- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 25, 2005

CALIFORNIA

Tortoise’s bladder stones removed

SAN FRANCISCO — A desert tortoise named Cactus is moving more swiftly now after having four bladder stones — one as large as a baseball — removed from his underbelly.

The 40-year-old tortoise at the San Francisco Zoo returned to public display this week after undergoing surgery in which veterinarians cut into his shell, removed the bladder stones and resealed the incision using fiberglass.

The stones weighed a little more than a pound — a lot for an animal that normally weighs just 8 pounds, zoo officials said. At that size, they are potentially life-threatening if not removed.



Zoo officials said Cactus is recuperating nicely, although his underbelly will take two years to heal.

MASSACHUSETTS

Man charged with desecrating corpse

NEWBURYPORT — A man performing court-ordered community service in a cemetery has been charged with desecrating a Civil War-era tomb, pulling apart the skeleton and posing for pictures with the skull and other bones.

Neil J. Goodwin Jr., 19, of Salisbury, Mass., was working at the city’s Old Hill Burying Ground on Aug. 17 as part of his community service for a burglary conviction.

Prosecutors said Goodwin kicked in the thin marble entrance to the tomb marked “1863 Pierce,” and twisted off the decomposed corpse’s spine, collarbone and skull.

Police said they got an anonymous tip Saturday, and later received three photos of Goodwin holding the bones.

Associated Press

Four bladder stones were removed from a 40-year-old desert tortoise at the San Francisco Zoo.

ARIZONA

Thrown rocks force border copter to land

YUMA — Illegal aliens threw rocks at a Border Patrol helicopter, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing when one of the rocks damaged the rotor, the agency said.

Neither the pilot nor the Border Patrol observer was injured.

The A-Star helicopter was two miles west of the U.S. Port of Entry in Andrade, Calif., on Tuesday when a group of immigrants began throwing rocks at the aircraft.

One baseball-sized rock gashed the rotor, forcing the pilot to land nearby, said Michael Gramley, spokesman for the Border Patrol sector based in Yuma, Ariz.

An investigation into the incident is continuing.

ARKANSAS

Trash fire turns driveway into dump

GASSVILLE — Sometimes work stinks.

Just ask Bobbie Watroba, who owns Four Wheel Drive Specialists in Gassville. She drove to work Tuesday only to find a pile of burning trash in her driveway.

A deputy had spotted a sanitation truck with thick, heavy smoke billowing from its trailer. When firefighters responded, they escorted the truck to the nearest spot where it could dump the smoking cargo — the Four Wheel Drive Specialists’ driveway.

The Baxter County Office of Emergency Management said it would clean up the trash and put fresh gravel on Miss Watroba’s driveway.

ILLINOIS

Locker-torching teen gets probation

CHICAGO — A Chicago teenager who set fire to his school locker in a bid to get expelled has escaped felony charges and been sentenced to two years of probation.

Gianluca DeMarco, 19, originally faced federal felony charges, including possession of explosives. But a deal allowed him to plead guilty to a misdemeanor.

DeMarco admitted Feb. 16 he brought three jars of gasoline to school, emptying one over papers in his locker and setting it on fire. The school was evacuated, and classes were canceled for the day.

While the youth got his wish of being expelled, attorney Paul DeLuca said the teen hopes to continue his education in college.

MISSOURI

Site allows users to check charities

KANSAS CITY — A new Web site will allow Missourians to check how charities spend their money, Attorney General Jay Nixon said.

The site (www.ago.mo.gov/checkacharity) currently lists only about a third of the hundreds of charities that operate in Missouri.

Mr. Nixon said he hopes other charities join the effort when they realize consumers are using the site.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Missing peacock returned to home

CHICHESTER — Daryl left his home a peacock and returned a man. He was caught last week, four months after he escaped and wandered 10 miles from home.

Susan Intinarelli pulled back the drapes covering the sliding glass door that leads to her deck. There, 3 feet away, was Daryl, in all his blue-green glory.

She eventually reached the Epsom police, who put her in touch with owner Wendy Cassetta.

His sojourn, Miss Cassetta jokes, was like an entrance to adulthood for Daryl, who turns 1 next month. He went away, she said, “to grow his feathers and become a man.”

NEW YORK

Investigation finds cause of ride death

RYE — An investigation into the death of a 7-year-old boy on an amusement park boat ride determined the child slipped through a 14-inch-wide gap in the ride’s floor and became wedged under its conveyor belts.

The state-ordered investigation also found that two of the four operators assigned to the Ye Old Mill boat-in-the-dark ride at Playland Amusement Park were not there when the boy was getting on the ride earlier this month.

OHIO

‘Sleepwalking’ molester convicted

CANTON — A man who claimed he was sleepwalking when he molested three girls in his home was convicted yesterday of rape and other charges.

Jeffrey S. Buske, 38, faces up to 25 years in prison.

The victims, a young relative and two friends, testified that Buske molested them while they slept at his house. The attacks occurred between 1998 and 2003.

The girls, now teens, reported the attacks in January 2004 and said they were afraid to come forward sooner.

Sgt. Eric Weisburn said Buske claimed he had a problem with sleepwalking and may have mistaken the girls for his wife.

PENNSYLVANIA

Autistic boy dies after disputed therapy

PORTERSVILLE — An autistic boy died after receiving an unproven treatment that some people believe may cure the neurological and developmental disorder, officials said.

Abubakar Tariq Nadama, 5, had received his third treatment of chelation therapy at a doctor’s office Tuesday before going into cardiac arrest, Deputy Coroner Larry Barr said.

The staff at Dr. Roy E. Kerry’s office performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the boy, but he was later pronounced dead in a hospital, Mr. Barr said. More tests would be needed to determine the cause of death, he said. State police also were investigating.

TEXAS

Pilot flies too close to Bush ranch

HOUSTON — A pilot flew his single-engine plane into restricted air space near President Bush’s ranch in Crawford and was escorted back to the Houston area by fighter jets, officials said yesterday.

No criminal charges were expected to be filed against the pilot, whose name wasn’t released. The pilot violated the 30-mile no-flying restriction Wednesday night, said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman John Clabes.

Tom Mazur, a spokesman with the Secret Service, said the pilot was interviewed after he landed, and that no charges will be filed.

The FAA is expected to take action against the pilot.

WASHINGTON

U.S., Canada tunnel dismantled

LYNDEN — A 360-foot-long underground tunnel found between Canada and the United States near here last month was dismantled yesterday by the Whatcom County Engineering Department, which cut through the roadway directly above the tunnel and removed the wood beams used as supports.

The tunnel ran at depths of up to 10 feet, was strengthened with iron-reinforcing bar and 2-by-6 wood supports, had a concrete floor, fiberglass walls, a ventilation system, video security and groundwater-removal systems.

It was discovered by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents who arrested three members of a Canadian-based drug trafficking ring accused of smuggling marijuana into the United States.

DEA officials said the tunnel was hidden under a Quonset hut in Aldergrove, British Columbia, and connected with a house in Lynden, where it ended beneath the living room floor.

Today, a county construction crew will place steel barriers at the entrance to the tunnel on the U.S. side of the border, filling the area inside with a liquid foam cement material that will expand to all crevices and harden like rock.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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