- The Washington Times - Monday, November 1, 2004


Fantasy Fest draws thousands

KEY WEST — Fantasy Fest, the almost-anything-goes 10-day masking and costuming festival, ended here yesterday after nearly 60,000 spectators lined the island city’s Duval Street to view more than 70 motorized floats and costumed groups.

Entries included a giant white-winged Pegasus, a “Billy the Squid” whose colorful tentacles menaced crowds and a troupe of 10-foot-tall dancing geckos.

Fantasy Fest provided a welcome boost for the Florida Keys’ tourist-based economy. The four Florida hurricanes in the summer spared the island chain, but evacuations hurt the Keys’ tourism that season.


Police use pepper spray on revelers

MADISON — Police in riot gear used pepper spray early yesterday to clear thousands of Halloween revelers out of downtown Madison after members of the crowd started a small fire.

Officers arrested 250 persons, mostly for city-ordinance violations, police spokeswoman Emily Samson said. Last year, more than 300 were arrested.

Meanwhile, SWAT teams in Boulder, Colo., arrested 18 persons wearing Halloween costumes for throwing rocks and bottles at police. Officers had been sent to check reports of underage drinking in a crowd of about 1,500.


Officials recommend cutting fishing permits

ANCHORAGE — A new state report recommends cutting the number of Bristol Bay fishing permits from 1,857 to as few as 800.

The study by the Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission says the existing number of fishing boats no longer can make a profit. The value of the Bristol Bay fishery has plummeted in recent years with the rise of fish farming.


Closing arguments today in Peterson trial

REDWOOD CITY — Jurors could hear some new ground plowed today when they listen to closing arguments in the Scott Peterson murder trial.

Trial analysts told the Modesto Bee yesterday that the prosecution and defense both likely would try to point out to the jury the evidence the opposing side supposedly brought up in opening statements but failed to deliver.

The Bee said defense attorney Mark Geragos likely would be targeted by the district attorney’s office for his perceived failure to come up with other potential suspects, or the witnesses who supposedly saw Mr. Peterson’s wife, Laci, alive and well on the day she disappeared.

Mr. Peterson faces a death sentence if convicted of murdering Laci and their unborn son on the day before Christmas of 2002.


School bans celebratory sweets

MILFORD — Cupcakes are contraband at Meadowside Elementary School.

Principal Robert Davis’ ban on all celebratory sweets has made some parents sour.

Health officials said Mr. Davis has adopted a policy of using games and crafts instead of baked goods to fete birthdays, holidays and special occasions, and praised it as a way to combat childhood obesity.

Parent Jack Fowler said no one should dictate what students can bring to school for special events. He said health and school officials have turned into the “fat police,” in an attempt to rid schools of foods children enjoy.


Official apologizes for e-mail flap

LIHUE — A member of the Kauai Police Commission has apologized for referring to the new police chief in an e-mail as “Hop Sing.”

Leon Gonsalves Sr. said his e-mail was meant to be private and not hurtful to either new Police Chief K.C. Lum nor Deputy Chief Ron Venneman, whom he called “Little Joe” in the e-mail.

Hop Sing was the name of the Chinese cook on the television show “Bonanza” and Little Joe was the son of a rancher on the show. Some people consider the Hop Sing character to be a negative racial stereotype.

The e-mail, originally sent to one person, has been distributed throughout the department.

Mayor Bryan Baptiste said the remarks were inappropriate. “A course of action will be determined once I am able to speak with all appropriate parties,” he said.


Syrian synod OKs self-government

ENGLEWOOD — The 480,000-member Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, based in northern New Jersey, announced that a synod in Antioch, Syria, has granted it self-government.

A new constitution provides that bishops will be nominated and elected by North Americans, then consecrated at the home cathedral in Damascus, Syria.

The constitution comes up for formal ratification at the North American convention next July.

Some Americans in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese would like to win similar self-government from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Istanbul. The Russian Orthodox Church granted independence to the Orthodox Church in America, Orthodoxy’s other main North American branch, in 1970, though the Ecumenical Patriarchate does not recognize this.


Cleveland Clinic plans first face transplant

CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Clinic says it is the first institution to receive review-board approval of human facial transplant for someone severely disfigured by burns or disease.

Several independent medical teams around the world also are pursuing the procedure. The Cleveland Clinic said its approval on Oct. 15 came after 10 months of debate on medical, ethical and psychological issues.

It has no current patients or donors for the procedure. Doctors at the clinic said finding an appropriate donor cadaver for the facial skin and underlying tissue might be more difficult than choosing a patient, which could take up to two years.

Dr. Maria Siemionow, the hospital’s director of plastic surgery research and training in microscopic surgery, said she wants to start with a relatively simple procedure that would involve transplanting only the skin and underlying fat. The patient’s own muscles shape the face, so the patient would not take on the appearance of the donor, she said.


Single-engine plane crashes in woods

LINCOLN — A man was killed when his plane crashed into the woods near a suburban shopping mall and burst into flames shortly after takeoff.

Pilot Paul Douglas of Norfolk, Mass., died when his fixed-wing, single-engine plane went down Friday about 50 yards from Lincoln Mall, said his brother-in-law, Ken Maffei. Mr. Douglas had taken off from North Central Airport about two miles away.

Mr. Douglas was the only person aboard the four-passenger Adventure Air AMPIB airplane. There was no contact with air traffic control before the plane went down, Federal Aviation Administration officials said.


Teacher resumes leading religious club

SIOUX FALLS — Third-grade teacher Barbara Wigg was back leading a weekly religious club last week after a federal appeals court upheld her right to do so.

Miss Wigg sued the Sioux Falls School District last year after she was told she couldn’t help the Child Evangelism Fellowship’s local Good News Club, which meets at her elementary school after classes.

“What a privilege to be here,” she said after the hourlong session of stories, games and prayers.

A panel from the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that barring Miss Wigg’s participation violated her First Amendment religious rights.

The school board wants the full appeals court to review the case, and could take it to the U.S. Supreme Court.


Officer dies after partner runs over her

AUSTIN — A police officer died early yesterday after she got out of her patrol car to chase a suspect on foot and was run over by her partner.

Officer Amy Donovan was on patrol late Saturday when she and her partner, Officer Adrian Valdovino, saw someone engaged in “suspicious activity,” said Police Chief Stan Knee.

She jumped from the car to question the man, but he fled on foot. Officer Valdovino put the car in reverse to try to stop the man and the car struck Officer Donovan, the chief said. The suspect escaped.

Officer Donovan, 37, is the first female Austin Police Department officer to die in the line of duty, officials said.


Dog phones 911, barks to get help

RICHLAND — Leana Beasley has faith that a dog is man’s best friend.

Faith, a four-year-old Rottweiler, phoned 911 when Miss Beasley, 45, fell out of her wheelchair. The service dog barked urgently into the receiver until a dispatcher sent help. Then Faith unlocked the front door for the police officer.

“I sensed there was a problem on the other end of the 911 call,” said dispatcher Jenny Buchanan. “The dog was too persistent in barking directly into the phone receiver. I knew she was trying to tell me something.”

Faith is trained to summon help by pushing a speed-dial button on the phone with her nose after taking the receiver off the hook, said her owner.

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