- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 3, 2004


Austrians sweep Empire State climbs

NEW YORK — Austrians swept the titles at the annual Empire State Building run-up yesterday, but 92-year-old Chico Scimone of Sicily kept up his streak of 13 years completing the dash up 1,576 steps at New York’s tallest skyscraper.

Twice runner-up Rudolf Reitberger claimed his first men’s top prize, climbing the 1,050 feet up to the 86th-floor observation deck in 10 minutes, 37 seconds. The women’s race was won by Andrea Mayr, Mr. Reitberger’s teammate from Vienna’s LCC running club, who set a women’s course record of 12 minutes, 8 seconds.

The biggest cheers, however, went to the contestant with the slowest time — Mr. Scimone took 43 minutes and 25 seconds, but was beaming like a champion after it was done, cradling his 19-month-old great-great-granddaughter, Isabella.


Mother guilty in son’s death

TAUNTON — A former member of a religious sect was cleared of murder charges yesterday but convicted of assault and battery for fatally starving her infant son to fulfill a prophecy.

Karen Robidoux and her husband, Jacques, were members of a tiny religious sect called the Body, which rejects modern medicine.

After another member of the sect told the couple about a message she received from God, they began withholding solid food from their baby son, Samuel. He died in 1999 just days shy of his first birthday.


Start of service delayed for ferry

CAMDEN — The inauguration of a new ferry between Camden and the isolated Gees Bend community on the Alabama River was stalled by shallow water.

The community has been accessible only by road since white politicians grounded a ferry in 1962 to keep black protesters in Gees Bend from crossing to the Wilcox County seat. The ferry, built with $730,000 in federal funds, should cut the hourlong trip by more than half.


Whales gobble fishermen’s catch

ANCHORAGE — Sperm whales have the largest brain of any animal and some in the Gulf of Alaska are proving it at mealtimes: letting humans do all the work.

Researchers are investigating what commercial fishermen have long noticed, that the whales have learned to pluck sablefish off hooks attached to their long fishing lines.

“They somehow just pick them off like grapes,” said fisherman Dick Curran. “I don’t know how they do it.”

No one knows how the whales have come to target sablefish, also called black cod, a lucrative product in Japanese markets. So a coalition of commercial fishermen and biologists has begun to investigate with about $200,000 from the North Pacific Research Board.


Judges named to oversee schools

LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas’ Supreme Court yesterday named two former justices as special masters to evaluate the state’s progress in reforming a public school system that has been declared unconstitutionally inadequate.

The court instructed former Chief Justice Bradley Jesson of Fort Smith and former Justice David Newbern of Little Rock to evaluate actions by the legislative and executive branches to comply with the court’s November 2002 order to overhaul the schools.

The masters are to be sworn in tomorrow and must submit their report in 60 days.

The high court reclaimed control of the case Jan. 22 after the legislature failed in six weeks of special session to remedy school-funding deficiencies.


Robber gets 9/11 leniency

NEW HAVEN — A judge sentenced a bank robber known as the “Blond Bandit” to a lenient four-year prison term, saying she suffered a mental condition worsened by volunteer work at ground zero after the September 11 attacks.

Prosecutors said Pamela Kaichen, 44, went on a two-day spree across New York and Connecticut in May, robbing six banks. She told investigators that the more than $42,000 she stole was for the benefit of the September 11 victims, but all the money was found in her apartment and rental car.

“It’s clear this defendant was acting under significant mental disabilities triggered by her horrendous experience at ground zero,” U.S. District Judge Ellen Bree Burns said at her sentencing Monday.

Kaichen wore a long blond wig during the robberies and pretended to have a gun in the pocket of her raincoat.


Student, 14, killed in school restroom

MIAMI — A 14-year-old boy apparently was fatally stabbed in a school bathroom yesterday, and another student was taken into custody.

Other teenagers discovered Jaime Rodrigo Gough in a boys’ restroom at Southwood Middle School at about 8:30 a.m. The boy’s uncle said family members were told by school officials that Jaime had been stabbed.


Electric car customized for Bush

SAVANNAH — What’s red, white and blue, runs off a 72-volt battery and has a top speed of 25 mph? The president’s official Bushmobile for the Group of Eight summit.

G-8 organizers on Monday introduced the electric car — which resembles a golf cart the size of a Volkswagen Beetle — customized for President Bush to cruise around Sea Island during the June 8-10 meeting of world leaders.

Leaders of the remaining seven countries attending the summit in coastal Georgia need not be jealous. They will get similar rides decked out with decal motifs based on their national flags.

The cars are made by a subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler.


Coast Guard finds plane wreckage

HONOLULU — The Coast Guard on Monday located the wreckage of a missing air ambulance in a tropical rain forest on Hawaii’s northeastern coast. The pilot and two paramedics were killed, officials said.

The Cessna, missing since early Saturday, was located about 22 miles northwest of Hilo, said Petty Officer Jennifer Johnson. The site is about 5,000 feet above sea level in a forest marked by steep cliffs and deep ravines.

The plane made its last communication early Saturday, about an hour after takeoff. The plane had been scheduled to fly to Hilo to pick up a medical patient.


