- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 24, 2004


Two dead, one hurtin small plane crash

FORT LAUDERDALE — A small plane crashed into the roof of an auto-body shop shortly after takeoff yesterday, killing two persons on the plane and critically injuring the third, authorities said. No one on the ground was hurt.

The Piper Cherokee went down about a half-mile from the runway at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport after taking off for nearby Pompano Beach, said Kathleen Bergen, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration. Only three persons were on board, she said.

About 10 to 12 persons were at work inside the body shop and ran out after the crash, said worker Michael Nast.

One witness, Darrin Galante, who works at an engine and transmission repair shop nearby, said he heard a loud noise and then saw the plane’s propeller stop.


Juror removedfrom Peterson trial

REDWOOD CITY — The judge in Scott Peterson’s murder trial removed one of the jurors yesterday, but denied a defense motion for a mistrial.

Juror No. 5 admitted discussing the media coverage of the case with his girlfriend, according to a transcript of a closed-door meeting with Judge Alfred A. Delucchi.

“You’re not to listen to, watch or read any media reports of this trial,” Judge Delucchi told the panel before selecting an alternate to take the juror’s place.

Mr. Peterson’s attorney, Mark Geragos, demanded a mistrial.

Outside court, the ousted juror identified himself as Justin Falconer, 28, an airport screener, and said he would have found Mr. Peterson not guilty if asked to deliberate the case now.


Nabers named state chief justice

MONTGOMERY — Gov. Bob Riley appointed his state finance director as chief justice. Drayton Nabers will replace ousted Chief Justice Roy Moore.

Mr. Riley, a Republican, said Mr. Nabers would bring stability to the court system. Mr. Moore was relieved of his duties for refusing a federal court order to remove his Ten Commandments monument from public display in the state judicial building.


Stinky flowerready to bloom

STORRS — Wait until the neighbors get a whiff of this.

A giant exotic plant that has not bloomed in the Northeast in more than 60 years is ready to flower at the University of Connecticut’s greenhouses. The “corpse flower” has the odor of 3-day-old road kill, and UConn botanists couldn’t be more excited.

Once open, the spiked, bright red bloom even resembles rotting meat, a veritable welcome mat for the insects that pollinate it — flies and carrion beetles.

“It looks like something has died. It smells like something has died. It has some of the same chemicals that dead bodies produce,” UConn research assistant Matthew Opel said Tuesday.

The corpse flower (Amorphophallus titanum) at UConn was planted 10 years ago and was part of a group of seeds brought to the United States from its native Sumatra by botanical explorer James Symon.

The plant is expected to blossom in the next five to six days. Until it blooms, it’s almost odorless. Already at 4 feet high, the flower could reach more than 6 feet high and at least that wide when it opens. The blossom lasts just two days before it begins to disintegrate.


More flu shots made available

ATLANTA — Determined to avoid a repeat of last year’s flu-shot shortage, the government said yesterday that vaccine makers will have 100 million doses ready for this winter.

That figure does not include the estimated 4.5 million doses of flu shots the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is planning to keep in reserve for children in its first stockpiling of the vaccine.

For the 2003-04 season, 86.9 million doses were available, compared with 95 million in 2002.

Last year, the nation’s two producers of flu shots shipped their entire supplies of the vaccine by December, thanks to an early start to the flu season and fears that a dominant flu strain would cause more severe illness than in recent years.

Clinics across the country ran out of the injected vaccine — which takes months to prepare — and officials urged healthy people to opt for a nasal-spray version to save the traditional flu shot for children and the elderly.


County disputes exhumation rights

OREGON — Ogle County officials are at odds with Warren Reed over who should supervise exhumation of his sister’s remains.

A judge gave Mr. Reed permission in April to exhume the remains of his sister, who was killed near this northern Illinois town 56 years ago. County officials says the case is an open murder investigation and they have jurisdiction.


Flag-raising ceremony opens peace camp

OTISFIELD — Teenagers from Islamic nations and Israel joined yesterday at the opening of this year’s Seeds of Peace, a camp that promotes peace and is scheduled to have its first Iraqi participants later this summer.

More than 175 youngsters from Afghanistan, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, the Palestinian territories and Yemen raised their flags and sang their national anthems yesterday.

“We can make peace become a reality and not a treaty,” said Rhonda Farid of Egypt.

Thirty U.S. youngsters and 30 Iraqis will camp together in the second phase of this summer’s private, nonprofit program, beginning Aug. 18. It is the first time that the 12-year-old program has had Iraqi youngsters, who never took part while Saddam Hussein was in power.

“It is imperative that somebody start thinking about what’s happening to the next generation. And that is essentially what this place is all about,” said Aaron David Miller, a former State Department adviser on the Middle East and executive director of the camp.


University takes over middle school

NEW ORLEANS — State officials have given control of a middle school to the University of New Orleans, the first time a poorly performing school has been taken over under a constitutional amendment approved by voters last year.

The goal is to prop up an academic program at the Pierre A. Capdau Middle School, which has been rated as a failure every year since 1999. Takeovers at other schools will be considered for next year.


Woman killed in traffic stop crash

LAKETOWN TOWNSHIP — A woman pulled over by a sheriff’s deputy for speeding was killed early yesterday when a tractor-trailer plowed into both of their stopped vehicles, police said.

The deputy suffered minor injuries in the accident on Interstate 196 in northern Michigan.

After stopping and obtaining information from the woman, Emily Charlyn Van Dyke, 22, of Saugatuck, the deputy returned to his cruiser. He was sitting inside and checking her driver’s license when the tractor-trailer rig slammed into the patrol car from behind, pushing it into a ditch and pinning the officer inside, sheriff’s Lt. Ron Johnston said.

