- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 29, 2003


Snakes taken to county jail

DUBUQUE — Snakes, reptiles and amphibians are making themselves comfortable in an old county jail, until their new home in the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium is ready.

“We have about 45 snakes,” said Brian Lex, one of four full-time aquarists with the museum and aquarium.

The fish, reptiles and amphibians will be moved before the aquarium’s opening June 28. In the meantime, tanks and small aquariums line the halls of the jail’s basement.

Mr. Lex and the other aquarists stroll from room to room, checking water, performing maintenance on tanks and inspecting snakes for signs of shedding.

Although shedding is a natural process for snakes, aquarists like to keep tabs on it because of its effect on diet and other factors, Mr. Lex said.


McCartney, Millsexpecting a baby

NEW YORK — Former Beatle Paul McCartney, 60, and his second wife, Heather Mills, 34, said yesterday that the couple are expecting a baby later this year.

“We are delighted with this happy news,” they said in a statement.

The couple married last June. Mr. McCartney has three children from his 29-year marriage to Linda McCartney, who died of breast cancer in 1998.


Inmate granted stay of execution

ATMORE — A federal appeals court panel granted death row inmate Glenn Holladay a stay of execution. He was scheduled to die today.

The panel ruled that Holladay, convicted of killing three persons, must be given a chance to prove he is mentally retarded.

The U.S. Supreme Court in 2001 stayed Holladay’s execution, also on the mental retardation issue.


More Hispanics fill top administration jobs

PHOENIX — Gov. Janet Napolitano has filled 18 top administration jobs with Hispanics.

That’s a third more Latinos in decision-making spots than were working for former Gov. Jane Hull when she left office in January.

Mrs. Napolitano’s appointees control more than $320 million in matters ranging from commerce to tourism to highway safety.


Burlesque museum struggling financially

HELENDALE — A museum dedicated to burlesque memorabilia is struggling financially after spending thousands of dollars to fix a list of code violations.

The Exotic World Museum of Burlesque and Striptease Hall of Fame features photographs, tattered gowns, faded G-strings and pasties from the golden age of burlesque, which was popular in American theater from the 1930s to the 1950s.

The museum opened in 1991, but doesn’t have a permit to operate, according to San Bernardino County code enforcement officials. It also has been given notice of inadequate or hazardous wiring, substandard conditions and running an illegal mobile home park.

Exotic World can stay open as long as it gets a land-use permit, said Randy Rogers, code enforcement supervisor.


Academy officers could be punished

COLORADO SPRINGS — Air Force Academy officers who were reassigned over a sex scandal could be punished if it was shown they had failed to take appropriate action in wake of cadet complaints, Air Force Secretary James Roche said yesterday.

The decision will be made after Mr. Roche and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John Jumper review an investigative report into the scandal.

The two will look at whether the commanders should have noticed problems and whether they did anything to make it more difficult for female cadets to report assaults.

Dozens of current and former female cadets have said they were ostracized or reprimanded after they reported being raped or sexually abused at the academy near Colorado Springs.


Rainy weekend cut speeders, drunken drivers

MIDDLETOWN — State police said the rainy weather during the Memorial Day weekend cut down on the number of speeders and drunks on Connecticut roads.

Drunken-driving arrests were down by about half, with 52 arrests compared with last year’s 101. Speeding violations were down by almost 75 percent.


Gates charity computers headed to 37 libraries

DOVER — All 37 public libraries in Delaware will have state-of-the-art computers available to patrons by the end of the year, state officials said yesterday.

The statewide computer upgrades include 88 Gateway computers donated this spring by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the purchase of 144 additional “Gates computers” under a matching grant program developed by the state library, and a $100,000 state matching grant to New Castle County to support its purchase of new Dell computers.

Gov. Ruth Ann Minner also announced a demonstration project to increase the availability of assistive technology services for library patrons with disabilities, and the establishment of a real-time online reference librarian service during the key homework hours from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.


Death toll increases in cruise ship blast

MIAMI — A crew member injured over the weekend in a boiler room explosion aboard a cruise ship died yesterday, bringing the death toll to six.

Winston Lewis, 53, was a steward from Jamaica, according to the ship’s owner, Norwegian Cruise Line. Twelve other crew members remained in the hospital, three in critical condition.