Study finds vitamin doesn’t stop strokes

CHICAGO — A simple and seemingly common-sense strategy for lowering the risk of recurring strokes failed to work in a study of nearly 3,700 patients.

The strategy involves giving B vitamins to stroke patients to reduce levels of a substance called homocysteine in their blood. Many studies have suggested that high levels of homocysteine raise the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

But the researchers found no difference in outcome between those who took high doses of vitamins and those who received low doses.

The high vitamin doses did a better job of lowering homocysteine levels, but about 8 percent of the patients in both groups had additional strokes during the two years that they were studied.

The study appears in today’s Journal of the American Medical Association. It was led by Wake Forest University neurologist Dr. James Toole.


City considers gay protections

DUBUQUE — The city’s Human Rights Commission may extend its antidiscrimination code to homosexuals, commission officials said.

A subcommittee will gather information about the effect of discrimination on the homosexual community. The commission’s director says her office received only two complaints about such discrimination last year. She thinks it’s because homosexuals know they are not currently protected.


State leads nation in toothless elders

LOUISVILLE — New federal statistics show that more than 42 percent of Kentuckians 65 and older have lost all their permanent teeth. That’s about 213,000 people.

In the survey, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kentucky edged out West Virginia for the top spot in the listings. Dentists and other specialists say that poor oral health is hurting Kentucky economically just as much as heart disease, obesity or diabetes.


Snowmobile rule hits town hard

WEST YELLOWSTONE — Getting a table at Bullwinkle’s Saloon & Restaurant is easy this winter. So is finding a room at any local motel — if they’re still open.

This town just outside Yellowstone National Park and largely dependent on park visitors is much quieter than normal, and for many residents, the mood is bleaker.

Residents blame it on a federal judge’s ruling that reversed Yellowstone’s snowmobile rules just hours before the start of the season in December.

“Just tell them: Yellowstone is open and West Yellowstone is open,” Jackie LaFever said from behind the bar at Bullwinkle’s Saloon & Restaurant.

Town officials are trying to figure out what happens to West Yellowstone and its businesses if an appeal fails to overturn U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan’s ruling that revived a Clinton-era plan to ban snowmobiles from Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.


Senators get Internet in chamber

LINCOLN — State senators soon will be able to surf the Internet on the floor of the legislative chamber.

The new right doesn’t come without restrictions. A policy adopted by the Legislature’s Executive Board on a 5-2 vote Monday forbids any use of sound or viewing of video on the computers in the chamber. Nor can the computers be used for personal or financial gain.

“No porn channels then?” Sen. Jim Cudaback jokingly asked.

Enforcement is left to the 10-member Executive Board, which helps set legislative policies.


Governor reports for jury duty

BRENTWOOD — Gov. Craig Benson reported for jury duty Monday morning at Rockingham County Superior Court and was picked to be back in court at 10 a.m. today for a criminal case.

“It’s the very first time I’ve been called to jury duty,” Mr. Benson said, adding that he was impressed by the pool of 165 potential jurors for several pending cases. He was excused from two civil cases but chosen for a criminal case.

“Nobody kicks up their heels when they’re called for jury duty,” he said, “but these were very civic-minded people in a solemn responsibility, being asked whether to send somebody to jail or in a civil case costing somebody a lot of money.”


Man executed for 1984 murder

CINCINNATI — A 41-year-old man convicted of robbing and shooting a young mother in the back of the head in 1984 was executed yesterday, Ohio prison officials said.

John Glenn Roe again professed his innocence before he died from a lethal injection at 10:24 a.m. in Ohio’s death chamber at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville.


Trial begins in 1975 killing

RAPID CITY — Jury selection started yesterday in the trial of a man charged with murder in the 1975 slaying of an American Indian Movement activist who participated in the Wounded Knee uprising.

Arlo Looking Cloud is one of two men charged in the execution-style killing of Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash, whose frozen body was found on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation in February 1976.

After investigating the case for years with little luck, federal agents arrested Mr. Looking Cloud in Denver last March. Authorities have not discussed a motive or what evidence led to his arrest after more than 25 years.


Company sanctions pharmacist

DALLAS — Eckerd Corp. said yesterday it had disciplined one of its pharmacists after he refused to fill the prescription of a rape victim seeking a morning-after abortion pill.

The pharmacist considered it a violation of morals to give a rape victim, with a valid prescription, a pill that would prevent her from getting pregnant as a result of the sexual assault, the company said. The incident took place on Jan. 23 at an Eckerd drugstore in suburban Denton.

Eckerd spokeswoman Joan Gallagher said she could not give details of the disciplinary actions, but said the pharmacist had violated company policy. Protesters picketed the store this week.


Justice wins powerlifting title

OLYMPIA — State Supreme Court Justice Faith Ireland won her second national powerlifting championship on the weekend, grabbing a spot on the USA Masters Team for world competition.

On Saturday, she broke the U.S. squat record for her age and weight with a 198-pound lift. In the deadlift, Justice Ireland, 63, set a personal record of 253 pounds. The 130-pound justice set another national record with a 133-pound bench press.

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