- The Washington Times - Friday, March 14, 2003

ALASKA

Norwegian wins Iditarod in 9½ days

NOME A fireman from Norway won the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race yesterday, fighting extreme wind and cold toward the finish line as he completed the grueling, 1,100-mile trek in a little more than 9½ days.

Robert Sorlie, 45, waved to hundreds of cheering spectators as he led his eight-dog team to victory at 1:47 a.m. in near-zero temperatures. He finished ahead of Ramy Brooks and three-time Iditarod champion Jeff King.

"I'm feeling very well," Mr. Sorlie said before he hugged his wife in the winner's circle.

The musher finished in nine days, 15 hours, 47 minutes. He will take home $68,571 and a new truck.


PENNSYLVANIA

Black men convicted of riot killing

YORK Two black men were convicted yesterday of murdering a white rookie police officer during race riots that rocked the city in 1969.

It was the second murder trial stemming from the violence that tore apart this small central Pennsylvania city more than three decades ago.

Stephen Freeland and Leon Wright were found guilty of second-degree murder and face a maximum sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison in the slaying of Patrolman Henry Schaad.

The jury of 11 whites and one black began deliberating Wednesday.

Last year, two white men were convicted and the city's former mayor was acquitted in the slaying of a young black woman during the riots.


ALABAMA

Bill bans children in beds of pickups

MONTGOMERY The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would make it illegal for children younger than 12 to ride in the bed of a pickup truck on paved roads, except for parades, farming or emergencies. Sen. Curt Lee said he had trouble with legislators telling families to stop a Southern tradition. The bill must pass the Senate and House before it can be sent to the governor.


CALIFORNIA

Ten persons injured on turbulent flight

SAN FRANCISCO A United Airlines flight from Hawaii to San Francisco hit turbulence and plunged unexpectedly early yesterday, injuring 10 persons, including five flight attendants who were slammed into the jet's ceiling.

Seven of those injured were taken to a hospital, San Francisco International Airport officials said. United spokesman Joe Hopkins said all had been released by yesterday afternoon except two flight attendants who remained under observation with neck injuries.

The seat-belt sign was on when the plane began to shake and then dropped toward the Pacific about an hour southwest of San Francisco, airport duty manager Dennis Neves said.

Mr. Neves said he thought the plane was flying close to a storm that was bearing down on San Francisco.


COLORADO

Symphony files for bankruptcy

COLORADO SPRINGS The debt-ridden Colorado Springs Symphony dissolved itself in bankruptcy court, ending its 75-year run.

The 85-musician symphony filed Wednesday for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, requiring it to liquidate its assets. The group owes about $1 million, an amount estimated to "well exceed assets," said its Web site.

The symphony sought to reorganize in January by filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after musicians rejected a pay cut. In February, a bankruptcy judge allowed the symphony to dissolve its labor contract with its musicians.

"It's very unfortunate for the community," said the symphony board's president, Shawn Raintree, "but the sooner this chapter is closed, the sooner a new one can begin."


FLORIDA

Hundreds of fish wash ashore

NAPLES Hundreds of puffer fish have washed up on southwestern Florida beaches, and scientists were investigating whether they were killed by natural toxins.

Nearly 700 of the striped burrfish were collected Tuesday and Wednesday from a two-mile stretch of Bonita Beach, said beach supervisor Clyde Lanning.

Four were sent to the state for testing. Results are expected next week.

The scientists will test for red tide, an algae that produces toxins fatal to many kinds of fish, and saxitoxin, suspected of causing 19 cases of food poisoning last year in Florida, New Jersey and Virginia, said state scientist Jan Landsberg.

The victims became ill after eating a different kind of puffer fish, also known as blowfish.


IDAHO

Gasoline prices approach state record

BOISE Average gasoline prices across Idaho are within one-third of a cent of a state record.

The Automobile Association of America puts the price of self-serve unleaded at $1.74 a gallon, just short of an Oct. 24, 2000, benchmark.

The group blames fear of war with Iraq and tight oil inventories.


ILLINOIS

'Dr. Chaos' sentenced in cyanide case

CHICAGO A man who called himself "Dr. Chaos" was sentenced to 13 years in prison yesterday for hiding deadly cyanide in a Chicago subway tunnel.

Joseph Konopka, 26, of DePere, Wis., is also expected to receive a 20-year sentence in federal court in Wisconsin for a crime spree that included sabotaging power lines, air-traffic-control signals and radio and TV transmission towers.

