- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 3, 2004


Girls arrested in stabbing deaths

RIVERDALE — Two teenage girls wanted in the stabbing deaths of one of the girl’s grandparents were captured by police along the Georgia coast yesterday.

Police apprehended 15-year-old Holly Harvey and her friend Sandra Ketchum, 16, on Tybee Island. Carl and Sarah Collier, both 77, were stabbed to death with a large knife at their home Monday night in north Fayette County, about 15 miles south of Atlanta, authorities said.

Mr. Collier was found in the kitchen, and Mrs. Collier in the basement. Miss Harvey had been living with her grandparents, police said.


Midwest beef heading to Olympics

OMAHA — A Nebraska meatpacking company is hoping its deal to supply the Olympics with beef will open European markets to Midwest beef producers.

The Greater Omaha Packing Co., one of a few U.S. processing plants certified to process hormone-free beef to meet European regulations, said Monday that it has struck a deal with the Denver-based supplier of the U.S. Olympic training centers.

The company’s hormone-free beef also has been ordered by the distributor that will supply food vendors at the Olympic Games in Athens later this month, the company said.

“We will be sending a message that American beef is among the finest in the world,” said Henry Davis, the company’s chief executive.


Inmate, 74, tries to block execution

BIRMINGHAM — A 74-year-old death-row inmate on Monday asked an appeals court to block his execution, arguing he is too old and sick to be put to death.

James Hubbard is the oldest person on Alabama’s death row. Death-penalty opponents have asked Gov. Bob Riley to have mercy on Hubbard, who is set to die by injection tomorrow for killing a 62-year-old woman in 1977.

Lawyers for Hubbard argue that executing their client would be cruel and unusual, but the state is opposing any delay and contends Hubbard is competent for execution.

Psychological and medical tests showed that Hubbard suffers from dementia, hepatitis, diverticulitis, hypertension, acute back pain and is mildly retarded, according to papers filed by his attorneys with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.


Anti-smoking effort has little effect

LITTLE ROCK — The tens of millions of dollars spent on a campaign to reduce smoking in Arkansas hasn’t had any significant effect yet, a new study says. A report by Santa Monica, Calif.-based Rand Corp. says the percentage of Arkansas adults who smoke has remained fairly constant, about 25 percent, since 1996, though a slight drop was detected in the past year.

Gov. Mike Huckabee wants to reduce the percentage of adolescents who smoke to 16 percent and the percentage of adults who smoke to 12 percent by 2007.


Passerby tackles accused purse thief

DENVER — A convicted murderer reportedly pepper-sprayed an 83-year-old woman as she sat at a bus stop and stole her purse, only to be tackled by a passerby minutes later.

When police arrived to arrest the suspect — 6-foot-5, 250-pound Ronald Austin Pierson — he was sitting quietly at the feet of Raymond Contreras, who stands just over 5 feet and weighs about 110 pounds.

Mr. Contreras initially tried to bluff the larger man into surrendering by saying he was a member of Neighborhood Watch. When that didn’t work, Mr. Pierson swung and missed. Mr. Contreras then tackled him, and the former convict inexplicably gave up.

Mr. Pierson, 51, was convicted in 1977 for murdering a man who he thought slept with his fiancee.

“Mr. Contreras stepped up to the plate,” Officer Mark Duran told the Rocky Mountain News. “He’s a hero in my book.”


New aircraft to generate jobs

WICHITA — Boeing Co. plans to hire more than 460 engineers at its Wichita plant through next year to work on the new 7E7 jetliner and on a Navy program to adapt 737 aircraft for use as reconnaissance planes, according to the Wichita Eagle.

Boeing also announced it would rehire 200 production workers who were among the 5,000 people laid off since the attacks of September 11.


Couches on porches targeted for ban

ANN ARBOR — The City Council has proposed banning upholstered couches on front porches and lawns at the University of Michigan campus. The couches, a staple at outdoor parties and afternoon lounging, are a fire hazard, fire officials say.

The ban has upset some on campus who say city leaders want to get rid of the couches for no good reason.


Dartmouth becomes victim to hackers

HANOVER — Hackers infiltrated the computer system at Dartmouth College and had access to sensitive information on thousands of employees, retirees and students, school officials said.

There were no indications the hackers tapped the personal information, the officials said. Hackers frequently try to break into university systems to gain illegal access to music and movies.


Trained helper monkey bites toddler

NEW YORK — A monkey trained to help a disabled man with chores bit a 2-year-old boy in a supermarket, authorities said.

The boy, Thomas Romano, was shopping with his grandparents at the Key Food store in Brooklyn on Monday when the monkey bit him on the arm. He was treated at a hospital and released.

The monkey’s owner, Steven Seidler, 45, said the animal attacked after Thomas pulled its fur. But Thomas’ grandmother, Helene Romano, said the bite was unprovoked.

Mr. Seidler is confined to a wheelchair and uses the monkey to help him open doors and pick things up.


USO to open office at airport

RALEIGH — The USO of North Carolina will open a satellite office at Raleigh-Durham International Airport tomorrow, providing snacks and a waiting room for troops headed to and from North Carolina military bases and posts.

The airport donated the 1,550-square-foot area within Terminal A. It’s outfitted with amenities including a kitchenette and a small dining area.


Rural church turned into amphetamine lab

LEONARD — Last week, congregants at a rural North Dakota church who were expecting a service instead found sheriff’s deputies with guns drawn.

“Who would have thought somebody would turn an active church into an active amphetamine lab?” asked Rick Majerus, a Cass County, N.D., sheriff’s lieutenant. But, authorities said, that is what happened at the Bethel Moravian Church near Leonard.

Ted Brewer, 22, of Leonard, has been charged with attempting to manufacture a controlled substance, burglary and two counts of possessing drug paraphernalia — all felonies, according to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune.


Orange becomes family heirloom

McALESTER — Some families have heirloom quilts or clocks. Margie Clark plans to pass a shriveled orange on to her children.

The shrunken, rock-hard, nearly petrified piece of fruit — it’s no longer orange — has been in her family 83 years.

She played with the fruit as a young girl and has heard the story of its origins dozens of times. The orange is older than she is and was a Christmas gift to her father from her aunt in 1921.

Wanting to save the orange for later, her father took it into his room and placed it in a dresser drawer, Mrs. Clark said. He must have forgotten about it, because when he remembered it, it was no longer edible. He decided to keep it and put it in his trunk, Mrs. Clark said. That’s where Mrs. Clark, who said she’s nearly 80 now, first found it as a child.

“When I got big enough to get in the trunk, I would get the orange and play with it,” she recalled.


6 die after plane crashes into house

LAKEWAY — A small plane crashed into a house bordering a golf course in suburban Austin and burst into flames yesterday, killing the six persons aboard. Three persons inside the luxury two-story home escaped unharmed.

The identities of the victims — four adults and two children — were not immediately known, Texas Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Tela Mange said.

There were conflicting reports on whether the twin-engine plane crashed while trying to land or had trouble gaining altitude after takeoff. It was not immediately clear where the flight originated or was headed.

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