- The Washington Times - Monday, October 18, 2004


Fleeing truck crashes, killing 6

PHOENIX — Police yesterday were still trying to determine who was driving a stolen truck loaded with illegal immigrants that smashed into other vehicles and rolled over, killing six persons and injuring 15, some critically.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials questioned a man they had thought was the driver, but he turned out to be a passenger, said Arizona Department of Public Safety Sgt. Brian Preston.

Investigators think the pickup truck was traveling at about 90 mph when it went out of control at an intersection near Fort Huachuca, an Army post in southeastern Arizona.

Five persons died at the scene of the 11-car crash Saturday, and one died at a hospital. Of the 15 injured, one was on life support and six were in critical but stable condition, Sgt. Preston said.


Re-enactors move into state

MANDAN — A group retracing the steps of explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark moved into North Dakota at the end of the week, finding the weather nearly as much of a challenge as the explorers had 200 years ago.

The group, dressed for the weather in wool and buckskin, camped along the Missouri River south of Mandan with temperatures of about 40 degrees and a brisk north wind that made the air seem colder.

Scott Mandrell, an Alton, Ill., teacher who portrayed Lewis, said the weather conditions resembled those that greeted the two men during the 1804-05 winter as they made their way west.


Three rescued from burning boat

NEW PORT RICHEY — Three persons were helped from a burning casino shuttle boat yesterday by an off-duty Coast Guard rescue swimmer who was boating nearby.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Robert Morgan drove his private boat to the 75-foot shuttle and rescued the three persons on board, the Coast Guard said. One of the victims was hospitalized to be treated for smoke inhalation.

The shuttle boat, which belongs to the Sun Cruise Casino ship, caught fire in a channel and burned to its waterline. The Coast Guard is investigating.

The victims’ names were not released.


Gamers celebrate Dungeons & Dragons

ATLANTA — Dungeons & Dragons players gathered in game stores nationwide Saturday to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the grandfather of fantasy role-playing games — a pop-culture phenomenon that has influenced myriad video games, books and movies.

An estimated 25,000 fans in 1,200 stores celebrated the anniversary on Saturday, said Charles Ryan, brand manager for role-playing games at Wizards of the Coast, a Renton, Wash., company that owns Dungeons & Dragons.

Shaunnon Drake was at Batty’s Best Comics and Games, where gamers ranging in age from early teens to mid-30s ate pizza and played Dungeons & Dragons throughout the afternoon. Some said they spend three nights a week or more playing.

In 1974, 1,000 brown-and-white boxes filled with pamphlets for “Fantastic Medieval Wargames” were distributed by a couple of guys who liked war role-playing and decided to set a game in the Middle Ages, but with monsters and fantastic heroes. Dungeons & Dragons went on to become one of the best-selling games of all time. The game peaked in the 1980s, but there are plenty of fans left. About 4 million people regularly play Dungeons & Dragons.


Archdiocese delays two parish closings

BOSTON — Two Roman Catholic parishes slated for closure as part of the Boston Archdiocese’s broad reconfiguration have been granted reprieves, Archbishop Sean P. O’Malley announced Saturday.

He announced in May that 82 churches would be closed. The closings were necessary, he said, because of a steady decline in attendance, a shortage of priests and deteriorating buildings that would cost more than $100 million to repair.

St. Bernard Parish in Newton, a 130-year-old parish that was to close Oct. 25, will remain open until further notice to allow additional meetings with parishioners, the archbishop said.

St. Mary of the Angels in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood, also set to close this month, will stay open two more years to provide assistance in reducing neighborhood violence.


Monument marks Wellstone crash site

EVELETH — A new memorial will honor the late Sen. Paul Wellstone, his wife and daughter, and five others who died in a plane crash in 2002.

The design of the Wellstone Memorial and Historic Site is scheduled to be unveiled tomorrow near the crash site, which is in a swamp two miles south of the Eveleth-Virginia Municipal Airport.

Mr. Wellstone, wife Sheila and daughter Marcia Markuson, as well as three campaign workers and two pilots, were killed Oct. 25, 2002, just days before the Senate election.

The memorial to the progressive Democrat, who served 12 years in the Senate, includes a walking trail featuring plaques about the victims and a monument near the crash site, said Bill Lofy, spokesman for Wellstone Action, a nonpartisan, nonprofit political training organization founded by Mr. Wellstone’s sons.


Woman pregnant after ovary transplant

ST. LOUIS — Stephanie Yarber had her first bout of morning sickness Friday, but she’s not complaining. The nausea only confirmed what she had dreamed would happen some day.

The Alabama woman, who came to St. Louis in April to have the first-known ovary transplant in this country, is pregnant. Five weeks and four days pregnant, to be precise.

“I just cried and screamed,” she said by phone from her home in Muscle Shoals, Ala.

Mrs. Yarber, 25, hasn’t menstruated since she was 13, dashing any hopes of having children. Her identical twin, Melanie Morgan, of nearby Tuscumbia, Ala., has three little girls.

Mrs. Yarber unsuccessfully had tried in vitro fertilization twice, using eggs donated by her sister.

In April, the sisters underwent a rare operation at St. Luke’s Hospital, in which ovarian tissue from Mrs. Morgan was transplanted into Mrs. Yarber in an effort to make her fertile. By September, she began menstruating normally and medical tests indicated that she had ovulated.

Dr. Sherman Silber, who led the transplant team, wants to isolate the gene that caused Mrs. Yarber to become menopausal at age 13, something that could aid scientists in their study of infertility.


Postal Service shows civil-rights stamps

LAS VEGAS — The U.S. Postal Service showed 10 new stamps yesterday, commemorating the American civil-rights movement.

The stamps were unveiled at a ceremony held as part of the Voices of Civil Rights program of the AARP’s National Event and Expo in Las Vegas. The stamps will be available next year.

The line of stamps, called “To Form A More Perfect Union,” feature 10 milestones of the civil-rights movement — Executive Order 9981, which integrated the military; Brown v. Board of Education, which ended school segregation; Montgomery Bus Boycott, the movement to end bus segregation; Little Rock Nine, the first black students to attend what used to be a strictly white school; Lunch Counter Sit-Ins, the movement to end “whites only” lunch counters; Freedom Riders, a group of volunteers that tested bus desegregation; March on Washington, where Martin Luther King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech; Civil Rights Act of 1964, designed to provide broad protections against discrimination on the basis of race; Selma March, a march to end discrimination in Alabama; and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which strengthened protections of citizens’ right to vote regardless of their race.


Nichols defense tops $4.3 million

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma spent a state record $4.3 million for the defense of Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols, even though his murder conviction did not change his prison status, officials said last week.

Nichols, 49, had been convicted of manslaughter in a federal court and sentenced to life without parole for the deaths of eight federal agents in the bombing, which killed 168 persons. Oklahoma prosecutors, aiming for the death penalty, brought Nichols up for trial on state murder charges for the other victims.

An Oklahoma jury in June convicted Nichols of murder but deadlocked on giving him the death penalty. Nichols was given a life sentence.

Bob Ravitz, the chief public defender in Oklahoma County, said the publicly funded defense was the most expensive in state history.

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