Konopka was sent to prison for two bottles of cyanide that he took from an abandoned chemical warehouse and hid in the subway. He was arrested last March.

He said he had considered using the cyanide to commit suicide but never intended to hurt anyone.


INDIANA

Mother in videotape regains custody of girl

SOUTH BEND A woman who pleaded guilty last month to battery for repeatedly striking her 5-year-old daughter in an attack that was broadcast on national television has been reunited with the girl.

A judge on Wednesday agreed to allow Martha Toogood to be returned to her mother, Madelyne Toogood, 26, who was given a one-year suspended sentence, a year of probation and a $500 fine.

"The judge recognized Ms. Toogood has done a good job with parenting skills," her attorney, Fred Hains, told the South Bend Tribune. She underwent court-ordered parenting and anger-management counseling.


IOWA

College leader charged with raising marijuana

JOHNSTON The president of a community college was arrested Wednesday on charges of raising marijuana for sale.

David England, 50, of Johnston, was being held at a county jail on $49,075 bond. Des Moines Area Community College placed him on paid administrative leave.

"Clearly this is not the kind of thing that happens every day and we're just shocked and stunned and really hoping it's a big mistake," college spokesman Donavan Honnold told WHO-TV in Des Moines.

Police went to Mr. England's suburban Des Moines home after receiving a tip that he was selling marijuana. Officers seized harvested marijuana worth about $8,000 and 72 live plants, said police Sgt. Craig Porter.


LOUISIANA

Cuban gets 10 years for plane hijacking

NEW ORLEANS A Cuban man was given a 10-year prison term Wednesday after pleading guilty to the 1980 hijacking of a Delta Air Lines flight to Havana.

Miguel Aguiar Rodriguez had faced a maximum sentence of life in prison after pleading guilty to federal air piracy and kidnapping. He was arrested in August when he appeared under an alias for an appointment with the Immigration and Naturalization Service in Miami.

Aguiar and his brother, Roberto, boarded a Delta flight in New Orleans, bound for Atlanta, and threatened to set fire to bottles containing a flammable liquid, U.S. Attorney Jim Letten said. The pilot flew to Havana, the hijackers were removed from the plane and the flight, with 81 passengers, continued to Atlanta.

Cuba sentenced Aguiar to four years in prison for the hijacking.


MASSACHUSETTS

Phone bill sent to man's grave

AUBURN A man's phone bill has followed him to his grave.

A local cemetery received a phone bill last week for David Towles at his correct address Hillside Cemetery, Evergreen Section, Auburn, MA 01501. Mr. Towles was buried there in December 1997. He died at age 60.

Cemetery Superintendent Wayne Bloomquist says he was surprised to see the Sprint bill for 12 cents, including 10 cents for a call placed on Feb. 16, five years after Mr. Towles died.

"Our clients here don't usually get mail," he said. "I wondered if maybe we should start putting mailboxes on the monuments."

The bill was turned over to interim Town Clerk Ellen Gaboury, who said she would hold on to it for a while.


MINNESOTA

Thick ice could delay opening of shipping

DULUTH The thick sheet of ice on Lake Superior could delay the opening of the shipping season scheduled for later this month, officials said.

Ice on the Duluth harbor is more than 2 feet thick in spots.

The Mackinaw, a Coast Guard ice breaker, is scheduled to work on the lake next week.


NEBRASKA

Residents urged to get CPR training

LINCOLN Gov. Mike Johanns urged more Nebraskans to be trained in administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation and using defibrillators.

Mr. Johanns called on people to attend two free CPR training sessions April 12 in Omaha and Lincoln.

He spoke as six Nebraskans were honored as Heartsaver Heroes by the American Heart Association for saving a life.


NEW JERSEY

State unleashes 'Pothole Killer'

SECAUCUS Transportation officials have unleashed the mother of all pothole repair machines.

A specially equipped truck called the "Pothole Killer" allows a two-member crew to make temporary patches without leaving the vehicle. A hydraulic robot arm clears the hole of debris, then fills it with a mixture of tar and gravel.

Six trucks are repairing state roads.


NEW MEXICO

Bill seeks return of Texas land

SANTA FE A land dispute between Texas and New Mexico may be headed for a showdown.

New Mexico's state Senate unanimously approved a bill Monday ordering the state's attorney general to sue Texas over a strip of oil-rich land along the state line.

