- The Washington Times - Monday, June 6, 2005


Environmentalists charge violations

SIERRA VISTA — Environmental groups sued Fort Huachuca commanders, the Department of Defense and other federal agencies, saying they failed to comply with environmental regulations in southeastern Arizona.

The Center for Biological Diversity and Maricopa Audubon Society filed suit in Tucson federal court, saying the agencies are overpumping the San Pedro River and hurting an endangered water plant and a threatened bird.


Federal agents raid migrant labor camp

EAST PALATKA — Federal agents raided a migrant farm labor camp where homeless men and women were kept in what labor officials called a version of modern-day slavery.

Four persons, including the camp’s owner, Ronald Evans, face federal charges in a case that officials said is likely to grow. Investigators are looking into reported environmental violations and drugs found at the camp in Friday’s raid.

Officials said homeless people were recruited to the Evans Labor Camp through offers of room and board, along with alcohol, tobacco and drugs, which they bought on credit. But they never made enough in the field to pay off the debts, according to an investigative summary.


Gator licenses to double in state

ATLANTA — State officials are nearly doubling the number of licenses available for this year’s alligator hunting season and expanding the territory by 35 counties.

The state’s alligator population is estimated to be above 100,000, so wildlife experts do not expect the increased hunting to hurt the reptiles’ numbers. Last year, Georgia hunters caught 100 alligators, up from 62 in 2003.


Boy, 8, takes go-cart for night-time ride

PORTLAND — An 8-year-old boy simply couldn’t wait to show off his new gas-powered go-cart. So he sneaked out the house and hit the road for a 20-mile solo ride in the middle of the night.

Paul Gilfedder’s parents, Steve and Wendy, thought their son was sound asleep in the upstairs bedroom of his Cornish home when they were awakened before 5 a.m. May 27 by a police officer who told them their son was found on Route 107 in Sebago.

Paul was so eager to test the new machine he had received as a birthday gift that he waited until after his parents and three siblings were asleep to ride it along the highway, bound for Standish to visit a friend.

Hours after Paul began his journey, Penny Thorne spotted him standing beside the road as she was riding to work. “He was scared and tired,” said Miss Thorne.

The boy had long discussions with his parents about why his midnight ride was a bad idea, talks that were reinforced by a meeting with a police officer. Paul’s mother indicated that her son was contrite.


Council overrides veto of same-sex ban

ALBUQUERQUE — The Navajo Nation’s tribal government voted Friday to override its president’s veto of a measure banning same-sex “marriage” on the nation’s largest Indian reservation.

The measure defines marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. It also prohibits plural marriages as well as marriage between parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren, brothers and sisters and other close relatives.

“In the traditional Navajo ways, gay marriage is a big no-no,” said Kenneth Maryboy, a delegate from Montezuma Creek, Utah. “It all boils down to the circle of life. We were put on the earth to produce offspring.”

The Tribal Council vote was 62-14, with 12 delegates abstaining or absent, to override Navajo President Joe Shirley Jr.’s veto last month.


Medical examiner resigns after probe

PROVIDENCE — The Rhode Island medical examiner resigned Friday after an investigation found hundreds of cases in which final autopsy reports were never completed.

The state Health Department began investigating Elizabeth Laposata’s office in March because of criticism of its handling of organ donations and autopsies.

During that review, the department noticed that many autopsy reports were incomplete, even though the autopsies and all associated tests had been done.

Health officials said that the incomplete reports had no effect on the medical or legal status of the cases, but that they conflicted with her assertion in March that 95 percent of cases are completed within six months.

A report in July funded by the Homeland Security Department faulted Miss Laposata for not reporting to the scene of a 2003 nightclub fire in West Warwick that killed 100 persons, and for not alerting the Health Department director as soon as she heard of the blaze.


Dry weather sets May record

NASHVILLE — Parts of Tennessee reported the driest May on record, forecasters said. Jackson received just 0.4 inches, breaking the 1951 record of 0.49 inches. Memphis and Nashville, which got a little more than an inch of rain, each had the third-driest May on record.

May is usually one of Tennessee’s wettest months, averaging more than 5 inches.


Bloom could set record for plant

MADISON — Big Bucky’s back. The rare, big and extremely stinky flower that caused a sensation at the University of Wisconsin at Madison when it last bloomed in 2001 could become the world’s largest flower when it blooms again this week.

The titan arum stood at 6 feet, 4 inches Thursday in a UW-Madison greenhouse, on pace to rival the world record for cultivated flowers when it blooms and releases its trademark roadkill scent in the coming days.

Botanists hope it will surpass the record of nearly 9 feet set by a titan arum in Germany two years ago.

The university is bracing for thousands of curious visitors hoping to catch a glimpse and even a whiff of the rock star of the botanical world, known as the “corpse flower,” native to the rain forests of Sumatra, Indonesia.

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