- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 26, 2003

NORTH CAROLINA

Five-legged dog has surgery

RALEIGH — A five-legged dog discovered near a state park has undergone a successful 2-hour operation to remove two of her back legs.

The Maltese-and-terrier mix named Popcorn is believed to be between 9 months and a year old, a rare age for a dog in that condition to live. She has been adopted by Liz Bell, the woman who found her.

The fifth leg was removed Monday because it was hampering the dog’s movement. A more fully developed leg also was removed because it was rotated at a 90-degree angle, rendering it useless as well.

OREGON

Indian tribes do own surveys

WARM SPRINGS — Indian reservations posed a multitude of problems to census takers, not the least of which were big, ever-changing households, frequent moves, mistrust of government officials, and differing definitions of who is an Indian.

As a result, the head count of Indians had some of the highest error rates for any minority group in the country.

For the first time, however, tribes will not have to accept the official census numbers, which Washington uses in doling out federal aid. More than 100 tribes around the country are challenging the 2000 census results and conducting their own head counts.

As of Nov. 1, 78 tribes had completed their recounts and 39 had won challenges to the official numbers, the Department of Housing and Urban Development said.

ALASKA

Residents could turn to natural-gas heat

NUIQSUT — Residents of this North Slope village could heat their homes with natural gas next winter, officials say. The plan is to pipe the gas in from the nearby Alpine oil and gas field.

The Inupiat village has about 450 residents who now use expensive and dirty stove oil. Conoco Phillips Alaska Inc., the state’s largest oil and gas producer, operates the field.

ARKANSAS

Doctor: Abduction was ‘trying ordeal’

NASHVILLE — A doctor who shot and wounded a suspected killer who had abducted him and his wife said the five-hour experience was “the most trying ordeal I have ever endured.”

Dr. Samuel Peebles said Scott J. Eizember, who had claimed he was having car trouble, pulled a gun as soon as he and his wife, Suzanne, let him in their van in Arkansas on Sunday.

“We were very foolish to pick him up,” Dr. Peebles, 54, said at a news conference Tuesday. “All the signs were there. We offered to call the police. He said, ‘No, don’t do that.’”

Eizember, 42, who was charged in the Oct. 18 deaths of Patsy Cantrell, 70, and her husband, A.J. Cantrell, 76, in northeastern Oklahoma, had eluded one of Oklahoma’s longest manhunts until he was captured Sunday in Texas after Dr. Peebles shot him.

Dr. Peebles said he reached under the seat for his wife’s handgun when Eizember stopped on a rural Lufkin, Texas, road for a restroom break.

CALIFORNIA

San Jose ranks as safest city

SAN FRANCISCO — San Jose, Calif., ranks as the safest large city in America, according to a study released Tuesday, while Detroit came in dead last.

The study by Morgan Quitno Press, a Lawrence, Kan., research company, ranked cities by size and FBI crime statistics in 2002, and found that San Jose, about 50 miles south of San Francisco, had the lowest combined rate of murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault and car theft.

Rounding out the top five were El Paso, Texas; Honolulu; Austin, Texas; and San Diego.

The five most dangerous cities were Detroit, followed by the District; Baltimore; Memphis, Tenn.; and Dallas.

COLORADO

Four children in state dead of flu

DENVER — Three more children have died of flu-related illnesses in Colorado, bringing to at least four the number of influenza deaths in the state this season, officials said.

A 2-year-old and a 21-month-old died at the Children’s Hospital in Denver in the past week, hospital officials said Tuesday. They did not release any other details. In Larimer County, health officials said an 8-year-old boy died of the flu.

Family members identified the Larimer victim as 8-year-old Joseph David Williams of Wellington, who died Monday. A 15-year-old who had the flu died at Children’s last week and was believed to be the first flu death in the state this season.

