- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 21, 2005


About 100 people sickened on tours

PHOENIX — Authorities are trying to determine the source of tainted food that has sickened about 100 people on Colorado River tour boat trips through the Grand Canyon during the past month.

The gastrointestinal illness has affected tourists on 12 different trips with five tour companies, all based in Utah, said Adam Kramer, a public-health specialist for the National Park Service.

A stool sample tested positive for norovirus, the family of common viruses that have sickened many cruise ship passengers, Mr. Kramer said. The viruses cause intestinal distress that typically lasts for 24 to 48 hours.

The investigation was focusing on meat products in warehouses owned by the river tour companies, said Barbara Worgess, Coconino County health services director.


Navy plane crashes into Jacksonville park

JACKSONVILLE — A Navy jet crashed into a park near Jacksonville Naval Air Station as it attempted to land in a rainstorm yesterday, killing the pilot and co-pilot.

The S-3 Viking went down about noon in Westside Regional Park, across a highway from the landing strip, said Bill Dougherty, a Navy spokesman. The names of the two pilots were being withheld until relatives are notified.

The crash occurred as Jacksonville was being buffeted by heavy rain.


Alcohol sting results in citations

IDAHO FALLS — Idaho State Police sent an 18-year-old woman and a 19-year-old man into 102 area restaurants, bars and stores in an alcohol-sales sting.

The teens showed identification with their actual ages when asked and didn’t lie to vendors. Nearly two dozen stores sold alcohol to the minors. In March, officers tested 71 businesses and issued 17 citations.


2 adults, 3 children die in house fire

GARY — Fire investigators remained on the scene yesterday hours after an early morning fire took the lives of five persons in a wood-frame house.

Officials said bars on the home’s windows and doors may have trapped some of the victims in the dwelling.

Kenny Andrews and two of his four sons, 9 and 12, were killed along with Laura Smith and her 18-month-old son, the Lake County coroner’s office said.

Firefighters quickly cut through the bars but needed about an hour to douse the blaze, the Chicago Tribune reported.

At least three other persons inside the northwest Indiana house, including two children, survived and were hospitalized.


Police say teen shot parents, grandmother

ELKHORN CITY — A 17-year-old who was sent home from school for being intoxicated fatally shot his parents and grandmother, then died in a crash after police attempted to pull him over on a highway, authorities said. Another driver also was killed.

The teen was identified yesterday as Matthew Hackney of Elkhorn Creek, a senior at East Ridge High School who authorities said had no record of trouble. School officials said the student had taken prescription painkillers.

Matthew was cited for public intoxication at the school Tuesday and released to the custody of his parents, police said. That afternoon, a friend of the youth notified authorities of the shootings.


University to expand stem-cell research

ANN ARBOR — The University of Michigan is allocating $10.5 million to expand its stem-cell research programs. University President Mary Sue Coleman said it’s an investment to keep the school in the vanguard of biomedical research.

To avoid opposition from those who say embryos are living human beings, the university uses existing stem-cell lines allowed under a 2001 federal rule.


Storm brings hail, tornado reports

MINNEAPOLIS — A severe thunderstorm with high wind and hail pushed across central Minnesota last night, knocking out power to thousands around the Twin Cities.

The storm winds gusting to 68 mph, said Karen Trammell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “There are huge reports of wind damage all across the northern and eastern part of the Twin Cities,” she said.

There were unverified reports of tornado touchdowns in Atwater and Brooklyn Park. Funnel clouds were reported throughout the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.


Yemeni found guilty of funneling money

NEW YORK — A Yemeni immigrant ice cream shop owner was found guilty yesterday of illegally funneling $21.9 million overseas in a case stemming from a major terrorism investigation.

Abad Elfgeeh, 50, was accused of transmitting money around the world without a license from bank accounts linked to his tiny storefront in Brooklyn.

Elfgeeh was not charged with a terrorism-related crime although prosecutors said his business was used by a Yemeni cleric convicted earlier this year of a scheme to fund al Qaeda and the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

The jury convicted Elfgeeh of conspiring to run an illegal money-transmitting business, running an illegal money business and structuring bank deposits to avoid reporting laws.


Charge dropped in academy case

SAN ANTONIO — An indecent assault charge has been dropped against an Air Force Academy graduate accused of assaulting female classmates at the Colorado school, according to officials at Randolph Air Force Base.

A separate rape charge is still pending against 1st Lt. Joseph Harding, but it is in legal limbo, shelved by an Air Force judge because a civilian mental health counselor for the accuser, Jessica Brakey, has refused to release records of their sessions.

Military prosecutors are appealing the ruling in Miss Brakey’s case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, a civilian panel in Washington.

Lt. Harding was accused of raping Miss Brakey in 2000 and assaulting another other cadet in 1999 at the academy in Colorado Springs. Miss Brakey, who has spoken publicly about the case, was among dozens of female cadets who said they were ignored or punished after telling military superiors they had been sexually assaulted.


Nuclear device stolen from company truck

SOUTH CHARLESTON — A device containing radioactive material that could pose a radiation threat if handled improperly has been stolen from a pickup truck in a hotel parking lot.

GeoMechanics Inc. of Elizabeth, Pa., notified the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that one of its employees reported the theft of a soil density gauge on Monday, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency said Tuesday.

The 90-pound device, which was in a yellow hard-plastic container, could have been mistaken for a toolbox, said Diane Screnci, spokeswoman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which is helping the company investigate.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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