- The Washington Times - Monday, September 6, 2004


Woman treks Santa Fe trail

SANTA FE — It took more than eight years — in bits and pieces of five or 10 miles at a time — but Inez Ross finally has walked the Santa Fe Trail.

The retired English teacher from Los Alamos trekked 875 miles across five states, from downtown Santa Fe at the trail’s end to tiny New Franklin, Mo., at its beginning.

It took 97 days of hiking over the years to complete the trip through New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. On June 26, Mrs. Ross reached her destination.

“Love of history,” she explained. “Joy of exercise. The challenge of … a challenge.”


‘Burning Man’ draws 35,500

BLACK ROCK DESERT — A record 35,500 fantastically costumed revelers ritually burned a 40-foot-high neon and wooden icon of a man and began departing the Black Rock Desert north of Reno on Sunday.

The 19th annual Burning Man festival, a bizarre counterculture event in one of the most remote places in America, was relatively uneventful. Bureau of Land Management spokesman Jamie Thompson said the event ran smoothly, and no major accidents or incidents were reported. Drug arrests and citations were down, preliminary reports show.

Last year, two persons died and four were hospitalized with injuries because of accidents.


Two drown after boat sinks

SEWARD — Two persons drowned after their recreational boat sank in a bay off Alaska’s southern coast and they tried to swim for shore, state troopers said.

Passing boats pulled the two victims and three survivors from Resurrection Bay on Saturday, said trooper Sgt. Brandon Anderson. The survivors told police that they were fishing when their 22-foot boat was swamped by waves crashing over the stern.

A distress call was placed on a channel not monitored by the Coast Guard, Sgt. Anderson said. A nearby tour boat responded to a call from the rescue center, and its passengers pulled the three survivors from the water, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Thomas McKenzie.

Troopers withheld the victims’ names until relatives could be notified, but said they were 53 and 48 years old.


Prison investigator faces ethics probe

PHOENIX — Republicans had hoped that a special prosecutor would be able to cast a critical eye on the nation’s longest prison hostage standoff in decades and the handling of the crisis by Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat.

But now the special prosecutor himself apparently has stepped into legal hot water.

A. Melvin McDonald Jr. faces a State Bar of Arizona ethics investigation after being publicly upbraided by a judge who denied his request to release a 181-page grand-jury report. Mr. McDonald led the grand jury in an investigation of this year’s standoff at a state prison west of Phoenix.

Mr. McDonald says the report contains important information and recommendations that the public and policy-makers should know, but the judge said the prosecutor had led the grand jury into unauthorized territory.

The 15-day standoff at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis in Buckeye began Jan. 18, when two inmates took two correctional officers hostage in a prison guard tower.


Wildfires threaten homes, wineries

SACRAMENTO — Firefighters yesterday battled a 9,200-acre wildfire that was bearing down on California’s prized wine country and threatened to knock out power to parts of Northern California.

A second blaze in the Sierra Nevada foothills destroyed 13 homes and 45 other buildings as low humidity, high winds and tinderbox-dry terrain made conditions throughout the state ideal for wildfires.

The fire threatening Sonoma County’s wine country began Friday and was fueled by wind gusts of up to 20 mph, said Janet Marshall, spokeswoman for the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The blaze, which threatened about 100 homes, was only 10 percent contained by yesterday morning, Miss Marshall said.

The Sierra foothills blaze, which was sparked Friday by a burning recreational vehicle, ignited 2,676 acres by yesterday. It forced 3,000 people to evacuate and threatened 1,400 homes and 100 businesses in rural subdivisions.


Chicago schools get ‘F’ on safety

CHICAGO — Chicago and Detroit public-school systems “failed” for their lack of plans to respond to a terrorist attack or natural disaster, a nonprofit group said.

The New York-based America Prepared Campaign Inc., which advocates each U.S. school district have a comprehensive disaster plan, rated the nation’s 20 largest public-school systems, the Chicago Sun-Times reported yesterday.

“The [Chicago] district-wide Emergency Management Plan Manual does not adequately address terrorist threats, including chemical, biological, nuclear and radiological incidents,” the report said.

