- The Washington Times - Monday, May 23, 2005


Jurors tour path of plane crash

LITTLE ROCK — Jurors aboard a tour bus on the runway at Little Rock National Airport followed the path that an American Airlines flight took before slamming into a light structure after landing during a 1999 thunderstorm.

Eleven persons died, including Capt. Richard Buschmann. His widow, Susan, sued the airport and its governing board, claiming unsafe conditions.


Faculty battle grade inflation

NEWARK — In a bid to curb grade inflation, faculty at the University of Delaware plan to post on the Internet the number and the percentage of each letter grade given in all departments.

Educators hope the postings will apply peer pressure to departments that are out of line. The Faculty Senate last month found the number of A’s awarded at the university doubled from 1987 to 2002.


Missing girl found buried alive

LAKE WORTH — An 8-year-old girl who had been sexually assaulted and buried under rocks in a trash bin was found alive yesterday by an officer searching a landfill, authorities said. A teenager was charged with attempted murder.

The girl had non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to a hospital, they said. Her condition was not immediately known.

Milagro Cunningham, 17, who had been staying at the house of the girl’s godmother, was charged with attempted murder, sexual battery on a child younger than 12, and false imprisonment of a victim younger than 13 years old, police said.

The girl was found about seven hours after she was reported missing, but authorities were still trying to determine how long she had been inside the trash bin. An Amber Alert had been issued early yesterday.


State to allow extreme fighting

HONOLULU — A bill allowing promoters to stage extreme fighting matches in Hawaii was signed into law by Gov. Linda Lingle.

Extreme fighting had been prohibited under existing law, but supporters of the measure said the prohibition was not clear. The Lingle administration sponsored the new law that creates a series of safety requirements before a match can be staged.


Boy climbs inside vending machine

ELKHART — A crane vending machine can be frustrating enough when you’re trying to snatch a little stuffed toy from its steely clutches. Imagine if the prize it’s denying you is your 3-year-old son.

James Manges II managed to climb up the chute and inside one of the machines Thursday, swinging around for an hour amid the plush toys he coveted before firefighters freed him.

James’ mother, Danielle Manges, said they had paid an early morning visit to a Wal-Mart in this northern Indiana city because he had been sick and was sleeping odd hours. After she denied him money to play the vending-machine game, he threw a juice box and climbed into the machine while his mother picked the juice box up.

At first, Mrs. Manges thought it was funny: “He was playing with all the toys and hanging from the bar like a monkey.” She even bought a disposable camera to take pictures, as did other shoppers.

Firefighters removed the back of the machine to free James — who went home empty-handed.


Mother helps nab suspected predator

GARNER — A mother posed as her daughter on the Internet and helped police nab a man who was trying to solicit the 14-year-old for sex, authorities said.

Richard H. Johanson, 36, of Short Hills, N.J., was being held Saturday in the Hancock County jail. He has been charged with attempted third-degree sexual abuse and enticing away a minor.

He was arrested Thursday night after police received a tip from the mother, authorities said.

The teen did not log out of a chat room before she went to bed, and the mother, using the girl’s screen name, discovered that Mr. Johanson was pressing the 14-year-old for a meeting, police said.

The Hancock County Sheriff’s Office set up a meeting in a public place Thursday night. Mr. Johanson tried to get the girl to leave with him, but she refused. He was arrested as he tried to flee, police said.


School bans religious song

NEWARK — A public school prohibited a second-grader from singing a religious song at a talent show, prompting a lawsuit Friday claiming violation of the girl’s constitutional rights.

A federal judge declined an emergency request to compel Frenchtown Elementary School to allow 8-year-old Olivia Turton to sing “Awesome God” at the Friday night show, but allowed the lawsuit to go forward.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler in Trenton to consider the case came just hours before Olivia had hoped to sing the pop song by the late Rich Mullins.

The girl was told May 10 that she could not sing the song. Her mother, Maryann Turton, protested at a school board meeting that night. She was told three days later by Joyce Brennan, the school superintendent and principal, that the religious content made it inappropriate at school, according to the lawsuit filed by the child’s parents Friday morning.


Researchers head to tsunami zone

FARGO — North Dakota State University researchers will spend a month studying the impact of mass fatalities caused by last December’s tsunami in Asia.

The team is scheduled to leave today for India and Sri Lanka to explore how officials dealt with recovering, identifying and disposing of bodies and notifying relatives. The goal is to improve disaster management. More than 200,000 people in the region, many of them Indonesians, died in the Dec. 26 tsunami.


Wall gives way at school, injuring 5

OKLAHOMA CITY — A low cinderblock wall collapsed Friday at a school, injuring five boys, none seriously.

The boys, ages 11 to 14, had been sitting on the 4-foot-high wall when a section gave way. The wall served as a counter for a concession stand near Crooked Oak School’s football field.

The youngsters had mostly cuts and scrapes, said Shannon Goodsell, school superintendent. They were treated at a hospital and released.

The wall fell while boys were involved in a physical education class, and nearby coaches immediately came to their aid.

Miss Goodsell said structural engineers would investigate why the wall collapsed.


Thurmond’s biracial kin tours statehouse

COLUMBIA — Essie Mae Washington Williams stood Friday at the feet of a statue of her larger-than-life father, Sen. Strom Thurmond, who never publicly acknowledged her even though rumors followed him to his grave.

After Mr. Thurmond’s death in 2003 at 100, Mrs. Williams came forward to say she was the biracial daughter of the former segregationist, former South Carolina governor and nation’s longest-serving U.S. senator. Her name was added in July to the list of Mr. Thurmond’s children engraved on the monument that includes the statue.

Mrs. Williams’ mother, Carrie Butler, was a 16-year-old maid for the Thurmond family, and Mr. Thurmond was 22, when Mrs. Williams was born in Aiken in 1925.

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