- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 20, 2005


Squids wash onto beaches

NEWPORT BEACH — Hundreds of giant squids are washing up on Orange County beaches, creating a scene more akin to “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” than “The O.C.”

The bug-eyed sea creatures, thought to be Humboldt squids, normally reside in deep water and surface only at night. Why approximately 500 began washing up on the sands of Laguna Beach and Newport Beach, starting Tuesday, isn’t clear.

Authorities said the squids — weighing up to 17 pounds — might have been pursuing bait fish and moved too close to shore. Authorities plan to remove the squids in the next few days and will give at least a couple to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History for research.


Traffic stop leads to neglected cats

ROSWELL — A routine traffic stop Wednesday led to the discovery of more than 60 sick and hungry cats in the back of a moving van.

Mary Jane Lyle, 71, pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of animal cruelty and is being held in a Chaves County detention center. The charges can carry prison time.

An officer pulled over the van because one of its taillights was out. While the officer was talking to Miss Lyle, he heard noises coming from the back.

The cats were turned over to local animal control officers.


Caseworkers fired after infant is killed

TAMPA — Two child-welfare workers were fired and a third was demoted after a 4-month-old child under their supervision was beaten to death, authorities said.

Phoenix Jordan Parrish died last month in Dothan, Ala., after his mother banged his head against a bed to stop him from crying, authorities said. Tierra Capri Gobble, 21, had been ordered by a court to stay away from the child.

Hillsborough Kids Inc., a private agency that handles foster care and adoption for the state of Florida, said the three employees failed to monitor the child after he was taken out of state by his great-uncle, Edgar Parrish. The workers were not identified.

The sanctions were reported by the Tampa Tribune in its Wednesday editions.


Target to bring jobs to Midway

ATLANTA — Southeastern Georgia will gain hundreds of jobs when Target Corp. builds a regional distribution center in Midway.

Gov. Sonny Perdue, a Republican, said the center will create 450 jobs when it opens in the summer of 2007 and eventually will employ as many as 800. Construction is to begin this fall.


Statehouse expansion under consideration

BOISE — A legislative panel unanimously agreed to consider expanding Statehouse facilities with 80,000 new square feet in a building across the street from the Capitol.

The current Statehouse needs about $80 million in repairs for electrical, plumbing and other mechanical problems.


Man missing after barge blast

CHICAGO — Authorities this week were searching for a man thought to be missing after a barge carrying thousands of gallons of a petroleum byproduct exploded, caught fire and then sank in a ship canal.

The man was thought to have been working on the vessel when it burst into flames Wednesday in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal on the city’s southwestern side, said Mac Meade, a spokesman for the Coast Guard in Chicago.

A boiler on the barge apparently exploded, igniting the clarified slurry oil, which is a byproduct created when refining petroleum, said Illinois Environmental Protection Agency spokeswoman Maggie Carson. She said initial estimates indicate that the barge was carrying about 13,000 barrels, or more than 500,000 gallons, of the substance.


Man arrested in sheriff’s death

EUREKA — A Kansas sheriff was fatally shot after serving an arrest warrant Wednesday, and a suspect was arrested after barricading himself in a house for most of the day.

Kyle Smith, a spokesman for the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, said Greenwood County Sheriff Matt Samuels and two deputies went to a house on Wednesday morning to serve felony warrants on someone at the home.


Ex-sex shop fails as Christian store

PUTNEY — A man whose religious conversion prompted him to turn his adult novelty shop into a Christian bookstore is giving up because of poor sales.

“We don’t have enough customers coming in to keep the business going. We’ve tried and tried and tried,” said Mike Braithwaite, who recently put the store and five surrounding acres up for sale.

He is asking $55,000, but is hoping a miracle will allow him to keep the business.

Mr. Braithwaite said he is glad he changed, even if he loses the store.

“What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” he asked, quoting a Bible verse.


ACLU says state violated settlement

NEW ORLEANS — Escalating a fight over whether Louisiana’s program encouraging premarital sexual abstinence promotes religion, the American Civil Liberties Union asked a federal court yesterday to hold the state in contempt of a 2002 court settlement over the issue.

In its motion, the ACLU contends that the Governor’s Program on Abstinence — despite the agreement not to promote religion — continues to feature religious materials on its official Web site.

The action followed a letter sent by the ACLU to the governor’s program asking it to remove all religious content from the Web site. In December, Gov. Kathleen Blanco and her executive counsel, Terry Ryder, said merely providing links to other abstinence-related sites with religious content does not violate the settlement.


Jury selected in priest abuse case

CAMBRIDGE — A jury was seated yesterday to hear the child-rape case against defrocked priest Paul Shanley, one of the most notorious figures in the Boston Archdiocese sex scandal.

Opening statements are set for Monday.

Eight men and eight women will hear the case. They later will be split into a 12-member jury and four alternates.

Mr. Shanley, 73, is accused of molesting a former altar boy. The victim, now 27, said Mr. Shanley raped him repeatedly at St. Jean’s parish in Newton between 1983 and 1989, beginning when he was 6.


Homeless man blended in at school

MINNEAPOLIS — A homeless man with nowhere else to go says he went back to his old high school and posed as a student for three weeks, sitting in on classes, showering in the locker room and sleeping in the theater.

“Anywhere I could hide,” Francisco Serrano said from jail on Wednesday after he was arrested twice at Apple Valley High.

Mr. Serrano had attended the school as a 19-year-old sophomore during the 2002-03 school year and was a good student, Principal Stephen Degenaar said. He is 21 but looks 16 or 17 and easily would have blended in with the student body of 2,300, the principal said.