CONNECTICUT

Opera house considers offer to move

MIDDLETOWN — The board of the Goodspeed Opera House is mulling an offer to move from its home in East Haddam. Middletown civic and business leaders are offering Goodspeed Musicals a $5 million incentive, a free site and the promise of speedy permit approvals.

Goodspeed has produced more than 183 musicals, 16 of which moved to Broadway. The theater’s board will decide as early as January.

FLORIDA

Bomb plot suspect pleads not guilty

MIAMI — A religious fundamentalist pleaded not guilty yesterday to bomb and weapons charges in an suspected plot to blow up abortion clinics, disloyal churches and bars frequented by homosexuals.

Stephen John Jordi, 35, of Fort Lauderdale moved to a lectern with his ankles in shackles as his attorney entered the plea. A date will be set later for trial in Fort Lauderdale.

Mr. Jordi, who was turned in by relatives and church members, faces a five-year mandatory sentence and up to 20 years if convicted of attempted firebombing.

HAWAII

Shark attack survivor returning to surfing

PRINCEVILLE — A 13-year-old surfing star who survived a shark attack says she will head back into the water today.

“I can’t wait to get out,” Bethany Hamilton told CNN on Tuesday. “I’m really excited and not really scared of any sharks.

“I want to make sure that I catch the first wave on my own with no one else’s help, and I want to stay out for as long as I can.”

Bethany lost her left arm when she was attacked by a shark Oct. 31. The competitive surfer — who already had secured sponsorships and was expected to turn pro — spent six days recovering in a hospital.

ILLINOIS

Lottery winners saved by garbage strike

CHICAGO — The Chicago area’s garbage strike was a nuisance for many, but now it smells sweet to two lottery winners who had mistakenly thrown their $10.5 million ticket in the trash.

Chicago resident Ezekiel “Zeek” Garnett, 27, and his sister, Karen, 24, bought an Illinois Lotto ticket Oct. 4 in Niles, but threw it out without checking the numbers. Their mother then heard that a ticket sold in Niles was a winner, and she checked the trash with her daughter. Thanks to the nine-day garbage strike last month, the ticket matching all six numbers was in a bag still waiting to be picked up, lottery officials said.

“This will definitely help me live more comfortably. But I’m still keeping my job,” at United Parcel Service, Mr. Garnett said yesterday.

MAINE

King hospitalized with pneumonia

BANGOR — Stephen King was expected to remain in a Maine hospital on Thanksgiving Day as he recovers from pneumonia, a spokesman said.

Mr. King is conscious and in good spirits, and is expected to recover fully, his spokesman, Warren Silver, said yesterday. He is likely to remain in Eastern Maine Medical Center for several days, Mr. Silver said.

The best-selling author had been diagnosed with pneumonia in his right lung before a recent trip to New York to receive an honorary National Book Award for lifetime achievement. His condition worsened when he returned to Maine and the pneumonia spread to the other lung, Mr. Silver said.

MINNESOTA

Town votes to try drunken-driving case

BELGRADE — The town of Belgrade decided after all to proceed with a drunken-driving case that was slated to be dropped because the town couldn’t afford the possible $2,000 cost.

The City Council in the town of 750 voted Tuesday night to go ahead with the case. City officials declined Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall’s offer to try to case if the city couldn’t.

Brad William Lieser, 29, was charged with two gross misdemeanors after his arrest in September.

“We are going to prosecute the ticket,” City Clerk Corinne Bahe said yesterday. “They agree that this has to go through.”

MONTANA

Residents turn in lost bank bag

KALISPELL — Carmen Williams and Jake Jensen found almost $15,000 in a bag on the street and promptly did what some might think twice about: They turned it in to authorities.

They found a bank bag containing $14,622 outside the night depository of First Interstate Bank on Saturday and turned the money over to Flathead County Sheriff’s Deputy Mike Miller.

The cash was a deposit from Wal-Mart that was being transported by Security Armored Express, based in Helena. The courier somehow dropped it in the bank parking lot.

