- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 16, 2005

CALIFORNIA

Couple finish trek across nation

POINT REYES — A husband-and-wife team reached the Pacific Ocean on Saturday after a 4,900-mile cross-country hike, becoming the first to backpack the transcontinental American Discovery Trail in one continuous trek.

Marcia and Ken Powers started Feb. 27 at Cape Henlopen in Delaware. Nearly eight months later, they looked out over the Pacific Ocean at Point Reyes.

“We feel great. We’re done,” Mrs. Powers said after reaching the ocean late Saturday afternoon, a day ahead of schedule.

The couple from Pleasanton, Calif., traversed cities, desert, mountains and farmland as they crossed 13 states.

FLORIDA

Cuban boy’s parents released to kin

KEY WEST — The parents of a 6-year-old Cuban boy who died while being smuggled to the United States were released by immigration officials to relatives in Florida on Saturday.

The couple, Julian Villasuso, 49, and Maizy Hurtado, 32, arrived in Key West late Friday after the speedboat in which they were being smuggled overturned as it was being chased by a Coast Guard cutter.

Acting U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta said he asked federal officials to allow the couple to stay because he is considering criminal prosecution against the suspected smugglers.

The couple would be allowed to stay under the wet foot/dry foot policy. The policy lets those who reach U.S. shores stay, while those caught at sea normally are repatriated.

IDAHO

Woman imprisoned for scalping teen

IDAHO CITY — A woman who scalped a teenage friend for lying about being raped was sentenced to 10 years in prison for felony aggravated battery.

District Judge Kathryn Sticklen on Friday ordered Marianne Dahle, 27, to serve at least four years before she is eligible for parole. Judge Sticklen said she had little confidence that Dahle would seek psychiatric help and avoid harming society on her own.

The January attack left the victim, a 16-year-old identified only as Sheila, physically and emotionally scarred, prosecuting attorney Theresa Gardunia said.

INDIANA

Dog’s microchip identifies owner

FORT WAYNE — Police were able to identify a traffic accident victim through a microchip implanted in her dog. Laura Huhn, 43, was walking the dog when she was struck by a car and killed, police said.

The schnauzer was taken to an animal hospital with a fractured pelvis, and the microchip helped police identify its owner and then locate her family, animal control director Belinda Lewis said.

MASSACHUSETTS

Emergency order lifted as rain clears

LAWRENCE — Gov. Mitt Romney lifted the state of emergency for Massachusetts yesterday, deactivating the National Guard and sending a signal that the worst of the weather problems was over.

Under blue skies near the banks of the swollen Merrimack River, Mr. Romney said that by and large, the state was returning to normal.

About 1,000 people were evacuated from their homes Saturday after driving rains and flooding washed out bridges and roads, flooded basements and pressured dams.

In Connecticut, the body of a woman who fell into the rapids of the Natchaug River in Chaplin was found yesterday morning, state police said. Elizabeth Cunningham, 54, of Hampton, was pronounced dead at the scene. She had lost her footing while looking at the river Saturday afternoon, authorities said.

The statewide state of emergency in New Jersey was lifted Saturday evening.

MISSOURI

Obese man dies in mobile-home fire

ST. JOSEPH — A fire destroyed a mobile home, killing a 600-pound, homebound man who could not be moved out in time despite the efforts of neighbors and firefighters.

Timothy Lee Morris, 45, called 911 from his home when it caught fire Saturday afternoon, fire officials said. His daughters, ages 8 and 13, summoned neighbors, pleading for them to help free their father.

Authorities said police and firefighters eventually were able to put Mr. Morris on a backboard and slide him out the front door. Mr. Morris suffered from several health problems, including breathing complications.

“Timmy probably didn’t get burned at all,” Battalion Chief John Nelson said. “He probably died from smoke inhalation.”

OHIO

Police call riot worse than expected

TOLEDO — Police began receiving word midweek that gangs were going to descend on a neighborhood where a riot erupted over a planned march by a white-supremacist group, but the resulting disturbance was worse than expected, the police chief said yesterday.

The riot broke out Saturday when protesters confronted members of the National Socialist Movement who had gathered at a city park. Rioters threw baseball-size rocks at police, vandalized vehicles and stores and set fire to a neighborhood bar, authorities said. More than 100 people were arrested, and one officer was seriously injured.

Officers who work in the area reported that gang members were planning to turn out in force, and authorities made plans to handle any disturbances, Police Chief Mike Navarre said yesterday.

PENNSYLVANIA

Bar owner’s trick finds stolen beer

CORRY — Police say a man charged with stealing beer was caught by the very cans he stole.

Frank Martin, the owner of Alibi Bar, knew someone had been stealing beer, so he took two six-packs and wrote “BUSTED” on the bottoms of the cans, one letter per can, police said.

Mr. Martin suspected that it was an inside job because no one appeared to be breaking in.

Then, police called on Ronald Paver, 42, who used to work at the bar, and checked his recycling bin. Sure enough, police said, 10 of the marked cans were inside. They charged Mr. Paver on Thursday.

Mr. Paver had worked at Mr. Martin’s bar until the spring, but never turned in his key after he quit.

TEXAS

Bigfoot believers gather at conference

JEFFERSON — Next to a lifelike replica of a giant ape head, the believers milled around tables Saturday covered with casts of large footprints, books about nature’s mysteries and T-shirts proclaiming: “Bigfoot: Often Imitated, Never Invalidated.”

But the search for the legendary Sasquatch is no joke for many of the nearly 400 people who came here to discuss the latest sightings and tracking techniques at the Texas Bigfoot Conference.

Outlandish theories about the origin of Bigfoot abound, including that it might be an extraterrestrial. Many think that a towering, apelike creature descended from a prehistoric 9- to 10-foot-tall gorilla called a Gigantopithecus and that it now inhabits North American forests.

WASHINGTON

Flight students killed in plane crash

EVERETT — A weekend plane crash near Seattle killed two students from a special school for teenagers interested in careers in the aviation industry, school officials said.

A third person also died in the crash, authorities said. Officials did not release the names of the victims or say who was at the controls.

“Everyone affiliated with the high school is devastated by this and we are grieving with the families,” said Catherine Carbone-Rogers, spokeswoman for the Highline School District.

The two girls, both ninth-graders at Aviation High School, were participating in the Young Eagles program, which gives students their first light-aircraft flights with volunteer pilots from the Experimental Aircraft Association, the Seattle Times reported yesterday.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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