- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 30, 2003


Man plows pickup into motorcyclists

PANAMA CITY BEACH — A man who had argued with five motorcyclists ran them down with a stolen pickup truck, killing two of the bikers and seriously injuring another, police said yesterday.

Witnesses told police that the driver chased the bikers about a half-mile down a coastal highway Wednesday before hitting the victims and dragging them along the road. The other bikers chased the truck, alerting an officer in a marked vehicle who joined the pursuit.

The driver of the pickup rammed the officer’s vehicle after driving onto a dead-end road, Deputy Police Chief David Humphreys said. Timothy E. Pilgren, 26, of Texarkana, Ark., was charged with two counts of murder.


Shooting victim called volatile

GALVESTON — Three witnesses in the trial of millionaire Robert Durst said the neighbor he is accused of fatally shooting flew into violent rages, in one case threatening to bomb a building and “roast marshmallows over the embers.”

Former Galveston social worker Trisha Wooten testified Wednesday that Morris Black had to be strapped to his bed during a 1999 hospital stay.

The witnesses were called by the defense to bolster Mr. Durst’s claim that he shot his 71-year-old neighbor and friend in September 2001 as the two struggled for a gun. Mr. Durst admits he dismembered Mr. Black’s body then dumped it into Galveston Bay.


Vaccine-laced bait to fight rabies

SCOTTSBORO — Wildlife officials trying to curb raccoon rabies will drop vaccine-laced bait into woods by aircraft beginning Nov. 14.

The greenish-brown bait is mainly fish meal and oil and contains in its center a plastic packet of the pink liquid vaccine, officials say.


Cave guides try to debunk bat myth

INSIDE BLANCHARD SPRINGS CAVERN — Tiny creatures swoop back and forth in the cool, damp quiet of a dark cave in the Ozark Mountains, catching the frightened attention of tourists hiking hundreds of feet underground.

Thousands of bats regularly hibernate in the cave at Blanchard Springs, prompting questions and old wives’ tales from tourists.

Toni Guinn, an information officer at the cave, said the guides at Blanchard Springs, near the town of Fifty Six in the Ozark Mountains, try to debunk the ghoulish myths that surround the animals and instead teach visitors to respect bats.

“We get questions about rabies in bats all the time, but we’ve never had a positive,” she said. “Tradition has it that bats carry it. It’s bad news that refuses to die.”

A large misconception, she said, is that the bats will flit down and tangle themselves into a person’s hair.

“In all the time I’ve been here, I’ve never had a bat get in my hair,” said Miss Guinn, who doesn’t wear a bandana in the cave. “They’re not really crazy about us.”


Lottery winners to get commission

MILPITAS — A Santa Clara couple will not only receive half of a $99 million lottery jackpot — they also get the commission for selling the winning ticket.

Narinder Badwal said Monday he had not checked the Oct. 22 Super Lotto jackpot ticket he bought at his 7-Eleven franchise store until his brother urged him to take a look.

Mr. Badwal and his wife, Lilla Singh, officially claimed the ticket last week.

The couple chose the annuity option and will receive payments, before a 25 percent federal withholding, starting at $1.2 million and graduating to $2.5 million by the 26th year, lottery officials said.

They also will get a $247,500 commission for selling one of the winning tickets. The other winners, a couple from Southern California, claimed their ticket last week.


Sheriff wants Columbine probe

GOLDEN — Jefferson County’s new sheriff wants investigators to interview a former deputy who apparently was told two years before the Columbine High School massacre that the gunmen bragged about making pipe bombs and were looking for a “ground zero.”

A report discovered last week indicates Deputy John Hicks was given information in 1997 about a Web site that included the boast and the “ground zero” reference by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.

Sheriff Ted Mink, who took office in July, said Wednesday the investigation of the Web site apparently went no further.


Flu vaccines given at casino

NEW LONDON — Want to stay healthy this winter? Try a trip to the casino.

