- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 1, 2005

ARKANSAS

Mild quake felt in Mississippi Valley

MANILA — A mild earthquake centered in northeastern Arkansas was felt across a wide area of the Mississippi Valley yesterday, but no major damage was reported.

The quake was measured at magnitude 4.1, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

It was felt in parts of Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and northern Mississippi in addition to Arkansas, authorities said.

The tremor was centered about 4 miles south-southeast of Manila in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, said Gary Patterson, a geologist with the USGS Center for Earthquake Research and Information at Tennessee’s University of Memphis.

CONNECTICUT

Firefighters given oxygen masks for pets

FAIRFIELD — Man’s best friend has a new friend in Fairfield — the fire department.

Firefighters have 15 new oxygen masks for dogs and cats that can be used to treat animals overcome by smoke inhalation during a fire.

“A pet’s part of the family. I know, I have a dog, and it’s part of the family,” Fire Chief Richard Felner said. “We’re here to take care of families and their pets. That’s what we do.”

The Best Friends Pet Resort chain donated the masks. The company has given about 450 sets of masks so far to fire departments in 11 states.

The masks come in three sizes: one for cats, one for small dogs and one for big dogs.

GEORGIA

Airport area closed for suspicious truck

ATLANTA — Part of busy Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport was shut down for two hours yesterday after police found a suspicious truck apparently abandoned at a curb and a bomb-sniffing dog indicated the presence of explosives, airport police said.

A bomb technician found that the U-Haul truck contained fireworks and nonexplosive nitroglycerin heart-medication pills, which is what the dog had detected, said airport police Maj. Darryl Tolleson.

The north terminal’s baggage-claim and ticketing areas were closed, and about 1,000 arriving travelers had to wait to receive their luggage, he said.

No criminal action was planned against the truck renter who left the truck at the curb next to the terminal, Maj. Tolleson said.

ILLINOIS

Study: Children safest in back seat

BLOOMINGTON — A new study emphasizes what every parent must know: children are safer in car crashes when they sit in the back seat and are less likely to be injured when safety seats and seat belts are used.

“The single most important lifesaving decision parents can make for their child is to use the rear seat and age- and size-appropriate restraints during every car ride, every time,” said Dr. Flaura Winston, a pediatrician and chief investigator of the study, which is being released today.

The study was sponsored by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the world’s largest insurer, State Farm Insurance Co. The findings are based on information from more than 370,000 State Farm policyholders involved in car crashes.

The study found children were 40 percent safer in the back seat than the front in car crashes, and the risk of injury dropped to less than 2 percent when safety seats and seat belts were used.

INDIANA

Voter-ID law faces legal challenge

INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Mitch Daniels signed into law a requirement that most voters in Indiana show government-issued photo identification before casting a ballot.

The law, one of the most restrictive voter-ID laws in the nation, faces a legal challenge from the Indiana Civil Liberties Union. Supporters said it would stop voter fraud. ICLU Director Fran Quigley said it would prevent some residents from voting.

MINNESOTA

Tigers attack woman; animals’ owner jailed

FLORENCE TOWNSHIP — A woman who helped care for Siberian tigers was hospitalized after being attacked by the animals, whose owner remained jailed on charges he failed to register them.

Allison Asher, 37, of Minneapolis was listed in serious condition, but was expected to recover. She was cleaning a pen Wednesday when four of the animals attacked her, inflicting wounds to her leg and neck, authorities said.

Grant Oly, 48, was being held Friday at the Goodhue County Jail on $2,000 bail. He faces charges that he violated a zoning ordinance, failed to register the animals and created a public nuisance.

Authorities think Mr. Oly, who had seven tigers on his property, scared the animals off by yelling at them and dragged Miss Asher to safety.

NORTH CAROLINA

Teens rescued at sea after six days

SOUTHPORT — Two teenagers lost at sea for six days without food or fresh water were spotted by fishermen more than 100 miles from where they started, clinging to their small sailboat.

The boys quenched their thirst with seawater and slipped into the ocean to cool off, but sharks chased them back onto the boat. At night, they used a single wet suit to keep warm.

Troy Driscoll, 15, and his best friend, 17-year-old Josh Long, were spotted Saturday about seven miles off Cape Fear — six days and more than 100 miles from where they had put in off Sullivan’s Island, S.C., on April 24. The boys were sunburned, dehydrated and exhausted, but otherwise in pretty good shape.

“We were praying for a miracle, and we got one,” Charleston Coast Guard Cmdr. June Ryan said. “Everybody on the East Coast has been looking for these boys.”

The teens set out on a 14-foot Sunfish on a blustery day when the National Weather Service warned small boats to stay off the water. Within hours, they were out to sea.

OREGON

Badger blamed for dam break

HERMISTON — A burrowing badger is being blamed for a 50-foot break in an earthen dam that sent 78 million gallons of industrial lagoon water into a tributary of the Umatilla River.

The lagoon contained processing water from the J.R. Simplot Co. potato plant, storm runoff and cooling water from an energy plant.

State environmental officials advised residents not to use well water as a precaution.

PENNSYLVANIA

Mental-health advocate among award winners

PITTSBURGH — Shortly after Joseph Rogers was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 1969, he took a battery of tests to see if he was eligible for vocational rehabilitation. Counselors suggested the 18-year-old should just collect Social Security benefits.

Years of homelessness and stays in psychiatric hospitals followed, but Mr. Rogers used those experiences to lead a large mental-health association and champion a new way of helping people with mental illness.

Today, Mr. Rogers is being given a Heinz Award, an annual $250,000 prize given to people making notable contributions in five areas: the arts and humanities, the environment, the human condition, public policy, and technology, the economy and employment.

The Heinz Family Foundation of Pittsburgh has presented the award since 1994 in honor of Sen. John Heinz III, Pennsylvania Republican, heir to the Heinz food fortune who died in a 1991 plane crash. His widow, Teresa Heinz Kerry, now the wife of Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, is chairwoman of the foundation.

Another Heinz winner, Mildred Dresselhaus, also used her experiences to become an advocate. The physics and electrical-engineering professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has promoted the advancement of women in the sciences for more than 40 years.

WYOMING

Train stops inches away from children

CHEYENNE — A train operator Friday managed to bring his train to an abrupt stop just inches short of a young brother and sister who were crossing the tracks about a quarter-mile from their home, police said.

“They were no more than an arm’s length from that train,” said motorist Julie Hunt, who saw the incident happen.

The children’s father, Doug Beach, said a neighbor drove 6-year-old Zach and 5-year-old Riley home from school and dropped them off outside their home shortly before noon. But instead of going inside, the children started walking up the street.

“They decided to, as they called it, ‘take a trip to Alaska,’” Mr. Beach said. “They started following this trail of water to see where it went.”

Miss Hunt led the children away from the tracks and stayed with them until police arrived.

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