- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 30, 2005


Church ends practice of swallowing goldfish

FLORENCE — The First Assembly of God Church has agreed to discontinue its practice of swallowing live goldfish as part of its “Fear Factor” ministry.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has asked for a ban on the practice. Youth minister Anthony Martin said earlier that the goal of the exercise was to teach teens about fear.

“I do appreciate your concern and just wanted to let you know that this will never happen again,” Pastor Greg Woodall replied to PETA in a letter. “My views are a reflection of yours. We love God’s creatures and would never want to show them harm.”

PETA thanked the church for the ban by sending a gift basket of vegan Swedish fish, a gummy candy, as an alternative to live fish.


Lynx’s collar found; illegal killing feared

DURANGO — The appearance in a post-office mail slot of a radio collar used by state wildlife officials to track endangered lynx transplanted from Canada has raised suspicions that one of the animals might have been killed illegally.

The collar was assigned to a male born in Colorado in 2004, one of about 200 lynx estimated to be living in Colorado since a reintroduction program began in 1999.


Man charged with stealing quarters

SPRING HILL — A man is charged with stealing $1,500 — in quarters.

Michael Ray Ross, 25, of Spring Hill, took the money — which weighed about 75 pounds — from his girlfriend’s grandfather’s closet, the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office said.

Mr. Ross attempted to cash in more than $600 in quarters Tuesday at a local grocery store, according to a Hernando County Sheriff’s report. He was arrested after he began “acting suspiciously.”

He told deputies that he knew the man kept the quarters in his closet and that he took the change on two separate occasions in the last month, authorities said.


Chemical depot closed after spill

NEWPORT — Army contractors halted operations Saturday at a western Indiana complex built to destroy a deadly nerve agent after nearly 500 gallons of caustic wastewater spilled in a contained area.

No workers were injured or exposed to the hydrolysate, a byproduct of the destruction of the agent, when it leaked onto the floor of a sealed area at the Newport Chemical Depot, spokesman Dennis Lindsey said.

The facility was to be shut down until the spill was cleaned up and its cause determined, Mr. Lindsey said.


4th brother scores 800 on math SAT

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Gaebler children apparently have the right formula for math. Leif Gaebler, 15, joined his three brothers in scoring a perfect 800 on the SAT math level 2 subject test.

The subject tests demonstrate to colleges a mastery of specific subjects such as history, math or science.

Leif said living up to his brothers’ scores didn’t weigh on his mind.


Ex-bar owner jailed in drinking death

HUTCHINSON — A former bar owner was sentenced to nearly four years in prison for the death of a woman who prosecutors said participated in a drinking contest involving a red, yellow and green concoction called “the Stoplight Challenge.”

Billy Leroy Scott, 34, apologized to Juanita Goodpasture’s family at the sentencing Thursday.

Scott was convicted of involuntary manslaughter last month in the alcohol-poisoning death of Miss Goodpasture, 31, who had a blood alcohol content of .430 when she was found dead at her home in July 2004 after a night of drinking with her mother and sister.


Woodlands seen as potential tinderbox

PASCAGOULA — The Mississippi Forestry Commission warned that woodlands affected by Hurricane Katrina are now a tinderbox that could erupt at any time.

The fire threat is high because of a seven-week drought after Hurricane Katrina, said Ed Brown, a commission fire coordinator.

Millions of acres of the state’s forests were damaged by Katrina, leaving 50 to 60 tons per acre of highly flammable debris, officials said.


Flushed wedding ring found in sewer line

MASSILLON — Tom Dick thought his wedding ring had gone to waste when he flushed it down the toilet 20 months ago.

Instead, two county workers returned the 14-karat gold band to Dick and his wife, Carolyn, Oct. 22 after uncovering it while cleaning sewer lines near the couple’s northeastern Ohio home.

“We noticed it was a man’s wedding band,” Mark Martinet said. It had an inscription with Carolyn’s name and the anniversary date of Sept. 25, 1971.

“An hour or so later, we saw the mail lady and said, ‘Do you know a Carolyn that lives on this road?’” Mr. Martinet said.


Medical helicopter crashes; one injured

OLYMPIA — A medical helicopter lost power while taking off and fell off the roof of a hospital, the second crash for the same company in a month.

None of the four persons aboard the Airlift Northwest aircraft was seriously injured late Friday in the crash at Providence-St. Peter Hospital, authorities said. The company’s previous crash, Sept. 29 in Puget Sound, killed all three crew members.

The National Transportation Safety Board took over the investigation Saturday, said Debbie Taylor of the Federal Aviation Administration.

“On takeoff, the helicopter lost power and more or less fell off the building” about 30 feet, said Michael Copass, medical director at Airlift Northwest.


Police arrest 400 at Halloween party

MADISON — Police used repeated bursts of pepper spray early yesterday to break up a crowd of Halloween celebrants, part of a weekend of revelry in which more than 400 people were arrested.

Police declared an unlawful assembly and used officers on horseback to move revelers off State Street in the city that is home to the University of Wisconsin. Pepper spray was used after cups filled with beverages and ice were thrown at officers.

Most arrests were for alcohol-related offenses, Lt. Pat Malloy said. He said that the local detoxification center was filled to capacity and that some people had to be taken to emergency rooms.

There were 269 arrests overnight and 178 the night before, police Chief Noble Wray said.


Federal grant aims to reduce flood risk

CHEYENNE — The city has received a $2.76 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to address the danger of flooding in an area where 10 persons died in a 1985 flood. The grant will help to pay for new water-detention features and channels to direct water out of the Sheridan Reach of Dry Creek, just north of Dell Range Boulevard.

The city estimates that the work will eliminate the flood hazard for 181 properties. The federal grant requires the city to put up $922,000 of its own money for the project during the coming years.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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