- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 4, 2003

CALIFORNIA

Plane crashes into mobile-home park

SANTA CLARITA — A small plane crashed into a mobile-home park, killing the pilot, destroying two homes and slightly injuring a resident.

The cause of Sunday’s crash in the Mint Canyon Mobile Home Park, about 25 miles north of downtown Los Angeles, had not been determined.

The plane was a privately owned T-33 military training aircraft, built in 1953, which had taken off from Van Nuys Airport, said Bruce Nelson, a Federal Aviation Administration operations officer.

CONNECTICUT

Workers fired over anthrax hoax

HARTFORD — Two state workers were fired yesterday over a 2001 anthrax hoax that forced the evacuation of more than 800 employees from an office building.

Joseph Faryniarz and David Sattler were dismissed by Connecticut’s Department of Environmental Protection for engaging in an activity that is “detrimental to the best interests of the agency or the state,” commissioner Arthur Rocque said.

Mr. Faryniarz was sentenced to one year of probation last December for lying to federal agents about a white powder found on his desk next to a piece of paper marked with the misspelled word “anthax” on Oct. 11, 2001.

ALABAMA

Rudolph lawyer seeks to delay trial date

BIRMINGHAM — Eric Rudolph’s lawyer told a court yesterday that he can’t be ready for trial by June 1, the date suggested by prosecutors who blame Mr. Rudolph for a fatal abortion-clinic bombing in Alabama.

While Mr. Rudolph has been in custody since May, the government has turned over more than 15,200 witness statements and two sets of 40 three-ring binder notebooks, according to papers filed by defense attorney Richard Jaffe.

Going through such a massive amount of material takes a lot of time, Mr. Jaffe said, and Mr. Rudolph’s defense team consists of only three lawyers.

The government, however, has been working on the case for seven years, has hundreds of agents and has “an untold number of government attorneys to collect, decipher and interpret” evidence, Mr. Jaffe said.

Mr. Jaffe said the June 1 trial suggested by prosecutors was “unrealistic and impossible to achieve,” but he did not suggest an alternate date.

ALASKA

New ferry to be based in Juneau

JUNEAU — A new state fast ferry will be based in Juneau instead of Sitka. The 235-foot ferry, the Fairweather, is set to begin operating in May.

It will make runs to Haines and Skagway five days a week and to Sitka two days a week.

ARIZONA

Airport short on security screeners

PHOENIX — Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is about 13 percent short of the number of required security screeners, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

The airport has lost 130 of its 1,026 TSA screeners since June. A high turnover rate and a complex hiring process have contributed to the shortages, officials say.

Sky Harbor is one of 89 airports nationwide that is understaffed by at least 120 screeners.

COLORADO

Lynch, soldier plan June wedding

COLORADO SPRINGS — Former prisoner of war Pfc. Jessica Lynch plans to visit her fiance’s family this Thanksgiving and to marry Army Sgt. Ruben Contreras in June, the groom-to-be’s mother said.

Sgt. Contreras’ mother, Lisa Latorre of Widefield, would not disclose the exact date and location of the wedding, The Gazette of Colorado Springs reported in Sunday’s editions.

“I want this to be a real wedding for them, not just a bunch of media storming in,” the mother-in-law-to-be said.

Miss Lynch, 20, and Sgt. Contreras met almost two years ago at a Taco Bell near Fort Bliss, Texas, where they were stationed.

In January, Miss Lynch was shipped to Kuwait with the 507th Maintenance Company. She was captured March 23 after her convoy was ambushed in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah. She was rescued from an Iraqi hospital on April 1 by U.S. forces.

DELAWARE

Courts criticized for costly copy fees

WILMINGTON — Copies of legal documents from some Delaware courts have become so expensive that a trip to the courthouse could leave some folks wondering whether they’re headed for the poorhouse.

The price of photocopies of public documents at Chancery and Superior courts has risen 50 percent to $1.50 a page, well above the price charged by other courts in the area.

“These prices are way out of line with what a private business would charge,” said John Flaherty, a lobbyist for Common Cause of Delaware, a government watchdog group. “No business in Delaware would survive charging these kinds of prices.”