Police said a janitor found Mr. Serrano sleeping in a classroom on Jan. 7 but let him go after he showed his old student ID card and said he was a student. School officials later determined that Mr. Serrano was not a student. He was found at the school, and he was thrown in jail on trespassing charges, then released three days later. He was arrested again last Friday.

Mr. Serrano faces a court appearance today.


Woman enters plea in baby-cutting case

KANSAS CITY — A woman accused of strangling an expectant mother and cutting the baby from her womb pleaded not guilty yesterday, and prosecutors said they are leaning toward seeking the death penalty.

Lisa Montgomery, 36, of Melvern, Kan., did not speak during the brief hearing before a federal magistrate, who appointed another lawyer to her defense team after U.S. Attorney Todd Graves indicated that he plans to seek a death sentence.

“That is the direction we are going,” Mr. Graves said.

Mrs. Montgomery is charged in the December slaying of Bobbie Jo Stinnett, a 23-year-old who was eight months pregnant, at her Missouri home. Mrs. Stinnett’s baby girl was found alive the next day with Mrs. Montgomery in Kansas.


$75 million awarded for DUI injury

NEWARK — A jury awarded $75 million in punitive damages on Wednesday to the family of a 7-year-old girl paralyzed in a car wreck caused by a drunken football fan. A day earlier, the family was awarded $60 million in compensatory damages.

Ronald and Fazila Verni were headed home from a pumpkin-picking trip in 1999 with their 2-year-old daughter, Antonia, when their car was hit by a truck driven by Daniel Lanzaro, 34. Antonia was paralyzed from the neck down.

Lanzaro, whose blood alcohol concentration was more than twice the legal limit, is serving a five-year prison term for vehicular assault.

The compensatory damages were assessed equally against Lanzaro and Aramark Corp., the Giants Stadium concessionaire that sold beers to him at the game. The jury ruled Wednesday that Aramark was liable for the additional $75 million.

The family sued Aramark, claiming that vendors sold beers to Lanzaro even though he was clearly drunk and that Aramark fostered an atmosphere in which intoxicated patrons were served.


Patron uses graffiti for food complaints

NEW YORK — Say it, don’t spray it.

Police arrested a man who reportedly found a messy way to complain about restaurants where he thought he had received poor service or been served bad food: graffiti.

Miguel Camacho, 29, was caught Tuesday night after eluding police for six months, police said. He is suspected in more than 60 spray-painting incidents.

Mr. Camacho scrawled his trademark tag, “VAMP,” on the outsides of restaurants where he had negative experiences, said Lt. Thomas Conforti of the New York Police Department.

His targets included a pizzeria in Queens that Mr. Camacho said served bad pizza, and a Chinese takeout restaurant in Rego Park where he thought he had been overcharged. He also vandalized mailboxes and lampposts, police said.


Emergency declared as snow snarls roads

RALEIGH — A surprise 1-inch snow that turned to ice on frigid roads crippled the state’s capital, trapping motorists in epic traffic jams and stranding about 3,000 students overnight at schools. The governor urged people to stay home yesterday while crews cleared the roads.

Highways were clogged with desperate drivers whose commutes on Wednesday stretched to as long as eight hours. Police officers tallied about 1,000 accidents in the Raleigh-Durham area, but there were no reports of fatalities.

Gov. Michael F. Easley declared a state of emergency, allowing him to open two state government buildings in downtown Raleigh as shelters.

About 2,800 students spent the night at Wake County schools after the system suspended bus operations and their parents were unable to retrieve them. With classes canceled, school officials sent the stranded youngsters home yesterday morning.


Postal worker ordered to share lottery prize

CLEVELAND — A postal employee must share a $175,000 Mega Millions lottery prize with 20 co-workers who accused him of cheating them out of their cut, a jury said.

Stephen Kyle had told co-workers that he bought the winning ticket with his own money instead of the money they had been giving him for four years to buy tickets.


Bob Jones to hand over reins to son

GREENVILLE — Bob Jones III said yesterday he will retire as president of the fundamentalist Christian university that bears his name after the school’s May graduation ceremonies.

Mr. Jones, whose grandfather founded the school 78 years ago, has been president for 34 years. He will be replaced by his son, the Rev. Stephen Jones, who has served as vice president for administration.

“The opportunity to step into the role occupied by my father, grandfather and great-grandfather is overwhelming,” Stephen Jones said. “I am eager for the days that lie ahead for Bob Jones University and believe that the Lord has wonderful things in store for us as we remain faithful to his word.”


Methamphetamine use soaring in state

PIERRE — Health care advocates told legislators that methamphetamine use has skyrocketed in South Dakota.

About 69 state residents per 100,000 were admitted for meth treatment in 2002, up from four per 100,000 a decade earlier, said Karen Larson, deputy director of the Community HealthCare Association of the Dakotas.


Officials ask tribe to move casino sign

ARLINGTON — The state Transportation Department has told the Stillaguamish Tribe to move a casino billboard from Interstate 5. Officials say the sign directing traffic to its Angel of the Winds Casino is too close to the exit, about a mile ahead.

Tribal officials declined comment. The tribe has nominated the casino land, currently zoned for agricultural use, for federal trust status.


Jackalope eyed for state recognition

CHEYENNE — The meadowlark, bison and horned toad are all official symbols of Wyoming. The jackalope, most elusive of the state’s critters, may soon join the list.

The Wyoming House voted 45-12 on Wednesday to declare the part-antelope, part-jackrabbit as the state’s official mythical creature. The legislation now goes to the state Senate.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Dave Edwards, hopes his measure is a boon to retail sales of stuffed jackalopes.

Taxidermist Doug Herrick is credited with creating the first jackalope in 1939 by screwing antelope horns to a mounted jackrabbit. It has been a staple of Wyoming postcards and gift shops ever since.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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