- The Washington Times - Monday, August 23, 2004

FLORIDA

Crews work hard to restore power

PUNTA GORDA — Every morning on the outskirts of this storm-wrecked city, hundreds of utility workers from across the eastern United States get their daily marching orders: Get the juice flowing, now.

Nearly a million customers lost electricity on Aug. 13, when Hurricane Charley snapped poles and downed lines. A week and a half later, only about 90,000 remain without power. Florida Power & Light Co., the state’s largest electric utility, expects to finish restoring power by Sunday.

“When the power comes back on, I’ll probably jump for joy — and drink a cold beer,” said Paula Parker, a resident of rural Charlotte County.

NORTH CAROLINA

Five men charged in crash

LILLINGTON — Five men who reportedly tried to get into a locked bank and then fled from police rammed into a car, killing the driver and her teenage daughter.

The men in the getaway vehicle were charged with murder after the Friday crash that capped a high-speed chase. The pursuit began at a bank in Erwin, where workers locked the facility and called police after seeing men outside put on ski masks, Harnett Sheriff Larry Rollins said.

The sheriff said the fleeing men sped through an intersection and hit a vehicle driven by Wanda Knox, 43, who was with her daughter, Shannon, 17.

ARKANSAS

State to fund teacher scholarship

LITTLE ROCK — As many as 500 college students will get up to $6,000 annually if they agree to become teachers in understaffed subjects and areas of the state, Lt. Gov. Win Rockefeller said.

The State Teacher Assistance Resource program will award money on the condition that students agree to teach math, science or a foreign language or to focus on special education, or if they are willing to work in areas of Arkansas with critical teacher shortages.

IDAHO

Indian activists help register voters

LAPWAI — The National Congress of American Indians is working to register Nez Perce tribal members to vote. The movement is part of a nationwide effort led by the group to get 1 million of the nation’s 2.7 million eligible Indian voters to the polls in November.

The effort is billed as bipartisan, but the group also intends to provide candidate score cards relating to issues that are important to Indians.

LOUISIANA

Airport proposal lands developers

LAPLACE — The Louisiana Airport Authority said a team of Canadian and U.S. companies is ready to move forward on a proposed multibillion-dollar airport project. The authority is attempting to develop a huge cargo airport and transportation hub between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

The Canadian team will refine the master plan created in recent years by the authority.

MAINE

Tribe approves natural-gas facility

PORTLAND — Maine’s Passamaquoddy Indians have approved building a liquefied natural-gas terminal on their oceanfront reservation to help meet the region’s energy needs.

The 192-132 vote last week sets up fast-paced negotiations with Quoddy Bay LLC, an energy development partnership in Tulsa, Okla., to build a terminal on a 42-acre site on Passamaquoddy Bay.

Quoddy Bay spokesman Jim Mitchell said a definitive agreement with the tribal leadership will be ironed out within weeks.

The Passamaquoddy support comes in stark contrast to opposition from other communities, including Harpswell, where a proposal was voted down, and Fall River, Mass., where a proposal is being fought.

The Maine project would be competing with two projects in neighboring Canadian provinces, as well as at least four other proposals across New England.

MASSACHUSETTS

Drugged man stabs self, dies

LOWELL — A man apparently on a cocaine binge died after he stripped naked, ran through a restaurant stabbing himself with a pen and tried to electrocute himself during a violent struggle with police.

“Apparently, there was a witness, a girlfriend, who has indicated to us that he took cocaine intravenously, and this may have created this bizarre behavior,” said police Deputy Superintendent Kenneth Lavallee.

Richard Wheeler, 33, of Lowell, went into the DoubleTree Hotel early Friday, grabbed a pen from the front desk and ran into the restaurant, said Verdell Ekberg, spokesman for DoubleTree’ parent company, Procaccianti Group of Providence.

When police arrived, Mr. Wheeler attacked the officers. During a struggle in the restaurant kitchen, Mr. Wheeler tried to grab the officers’ guns, threw a coffee carafe at an officer and urged police to shoot him. He also tried to stick his fingers in electrical sockets, police said.

He was taken, screaming and thrashing, to Saints Memorial Medical Center, where he died.

MICHIGAN

Teenagers set TV viewing record

GRAND RAPIDS — A pair of teenagers who spent more than two straight days publicly glued to a television set says they have set a new world record for uninterrupted TV viewing.

