- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 20, 2004


Small plane crashes in Atlanta

ATLANTA — A small plane clipped an auto-body shop and crashed into the parking lot yesterday near the birthplace of Martin Luther King, killing both persons aboard.

No one on the ground was hurt.

The twin-engine Beechcraft had taken off from the nearby DeKalb-Peachtree Airport and was headed to Venice, Fla., in a rainstorm when it went into a nose dive.

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Eric Alleyne said the plane sent out a distress signal, but he did not know what caused it to spin out of control.

Only a few people were in the auto-body shop, and none needed medical attention, said Fire Department spokeswoman Sandra Walker.


Iraqi orphan starts new life

BOYS TOWN — An Iraqi orphan credited with helping U.S. troops capture insurgents in Baghdad started a new life yesterday at Girls and Boys Town, the storied home for troubled youngsters.

Wearing a Boys Town windbreaker and holding a plastic American flag on a stick, 16-year-old “Johnny” — the nickname U.S. soldiers gave him — said he was happy to be in the United States.

“Everything’s OK,” he said. “Real cool.”

Soldiers in Baghdad encountered the boy living on the streets and discovered that he knew a lot about the people behind insurgent attacks in the city, said Lt. Col. Brian McKiernan, commander of the 1st Armored Division’s 4-27 Field Artillery Unit.


Heavy rains, wind prompt evacuations

SAN FRANCISCO — Heavy rains in Northern California knocked out power to at least 144,000 customers yesterday and forced the evacuation of 200 residents, many in areas where wildfires burned as recently as a week ago.

The unusually early winter storm was concentrated over Napa and Sonoma counties north of San Francisco, where winds gusted to nearly 60 mph and some hilly and mountainous regions received more than a half-inch of rain per hour.

“It’s coming down hard, and the winds are just incredible,” said Lt. Kevin House of the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department.

About 200 residents in hamlets along the South Fork of the American River were told to clear out Sunday, because authorities feared mudslides on hillsides cleared of vegetation by fires.

Just last week, a 37,000-acre fire burned in Napa and Yolo counties, and another wildfire covered 7,700 acres in the Eldorado National Forest.


Neighbors object to pro-gun rock

GREENWOOD — Some neighbors aren’t thrilled with the rock in gun dealer Don Davis’ front yard promoting armed protection, but he says only a judge can make him move it.

The 8-foot ornamental rock, in front of the home that Mr. Davis recently built near this Indianapolis suburb, depicts an eagle and the U.S. flag.

The inscription: “It’s better to own a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not own it.”

The Highland Park neighborhood association has received many complaints about the rock, which violates the group’s covenants, President John Nystrom said. However, Mr. Davis, the owner of two Don’s Guns shops in Indianapolis, isn’t budging.

“The only way I am going to remove that rock is if one of our fine judges protecting the Constitution tells me to,” he said.


Man donates kidney to Israeli boy

MARYSVILLE — Eric Swim was surfing on the Internet in June when he stumbled across the story of a 10-year-old Jewish boy from Israel who was in desperate need of a kidney transplant.

“I began thinking that I have two good kidneys,” the Marysville man said, “and I didn’t have to have one of them.”

Mr. Swim, 38, returned Sunday from Israel with one less kidney and the thanks of the many Israelis whom he met.

The organ recipient, Moshiko Sharon, who had waited for a compatible kidney donor for more than a year, is doing well after undergoing implant surgery on Sept. 21 at a Tel Aviv-area hospital.

Mr. Swim was raised as a Missouri Synod Lutheran, but he and his wife began studying Judaism several years ago and are considering converting.


Park atop Big Dig to offer parking

BOSTON — The creation of a 30-acre park atop Boston’s Big Dig underground highway project will provide a precious commodity in the city: up to 175 on-street parking spaces.

Just who will get to use the spaces around the Rose Kennedy Greenway is uncertain. The public can voice opinions during a pair of comment periods in the next two weeks.


Mayo to honor UAE president

MINNEAPOLIS — The Mayo Clinic will name a new cardiovascular treatment center for the president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheik Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who has given $25 million to the institution since he underwent neck surgery there in 1996.

The 86-year-old sheik pledged the money soon after the surgery but didn’t want it made public, Mayo spokesman Chris Gade said yesterday after the Star-Tribune reported the gift.

“Now we’re at the stage of the process where he’s made the final payment,” Mr. Gade said yesterday.

Mr. Gade said the Mayo Clinic Zayed Cardiovascular Center, which occupies parts of four floors in two Mayo buildings in downtown Rochester, will be dedicated next year.


Two plead guilty in lab scandal

ALBUQUERQUE — Two former Los Alamos National Laboratory employees accused of being part of a purchasing scandal that rocked the nuclear lab two years ago have pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and mail fraud.

Peter Bussolini, 66, and Scott Alexander, 42, each entered guilty pleas in federal court on Monday. U.S. District Judge James Parker said he would not formally accept the deal until he receives a pre-sentencing report.

Attorneys for the two said their clients face 12 to 18 months in prison under the deal, which also specifies that the federal government still could mount a civil case.

Mr. Bussolini had worked at the lab for 24 years and was a team leader in facilities management. Mr. Alexander was part of the facilities management team.

They were fired in December 2002 after being accused of making hundreds of thousands of dollars in questionable purchases using a lab account.


Man jailed in store rampage

FARGO — A man who stripped to the waist, put on safety goggles and tore up a Verizon Wireless store after complaining of bad phone service has been sentenced to 60 days in jail.

Jason Perala, 22, pleaded guilty Monday to felony criminal mischief and misdemeanor assault in the rampage, which the company said cost it more than $20,000 in broken equipment and lost sales.

The 5-foot-11, 200-pound former college wrestler said he had intended only to scream at the store workers, but when he tried to throw his cell phone against a wall, it hit a worker in the shoulder.

He continued to destroy merchandise for several minutes while workers locked themselves in an office.

The judge also sentenced Perala of Fargo to one year of supervised probation and $1,200 of restitution.

“I want to apologize; I’m sorry,” Perala said after his sentencing. “I gotta change my ways a little bit.”


Television emits distress signal

CORVALLIS — Chris van Rossman’s television came with a videocassette recorder, digital video disc player and compact disc player — plus a hidden feature that had a rescue team beating a path to his door.

On the night of Oct. 2, the television began emitting the international distress signal — the 121.5 megahertz beep emitted by crashed airplanes and sinking boats.

The signal was picked up by a satellite and relayed to an Air Force base in Virginia, then to the Civil Air Patrol and then to officials in Oregon. Most signals are false alarms, but all are checked out. Soon, men in Air Force uniforms, a police officer and Mike Bamberger, a Benton County Search and Rescue deputy, were at Mr. van Rossman’s apartment door.

“The police officer asked if I was a pilot or had a boat or anything,” Mr. van Rossman said.

They left when he said “no,” but came back when they narrowed the location of the signal to a wall in Mr. van Rossman’s hallway, Mr. Bamberger said.

The solution to the mystery was nailed when Mr. van Rossman turned off the television before answering the door the second time. The signal stopped, too. An inspection of the television confirmed that it was the source.

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