- The Washington Times - Monday, August 15, 2005


Boy drowns; siblings pulled from flood

TUCSON — A 3-year-old boy drowned in fast-moving floodwaters that swept away his family’s vehicle. Two of his siblings were pulled to safety.

Sheriff’s Deputy Dawn Barkman said the children and their parents were traveling home Sunday when their vehicle got stranded while trying to drive through a rain-swollen wash.

“They were trying to get the kids out of the vehicle and into dry land,” she said.

Miss Barkman said that as the mother held her 8-month-old daughter, the three other children were swept away by the waters. The father grabbed the two older children — a 5-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy — and pulled them out of harm’s way. But he couldn’t save the 3-year-old boy.


Con artists using forged state checks

LITTLE ROCK — State and federal authorities are investigating an international scam that solicits Internet job hunters to cash counterfeit state of Arkansas checks, officials announced yesterday.

Eight checks have been successfully cashed for a total of about $21,000. The checks are not honored when they reach Arkansas, and the state has not lost any money in the scam, state Treasurer Gus Wingfield said.

Reports of the forged checks have come in from 18 other states, officials said.

The con artists target job hunters who post resumes online. Job seekers are “hired” by a company calling itself Void Computers Inc., and are asked to help the company cash checks worth $5,200 from Arkansas, which it says is one of its clients.

No arrests were announced, but Attorney General Mike Beebe said his investigators have consulted with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the FBI.


Terror suspect agrees to return to Pakistan

LODI — The former head of a mosque here, ruled last week by a federal immigration judge to be a threat to the community, returned to immigration court yesterday, where he agreed to accept an order of removal to his native Pakistan.

Shabbir Ahmed, 39, advised Immigration Judge Anthony Murry he was abandoning his legal fight to remain in the United States and would return to Pakistan — an order that was issued by the judge at the conclusion of the hearing.

During a custody hearing last week, attorneys for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) presented evidence tying Ahmed to the Taliban and al Qaeda, introducing a diagram showing the relationship between Ahmed and several other Lodi-area men who have been taken into custody as part of an ongoing investigation.

One of those men, Imam Mohammad Adil Khan, was arrested on immigration violations and agreed last month to be removed to Pakistan. Two other men, Umer Hayat, and his son, Hamid Hayat, have been indicted on criminal charges.

ICE spokesman Dean Boyd said that according to testimony offered by an FBI agent, Hamid Hayat went to an al Qaeda training camp in Pakistan, where he was schooled on how to commit violent acts targeting Americans and American institutions. On his return to the United States, the agent said the younger Hayat was to await orders for his mission, orders that were to be relayed through Ahmed.


Highway reopens after rock slides

IDAHO SPRINGS — Interstate 70 was reopened in both directions early yesterday after a weekend of work to clear three massive rock slides that fell from mountainsides in less than 24 hours, state highway officials said.

The first rock slide was reported at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. The westbound lanes were cleaned up in about two hours, but were closed again by a second slide at 11:30 p.m. More rocks cascaded down about 5:30 a.m. Sunday. One boulder was estimated at 200 tons and another was the size of a sport utility vehicle.

No injuries were reported, but a few cars had minor damage, said state Department of Transportation spokeswoman Stacey Stegman.

Heavy rains apparently loosened rocks on the mountainside.


Kin of BTK victims to attend hearing

WICHITA — At least 10 relatives of the victims of BTK serial killer Dennis Rader are expected to come to Wichita for his three-day sentencing hearing, which begins tomorrow.

The family members are receiving help with their travel and lodging expenses from a fund set up in early July by Kelli Cochran, a former police employee.

So far, about $4,000 has been raised and several restaurants have offered discounted meals for which other businesses have offered to pay, Miss Cochran said. Donations are still being accepted.

Rader, a former code-enforcement officer from the Wichita suburb of Park City, pleaded guilty in June to killing 10 persons in and around Wichita from 1974 to 1991. His nickname, which he gave himself, stood for “Bind, Torture, Kill.”


School gives mascot a makeover

LAS CRUCES — Pistol Pete, New Mexico State University’s mascot, is being disarmed. University officials also stripped “Pistol” from Pete’s name.

The changes are part of a marketing plan to remake the university’s image on the national stage. The new logo shows Pete twirling a lasso. The old Pete toted a pistol.


Teen pleads guilty in turkey-toss case

RIVERHEAD — A teenager who threw a 20-pound turkey out the rear window of a car last year pleaded guilty yesterday to assault and tearfully embraced the driver he critically injured, authorities said.

Ryan Cushing, 18, will serve six months in jail and five years probation as part of his plea agreement, said a spokesman for District Attorney Thomas Spota.

Victoria Ruvolo, 44, of Lake Ronkonkoma, had every bone in her face shattered. She spent more than a month in the hospital receiving extensive facial-reconstructive surgery and continues to receive physical therapy.


Farrakhan pushes unity march

MILWAUKEE — Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan is calling for a “Millions More Movement” Washington unity march among blacks, Hispanics and other races.

Mr. Farrakhan, who spearheaded the historic Million Man March by black men in 1995, said at a Baptist church in Milwaukee Sunday that blacks and Hispanics should form an alliance to correct the differences and animosity between the two communities.

The Millions More Movement march is scheduled Oct. 15 on the National Mall in Washington.


Housing a worry in wake of tornado

WRIGHT — Aid workers and volunteers descended on this small coal-mining town Sunday to offer help in the wake of Friday’s tornado that killed two persons and left about 85 families homeless.

Most were staying with friends or relatives. Officials said the town of 1,500 people did not have the apartment or motel capacity to house them.

“There’s some real issues about what we’re going to do with temporary housing or long-term housing,” said David King, Campbell County emergency-management coordinator.

A team from the Federal Emergency Management Agency arrived Sunday to assess damage and discuss federal aid with town leaders.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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