- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 5, 2005


Campaign urges a visit ‘B4UDIE’

ANCHORAGE — A billboard campaign is reminding would-be tourists that someday it really could be too late to visit the northern frontier.

The billboards in Seattle, Los Angeles and Minneapolis proclaim “Alaska B4UDIE” — or Alaska, before you die.

The Alaska Travel Industry Association started the monthlong, $180,000 campaign Monday.

The campaign uses a simple 14-by-48-foot sign, and the slogan is written on the state’s classic license plate — blue letters against a bold yellow background.


Girl killed, sister hurt when ATV overturns

MELROSE — An all-terrain vehicle overturned as two young sisters were riding it, killing a 6-year-old girl.

Neither Gwendolyn Jones nor her 12-year-old sister, Myrrhanda, who was hospitalized in fair condition early yesterday, was wearing required protective gear Monday as they rode the ATV on their family’s 82-acre property, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

The four-wheeler overturned on a dirt road when Myrrhanda lost control, Sgt. Eric Etcher said. Their father, Charles Jones, summoned authorities after he found the ATV on top of his daughters at about 1:25 p.m.


Used-car buyers stuck with fines

HONOLULU — The state instituted a policy that requires used-car buyers to pay any outstanding parking fines incurred by previous owners before they register their vehicles.

Some used-car buyers have been left with hundreds of dollars in unpaid citations, and many have not been able to renew vehicle registrations because of the outstanding tickets. The policy is based on a 1993 law that was never enforced until the state began cracking down in August.


Kidney-swap program reports success

CHICAGO — Researchers are reporting a high success rate for a novel kidney-swap program that proponents say could ease the nation’s shortage of transplant organs.

Most kidney transplants use organs taken from cadavers, but doctors prefer using organs from live donors because the success rates are higher.

In a live-donor practice used increasingly in the United States in the past few years, a patient who needs a kidney is matched with a compatible stranger; in return, the patient must line up a friend or relative willing to donate an organ to a stranger, too.

In the first U.S. success-rate study of what are called “kidney paired donations,” Johns Hopkins University researchers tracked 22 patients who received kidneys from living strangers. Of the 22 transplants, only one failed.


Explosion injures construction workers

MARION — Construction workers mistakenly cut a live wire at a former television picture-tube plant, sparking an explosion yesterday that critically burned a worker and injured four others, police said.

An electrical transformer caught fire, Sgt. Del Garcia said.

The Thomson plant closed in 2004. The new owner has been getting the building ready to be sold.


Couple on trial in patient abuse

KANSAS CITY — A husband and wife who ran a psychotherapy practice went on trial yesterday on charges they kept mentally ill people as slaves, forced them to perform sex acts on videotape and then billed Medicare nearly $1 million for the “therapy.”

Prosecutors charged that Arlan Kaufman, 68, and his wife, Linda, 62, spent 18 years taking advantage of patients entrusted to their care. The couple ran a residential care facility in Newton, Kan., where they worked with at least 20 mentally ill patients from 1980 until 2004.

Jury selection began yesterday for an expected five-week trial in U.S. District Court in Wichita.


Districts explore longer school day

BOSTON — Some of the state’s largest school districts have applied for state Department of Education planning grants to extend the school day by about two hours. Boston, Springfield and Worcester are among the districts that applied.

The longer school days would begin next fall if districts, teachers unions and the state agree. School officials say the traditional schedule doesn’t provide enough time to meet increased demands of standardized testing.


Thousands apply for bison hunt

BILLINGS — More than 6,000 people, most of them Montana residents, have applied for 24 licenses to hunt the state’s bison for the first time in 15 years, wildlife officials said Monday.

Last month, wildlife commissioners approved a three-month hunt of bison that leave Yellowstone National Park and enter southern Montana. Friday marked the deadline to apply for a license.

A drawing will be held next week, said Tom Palmer, a spokesman for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

The legislature halted bison hunting in the early 1990s after protests, including a tourism boycott.


New trial granted in baby’s drug death

KNOXVILLE — An appeals court has ordered a new trial for a woman convicted of killing her 4-month-old son by giving him a pacifier coated with the powerful narcotic OxyContin.

The state Court of Criminal Appeals said Friday that the trial judge improperly allowed testimony about three days of partying and drug use by Debra Elaine Kirk and her estranged husband before the 2002 death of her baby, Lacie.

Authorities said Mrs. Kirk, 24, put the wet pacifier in some crushed OxyContin and stuck it in the baby’s mouth to make him go back to sleep.


Parents warned on toddlers’ diets

DALLAS — As toddlers begin eating “grown-up” food, they also may develop grown-up eating habits such as too much junk food and too few vegetables, doctors warn.

Within the childhood obesity outbreak is an increasing number of overweight 2-year-olds, pediatric specialists say. In an effort to address the problem, the American Heart Association is offering this advice to parents: Children 2 and older should eat mostly fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat and nonfat dairy products, beans, fish and lean meat.

“These guidelines are not that different from what you as a parent should be following,” said Lona Sandon, a dietitian and assistant professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. “Kids will follow the example of their parents if the example is there.”

The updated guidelines, which are endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, also recommend children 2 and older get an hour of exercise a day.


Hurricane evacuee gains new life, wife

CASPER — New home, new job, new life — new wife.

Robert Baquet and Stephanie Bordelon were married Sunday, just days after their Ville Platte, La., home was destroyed by Hurricane Rita.

Mr. Baquet moved to Casper after Hurricane Katrina, hoping the job prospects were better in Wyoming than they were in Louisiana. As soon as he arrived, he decided he had found a new home.

Linda Henderson, owner of the Sage & Sand Motel, gave the couple a space for the wedding, and the hotel’s maids pooled their tips to help buy the bride a wedding dress.

“I’ve never been anywhere with people who have been so nice,” Mr. Baquet said. “I want to stay here forever.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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