- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 25, 2004

ALASKA

Seabirds starving, dying

ANCHORAGE — Thousands of dead or starving seabirds have fallen out of the sky or washed up on beaches along the south-central coast of Alaska, and scientists don’t know why.

Up to 2,000 dead or ill common murres, which resemble penguins, have been spotted this month, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Tom Van Pelt, a Fish and Wildlife Service biologist, said the recent deaths could be linked to severe weather, such as high wind and ice, or a scarcity of fish.

PENNSYLVANIA

Photographer accused of killing porn star

NORRISTOWN — A photographer was charged with murder in the fatal stabbing of an adult-film actress, apparently after a photo shoot with a sexual and violent theme, prosecutors said yesterday.

Anthony Joseph Frederick was charged with murder, abuse of a corpse and possession of a knife. He was in custody without bail. District Attorney Bruce Castor also said Mr. Frederick, 46, was also charged with lying to authorities about the death of 23-year-old Natel King, also known by the stage name Taylor Sumers.

Miss King, who was from Canada, had been missing for more than three weeks.

ARKANSAS

Woods searched for fugitives

ALREAD — Police focused on a relatively small area of heavily wooded mountains yesterday in their search for two suspects in the shooting of a state trooper who also were wanted for questioning in the disappearance of a couple who lived nearby.

Convicted felon Mark Holsombach, 49, and William J. Frazier, 28, became the targets of the manhunt after a gunshot fired from their cabin Monday hit a trooper, one of several officers sent to serve warrants on the pair. The trooper was treated for a wound to one arm.

New warrants were issued this week charging attempted capital murder of the trooper and accusing Frazier of a weapons violation.

CALIFORNIA

Irish convict fights deportation

LOS ANGELES — The United States is seeking to deport an Irish man convicted of kidnapping two British soldiers in Northern Ireland, but his attorneys say his conviction was politically motivated and he should be allowed to stay.

Sean Kelly, 35, served 8 years in the notorious Maze prison and was freed in 1998 under a peace accord. He emigrated to the United States in 1999 and was granted permanent residency in 2001.

He was detained Feb. 25 at Los Angeles International Airport when he returned from a trip to Northern Ireland. On Tuesday, an administrative judge set a detention hearing for next month.

Friends in the United States say Mr. Kelly is a mistaken target of U.S. antiterrorism concerns, and they are raising money for his legal fees.

COLORADO

Rape accuser sought to ‘ruin’ lives

DENVER — A University of Colorado woman who says she was gang-raped by school athletes wrote in her diary she wanted to “ruin” the lives of her attackers.

Lisa Simpson also wrote about how much “pleasure” it gave her to know that, while no one was charged with sexual assault, some University of Colorado players were arrested for providing alcohol to minors that night and “this was something that would follow them forever.”

The woman’s accusation that she was raped by athletes at a 2001 off-campus party rocked the university and led to state and national investigations.

FLORIDA

Teacher accused of killing rabbits

PLANT CITY — A high school science teacher killed a pair of day-old rabbits with a shovel as her stunned class looked on, then asked the students to help bury them, authorities said.

Plant City High School teacher Jane Bender will not face criminal charges, but authorities brought two civil counts of animal cruelty that carry fines of $620.

Investigators said Miss Bender killed the rabbits last month and buried them in a field near the school’s agricultural lab with two others from the same litter that had died. The rabbits, about the size of chicken eggs, were not likely to survive on their own.

GEORGIA

Teachers got raises for fake degrees

LAWRENCEVILLE — A county school board may demand that six teachers repay nearly $30,000 in pay raises they received after obtaining fake degrees from an online school in Liberia.

St. Regis University, which claims to be recognized by the Liberian government, grants master’s degrees and doctorates based on “life experience.” A master’s degree costs $995 and a doctorate costs $1,500.

Several school board members have accused the six teachers of fleecing the system, and some suggested the teachers should lose their jobs.

A spokesman for the state Professional Standards Commission, which approved the six teachers’ degrees last year, said it no longer accept would credits from St. Regis. The state is investigating.

INDIANA

Religious alliance against alcohol formed

PLAINFIELD — American followers of Islam, which forbids all consumption of alcohol, are working with a Christian-based temperance group to fight drinking.

The Islamic Society of North America, representing 300 Islamic organizations, last year joined the National Temperance and Prohibition Council, forming a partnership with 14 Christian groups.

The annual council meeting issued 10 resolutions, including a call for reduction of alcohol in medications and opposition to TV ads that promote alcohol consumption by youths.

IOWA

Family wants sons together in Guard

CARROLL — The parents of three brothers serving with an Iowa Army National Guard infantry unit bound for Afghanistan don’t want their sons split up.

Mike, Scott and Tony Schon are members of Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 168th Infantry of Carroll, the Des Moines Register reported yesterday. But the National Guard is separating them to avoid the loss of all three if tragedy strikes the unit.

However, Dale and Lori Schon of Carroll, the soldiers’ mother and father, said they still are trying to keep their sons in the same western Iowa Guard unit in which they have trained for years.

They said their sons have been told they will be stationed at least 50 miles apart in Afghanistan. They have appealed for help from Rep. Steve King, Iowa Republican, and former Gov. Robert Ray.

LOUISIANA

Federal program fights termites

NEW ORLEANS — Louisiana State University scientists will soon expand their battle with Formosan termites in the New Orleans French Quarter.

A federally funded test program dubbed Operation Full Stop has been successful in reducing the infestation in recent years. It will be the second expansion of the war zone since it started in a 15-block area around Jackson Square Park.

The Formosan termite control project is one of five in the United States and the only one in Louisiana. Specialists say the program’s success has led to continued funding from Congress, although it must be renewed year by year.

