- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 1, 2005


Teen kayakers found dead

SUWANNEE — Rescuers found two 14-year-old boys dead yesterday in the Gulf of Mexico, two days after they became separated from their school group during a kayaking and camping trip off the coast of Florida, authorities said.

The bodies of Sean Wilkinson and Clay McKemie of Rome, Ga., were found with their overturned kayak off the state’s northern peninsula, the Coast Guard said.

They had become lost Saturday while kayaking with a group from Darlington High School in Rome. The other eight persons in their party were found Sunday, said Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman Karen Parker.


Habitat to aid tsunami victims

AMERICUS — Habitat for Humanity, the Christian housing ministry that builds homes for the poor, said yesterday that it is close to reaching its goal of raising $25 million to build 25,000 houses for victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami.

“It was a terrible tragedy, but we’ve had a tremendous response,” said Habitat spokesman Chris Clarke.

Habitat’s most famous carpenter, former President Jimmy Carter, will head to the region next year and is scheduled to tour a town in India, a nation where the tsunami killed about 10,000 people.

Mr. Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, have devoted a week a year to Habitat projects since 1984.


Iditarod start moved to Willow

ANCHORAGE — The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race will start officially in Willow on Sunday because of a lack of a solid snow base. Willow Lake is 30 miles northwest of the usual start in Wasilla.

The ceremonial start Saturday in Anchorage will be limited to 11 miles instead of a 20-mile run to Eagle River.


Teacher arraigned in student-sex case

SACRAMENTO — A California high school teacher was arraigned yesterday at a Sacramento court on charges that she had sex with a student in a car while her 2-year-old son was strapped into the back seat.

Margaret De Barraicua, 30, a teacher trainee, was charged with four counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, a 16-year-old student. The married woman was caught having sex in the late afternoon last week in what was apparently a consensual agreement, officials said.

“We received a call about a suspicious parked vehicle at a school here in Sacramento,” said local police spokesman Justin Risley. “They got there and observed two people, windows-steamed-up type of thing.”


Judge discovers two bodies in home

CHICAGO — A federal judge discovered two bodies in her home last night, and local and federal authorities were investigating the deaths.

U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow found the bodies about 6 p.m., when she returned home from work, police spokesman Pat Camden said.

The judge was uninjured. Authorities did not identify the bodies and did not disclose the cause of the deaths.


Police chief decries BTK ‘speculation’

WICHITA — The police chief warned yesterday that public speculation could complicate the investigation into the BTK serial killings and vowed that suspect Dennis Rader will “not be tried in the media, but rather in a court of law.”

Police Chief Norman Williams said the press had spread “speculation, inaccurate and irresponsible information” and was complicating “an already complex investigation.” The chief said he would ask prosecutors whether they can take legal action against journalists, but did not specify what information was inaccurate.

Mr. Rader was being held in connection with 10 deaths from 1974 to 1991. An initial court appearance is set for today via video so prosecutors can recite yet-to-be-filed criminal charges against him and the judge can review bail. A source close to the investigation, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Mr. Rader, 59, had confessed to six killings.


Vendor wins right to sell snow treats

GRENADA — Who says you can’t have a snowball fight in the Deep South?

A Mississippi man arrested more than two years ago for selling the frozen treats — known as snow cones in some parts of the country — near a park is allowed to sell them again as part of a settlement reached with the city.

David Maycock faced misdemeanor charges for disorderly conduct after he reportedly violated an ordinance that barred vendors from selling food within 300 feet of any city park.

Two years after his October 2002 arrest, Mr. Maycock sued the city. Last month, the City Council said a settlement had been reached. Neither party would discuss specifics, but Mr. Maycock’s attorney, Ron Lewis, confirmed that his client could resume sales near the park.


Hutterites sue for Medicaid benefits

HELENA — The 53 members of the King Colony Hutterite community live a communal, mostly self-sufficient life. They quietly farm the land, shun individual property and shy away from most government aid.

