- The Washington Times - Friday, August 11, 2006

Guard member dies on border mission

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A Pennsylvania National Guard member died after collapsing in 104-degree heat on her first day patrolling the Arizona-Mexico border, a Guard spokesman said yesterday.

Spc. Kirsten Fike was two hours into the training mission near Yuma when she collapsed Wednesday. She died the next day at a hospital, Guard spokesman Capt. Cory Angell said.

Capt. Angell said the Guard has not yet determined the cause of death.

Spc. Fike, 36, is survived by her 13-year-old son, Cody, Gov. Edward G. Rendell said in a statement.

Odor sickens airport workers

HOUSTON — Three baggage workers unloading the cargo hold were sickened yesterday by the odor of a liquid that spilled in a Continental Airlines plane, officials said.

The Houston Fire Department was working to determine what the liquid was, District Chief Tommy Dowdy said. It was stored in a U.S. Postal Service bag on the plane at George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Preliminary tests showed the liquid was not radioactive or flammable, officials said. The workers were treated at a Continental clinic at the airport and released, Chief Dowdy said. No passengers were affected by the odor.

The plane had arrived about 8 a.m. from Fort Myers, Fla.

Trio found with 1,000 cell phones

CARO, Mich. — Three men accused of helping terrorism were arrested yesterday after they purchased 80 prepaid mobile phones from a Wal-Mart store, police said.

The men were being held on charges of soliciting or providing material support for terrorism and obtaining information of a vulnerable target for the purposes of terrorism. They were being held in Tuscola County Jail and were scheduled to be arraigned today.

The men went to the 24-hour store early yesterday and bought the cell phones despite a store policy limiting customers to three phones per purchase. A suspicious Wal-Mart clerk alerted police.

Police stopped the men’s van about 1:30 a.m. and found nearly 1,000 phones, most of which were prepaid TracFones, along with a laptop computer and a bag of receipts.

Governor can’t be prosecuted in office

FRANKFORT, Ky. — A judge ruled yesterday that Gov. Ernie Fletcher, under fire for a hiring scandal, is protected by executive immunity and cannot be prosecuted while in office.

Mr. Fletcher, Kentucky’s first Republican governor in three decades, was indicted in May on charges that his administration rewarded political supporters with protected state jobs. He has accused the Democratic attorney general of conducting a politically motivated investigation.

Special Judge David E. Melcher essentially stayed the case until Mr. Fletcher’s term expires, or unless he is removed through impeachment by the legislature.

Mr. Fletcher said in a written statement yesterday that he was pleased with the ruling.

‘Marriage’ measure off Illinois ballot

CHICAGO — State elections officials voted yesterday to keep a referendum against homosexual “marriage” off the November ballot, saying supporters failed to gather enough valid signatures.

The measure would have asked voters whether the state constitution should be amended to ban homosexual “marriage.” Illinois law already prohibits same-sex ‘marriage,’ but homosexual “marriage” opponents say they fear courts could overturn the law unless the state constitution is changed.

“Unless they pull a rabbit out of a hat in federal court, it’s not going to be on the ballot,” said Patricia Logue, senior counsel for the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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