- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 10, 2006


Woman in runoff for Navajo leader

WINDOW ROCK — For the first time, a woman has been chosen as one of two candidates facing off for the presidency of the Navajo Nation, whose reservation is the largest in the country.

With unofficial results in from all but one of the tribe’s 110 chapters yesterday, President Joe Shirley Jr. received 28 percent of the vote, and challenger Lynda Lovejoy had 22 percent.

Frank Dayish Jr., the tribe’s vice president, was third with 17 percent of the vote, followed by eight other candidates.

The results have to be certified by tribal elections officials, expected within 30 days. The top two finishers will face each other in the general election.


Sturgeon knocks out man riding watercraft

WILDWOOD — A man riding a personal watercraft was injured after a 4-foot-long sturgeon jumped out of the water and hit him, wildlife officials said.

Blake Nicholas Fessenden, 23, was heading north on the Suwannee River on Sunday when he was hit and fell off the craft, according the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Mr. Fessenden was knocked unconscious.

His girlfriend was riding another watercraft behind him and was able to get to Mr. Fessenden and hold his head above water before passengers on another vessel arrived to pull him from the water, officials said. He was airlifted to a Gainesville hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, officials said.

Officials say that similar accidents occur once or twice a year on the river and that the fish can jump as high as 8 feet in the air and can weigh up to 200 pounds.


Mom gets 110 years for killing two sons

CROWN POINT — A woman who bludgeoned her two young sons to death with a 10-pound weight because she said she wanted them to be safe in heaven was sentenced Tuesday to 110 years in prison.

Magdalena Lopez was sentenced to consecutive 55-year prison sentences for the July 2005 deaths of 9-year-old Tony and 2-year-old Erik.

Lopez, 31, pleaded guilty but mentally ill in March to two counts of murder.

Judge Diane Ross Boswell said she didn’t see a clear connection between the killings and Lopez’s bipolar disorder. Prosecutor Robert Persin argued that Lopez was unhappy in her marriage and killing her sons was the best way to hurt her husband, who has since divorced her.


Teens plead guilty in high-school plot

COLUMBUS — Two teens suspected of plotting an armed attack on their high school pleaded guilty yesterday to reduced charges.

James Tillman and Robert Hunt, both 17, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of conspiracy to riot and were sentenced to probation for the school year.

Charles “Coy” New, 18; Caleb Byrd, 16; and Andrew Jaeger, 15, pleaded not guilty to the same conspiracy-to-riot charge. The judge set a Nov. 27 trial date for Mr. New, but no date was given for the juveniles.

The Riverton High School students were arrested April 20 — the seventh anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado — after a message about a shooting plot appeared on the Myspace.com social-networking Web site.


Video shows children shoplifting jewelry

BEDFORD — A store surveillance video captured footage of two small children sneaking behind display cases to steal thousands of dollars in jewelry, apparently on instructions from their mother and grandmother.

Bedford police made the video public this week and said yesterday that they think they are close to making arrests. Police started getting tips minutes after the video aired on local television.

The video, taken Aug. 2 at a store called the Consignment Gallery, shows one woman, possibly the children’s mother, directing them to pocket certain items. An older woman, thought to be the children’s grandmother, stuffs items down her shirt.


Coast Guard permits skullcaps, not turbans

NEW YORK — The Coast Guard is changing its regulations to allow religious head coverings such as skullcaps, but Sikh turbans still will be excluded, officials said yesterday.

Coast Guard spokesman Dan Tremper said the new rules “have verbally gone into effect,” but still must be formally adopted.

The head coverings must fit under a uniform hat or helmet, and they cannot bear bright colors, writing, pictures or symbols.

Lawmakers called for the change after Jack Rosenberg, a Hasidic Jew who passed his training for the Coast Guard last year, was told that he could not serve without taking off his skullcap.


Lightning strike injures 3 soldiers

FORT BRAGG — Three soldiers were injured by lightning that struck a nearby tree during a Special Forces training session.

The soldiers were supporting training Monday for the Special Forces Qualification Course, said Kathleen Devine, a spokeswoman for the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School. They are assigned to the 1st Special Warfare Training Group.


Local district to keep control of school

COLUMBIA — The South Carolina Board of Education decided yesterday that a local school district can maintain control of troubled Burke High School, but it must file quarterly progress reports to the state.

The board decided against allowing the state Education Department to take control of the school, once seen as a beacon of hope for the Charleston peninsula’s black community.

A state review found the school continually did not meet education standards, such as having individual academic plans for students scoring below their grade level, among other failures.


Police identify body found in freezer

BOUNTIFUL — A body found in a freezer is that of a missing 52-year-old woman, and investigators suspect her missing 18-year-old son in her death, police said yesterday.

Medical examiners identified the body as that of Laura Hauck.

The frozen remains were found Monday when police went to check on the Haucks, who hadn’t been seen since Friday.

The cause of death had not been determined, but the body had a gunshot wound, police said.


Wet spring produces quality blueberries

RICHMOND — A wet spring and mild winter have produced a bumper crop of blueberries in Vermont.

Blueberries require at least an inch of weekly rain in the spring and early summer to yield quality berries.

In May, June and July, rain fell nearly half the time on 48 of the 86 days. The Champlain Valley received an average of 9 and 10 inches of precipitation during that time.


Rampant wildfire forces evacuation

VALLEY — A wildfire burned nine structures north of Spokane and forced the evacuation of residents from as many as 50 homes, authorities said yesterday.

The fire quickly grew to nearly three-quarters of a square mile in windy weather Tuesday, but it was not expected to spread yesterday, and firefighters had it encircled with firebreaks, said Steve Harris, a spokesman for the state Department of Natural Resources.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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