More than 15 crew members were injured when a boiler exploded Sunday aboard the moored ship, sending debris and a blast of steam through parts of the 41-year-old Norway cruise ship. None of the more than 2,100 passengers was hurt.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the explosion. Miami-Dade police said it appeared to be an accident.

So far, two injured crew members have sued the company, seeking more than $1 billion in damages. A lawyer involved in one suit said the ship was too old to operate safely and used antiquated and dangerous steam propulsion.


Black business tycoon joins Senate race

ATLANTA — A famed black restaurant executive from Atlanta is joining Georgia’s crowded race for U.S. Senate.

Herman Cain, who once ran the Nebraska-based Godfather’s Pizza chain, wants Zell Miller’s Senate seat. But he has never run for office, and he must beat two sitting congressmen and another black businessman to get the Republican nomination in 2004.

“He’s a very qualified, winnable candidate,” said Alex St. James, director of the African American Republican Leadership Council in Washington.

The race is the first statewide election in post-Reconstruction Georgia to pit two black Republicans against each other. Mr. Cain will face fellow Atlanta businessman Al Bartell, who ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor last year.


Makapuu Beach rated most dangerous

HONOLULU — A state Department of Health study ranks Makapuu Beach as Oahu’s most dangerous beach, with an annual rate of 91 rescues for every 100,000 people in the water.

The study shows 66 percent of those rescued were tourists.

The highest number of drownings last year occurred at Hanauma Bay, one of Hawaii’s most popular snorkeling spots.


Softball teams set playoff record

MACOMB — One girls’ high school softball game needed more than a seventh-inning stretch.

Two high school softball teams battling for a regional title set a state playoff record by playing 26 innings.

Neither team scored until the 26th, when Southern broke through with a run to beat Macomb 1-0 in Class A play Monday.

The game took five hours and 13 minutes, including a 10-minute bathroom break.


Commuters reroute during ‘Hyperfix’ job

INDIANAPOLIS — About 175,000 commuters found alternate routes to work as highway crews shut down the combined section of Interstate 70 and Interstate 65 for major reconstruction.

During the 85-day “Hyperfix” project, motorists won’t be able to drive through the city’s downtown on the combined section of the two interstates.


Ex-newspaper editor dies at age 88

LEXINGTON — Margaret Foster Maxwell, who worked her way up from proofreader to assistant state editor of the morning Lexington Herald newspaper, died Tuesday. She was 88.

She began her career as a proofreader at the newspaper in November 1943. Six months later she was named society editor and continued in that job until January 1958, when she took an extended leave of absence for health reasons. She returned in mid-1959, working part-time until 1966, when she began working full-time again. She retired in 1976.

The Herald combined operations with the Lexington Leader in 1983.


Serial killer suspect returns to Louisiana

BATON ROUGE — The capture of the man wanted in connection with the serial killings of five women in Louisiana was met with relief yesterday — as well as questions about whether investigators missed or discarded clues that could have saved some of the victims.

Ultimately, it was not the task force in charge of the 10-month investigation that zeroed in on Derrick Todd Lee as the suspect. Instead, it was an investigator working on two seemingly unrelated slayings who obtained the DNA that implicated Lee.

Lynne Marino, the mother of the killer’s third victim, Pam Kinamore, said Lee’s history of arrests in neighboring towns for stalking, attempted murder and peeping into homes should have made police check out his DNA years ago.


Men sentenced for murder of 5

DETROIT — Two men convicted of murdering a jeweler and four members of his family were sentenced to life in prison without parole.

John Wolfenbarger, 31, of Detroit, was sentenced Tuesday to six consecutive mandatory life sentences, five of which were without the possibility of parole.

Dennis Lincoln, 27, of Flint, received five consecutive life sentences without parole.

The sentences were handed down by Wayne County Circuit Judge Daniel Ryan.

The two were convicted earlier this month in the December murder of jeweler Marco Pesce, 38, of Livonia; his son, Carlo, 12; his daughters, Sabrina, 9, and Melissa, 6, and his mother, Maria Vergati, 68.


Activist raising funds for Peaceforce group

ST. PAUL — Activist Mel Duncan is trying to raise $1 million to hire 2,000 people for his fledgling Nonviolent Peaceforce organization.

Peaceforce plans to send its first recruits to Sri Lanka this summer.

Money for the project comes from selling “peace bonds,” which have no monetary value but promise “nonviolent conflict intervention around the world.” They sell for $10.


