- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 5, 2006


Levee breaks flood trailer park, farmland

SACRAMENTO — Two Central Valley levees broke yesterday, flooding a trailer park in Merced and inundating farmland in Sacramento County as heavy rain continued across Northern California, the California Department of Water Resources said.

A breach on Black Rascal Creek was threatening about 50 homes in Merced, said Michael Miller, a department spokesman.

Another break, in a private levee at the crossing of the Consumnes River south of Sacramento, swamped fields but posed no threat to homes or transportation. A levee in the same area broke in January during heavy storms.


School bars red, white and blue

DENVER — The principal of Shaw Heights Middle School has come under criticism after attempting to defuse tension over the recent Mexican immigration protests by banning students from wearing red, white and blue, or wearing camouflage.

Principal Myla Shepherd enacted the ban last week after two dozen students came to school wearing camouflage pants and jackets as a way of showing their patriotism, which sparked conflict with other students.

But some parents said the ban has gone too far. When eighth-grader Kirsten Golgart came to school wearing red, white and blue, she said, she was threatened with expulsion.

“If we’re American, I think we should be proud to be American,” Kirsten told KUSA-TV, the local NBC affiliate.

Another Colorado school, Skyline High, banned the display of Mexican and U.S. flags last week in response to squabbling over the immigration issue.


Murder victim’s brother found dead

GREENWICH — The brother of an investment banker poisoned in Hong Kong in what became known as the “milkshake murder” was found stabbed to death in his home, police said.

When movers found the body of Andrew M. Kissel on Monday, his hands and feet were bound, said a manager for JB Moving Services Inc. in Stamford. An autopsy yesterday confirmed that the 46-year-old had died from stab wounds.

Greenwich police were interviewing friends and family members, including Mr. Kissel’s wife, Hayley, police said. No one has been arrested, and there are no suspects, said Lt. Daniel Allen, a police spokesman.

Mr. Kissel had criminal cases pending in federal and state courts in New York. The federal case charged him with real estate fraud, and state prosecutors charged him with grand larceny, saying he stole nearly $4 million from his Manhattan apartment cooperative.


Worker dies in elevator fall

ORLANDO — A construction worker died after falling at least three stories down an elevator shaft at a federal courthouse yesterday, authorities said.

The man was working inside the elevator near the third floor when he slipped shortly before 11:30 a.m., said Barb Jones, a spokeswoman for Orlando police. She said officials were investigating the death as an industrial accident.

Authorities were waiting to notify the victim’s family before releasing his name.


Town in search of a caboose

WINTERVILLE — Anybody have a caboose for sale for a low price?

Jim Mercer, the mayor of Winterville, Ga., wants to know. Mr. Mercer and city engineer George Chandler have been looking for one of the old railway cars for about six months to install beside the Winterville Depot.

Mr. Mercer said the city has been offered the gift of railroad tracks to install by the old depot, which used to be a railway stop between Athens and Union Point. Now they want a caboose to place upon the promised tracks.

But finding a caboose has been more difficult than they expected. A caboose owner in south Georgia did not want to sell. Another owner in the nearby town of Bowersville refused to part with either of his two cabooses.

The Winterville officials’ frustrating experience is an increasingly common one: Cabooses are getting difficult to find, said David Thebodo, owner of Rail Merchants International Inc., an Iowa company that sells old rail cars.

“They haven’t made any since 1981,” Mr. Thebodo said. “Many have been scrapped.”


Student suspended for knife at school

INDIANAPOLIS — Eighth-grader Elliot Voge was suspended for 10 days and could be expelled for bringing a pocketknife to school, even though he turned himself in when he arrived.

Elliot, 14, told Stonybrook Middle School principal Jimmy Meadows that he had been whittling wood with the Swiss army knife the day before and forgot to take it out of his pocket. An expulsion hearing is scheduled for Monday.


Work on radio system for interior lagging

CARSON CITY — Nearly three years after lawmakers appropriated $2.6 million for mountaintop relay stations to make an 800-megahertz radio system work across Nevada’s vast interior, none of the 11 proposed sites has been completed.

Information Technology Department Director Terry Savage said officials have been frustrated by bad weather and a shortage of contractors.


4 children killed in apartment fire

CLEVELAND — Fire spread through an apartment building early yesterday, killing four children as firefighters in the neighborhood because of a car fire rushed to the scene.

People were hanging out of second- and third-story windows when the firefighters spotted smoke coming from a building down the street, Assistant Fire Chief Mike Darnell said. They had to call in a ladder truck to reach the building’s top floor, where the children were found.

Firefighters found the young victims together in a room after rescuing a man from a third-floor window who said four of his children were still inside, Mr. Darnell said.

The cause of the fire was not clear, but arson investigators could be seen through the broken windows later yesterday.

A sign posted on a street-level restaurant window in the building read: “Closed today due 2 our loss.”


Black Hills likely home to more mountain lions

PIERRE — Research suggests that the Black Hills may have more mountain lions than previously thought, possibly 200 or more.

The estimate — up from 145 — comes after studies showed the lions can thrive in a smaller home range, according to the state Department of Game, Fish and Parks. That means the Black Hills area has a capacity to house 165 to 210 lions.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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