- The Washington Times - Monday, May 10, 2004

TENNESSEE

Hundreds celebrate ‘Gay Day’

DAYTON — More than 400 people turned out during the weekend for a Rhea County Gay Day celebration prompted by the county commission’s vote to ban homosexuals and have them arrested for “crimes against nature.”

That commission vote in March, although reversed two days later, enraged Diana Cunningham.

“That meant they were going to ban me,” Miss Cunningham said at the celebration at a park on Saturday.

A Friday demonstration against homosexuality included preaching on the lawn of the Dayton courthouse where a jury in 1925 convicted John Scopes for teaching evolution.

ARKANSAS

Graduates remember shooting victims

JONESBORO — A hundred and one students from Westside High School walked across the stage Saturday to receive diplomas. There should have been 104.

Wreaths marked the chairs where three classmates killed in Jonesboro’s school shootings six years ago should have sat.

The March 24, 1998, shooting rampage by students Andrew Golden and Mitchell Johnson — who were 11 and 13 — killed four girls and a teacher. Three of those students were in the class that graduated Saturday.

Lindsay Kirksey, the senior class secretary, cried as she spoke of the slain classmates. She held three yellow roses and asked for a moment of quiet reflection.

The two killers were sentenced to a juvenile detention center and will be free when they turn 21.

CALIFORNIA

Doctors remove gorilla’s lung

SAN FRANCISCO — Doctors in San Francisco have removed the diseased lung of a 29-year-old male gorilla from the city zoo and said during the weekend that they were cautiously optimistic the animal would make a full recovery.

The operation on Kubi, a 422-pound ape, was the first of its kind and took nearly five hours to complete on Friday. A team of surgeons and veterinarians at the University of California at San Francisco donated their time to save the animal, who has spent his entire life at the San Francisco Zoo.

In recent years, Kubi has suffered a chronic cough and lung infections that did not respond to drugs. His condition recently escalated to pneumonia, and doctors said he would have died without the surgery. When they opened the ape, they found that his right lung was almost completely nonfunctional.

COLORADO

Officials approve electronic voting

DENVER — State officials say there is no need for paper ballots in Colorado’s November elections. Secretary of State Donetta Davidson said counties can use electronic voting machines, even though federal elections regulators haven’t come up with certification rules.

Some critics say the state should return to paper ballots or offer paper receipts.

IOWA

Fungus named after professor

AMES — Mushroom maven Lois Tiffany thinks its fabulous to have a fungus named in her honor.

“It’s always interesting to find something that is new to science and that nobody has observed before,” Miss Tiffany said last week after Iowa State University announced a new truffle would be named after the distinguished professor emeritus, who has taught ecology, evolution and organismal biology at the university.

First collected in late summer of 1998, the fungus — now named Mattirolomyces tiffanyae — has been found in several oak woods areas in Story County.

Rosanne Healy, a biologist at the university’s Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology, discovered the species during a survey of Iowa’s truffles, the university said.

She described the fungus as white, round and smooth with colorless spores.

MAINE

Scientists find 18 invasive species

PORTLAND — An international team found 18 invasive marine species in Casco Bay waters as part of a survey from Maine to New York.

Scientists scoured docks and piers in search of nonnative species of marine life from around the world. Marine invasive species arrive in the ballast water of ships and in shipments of seafood.

MASSACHUSETTS

Antique seaplane crashes; pilot killed

SHARON — A small antique seaplane crashed at the edge of a lake last week, killing the pilot, officials said.

No one else was aboard the twin-engine 1942 Cessna T-50 seaplane, which had pontoons but crashed into a wooded area near Massapoag Lake, about 25 miles southwest of Boston, Norfolk district attorney spokesman David Traub said.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Jim Peters said it was not clear whether the pilot was attempting to land on the lake.

Mr. Traub identified the pilot as Daren Banfield, 37, of Brookline, N.H.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

MINNESOTA

State says AT&T; mischarged residents

ST. PAUL — State Attorney General Mike Hatch has sued telecommunications giant AT&T.; Mr. Hatch says the company charged almost 17,000 Minnesota residents for phone services they did not request or receive and made it difficult for them to get refunds.

Mr. Hatch said the number of people wronged could be higher because his count includes only non-AT&T; customers erroneously charged. AT&T; blamed a computer glitch for the billing errors.

NEVADA

Garbage workers picket in Reno

RENO — Garbage workers in the Reno area walked picket lines Saturday, a day after going on strike for the first time since 1967.

