- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 8, 2003


Injured man misses his pet tiger

NEW YORK — A man who raised a tiger in his New York apartment limped out of a courthouse on a badly bitten leg Tuesday, wishing he could be reunited with his wild pet.

“I’d love to see my tiger,” Antoine Yates said of the 400-pound, mixed orange and white Siberian-Bengal tiger, Ming, as he left state court. “He didn’t really attack me. He got confused, and I got caught in the cross fire.”

Mr. Yates, 31, faces a charge of reckless endangerment and two counts of possession of a wild animal.

Animal control officers, police and Bronx Zoo workers on Saturday captured the 20-month-old tiger, which had been kept in the fifth-floor apartment in Harlem since he was a 6-week-old cub. They also found a 5-foot-long alligator. Both animals were tranquilized and removed to sanctuaries.


Boy tries new treatment for Fabry’s

RALEIGH — Ann Lawson would hear shrieks from her son as burning pain suddenly, inexplicably, shot through his feet while he was trying to play on the family farm.

Derek Lawson may get some relief from what have doctors diagnosed as Fabry’s disease, a rare, deadly, genetic disorder that keeps his body from breaking down a naturally occurring fatty protein.

A treatment approved by the Food and Drug Administration in April — Genzyme Corp.’s Fabrazyme — replaces a fat-metabolizing enzyme that Fabry’s patients lack. Derek, 13, was the first child in the United States to receive the treatment when he started the biweekly infusions in July.

An estimated 5,000 people in the United States — mostly adult men — suffer from Fabry’s disease. Most die from kidney failure, heart disease or other complications by the age of 50.


Bear mauling kills grizzly advocate, friend

ANCHORAGE — An advocate of grizzly bear protection and his camping companion were fatally mauled by one or more bears in a remote part of Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Preserve, officials said Tuesday.

The National Park Service and the Alaska state troopers reported the deaths of Timothy Treadwell, 46, the founder of Grizzly People, an organization devoted to the protection of grizzly bears and their habitat, and Amie Huguenard, 37, both of Malibu, Calif.

The co-author of a book titled “Among Grizzlies: Living with Wild Bears in Alaska,” Mr. Treadwell appeared on CBS’ “Late Show with David Letterman” and traveled the country to lecture on the bears and their environment.

The bodies were discovered when an air taxi pilot flew to the site on Monday afternoon to pick up the campers. He found the campsite damaged and a brown bear atop what appeared to be a human body, eating the remains.

When park rangers and state troopers flew to the remote site to recover the bodies, they had to kill two aggressive bears that were threatening them, officials said.


Official fights to save Columbine records

DENVER — Colorado’s attorney general has joined a legal fight to preserve depositions by parents of the Columbine High School gunmen, saying Tuesday that records of the 1999 shootings are of “substantial public and historical importance.”

U.S. Magistrate Judge Patricia Coan drew sharp criticism from victims’ families last month when she ordered the sealed depositions destroyed.

Judge Coan said the material was no longer needed because the families had settled their lawsuit against the parents of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who gunned down 12 students and a teacher before killing themselves.


Judge allows feeding tube to be removed

CLEARWATER — A state circuit judge refused yesterday to delay the removal of the feeding tube keeping a brain-damaged woman alive.

Terri Schiavo’s parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, had asked Circuit Judge George W. Greer to delay the Oct. 15 removal of her feeding tube so that they could appeal the decision denying therapy that could determine whether their daughter could eat and swallow on her own.

Terri Schiavo, 39, suffered severe brain damage after a heart attack 13 years ago and remains in a vegetative state. Her parents have waged a long legal battle to stop their son-in-law, Michael Schiavo, from disconnecting the feeding tube. Mr. Schiavo contends that his wife would not want to be kept alive artificially.

A federal judge is scheduled to hear arguments tomorrow on a lawsuit filed by the Schindlers to try to get Mr. Schiavo removed as their daughter’s legal guardian.


Police alert parents to suicide rumors

DES MOINES — Police woke the parents of nine high school students before dawn to warn them of a purported suicide pact a week after a 15-year-old classmate hanged himself.

Lincoln High School Principal Al Graziano said a student was overheard talking about suicide Monday night and later told authorities that others were involved. Officers went to each student’s home early Tuesday.

Many involved were freshmen and sophomores, five girls and four boys, police said. They all were friends of William Metzger Jr., a 15-year-old who hanged himself last week after a car crash that killed three of his friends on Sept. 23. The boy’s funeral was held Monday.


Feds investigating zoo after gorilla escape

BOSTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investigating a Boston zoo after a 300-pound gorilla escaped from his enclosure last month and injured two persons, officials said Tuesday.

The department has begun a probe of the Franklin Park Zoo to determine whether there were any violations of the Animal Welfare Act, a federal law that covers animals on display at zoos, USDA spokesman Jim Rogers said.

Zoo spokeswoman Melissa Grossenbacher confirmed that federal authorities had inspected the zoo last week after the gorilla, nicknamed “Little Joe,” escaped for the second time in as many months.

“What we’re being investigated for is the animal getting out of its enclosure — certainly not a cruelty thing or anything like that,” Miss Grossenbacher said.


Teen mom charged in killing of baby

ST. PAUL — A 14-year-old girl was charged this week with intentional second-degree murder in the death of her newborn baby, whom she is accused of strangling and hiding in a shoe box last Thursday.

Prosecutors also filed a motion seeking to try the girl as an adult, according to Jack Rhodes, a spokesman for the county attorney’s office. A hearing on the adult certification request is scheduled for Nov. 4, Mr. Rhodes told the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune.

The eighth-grader, whose name was not released because she’s a minor, had not told her parents she was pregnant, police said. But the excessive bleeding that followed her delivery prompted her parents to call for paramedics, who recommended that she be taken to a hospital.


