- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 4, 2004

LASKA

Greenpeace protesters block logging access

ANCHORAGE — Greenpeace activists chained themselves to bulldozers and set up roadblocks near timber operations in the Tongass National Forest on Tuesday to protest a plan that they said would weaken logging restrictions across the country.

Activists staged the blockade in opposition to a Bush administration proposal to let governors decide whether to seek protection of roadless national forestland. Forest Service officials made no move to stop Tuesday’s protest.

Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman, whose department includes the U.S. Forest Service, will decide on the plan after a public comment period.

NEBRASKA

Coin includes image of expedition keelboat

FORT CALHOUN — A new nickel commemorating the exploration of the West made its debut on Tuesday aboard a 55-foot replica of the keelboat used in the Lewis and Clark expedition 200 years ago.

The nickel bears the familiar likeness of Thomas Jefferson on one side. But instead of Jefferson’s home, Monticello, the coin’s flip side depicts the keelboat that took Meriwether Lewis, William Clark and their crew through the rivers of the Louisiana Territory in search of a passage to the Pacific Ocean.

The coin’s release coincided with the bicentennial anniversary of Lewis and Clark’s historic first meeting on the banks of the Missouri River.

ARKANSAS

Documents moved to Clinton library

LITTLE ROCK — Archivists have begun organizing more than 600 tons of documents at the Clinton Presidential Library after the materials were moved from a nearby storage facility more quickly than expected.

Beginning July 6, loads of material were shipped every 30 minutes from a former Oldsmobile dealership, where the documents had been stored for nearly four years, to the library, which is under construction near downtown Little Rock.

Planners had thought the move would take a month, but it took only 17 days.

The Clinton Presidential Center is being built in a parklike setting on the Arkansas River and includes the library, a museum and the Clinton School of Public Service. The center will have a grand opening on Nov. 18.

CALIFORNIA

Police chief calls for lighter flashlights

LOS ANGELES — Responding to criticisms of a videotaped beating in which a car-theft suspect was hit repeatedly with a heavy flashlight, police Chief William Bratton said Tuesday that officers soon would begin carrying smaller, rubberized flashlights.

Police officers say motorist Stanley Miller led them on a 30-minute chase after they saw him run a stop sign in a car that had been reported stolen. The chase ended when Mr. Miller jumped out and was tackled by officers as he stopped and appeared to be surrendering. He was on the ground when Officer John Hatfield struck him 11 times with a metal flashlight.

The incident was videotaped by television news helicopters.

Chief Bratton said he was confident that officers would accept the idea of using smaller flashlights.

CONNECTICUT

White scarecrows compared to KKK

EAST LYME — The ghostly white scarecrows on Joseph Smith’s cornfield frightened more than the geese he was trying to scare away.

The scarecrows so closely resembled Ku Klux Klan garb that they sparked complaints from minority guards and visitors at a nearby prison.

Workers on Mr. Smith’s farm made the scarecrows last week out of the white, hooded environmental suits that they wear to spray the crops. Soon after, administrators at the J.B. Gates Correctional Institution began receiving complaints.

Mr. Smith’s wife, Terri Smith, said the entire episode was a misunderstanding.

“We were just trying to scare away the geese,” she said. “We’re like the most nonracist people you’d ever meet.”

The scarecrows have been removed.

FLORIDA

Theme park kennel loses guest’s puppy

ORLANDO — The Universal Orlando theme park is in the doghouse after losing a puppy a guest had left at its kennel.

Joe Wheat thought Conner, a 4-month-old white Labrador retriever, was in good hands during his visit on Saturday. And Conner was, until the moment the kennel handed him to someone else.

Mr. Wheat said that when he dropped off Conner, with his favorite chew toy, at the 117-cage kennel on Saturday afternoon, he filled out a form that asked for information about himself and his dog. He should’ve received a pink duplicate that acts as a claim ticket, but didn’t.

When Mr. Wheat returned about six hours later to retrieve his retriever, Conner was gone. The dog had been checked out by someone with the ticket.

“At this point, we’re trying to understand what happened and, and more importantly, trying to get Conner back to Mr. Wheat,” Universal spokesman Tom Schroder said Tuesday.

GEORGIA

Missing boy is found alive

STOCKBRIDGE — Four-year-old David Tippin didn’t seem to know what all the fuss was about. After going missing for two days, the child was found unharmed and sleeping in a vacant house less than a mile from his home.

The discovery Tuesday came after hundreds of neighbors and police with bloodhounds joined in the search for the little brown-haired boy who wasn’t in his bed when his family came to wake him for church on Sunday.

At about 9 a.m. Tuesday, Bobby Hinton, 70, noticed lights on at a rental home he owns near his house. He went to check it out and then called his wife over.

“He called me to the door and said, ‘Look who I found,’” Martha Hinton said. She called 911 and gave the boy milk and cookies.

He was taken briefly to a hospital. He had suffered only slight dehydration and scratches on his face and legs.

MONTANA

Improper installation led to balcony collapse

POLSON — Improper installation of a key support beam appears to have been a major factor in the collapse of a balcony that injured 80 persons at a popular bar and casino, a preliminary report showed Tuesday.

Architect Paul Bishop — hired by the city to investigate the cause of last week’s collapse — said in the report that it appeared that the wooden ledger connecting the balcony’s deck to the building was not up to building codes because it was unprotected from the elements.

The flaw led to significant dry rot that “structurally compromised” it, he said.

Additionally, large screws used to secure the balcony to the ledger were inadequate and not properly installed, leading the weakened ledger to crack and eventually give way, Mr. Bishop said.

The balcony at the Diamond Horseshoe bar and casino was packed late Friday night when it collapsed, sending patrons tumbling about 14 feet to the ground in a tangle of broken timbers and shattered glass.

