- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 9, 2005


Crowd celebrates secession

MONTGOMERY — Dozens of Confederate heritage supporters gathered Saturday at the Capitol to commemorate Alabama Secession Day, the Montgomery Advertiser reports.

“This is, indeed, hallowed ground,” said Tyrone Crowley of Prattville, who called secession “the legal right of free men anywhere in the world when they are dissatisfied with their government and believe it’s working against them.”

The event, with many dressed in Confederate uniforms, was held three days earlier than the anniversary of the actual date — Jan. 11, 1861 — that Alabama voted to secede from the Union.


Train-wreck victims mourned

GRANITEVILLE — Mourners gathered yesterday in a memorial service for nine persons killed in a train wreck here Thursday.

The Rev. Robert L. Riley led prayer at Breezy Hill Baptist Church, even as crews worked around the clock yesterday to cap a railroad tank car leaking toxic chlorine gas and investigators searched for the cause of the crash that derailed the train.

The tank car was damaged when a Norfolk Southern train hit parked railroad cars early Thursday. Six of those killed by the poison gas were employees at a textile mill next to the tracks.


Judge dismisses JonBenet lawsuit

DENVER — A federal judge has tossed out a lawsuit filed by the parents of JonBenet Ramsey against Fox News Channel, saying a network report unfavorable to the couple was not defamatory.

Judge Phillip Figa suggested that John and Patsy Ramsey seek vindication “in the court of public opinion.”

Judge Figa said in a ruling, made public Friday, that litigation in defamation cases could chill constitutionally protected free-speech rights and because of that, the facts in such cases must be established with “convincing clarity.”

The Ramseys had failed to meet that standard, he said, adding that the case cannot be refiled.


Submarine sailor dies after wreck

HONOLULU — A sailor injured aboard a nuclear submarine that ran aground about 350 miles south of Guam died yesterday, the Navy said. Twenty-three crew members were being treated for injuries.

The USS San Francisco was headed to its home port in Guam after sustaining severe damage on Saturday. The incident was under investigation, said Jon Yoshishige, a spokesman for the Pacific Fleet based at Pearl Harbor.

The name of the sailor who died was being withheld pending a mandatory 24-hour waiting period, the Navy said. The sailor’s next of kin had been notified.

There were no reports of damage to the 360-foot-long submarine’s reactor plant, which was operating normally, the Navy said. The extent of the damage would not be known until the vessel arrived at Guam today, Mr. Yoshishige said.


Underground blast rocks Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS — An underground explosion injured three persons Saturday and forced authorities to evacuate dozens of residents from a downtown condominium.

The blast shortly before noon was similar to one that cut power Wednesday to about 400 downtown businesses and homes, including the federal courthouse. Officials said both explosions likely were caused by heavy rains and later freezing and thawing that triggered a series of short circuits in underground utility lines.

The Saturday explosion buckled a bookstore’s 3-inch concrete floor into jagged 4-foot mounds and blew a steel door off its hinges. Two workers and a customer were hurt, but the extent of their injuries was not clear.

Authorities evacuated a downtown theater and a ballroom at night after an underground transformer blew.


Apartment fire kills child, injures 11

DETROIT — A four-alarm fire gutted an apartment building yesterday morning, killing a 4-year-old boy and injuring at least 11 persons, some of whom suffered broken bones when they jumped out of windows, authorities said.

Firefighters said the blaze likely started at about 6:30 a.m. on the fourth floor and spread quickly, producing flames and thick black smoke that trapped many residents.

“You didn’t hear no fire alarms, you didn’t hear no nothing, just somebody screaming ‘fire’ from outside,” resident Yolita Cunningham told WXYZ-TV.


Gunman kills one inside hospital

MERIDIAN — Gunfire inside a hospital yesterday killed one person and wounded another, and police closed off the building to search for the shooter, authorities said.

Police closed off Rush Foundation Hospital in downtown Meridian after the shooting was reported about 11:30 a.m. A SWAT team was on the scene.

