- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 4, 2005


Surrogate quintuplet undergoes surgery

PHOENIX — One of the quintuplets born to a surrogate mother last week remained in critical condition yesterday, a day after undergoing heart surgery.

Doctors, however, were happy with how the six-hour procedure went Monday, Phoenix Children’s Hospital spokeswoman Jane Walton said.

The smallest of five boys at 3 pounds, 7 ounces, Javier had hypoplastic left heart syndrome, in which the left side of his heart is underdeveloped and can’t pump blood properly.

The other four babies — Enrique, Jorge, Gabriel and Victor — were doing well.


Pickup drivers told to buckle up

LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas joined four other states in a public information campaign to persuade drivers of pickup trucks to strap on their seat belts. The “Buckle Up in Your Truck” initiative will run for two weeks.

The U.S. Census Bureau counts about one pickup truck for every four persons in Arkansas. Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas also are participating in the campaign.


Academy probes reports of intolerance

DENVER — A task force will investigate the religious climate at the Air Force Academy after reports of intolerance, including incidents of anti-Semitism, officials said yesterday.

It will assess Air Force policy and guidance when it comes to religious respect and tolerance, acting Secretary of the Air Force Michael L. Dominguez said in a statement.

The task force also will look into practices by commanders “that either enhance or detract from a climate that respects both the free exercise of religion and the establishment clauses of the First Amendment.”

A preliminary assessment is due by May 23, officials said.


Beach awash in rental property

REHOBOTH BEACH — The supply of rental properties is outstripping demand, which could mean bargain rates for renters this summer, officials say.

The oversupply caused by increased building has many vacationers holding out for low rates. A few years ago, renters were out of luck if they hadn’t booked a house by May 1.


Unpaid insurance curbs town’s vehicles

ATLANTA — A cash-strapped city outside Atlanta missed a deadline yesterday to come up with a $42,000 insurance premium, forcing it to park its police cars and garbage trucks.

Bad publicity about the city’s budget woes prompted its insurer to set the deadline, Mayor Donald Honore said. Other recent financial troubles to hit the city include a $70,000 bill from the Internal Revenue Service for unpaid payroll taxes and the fact that Lithonia is still operating on its 2004 budget.

Lithonia, a city of about 2,000 located 16 miles east of Atlanta, is still trying to work out an insurance deal, but in the meantime has had to scale back on services. DeKalb County police are handling calls — or driving Lithonia’s officers to calls.

The mayor said the town had to trim its work force from 20 to 11 on Friday.


Researchers question prostate treatment

CHICAGO — Men diagnosed with the least dangerous, localized prostate cancer have a minimal risk of dying from the disease within 20 years, one of the largest and longest studies on the issue has found.

“These results do not support aggressive treatment of localized, low-grade prostate cancer,” by surgery or radiation, said the report, which was released yesterday by the University of Connecticut Health Center.

“Surveillance is really the best option for those patients,” said Dr. Peter Albertsen, who led the study.


Tots take van for joy ride

ROCHESTER — For Chase and Chandler Bright, a weekend day began as usual with the brothers watching cartoons at their northern Indiana home, but everything changed when they took their mother’s van for a joy ride.

The boys, ages 3 and 5, got the keys from their mother’s purse and took off, their family said. Both sat in the driver’s seat to steer the vehicle.

The youngsters said they wanted to visit their grandfather, according to a police report. The boys drove about five miles before crashing into a pile of dirt. They emerged without a scratch; the van had a flat tire and some minor damage.


Finger found in frozen custard

WILMINGTON — State officials are trying to determine how a worker cut off part of his finger and how the severed piece wound up in a customer’s ice cream at a shop that was cleared by the state after a similar accident last summer.

Clarence Stowers said he bought a pint of frozen custard at the Kohl’s Frozen Custard shop on Sunday and opened it at home. He saw an object in the custard and put it into his mouth, thinking it was a piece of candy, a Wilmington television station reported Monday. Mr. Stowers said he spit out the object, but still couldn’t identify it. He went to his kitchen, rinsed it off with water and “just started screaming.”

Officials from the state departments of agriculture and labor went to the shop to investigate Monday, and the shop’s owner confirmed that one of his employees lost part of a finger in an accident with a food-processing machine.


Restaurant offers 15-pound burger

CLEARFIELD — The burger war is growing, one bun at a time.

Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub, which lost its crown as home of the world’s biggest burger earlier this year, now offers a new snack that weighs a whopping 15 pounds.

Dubbed the Beer Barrel Belly Buster, the $30 delicacy comes with 10 pounds of ground beef, 25 slices of cheese, a head of lettuce, three tomatoes, two onions, a cup and a half each of mayonnaise, relish, ketchup, mustard and banana peppers — and a bun.

Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub had previously offered a 6-pound burger — with 5 pounds of toppings. In February, a 100-pound college coed, Kate Stelnick, of Princeton, N.J., became the first to eat the burger within a three-hour time limit, and was awarded prizes.

One month later, the Clinton Station Diner in Clinton, N.J., introduced a 12-pound burger dubbed Zeus. So restaurant owner Denny Liegey Sr. responded, and the Belly Buster was born.


Pastor, wife charged in church fire

SUMMERVILLE — A pastor and his wife have been charged with arson in a fire that gutted their church last week, authorities said yesterday.

The Monday arrests of the Rev. Harold Hunter and Patricia Hunter came just one day after the pastor gave a sermon in which he said he prayed for the “sick, sadistic” person who burned down the church. No one was hurt in the blaze.

Police would not discuss a motive, but said they had suspected that Thursday’s fire and three earlier acts of vandalism at the 64-year-old Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church were an inside job.

“We found some gas that was located on the pastor’s shoes and we also found clothing in the residence that had gasoline on it,” said Summerville Police Capt. Craig Legates.

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