- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 18, 2003


Beagle strays 800 miles

AUBURN — Stray dogs show up all the time around Auburn University but rarely from 800 miles away.

Last week Daryl Waites coaxed a beagle into the university’s computer-repair shop, where he and receptionist Cindy Darby checked the dog’s collar. Norman belonged to Tim and Jennifer Cross, two schoolteachers in Solomon, Kan.

“I wasn’t going to take a vacation this year, but it looks like we’re going to make a drive to Alabama to get Norman,” Mrs. Cross said.


Protesters walk out of Santorum speech

PHILADELPHIA — About one-eighth of the graduating class walked out of yesterday’s commencement at St. Joseph’s University before the keynote address by Sen. Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania Republican.

“We are all called to love one another, even people we disagree with, even people who hate us for what we believe,” said Mr. Santorum, who recently infuriated homosexual and liberal groups in an interview about the right to privacy and a Texas sodomy case.

Some students had urged the Jesuit university to rescind Mr. Santorum’s invitation. Instead, students had an opportunity to leave before Mr. Santorum was introduced. About 100 graduates walked out amid competing boos and applause. Sara Foglesong, who left, said the senator’s words offended her.


Nancy Reagan gets Navy honor

LOS ANGELES — Former first lady Nancy Reagan received the Navy’s highest civilian honor during an Armed Forces Day ceremony attended by sailors who will crew a new aircraft carrier named for her husband.

Acting Navy Secretary Hansford T. Johnson presented Mrs. Reagan with the Distinguished Public Service Award. A citation recognized her “poise and bearing” after the September 11 attacks.

Fifteen sailors and three Marines witnessed the presentation Saturday in a garden at the Bel-Air Hotel, near the Reagan home.


Meningitis outbreak sickens dozens

AUGUSTA — At least 80 persons, mainly children, have been sickened by viral meningitis since April in the Augusta area, health officials said.

Authorities are being vigilant to diagnose people and rule out bacterial meningitis, which kills 5 percent to 20 percent of victims and can cause brain damage in survivors.

Because the virus is spread by contact with an infected person’s saliva or nasal mucus, health officials have been promoting hygiene in schools.


Minor injuries reported after trains collide

MATFIELD GREEN — Two freight trains collided early Saturday morning, derailing several cars and causing minor injuries to crew members, authorities said.

About 50 residents were evacuated after accident for about five hours, said Steve Forsberg, spokesman for Burlington Northern Santa Fe.

The accident happened when a train loaded with truck trailers hauling consumer goods struck the back end of a westbound train that had been moving onto a side track.


‘High-dollar’ items targeted in theft ring

BOSSIER CITY — A ring of at least five thieves has been stealing computers and other “high-dollar” items from big stores across the South and selling them to pawn shops for years, Shreveport police say.

They seized hundreds of items last week from a “Cash in a Flash” pawn shop in Bossier City but said the pawn shop is not suspected. Nobody has been arrested, Shreveport Police spokeswoman Kacee Hargrave said.

The ring operated from Port Arthur, Texas, to the East Coast, said Sgt. Larry “Mo” Cunningham, a Shreveport police detective. T


Malpractice cap ruled constitutional

LINCOLN — The Nebraska Supreme Court has ruled that the state’s $1.25 million cap on medical malpractice damages is constitutional.

The high court said the cap does not violate the constitutional guarantee of equal treatment for all people within a particular class, as a lower court had contended.

The ruling last week came in the case of a couple who sued their obstetrician and a medical group, saying the brain injury that disabled one of their identical twin sons at birth should have been prevented.


Rare parrot puts in appearance

TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES — A bright green parrot has become a sensation for bird-watchers and biologists in southern New Mexico.

The endangered thick-billed parrot, an endangered species not seen in the United States for decades, has been spotted at Ted Turner’s ranch near here, feasting on seeds pried out of pine cones in ranch manager Tom Waddell’s yard.

Ken Stinnett of Las Cruces, a trained biologist who works as a stockbroker and studies birds in his spare time, posted the sighting of the green parrot with a crimson forehead on an Internet birding site.


Woman dies in bungled raid

NEW YORK — Police kicked down the wrong door at a New York apartment house last week, and a woman with a heart condition died on the way to the hospital.

A bungled tip about a drug dealer’s cache led police to kick down the door and toss a stun grenade into the apartment of a woman with a heart condition; she died of a heart attack within an hour, police said.

Officials said police were led to the apartment of city employee Alberta Spruill, 57, by a registered but apparently untested informant. The dealer they sought lived in the same building but had been arrested by a different police unit four days earlier, they said.


Man pleads guilty to impersonating officer

MUSKOGEE — A man who said he was an Army captain and took charge at the scene of a deadly bridge collapse pleaded guilty to impersonating a military officer.

William Clark’s plea came a day after he pleaded guilty to a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

In a jailhouse interview with the Daily Oklahoman, Clark, 37, of Tallapoosa, Mo., said he approached a roadblock May 26, 2002, about 15 minutes after the Interstate 40 bridge over the Arkansas River collapsed. Fourteen persons died after two barges pushed by a towboat rammed the piers.

Clark, who was previously convicted of felony stealing, fled after officials questioned his identity. He was arrested June 9 in Canada.


Jackson, Mfume push for King holiday

GREENVILLE — The Rev. Jesse Jackson and Kweisi Mfume, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, led about 3,000 people who carried signs and waved flags as they marched Saturday to push for making Martin Luther King’s birthday a holiday in Greenville County.

Greenville is one of three South Carolina counties that do not close their offices to honor the slain civil rights leader.

Mr. Jackson, a Greenville native, said he hoped the large turnout would persuade the County Council to reconsider its decision to establish a paid day off for employees on King Day.


Stepfather jailed for using stun gun

ANGLETON — A man who disciplined his 8-year-old stepson and 11-year-old stepdaughter with a stun gun was sentenced to two years in prison last week.

A jury convicted Theodore Moody, 27, on Thursday of injury to a child for using the electric-shock device and endangerment for allowing his 2-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter to play unattended in their Brazoria County neighborhood.

All four children have been placed in foster care.


Glass convention a clear attraction

MILTON — Matt and Jane Shafer love collecting hand-crafted glass pieces so much that they spent their honeymoon last year in this western West Virginia town that is the home of Blenko Glass Co.

But once wasn’t enough. For their first anniversary, the couple from the Toledo, Ohio, area came back to Milton for the first Blenko Collectors Society convention.

“It’s kind of like a sport for us,” Mrs. Shafer said. “We like to find the diamonds in the rough, the flea market finds.”

The Blenko Collectors Society was formed in response to a heightened interest in glass collecting since PBS began televising Blenko documentaries five years ago. At least 60 collectors showed up for the three-day convention, which began Thursday.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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