NEW YORK

Conjoined twins separated in surgery

NEW YORK — Two-year-old twins from the Philippines who were joined at the tops of their heads were surgically separated last night, [R]Montefiore Medical Center [R]announced.

Doctors teased apart [R]abutting portions of Carl and Clarence Aguirre’s brains at 10:32 p.m. after completing an incision around their skull, said Steve Osborne, a spokesman for the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center.

The boys survived, and doctors, nurses and technicians applauded in the operating room, Mr.Osborne said.

The twins’ head-to-head operating tables then were pulled apart slightly, said Mr. Osborne, who was in the operating room.

Yesterday’s surgery was the climax in a number of gradual operations during the past 10 months, a departure from the more common marathon operations that have separated other conjoined twins.

MISSOURI

River traffic resumes after barge accident

ST. LOUIS — A two-mile section of the Mississippi River reopened Tuesday to boat traffic, two days after a runaway barge hit a downtown bridge and sank on the Missouri side of the waterway.

Southbound traffic was permitted Tuesday, and the river was opened to northbound traffic on Monday night. The sunken barge remained underwater, marked with a lighted orange-and-white buoy, Coast Guard Lt. Bill Clark said.

“Everyone’s using caution going through that area to make sure they don’t get hung up on the barge,” Lt. Clark said.

Fifteen grain barges that were headed to New Orleans broke away from a towboat Sunday night, with some of the runaway barges hitting the Poplar Street and MacArthur bridges, the Coast Guard said. Five other towboats rounded up 14 of the barges.

NORTH CAROLINA

Hurricane forces evacuation of tourists

OCRACOKE — Thousands of tourists stranded on this barrier island with no electricity and running water were told yesterday to evacuate in order to give residents a chance to make repairs and clean up after the glancing blow struck by Hurricane Alex and its 100 mph wind.

Alex was stronger than expected when it grazed North Carolina’s Outer Banks on Tuesday, blacking out thousands of customers and sending trash bins and debris floating along flooded roads. Ocracoke Island, south of Hatteras Island, bore the brunt of Alex’s rain and heavy wind.

George Sullivan of the state Division of Emergency Management announced the evacuation yesterday during a visit to the island by Gov. Michael F. Easley, who arrived by helicopter to survey damage.

HAWAII

Park held responsible for woman’s death

HONOLULU — A federal judge has ruled the National Park Service was liable for the drowning death of a New York woman who fell into a Maui stream and was swept out to sea.

Visiting U.S. District Judge Edward Rafeedie awarded $2.3 million in damages to the family of Xina Wang in her May 4, 2002, death at Haleakala National Park.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Camper dies after bear scare

SANDWICH — A 13-year-old boy attending a camp for underprivileged children collapsed and died after being frightened by a bear during a hike, authorities said yesterday.

Antonio Hansell of Boston and a counselor from Camp Hale came across the bear twice Tuesday afternoon on Mount Doublehead, the state Fish and Game Department said. Officials said the two ran from the bear at the first encounter. They saw the bear a second time while trying to retrieve Antonio’s lost sneaker and also ran. The bear did not chase them.

When word reached Fish and Game Sgt. James Goss that Antonio was scared and did not want to continue hiking, Sgt. Goss spoke to him by cell phone and judged that he was having trouble breathing. The boy collapsed and neither was breathing nor had a pulse when rescuers reached him about two hours later, the department said. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

OHIO

Suspect sells drugs to uniformed officer

MOUNT STERLING — Undercover officers weren’t needed to nab this suspected drug dealer.

William McCrary was charged with selling drugs to a uniformed police officer sitting in his marked cruiser, police said.

“It was one of those things where he got comfortable with thinking Officer [Brian] Botkin would do it,” Mount Sterling Police Detective Joe Cox said Tuesday. “Probably every drug dealer’s main goal is to get a police officer on their side. Look at where you could go from there.”

Mr. McCrary, 30, was indicted by a grand jury on July 14 on three counts of trafficking in drugs, all fifth-degree felonies. He is jailed for violating a civil protection order.

OKLAHOMA

Ice cream man shoots at customer

OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma ice cream man opened fire on a customer after a summer ice cream sale turned sour, police said Tuesday.

Police in Enid, about 75 miles north of Oklahoma City, said they arrested Markus Miller, 29, an ice cream truck driver for Summer Song, Sunday on two misdemeanor charges as well as a felony charge of pointing a firearm.

According to police, an 18-year-old woman approached Mr. Miller’s ice cream truck and the conversation degenerated into a heated argument. Mr. Miller is accused of taking out a pistol and firing two shots at the feet of the woman. She was struck on the collarbone-area by either a bullet fragment or debris from the shots, police said.

Mr. Miller was arrested in his ice cream truck a short distance from the incident.

PENNSYLVANIA

Drunken-driving case takes unexpected turn

UNIONTOWN — Something smelled rotten when Michael Hanczyk showed up in court to fight a drunken-driving charge. Authorities say it was the booze on his breath.

A judge stopped a hearing Tuesday and ordered Mr. Hanczyk, 42, to take a field sobriety test after he and others said they smelled alcohol on Mr. Hanczyk’s breath.

A breath test indicated that Mr. Hanczyk had a blood alcohol content of 0.296 percent, more than three times the state’s legal limit, District Attorney Nancy Vernon said.

Fayette County Judge John Wagner Jr. threatened to put Mr. Hanczyk in jail for 30 days for contempt of court, but then said he would wait for a blood test. Mr. Hanczyk was taken to a hospital, and the hearing was rescheduled.

Mr. Hanczyk was charged on drunken-driving charges after a July 8, 2003, accident in Henry Clay Township, near the West Virginia border.

From wire services and staff reports

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