- The Washington Times - Monday, August 30, 2004


Man saves dog from gator

GAINESVILLE — A man jumped into a pond and stabbed a 6-foot alligator with a pocketknife to force the reptile to release his dog from its jaws.

Matthew Goff, 29, said he was walking his mixed-breed dog, Sugar, in a park last week when the unleashed dog wandered to the edge of the pond and the gator grabbed its head.

The gator released Sugar when Mr. Goff stabbed the reptile in the eye. The dog escaped with three teeth marks. Mr. Goff had a few scratches. A state trapper planned to kill the gator if it is found.


Plane crash kills woman

PORT EDWARDS — A biplane giving rides for a fund-raiser in central Wisconsin crashed upside down in a river, killing a passenger, authorities said.

The 1941 Steerman biplane’s landing gear struck power lines before it crashed into about 3 feet of water in the Wisconsin River on Saturday, said sheriff’s Sgt. Tim Ward.

The victim was identified as Kimberly Reed, 39, of Eau Claire, Mich. The pilot, Mark Strub, 42, was not injured in the crash, but was unable to free the woman from the plane and ran a half mile to a paper mill to call for help, authorities said.


Two police officers killed in shootout

PHOENIX — Two Phoenix police officers were killed and a third was wounded Saturday night during a shootout at an apartment complex, authorities said.

The man thought to have shot the officers was found dead after a two-hour standoff with police.

Police were called to the apartment complex on Saturday afternoon and found one person shot in the courtyard, said police Cmdr. Kim Humphrey. The person’s condition was not clear. Authorities evacuated the area, and a man began shooting when officers approached a doorway.


Archdiocese faces$1.5 billion settlement

LOS ANGELES — People who say they were sexually abused by priests could receive more than $1.5 billion in damages from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles — more than any other U.S. diocese has paid to date, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday.

The settlement figure is based on a request by the lead attorney for hundreds of plaintiffs who live within the most populous U.S. archdiocese. The attorney asked that church officials set aside $3.1 million for each claimant in Los Angeles and the adjacent Diocese of Orange County just south of Los Angeles, the paper reported.

The church in Los Angeles faces about 500 child-molestation claims, more than any other diocese in the country. The Orange County diocese faces 60 similar claims.

Raymond Boucher, an attorney for the plaintiffs, told the Los Angeles Times that the amount was in line with what a judge proposed earlier this year. In court papers, Mr. Boucher said the church had $10 billion in liability coverage.


Poker tournaments deemed illegal

HARTFORD — Bars betting on poker tournaments to bring in extra cash will have to stop. The state Division of Special Revenue has issued a statement saying the tournaments violate state laws.

Under state regulations, gambling is classified as a criminal misdemeanor unless all the players can prove they are friends or co-workers who see each other away from poker tables.


Court tightens life-support standards

FRANKFORT — The state Supreme Court ruled that comatose people can’t be taken off life support without “clear and convincing evidence” that they will never revive.

Caretakers also must prove that withholding treatment is within the patient’s best interest. A written “living will” constitutes clear and convincing evidence, the court said. The 5-2 ruling otherwise upheld the 1994 Living Will Directive Act.


Site lists data on offenders’ kin

BOSTON — The state has expanded the information it posts on its sex offender Web site to include the addresses of offenders’ partners or relatives, which critics say might be illegal.

A Supreme Judicial Court decision allowed the state to publish names, photos, addresses and crimes of those considered the most dangerous.


Students sickened by carbon monoxide

ANACONDA — Students sickened by a dormitory carbon-monoxide leak have been released by hospitals or were to be released yesterday, school officials said Saturday.

“According to the medical people at the different hospitals, they are fine,” said Bob Hogan, assistant student supervisor at the Anaconda Job Corps.

Twenty students from the center were flown Friday to hospitals across the Northwest. Mr. Hogan said all have been discharged except for five students in a Pocatello, Idaho, hospital who were expected to be released yesterday morning. Ten other students were treated and released from hospitals.