Photocopy fees for other courts in the region range from 20 cents a page in federal civil court to 25 cents a page in Justice of the Peace Court to $1 a page in the state Supreme, Family and Common Pleas courts. The commercial chain Kinko’s, about eight blocks from the courthouse, charges 9 cents for one-sided copies on a sheet of standard white paper.

The Delaware Freedom of Information Act says charges for photocopying should be “reasonable.”

FLORIDA

Police say woman killed by ex-boyfriend

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS — A man killed his ex-girlfriend after a church service, shooting her once in front of her family in the parking lot and then chasing her inside and shooting her again, authorities said.

Willie Crowder, 59, was arrested late Sunday in Orlando, about 8 miles from the shooting scene, authorities said yesterday. He was being held on a murder charge with no bail.

After the Sunday afternoon service at Peaceful Zion Baptist Church, Mr. Crowder pulled out a pistol in the parking lot and shot Anne Horne Savage, 44, once in the head, the Seminole County sheriff’s office said in a news release.

Her 15-year-old daughter, her brother and her sister all struggled with Mr. Crowder, but he chased the woman into a church annex building and shot her four more times as she begged for help, witnesses said.

She recently had split with Mr. Crowder after a five-year relationship, said her sister, Rose Horne.

ILLINOIS

Student convicted in hazing violence

SKOKIE — A teenager charged in the violent hazing of other high school students was found guilty of misdemeanor battery yesterday.

Gina Mengarelli, 18, was sentenced to a year of court supervision and 40 hours of community service, which she already has completed.

Miss Mengarelli denied kneeling on one girl and pulling the hair of another girl and pushing her to the ground, as a videotape showed.

Miss Mengarelli was one of 16 students charged after the May 4 hazing. Video of the students from Glenbrook North High School showed senior girls pummeling junior girls in a muddy field and dumping buckets of animal guts and other filth on them.

In all, 15 students have been convicted of misdemeanor battery or alcohol charges.

Two parents also were charged. The mother of one of the students pleaded guilty to providing alcohol to minors.

INDIANA

Ex-lawmaker dies of cancer

BLOOMINGTON — Former Rep. Frank McCloskey, an outspoken champion of Bosnia during his 12 years in Congress, died Sunday after a yearlong battle with bladder cancer. He was 64.

Mr. McCloskey represented southwestern Indiana’s 8th District in Congress from 1983 to 1995.

Mr. McCloskey, who made several trips to Bosnia during his years in Congress, called in 1992 for selective air strikes against Serb forces if they continued their siege of Bosnia-Herzegovina. He later criticized the Clinton administration’s handling of the Bosnian conflict and called for the resignation of then-Secretary of State Warren Christopher, warning that Serbs were committing genocide in Bosnia.

In 2002, Mr. McCloskey was named director of Kosovo programs for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, where he was teaching leaders how to govern democratically.

LOUISIANA

LSU to hire 50 professors

BATON ROUGE — Louisiana State University is advertising nationally for 50 tenure-track professors.

Chancellor Mark Emmert said the school relies too heavily on its 300 lower-paid instructors in information technology, biotechnology, English and other subjects.

Mr. Emmert wants to pay for the new positions by cutting instructors. He said comparable universities only have about 50 instructors.

MAINE

Signature gatherers using Election Day

PORTLAND — Petitions on fuel taxes, bear hunting and smoking will be circulating at hundreds of polling places today in efforts to gather enough signatures to put three citizen initiatives on the 2004 ballot.

Each referendum drive must collect 50,519 certified signatures by Feb. 2 to be placed on the ballot.

MICHIGAN

Ex-police chief faces handgun charges

DETROIT — The city’s former police chief was charged with a misdemeanor count of possessing an unlicensed handgun yesterday, three days after he resigned for having the weapon in his luggage when he boarded a flight.

Jerry Oliver, 56, did not tell airport security officials he had the loaded, .25-caliber pistol in his checked luggage Oct. 18 at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Security personnel detected the gun and confiscated it, but Mr. Oliver, who already had boarded a plane, was allowed to continue his flight to Philadelphia.

