- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 4, 2005

ALABAMA

Banker’s wife taken in ransom attempt

FRANKVILLE — A man kidnapped a banker’s wife, forced her to wear what he described as a remote-controlled bomb and demanded $400,000 in ransom from the bank before letting her go, authorities said.

Law officers were searching for the man yesterday. The banker’s wife, Virginia Beech, was released unharmed about 20 miles from her home without any ransom being paid.

It wasn’t clear whether the purported bomb was real because the man took it with him when he released his hostage Tuesday, said her husband, Ted Beech.

ALASKA

Game officials urge trash law enforcement

ANCHORAGE — State game officials want Anchorage to start enforcing a 50-year-old municipal ordinance banning garbage from being in public view overnight. Area biologist Rick Sinnott says garbage cans attract dozens of bears, both black and grizzly.

The bears often become nuisances and must be killed. Mr. Sinnott says the garbage cans also increase the chance that somebody could get hurt.

ARIZONA

Inmate convicted in hostage standoff

PHOENIX — An inmate who took two guards hostage in a watchtower last year in one of the nation’s longest prison hostage standoffs was found guilty yesterday of 19 charges, including sexual assault.

Ricky Wassenaar, 42, was convicted of kidnapping, aggravated assault and sexual assault against a female guard who was held hostage for 15 days. He was acquitted on one count, attempted second-degree murder.

After the verdicts were read in Maricopa County Superior Court, Wassenaar repeatedly said, “Worst verdicts I ever heard.”

He faces up to 16 life sentences at his June 3 sentencing.

ARKANSAS

Holocaust survivor finds cousin

LITTLE ROCK — After seeing his mother and siblings fatally shot by Nazis, 5-year-old Ilya Solomonovich Galparin went into survival mode, concealing his Jewishness and assuming the role of fair-haired Aryan mascot for a Latvian Nazi military unit.

Fifty years later, living in Australia, the man now known as Alex Kurzem disclosed his Jewish identity to family members and then told his story to the world in the 2003 award-winning documentary, “The Mascot,” by his son, filmmaker Mark Kurzem.

Now, Alex Kurzem is in Arkansas after locating first cousin Emmanuel Krupitsky, also a Holocaust survivor, through online genealogy research. Today, Holocaust Remembrance Day, the two will view “The Mascot” at a screening at the Clinton Presidential Library here.

“From my father believing he had no one, to finding [out that] Emmanuel is his first cousin, it’s been an overwhelmingly positive experience,” Mark Kurzem said.

CALIFORNIA

Marine won’t be tried in taped shooting

SAN DIEGO — A Marine corporal who was videotaped shooting an Iraqi in a Fallujah mosque last year will not face a court-martial, the Marine Corps announced yesterday.

A review of the evidence showed the Marine’s actions were “consistent with the established rules of engagement and the law of armed conflict,” Maj. Gen. Richard F. Natonski, commanding general of the 1st Marine Division, said in a statement.

The corporal was not identified in the two-page statement issued by Camp Pendleton, the headquarters of the expeditionary force north of San Diego. In sworn statements, he said he shot three insurgents in self-defense in the mosque Nov. 13, believing they posed a threat to himself and his fellow Marines.

One of the shootings was recorded by Kevin Sites, an NBC cameraman embedded with the Marines, and the dramatic footage prompted outrage among Iraqis.

In the video, as the cameraman moved into the mosque, a Marine in the background could be heard shouting obscenities and yelling that one of the men was only pretending to be dead. The Marine then raised his rifle toward an Iraqi lying on the floor of the mosque and shot him.

IDAHO

Infant doused with pepper spray

PONDERAY — A woman doused a 2-month-old girl with pepper spray while feuding with the infant’s family in a Wal-Mart, police said.

Lorlie M. Gantenbein, 36, of Sagle, was charged Tuesday with felony injury to a child. She was released after posting $5,000 bail. The cause of the dispute between the families was not known.

The 2-month-old girl was recovering at home after being sprayed Monday, police Chief Mike Hutter said. The infant was treated at a hospital.

MONTANA

Voters reject white separatist

BOZEMAN — A white separatist who stunned members of this community when he gathered enough signatures to run for the school board was defeated by a wide margin.

Kevin McGuire received 157 votes Tuesday, compared with 4,039 votes and 4,031 votes for the two candidates who beat him and were elected to seats. Election officials said it was the highest turnout in 21 years.

Mr. McGuire, 23, a member of the separatist group National Alliance, issued a statement late Tuesday saying he planned to stay in the city of about 57,000.

KENTUCKY

Officials OK castle as tourist attraction

VERSAILLES — A plan to turn a turreted castle in central Kentucky into a tourist attraction has won approval with some conditions. Officials limited the number of parties and charitable events to one a month and the number of rooms for overnight guests to 16.

Thomas Post of Miami, who bought the castle for $1.8 million in 2003, intends to stay there when he’s in Kentucky. He also hopes to rent the facility to out-of-town guests and for special events such as anniversaries and charity fundraisers.

NORTH CAROLINA

Fourth-grader saves boy from pit bull

KNIGHTDALE — When fourth-grader Asia Brantley saw the pit bull pounce and start biting her 5-year-old neighbor, she didn’t hesitate.

The 10-year-old rushed up, grabbed the 40-pound male dog’s blue collar and pulled, holding tight even as the dog bit her repeatedly on both arms, according to the Raleigh News and Observer.

Her gritty decision allowed kindergartner Tajh Tyndal to escape with bites to the chest, legs, arms and left cheek.

OKLAHOMA

Evangelist’s wife dies from fall

TULSA — Evelyn Roberts, the wife of evangelist Oral Roberts, died yesterday in a California hospital after suffering a head injury during a fall. She was 88.

Evelyn Roberts died a day after she fell in the parking lot of a dentist’s office, striking her head on the pavement and causing massive internal bleeding, said Jeremy Burton, a spokesman for Tulsa-based Oral Roberts University.

Oral and Evelyn Roberts married more than 66 years ago, and she worked with her husband to build his television ministry and university.

Evelyn Roberts wrote several books, including “His Darling Wife, Evelyn,” “Heaven Has a Floor” and “Evelyn Roberts’ Miracle Life Stories.”

TENNESSEE

University loses bid to drop ‘Confederate’

NASHVILLE — Vanderbilt University violated a decades-old contract when it announced it would strip the word “Confederate” from a dormitory that the United Daughters of the Confederacy helped build, a state appeals court ruled yesterday.

The court ruled that the school must either leave the name intact or pay the UDC $50,000 plus 70 years of interest to remove it.

The UDC donated one-third of the cost of the building in a series of contracts dating back to 1913 with Peabody College, which later merged with Vanderbilt. In return, the name Confederate Memorial Hall was chiseled into stone.

The appeals ruling overturns a lower court decision that the school had the right to remove the name.

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