Coast Guard to transfer ownership of lighthouse

CAPE LOOKOUT — The Coast Guard plans to officially transfer ownership of the 144-year-old Cape Lookout Lighthouse to the National Park Service in a June 14 ceremony.

The NPS will open the lighthouse to the public for the ceremony before closing it again for renovations.

The lighthouse, painted with a black-and-white diamond pattern, is on Core Banks near Morehead City.


Police: Boy burns sleeping friend

GAHANNA — A 13-year-old boy who wanted to make his own version of “Jackass: The Movie” threw a cup of boiling water on his best friend as he slept, causing second-degree burns, police said.

Collin Gaffney was charged with felony assault.

Police Lt. Jeff Spence said Collin videotaped the May 19 incident and others in earlier weeks. The boy told police he planned to make his own movie of pranks similar to “Jackass,” a movie version of the defunct MTV show.

The maximum penalty he could receive in juvenile court is confinement in a youth detention center until age 21.


Boys arrested for factory rampage

OKLAHOMA CITY — Three boys ages 10 to 14 were arrested on suspicion of going on a rampage in a pet food factory, causing as much as $1 million in damage as they used forklifts as bumper cars, police said Tuesday.

Police said the boys broke into the Oklahoma City Purina Mills plant while the dog food factory was closed for the Memorial Day holiday on Monday. They are suspected of severely damaging seven, $80,000 forklifts, hundreds of bags of dog food, manufacturing equipment and the building itself.

Police were tipped off about something suspicious at the dog food factory when a patrol officer spotted one of the boys standing on the roof of the plant.


Man sneaks through airport security

PITTSBURGH — A man described as a paranoid schizophrenic sneaked through security at Pittsburgh’s airport late at night and was found sleeping aboard a parked commuter airplane the next morning, authorities said.

Louis Esquivel remained at the Allegheny County Jail yesterday in lieu of $25,000 bond, county Police Superintendent Ken Fulton said. He was charged with criminal trespass, theft, receiving stolen property and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

Allegheny County police said Esquivel, 23, of San Antonio, told them he was able to dodge security by ducking behind a closed ticket counter in the all-but-deserted airport late Friday.

From there, he went through a tunnel, got on the tarmac, and jumped aboard a United Airlines van where he found the keys in the ashtray, according to an affidavit. He drove to a gate, got onto an enclosed ramp and boarded the unlocked American Eagle plane, officials said. Flight attendants found him on the plane at 5:30 a.m. Saturday morning.


Museum preserves Appalachian artifacts

NORRIS — John Rice Irwin started his collection of Appalachian artifacts with some items handed down from his grandfather, gradually expanding it to include entire buildings — a log home once occupied by Mark Twain’s parents, a smokehouse and grist mill.

He scoured the hollows and hills of east Tennessee and surrounding states to find tools, barns, quilts and other relics used by mountain pioneers that he could add to the public display he created in 1968.

Yesterday, 35 years and a quarter-million artifacts later, Mr. Irwin and his family finally got around to holding a grand opening for the Museum of Appalachia.


Legislature approves Tulia drug bust bill

AUSTIN — Thirteen mostly black people sent to prison in a drug case built on testimony by a now-discredited undercover agent will be freed if Gov. Rick Perry signs a bill unanimously approved yesterday by the Texas House.

The legislation, unanimously approved by the Senate two weeks ago, would allow the inmates to be released before they are officially exonerated.

Mr. Perry had not seen the legislation yesterday but “the principle behind the bill is one the governor supports,” spokesman Gene Acuna said.

The inmates — 11 of whom are black — were among dozens of mostly black residents in the predominantly white town of Tulia convicted in 1999 and 2000 on the uncorroborated testimony of a single undercover agent, Tom Coleman. The 13 are the only ones still imprisoned.


Helicopter rescues missing hikers

STEVENSON — Six hikers were rescued from a rocky ridge in a forest near Mount St. Helens yesterday, two days after they failed to return from a day trip.

A Coast Guard helicopter plucked the hikers off the ridge one by one in a rescue basket. The six — three men and three women all in their 20s — were flown to Troutdale, Ore., where they were reunited with family members.

A King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter spotted the group yesterday morning, said Dave Cox, Skamania County undersheriff. The hikers, some dressed only in shorts, had become lost in a forested area. They climbed to the high ridge, built a shelter and started two signal fires to catch the eye of rescuers.

No serious injuries were reported, Sheriff Cox said.

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