Democratic Sen. Shannon Robinson sponsored the legislation that seeks the return of 603,485 acres he says were wrongly placed in Texas because of a mistake by a surveyor in 1859.

The measure goes to the House for consideration.


NEW YORK

Giuliani's ex-wife to wed high-school love

NEW YORK Donna Hanover is marrying her high-school sweetheart, who popped the question over the weekend on a Malibu Beach.

The ex-wife of former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and her fiance, Ed Oster, 52, a partner in the law firm of Barger & Wolen in Newport Beach, Calif., got engaged Saturday when he gave her a Tiffany engagement ring on Dume Beach in Malibu, said Mrs. Hanover's spokeswoman, Joannie Danielides.

The ring is a round, brilliant-cut diamond set in a six-prong platinum Tiffany setting. The wedding will be sometime in the summer.

"I feel very lucky," Mrs. Hanover, 53, a stage and television actress, said yesterday while shopping for matching wedding bands. "He's kind and smart, and generous of spirit."


NORTH CAROLINA

Judges strike down indigent attorney fee

WINSTON-SALEM A new $50 fee required of poor defendants to get a court-appointed attorney was struck down by at least three trial judges.

Legislators initiated the fee in December with hopes of generating $1 million annually.

A Forsyth County judge ordered court clerks to stop collecting the fee because it was unconstitutional. Two Durham County judges made the same ruling.


TENNESSEE

Principal accused of test-score cheating

MEMPHIS A Memphis elementary school that had been lauded as a model of success amid a troubled system is now accused of cheating to boost test scores.

School officials said this week that much of Caldwell Elementary's success was a sham, orchestrated by a principal who retired as the scandal unraveled.

Lirah Sabir is accused of excluding weak students on test days, doctoring answer sheets and banning monitors from classrooms.

School officials say she exempted all special education students from taking the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, or TCAP.


TEXAS

Man sentenced to 30 nights in doghouse

ORANGE A man accused of mistreating his 11-year-old stepson was ordered yesterday to spend 30 nights in a doghouse.

Prosecutors said Curtis Lee Robin Jr. whipped Zachary Weiger with a car antenna and made him sleep in a doghouse and chop wood as punishment.

The boy later recanted the doghouse claim, and Robin denied making him sleep outdoors. But Robin did not dispute the other claims.

He accepted a plea bargain that gave him a choice of 30 days in jail or 30 nights in a doghouse. He chose the doghouse so that he could continue to work as a foreman at a demolition company.

Robin was to spend his first night in the 2-by-3-foot state-supplied doghouse in his front yard yesterday.


WASHINGTON

84-year-old man becomes Eagle Scout

POULSBO Erling "Bub" Olsen made history last weekend.

In a ceremony in Poulsbo, the 84-year-old Port Angeles resident became the oldest person to receive the Eagle Scout rank in Boy Scout history.

As Mr. Olsen greeted the few hundred friends and family who came to celebrate with him, he wore a brand-new Scout uniform, presented to him by Troop 1571 just before his appearance on the "Today" show in January. The troop was known as 571 when Mr. Olsen was a member in the early 1930s. But Mr. Olsen drifted away from scouting after a tragic death in the troop in the summer of 1933.

After surgery to replace a pacemaker in the summer of 2001, Mr. Olsen completed the process and finally received the honor, the Bremerton Sun reported.


WISCONSIN

Three charged in killing of social worker

KENOSHA Three persons were arrested in the 1990 rape and murder of a social worker who had recommended putting the children of one of the suspects into foster care.

Police made the arrests in the 13-year-old case after a tip from the wife of one of the suspects, Chester Gulan. She said Mr. Gulan told her about the murder of Connie Reyes a few weeks ago, law enforcement officers said.

Miss Reyes, 57, was found in her home on April 14, 1990. She had been strangled, the Medical Examiner's Office found.


WYOMING

Resort changes mountain's name

ALTA Pressure from uncomfortable skiers and other tourists has prompted the Grand Targhee Ski and Summer Resort to cover the second half of the name of one of its mountains.

Mary's Nipple is now just Mary's, and signs with the word "nipple" have been covered with tape. New signs were to arrive in about two weeks.

But the covered signs have rankled some local skiers, who feel a bit of their history has been lost.

The name dates back three decades to a story about a waitress named Mary, who was working at Targhee's Trap Bar and streaked through it and the resort one night. The U.S. Forest Service has never acknowledged it officially.

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