- The Washington Times - Monday, April 17, 2006


Postcard lost in mail for 50 years

DELAND — A postcard sent from aStetson home to a man in Riverside, Calif., was returned last week with a “return to sender” stamp — and its 1956 postmark.

Mack McCormick, 59, did not send the postcard, but he lives in the home where the postcard originated. It was delivered to his mailbox Monday.

He used the Internet to track down the author of the note, George Hitz, 64, who now lives in Sudbury, Mass. Mr. Hitz, a former ham radio operator, included his age on the postcard and information about a radio contact he made in February 1956 with someone he called “Chief Operator Dave.”

No street address was included for the contact, which may explain why the postcard was not delivered, postal officials said.

It is unlikely that the postcard spent the past 50 years in a DeLand post office, said Joseph Breckenridge, U.S. Postal Service spokesman for central and north Florida. The card might have been sent to California and was rediscovered recently by someone who dropped it in the mail, he said.


2 children injured in money drop

COMSTOCK PARK — Two children were injured in a scramble to grab cash being dropped from a helicopter as part of a promotion after a minor league baseball game.

About $1,000 in cash was dropped Saturday from the helicopter over Fifth Third Ballpark’s outfield as children lined the outfield fence.

After the cash was dropped, the children scrambled. A 7-year-old boy was trampled and taken to a hospital, while a 7-year-old girl suffered a bloody lip after being pushed to the ground.

The boy, Tino Rodriquez of Grant, suffered bruises to the chest and back, said his grandmother Rita Rodriquez.

The cash drop took place after the West Michigan Whitecaps’ 3-0 win over the Southwest Michigan Devil Rays. It was the first time the Class A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers had conducted such a promotion.


Congress candidate leaves hospital

PORTSMOUTH — A congressional hopeful who crashed his car and got lost in the woods for more than a day was released Friday from the hospital where he was treated for a concussion, frostbite and other injuries.

“This has been a great ordeal I’ve gone through. I’m thankful to be alive and thankful to be going home to them,” Gary Dodds said at a brief press conference with his wife and two daughters behind him.

Mr. Dodds, 41, of Rye, spoke from a wheelchair. He cannot walk or drive and faces extensive rehabilitation.

He described hitting a guardrail on the snowy Spaulding Turnpike while driving alone April 5, being hit by air bags, then being in cold, deep water as he somehow crossed the Bellamy River. He said he did not remember much about the next 27 hours, except covering himself with leaves to stay warm, hearing helicopters and then seeing a light and hearing a rescuer whistle.

Nancy Notis, a spokeswoman for the Portsmouth Regional Hospital, said that Mr. Dodds had a concussion with “some situational amnesia” but that there was no permanent brain damage. She said that his feet had significant nerve damage, but that his problems with balance and walking likely were temporary.

Mr. Dodds, one of four Democratic hopefuls competing in the September primary, said he would scale back campaigning as he recovers but hopes to resume a full schedule.


Teacher ticketed for speeding to school

FARGO — Authorities said there was one problem with a teacher’s morning rush to school: She was speeding at more than 100 mph.

Heather Jo Smith, 25, was clocked at 102 mph Wednesday on an interstate highway, said Cass County Sheriff’s Capt. Mike Argall.

Police had received a tip from a man “who said he had been passed by a small, dark car with South Dakota plates at least five times in the last month going more than 100,” Mr. Argall said.

A deputy was posted along the highway near Horace, where the man said he had been passed by the speeding vehicle, each time at about 8 a.m.

Miss Smith was issued a $135 ticket and given 10 of 12 points on her license, he said.


Authorities trap bear near attack site

NASHVILLE — A black bear was caught in a forest recreation area yesterday and was being sent to a veterinary school to determine whether it was the same animal that attacked a family, killing a 6-year-old girl.

Authorities found a bear in the same trap where they detected paw prints on Saturday in the remote Cherokee National Forest Chilhowee Recreation Area, U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Sharon Moore said.

The bear, which was captured near the site of the attack, looked to be the same weight as the 350- to 400-pound bear that attacked a mother and her two children on a trail in the recreation area Thursday, she said.

Miss Moore said authorities planned to euthanize the bear Sunday and send its body to the University of Tennessee’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Knoxville to determine whether it was the one that had attacked the family.

Animal specialists plan to compare the bear with hairs that were shed during the attack, said Bob Miller, a spokesman for Cherokee National Forest and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. They also will look for gunshot wounds, because the bear that attacked the family was shot.


Lawmakers eye tax on low-mileage autos

MONTPELIER — State lawmakers are considering a surcharge on people who buy vehicles that get low gas mileage. State House and Senate leaders say the proposal could be the compromise needed to help raise money to fund transportation projects, without having to raise the gasoline tax.

As one example, state Sen. Matt Dunne, a Democrat, suggested a $250 surcharge on new vehicles that get less than 19 miles per gallon.


Stolen ambulance leads to pursuit

SPOKANE VALLEY — A man apparently on a joy ride drove off with a emergency medical vehicle here as its crew was outside helping an elderly woman, then led authorities on a 52-mile chase before getting stuck in a muddy field in Idaho, officials said.

The man said he took the vehicle, clearly marked for emergency medical use, just because it was there, investigators said.

Jesse Matthew Vasquez, 26, of Moses Lake, was jailed for investigation of felonies in Washington state and Idaho, Spokane County sheriff’s Cpl. Dale Toliver said.

The chase began about 6 p.m. Thursday after a paramedic and an emergency medical technician left the engine running so the flashing lights would not drain the battery while they attended to the unconscious woman.

Sheriff’s deputies and state troopers used a satellite tracking system built into the onboard computer to track the vehicle as it crossed into Idaho.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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