- The Washington Times - Monday, November 8, 2004

MISSOURI

City honors veterans young and old

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis celebrated Veterans Day this weekend, with a parade for honorees ranging from twentysomething Marines back from Iraq to octogenerian World War II soldiers.

Marine Sgt. Brian Myers tossed candy to a sparse crowd of a few hundred spectators on Saturday as he walked in front of one of his unit’s Humvees. Sgt. Myers, 27, just returned from a seven-month tour in Iraq, and Saturday’s parade was the leatherneck’s third since he became a Marine a decade ago.

Harold and Eugene Wisely, octogenarian brothers and Army veterans of World War II, staked out a wooden bench an hour before the start of the parade.

“Years ago, there’d be more people watching,” Harold Wisely told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, while shaking his head. “It seems as time goes by, there’s less people.”

FLORIDA

Zero-gravity flights begin

ABOARD G-FORCE ONE — Space is one frontier out of reach to the average person, but the feeling of space travel is now a little less elusive.

For those who dream of rocketing into space or just want a new thrill, roller-coaster-type flights aboard a modified jetliner give passengers the sense of walking on the moon and the ability to fly like Superman. The ride from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport aboard a modified Boeing 727 can last up to two hours and costs $2,950.

Zero Gravity Corp., based in Dania Beach, Fla., is the first company to receive government approval to offer these acrobatic flights in the United States.

ARKANSAS

Inmate escapes twice in one week

MARION — An inmate charged with theft escaped twice in one week, including once after his wife had a forged letter authorizing his release faxed to the jail from a McDonald’s, officials said.

Tristian Wilson, 20, was in custody on Friday and was being treated for a broken leg that he apparently suffered after jumping from a second-story window. Officials said he would be charged with two counts of escape.

Mr. Wilson, originally jailed on theft, forgery and burglary charges, first escaped Oct. 30. Officials said jailers freed him after receiving a letter reportedly written by a detective authorizing his release.

Mr. Wilson’s wife, Crystal Wilson, 19, and a friend have been charged with forging the letter.

Mr. Wilson was caught last Monday, then escaped again Wednesday, this time from a hall in the courthouse in Marion, an Arkansas delta town near Memphis, Tenn.

Officers arrested Mr. Wilson again Thursday.

DELAWARE

Halloween pumpkins are in the air

MILLSBORO — If it was held the week after Christmas, it might be fruitcakes and trees.

In southern Delaware, however, the week after Halloween is when pumpkins take flight, powered by devices ranging from the medieval to the modern.

Thousands turned out this weekend at a cornfield for the 19th annual World Championship Punkin Chunkin.

Teams in categories such as “Championship Air,” “Adult Centrifugal,” “Adult Catapult” and “Adult Trebuchet” competed to see who could launch their gourd the farthest. For the uninitiated, a trebuchet is a type of medieval siege weapon.

By yesterday morning, competitors were closing in on the record, but had not broken it, with “Old Glory” chucking a pumpkin the farthest this year at 4,224 feet.

HAWAII

Veteran sues after reactivation

HONOLULU — A veteran of the 1991 Persian Gulf war is suing the Army after it ordered him to report for duty 13 years after he was honorably discharged from active duty and eight years after he left the reserves.

Kauai resident David Miyasato received word of his reactivation in September, but says he completed his eight-year obligation to the Army long ago.

His federal lawsuit, filed Friday in Honolulu, seeks a judgment declaring that he has fulfilled his military obligations.

Mr. Miyasato, 34, was scheduled to report to a military facility in South Carolina tomorrow.

Within hours of filing the lawsuit, however, Mr. Miyasato received a faxed letter from the Army’s Human Resources Command, saying that his “exemption from active duty had not been finalized at this time” and that he has been given an administrative delay for up to 30 days, said his attorney, Eric Seitz.

MASSACHUSETTS

Parishioner arrested, refused to exit church

WINCHESTER — A parishioner was arrested for refusing to leave a church targeted for closure by the Boston Archdiocese as part of a restructuring.

Gene Sweeney, 69, was charged with trespassing after he was removed Saturday night from Immaculate Conception Church in the Boston suburb of Winchester. He was released on $40 bail.

Parishioners from at least eight churches are conducting sit-ins — some lasting as long as two months — to protest the archdiocese’s plan to close or consolidate 82 of its 357 parishes. The restructuring was prompted in part by economic woes caused by the clergy sex-abuse scandal.

The archdiocese has not disrupted the vigils, and Mr. Sweeney’s arrest marked the first time that a church official had a parishioner forcibly removed.

Archdiocese spokesman Larry Rasky said the priest at Immaculate Conception, the Rev. Thomas Foley, decided to have Mr. Sweeney removed, in part, out of concern for his safety.

MINNESOTA

Priest told to remove homosexual material

MINNEAPOLIS — The priest at a Roman Catholic parish known for supporting homosexual issues said he will comply with a Vatican order to remove material supportive of homosexuals from the church Web site.

The Rev. George Wertin of St. Joan of Arc said he also would stop allowing unordained guests to preach at Mass, as local bishops requested.

Archbishop Harry Flynn sent two auxiliary bishops to deliver the Vatican’s message to the parish, the Star Tribune reported.

The archdiocese said it “welcomes gay and lesbian worshippers who are in full communion with the moral teachings of the church as they apply to all Catholics. It does not, however, endorse the promotion of sexual relations among unmarried persons.”

NEW YORK

Man kills self at ground zero

NEW YORK — A 25-year-old from Georgia who apparently was distraught over President Bush’s re-election fatally shot himself at ground zero.

Andrew Veal’s body was found Saturday morning inside the off-limits site, said Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. A shotgun was nearby, but no suicide note was found, Mr. Coleman said.

Mr. Veal’s mother said her son was upset about the result of the presidential election and had driven to New York, Gus Danese, president of the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association, told the New York Times in yesterday’s editions.

UTAH

Earthquake shakes border with Colorado

SALT LAKE CITY — A magnitude 4.1 earthquake shook a sparsely populated area along the Utah-Colorado state line and was felt about 60 miles away, the University of Utah Seismographic Stations reported.

There were no immediate reports of damage.

The epicenter of the earthquake late Saturday was in the Paradox Valley area, seven miles east of the state line and 16 miles southwest of the mining ghost town of Uravan, Colo., said Walter Arabasz, director of the seismographic stations.

People reported feeling the tremor in Grand Junction, Colo., about 60 miles to the northeast, Mr. Arabasz said.

WYOMING

Park Service finishes snowmobile rules

CHEYENNE — The National Park Service released a final plan on Thursday for snowmobile use in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks allowing limited, guided snowmobile treks in the parks for the next three winters.

The plan, which was proposed earlier, would allow for up to 720 snowmobiles a day led by guides into Yellowstone and 140 snowmobiles in Grand Teton and on the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway connecting the parks. Nearly all the snowmobiles would be required to meet new standards for noise and pollution.

The plan was released as part of a “finding of no significant impact.” The winter season is set to start next month.

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