State needs to fill 1,500 nursing slots

BILOXI — Mississippi is struggling to fill 1,500 nursing vacancies in hospitals and nursing homes, officials said. The state’s Office of Nursing Workforce said baby boomers are getting older and need the services the health care system can provide.

Mississippi is actively recruiting nurses who could obtain master’s degrees and help educate others desirous of joining the profession.


Camps hit by fires donate food

MISSOULA — Forest fires near here in the summer have turned into a windfall for the Missoula Food Bank, which has received more than two tons of leftover fire-camp food. The leftovers included fresh meat and nearly a half-ton of fresh vegetables.

Food Bank officials say the donations have helped prepare more than 3,200 meals.


Water in wells found unsafe

GRAND ISLAND — Residents of a rural neighborhood have been showering in churches and drinking bottled water after tests showed that their wells were contaminated with industrial solvents known to cause cancer, as well as liver and kidney damage.

The wells showed dangerously high levels of two industrial solvents — dichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene — found last year in a nearby city well that was later shut down.

The contamination is so severe that health officials have advised residents in the 24 affected homes against coming into any contact with the water, and are considering applying for federal Superfund designation.

The contamination has been found in the private water wells in a rural area southwest of the city, which has a population of about 44,000.


Anti-TV author dies of lung cancer

NEW YORK — Neil Postman, a New York University professor and author who criticized the television industry for treating serious issues as entertainment, died Sunday of lung cancer. He was 72.

Mr. Postman argued in his 1985 book, “Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business,” that television has such resonance that it diminishes our ability to take the world seriously.

In “The Disappearance of Childhood,” from 1994, he complained that television homogenizes the worlds of children and adults by giving the children access to vast amounts of information that was once reserved for adults.

A faculty member at NYU for 39 years, Mr. Postman wrote 20 books.


State scrapping ‘smart cards’

COLUMBUS — The state is scrapping a $22 million food stamp program in favor of a cheaper system used by most states.

“Smart cards” with computer chips containing account information will be replaced by ones almost identical to credit cards. The state installed 11,000 machines to read the cards at groceries and other stores.


Surprised burglars shoot teacher

PHILADELPHIA — A teacher was shot when he surprised two men trying to steal computers from a day-care center early yesterday, police said.

Bernard Fowler, 24, was wounded in the shoulder and was treated at a hospital and released.

Police said there were no children in the center at the time, and that they were searching for the two assailants.


University to build hotel in Columbia

COLUMBIA — The University of South Carolina reached an agreement with local hotel owners to build its own inn in downtown Columbia. Owners previously had opposed the university’s plan, saying it would take guests away from them.

The university’s 117-room hotel won’t be able to reserve rooms on commercial Web sites. The Inn at USC is expected to open by 2005.


Former first lady hospitalized after fall

AUSTIN — Lady Bird Johnson was taken to a hospital emergency room yesterday after a fall at her home but was released shortly afterward.

Mrs. Johnson, 90, who uses a walker, fell backward, her spokeswoman said. She was taken by ambulance to Seton Medical Center as a precaution and released.

“I gather she just stumbled a bit. I don’t believe she was knocked unconscious,” Betty Tilson, the spokeswoman, said. “She didn’t want to go to the hospital, but they insisted that she go. She’s on her way home.”

The widow of former President Lyndon B. Johnson attended a function Tuesday night at the LBJ Library and Museum at the University of Texas.


Motorist fighting vanity plate rejection

SALT LAKE CITY — Dennis Udink says there’s nothing dirty about his name.

He’s trying to get a vanity license plate in Utah that says “UDINK.” But his request has been rejected by the Division of Motor Vehicles, which says the plate is vulgar.

Mr. Udink appealed and has a hearing scheduled for later this month. Now, he’s getting support from state Senate Minority Leader Mike Dmitrich, a Democrat who sits on the legislative committee that has oversight of the rule-making process. Mr. Dmitrich plans to suggest a rule change to the Administrative Rules Review Committee that would give the DMV more discretion when a red flag pops up on an application.

“I have a good friend whose last name is Hori. If you want to make that offensive, then it could be very offensive,” Mr. Dmitrich said.


Horse recovering after highway fall

CHARLES TOWN — A horse was recovering yesterday after kicking open the door of a speeding trailer and tumbling onto a highway.

Webren, a 4-year-old Friesian, suffered scrapes and a serious cut above his left eye when he fell from the trailer’s side door on Interstate 81 near Martinsburg.

Veterinarian Ian Harrison said no bones were broken and the horse is expected to recover.

The driver, Rick Simonetti, owner of Friesians 4 USA in Mount Jackson, Va., could hear the horse kicking the sides of the trailer until the door popped open, said West Virginia State Police Trooper J.M. Droppleman.

No other cars were hit and no person was injured in the accident. Mr. Simonetti was transporting what he called his “quiet, tame gelding” to a buyer in Harrisburg, Pa.


Court upholds fine against protester

MADISON — A state appeals court ruled that a reverend can’t be rude to the nude.

The 3rd District Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld a $1,000 fine against a minister accused of taunting a woman in a parking lot near a nude beach in 2001. The court said Ralph Ovadal’s conduct crossed the line from constitutionally protected free speech to intimidation.

The ruling affirmed a decision by Dane County Circuit Judge Paul Higginbotham.

Mr. Ovadal, pastor of Christ the King Church in Monroe, said he would appeal to the state Supreme Court.

“We’ll do it for the cause of Christian liberty and the First Amendment,” he said.

Nancy Erickson had parked her car near Mazomanie Beach, and Mr. Ovadal, who has protested nudity at the beach since 1998 by handing out written Bible verses, led protesters in shouting derogatory remarks.

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