- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 9, 2006


Kitchen burns at fire station

PINE BLUFF — The kitchen of a fire station was gutted by a blaze that started when fish were left frying when firefighters rushed out on a call.

A resident noticed smoke and called 911. Firefighters returned to the station and put out the fire. “It’s unusual to have a fire at a fire station,” Assistant Chief Howard “Skippy” Hipp said. “Mistakes happen.”


At 105, CEO still dresses stars

DENVER — At 105 years old, Western-wear maker Jack Weil may be the oldest chief executive in the nation, but he is making new fans daily from cowboys to Hollywood.

Customers from Ronald Reagan, Clark Gable and Elvis Presley to Bob Dylan and Meg Ryan have donned Rockmount Ranch Wear, which also was prevalent in the movie “Brokeback Mountain.”

Mr. Weil says the reason he has outlasted his competitors is obvious.

“Because they’re all in the cemetery,” he deadpanned.

Rockmount Ranch Wear Manufacturing Co., founded 60 years ago, was the first to use snaps rather than buttons on shirts, a revolution for the industry. The diamond-shaped snaps and jagged “sawtooth” pocket designs that he created are the gold standard in Western shirts even today.


Young drivers come under scrutiny

BOISE — A coalition of insurers and public safety officials is being created to study changing the rules for young Idaho drivers.

Issues mentioned include limits on nighttime driving, number of passengers in a vehicle and the use of cell phones.

Idaho is one of only a few states that allow teens as young as 14 to drive with a provisional license.


Pilot says Air Force ruined his reputation

SPRINGFIELD — A decorated pilot involved in a friendly fire bombing in Afghanistan that killed four Canadian soldiers is suing the Air Force, accusing it of ruining his reputation.

National Guard Maj. Harry Schmidt says military officials should not have released to the public the scathing letter of reprimand he was given for the bombing.

His lawsuit, filed Friday in federal court, claims the military violated privacy laws. It seeks unspecified damages.

The disclosure in July 2004 also violated a settlement agreement that spared Maj. Schmidt from being court-martialed for the 2002 bombing that killed four Canadian soldiers and injured eight, said his attorney, Charles Gittins.

Lt. Col. Catherine Reardon, an Air Force spokeswoman, had not seen the lawsuit. “At this point, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on the case,” she said yesterday.


Suit planned for boy rebuffed in 911 call

DETROIT — A lawyer said he plans a lawsuit regarding the death of a woman whose young son called 911 to report she had collapsed, only to be told he shouldn’t be playing on the phone.

Geoffrey Fieger, best known for defending assisted-suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian, appeared yesterday on NBC’s “Today” with the boy, Robert Turner, who turned 6 last month.

Mr. Fieger said Sherrill Turner, 46, who had an enlarged heart, would have survived Feb. 20 if help had been sent immediately.

Detroit police are investigating the 911 response.

After his mother collapsed, Robert placed two calls to 911. In the first call about 6 p.m., Robert told an operator his mother had passed out, but an operator asked to speak with an adult. He called back about three hours later and was told he shouldn’t be playing on the phone. Police arrived after the second call.


City saves home tied to history

CLEVELAND — An 1853 house thought to have been a stop on the Underground Railroad will be preserved after a nearly 10-year fight to save it.

University Hospitals Health System has owned the Cozad-Bates House since 1985 and wanted to demolish it to make way for expansion. The city blocked those efforts, saying the house was historically significant.

On Thursday, the hospital donated the house to University Circle Inc., a neighborhood improvement group that will look into converting it into a museum.

The fight to demolish the house ended when the hospital developed a new expansion plan that did not affect the structure, which was built by Samuel Cozad, a member of one of the many abolitionist families in the area.


Nine in SUV survive avalanche

SALT LAKE CITY — Michael Thomas and his five young children had just finished an afternoon of skiing and were driving back down the mountain when they were hit by an avalanche.

There was no warning, Mr. Thomas said, just a powerful wave of snow that swept their sport utility vehicle off the road and sent it sliding 100 feet on its side with him, his wife, two teenage resort workers and the children, ages 3-10, all strapped inside.

“All I remember is white, and my seat belt holding me right here and bumping around,” 10-year-old Adam Thomas told KSL-TV after rescuers reached the St. Louis family after the avalanche Thursday in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Other than some scrapes and bruises, all nine passengers were fine.


Democrats call for Bush impeachment

RANDOLPH — Democratic Party leaders in Vermont on Saturday passed a motion asking Congress to begin impeachment proceedings immediately against President Bush.

In an elementary school cafeteria strewn with American flags and copies of the Constitution, about 100 state party officials agreed to make the request to the House.

The measure asks the Republican-controlled House to pass articles of impeachment against Mr. Bush for misleading the nation on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and engaging in illegal wiretapping, among other charges.

Democratic state committees in Wisconsin, New Mexico, Nevada and North Carolina have taken similar steps.


Driver killed in fall from parking garage

SPOKANE — A driver was killed when her car plunged from the fifth level of a mall parking garage Saturday, police said.

The woman apparently knocked down a concrete wall in the River Park Square garage before her car landed upside down, witnesses said.

“I heard a big crash, then a tire squealing like she didn’t let off the gas,” Rick Andreas told the Spokesman-Review newspaper. “Then there was the screeching of the chain-link fence as the car went over.”

Jo E. Savage of Pullman was taken to a hospital, where she died, officials said.


Artwork discarded by cleanup worker

COLUMBIA — A piece of artwork installed near Main Street was discarded accidentally last week by a cleanup worker for a city development group helping to sponsor an art exhibition.

The artwork, part of an installation art show called “Accessibility Columbia: Making History on Main Street,” consisted of about 300 eggshells and a handmade dress. The artist, Leslie Rech, installed it April 2.

Heavy winds April 3 must have blown down the dress, said Matt Kennell, executive director for City Center Partnership. On Tuesday, a member of the group’s cleanup crew mistook the artwork for trash and threw it away.

Mr. Kennell said City Center Partnership officials have discussed compensating Miss Rech for the artwork, but no details have been worked out.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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