The truck then ran into Miss Van Dyke’s car and dragged the car beneath its chassis into the ditch, where both vehicles caught fire.

The trucker escaped the wreck but was admitted to a hospital for observation.


School to donate 16-mm films

ST. LOUIS — With celluloid made obsolete by videotape and digital video discs, the St. Louis school system is donating to a group of cinema buffs 2,100 educational films from the days when one lucky student in the classroom would get the privilege of running the whirling, clacking projector.

The entire collection of 16-millimeter films will go to the nonprofit Academic Film Archive of North America. Among the titles: “Marijuana,” an antidrug flick narrated by Sonny Bono, and “Beware of Strangers,” featuring Bill Cosby’s cartoon character Fat Albert.

“We no longer have the facilities or staff to manage” the collection, Sharon Huffman, the school district’s archivist, said yesterday.

The collection is about 50 years old and consists of around 6,000 reels.


Subway passenger fatally shot

NEW YORK — A passenger was fatally shot in a Manhattan subway train as passengers screamed and dropped to the floor for cover as up to four shots were fired.

Investigators believe Tuesday’s shooting stemmed from an earlier dispute between two men who fled the scene and the victim, Stanford Nelson, who police said had an extensive criminal record.

It was the third shooting in the subway in the past month. The other two victims survived.

Police were searching for two suspects yesterday and had made no arrests, said Sgt. Michael Wysokowski, a police spokesman.

Earlier this month, model-actress Monica Meadows was shot in the shoulder on a subway train in Times Square. David Hart, a business school chief executive, was shot in late May as he walked through a subway turnstile in Queens.


‘Expressive’ holler earns second title

SPIVEY’S CORNER — Kevin Jasper’s “expressive” holler was also a winning one, bringing him the title of top yeller for the second time at the 36th annual National Hollerin’ Contest.

Mr. Jasper, who also won in 2000, used an “expressive” holler, which he said is used for fun. Other yellers had more purposeful calls — to bring in cattle for milking or husbands for dinner.

Dr. Michael Zellinger, one of the judges, said the quality of a good holler is made with vocal control and authenticity.

John-Mark Herring, 13, was the only contestant in the teen division this year, guaranteeing him the title for a second time for his rendition of “firetruck sirens” and a “good morning holler.”

The event, held on Saturday, benefits the Spivey’s Corner Volunteer Fire Department.


Samoa to deport sex-abuser priest

DALLAS — The Samoan government said yesterday it will deport a Roman Catholic priest because he did not disclose his conviction for child molestation when he entered the country in 1998.

The announcement that the Rev. Frank Klep would be deported came three days after the Dallas Morning News reported that the Salesians of Don Bosco, an order of Catholic priests known for working with poor children, transferred clergy overseas after the men were accused of sex abuse. The order has disputed the newspaper’s report.

“We can’t help but think what was foremost was to have Father Klep evade the law by assigning him overseas,” Auseuga Poloma Komiti, senior adviser to Samoa’s prime minister and Cabinet, told the Morning News yesterday. “They were not thinking or giving two hoots about the children of this country.”

Father Klep was convicted and sentenced to community service in 1994 for sex offenses in the 1970s against a student at the Salesian College near Melbourne, Australia. Additional sex-offense charges were leveled against Father Klep, but in 1998 the order transferred him to Samoa.


Flower thefts anger residents

BURLINGTON — Someone’s tiptoeing through the tulips — and stealing them.

Police said they would step up patrols in the city’s South End neighborhood after several residents and businesses said their flowers were taken. One couple has had three raids on their annuals this year.

Resident Gayel Favali is “irate, to say the least.” The final straw, she said, was last Friday evening. She and her husband sat on the front porch chatting with neighbors until about 8:30 p.m., then went inside. At about 10 p.m., a neighbor knocked on the door and told them someone had taken more of their flowers.

“It’s such a low theft,” Mrs. Favali said. “What kind of person would do that? It’s like stealing your pet.”


Sawmill blast injures five persons

SHELTON — An air compressor explosion at a sawmill blew out a wall and injured five persons yesterday morning, a company spokeswoman said.

All five were taken to Mason General Hospital, hospital spokeswoman Shelly Dunnington said. A police dispatcher said one then was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, the region’s only major trauma center, and two more were expected to follow.

Miss Dunnington said she could not release information about the nature of the injuries. But Bev Holland, a spokeswoman for Simpson Timber Co., said all five were able to walk out of the mill.

The air compressor was at the back of the sawmill, where the company produces lumber for home construction, Miss Holland said. She said there had been no previous problems with the machinery.


Gun seller to pay $1 million

CHARLESTON — A judge approved a landmark $1 million settlement yesterday between two New Jersey police officers and the store that sold the gun used to shoot them.

Police Officers David Lemongello and Kenneth McGuire of Orange, N.J., were shot with a Sturm, Ruger 9 mm handgun in January 2001. Both were disabled and have retired. Their attacker, Shuntez Everett, was killed in a gunbattle with them.

The settlement between the officers and the Will Co., which operated Will’s Jewelry and Loan in South Charleston, was approved by Kanawha County Circuit Judge Irene Berger.

The shop sold the gun and 11 others in July 2000 in a “straw sale,” in which someone without a criminal record buys guns and turns them over to someone else. The store later contacted federal agents and cooperated in an undercover sting.

“This is the first case in which a gun dealer will pay damages, has paid damages for facilitating the gun trafficking in this way,” said Dennis Hanigan, an attorney for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. The center and Charleston lawyer Scott Segal are co-counsel for the police officers.

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