night.

Mr. Fine said it was his fault that Slick got out. He hadn’t tightened a clip on the 6-foot-long tank as much as he should have.

“I feel terrible that he’s gone and I want him back,” Mr. Fine told the Providence Journal.

Slick is not venomous and doesn’t have fangs, Mr. Fine said. The snake eats rats and rodents.


Man confirmed as West Nile case

COLUMBIA — A man who said he was bitten by mosquitoes while fishing has been confirmed as the first human case of West Nile virus in the United States this year, health officials said Monday.

Last year, there were 4,156 total cases of the virus and 284 deaths caused by the disease, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

The man, whose name was not released, was described as being older than 65 and otherwise healthy. He was released from the hospital last month and has been improving, said C. Earl Hunter, commissioner of the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.


Heart association backs hypothermia treatment

DALLAS — The American Heart Association and other experts are recommending doctors chill comatose victims of cardiac arrest to help prevent brain damage.

An endorsement published this week in the heart association journal Circulation cites recent studies that showed cooling the body several degrees — to between 89.6 and 93.2 — improves the patient’s chances of recovery. The cooling can be done through such means as ice packs and cold air.

“It’s a very big breakthrough,” said Dr. Robert Hickey, a co-author of the endorsement and an emergency medicine pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. “For every six or seven patients treated with hypothermia, there will be one more survivor and one more person living at home and returning to work than would have occurred if hypothermia were not used.”


Police propose ban on camping

SPOKANE — Police have proposed a ban on camping in alleys, on sidewalks and under bridges.

The crackdown would force homeless people into shelters or outside the city limits. The goal is to make the city safer, police said.

The proposed ordinance now goes before the City Council.


Outspoken ranger returns to work

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK — A ranger known for his criticism of unscrupulous hunters was back on patrol here Monday after reaching a settlement with the National Park Service, a government watchdog group said.

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility filed a whistleblower complaint earlier this year on behalf of Bob Jackson, saying the longtime seasonal ranger wasn’t rehired because he had criticized the park’s enforcement of wilderness rules.

In 2001, the Park Service ordered Mr. Jackson not to speak further publicly after he criticized hunting guides who he said illegally lured elk from Yellowstone with salt licks just beyond the park’s borders. Elk hunting, while illegal in the park, is allowed in neighboring national forests.

Terms of the agreement reached last week were confidential, and the location of Mr. Jackson’s assignment at the park in northwestern Wyoming was not disclosed.

From wire service dispatches and staff reports.

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