Teamsters Local 533 called the strike Friday after negotiations broke down with Waste Management of Nevada Inc. over pay, job security, health insurance and vacation benefits.

About 350 company employees had been working without a contract since April 18. Of that, about 280 are union members.

The strike left full garbage cans in some areas and prompted company officials to call in a strike team of employees from across the country to resume full service.

Company manager Greg Martinelli declined to say how many workers were being brought to Reno, but said garbage not picked up Friday would be removed by today.

OHIO

Lawyers seek aid in shootings case

COLUMBUS — Attorneys for the man charged in a series of highway shootings in central Ohio are asking for state money to hire mental-health professionals and a private investigator.

Charles McCoy is indigent and needs psychiatrists to treat him and determine whether he is competent to stand trial, according to court documents filed by his attorneys last week.

Mr. McCoy was diagnosed in 1996 with paranoid schizophrenia, and he was declared disabled because of it a year later, the documents said.

The attorneys also said they need a private investigator to help review information from the months-long manhunt that ended with Mr. McCoy’s arrest in March.

Mr. McCoy, 28, has pleaded not guilty to a 24-count indictment including the fatal November shooting of a 62-year-old woman. She was the only person hit in the attacks.

OKLAHOMA

Dots connect owner to money

ELK CITY — Tom McAnally lost and found $11,000 in one day, thanks in part to some blue dots.

The painter from Tennessee had completed some big jobs in the Elk City area, but he hadn’t been home to make a bank deposit.

He left a gas station and headed to work when he felt his hip pocket and realized the money wasn’t there. He returned to the convenience store where he bought the gas and learned that two men had found the money in the parking lot and turned it in to the store manager, who gave it to police.

It was easy for Mr. McAnally to identify the money because little blue paper dots were mixed in with the bills. He keeps the dots in his pocket for good luck because his wife once won $100 with a scratch-off lottery ticket after she tore a blue dot out of a newspaper.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Dig planned for Citadel stadium

CHARLESTON — Archaeologists plan to dig on the site of The Citadel’s Johnson Hagood Stadium this summer to recover the bodies of as many as 200 people, including Confederate dead, from what used to be a pair of graveyards.

The site was the Seaman’s Burial Ground and a graveyard for the Harriett Pinckney Home for Widows and Orphans.

SOUTH DAKOTA

City to buy hydroelectric plant

SPEARFISH — Spearfish has agreed to buy a hydroelectric plant from Homestake Mining Co. The $250,000 deal includes the plant, five miles of the water-diversion tunnel, the Maurice Intake Dam in Spearfish Canyon and Homestake’s water rights to Spearfish Creek.

Mayor Jerry Krambeck said preserving Spearfish Creek’s flow through the Black Hills town was his primary objective.

WASHINGTON

Chief’s hiring called ‘appropriate’

TACOMA — An investigation into the career of the police chief who killed his estranged wife and committed suicide last year concluded that his hiring and promotions were “appropriate.”

The report, released Friday at a special meeting of the Tacoma City Council, results from one of several investigations conducted after David Brame fatally shot his estranged wife and himself in a strip mall parking lot in April 2003.

In the aftermath, records released by the city showed that Brame had been hired in 1981 despite flunking a psychological exam, and he was promoted steadily despite a 1988 rape accusation that investigators called “credible” even though it was never prosecuted.

The city asked the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs to investigate Brame’s hiring and promotion, up to the point when he was named chief in 2001.

The association’s report said Brame’s hiring wasn’t extraordinary. The city’s main mistake, the report said, was the way the Tacoma Police Department failed to investigate the 1988 rape accusation against Brame.

WISCONSIN

Burglary suspect caught in bathroom

WHITEFISH BAY — Burglars, beware of taking a bathroom break.

That was how Otha Smith got caught.

Dewey Coulson went to the bathroom in the middle of the night, only to find an intruder using the toilet.

Mr. Coulson, 19, ran upstairs to get his stepfather, and when they returned, they saw the man trying to leave. He and stepfather Dave End wrestled with the man, who police said apparently entered through an unlocked door, to subdue him until police arrived.

Mr. Coulson’s mother, Cathy End, said the intruder likely wasn’t in the house long before heading to the bathroom.

“There was some money out of my wallet, but that’s as far as he got, I guess, before nature took over. The toilet part just blows my mind,” she said.


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