A cracked exhaust pipe on a heater is blamed for the leak.


Dog hitches ride on back of truck

WAVERLY — It was a ruff ride for the hitchhiker who traveled 85 miles on the back of a semitrailer truck in pouring rain, state troopers said.

Before being rescued, he was shaggy, sopping wet and wearing only a flea collar.

A motorist on Interstate 80 reported seeing a dog on the truck, troopers said.

“The truck driver didn’t know anything about the dog,” said Trooper George Owen Jr. “He was just as shocked as anybody when he saw him.”

The driver said the mixed-breed shepherd must have hitched a ride when he stopped in Sutton, 130 miles from the driver’s final destination of Omaha.

The dog has found temporary lodging.

“A friend of mine has a farm and loves animals, so the dog is out there now,” Trooper Owen said. “He’ll have a good home if nobody comes looking for him — or he doesn’t go looking for another ride.”


Trench diggers find prehistoric site

RENO — Digging for a train trench in downtown Reno unearthed a prehistoric site that researchers say might be 4,000 years old. About 80 sites were found under different layers of soil at the same spot.

Researchers think frequent flooding probably covered encampments used by prehistoric people close to the Truckee River.


Pop singer dies of brain aneurysm

NEW YORK — Laura Branigan, a Grammy-nominated pop singer best known for her 1982 platinum hit “Gloria,” has died. She was 47.

Mrs. Branigan died of a brain aneurysm on Thursday in her sleep at her home in East Quogue, said her brother, Mark Branigan. He said she had complained to a friend of a headache for about two weeks before she died, but had not sought medical attention.

“Gloria,” a signature song from her debut album “Branigan,” stayed atop the pop charts for 36 weeks and earned her a Grammy nomination for best female pop vocalist, the first of four nominations in her career.

She also made television appearances, including guest spots on “CHiPs” and in the films “Mugsy’s Girls” and “Backstage.”

Funeral services were scheduled for today.


Man confesses to 1990 slaying

BISMARCK — A man who called police to confess to a 1990 killing has pleaded guilty to murder. Edward Reitan, 51, faces a 30-year sentence.

Authorities say Reitan called the sheriff’s office in May from a phone across the street to turn himself in for the 1990 killing of Driscoll farmer Robin Enockson. Reitan was arrested after describing the crime in detail to investigators.


Bank settles robbery lawsuit

SPARTANBURG — Elizabeth Davis, whose parents were killed in a Greer bank robbery last year, settled her lawsuit with Blue Ridge Savings Bank. Details of the settlement weren’t released.

She said the bank, located in a mobile home, failed to meet security requirements and failed to warn customers of risks. Blue Ridge employee Sylvia Holtzclaw also was killed in the robbery.


Child killer denied parole for third time

SIOUX FALLS — Debra Jenner-Tyler, convicted of stabbing her 3-year-old daughter to death in 1987, was denied parole for a third time.

Gov. Bill Janklow in 2002 reduced her life sentence to 100 years, making her eligible for parole. Parole board members said they question her honesty. The girl was stabbed nearly 70 times with a metal toy and a knife.


Test drive ends with bank robbery

SOUTH OGDEN — Zachary Hayden liked the car so much, he only needed to stop at the bank to get some money.

The problem is, police said, he didn’t have an account there.

Authorities said Mr. Hayden, 31, of Warsaw, Ind., robbed the Wells Fargo Bank last week after test driving a Ford Escort from the Good-One Auto Sales and then using the car for his getaway.

More than six hours after the robbery, Nevada Highway Patrol pulled over the car near Ely, Nev., about 200 miles southwest of South Ogden. It still had the white lettering of $1,895 on the window and displayed dealer license plates.

Like any good salesman, Trent Goodwin tried to put a good spin on the situation.

“Our deals are so good, bank robbers shop here,” he said.

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