But the colony is at the center of a high-stakes battle coming before the state Supreme Court tomorrow over whether members are eligible for Medicaid benefits.

The case began after seven women from the colony applied for and received Medicaid benefits despite the colony’s estimated $2.1 million net worth from farmland, crops and livestock.

The state cut off the benefits, prompting the women to sue. They say the state was discriminating against them based on their religious beliefs.


State House votes to end executions

SANTA FE — The New Mexico House voted yesterday to abolish the state’s death penalty and replace it with a sentence of life in prison without parole.

The bill, which had not previously won in either chamber, passed on a vote of 38-31 and advanced to the Senate. Death penalty opponents expect a close vote in the Senate.

Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat who would have to sign the bill for it to become law, supports the death penalty.


Sign-language lessons help save mom’s life

WESTHAMPTON — A mother’s decision to teach her 3-year-old daughter sign language might have saved her life.

Kristin Comeau began to cough uncontrollably and have difficulty breathing last week. The Long Island mother dialed 911, but her throat closed up and prevented her from speaking when the operator answered.

Mrs. Comeau, who had taught her daughter, Ruby, sign language as a hobby, said she signed the word “help” to her daughter, and the little girl repeated it to the 911 operator. Ruby also gave the operator her address, as she had been taught by her father.

Mrs. Comeau was taken to a hospital, where she recovered from what she thought was a severe allergic reaction.

Ruby’s 8-month-old brother, Nick, also is being taught sign language.


Accused Nazi guard appears in court

CLEVELAND — A man who the government maintains was a Nazi concentration camp guard made his first court appearance in 12 years yesterday at an immigration hearing to fight the government’s attempt to deport him.

John Demjanjuk, 84, arrived in a wheelchair with members of his family and spoke only briefly during the hearing, telling the judge that he was more comfortable speaking in Ukrainian than English.

Appearing by video from Washington, Chief Immigration Judge Michael Creppy granted a defense request to delay the start of Mr. Demjanjuk’s deportation hearing until June 30.

Mr. Demjanjuk, whose health is failing, has lived in seclusion since returning to the United States in 1993 from Israel, where he had been imprisoned for being the sadistic Nazi guard known as “Ivan the Terrible.” Mr. Demjanjuk eventually persuaded the Israeli Supreme Court to overturn the conviction based on new evidence that someone else was Ivan the Terrible.


Marriage measure goes on 2006 ballot

PIERRE — South Dakotans will vote next year on a constitutional amendment aimed at ensuring the state will not recognize homosexual “marriages” performed in other states.

The state Senate yesterday approved the proposed amendment, which had already passed the House 55-14, for placement on the 2006 general election ballot by a 20-14 vote.

“When we become unwilling to stand against certain things, we will not stand for anything,” said Sen. John Koskan, a Republican. “Marriage is the foundation of the family.”


Reservists ride bus to stay together

SALT LAKE CITY — When the chartered plane carrying them to Utah from Fort Carson, Colo., had no room for a few of their comrades, the 30 Army Reserve soldiers of a Utah National Guard unit opted for an all-night bus ride.

“They deployed together, and they wanted to come home the same way,” said Master Sgt. Gary Younger. “If they couldn’t get the whole unit on board, then it wasn’t worth it to them.”


Zoo to keep captured kangaroo

DODGEVILLE — Authorities in southern Wisconsin have discovered that capturing a kangaroo in a snowstorm isn’t the hard part. It’s finding out how he got there.

Authorities have given up their hunt for the owner of a red 130-pound marsupial, saying his origin will remain a mystery.

The Iowa County Sheriff’s Office has given the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison permission to keep the kangaroo, nicknamed Roo. The animal has been in quarantine at the zoo since his capture early January.

Sheriff’s deputies corralled the male kangaroo in a barn after receiving calls from shocked residents who had seen him hopping through rural parts of Dodgeville.

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