- The Washington Times - Monday, June 27, 2005


Man cashes in 1.4 million pennies

FLOMATON — Edmond Knowles started out saving pennies in a 5-gallon can. Thirty-eight years later, he was storing them in four 55-gallon drums and three 20-gallon drums. The result? Nearly 1.4 million pennies in all.

Mr. Knowles, who runs a gas station in this small Alabama town on the Florida line, cashed them in last week, pocketing $13,804.59 after they were counted at a bank.

“It’s just something that happened,” he said. “I started so long ago that I don’t even remember why.”

Coinstar Inc., a company that maintains coin-counting machines in banks and supermarkets, said Mr. Knowles’ 1,380,459 pennies breaks the record of 1,048,013 held by Eugene J. Sukie of Barberton, Ohio.


Man sought after six slayings

YUMA — Police were searching for a man seen running from a home where six persons, including four children, were killed in western Arizona.

Authorities released little new information on the case yesterday other than to confirm that the victims included a mother and her four children, ages 6 to 12.

“We’re considering all options and all potential motives,” Police Chief William Robinson said at a press conference.

Officers responding to a call of shots fired in a residential neighborhood late Friday found a man with a gunshot wound in the home’s back yard. The man, identified yesterday as Luis Rios, 35, the boyfriend of the children’s mother, died later at a hospital.

A cause of death won’t be released until autopsies are performed today, said Officer Clint Norred, a spokesman for the Yuma Police Department.


Navy recruits great-grandmother

MAGNOLIA — At age 81, Fola Coats might seem a little old to join the Navy. But the great-grandmother recently received a letter inviting her to enlist in the Seabees of the Naval Reserve.

“I laughed when I got” the letter, she said. “I told [my family], I can’t wait to get my uniform.”

Mrs. Coats’ husband served in World War II, and two of her sons were in Vietnam.

“I guess they figured we were a great military family,” she said.

The letter suggests that she should volunteer for the Seabees, supporting Navy construction needs with a specialty rating of builder, construction electrician, construction mechanic, engineering aide, equipment operator, steelworker or utility worker.


Court overturns sale of public TV station

SANTA ANA — A state appeals court has overturned a community college’s sale of a public television station to a local foundation, ruling that it illegally accepted a lower bid to make sure the station didn’t go to a television evangelist group.

The Coast Community College District must hold a new sale of KOCE-TV, or, “if the district’s trustees find the prospect of television evangelists eventually acquiring KOCE to be too distasteful, no sale at all,” said the opinion Thursday.

The Orange County district violated the law by not selling KOCE-TV to the highest bidder, the court ruled. Milford Dahl, an attorney for the college district, said he would recommend that the district appeal to the state Supreme Court.


‘Niagara of the West’ roars back to life

TWIN FALLS — The waterfalls known as the “Niagara of the West” roared back to life last week for the first time in six years with the release of water from upstream dams to aid salmon migration.

The increased flow over the 212-foot-high Shoshone Falls followed an unseasonably rainy spring in southern Idaho that filled reservoirs in the Upper Snake River Basin to more than 80 percent of capacity.

That allowed the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to release additional water. It’s the first time since 2001 that the dam management agency has been able to provide the full amount of water set forth in a federal-tribal agreement. The drought period stretched back to 1999.


Two men charged with beating lesbians

WAUKEGAN — Two men have been charged with an assault on two teenage lesbians at Illinois Beach State Park.

Patrick Langballe, 29, of Winnetka, was charged along with Aaron Rush, 20, of Green Bay, Wis., with a hate crime, armed robbery, aggravated battery and unlawful use of a weapon in the June 16 attack against the girls, 17 and 18, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The two men and the girls were at a campsite with mutual friends when the girls told them that they were in a relationship with each other.

Mr. Langballe and Mr. Rush said they were Nazis and told the girls that “gays and lesbians were no better than Jews and blacks,” Assistant State Attorney Matt Chancey said.

The two men are accused of beating the girls and threatening them with a sledgehammer and a knife. They stole money, credit cards, a camera and cell phones. Bail has been set at $1 million for Mr. Langballe and $1.5 million for Mr. Rush.


City bans smoking, except in bars

LAFAYETTE — Lafayette has become the latest Louisiana city to restrict public smoking. The city-parish council approved an ordinance outlawing smoking inside, or within 25 feet of, most businesses.

Exceptions are made by bars or restaurants that serve liquor. Similar ordinances have been passed in Shreveport and Mandeville.


Six rescued from plane crash

FORT GRATIOT — A twin-engine plane yesterday crashed into Lake Huron about 70 miles northeast of Detroit after experiencing engine problems, police said. All six persons on board were rescued.

The survivors were able to escape from the plane and were helped to shore by boaters, authorities said. The pilot was the only one injured. He was taken to a hospital for treatment of a possible broken nose, police said.

The Federal Aviation Administration was investigating.


Half-ton man loses 573 pounds

VALENTINE — He still is a mound of a man, but his blue eyes widen with delight as he presses his chest with his fingertips, smiles mischievously and makes the grand announcement: He can feel his ribs.

To Patrick Deuel, this small moment is huge.

One year ago, Mr. Deuel weighed 1,072 pounds. He was so enormous that his bedroom wall had to be cut out to extract him from his home. Then, he was rushed to a South Dakota hospital in an ambulance with extra-wide doors and a ramp-and-winch system that had to be dispatched from Denver. He hadn’t left his bedroom in seven months. He had heart trouble and diabetes and needed oxygen. Mr. Deuel was dying.

Now 12 months after being hospitalized for gastric bypass surgery, the magic number on the scale: 499 pounds.

Mr. Deuel now goes out almost every day, walks a bit, exercises and thinks about all the things he hopes to do someday.

“Life,” he says, “is infinitely better.”

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