As another flu and pneumonia season starts, several organizations are targeting casinos with their large numbers of elderly visitors as places to administer vaccines.

“It’s an ideal place,” said Susan Peak, the wellness coordinator at the Visiting Nurse’s Association of Central Connecticut, which administered flu and pneumonia shots at the Mohegan Sun Casino Wednesday.

The one-day casino clinic has in the past vaccinated as many as 600 patrons.

Kay O’Shea, 73, of Massachusetts, said she typically comes to the casino once a week. The one-stop gambling and inoculation is “killing two birds with one stone,” she said.


Ex-teacher becomes outhouse authority

LAWRENCEVILLE — Few people enjoy bathroom humor as much as Mary Frazier Long. In fact, the retired schoolteacher often gets phone calls from strangers, looking to share a few dirty jokes of their own.

That’s because Mrs. Long, 71, has spent almost 20 years collecting photos, stories, jokes and interesting information about outhouses, which are fast becoming a thing of the past, she said.

In 1984, Mrs. Long and her husband, Dean, published a book called “Old Georgia Privies,” with photographs of Georgia outhouses, accompanied by poems and sayings.

When she retired a decade later, the Lawrenceville resident began lecturing around the state to civic clubs and church groups. She donates fees from her talk, titled Privial Pursuits, and profits from book sales to scholarship funds.


Student accused of burning costume

ELLSWORTH — A high school student suffered severe burns after his Army sniper costume of leaves and a grasslike material was set on fire by a classmate during a Halloween assembly yesterday, police said.

A 15-year-old at Ellsworth High School was charged with starting the fire with a lighter after reputedly saying, “I wonder if this will burn,” police Lt. Harold Page said.

Donald Awalt, 14, was airlifted to a Boston hospital with third-degree burns. He suffered burns to his back, legs and head, Lt. Page said. His condition was not immediately released.

“This is just a prank gone horrifically wrong,” Lt. Page said.

About 500 students, many in costume, were at the “Spook Day” assembly in the school gymnasium when the flames broke out at the top of the bleachers.


Governor questions auctioning of tickets

KANSAS CITY — Gov. Bob Holden, a Democrat, asked the board that oversees the operation of Royals and Arrowhead stadiums to change its policies on distribution of free Chiefs tickets to its five members.

The request follows an investigation into how four free tickets wound up for sale on the Internet. The tickets attracted a high bid of $611.01 before being removed from the EBay site.


Illusionist moved to UCLA hospital

LAS VEGAS — Illusionist Roy Horn has been transferred to UCLA Medical Center as he recovers from injuries he suffered when he was mauled by one of his tigers, hospital officials said Wednesday.

Mr. Horn, 59, of the famed “Siegfried & Roy” animal and magic act, had been in intensive care at University Medical Center in Las Vegas until his Tuesday transfer.

“Roy is now making the transition from survival to recovery,” longtime partner Siegfried Fischbacher said in a statement.

Mr. Horn’s condition was serious, but his vital signs were stable. He was attacked Oct. 3 by one of the white tigers featured in the duo’s show. Immediately after the attack, Mr. Horn reportedly said: “Don’t harm the cat.”

The 7-year-old white tiger named Montecore has been released from quarantine.


Nuclear plant reopens after record refueling

SEABROOK — The Seabrook nuclear plant is back online after workers completed a 25-day refueling. The refueling was said to be the fastest in plant history and the ninth since the plant began operating in 1990.

Seabrook Station, the newest nuclear reactor in the nation, produces enough power for about 1 million homes and businesses.


Officials want to stop exhumation

SILVER CITY — City councilors said the mayor should take whatever steps he deems necessary to prevent the exhumation of the body of Billy the Kid’s mother.

Lincoln County officials want Catherine Antrim’s body exhumed as part of an inquiry into whether the outlaw is buried in Lincoln County. Mayor Terry Fortenberry has called the proposed exhumation a publicity stunt.


