- The Washington Times - Friday, July 15, 2005

Launch delayed for at least a week

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Still baffled by a fuel gauge failure, NASA yesterday delayed the launch of its first space shuttle mission in 21/2 years until late next week — at the earliest.

The space agency is backing out of the countdown and has given up trying to make a launch attempt anytime soon, spokesman Bruce Buckingham said.

Discovery’s seven astronauts planned to return to Houston today to wait for a decision on the launch date.

Woman, 90, trapped for 10 hours in van

FAIRBURY, Neb. — A 90-year-old woman was trapped for 10 hours in a stifling senior citizens van after the driver forgot to take her home, and by the time she was found, she was unconscious, her daughter said.

Marguerite McClure was suffering from dehydration, high blood pressure and a 103-degree temperature when she was discovered Wednesday night, said her daughter, Sharon Schmidt of Hollister, Mo.

Mrs. McClure, who is disabled and uses a cane, apparently had been inside a Handi-Bus owned by the Blue Rivers Area Agency on Aging since the early afternoon, according to police reports. She had taken the van to eat lunch with other seniors a few hours earlier, but the van’s driver forgot to take her home, Police Chief Rick Carmichael said.

Pataki weighs White House bid

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York Gov. George E. Pataki is weighing a presidential bid in 2008 amid speculation fueled by a trip to Iowa, the state whose caucuses start the White House selection process.

The moderate Republican is seriously looking at a re-election bid in 2006 and “the possibility of seeking national office in 2008,” said a New York Republican familiar with Mr. Pataki’s thinking who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Mr. Pataki planned to attend this weekend’s National Governors Association meeting in Iowa, an event he has typically avoided in the past.

Last year, Mr. Pataki hired a new team of advisers with political experience in Iowa, and he has courted Iowa politicians with events at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City and at President Bush’s inauguration in January.

Woman cited as drunk during birth

BARTLESVILLE, Okla. — A woman who police say had been drinking heavily before she gave birth was charged with child neglect after the baby was born intoxicated and diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome.

Melissa Irene Tanner, 37, had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.29 when she gave birth June 30, and her daughter’s level was 0.21, according to an affidavit by police. The legal limit for drivers in Oklahoma is 0.08.

Miss Tanner was jailed on $30,000 bail. At a court appearance this week, she was advised of her rights and ordered to return to court Aug. 5. The baby was placed in a foster home with a caretaker experienced in dealing with addicted infants.

Teen jailed in flag burning

MARYVILLE, Tenn. — A teenager was jailed for nine days after being accused of burning an American flag on the Fourth of July, and he faces trial next month.

While the case could test a state statute against flag burning — an act the U.S. Supreme Court says is protected under the First Amendment — prosecutors said Andrew Elisha Staley has yet to argue that he was exercising free speech rights.

Mr. Staley, 18, is accused of taking the flag from a residence and setting it on fire. His father said the teenager “has no reason for anger against the United States.”

Mr. Staley was released from jail Thursday on his own recognizance while he awaits his Aug. 2 trial on charges of desecrating a venerated object, underage drinking, littering, evading arrest, burning personal property and theft.

Speeding SUV kills two children at border

EL PASO, Texas — Two young Mexican children were killed, and their mother and two sisters were hospitalized yesterday after a sport utility vehicle ran over a family while speeding toward a border crossing, authorities said.

The SUV had a bloodied windshield and was dragging a baby stroller underneath when it stopped at a border checkpoint in the border town of El Paso, said Roger Maier, spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Soon after the SUV stopped, Mexican officials reported to U.S. agents that a vehicle had crashed into the family of street vendors on the Mexican side of the border, killing the girls, ages 4 and 5, Mr. Maier said.

An unidentified 19-year-old man was jailed in El Paso on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, he said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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