- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 30, 2004

CALIFORNIA

Ex-librarian wins $1 million baking contest

LOS ANGELES — A former librarian created a pie combining oats and walnuts with chocolate chips and crumbled granola bars to win $1 million in the Pillsbury Bake-Off yesterday.

Suzanne Conrad of Findlay, Ohio, said it took a week to perfect her Oats ‘n’ Honey Granola Pie.

“I kept sending the pies to work with my husband,” she said. “We just couldn’t eat another piece.”

Mrs. Conrad, 35, said her prize money would go into a college fund for her 3-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter and pay off loans for her master’s degree in library science.

The 100 finalists in the biennial contest, five of them men, prepared their recipes, which ranged from shrimp bisque to macaroons, in a Hollywood hotel ballroom on Monday.

NEW YORKStudent to get withheld diploma

NEW YORK — A valedictorian who was denied her high school diploma after she criticized her school during a graduation speech will receive her sheepskin tomorrow, but she still doesn’t have an apology, she said.

“I stand by what I said because it was the truth, and the truth hurts,” a tearful Tiffany Schley, 17, said at a Monday press conference outside City Hall with her mother and supporters.

In her graduation speech Thursday, Miss Schley complained that Brooklyn’s High School of Legal Studies

ALASKA

Two climbers die in rock slides

ANCHORAGE — A rock slide that unleashed boulders “the size of trucks” killed a climber and injured two other hikers as they descended Mount McKinley, authorities said.

It was one of two deadly rock slides in the United States over the weekend.

On Saturday, a rock slide on a popular trail on Mount Katahdin in Maine killed a hiker who became trapped under a boulder. The victim was identified as Roger Cooper, 52, of Bangor, Maine.

In Alaska, four climbers were attached by rope at 13,000 feet when giant boulders began raining down on them on Sunday. Two men suffered non-life-threatening injuries, while a fourth, a guide, was not injured. Clint West, 47, died of multiple injuries shortly after the rock slide.

ARKANSAS

Marriage measure gets signatures

LITTLE ROCK — Supporters of a proposed state constitutional amendment that would define marriage as only between a man and a woman said they have the 80,570 signatures needed to place the measure on the Nov. 2 ballot.

The group will submit the signatures tomorrow to the Secretary of State’s Office, which must count and certify them.

FLORIDA

Man bites off tip of thumb

CLEARWATER — A man was arrested on an aggravated battery charge over the weekend after he bit off a quarter-inch of his roommate’s thumb during a fight, police said.

Benito Martinez, 21, was being held in lieu of $10,000 bail.

Police said Mr. Martinez and his roommate, Marcelo Alaves, 26, were drinking beer in their apartment when Mr. Martinez became upset over a remark Mr. Alaves made about Mr. Martinez’s girlfriend. The pair then began a fight that spilled outside their unit.

“Outside the apartment, [Mr. Alaves] punched Martinez in the face, and somehow his right thumb went into Martinez’s mouth,” the police report read. “Martinez then bit his right thumb and took off the tip of it,” including the nail.

The report did not indicate what happened to the tip of the thumb.

IDAHO

Official seeks to fund land preservation

COEUR d’ALENE — County Commissioner Dick Panabaker wants taxpayers to buy up land before developers can. He says revenue from the local-option sales tax could finance land preservation.

The state needs to approve his plan, because the tax is limited to providing property-tax relief and paying for jails. Development in the area is consuming open space at the rate of 1,000 acres a year.

INDIANA

Web site to list tax deadbeats

INDIANAPOLIS — Beginning tomorrow, the Indiana Department of Revenue will post on its Web site the names of persons and businesses who haven’t paid tax bills of $1,000 or more for at least two years and have warrants against them.

The agency collected more than $900,000 in back taxes, after sending warning letters to delinquent taxpayers in mid-May.

IOWA

Culprit caught stealing ribbons

BETTENDORF — When yellow ribbons in Bob Saskowski’s yard started disappearing, he suspected evil intentions.

“Every time it disappeared, I would hang a new one,” said Bob Saskowski, who tied the ribbons with his wife, Alexis, in support of their son and other troops in Iraq.

The disappearances went on for eight months. The last straw was when three ribbons disappeared in three days.

So Mr. Saskowski appealed to his neighbors, asking them to talk to their teenagers about respect and patriotism and asked for their help. Neighbors responded by adding yellow ribbons to the trees in their yards. The ribbons kept disappearing, but only from the Saskowski yard.

Finally, the couple set up a video camera, focused on the yard. Six weeks later, they caught the culprit on tape. The ribbons were being shimmied slowly down the trunk by a squirrel.

“We can laugh now,” Mr. Saskowski said. “Before, it was not funny.”

KANSAS

Body found in home of hoaxer

TOPEKA — Days after a social-service worker admitted concocting a story about surviving the Bataan Death March, the decomposed body of a woman was found in her home.

Police said yesterday that Juanita Smith was present when the corpse was found and that she was taken to a hospital.

Authorities said they had not identified the body, but voter-registration records showed another woman, Shannon N. Smith, 39, had the same address as Juanita Smith, 83. Whether the two were related was not known.

A police investigation suggested that the woman may have died in March, Maj. John Sidwell said. An autopsy was being performed yesterday.

Juanita Smith told the Capital-Journal last week that she had made up the death march story in the early 1990s to make an impression during a job interview.

MASSACHUSETTS

Convention to get lawmakers out early

BOSTON — Lawmakers might end their formal session 10 days early this year because of the traffic tie-ups and political distraction expected from the Democratic National Convention. It arrives in Boston the week of July 26.