Mr. Oliver stepped down on Friday, saying the controversy over the gun had become a distracting sideshow.

Prosecutor Michael Duggan, who had warned Mr. Oliver that the state charge would be filed, said Mr. Oliver should have registered the gun when he moved to Michigan.

Federal authorities charged him with a civil infraction and said he would be fined $300 to $1,000.

NEBRASKA

Zoo workers round up monkeys

OMAHA — It was the zoo equivalent of a cattle drive: Monkeys rounded up to be taken inside for the winter.

Only it wasn’t a dry and dusty job Saturday for workers at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo because the 17 monkeys live on islands in an outdoor lagoon.

Human and primate alike got wet.

Several monkeys climbed an artificial tree that covers much of the main island. As three workers climbed the tree, the monkeys went even higher and moved out to the tips of the branches.

Zoo workers gently prodded one monkey to lower branches, but the creature quickly grabbed a rope to reach another island. Two zookeepers jumped into the lagoon and picked up the monkey from behind, just as another zookeeper in a rowboat closed in.

NEW YORK

House fire kills son years after dad

LIVERPOOL — Nearly eight years after he helped pull his dying father from their burning house, a 45-year-old man died when a blaze tore through the home again.

Firefighters on Sunday found Garry Gardner on the floor a few feet from the front door — where his father was found Jan. 7, 1996.

Neighbor Mike Secreti said the scene was eerily similar to the first fire when he and Garry Gardner rescued Mr. Gardner’s father from the smoke-filled house. George Gardner, 72, died a short time later from smoke inhalation.

On Sunday, Mr. Secreti was fixing a late-night snack when he heard his wife screaming that the Gardner house was on fire again. This time, flames made it impossible to get into the house.

Garry Gardner suffered smoke inhalation and burns over 90 percent of his body. He died at a hospital.

Three other persons, including Mr. Gardner’s 70-year-old mother, escaped the fire.

OKLAHOMA

Budget woes affecting defense system

OKLAHOMA CITY — Budget woes are preventing Oklahoma’s indigent defense system from keeping up with its caseload and could expose it to a potential civil rights lawsuit, according to the system’s director.

The state agency is unable to meet staffing standards required by the American Bar Association, executive director Jim Bednar said. More than $2 million has been cut from the indigent defense system since January 2002.

PENNSYLVANIA

Resort owners want to build homes

MOUNT POCONO — The owners of Mount Airy Resort are seeking permission to demolish the once-famous hotel and begin residential development on most of the 1,200-acre property. Local officials are opposed.

The sprawling 550-room hotel was once one of the largest and most popular resorts in the country. It closed two years ago after a decadelong decline.

TENNESSEE

Baby shot in gun battle

MEMPHIS — A 1-year-old boy was in critical condition over the weekend after he was shot Friday night while he and his teenage mother were trick-or-treating.

Octavious Washington was in the arms of his mother, 14-year-old Sade Washington, when a gun battle between two groups of young people broke out nearby. A bullet struck the baby in the head.

“I feel very, very terrible,” Sade told the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

WISCONSIN

Couple wed in hot-air balloon

WAUSAU — Rick Buntrock and Anne Wait started married life on a high point over the weekend.

After a year of planning for their special way of tying the knot, the two waved to cheering guests Saturday as they rose on the breeze in the basket of a hot air balloon bedecked with streamers.

Mr. Buntrock, 39, and Miss Wait, 40, had decided that a hot-air balloon more than 1,000 feet in the air was the perfect place for their ceremony.

The couple’s balloon also carried pilot Steve Woller and his wife, Judy, hosting their first balloon wedding, the minister performing the ceremony and the two witnesses. Three balloons filled with family and friends also launched to watch the couple say “I do.”

It was the Rev. John Meachen’s first hot-air balloon ride.

Mr. Meachen, pastor at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Wausau, said he has performed ceremonies outside in parks, barns and even boats, but never in a hot-air balloon.

“I’m going to draw the line at sky diving,” he said.


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