City works to ID heat wave victims
PHOENIX — In the span of a week during the throes of a record heat wave, 14 transients have perished on the streets of metropolitan Phoenix.
They lived in obscurity, and many of them died the same way — anonymous, ignored, alone. Their bodies were found crumpled on sidewalks near strip malls or in the shadow of downtown skyscrapers. Some were discovered only after strangers stumbled upon them and dialed 911.
Now, as Salvation Army volunteers distribute water and social workers coax vagabonds into shelters, the city is grappling with another challenge: How to put a name to the nameless, find their families and bury the dead.
Notebooks detail child molestations
SAN JOSE — A man who authorities say could be the nation’s most prolific child molester was crafting a lengthy memoir about his sexual exploits with boys when he was arrested, police said.
Authorities also said they have cracked “99 percent” of the detailed code that Dean Schwartzmiller used in notebooks he kept, apparently to chronicle crimes both real and imagined.
Schwartzmiller was arrested in May after investigators said they discovered notebooks with 36,700 handwritten entries of boys’ names, descriptions of their anatomies and codes for suspected sex acts.
San Jose Police Lt. Scott Cornfield said investigators seized a typed memoir that Schwartzmiller had been writing about his exploits with boys.
Schwartzmiller is being held without bail on one count of aggravated sexual assault on a child younger than 14 and six counts of lewd and lascivious conduct on a child younger than 14 involving two 12-year-old cousins. He faces two life sentences if convicted.
Clammer unearths his wedding ring
BRANFORD — An 82-year-old man who went clamming in the Long Island Sound says he made the ultimate catch: the wedding ring he lost two years ago.
Stewart Petrie says he found an encrusted ring mixed in with his clams Tuesday while he was clamming at the same spot where his ring slipped off his finger in July 2003. After his wife, Mary, scrubbed it with jewelry cleaner, they were able to read the inscription: “MPS to SJP 9-10-67.” Her husband’s eyes began to tear, she said.
“It was an absolutely stupendous feeling,” Mr. Petrie said.
The couple married after meeting at a hospital where he was a doctor and she worked as a nurse.
NASA says gauge won’t stop shuttle
CAPE CANAVERAL — NASA said yesterday it will launch the first space shuttle flight in 2 years even if Discovery is plagued by the same fuel gauge problem that halted the previous countdown two weeks ago.
Discovery is set to lift off tomorrow at 10:39 a.m., the same time Columbia took off on its doomed mission in 2003.
Deputy shuttle program manager Wayne Hale said the fuel gauge problem has been vexing. Engineers still don’t know exactly what caused it.
“Based on the last 10 days’ worth of effort, the huge number of people and the tremendous number of hours that have been spent in testing and analysis, I think that we’re coming to the right place,” he said.
At an evening press conference, Mr. Hale and other NASA officials stressed that they will proceed with a liftoff only if the problem is well-understood and involves the gauges in question. Anything else will result in a postponement.
Lost hiker survives 5 days in lava field
WAIMEA — A hiker lost for five days in a lava field near a volcano says he survived by drinking water he squeezed from moss in a mostly barren landscape.
Gilbert Dewey Gaedcke III, 41, was rescued Friday afternoon after a teenager on a helicopter tour spotted him stumbling across the rocky lava, trying to attract attention with a mirror from his camera.
Mr. Gaedcke had been missing since Sunday night, when he took a hike across desolate lava fields near Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to get a closer look at an active volcano.
The experienced hiker from Austin, Texas, said he saw no water, but there were pockets of junglelike vegetation sprinkled throughout the old lava flow.
Mr. Gaedcke said he crawled beneath the vines and licked moisture off leaves. Then he found moss growing on trees and was able to squeeze enough water from it to drink.
Sewerage break keeps beachgoers at bay
REVERE — Signs posted along Revere Beach yesterday warned beachgoers that swimming was off limits because of a sewer-line break and high bacteria levels in the water, the Boston Globe reported. To reinforce the message, state officials on foot, in boats and riding motorized vehicles spread the word up and down the sandy shore.
Despite the warnings, hundreds of people flocked to the popular summer destination to stroll along the water’s edge, get a tan or curl up with a book in the shade of a pavilion.
Some beachgoers were disappointed to abandon their plans to swim, while others defied the warnings and cooled off in the bacteria-laden water.
A sewer-line break Friday afternoon on Western Avenue in Lynn has dumped millions of gallons of raw sewage via an outfall pipe into the Saugus River, which flows into the ocean north of Revere Beach.
Ms. Wheelchair America is crowned
ALBANY — Rhode Islander Kristen Connors was named Ms. Wheelchair America, capping months of squabbling over the pageant’s qualifying process that divided the disabled community.
Miss Connors, who uses a wheelchair because of spinal muscular atrophy, a form of muscular dystrophy, works for Rep. Jim Langevin, Rhode Island Democrat.
The pageant was thrown into turmoil in April after Ms. Wisconsin, Janeal Lee, was stripped of her title when a photograph of her standing appeared in a local newspaper.
Governor’s spokesmanfaces violence charge
COLUMBIA — A spokesman for Gov. Mark Sanford was arrested after he kicked open the door at his home and shoved his fiancee into furniture, police said.
Will Folks, 30, surrendered to police Saturday and was charged with criminal domestic violence. He was released on a personal recognizance bond.
Mr. Folks’ fiancee, Ashlee Smith, a lobbyist, received a slight injury to her back but did not receive medical attention, an investigative report shows.
Miss Smith told police that Mr. Folks kicked down the door, but she declined to press domestic violence charges. However, police became suspicious and investigated.
From wire dispatches and staff reports