- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Heat kills five; flooding expected

TUCSON — A heat wave with temperatures hitting 109 degrees in Tucson has left at least five persons — likely all illegal aliens — dead.

The heat was expected to hover at 107 degrees yesterday and the U.S. Border Patrol fears more illegal aliens will die from the heat attempting to cross the border, the Arizona Daily Star reported yesterday.

A cell phone call to 911 from an illegal entrant Sunday ended with 23 persons rescued, many ill from the heat. Four were taken to Tucson hospitals for severe dehydration; however, one remained lost in the desert, said Ron Bellavia, of the Border Patrol’s search and rescue team.

Jim Pringle, of the National Weather Service, said the heat wave will melt snow on the Grand Mesa resulting in several flood warnings for Delta, Montrose and Mesa counties in Colorado, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported.


Wal-Mart heirs display museum plans

BENTONVILLE — Wal-Mart heirs showcased plans yesterday for their proposed $50 million museum of world-class paintings and sculpture, to be situated among spring-fed pools and woodlands in northwest Arkansas.

The Crystal Bridges museum, a glass-and-wood design by Boston-based architect Moshe Safdie, is expected to open in May 2009 in the hometown of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer.

The museum and cultural center will present views of American history and heritage through the works of the nation’s most influential artists, the Walton Family Foundation announced.

“I’m honored to be able to make this announcement today because I know my father would have been very proud of what we’re proposing,” said Alice Walton, daughter of company founder Sam Walton.

To be included among the collection is the 19th-century Asher B. Durand painting “Kindred Spirits,” reportedly purchased by Miss Walton for $33 million, the largest sum ever paid for an American painting. She and the Walton Family Foundation are assembling the permanent collection.


Drunk-pilot suspects said not in control

MIAMI — Two former America West pilots charged with operating a plane full of passengers while drunk may have consumed alcohol and smelled of alcohol but they could still walk and see, their lawyers told a jury yesterday.

Pilots Christopher Hughes and Thomas Cloyd were hauled off an Airbus 319 in Miami on July 1, 2002, and charged with operating a plane under the influence of alcohol. A security screener had reported the pilots were red-eyed, flush-faced and reeking of alcohol, and air traffic controllers ordered the plane back to the gate.

Police said Mr. Cloyd’s blood-alcohol reading was 0.091 and Mr. Hughes’ was 0.084. Florida law assumes a vehicle operator, including the operator of a plane, to be drunk if the blood alcohol level is 0.08 or higher, and state authorities charged them with operating an aircraft while intoxicated.

Defense attorneys said the pilots should not be convicted because they were not “operating” the plane at the time in question. The aircraft was being towed away from the gate and the driver of the tug truck had control of the aircraft, they said.


Hundreds dedicate field of flags

LAFAYETTE — Several hundred people turned out to dedicate a field of nearly 2,400 American flags honoring members of the U.S. military who died in Afghanistan and Iraq and police officers, firefighters and other emergency workers killed in the September 11 terrorist attacks.

The 2-acre Hoosier Healing Field adjoining Tecumseh Middle School will be open 24 hours a day until closing ceremonies Memorial Day.


Mainers participate in health care forums

BIDDEFORD — Several hundred Mainers participated in weekend forums on health care policy sponsored by Gov. John Baldacci’s administration and billed as a statewide focus group. Participants turned out at the University of New England in Biddeford and the University of Maine at Orono. The two sites were linked by video conferencing.

Mr. Baldacci, a Democrat, said information gathered at the forums will help develop a state health plan expected in December.


Tough guy loses, sheds no tears

FENTON — Chris MacIntosh didn’t cry when he drove a power drill through his forearm, so it should come as no surprise that he shed no tears over losing a national contest for men of his ilk.

The lumber salesman from Fenton said he was relieved when DaimlerChrysler AG’s Chrysler Group — sponsor of the Dodge Dakota Ultimate Guy contest — recently informed him that the grand prize, a 2005 Dodge pickup, was going to David Neumann of Valley Mills, Texas.

“It was a little stressful with all those phone calls,” said Mr. MacIntosh, 33.

Mr. Neumann was chosen from hundreds of entries as the person who best embodies the characteristics of someone who is strong, capable, works hard and plays even harder. He won an all-new 2005 Dodge Dakota pickup truck and an ultimate sports day for him and four of his friends.