KENTUCKY

Legislators block marriage measure

FRANKFORT — A proposed state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex “marriage” failed by a single vote to advance from a Kentucky House committee.

The bill failed Tuesday to get out of the House Committee on Elections, Constitutional Amendments and Intergovernmental Affairs and no further meetings on it are scheduled this session.

House Republicans who support a ban on same-sex unions were furious with Democrats who voted against it or did not vote at all, the Lexington Herald Leader reported. The measure needed seven votes to advance and came up one vote short.

MINNESOTA

Police destroy gunpowder cache

ST. PAUL — Police defused a potentially explosive situation as the bomb squad disposed of as much as 2,000 pounds of gunpowder found buried in one of the many caves dotting bluffs in the city.

The gunpowder, believed to be from the 1950s and from the U.S. military, was discovered Monday afternoon by teenagers exploring the cave, police said.

Bomb-squad members Tuesday hauled away container after container of the powder. A spokesman said police found the first batch of about 300 pounds of gunpowder about 75 feet inside the cave. It was buried about 2 feet deep in a pit about 4 by 5 feet.

NEVADA

Child-porn fugitive sought in Vegas

LAS VEGAS — Federal marshals in the Las Vegas area may be closing in on a fugitive wanted on child pornography charges since 1997.

David Benjamin Creamer is believed to be living in Las Vegas and still may be dabbling in distribution of porn, although not to the extent he was in the 1990s when he was indicted on child-exploitation charges in Arizona, KLAS-TV-Las Vegas, reported yesterday.

Federal authorities say he once made millions of dollars selling more than 100,000 pornographic diskettes worldwide.

NEW YORK

Fire, not terrorism, is nation’s top fear

NEW YORK — Most U.S. residents are more afraid of fire than terrorism, a survey revealed yesterday.

While terrorism still threatens the nation, 53 percent of adult U.S. residents say they are not fearful when the national terror threat level is raised by the Department of Homeland Security, according to the annual Duracell/Harris Interactive Preparedness Study.

The study found the disaster U.S. residents fear most is no longer terrorism, but fire; and that’s a change from last year.

In 2003, U.S. residents ranked the threat of terrorism on a nearly equal level as that of fire; but 2004 data show a 39 percent increase in the fear of fire, with nearly twice the number of respondents fearing a fire (39 percent) than fearing an act of terrorism (20 percent).

NORTH CAROLINA

Law threatens to split cohabiting parents

WILMINGTON — An unmarried couple who are the parents of a 2-year-old child may be forced to separate because cohabitation is illegal in North Carolina and would violate the woman’s probation.

Melissa Sheridan said she has about two years of probation left for welfare fraud in New York state. She moved to North Carolina a few months ago with her boyfriend, John Finger.

New York allowed her to leave with the assumption North Carolina would supervise her probation, but North Carolina has refused because she and Mr. Finger live together, she said.

Terry Gootee of the 5th Judicial District’s Division of Community Corrections said North Carolina routinely refuses to accept cases involving cohabitation. Mr. Gootee said cohabiting couples have three choices: Marry, move to another state or set up separate households.

OHIO

Widower, 70, becomes priest

MASSILLON — A 70-year-old widower with 10 children and nearly two dozen grandchildren has started a new career as a Roman Catholic priest.

Samuel Leonard was ordained last week in the Diocese of Youngstown. He will work in New Bedford, Mass., where his Maryland-based religious order, the Institute of the Incarnate Word, runs St. Kilian Church.

He had considered entering the priesthood as a young man, but he fell in love and got married. His wife died in 1998.

When his wife died, he once again thought about becoming a priest, but thought the church would consider him too old to be a candidate. A friend told him about the religious order, and they welcomed him despite his age.

OREGON

ACLU files suit on gay ‘marriage’

PORTLAND — The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit yesterday that could put the issue of homosexual “marriage” on the fast track to the state’s Supreme Court, possibly as early as next month.

The group filed the suit in Multnomah County Circuit Court on behalf of homosexual couples whose marriages were not recognized by the state’s Office of Vital Statistics.

Multnomah County commissioners decided to grant the licenses three weeks ago. The county, which encompasses much of metropolitan Portland, is the only part of the country currently issuing same-sex “marriage” licenses.

Kevin Neely, spokesman for Attorney General Hardy Myers, said the state will file its response by April 5, and a decision by Multnomah County Circuit Judge Frank Bearden is expected by the end of that month under an expedited process agreed to by both homosexual “marriage” opponents and supporters. That would set the stage for an immediate appeal to the Oregon Supreme Court, but it is not clear when the high court would hear or rule on the case.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Weather delays whale rescue effort

CHARLESTON — A team of scientists trying to save an endangered right whale entangled in a web of fishing gear and buoys had to turn around yesterday because of rough seas.

The waters were too choppy to try a disentanglement operation, said Laura Engleby, a biologist with the National Marine Fisheries Service. It was unclear when researchers would try to free the whale again.

Scientists tried to disentangle the whale Friday, but the job was so complex that they decided to return this week and, perhaps, use a sedative in an attempt to calm the animal. Scientists said it could take several days to free the whale.

TEXAS

Drug prosecutor faces lawsuit

TULIA — State Bar officials said they plan to sue the district attorney who prosecuted more than 40 people, most of them black, on trumped-up charges after a now-discredited drug sting.

The lawsuit against Terry McEachern, the result of an investigation by the bar, will be filed in Texas Supreme Court within two weeks, said Dawn Miller, chief disciplinary counsel with the State Bar of Texas. She would not elaborate on what the investigation found.

Mr. McEachern, who faces public reprimand to loss of his law license, declined to comment on the lawsuit, but said he still believes in the prosecutions.

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