Infant twins drown in flood-swept car

DELHI — A rain-swollen river swept away a car containing twin infants, and divers found their bodies still strapped into the vehicle yesterday.

Rescuers hauled the PT Cruiser to the bank of the Delaware River, wrapped the bodies in yellow tarps and handed them over to emergency personnel.

Brahm and Grae, 10 months old, were strapped into their seats when the car, driven by their mother, Dawn Dykstra, 43, hit a flooded section of road Wednesday and was pulled into the fast-moving river in Delhi, about 60 miles southwest of Albany, authorities said.


Candy company caters to boomers

CLEVELAND — Baby boomers can’t seem to grow up, at least when comes to their taste in candy.

The Woodstock Candy company is doing a booming business, catering to the boomers’ sweet tooth.

“People are usually thrilled to know that a lot of candy from their childhood is still available,” said Bridget Sweeney-Bell of the Woodstock, N.Y., confections company.

What’s big for Halloween for baby boomers? “Wax lips are very popular,” said Miss Sweeney-Bell, who also listed favorites including candy buttons on paper, Gold Mine Gum, candy cigarettes and Nik-L-Nips.

Tom Scheiman has 2,500 items in his Cleveland candy store, 200 of which he classifies as “nostalgic,” and are hard to find. His top Halloween nostalgic item: wax fangs.


Prison standoff ends peacefully

BISHOPVILLE — Two prison guards were held hostage for five hours before inmates armed with homemade knives let them go when a TV reporter was allowed inside the maximum-security prison, officials said.

The inmates gained control of a wing at the Lee Correctional Institution during dinner time Wednesday, and agreed to release the guards around 10:30 p.m., Lee County Sheriff E.J. Melvin said.

Five inmates staged the uprising in a wing that houses about 260 prisoners, Corrections Department Inspector General Charlie Sheppard said.

One of the guards suffered a minor stab wound to the arm and was taken to a hospital. Mr. Sheppard said the other guard locked himself in a cell during the standoff.

WIS-TV’s Craig Melvin said he was allowed inside the prison after authorities were told the inmates were beating up the guard and wanted to talk to reporters.


Defunct reactor to get cover

OAK RIDGE — It has been almost four decades since the world’s first continuously operated nuclear reactor was defueled, but the Graphite Reactor’s core remains radioactive.

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory plans to entomb the reactor cavity with hundreds of tons of concrete and thereby smother the remaining radioactive elements.


Green River suspect to plead guilty

SEATTLE — The man suspected of being the Green River Killer has agreed to plead guilty next week to the murders of 48 women in a deal that would spare him from execution, a source told the Associated Press yesterday.

Gary Leon Ridgway, a 54-year-old truck painter arrested in the serial killer case in 2001, will admit to murdering 42 women on investigators’ list of Green River Killer victims, as well as six women not on the list, said the source, who is involved in the case and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Green River Killer preyed mostly on prostitutes, drug addicts, young runaways and other women on the streets. The case is named for the waterway where the first bodies were found in the suburbs south of Seattle in mid-1982. Most of the slayings were in the mid-1980s, the source said.

Ridgway was arrested nearly two years ago and was ultimately charged with seven slayings. Prosecutors said DNA evidence and microscopic paint particles linked him to most of those killings.


Snowstorm slams into northern Rockies

CHEYENNE — A deadly storm slammed into the northern Rocky Mountain region, dumping snow on parts of Wyoming and Utah and causing temperatures to plunge suddenly by up to 50 degrees.

Travel was hazardous across Wyoming, with dozens of highway collisions, and a pilot was killed when his plane crashed in Cody.

In central Wyoming, at least 9 inches of snow had fallen around Lander and about 7 inches was reported in Casper from early Wednesday to yesterday morning, and double that was expected before the storm ends around Sunday.

Northern Utah saw up to 5 inches. Snow in Montana was light, but winds were sharp and temperatures could drop below zero tonight.

Parts of Wyoming remained under a winter-storm warning through this morning.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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