- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 3, 2005


School bus driver fatally shot

CUMBERLAND CITY — A 14-year-old student who reportedly had been turned in by his school bus driver for using smokeless tobacco was charged with fatally shooting her yesterday as she stopped to pick him up on her route.

Joyce Gregory was fatally shot, but none of the 24 students on the bus, ranging from kindergarten to the 12th grade, was hurt.

Two weeks ago, Miss Gregory told family members that she was having trouble with students “dipping snuff” on the bus, said her cousin, Jacqueline Reed. After several warnings, Miss Gregory reported the students to school administrators Tuesday, Miss Reed said, adding that the 14-year-old suspect was among the students.

Police said a .45-caliber handgun was used, but they would not say how it had come into the boy’s possession.


Giant tortoisemistaken for rock

CHEYENNE — At first, Terri Smith thought it was just an oversized rock that attracted her dog’s attention. Then the rock moved.

Mrs. Smith on Sunday found a giant tortoise, weighing 60 to 70 pounds, trying to burrow into the dirt — an unlikely visitor to Wyoming.

State Game and Fish Department officials told Mrs. Smith that it was probably a desert tortoise, a species native to the Southwest.


Law says fishermen must kill garfish

MONTGOMERY — Fishermen often utter obscenities and throw their catch back into the water after hooking the long, skinny, ugly garfish.

According to Alabama law, they are supposed to suddenly become the garfish’s executioners.

The Alabama House passed a bill Tuesday to repeal a 1943 law requiring fishermen who catch a garfish — also called “junk fish” or “trash fish” — to kill it rather than throw it back into the water to be caught again.

Rep. Jeffrey McLaughlin, a Democrat, said he’s not sure why lawmakers initially wanted to kill the garfish. But he said the bill he sponsored is part of his effort to highlight some of Alabama’s archaic laws and outdated language in the state constitution.


Condor fledglings released in state

VERMILION CLIFFS NATIONAL MONUMENT — Five California condor fledglings hopped from a release pen in northern Arizona and tested the air of freedom with their huge wings.

The birds are the latest release of the endangered species in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, just south of the Utah state line. The release adds to the wild population of the bird that two decades ago was on the verge of extinction.

About 70 people gathered at the condor-viewing area this week about a mile away from the release site to peer through binoculars and spotting scopes. They watched the 10-month-old gangly birds emerge and soak in their new surroundings.

“It takes a while for them to get used to flying,” Michael Parish, the project director for the Arizona release site since 2000, told the Salt Lake Tribune.


Blake prosecutor makes argument

LOS ANGELES — Robert Blake was a wannabe tough guy, a manipulative celebrity and ultimately a killer, according to a prosecutor who told jurors yesterday that when the actor couldn’t rid himself of the woman who had tricked him into marriage, he fatally shot her.

As Mr. Blake gazed impassively at jurors, prosecutor Shellie Samuels told them the actor killed his wife after he failed to have her arrested, to keep her away from their baby daughter and, finally, to persuade others to kill her.

She called the actor a would-be tough guy who emulated the people he played in such films as “In Cold Blood” and TV shows like “Baretta,” as well as a person used to manipulating other people through his celebrity.

She said Mr. Blake, 71, wanted his 44-year-old wife dead because she was a con artist who had tricked him into marrying her by getting pregnant and giving birth to a daughter with whom he quickly became obsessed.

Arriving in court before closing arguments began, Mr. Blake was greeted with a hug by his adult daughter, Delinah Blake-Hurwitz.


Sketches released in double slaying

CHICAGO — Police yesterday released sketches of two men seen near the home of U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow on the day her husband and mother were killed.

Chief of Detectives James Molloy described the two men in the sketches as “persons of interest” who police want to interview based on witness statements from the neighborhood.

One, a man in his mid-20s, was seen in a car near the Lefkow home. The other, a man in his 50s, was wearing dark coveralls and a dark knit cap. Both drawings are of white men, and early suspicions in the slayings of Michael Lefkow and Donna Humphrey have centered on white supremacists.


Ex-Nazi stripped of citizenship

DETROIT — A federal judge stripped a man of his citizenship because he hid his past as a guard at a Nazi labor camp and should never have entered the United States.

U.S. District Judge Paul Gadola agreed with government prosecutors who said Iwan Mandycz was an armed guard at the Poniatowa labor camp near Lublin, Poland, for nearly six months in 1943, the Detroit Free Press reported in yesterday’s editions.

“The government has proved by clear, unequivocal, and convincing evidence that defendant assisted in the persecution of civilian populations during World War II,” the decision reads.

Mr. Mandycz, who is in his 80s, can appeal. If the ruling stands, the government could initiate deportation proceedings against him.

Mr. Mandycz has denied working at the camp and has said he spent World War II working at his parents’ farm in Poland and, later, as a forced laborer at a farm in Austria. He immigrated to the United States in 1949 and became a U.S. citizen in 1955. He has lived in the Detroit area ever since.


Global solo flight fights fuel problem

SALINA — Millionaire adventurer Steve Fossett decided last night to press ahead with his attempt to fly around the world solo without refueling, despite a serious problem with the plane’s fuel system.

Mr. Fossett and his flight crew agreed to keep the GlobalFlyer in the air rather than abandon the record-setting attempt and set down in Hawaii. He discovered the problem with the fuel system of the custom-built plane earlier yesterday.

Project manager Paul Moore said fuel sensors differed from readings of how quickly the plane was burning fuel and the crew had been forced to assume that 2,600 pounds of the original 18,100 pounds of fuel “disappeared” early in the flight. It was not clear whether the problem was with the instruments or was an actual leak.


Water pipeline could cost $2 billion

LAS VEGAS — The Southern Nevada Water Authority said a pipeline to bring water to Las Vegas from rural Nevada could cost more than $2 billion.

Officials said the price would include 461 miles of pipeline, four pumping stations and about 200 miles of power lines. The project would reduce dependence of southern Nevada’s growing population on the Colorado River.


Workers forced to undergo training

CHESTERFIELD — Contractors working in New Jersey prisons will undergo special training after a skit for inmates featured a spoof on the Ku Klux Klan.

Five employees of the Chicago-based Gateway Foundation Inc., the company whose workers approved the skit, have been fired, and the company has been told that further incidents won’t be tolerated, said Matthew Schuman, a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections.

Several inmates who participated in the Jan. 6 skit at the Garden State Youth Correctional Facility in Burlington County were disciplined, although Mr. Schuman would not say how.

The skit, a parody of an episode of “The Jerry Springer Show,” had the three “Klansmen,” wearing white hats and sheets, were interviewed by another inmate acting as the show’s host.


Ex-police chief is sentenced

WARREN — A former township police chief convicted of paddling teenage boys for minor traffic violations received a nine-month suspended sentence.

James Martin, 52, was convicted last month of 18 misdemeanor charges for paddling boys as part of an unsanctioned diversion program in Fowler Township. Parents approved the paddling.

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