Chris Dean, 16, and Mike Dudek, 17, both of Grand Rapids, logged 52 consecutive hours of viewing time by the time they ended their feat at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

The teens, who are incoming high-school seniors, surpassed the Guinness World Records mark of 50 hours and seven minutes — giving new meaning to “must-see TV.”

Confirmation of the record could take anywhere from a few weeks to several months because documentation must be sent to Guinness, Mr. Dean said.

According to rules set by Guinness, Chris and Mike were required to remain awake with their eyes always on the television screen. They were given a five-minute break every hour and restroom trips were permitted only during 15-minute breaks every eight hours.

Chris’ parents, Gordon and Brenda Dean, helped document the event and said they were proud of their son’s unusual achievement.

MISSOURI

College president offers up home

HANNIBAL — How’s this for swank student housing: Come live in the president’s place.

The president of Hannibal-LaGrange College and his wife have turned their home over to about a dozen female students because of a housing crunch.

It’s the first time in a half-century that someone other than the president has lived in the president’s house. Woodrow Burt and his wife, Katherine, an English professor, have opted for temporary housing, and said they’ll look soon for something more permanent.

Mr. Burt said the school has been blessed with strong residential enrollment this year.

“I think it’s neat how Dr. Burt puts the needs of the students above his own needs,” said Nicole Phillips, a senior business major, one of the students who will live in the president’s house.

About 470 students are expected to live on campus, up from the 440 residential students at the college last year. The school expects to exceed last year’s enrollment of about 1,100 students.

MONTANA

Texaco held liable in pipeline leak

GREAT FALLS — A Cascade County jury has ordered Texaco to pay $15 million to finish cleaning up a 1955 gasoline pipeline spill in the small town of Sunburst and $25 million in punitive damages for not doing it sooner.

The class-action lawsuit involved an underground plume of contaminants at the defunct Sunburst Works Refinery.

NEW JERSEY

Student’s sandwich called a winner

NEW BRUNSWICK — What do you call a sandwich made of chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks and french fries? Around here, it’s called a Fat Darrell — and you also can call it a winning combo.

The “Fat Darrell” has been crowned the best sandwich in the country by Maxim magazine. Maxim’s September issue, which lists the top 10 sandwiches, hits newsstands last week.

The concoction was created early one morning in 1997 by Darrell Butler after a night of partying. Mr. Butler, a Rutgers University sophomore, conceived of the sandwich as a way to save money by combining his various cravings on one bun.

The Fat Darrell is named for its caloric content, not Mr. Butler, a 160-pound physical trainer and aspiring actor.

OHIO

Diocese to pay in sex-abuse case

TOLEDO — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Toledo said it will pay $1.19 million to settle lawsuits filed by 23 persons who said they were sexually abused by priests.

The diocese is paying the settlements with money from an insurance fund, Bishop Leonard Blair said in announcing the settlements on Friday.

In some cases, plaintiffs and diocese officials haven’t yet agreed on how to word public acknowledgment that accusations against certain priests were credible, said Catherine Hoolahan, who is representing 12 plaintiffs.

The attorney said her clients settled because it would have been traumatic to discuss their accusations in court.

Diocese spokeswoman Sally Oberski called the settlement an important step in the healing process.

OREGON

Couple let dog attack children

HILLSBORO — A couple faces at least three years in prison for disciplining their young children by letting their part-pit-bull dog attack them.

Joyce Hoskins, 47, and David Hoskins, 46, pleaded guilty Friday to three counts each of assault and were being held without bail.

Investigators said the couple disciplined their 8-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son by allowing their dog Nigel — a mix of pit bull terrier, Doberman pinscher, German shepherd and Labrador retriever — to attack them.

The attacks occurred over two years, and both children suffered bites that required treatment, investigators said. The children are now in foster homes, and the dog has been euthanized.

Neighbor Voight Barnhardt said he called police during an attack on March 19.

“There was a kid crying, and a dog ripping her to pieces,” Mr. Barnhardt told the Oregonian. “It was bloodcurdling.”

SOUTH DAKOTA

Inmate numbers growing more slowly

PIERRE — The state prison population continues to expand, but the rate of growth has slowed. The prison population averaged 3,059 in the past fiscal year, a growth rate of 3.6 percent, said Laurie Feiler, the deputy state corrections secretary.

That’s half the annual pace of a decade earlier. Miss Feiler said the growth rate has slowed because inmates are getting shorter sentences and more are being paroled.


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