- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 13, 2005

MINNESOTA

Polio virus infection found

ST. PAUL — Four children in a Minnesota Amish community have become infected with the polio virus, the first known infections in the United States in five years, state health officials said.

Health officials said the cases do not pose a threat to the general public because most people have been vaccinated against polio. But they said they expect to find more infections within the Amish community because some of its members refuse immunizations on religious grounds. The four children had not been vaccinated.

None of the children has shown any symptoms of the paralyzing disease. About one in 200 people who contract the polio virus suffer paralysis because of it.

NEW JERSEY

Rivers overflow as more rain falls

TRENTON — A seventh straight day of rain across much of the soggy Northeast trapped motorists in their cars, delayed airline flights and sent streams surging over their banks yesterday.

Flood warnings covered parts of Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, and residents in some New Jersey communities were urged to evacuate their homes.

Northern New Jersey received as much as 41/2 inches of rain in 48 hours, and forecasters said some areas of the state could get 2 more inches by today.

The rain is expected to continue through tomorrow.

Associated Press

Minnesota Health Commissioner Dianne Mandernach yesterday announced that the polio virus had infected four children in an Amish community.

ARKANSAS

Church will back ceremonies for gays

FAYETTEVILLE — After years of discussion, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Fayetteville has decided to support blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples.

However, the congregation will not develop an official ceremony nor conduct same-sex blessings until at least next summer, when national church leaders are expected to take up the issue at the Episcopal General Convention. St. Paul’s is the first congregation among the state’s 55 Episcopal churches to support such a ceremony.

COLORADO

Nuclear cleanup declared complete

DENVER — The contractor hired to clean up the former Rocky Flats nuclear-weapons plant declared the $7 billion, 10-year project complete yesterday, a major milestone in the conversion of the site to a wildlife refuge.

Kaiser-Hill Co. said it was proud of the effort to “complete the largest, most complex environmental cleanup project in United States history.”

However, it could be months before the site on the rolling plains northwest of Denver is opened to the public, because federal regulators must certify it as safe.

FLORIDA

Cuban boy dies when boat overturns

MIAMI — A 6-year-old Cuban boy died early yesterday after the speedboat on which he was being smuggled capsized as the U.S. Coast Guard tried to intercept it, trapping him underneath, authorities said.

The other 30 persons in the boat were rescued.

The 33-foot boat was spotted on radar about 45 miles south of Key West just before 1 a.m. The Coast Guard cutter Dauntless pursued the vessel, but the boat refused orders to halt and was maneuvering erratically in an attempt to escape, the Coast Guard said.

KENTUCKY

Church sign tops adult shop’s ad

RICHMOND — Red House Baptist Church has purchased a sign that sits directly above a billboard for the Hustler Hollywood adult entertainment shop, saying: “Don’t Get HUSTLED, Give Your Life To Jesus.”

The sign went up last week and will be displayed for one year above the ad for the store, said Adam Dooley, pastor of Red House Baptist.

NEW MEXICO

State treasurer faces more charges

ALBUQUERQUE — Federal prosecutors charged New Mexico’s state treasurer with 19 counts of extortion Wednesday, saying he pocketed $265,000 in kickbacks while investing public money.

Treasurer Robert Vigil had pleaded not guilty to two earlier counts of extortion in the case and maintains his innocence, attorney Sam Bregman said. He called the FBI’s and U.S. attorney’s evidence in support of the indictment “pathetic.”

Prosecutors also have charged former Treasurer Michael Montoya, who also has pleaded not guilty, in the suspected scheme, contending that both elected officials demanded kickbacks from investment advisers in exchange for steering state business to them.

NEW YORK

Librarian finds Beethoven score

NEW YORK — A handwritten, working manuscript of one of Beethoven’s most revolutionary works had been rediscovered after 115 years by a librarian in Pennsylvania, triggering fevered excitement among music historians.

Sotheby’s auction house, which will offer “Grosse Fuge” for sale in London in December, said yesterday that the 80-page score was “the longest and most important manuscript to have appeared on the market in living memory.”

Sotheby’s analysts have put an estimate on the lot of between $1.7 million and $2.6 million.

The manuscript was uncovered in July by Heather Carbo, a librarian who was nearing the end of a huge inventory project in the archives of a theological seminary in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

OHIO

City ends prayer before meetings

PAINESVILLE — The City Council has suspended its practice of allowing members to pray aloud before meetings, joining a growing number of communities moving away from religion-specific invocations at government meetings. Council President Bill Horvath is trying to find a nondenominational prayer to open meetings.

Mr. Horvath halted the prayers after receiving complaints from people watching the semimonthly meetings on cable television and heard a prayer that was said “in Jesus’ name.” Council members had been allowed to lead a prayer of their choosing, but will start meetings with the Pledge of Allegiance for now.

PENNSYLVANIA

Woman cuts openpregnant neighbor

PITTSBURGH — A woman clubbed her pregnant neighbor over the head with a baseball bat, drove her to the woods and cut her belly with a knife in an attempt to steal her baby, police say.

Police said Wednesday’s attack on Valerie Oskin was stopped after a teenager on an all-terrain vehicle came across the women.

Miss Oskin, 30, later underwent an emergency Caesarean section at a hospital. State police yesterday said she was in critical condition and that her baby was in stable condition. She was thought to have been in her third trimester of pregnancy, authorities said.

Peggy Jo Conner, 38, of Ford City, was arraigned yesterday on charges of attempted homicide and aggravated assault and was jailed without bail.

Miss Conner had told her live-in partner before the attack that she was pregnant, and investigators found baby-related items in her trailer, Armstrong County District Attorney Scott Andreassi said.

TENNESSEE

Soldier opens fire on fellow troops

NASHVILLE — A soldier opened fire on a group of fellow soldiers during a morning exercise session at Fort Campbell, Ky., yesterday, but no one was injured at the Army base.

The soldier, whose name was not released, “is in custody after firing shots at a physical training formation,” Fort Campbell said in a statement.

It provided no other details but said the matter was under investigation.

VERMONT

Nuke plant seeks license extension

VERNON — The Vermont Yankee nuclear plant’s owners said they plan to seek permission to run the plant for 20 years beyond its 2012 license expiration.

Entergy Nuclear officials say they have written to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to say they will submit a formal license extension application in January. About half the plant’s 540-megawatt power production goes to Vermont, where it makes up about a third of the state’s power supplies.

WASHINGTON

Dog nurses orphaned squirrel

SEATTLE — Animal lover that she is, Debby Cantlon didn’t hesitate when someone asked whether she could take in an orphaned newborn squirrel and nurse it back to health.

Neither did Mademoiselle Giselle, her pregnant pooch.

The black and white Papillon with long-haired butterfly ears dragged the squirrel’s cage to her bedside — twice — before giving birth to pups last month.

Miss Cantlon was concerned at first, but ultimately decided to let the squirrel out of its cage. Mademoiselle Giselle encouraged the little rodent to join her litter.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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