- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 1, 2005


Crab boat captain falls asleep, hits cliff

ANCHORAGE — A 100-foot crab boat packed with salmon from Prince William Sound sank after the captain fell asleep at the wheel and hit a cliff near Cape Resurrection, the Coast Guard said.

Six persons were on board, including the captain’s twin 4-year-old daughters and his wife. Everyone on board was able to get off the vessel without injury.

The Alliance picked up salmon from fishermen in Prince William Sound and was headed to Seward to drop off 240,000 pounds of fish when the crash occurred, according to the Anchorage Daily News.


Man digs up 1.22-carat diamond

MURFREESBORO — Steve Lee returned to diamond hunting this year after sitting out a couple of years because of a disability and promptly found a 1.22-carat diamond in a newly opened section of the Crater of Diamonds State Park.

Mr. Lee uses crutches to get around and digs in the dirt with his hands. He said he’ll give the diamond he found Monday to his mother.

Crater of Diamonds is the only diamond mine in North America open for public digging.


Ball python bites sleeping boy

FRESNO — A 12-year-old boy received a rude awakening when he was bitten by a ball python that was clinging to his arm inside his bed.

Michael Rodriguez bolted upright to find a 4-foot ball python hanging on his lower right arm. He shook his arm, flinging the snake to the carpet, and ran to his parents’ bedroom to tell them what happened.

Animal-control officers took the python to the Central California Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, according to the Fresno Bee.


Woman takes dog, leaves toddler alone

BLOOMFIELD — A woman was arrested Tuesday after she chose to take her poodle with her when she drove her husband to work — but left her 15-month-old grandson unattended in a crib at home, police said.

Loretta McGill-White, 48, was charged with risk of injury to a minor.

She took temporary custody of the child Monday after the boy’s mother was arrested on drug charges. Police were checking on the youngster when they found him alone.

State child-welfare officials took custody of the toddler.


State office can be sued, court rules

HONOLULU — A federal appeals court ruled yesterday that Hawaii taxpayers may sue to stop state funding of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs for reportedly discriminating against non-Hawaiians.

The three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court’s dismissal and affirmed the standing of a multiethnic group of taxpayers to challenge the Hawaiians-only programs.

It was the second time this month that the court has ruled against Hawaiian programs. On Aug. 2, a three-judge panel ruled 2-1 that the exclusive Kamehameha Schools’ policy of giving preference to Native Hawaiians violates federal anti-discrimination laws.


Des Moines Register gets new editor

DES MOINES — Carolyn Washburn, executive editor of the Idaho Statesman newspaper of Boise, was named vice president and editor of the Des Moines Register yesterday.

Miss Washburn, introduced to Register staff by publisher Mary P. Stier, said she was honored to lead the newsroom.

She succeeds Paul Anger, recently named editor of the Detroit Free Press.


Postman honored with Bronze Star

LEXINGTON — A postman who joined the Army and fought in Iraq will receive a Bronze Star on Sunday.

Joe Bowser, who delivered mail for 18 years before joining the Army Reserve in late 2003, had his right leg amputated below the knee after being struck by an insurgent’s rocket in April 2004.

Mr. Bowser, 45, served as a staff sergeant and led convoys delivering fuel to military camps and outposts.


High gas prices shut down pumps

FERGUS FALLS — An 88-year-old gas station is turning off its pumps this week, unable to cope with rising fuel costs. Gary Wahl, owner of South Mill Service, said he will no longer sell gas when the current supply runsdry.

Mr. Wahl said his gas-delivery bill has jumped from $11,000 a truck to $21,000 since January. He will continue to service vehicles and run a gun shop out of the station.


Man executed for wife’s death

BONNE TERRE — A man who beat his wife to death in 1989 after an argument at a bar was executed early yesterday.

In his final statement, Timothy Johnston, 44, who died by injection at the state prison in Bonne Terre, asked for forgiveness from Nancy Johnston’s relatives.

Hours earlier, Johnston had received a brief reprieve when a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay of execution. Johnston’s attorney, Chris McGraugh, argued that Missouri’s method of lethal injection was cruel and unusual punishment.


Prison worker fired after inmate’s escape

CARSON CITY — One prison dental assistant has been fired and a second is facing termination on suspicion of helping an inmate escape, officials said.

Two other employees have been suspended and officials are reviewing the chain of events and procedures to determine how Jody Thompson was able to flee in the back of a prison van last week. Thompson remained at large Tuesday.


Beef cook-off set for Sept. 21

PIERRE — South Dakota hosts the National Beef Cook-Off Sept. 21 in Rapid City. The event features 20 amateur cooks from 15 states competing for a $50,000 grand prize.

Pat Adrian of the South Dakota Beef Industry Council said the cook-off is designed to interest consumers in beef. State officials said they will use the event to promote South Dakota Certified Beef, a new state-sanctioned beef program.


Students charged in plot to kill teacher

DANDRIDGE — Three middle-school students were charged Tuesday with plotting to kill a teacher for disciplining one of them and with bringing a gun to school to carry out their plan, authorities said.

The plot was foiled when the handgun discharged Thursday morning in a bathroom at Maury Middle School as the boys were examining it. The bullet went through a door and hit one of the students in the leg.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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