Civil rights killings trial to proceed

PHILADELPHIA — A judge denied contentions of selective prosecution yesterday and ruled that a Ku Klux Klansman will stand trial as scheduled June 13 in the 1964 slayings of three civil rights workers.

Attorneys for Edgar Ray Killen had sought to dismiss the charges, arguing that the state’s priority should be on current crime, not a case dating back decades.

Circuit Judge Marcus Gordon rejected the argument, saying: “We will definitely have a trial on June 13.”

Mr. Killen, an 80-year-old part-time preacher who is still recovering from breaking both legs in a March logging accident, is charged in the 1964 murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner. The three were in Mississippi helping blacks register to vote.


School closing due to too few students

OUTLOOK — Jamie Gatz took center stage at her high school commencement and tailored the ceremony to her liking, choosing burgundy and sky blue as the colors for the Class of 2005.

Miss Gatz didn’t have to compromise, and didn’t have any rivals for the title of valedictorian. The young woman from a farm in northeastern Montana was the lone graduate in the weekend ceremony.

When Outlook School closes its doors tomorrow, they won’t shut just for the summer. The school in this shrinking farm community that had a population of 82 in the 2000 census is closing for good. There aren’t enough students to keep the doors open.

“Two weeks before school started, we had 27 kids enrolled,” said school clerk LaVerle “Bunky” Wirtz. “A week before school started, we had four.”

Last summer, parents of most children transferred them to the larger school system in Plentywood, 18 miles away.


Fat woman referred to zoo for MRI

NEW YORK — A 407-pound New York woman claims she experiences severe pain because her obesity leaves her unable to get proper medical attention.

Jennifer Walters, who is bedridden and cannot walk because of excessive weight, told the New York Post that, because she cannot fit into a magnetic resonance imaging machine, a doctor said she should go to the Bronx Zoo for an X-ray.

“It’s humiliating. I was told if elephants and hippos need MRIs, they have the equipment at the Bronx Zoo. It was like I was an animal,” Miss Walters told the Post.

The Post said one of the doctors that Miss Walters said made the zoo suggestions said he “used to do it, but I don’t think we do it anymore.”

For the record, the Bronx Zoo told the Post it gets about a dozen such calls a year but it doesn’t have such facilities for its animals.


Transformer explodes, sets coliseum ablaze

RALEIGH — The historical basketball coliseum at North Carolina State University caught fire yesterday morning after a transformer exploded.

About 50 people were evacuated from Reynolds Coliseum about 10:30 a.m. after the transformer on the east side exploded and began shooting off sparks, said campus police dispatcher Katie Runner. A blaze burned in the basement for more than an hour before firefighters brought it under control about 11:45 a.m.

Power to some parts of campus were cut off as a precaution, hampering the first day of summer classes at the 29,000-student school. The only injury was a firefighter who was treated for heat-related problems.

The fire damaged an office and a computer lab used for ROTC classes, but didn’t harm the gymnasium area of the coliseum where the N.C. State women’s basketball team continues to play, said Fire Department Division Chief Tommie Styons.


Two hikers injured by avalanche critical

BEND — An avalanche struck a small group of hikers on the side of a mountain in the Cascades of central Oregon, injuring two of them.

The avalanche started above the foursome Sunday afternoon as they hiked at the 8,000-foot level of North Sister Mountain, said Lt. Michael Johnston of the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.

Two of the hikers called 911, and Nancy Miller, 40, and James Ellers, 36, were removed from the mountainside by Oregon National Guard helicopters, said Guard spokeswoman Kay Fristad.

Miss Miller and Mr. Ellers were listed in serious condition yesterday at St. Charles Medical Center-Bend, said hospital spokeswoman Minta Woll.

All four hikers are from Portland.


Transplant recipients die from rodent virus

PROVIDENCE — Three transplant patients have died of a rodent virus after receiving contaminated organs from the same donor, the state Health Department said yesterday.

Health officials said it is only the second documented case anywhere in the world that the viral infection LCMV has been transmitted through an organ transplant.

Two persons from Massachusetts and one from Rhode Island died in late April and early May of LCMV, which is associated with exposure to rodent waste, health officials said. The patients received lung, kidney and liver tissue, officials said.

The source of the infection was found to be an organ donor from Rhode Island, who died of unrelated causes. Officials said that at least one pet at that person’s home — a hamster — tested positive for LCMV. They said the hamster was bought at a pet store in Warwick.

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