- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 11, 2004


Severe storms bring tornadoes

MINNEAPOLIS — A rapidly developing storm system spawned tornadoes, funnel clouds and hail Sunday as it swept from west-central Minnesota through the Twin Cities area.

Tornadoes, funnel clouds and hail as large as 13/4 inches in diameter were reported in counties west of Minneapolis, and 72 mph wind was reported in St. Paul.

There were isolated reports of damage, including trees toppled in the Twin Cities area, but no immediate reports of serious injuries. More than 22,000 customers of Xcel Energy lost power in the Twin Cities area.


Marshals sued over tape erasure

JACKSON — The Associated Press and the Hattiesburg American filed a lawsuit yesterday against the U.S. Marshals Service over an incident in April in which a federal marshal erased reporters’ recordings of a speech Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia gave to high school students.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Jackson. Named as defendants are the Marshals Service, Deputy Marshal Melanie Rube and unidentified John Does.

“People who enforce the law should know what the law is, and especially the basic law that says citizens can’t be shaken down by their own government,” said Dave Tomlin, AP assistant general counsel.


Ferry hits reef; 109 abandon ship

SITKA — A 235-foot ferry with 109 persons aboard struck a reef yesterday and began taking on water, forcing the passengers and crew to abandon ship.

All 86 passengers and 23 crew members were evacuated from the vessel and put into life rafts and aboard passing ships, said Alaska Marine Highway System spokeswoman Nona Wilson. No injuries were reported.

The ferry was stuck on a reef in Peril Strait about 30 miles north of Sitka. The ship was taking on water, but the ebbing tide meant it was in no immediate danger of sinking.


Man found dead in burning car

PINE BLUFF — The body of a man was found in a burning car Sunday at a cemetery where he and his wife had gone to visit his mother-in-law’s grave, police said.

R.V. Davis, 78, had been sitting in the car while his wife, Joy, visited the grave. Mrs. Davis went back to the car and saw the fire after hearing her husband yelling, but neither she nor a bystander could get him out of the vehicle, said Sgt. Robert D. Rawlinson, a spokesman for the Pine Bluff Police Department.

Mrs. Davis told police that her husband had stayed in the car because he was in poor health and couldn’t get out without assistance. Police did not know what caused the fire.


School sees decline in foreign applications

HONOLULU — University of Hawaii admissions officials note a major decline in applications from international students.

The number of foreign applicants fell by 28 percent this year at the school’s main campus in Manoa. Undergraduate international applications dropped 22 percent. Officials say more stringent visa regulations caused the decrease.


Prison workers receive layoff notices

SPRINGFIELD — As state officials debate whether to close the Vandalia Correctional Center, 447 employees at the prison received layoff notices, a spokesman for the state’s Department of Corrections said.

Vandalia’s employees were among 630 corrections employees who were told that they will be laid off July 1. Spokesman Sergio Molina says the employees could qualify for vacant positions.


Woman jailed in husband’s death

HARLAN — A woman who shot her husband then left his body in their home for more than a year was sentenced yesterday to 50 years in prison by a judge who said the mandatory sentence was unjust.

Dixie Shanahan, 39, must serve at least 35 years under the state’s mandatory sentencing law.

“The mandatory minimum sentencing structure imposed on this court is in my opinion wrong,” District Judge Charles Smith said at the sentencing. “It may be legal, but it is wrong.”

Judge Smith said Shanahan shot her husband, Scott, after suffering 18 years of abuse.

“No human should have to put up with that,” the judge said.

Shanahan, who was wearing an orange jail jumpsuit and handcuffs, declined to make a statement in court and displayed no emotion.


Vandals damage Civil War statue

BOSTON — Vandals toppled a 127-year-old bronze statue of a Civil War soldier, snapping off its head and musket.

Authorities think the 1,000-pound statue on the Boston Common was pushed over Saturday night. The statue of the Union soldier is part of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, the city’s most elaborate memorial.

The torso was found lying stomach down on the concrete near the base of the statue’s 12-foot pedestal. Parks officials recovered the soldier’s musket and its wide-eyed, mustachioed head, weighing more than 100 pounds. Officials think the figure can be repaired.

Police said yesterday that no arrests had been made. Parks department spokeswoman Mary Hines said investigators had no leads.


Boy finds $100 in school restroom

HUDSONVILLE — What appeared to be nothing more than another roll of toilet paper in the boys’ restroom turned out to be a bankroll for fourth-grader Cody Yaeger, who discovered a $100 bill tucked inside.

Jamestown Elementary Principal Jack DeLeeuw said he was impressed with 10-year-old Cody’s integrity after the boy took the $100 to his teacher.

Mr. DeLeeuw said he checked with school staff and called leaders of a congregation that meets at the school on Sundays, but no one claimed the bill.

Cody said he doesn’t have big spending plans, except maybe tickets to a West Michigan Whitecaps minor league baseball game.

“Maybe I’ll give it to my mom,” he said.


Wildfire spreads, prompts evacuations

ROUNDUP — A fire that forced the evacuations of at least 30 outlying homes grew to an estimated 700 acres by yesterday morning, but firefighters expect to have it contained as early as today.

The Dean Creek fire began last week with a lightning strike. It expanded greatly Sunday afternoon as wind increased.

Dena Lang, a spokeswoman with the federal Bureau of Land Management, said cool weather that arrived early yesterday was helping firefighters gain ground and keep the fire away from the evacuated homes. No injuries were reported.


Venue change sought for soldier’s trial

FORT BRAGG — Attorneys for a Muslim Army sergeant accused in a fatal grenade attack on his fellow soldiers in the opening days of the Iraq war asked yesterday that the trial be moved or that jurors be chosen from another branch of the military.

“This offense received worldwide coverage,” said Capt. David Coombs, one of the attorneys for Sgt. Hasan Akbar. “Any Army member who heard this had a visceral response.”

Sgt. Akbar, 32, is charged with two counts of premeditated murder and three counts of attempted premeditated murder for the March 23, 2003, attack in Kuwait on a group of fellow 101st Airborne Division soldiers and others. Two persons were killed, and 14 were wounded.

The judge, Col. Patrick Parrish, did not rule on the motion immediately. It was not clear when he would rule, post officials said. The court-martial is set to begin July 12.


Mother, daughter die in flooding

FELTON — A woman and her 4-year-old daughter drowned on Mother’s Day when their car was swept off a road into a rain-swollen creek, officials said.

Karen B. King, 34, and Hanna J. King, who lived in nearby Brogue, were swept away at about 10:30 p.m. and were found in their submerged car early yesterday, said Vivian Howell of the York County Coroner’s Office.

The National Weather Service estimated that 3 to 5 inches of rain fell in the area in four hours on Sunday night.

Authorities made numerous rescues, some from second-floor windows, and the flooding closed at least five roads in low-lying areas south of Red Lion. No injuries were reported.


Osmonds’ mother dies at 79

SALT LAKE CITY — Olive Osmond, mother of Donny and Marie Osmond and other members of the performing family, died Sunday, a family spokesman said. She was 79.

She died of complications from a massive stroke she suffered more than two years ago. Family members were at her side.

She was born in Idaho in 1925 and married George Osmond in 1944. The couple had nine children, 55 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren.

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