- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 21, 2005

ALABAMA

Marine killed sleeping in barracks

CULLMAN — Military officials confirmed yesterday that a Marine from this northern Alabama town was killed by a “nonhostile” gunshot that his family said was fired to his head while he was sleeping in his quarters in Fallujah, Iraq.

The Defense Department, in a brief statement, said the death Friday of Cpl. Adam R. Fales, 21, remains under investigation.

His mother, Glenda Fales, said Cpl. Fales’ body has been in Delaware since Sunday, and the Marines have not confirmed when they will release it for burial. She is faced with a Christmas funeral, and her birthday is Monday.

Cpl. Fales was nearing the end of his four-year tour of duty in the Marine Corps and was set to come home in February.

COLORADO

Convicted killer resentenced to life

DENVER — A man convicted in the slaying of a cocktail waitress was resentenced to life in prison Monday, nearly nine months after his death sentence was overturned because a juror consulted the Bible during deliberations.

In March, the Colorado Supreme Court upheld a lower-court ruling that a jury went beyond the evidence at Robert Harlan’s trial in the 1994 death of Rhonda Maloney, 25.

At the resentencing hearing, Adams County Judge Scott Crabtree said the life sentence was mandated by the judicial system.

Harlan was convicted of kidnapping, raping and murdering Miss Maloney. He also was convicted of shooting and paralyzing a motorist who tried to help her escape.

FLORIDA

Hurricane spread of canker feared

LAKELAND — This year’s hurricanes might have spread the dreaded citrus canker to as many as a quarter of Florida’s commercial citrus groves, federal agriculture officials said.

Hurricanes Wilma and Katrina, the two hurricanes that hit the state’s citrus-growing regions this year, might have spread the disease, which causes fruit and leaves to drop prematurely, to as much as 183,000 acres, officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and University of Florida scientists told growers at a meeting Monday.

ILLINOIS

Third of teens fail treadmill test

CHICAGO — About a third of U.S. teens would flunk a treadmill fitness test, a study shows, meaning that more than 7 million youngsters face higher risks for heart disease later in life.

Although that finding is not surprising, given research showing that about 16 percent of U.S. schoolchildren are seriously overweight, it is “very concerning,” said Dr. David Ludwig, director of the obesity program at Children’s Hospital Boston who was not involved in the study.

The analysis of nationally representative data from government health surveys by Northwestern University researchers found that 34 percent of girls and boys ages 12 to 19 showed a poor level of cardiovascular fitness on an eight-minute treadmill test.

The study appears in today’s Journal of the American Medical Association.

MASSACHUSETTS

Plane lands safely after sparks seen

BOSTON — A jetliner with a landing-gear problem touched down safely at Logan International Airport late yesterday after circling the airport for about two hours.

Sparks could be seen coming from an area near the right landing gear as Midwest Airlines Flight 210 landed just before 10 p.m., but the plane rolled to a stop without incident or apparent injury to the 86 passengers and four crew members on board.

Air-traffic controllers reported seeing sparks at the rear of the plane after it took off at about 8:15 p.m., bound for Milwaukee, said Laura Brown, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Carol Skornicka, a spokeswoman for Milwaukee-based Midwest, said the pilot noticed a problem with the right landing gear shortly after takeoff. She said the plane spent a couple of hours circling Logan to burn off fuel, thus reducing the risk of fire.

MINNESOTA

7 firefighters hurt in building explosion

MINNEAPOLIS — An explosion rocked a building whose occupants had complained Monday of an odor of natural gas. One firefighter was blown off a ladder, and two others briefly were buried in rubble.

Seven firefighters were hurt in all, but none of the injuries was thought to be life-threatening, officials said.

The blast happened at a former gas station in Minneapolis that was being used to disassemble computers for scrap metal. The occupants arrived early in the afternoon, smelled natural gas and called 911.

Fire Chief Bonnie Bleskachek said firefighters shut off the gas and left the building open so it could ventilate. When they re-entered the building, it exploded.

NEW JERSEY

Watchdog finds overbilling, gifts

TRENTON — About 20 state Treasury Department officials accepted golf outings, cigars, gourmet chocolates and other gifts from a contractor, then looked the other way as the company overcharged New Jersey hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, a watchdog agency said yesterday.

The state Commission of Investigation referred its findings to the state attorney general’s office and the U.S. attorney’s office, both of which have opened investigations, said Lee Seglem, assistant director of the board.

Senior and midlevel managers in the taxation and revenue divisions accepted more than $65,000 in gifts, meals, alcohol and entertainment from OSI Outsourcing Services Inc. of Chesterfield, Mo., from 1999 to March this year, the commission said. OSI collects back taxes for the state.

The commission found that OSI overbilled New Jersey more than $1 million from 2000 to 2004.

WYOMING

Thirsty state to seed clouds

CHEYENNE — Like most other Western states, Wyoming is rich in oil, gas, coal and other mineral deposits. What it lacks is simple: water.

So, like other Western states, Wyoming is trying to conjure up rain by embarking on a cloud-seeding project to bolster mountain snowpack — the reservoirs of the arid and semiarid West — and create more water from spring and summer snowmelt.

If more snow can be produced in the mountains by cloud seeding, it would mean more water for cities, towns and farms.

But Wyoming’s $8.8 million, five-year, cloud-seeding project goes beyond what other states are doing because of its size and scope and because it could yield definitive proof whether cloud seeding works.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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