- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 24, 2005


3 state airports have worst runway records

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles International Airport and two others nearby have the worst runway safety records recently among the nation’s busiest airports, a review of federal aviation data shows.

Federal officials are most concerned by the situation at LAX, where commercial jets have come perilously close to crashing at least twice since 1999, the first year of data reviewed by the Associated Press.

Among the country’s 25 busiest commercial airports, John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Long Beach Airport and LAX ranked one, two and three since 1999 in runway incursion rates — when a plane or vehicle on the ground gets too close to a plane that is landing or taking off.


Wanted billboards show up in more U.S. cities

CINCINNATI — Wanted posters offering rewards for Jesse James and other outlaws were a common sight in America’s Old West. Now a modern twist on that idea is showing up increasingly across the country: wanted billboards.

Many of the billboards, which typically include a suspect’s photo or a sketch drawn from witness descriptions, have resulted in tips leading to an arrest.

Eight of the 10 suspects shown on billboards in the Kansas City, Mo., area have been arrested, seven of them because of the billboards, authorities say.

Advertising companies have donated at least 14 billboards.


Firm recycles Thanksgiving grease

TUCSON — You have roasted your holiday turkey and drained off some of the juices and fat for making gravy. So how do you get rid of the brown liquid left in the roasting pan?

Tucson-based Grecycle has partnered with the Tucson Clean Cities Coalition and Pima County Wastewater Management in its first Thanksgiving grease recycling drive to collect cooking oil and grease.

Bioengineer Michael Kazz founded Grecycle about a year ago, stockpiling “yellow grease” and converting some of it to biodiesel for his own fleet of trucks and for vehicle fleets of his partner companies.

The fuel is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Biodiesel Board, Mr. Kazz said.


Scott Peterson aims to stop book

LOS ANGELES — Scott Peterson is attempting to halt publication of a book written by a lawyer who was kicked off his case for violating a judge’s gag order.

A Superior Court judge declined to grant a request for emergency relief during a hearing Wednesday, likely pushing the case before an appellate court next week, Peterson’s attorney, Mark Geragos, said Wednesday night.

Matthew Dalton was employed with Geragos & Geragos during the early stages of the Peterson case. In an August 2003 conversation with reporters, Mr. Dalton floated a human sacrifice theory in the killing of Peterson’s wife, Laci.

Mr. Dalton’s book, “Presumed Guilty,” is scheduled for publication Dec. 13 by Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.


Dozens homeless after apartment fire

ATLANTA — Fire spread through a pair of two-story apartment buildings Wednesday, injuring a firefighter and leaving dozens of residents without a home.

The firefighter suffered first- and second-degree burns on his hands and face after a wall collapsed, but his injuries were not considered life-threatening, fire Capt. Byron Kennedy said.

The blaze started in a 32-unit apartment building about a mile from downtown and quickly spread to a similar complex next door. The cause of the fire was under investigation.

All residents were accounted for, Capt. Kennedy said.


‘Happy drunk’ tries to flee on mower

SPRINGFIELD — Bad idea: fleeing from police in a stolen car. Terrible idea: fleeing on a stolen lawn mower.

Police say that decision by a “happy drunk” landed the suspect in prison for violating his parole.

Police responding to a tip about a stolen riding lawn mower spotted a man driving across a cornfield near Springfield.

Sangamon County Sheriff’s Deputy Jim Tapscott said authorities set up a perimeter while he and another deputy drove into the field to talk with the lawn mower driver. They identified themselves and told him to stop, but he purportedly tried to drive off.

“I thought, ‘You’re on a riding mower, and we’re in a car,’” Deputy Tapscott said. “He was only going 4 or 5 miles per hour, so I got out and jogged alongside him.”

The driver stopped when police threatened to stun him with a Taser.


Four killed in highway accident

PORTAGEVILLE — Four persons thought to be headed to a Thanksgiving family reunion were killed when their sport utility vehicle crashed nearly head-on into a tractor-trailer, authorities said.

The car was traveling on Interstate 55 in southeastern Missouri when it crossed the median and went into the path of the truck, Highway Patrol spokesman Stephen Stillman said.

Three of the victims, all from Milwaukee, were identified as Joseph Downs, 71, Betty Wimpie, 44, and Robert Thompson, 74. The driver’s identity had not been determined, authorities said.

All four were pronounced dead at the scene Wednesday morning.

The truck driver suffered serious injuries and was airlifted to a hospital, Mr. Stillman said.

Authorities said the cause of the accident remained under investigation.


Schools told to rent to religious groups

NEW YORK — New York City public schools must let religious groups rent space for meetings on the same basis as other organizations, a federal judge ruled. The city’s law department said it will appeal.

Bronx Household of Faith, an evangelical congregation, has sought for years to rent space for Sunday worship in Public School 15. In May, the Justice Department’s civil rights division filed a brief supporting the church.

Judge Loretta Preska of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York earlier had taken the opposite side in the case.

She based her latest ruling on the 2001 Supreme Court precedent in another New York case, Good News Club v. Milford Central School. There, the high court said schools’ denial of rentals for after-class Bible clubs was unconstitutional under free-speech guarantees.


Suspect caught in doghouse

MARYSVILLE — A man being sought in a hit-and-run case was caught in a doghouse by — what else? — a police dog, authorities said.

“Now he’s in our doghouse,” police Cmdr. Robb Lamoureux said.

Cmdr. Lamoureux said parents began calling police about 7 a.m. Monday as a vehicle rammed numerous cars in a neighborhood while children were getting ready to board a school bus.

The vehicle was gone when police arrived, but officers were summoned again after the vehicle crashed through a fence. A tracking dog led officers to a man in a doghouse, Cmdr. Lamoureux said.

Todd Aron Fowler, 35, was being held for investigation of hit-and-run driving, second-degree assault and a drug law violation with bail set at $15,000, the Snohomish County Jail reported.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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