WTOK-TV in Meridian reported that the shooting stemmed from a domestic dispute earlier yesterday in which one person was shot and taken to the hospital.


State debuts DUI test machines

NEWARK — New alcohol-detecting machines to measure motorists’ blood alcohol levels are in the process of replacing the Breathalyzer machines that have been used by New Jersey police for decades.

Sayreville police became the first in the state to use the Alcotest 7110, which is considered an improvement over the Breathalyzer because it can be employed quickly. Breathalyzers, invented in the 1950s, can take as long as 20 minutes to set up before a driver can be tested.


Photos in 9/11 debris to be posted on Web

NEW YORK — Thousands of photos recovered from the World Trade Center ruins after the September 11 attacks have been restored and will be posted on a Web site for people to identify and claim, officials said Friday.

About 8,000 photos will appear on the restricted-access Web site beginning Jan. 18. Deceased victims’ relatives will be provided a password to enter the site, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said.

Employees of former World Trade Center tenants will get access later this year, added the Port Authority, which owns the 16-acre site.

About 2,800 people were killed after hijacked planes slammed into the Twin Towers, causing their collapse.

The photos, pulled from about 1.6 million tons of debris sorted by workers at the Fresh Kills landfill in the borough of Staten Island, were restored at no charge by the Eastman Kodak Co., Port Authority spokesman Lou Martinez said.


Student’s gift makes teacher’s holiday

PITTSBURGH — One of Mark Milanak’s students scored a touchdown when he gave him a Christmas gift.

Russell Malloy, 10, honored his favorite teacher — a die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan — by getting Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris to autograph a ball for the reading tutor.

Russell wrote Mr. Harris a letter after spending $16 of his own money for the football, and asked the player to sign it for Mr. Milanak.

Russell had an “in” with Mr. Harris — his great-aunt, Lisa Knechtel, has cut Mr. Harris’ hair for 20 years at a downtown salon, and she gave the letter to him this week. Mr. Harris obliged. Russell and his mother, Gina, gave Mr. Milanak the ball on Thursday with the school staff in attendance.

“I was entirely floored and flattered,” Mr. Milanak said. “It made my entire holiday season.”


Woman escapes from kidnapper

SIOUX FALLS — A truck dispatcher who said she was kidnapped by her ex-boyfriend managed to escape Saturday and ask for help at a convenience store, police said.

Police captured the ex-boyfriend, Michael Diekhoff, 42, hours later at a camper dealership, said Loren McManus, public information officer for the Sioux Falls Police Department.

Lori Wagner, 41, of Gridley, Ill., was reported missing Thursday, and a judge had issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Diekhoff for aggravated kidnapping.

She escaped at a truck stop in Sioux Falls and headed to a nearby convenience store to ask for help, Mr. McManus said.


Parents, daughter share tardy penalty

EARLAND — Susan and Steven Manis say it was their fault their daughter was late for school, so they shared her punishment — spending an hour with her in detention.

The couple said their 13-year-old daughter, Jessica Dunkley, was being unfairly punished for being late six times in October and November when the family’s van wouldn’t start.

So when administrators insisted the Pearland Junior High School East seventh-grader would have to spend an hour in detention, they decided to go with her.

“We’re more at fault than she is,” said Mrs. Manis, who had appealed the administration’s decision.

During the hour, the trio copied two pages from a school handbook about pillars of good citizenship.


Avalanches strike twice, kill two

MOUNT PLEASANT — A snowmobiler and a snowboarder were killed in avalanches in central Utah, authorities said.

One of the victims, David Wayne Johnson, 42, was pulled from a snowslide east of Mount Pleasant on Saturday, but he was pronounced dead at the scene, the Sanpete County Sheriff’s Department said.

Also Saturday, about 15 miles away in Ephraim Canyon, a snowboarder buried in an avalanche was rescued by a friend, but Garett Louk Gordon later died, authorities said. He was 26.

Temperatures Saturday climbed into the 40s after several days of snowstorms, creating dangerous avalanche conditions.

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