- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 14, 2006


Miner’s widow leads protest

CUMBERLAND - A widow representing the families of five eastern Kentucky men killed in a mine explosion held a protest with mine safety advocates yesterday demanding extended health insurance.

Melissa Lee, wife of Jimmy Lee, one of the miners killed in the May 20 explosion at Kentucky Darby Mine No. 1, said at least three families need an 18-month extension. Their coverage expires Dec. 31.

“I’m not so much concerned about myself as I am about my children,” said Mrs. Lee, a mother of four boys ages 2 to 14.

The protest was held outside an active mine in Harlan County operated by Ralph Napier, who also ran the nearby Darby Mine.


Phone signal raises hope for rescue

COOPER SPUR - One of three stranded climbers lost somewhere amid ice, billowing snow and gale-force winds on Mount Hood has been turning on and off his cell phone, authorities said yesterday, raising hopes for his rescue.

T-Mobile received a signal from Kelly James’ cell phone late Tuesday night, indicating it was back on, when it had been off. The sequence of signals suggested Mr. James, 48, of Dallas, may have been turning off his cell phone to conserve battery power.

The Hood River County Sheriff’s Office said T-Mobile continued to signal, or “ping,” the cell phone Wednesday, but the last signal received was Tuesday night.

Rescue workers confronted stormy weather yesterday and said they would be searching lower elevations in hopes that Mr. James’ two companions, Brian Hall of Dallas and Jerry “Nikko” Cooke, of New York, had descended from near the top of the mountain.


Physician, manager indicted in drug case

PANAMA CITY — A physician and the office manager of his medical practice were named yesterday in a federal grand jury indictment here with conspiracy to commit fraud, health care fraud, mail fraud, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and unlawful dispensing of controlled substances.

The 124-count indictment, handed up in U.S. District Court in Tallahassee, charged Dr. John Q. Durfey, 77, and Rhonda K. Fenwick, 47, with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and dispensing controlled substances that resulted in the deaths of two persons.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman Garrison K. Courtney said the indictment also accused the pair of 76 counts of dispensing controlled substances, including oxycodone, morphine, fentanyl, methadone, hydromorphone, hydrocodone, alprazolam, zolpidem, clonazepam and dronobinol.

Dr. Durfey was arrested by federal and state agents in Cincinnati on a federal warrant based on the indictment. He recently closed his practice in Panama City and relocated to Cincinnati. Miss Fenwick was arrested by federal and state agents in Panama City.


Harry Potter books withstand challenge

ATLANTA — A woman who fought to ban Harry Potter books from her children’s suburban Atlanta school district is considering an appeal after the Georgia Board of Education voted yesterday to keep the books on the county’s library shelves.

The board members voted without discussion to uphold the Gwinnett County school board’s decision to deny Laura Mallory’s request to remove the best-selling books from school libraries.

Mrs. Mallory, whose children attend J.C. Magill Elementary School, has worked for more than a year to ban the popular books from Gwinnett schools, claiming the popular fiction series is an attempt to indoctrinate children in religious witchcraft.

Gwinnett school officials have argued that the books are good tools to encourage children to read and to spark creativity and imagination. Banning all books with references to witchcraft would mean classics such as “Macbeth” and “Cinderella” would have to go, they said.

The state board ruled that Mrs. Mallory had failed to prove that the books promote the Wicca religion.


Parolees ring bells for Salvation Army

GREENWOOD — Faced with a shortage of bell-ringers, the Salvation Army has turned to parolees to help bring in cash this holiday season.

Maj. Richard Hartman said about half of the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign bell-ringers in Johnson County are nonviolent offenders completing community service sentences.

“When you’re out there ringing the bell and wishing people a merry Christmas, you’re giving back to the community,” Maj. Hartman said.

Greenwood City Court Judge Lewis Gregory had to approve the program because using people with misdemeanors such as public intoxication or marijuana possession raised concerns about safety.

Maj. Hartman said the program has been problem-free.


School evacuated after powder scare

WILLINGBORO — An elementary school was evacuated, a teacher was sent to a hospital and her class was quarantined yesterday after the woman opened an envelope containing white powder that was later found not to be hazardous, authorities said.

The teacher reported some skin irritation on her hands and forearms, police said.

A hazardous materials team tested the powder and determined it was not anthrax or any other hazardous substance, said David Wyche, spokesman for the Burlington County Board of Freeholders.

The other 425 students at Garfield East Elementary School were evacuated and taken to a nearby school about 10:40 a.m., 911 supervisor Carol Holland said.

Authorities did not know what the substance was or who sent it, Miss Holland said.


Atlantic Records founder dies

NEW YORK — Ahmet Ertegun, who helped define American music as the founder of Atlantic Records, a label that popularized the gritty rhythm and blues of Ray Charles, the classic soul of Aretha Franklin and the British rock of the Rolling Stones, died yesterday at 83, his spokesman said.

Mr. Ertegun remained connected to the music scene until his last days. It was at an Oct. 29 concert by the Rolling Stones at the Beacon Theatre in New York where Mr. Ertegun fell, suffered a head injury and was hospitalized. He later slipped into a coma.

“He was in a coma and expired today with his family at his bedside,” said Dr. Howard A. Riina, Mr. Ertegun’s neurosurgeon at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center.

He will be buried in a private ceremony in his native Turkey, said Bob Kaus, a spokesman for Mr. Ertegun and Atlantic Records, which was founded by him in 1947. A memorial service will be conducted in New York after New Year’s.

“My father was a diplomat who was ambassador to Switzerland, France and England before he became ambassador to the United States, and we lived in all those countries and we always had music in the house,” Mr. Ertegun recalled. “By the time we came to Washington, we were collecting records and we amassed a collection of some 25,000 blues and jazz records.”


Truck crash injures 4 firefighters

LORIS — Four firefighters were injured yesterday when a firetruck crashed on the way to help another crew extinguish a burning home, Horry County fire department spokesman Todd Cartner said.

Two other firefighters battling the house fire also suffered minor injuries and were taken to a hospital, Mr. Cartner said.

Of the four involved in the crash, two were in serious condition, one was listed in stable condition and the fourth was treated and released from a hospital.

The four firefighters were on a second engine sent after two firefighters were hurt at the wood-frame, single-family home, which was severely damaged in the blaze. A woman inside was not hurt in the fire, which appeared to start in the kitchen, Mr. Cartner said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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