- The Washington Times - Monday, June 28, 2004


Apes get new home

CHICAGO — At the Lincoln Park Zoo’s new Regenstein Center for African Apes, chimpanzees can touch a panel hidden from public view that will shoot harmless bursts of air at unsuspecting visitors.

“You often hear about chimps spitting or throwing,” said Steve Ross, a behaviorist at the zoo. “They do that to get a rise out of the public. This gives them that opportunity, but in a safe way.”

The feature is one of many in the new 55,000-square-foot ape habitat.


Light-rail service begins

MINNEAPOLIS — Light-rail trains began carrying passengers in Minneapolis on Saturday, 50 years after streetcar service ended.

The first of the sleek yellow-and-blue cars rolled out after a morning ceremony in the downtown Warehouse District, and people waiting for the next train stood in a line that stretched a block long.

For now, the trains run only from the Warehouse District to historic Fort Snelling, about a 20-minute ride. Full service is scheduled to begin in December.


Rafter dies on whitewater trip

ANCHORAGE — A man died after being thrown from his raft during a treacherous portion of a whitewater rafting trip, state troopers said.

Clarence Savage, 52, of Chicago, was sucked underwater on Thursday after the raft struck a canyon wall during the guided trip at Sixmile Creek in southern Alaska, said Greg Wilkinson, an Alaska State Troopers spokesman.

Mr. Savage was not breathing when he surfaced, Mr. Wilkinson said.

Sixmile Creek, which is actually a river, is one of Alaska’s most popular and accessible rafting destinations. Several people have drowned in the river in the past decade.


Distraught father kills paralyzed son

DENVER — A father fatally shot his paralyzed 40-year-old son and then killed himself after officials rejected his request for help caring for the son, authorities said.

Police found the bodies on Friday after entering Gerald E. Carabetta’s home. Neighbors had reported newspapers piled up in front of the residence.

Mr. Carabetta had told neighbors that he was overwhelmed and could not get help for his son, Robert, who was paralyzed in a bar fight three years ago.

“He had a hard time taking care of that boy,” said Dave Lantzy, a former business partner and neighbor for 30 years. “He was distraught. He didn’t look healthy.”


Helicopter crash kills all 3 aboard

BARNESVILLE — Three persons were killed in a helicopter crash south of Atlanta early yesterday.

The helicopter crashed at about 6 a.m. behind a home in Lamar County and killed all three persons aboard, said Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen. No one on the ground was hurt.

Federal officials were investigating the cause of the crash.


Celebration markscolony founding

ST. CROIX ISLAND — Delegates from three nations gathered Saturday on a rain-swept outcropping to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first French colony in North America.

The tiny island settlement lasted only about a year at the confluence of two rivers that form a cross, giving it the name St. Croix.

Explorers Pierre Dugua and Samuel Champlain founded the settlement in 1604, joined by 77 other men. They abandoned it the next year, after nearly half of the colonists died during a harsh winter.

During a rain-soaked ceremony, Paul Cellucci, U.S. ambassador to Canada, and representatives of Canada, France and the Passamaquoddy Indian tribe commemorated the arrival of the French on two galleons in Passamaquoddy Bay.


Army chaplain thanks supporters

NEW YORK — In the first public appearance since his exoneration, a Muslim Army chaplain who had been suspected of espionage thanked supporters of civil liberties.

Capt. James Yee was arrested last year in a probe of suspected espionage at the U.S. military’s detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He was imprisoned for 76 days before the espionage charges against him were dropped.

He appeared Friday night at a Chinatown benefit to raise money for his legal bills, although a gag order limited his ability to talk about the case.

Capt. Yee, 35, was arrested in September, carrying what authorities said were classified documents.


Art installation marks anniversary

AMARILLO — If you’re riding through a Panhandle wheat field and come across some vintage Cadillacs planted nose down in the ground, don’t call for help. It’s an art installation, not a car crash.

The old Caddys have been adorned with new coats of paint and graffiti for the 30th anniversary of what started as a three-dimensional environmental sculpture along Interstate 40.

The Cadillacs, ranging from a 1949 club coupe to a 1963 sedan, were painted white for last week’s celebration. Amarillo businessman and art patron Stanley Marsh was the first to spray-paint one of the newly coated Caddys.

The Ant Farm — a radical art and design collective — created and installed the landmark in 1974 for Mr. Marsh.


Baby held hostage, stabbed in standoff

ST. GEORGE — A man who took a baby hostage stabbed the baby during a standoff with police before officers shot and wounded the man in the hip.

The baby was flown to a Salt Lake City hospital on Friday night with stab wounds to some internal organs, but was expected to live, St. George police spokesman Craig Harding said Saturday.

Police identified the suspect as Valentin S. Echevarria and said the child was thought to be his girlfriend’s. Officials were not sure whether the child was his.

Officers negotiated with the man — who was in the country illegally — in Spanish, but he did not drop the knife and continued to threaten the child.

When officers saw Mr. Echevarria stab the baby, they first tried to subdue him with beanbag rounds, then used bullets, Mr. Harding said.


Fireworks moved to protect birds

CARNATION — Rockets’ red glare and bombs bursting in air might not be the best thing for baby birds, so a local Fourth of July fireworks display has been relocated to avoid disturbing an osprey nest.

Biologists determined that the eggs could hatch around Sunday and recommended an alternative site for the fireworks to avoid disrupting the two parents.

Rather than shooting off skyrockets and starbursts over the Tolt Middle School athletic fields, the show will be held about a half-mile away, organizers said.

Ospreys, also known as fish hawks, can be two feet long with a six-foot wingspan. They are protected under state and federal law, and their nests can be moved from artificial structures only after the birds fly south in the fall, state biologist Ruth Milner said.


Crowd beats two for fleeing accident

MILWAUKEE — A large crowd pulled two men from a car and beat them after the driver struck three children and tried to flee, Milwaukee County sheriff’s officials said.

Two of the children remained hospitalized yesterday, but officials would not release details of their conditions.

The car hit two 14-year-olds late Friday as they crossed a street on the city’s north side. The driver also made a U-turn and hit a 12-year-old boy, the sheriff’s department said.

A large crowd surrounded the car, pulled out the driver and a 29-year-old passenger and beat them, the sheriff’s department said. There were others in the car, but sheriff’s spokeswoman Kim Brooks said Saturday she did not know how many.

The men were taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, and charges were pending, Miss Brooks said Saturday. No one in the crowd had been arrested.


Agency will study historic trail use

LANDER — With thousands of additional users on the historic Oregon-Mormon Pioneer trail, a federal agency is studying the area for environmental damage.

The Lander office of the Bureau of Land Management wants to determine the effects of Mormon “handcart treks” that began in 1999, the Ranger of Riverton reported last week. The agency could impose permanent rules limiting the number of trekkers.

The treks were designed to give Mormon youths a sense of what their ancestors endured on their journey from Illinois to Utah in the 19th century. Trek groups range from 40 to 400 persons.

About 1,000 participated in 1999, the year that the treks began. By 2002, the number had increased to 12,000, according to the bureau’s initial environmental assessment.

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