- The Washington Times - Friday, June 17, 2005


Artist re-enacts 9/11 Twin Towers jumps

CHICAGO — Performance artist Kerry Skarbakka, wearing a business suit and safety harnesses, jumped repeatedly from a museum roof to create photographs that recall scenes from the World Trade Center attack, drawing scorn from some onlookers and victims’ relatives.

Mr. Skarbakka, 34, fell more than 30 times from the five-story Museum of Contemporary Art on Tuesday. He said he started thinking about falling after watching on television as people jumped to their deaths from the Twin Towers on September 11.

“What kind of a sick individual is he? Tell him to go jump off the Empire State Building and see how it feels,” Rosemarie Giallombardo, whose son Paul Salvio died in the terrorist attack, told the New York Daily News. “He’s an artist? Go paint a bowl of fruit or something.”


Defendant taken to hospital on opening day

PHILADELPHIA — One-time Klansman Edgar Ray Killen was removed from court on a stretcher yesterday on the opening day of testimony in his trial for the 1964 killings of three civil rights workers.

Mr. Killen, 80, was taken to a hospital to be treated for high blood pressure, said District Attorney Mark Duncan, who said he had no other details. The defendant came to court in a wheelchair and has been attended by a nurse because of his health. He broke both his legs in a wood-cutting accident several months ago and has other ailments. He wasn’t in the courtroom during the 45-minute testimony by Rita Schwerner Bender, the widow of Michael Schwerner, who was slain along with James Chaney and Andrew Goodman during the “Freedom Summer” of 1964.


Marines search for stray bombs

PHOENIX — About 300 Marine base workers walked shoulder to shoulder through a southern Arizona neighborhood yesterday in search of any stray ammunition from the crash of a bomb-laden Harrier jet.

As each section was cleared, officials planned to let residents return to the last 52 homes still evacuated after Wednesday’s crash in Yuma, said James Stover, the city’s public affairs manager.

Hundreds more evacuees had been allowed to go home late Wednesday, hours after the jet plunged into a back yard while trying to land at Marine Corps Air Station-Yuma, about 185 miles southwest of Phoenix.

The pilot ejected safely before the crash, and one civilian on the ground had a minor cut. Two homes had structural damage, Marine Cpl. Michael Nease said. The plane’s four 500-pound bombs were removed safely, Cpl. Nease said.


Moderate quake rattles L.A. area

YUCAIPA — A moderate-strength earthquake struck Southern California yesterday, shaking a wide area from Los Angeles to San Diego and counties to the east. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The early afternoon quake had a preliminary magnitude of 5.3 and was centered near Yucaipa in San Bernardino County, east of Los Angeles, the U.S. Geological Survey said. Witnesses said the quake was minor at the outset but quickly strengthened.

It was the third significant quake to hit California this week.


Former sheriff guilty of Schiavo trespassing

CLEARWATER — A former sheriff received six months of probation, a $600 fine and community service after he was convicted of trying to enter Terri Schiavo’s hospice to give her water.

Retired Lee County Sheriff John J. McDougall, an outspoken Roman Catholic, was arrested outside the hospice March 19, the day after Mrs. Schiavo’s feeding tube was removed.

Mr. McDougall, 62, could have avoided court by paying a $250 fine, but he demanded a trial. He was convicted of trespassing by a jury that deliberated for about 45 minutes.

“I didn’t feel I was guilty of trespassing. I was trying to save someone’s life,” said Mr. McDougall, who was sheriff from 1988 to 2000.

Mr. McDougall was convicted Wednesday — the same day that Mrs. Schiavo’s autopsy said she was irreversibly brain-damaged and would not have been able to swallow if she had been given food and water by mouth.


Runaway bride makes TV deal

ATLANTA — Runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks made a deal with a company that is pitching a television movie about her life, annoying officials whose agencies spent thousands of dollars searching for her.

ReganMedia has acquired all media rights to the “life stories” of Miss Wilbanks and her fiance, John Mason, the New York multimedia company said yesterday. The company did not say whether any money had changed hands.

The 32-year-old bride-to-be disappeared from her Duluth home on April 26, four days before her wedding with 600 guests and 28 attendants. After taking a bus to Albuquerque, N.M., she claimed she was abducted and sexually assaulted, but later recanted, saying she fled because of unspecified personal issues.

Duluth spent nearly $43,000 to search for her. Miss Wilbanks has repaid $13,249. News of her deal infuriated local officials.


USS Arizona studied or inevitable collapse

HONOLULU — A team of divers is collecting information that will help researchers determine how fast the sunken USS Arizona is deteriorating.

The battleship sank on December 7, 1941, during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The remains of more than 1,100 crew members remain entombed in the sunken wreckage, which is spanned by the USS Arizona Memorial.

“Collapse is inevitable, but by all indications it is not imminent. It could be decades,” said Matthew Russell, an underwater archaeologist who is heading the six-member team.

Preliminary data indicate the ship suffered more damage when it was bombed than was previously thought. Despite the damage, the wreckage is holding up well and corrosion is slower than expected, he said.


‘Bewitched’ statue twitches some noses

SALEM — Not everyone was enchanted when officials unveiled a statue of the actress who played Samantha Stephens on the 1960s television show “Bewitched.” Hundreds turned out Wednesday to see the 9-foot-tall bronze statue of the late actress Elizabeth Montgomery.

Some say the statue trivializes the events that occurred in Salem in 1692, when 20 persons were put to death after being accused of witchcraft. Others, including the mayor and some city councilors, welcomed the statue as harmless fun in a place that has long made money playing off the witch hysteria.

The statue is sponsored by the TV Land cable network. The ceremony was attended by show director William Asher, who was married to Miss Montgomery, and actors from the original series, including Bernard Fox (who played Dr. Bombay), Kasey Rogers (Louise Tate) and Erin Murphy (Tabitha Stephens).


Casket will be sold to pay for divorce

COLUMBUS — It wasn’t death that parted them, so now the casket has to go.

Dixie Fisher is selling the casket her soon-to-be ex-husband planned to use when he died. She placed a classified ad last week in the Columbus Dispatch that said: “Marriage died before husband did.”

Mrs. Fisher and David Budd, who are divorcing, bought the gray casket a year ago from a friend who works at a metal salvage business. Mrs. Fisher plans to be cremated, but the couple thought the casket would come in handy for Mr. Budd.

“I told my husband that, if nothing else, it was a good investment for the future,” said Mrs. Fisher, who is asking for $980 and hopes to use some of the money for attorney fees.

Mr. Budd said he agreed his wife should sell the casket, and having it in the garage never bothered him. “When it’s my time to go, it’s my time to go,” he said.


Annexation passes in 1-voter referendum

OREGON — Randy Way had a pretty good idea about the outcome of the referendum when the polls closed. He was the only one allowed to vote.

As expected, Mr. Way approved a plan by the village of Oregon to annex 80 acres. He is the only person living in the annexed area, so he was the only one who could sign the petition requesting the referendum and the only one allowed to vote Tuesday.

Town Clerk Denise Arnold printed two ballots, just in case. “We gave him two just in case he read it wrong and made a mistake,” Miss Arnold said. “This is probably not the norm. It’s pretty weird.”

Three paid poll workers were required to be on duty for 13 hours for the election after town officials said they were unable to find anything in state law that would allow the polls to close early. Mr. Way voted 17 minutes after the poll opened at 7 a.m.

He bought pizza for the poll workers to show his appreciation.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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