NEBRASKA

Treasurer pleads guilty to official misconduct

LINCOLN — The state treasurer pleaded guilty yesterday to official misconduct for writing $300,000 in phony checks.

Lorelee Byrd, 47, pleaded guilty to the single misdemeanor count under a deal that will spare her from jail time. She faces a $1,000 fine. Judge James Foster scheduled sentencing for Jan. 29.

Miss Byrd had agreed to plead guilty Tuesday, after Attorney General Jon Bruning announced that he planned to file 13 charges against her. Mr. Bruning said it was unlikely that anyone else will be charged in the three-month investigation.

NEVADA

Police arrest teenager in apartment blaze

LAS VEGAS — A teenager was arrested Tuesday in connection with a fire that destroyed most of an apartment complex under construction, causing millions of dollars in damage.

The 17-year-old was being held at a juvenile-detention center, authorities said. He faces nine counts of arson.

The Sept. 4 fire destroyed 23 buildings and 349 units in southeast Las Vegas. No one was injured, but the blaze caused about $10 million in damage. Agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives assisted in the investigation.

NEW YORK

City fires ferry captain involved in deadly crash

NEW YORK — City officials yesterday fired the captain of the crashed Staten Island ferry for refusing to cooperate with investigators.

Michael Gansas has said he is still too traumatized to speak with federal investigators about the Oct. 15 crash, which killed 10 persons and injured dozens. He was suspended Oct. 22.

Richard Smith, the assistant captain who was at the ferry’s controls, told investigators he passed out before the boat crashed into a concrete pier.

Yesterday, the city’s Department of Transportation’s Labor Relations specialist upheld the agency’s recommendation to fire Mr. Gansas, whose whereabouts during the crash remain unclear.

OHIO

Police investigating shootings at vehicles

COLUMBUS — A bullet tore through a car door, killing a passenger, and law enforcement officers are trying to determine if the shooting was related to eight other shots fired at vehicles on or near the same stretch of interstate.

Franklin County Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Steve Martin said authorities planned to compare bullets from the shootings, the first reported in May and the others all in the past 6 weeks just south of Columbus.

Gail Knisley, 62, of Washington Court House was killed Tuesday morning when a bullet ripped through the driver’s door on Interstate 270. Hours later, a pickup truck was hit on a highway that intersects I-270 nearby, deputies said.

Miss Knisley was the only person to be hit in any of the shootings.

PENNSYLVANIA

District attorney reverses no-pants rule

PHILADELPHIA — The district attorney who ordered female prosecutors to wear skirts or dresses to work instead of pants has reversed the policy she instituted 12 years ago.

“I’m not stuck in any time warp. I’m a forward-thinking, open-minded person,” said Lynne Abraham, 62, who started the dress code in 1991, saying crime victims and their families expected a professional demeanor.

A hiring-strategies panel in June recommended changing the rule after finding that women in law school expected to be able to wear pantsuits to work.

WASHINGTON

Sentencing set for serial killer

SEATTLE — Serial killer Gary Leon Ridgway, who pleaded guilty to 48 counts of murder, has finished leading investigators to sites where he left his victims and will be formally sentenced next month to life in prison without parole, authorities said.

Ridgway’s plea Nov. 5 to a two-decade killing spree that targeted runaways and prostitutes put more murders on his record than any other serial killer in U.S. history. Prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty in exchange for Ridgway’s cooperation on some of the unresolved Green River killings.

At the time, King County Superior Court Judge Richard Jones said he would delay formal sentencing for six months while investigators checked places where Ridgway remembered hiding bodies.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

MICHIGAN

Internet voting becomes option for minorities

LANSING — The Michigan Democratic Party issued a list of free Internet sites in minority communities where residents can vote for their favorite Democratic presidential candidate.

The Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee agreed to allow Michigan Democrats to offer Internet voting as one way to decide. Voters also can request a mail-in ballot or vote at 576 caucus sites Feb. 7.


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