Schools in Fairfax County, Va., Montgomery County, Md., and Palm Beach County, Fla., were rated as “best” of the 20 school systems examined.

The Chicago public-school system has stepped up its security and disaster measures since the September 11 attacks, but 25 percent of its schools do not have an emergency plan and an additional 50 percent have plans that vary in “mediocrities,” the report said.


Police discover sixth corpse

KANSAS CITY — A body found in July behind a vacant apartment building has been linked to five others discovered since Thursday in the same part of the city, police said yesterday.

At a press conference, police Capt. Rich Lockhart said three of the victims had been identified and the other three bodies were so decomposed that police have not been able to determine their race or sex.

The body of Anna Ewing, 42, was found July 14 by a man spraying for weeds, he said. Because her body was discovered in the same 18-square-block area and because all six were found on or near a vacant property, police consider Miss Ewing’s death to be related to the other cases.

The bodies of Patricia Wilson Butler, 45, and a 38-year-old woman were found Thursday in a detached garage after someone notified police of a foul odor. Police were not releasing the name of the 38-year-old until relatives had been notified.


Two men fatally shot before football game

RALEIGH — Two brothers were arrested in the shooting deaths of two young men at a tailgate party before a college football game, authorities said.

Witnesses said a fistfight preceded the shootings Saturday evening.

The victims, identified as Kevin M. McCann, 23, of Chicago, and Marine 2nd Lt. Brett Johnson Harman, 23, of Park Ridge, Ill., were tailgating before North Carolina State University’s season-opening football game against the University of Richmond. Neither was a student at the university.

Tony Harrell Johnson, 20, of Raleigh, and his brother, Timothy Wayne Johnson, 22, a North Carolina State student, were arrested a short time later and charged with two counts of first-degree murder, said sheriff’s department spokeswoman Phyllis Stephens.

The shootings occurred shortly after the 6 p.m. kickoff of the game, which drew a sellout crowd of 55,600.


Hurricane roils tide on holiday weekend

ATLANTIC CITY — As far north as New Jersey, Hurricane Frances contributed to rip currents and rough surf that kept swimmers near land and lifeguards on edge over the Labor Day weekend.

Although huge crowds still were expected at many beaches, swimming was banned at some parts of the southern New Jersey shore, which also was affected by a weather system from Canada, the National Weather Service said.

In Ocean City, bathers were allowed to venture out no farther than waist-high in the choppy seas. Few people were on the beach yesterday in Atlantic City, but those who were had a rough time.

“You get drifted a lot,” said 9-year-old Glenn Gross of Limerick, Pa.

“We picked the worst day at the beach all year,” his mother, Jennifer Gross, said as she chased her hat, which had blown off.


Murder trial to begin in millionaire’s death

RIVERHEAD — One man was a millionaire Manhattan investment banker who supported cultural institutions like Lincoln Center. The other was an electrician from Long Island with a history of alcohol abuse and numerous scrapes with the law.

Their lives intersected over a woman.

Jury selection begins tomorrow in eastern Long Island to determine whether electrician Daniel Pelosi fatally bludgeoned banker Theodore Ammon in October 2001 in the bedroom of Mr. Ammon’s sprawling East Hampton mansion.

Mr. Pelosi, 41, was charged earlier this year with second-degree murder. If convicted, the man who oversaw the installation of a security system in Mr. Ammon’s mansion — and who married the victim’s widow — faces 25 years to life in prison. He is being held without bail.


Passenger killed in plane crash

CORSICANA — A vintage World War II plane crashed in a pasture shortly after it took off Saturday, killing a passenger and injuring the pilot, authorities said.

Witnesses Jeff Horn and his wife, Dora, told the Corsicana Daily Sun that the 1943 Fairchild PT26 had just taken off from the Corsicana Municipal Airport when the engine stalled, sending the plane crashing to the ground.

Passenger Robert Burleson of Corsicana was killed. The pilot, Cliff McCluney of Kerens, was hospitalized. The extent of his injuries was not disclosed. Authorities said both men were in their 60s.

The Federal Aviation Administration, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the local sheriff’s department were investigating.

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