The last week of July typically is one of the busiest in the legislature’s two-year calendar, with July 31 being the deadline to finish business.

MISSOURI

Carnahan family ends pursuit of damages

KANSAS CITY — The family of the late Gov. Mel Carnahan has ended efforts to win punitive damages in the October 2000 plane crash that killed the governor, his son and an aide, the family’s attorney said.

A jury in January found aircraft parts manufacturer Parker Hannifin Corp. of Cleveland liable for $4 million in actual damages, but rejected the family’s request for punitive damages.

The lawsuit contended that faulty vacuum pumps failed and cut power to instruments used by Randy Carnahan, pilot of the small plane carrying his father and aide Chris Sifford from the St. Louis area to southeastern Missouri for a campaign event.

The deadline for an appeal passed last week, and family attorney Gary C. Robb made it clear Monday that the case is over.

“We believe justice was served,” he said.

The lawsuit was filed by Mr. Carnahan’s widow, Jean, and the couple’s surviving children: Robin, Thomas and Russell.

NEW JERSEY

Time capsule saved from oblivion

GREEN BROOK TOWNSHIP — A time capsule buried in the cornerstone of an elementary school 66 years ago has been saved from oblivion — thanks to a man who remembered witnessing the ceremony.

Rens P. Eelman, 74, was 8 when the small metal box was put in the cornerstone of the Irene E. Feldkirchner Elementary School in 1938. When part of the building was scheduled to be demolished last week, Mr. Eelman accompanied committee member Melonie Marano to look around the school for any artifacts the township might want to preserve. It was during the tour that Mr. Eelman remembered the time capsule.

Workers demolished part of the building Tuesday, removed the cornerstone and found the capsule where Mr. Eelman said it would be.

The capsule is on display at the township municipal building, and Miss Marano said she will discuss what to do with it with the Board of Education.

OHIO

Campaign suggests leniency for donors

CLEVELAND — An edgy new advertising campaign to promote organ donation hints that police officers should cut some slack to speeders who are organ donors.

“Hey policeman,” a Cleveland billboard calls out, an arrow pointing to a donor insignia on a young man’s license, “give this guy a break.”

The advertisements by LifeBanc, the Cleveland-based organ-procurement agency for 20 counties in northeastern Ohio, are meant to attract attention, a spokeswoman said.

“We wanted to get people thinking,” said the agency’s Monica Heath, noting that about 1,300 people in northeastern Ohio are waiting for organs.

PENNSYLVANIA

12 indicted in city probe

PHILADELPHIA — A former city treasurer, a powerful city lawyer and 10 others were indicted yesterday in a municipal corruption investigation that became public when a bugging device was discovered in the mayor’s office.

It is the second round of indictments to come out of the investigation.

The latest indictment says that in 2002 and 2003, lawyer Ronald A. White gave cash and gifts worth tens of thousands of dollars to Treasurer Corey Kemp to influence which financial-services companies were selected to handle bond transactions for the city.

The probe became public in October, when police conducting a security sweep discovered an FBI listening device in the City Hall office of Mayor John F. Street. Mr. Street has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

On June 2, a federal grand jury indicted five persons on fraud charges. They are accused of stealing about $224,000 through a sham adult-education program.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Thurmond’s daughter added to monument

COLUMBIA — Gov. Mark Sanford has signed a bill to add the name of Strom Thurmond’s biracial daughter to the list of his children engraved on a monument to the late U.S. senator.

Essie Mae Washington-Williams came forward last year and announced that she is the daughter of Mr. Thurmond and a black 16-year-old housekeeper who worked in the Thurmond family home.

The governor, a Republican, signed the bill on June 18.

The Statehouse monument was built in the late 1990s with $850,000 in private donations.

VERMONT

Fate of urinals to be debated

BELLOWS FALLS — Since they were installed in 1922, they have offered welcome relief to many a passing traveler.

So when the town renovates its historic train station, debate is expected over whether the three men’s room urinals have to go.

Project manager Susan McMahon told a public meeting last week that it wasn’t clear whether the fixtures would fit in with the new design.

Although bathrooms are not considered in federal historic preservation rules, she said, planners want to preserve them.

She said if they can’t be accommodated in the newly designed men’s room, the town may donate them to the American Sanitary Plumbing Museum in Worcester, Mass.

WASHINGTON

Ad for snack prompts lawsuit

SEATTLE — An advertisement for an onion ring snack is making the folks who protect the Space Needle cry.

The Space Needle Corp. filed suit in federal court against McCain Snack Foods after the food firm ran an advertisement in Restaurants and Institutions magazine featuring a giant onion ring atop the famous icon.

The ad was to promote the company’s Moore’s onion rings brand.

Last week, the Space Needle filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in U.S. District Court against McCain. The Space Needle has held trademarks on the structure’s name and image since it was built for the 1962 World’s Fair.

WISCONSIN

Motorist finds snake in rental car

MADISON — A motorist found a slithery surprise not covered in his rental-car agreement when a ball python stuck its head out from between his legs.

“He was completely in shock,” Officer Laura Walker said. “I mean he said he was lucky he didn’t crash the car.”

When Officer Walker and animal-control officer Tim Frank arrived to help Sunday, the 2-foot constrictor snake was coiled around the seat’s base, she said.

Mr. Frank removed the snake and took it to the Dane County Humane Society, which will put it up for adoption if no one claims it, he said. The snake was probably there for at least a week, Mr. Frank said.

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