- The Washington Times - Friday, August 20, 2004

FLORIDA

Deputy killed, one injuredserving search warrant

FORT LAUDERDALE — A sheriff’s deputy was fatally shot and another was wounded yesterday as they served a search warrant seeking child pornography, officials said.

Detective Todd Fatta, 33, was killed after shots fired in the chest penetrated his bulletproof vest, Broward County Sheriff Ken Jenne said. The detective’s partner was taken to a hospital.

The occupant of the house, Kenneth Wilk, was taken into custody, but no charges were filed, Sheriff Jenne said late in the morning. Other officers returned fire at Mr. Wilk, but he was not injured, the sheriff said.

Mr. Wilk, 42, was arrested last year when he reportedly threatened officers who served a child pornography warrant at the home.

GEORGIA

Bail denied for teens suspected in killings

FAYETTEVILLE — Two teenage girls accused of killing one of the girls’ grandparents were denied bail yesterday.

Prosecutors argued that Sandy Ketchum, 16, and Holly Harvey, 15, should stay in jail because they are flight risks and because of the severity of the crime. Fayette County Superior Court Judge Paschal English did not explain in his ruling why he denied the bail, but promised a speedy trial.

Holly Harvey is accused of recruiting Miss Ketchum, her lesbian lover, to help kill Holly’s grandparents, Carl and Sarah Collier, both in their 70s, in their home on Aug. 2, police said.

Police say the couple, with whom Holly lived, had ordered her to stop seeing the girl and to stop using drugs.

ALASKA

Gardener grows monster cantaloupe

ANCHORAGE — A gardener has done the seemingly impossible in Alaska: growing a record-breaking cantaloupe, a fruit that craves heat and founders in rain.

In a season marked by hotter and drier weather than usual, Scott Robb has produced a 64.8-pound muskmelon — an unofficial world record. He plans to enter the colossal fruit in the Alaska State Fair in Palmer next week.

Growing a mammoth melon in Alaska is virtually unheard of. The world record belongs to a grower in the loamy, sun-baked fields of North Carolina. So did the record before that.

The official weight of Mr. Robb’s melon came in 1.3 pounds over the current record. Guinness World Records still needs to certify it, a process that can take up to six months.

DELAWARE

Troopers’s lawsuit charges retaliation

WILMINGTON — Three Delaware State Police troopers filed a federal lawsuit yesterday claiming their commanders have retaliated against them for speaking out about problems at the police firing range.

Sgt. Christopher Foraker and Cpls. Kurt Price and Wayne Warren say they were targeted for retaliation after meeting with state auditors investigating problems at the Smyrna firing range, which opened in 1998 but was closed in March because of safety and environmental problems.

The troopers say police superintendent Col. Aaron Chaffinch and deputy superintendent Lt. Col. Thomas MacLeish initially ignored their concerns, then began harassing them after they met with state auditors in May, and again last month.

HAWAII

Former senator dead at 97

HONOLULU — Hiram Fong, a Hawaiian-born Republican who became the first Asian-American in the U.S. Senate, died Wednesday at the age of 97 in a Honolulu hospital, family members said.

Mr. Fong, a lawyer, politician and businessman, had been out of the political spotlight for more than 20 years, but his story was well-known in Hawaii, where he was a popular figure.

MASSACHUSETTS

Birders flock to see rare falcon

BOSTON — Hundreds of U.S. bird lovers have flocked to a New England resort island to catch a glimpse of a rare falcon that appears to have made a wrong turn, ended up half a world away and may never find its way home.

Until about two weeks ago the red-footed falcon, a bird of prey that breeds in Eastern Europe and winters in the savannahs of Africa, had never been seen in North America.

But on Aug. 8, Vernon Laux, an ornithologist on Martha’s Vineyard, photographed what he thought was an exotic bird. Days later, a Harvard University museum curator, Jeremiah Trimble, identified the animal.

MINNESOTA

Temperatures fall to record low

TOWER — The calendar may say August, but in this northeastern Minnesota town early yesterday, it was cold. Plenty cold.

The temperature overnight fell to 25, while nearby Embarrass posted a reading of 27, the National Weather Service said. Both readings beat the records for the date by 2 degrees.

The low at International Falls, which calls itself the Nation’s Icebox, was a relatively balmy 36 degrees. Still, it broke the city’s record low for the date of 37, set two years ago.

The cold brought scattered light frost across parts of northeastern and central Minnesota.

North Dakota also had its share of shivering citizens. Fargo’s reading of 39 broke a record for the date of 40 degrees that had stood for 109 years. Grand Forks tied its record low of 39.

NEW YORK

Flag returns to ground zero

NEW YORK — An American flag that flew over the post office across from the World Trade Center was returned to ground zero yesterday during a rededication of the restored postal facility.

The flag, found in the rubble after the September 11 terrorist attacks, will be mounted in the post office lobby as a memorial.

“This flag, covered with the dust and debris, became a symbol of hope — hope that this building would one day be restored to service — and hope that the people of New York and this nation would also be restored,” Postmaster General John Potter said.

The 15-story limestone building just north of ground zero was contaminated by asbestos, mercury and other substances. Workers had to demolish interior walls and replace elevator parts to make the building safe again. It reopened Aug. 2.

OKLAHOMA

Nichols declines to appeal convictions

PONCA CITY — Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols will not appeal his state murder convictions for his role in the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, his attorney said yesterday.

In a brief statement, attorney Brian Hermanson said Nichols did not want to prolong the pain for victims’ families.

Nichols already is serving life in prison without parole on federal charges for the April 19, 1995, bombing, which killed 168 persons.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Four will get honor for desegregation

COLUMBIA — Four South Carolinians who challenged the state’s segregated school system will receive Congress’ highest honor for civilians next month, lawmakers said Wednesday.

The Congressional Gold Medal will be awarded posthumously to the Rev. Joseph A. DeLaine, Harry and Eliza Briggs and Levi Pearson on Sept. 8 during a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol rotunda.

The lawsuit that Mr. DeLaine helped file, Briggs v. Elliot, became one of five leading cases rolled into the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court Brown v. Board of Education case.

Sen. Ernest F. Hollings, and Rep. James E. Clyburn, South Carolina Democrats, have pushed for the recognition of the four.

WASHINGTON

Beer-drinking bear passes out on lawn

BAKER LAKE — When state Fish and Wildlife agents found a black bear passed out on the lawn of Baker Lake Resort, there were some clues scattered nearby — dozens of empty cans of Rainier Beer.

The bear apparently got into campers’ coolers and used his claws and teeth to puncture the cans — and not just any cans.

“He drank the Rainier and wouldn’t drink the Busch beer,” said Lisa Broxson, bookkeeper at the campground and cabins resort east of Mount Baker.

Wildlife agents used a large, humane trap to capture the bear for relocation, baiting the trap with the usual: doughnuts, honey and, in this case, two open cans of Rainier. That did the trick.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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