- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 29, 2005

ALASKA

Bus vandalism closes schools in district

ANCHORAGE — A vandal flattened the tires on at least 47 buses serving a large school district outside Anchorage, forcing most of the schools to close yesterday.

The closings affected about 14,700 students.

The damage was discovered at First Student, a bus contractor serving 31 of the 36 schools in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District.



Someone flattened the tires by removing valve stems, said Dave Dickerson, contract manager for First Student. The vandal also unplugged engine-block heaters that aid in cold-weather starts, he said.

Mr. Dickerson said the tires can be repaired and buses should be ready in time for school today. He put the cost of the vandalism at $10,000.

CALIFORNIA

15 years for selling China fighter parts

SANTA ANA — A 56-year-old California man has been sentenced in federal court to 15 years in prison for selling critical parts for military jet fighters to China.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Dean Boyd said Amanullah Khan was sentenced Monday evening by U.S. District Judge David O. Carter, who also ordered the man to pay restitution of more than $5.4 million.

Two years ago, Khan pleaded guilty to 12 felony counts, including conspiracy and aircraft-parts fraud, involving military aircraft parts that were fraudulently certified.

Mr. Boyd said Khan operated an aircraft-parts brokerage called United Aircraft & Electronics in Anaheim, Calif., through which he issued a series of false certifications and other documents falsely identifying the aircraft parts he sold to China. In just over one year, he said, Khan’s company earned $5 million by selling parts with fraudulent paperwork. He said Khan also falsely certified aircraft parts destined for use on U.S. military aircraft.

FLORIDA

Police seek parents in infant’s death

FORT LAUDERDALE — Authorities are searching for the parents of a 3-month-old girl who died last year after her parents reportedly gave her lethal doses of vodka to quiet her crying, police said.

Makeisha Dantus died in 2004, but her parents were not charged until last month. By that time, they had disappeared.

The couple, Mackenson Dantus and Mardala Derival, are wanted on charges of aggravated manslaughter. Authorities said they think the couple, both Haitian immigrants, is still in Florida.

Detective Katherine Collins said yesterday that the delay in charging the couple stemmed in part from their lack of cooperation.

KANSAS

Professor apologizes for e-mail

LAWRENCE — A University of Kansas religion professor apologized for an e-mail that referred to religious conservatives as “fundies” and said a course describing intelligent design as mythology would be a “nice slap in their big fat face.”

In a written apology Monday, Paul Mirecki, chairman of the university’s Religious Studies Department, said he would teach the planned class “as a serious academic subject and in a manner that respects all points of view.”

The department faculty approved the course Monday, but changed its title. The course, originally called “Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and other Religious Mythologies,” will instead be called “Intelligent Design and Creationism.” The class was added to next spring’s curriculum after the Kansas State Board of Education decided to include more criticism of evolution in its standards for science teaching.

Mr. Mirecki’s e-mail was sent Nov. 19 to members of the Society of Open-Minded Atheists and Agnostics, a student organization for which he serves as faculty adviser.

MICHIGAN

Power outage hits Detroit, shuts border

DETROIT — Thousands of residents on Detroit’s east side temporarily lost power yesterday, and a tunnel connecting the city with Canada was shut down for about two hours.

The power outage, which affected about 20,000 customers, was caused by a malfunction at an electrical station that feeds several substations, said Scott Simons, a spokesman for DTE Energy Co.

The Detroit-Windsor Tunnel reopened after power was restored. Gordon Jarvis, chief executive of the Detroit & Canada Tunnel Corp., which owns the tunnel, said it was closed because it had no lights. Normally, it would have electrical feeds from both Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit, but the Windsor lines were shut down because of construction, he said.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Ronald MacDonald cited in Wendy’s theft

MANCHESTER — A name like Ronald MacDonald might have raised suspicion from the start for a Wendy’s employee.

Now, the 22-year-old Mr. MacDonald has been charged with stealing from a safe at the Wendy’s restaurant where he worked.

The man is no relation to the cheerful, red-haired clown who is the face of the McDonald’s advertising campaign.

The restaurant manager said he found Mr. MacDonald and another employee taking the money at about 1:30 a.m. Monday.

Mr. MacDonald and Steve Lemay, 20, were detained at the store until police arrived.

NORTH DAKOTA

Storm cuts power to thousands

BISMARCK — Crews yesterday gradually reopened major highways that had been closed by the Plains’ first blizzard of the season, stranding post-Thanksgiving travelers. Thousands of people remained without electricity.

Five deaths were blamed on slippery roads in Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas. A sixth person was killed by a tornado spun off by the huge storm system in Arkansas.

Remnants of the system headed over the upper Great Lakes yesterday after the storm dumped snow as far south as the Texas Panhandle. As much as 20 inches of snow fell at Kennebec, S.D., while Chamberlain, S.D., was choked by drifts up to 8 feet high.

Utility officials estimated that 50,000 customers were blacked out across eastern South Dakota yesterday, and many communities in North Dakota had no electricity. Nebraska also had scattered outages. The morning’s low at Grand Forks, N.D., was 14 degrees.

OHIO

Convicted killer put to death

LUCASVILLE — Ohio carried out the nation’s 999th execution since 1977 yesterday, putting to death a man who strangled his mother-in-law while high on cocaine and later killed his 5-year-old stepdaughter to cover up the crime.

John Hicks, 49, was put to death a day after Eric Nance was executed in Arkansas for killing a teenager by slashing her throat with a box cutter.

Hicks offered a tearful apology for the 1985 murders earlier this month to Ohio Parole Board members, and said he loved both victims — Maxine Armstrong, 56, and Brandy Green, 5.

TENNESSEE

Kickbacks charged on red-tape purchases

NASHVILLE — Two government employees were charged yesterday with taking kickbacks on the purchase of 100,000 rolls of red tape.

Veterans Affairs workers Joseph Haymond and Natalie Coker were arrested in Murfreesboro and charged with taking bribes for buying the tape, normally $2.50 per roll, for $6.95 each, U.S. Attorney Jim Vines said in a statement.

The two got kickbacks of $1 per roll for the purchases made between 1999 and 2001, Mr. Vines said. They could each face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Mr. Haymond and Miss Coker worked at the VA’s Consolidated Mail Outpatient Pharmacy, which mails prescription medicines to veterans. The red tape, stamped with the word “security,” is meant to deter tampering.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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