- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 12, 2006

ARIZONA

Residents warned of deadly hantavirus

PHOENIX — The state health department is warning residents living or working in rodent-infested areas to take precautions against a deadly virus after two confirmed deaths from the illness since Jan. 1.

Hantavirus is passed to humans when they inhale particles of dried urine or feces from infected rodents, especially deer mice. Seven hantavirus cases have been reported in Arizona in the past 13 months, the most since a 1993-94 outbreak.

ARKANSAS

Thieves steal only the jackets

FORT SMITH — Police can’t classify a break-in at Beau’s Tuxedos as a white-collar crime: The thieves took only tux jackets.

Burglars broke into two vans in the store’s parking lot early Wednesday and stole 186 black tuxedo jackets, police spokesman Sgt. Jarrard Copeland said Thursday. No shirts or other items were taken.

Mr. Copeland said it was not known what inspired the theft, but he hoped the thieves were conspicuous.

“Somebody has [the jackets] and somebody is trying to get rid of them,” he said. “We hope somebody drops a dime.”

The jackets are valued at $26,040.

CALIFORNIA

Small plane crashes into home; two dead

ROSEVILLE — A single-engine plane crashed into a suburban home yesterday, killing both persons aboard and sparking a fire that gutted the house, authorities said.

Two persons thought to be in the house were missing.

“There was a huge boom and instant fire,” said Peter Hugenroth, who lives nearby. “By the time I got to the crash, there was no sign of the plane. Everything was engulfed in flames.”

The pilot wasn’t communicating with air-traffic controllers at the time of the crash, said Roseville Police spokeswoman Dee Dee Gunther.

“The pilot appeared to be coming down low for some kind of maneuver that brought him to within 500 feet of the rooftops,” Miss Gunther said. “And then he appeared to lose control and crashed into one of the houses.”

COLORADO

15 hurt when bus slides and rolls

WESTMINSTER — A bus rolled onto its side Friday morning in a four-vehicle collision on a busy suburban highway slick after an overnight snowstorm. Authorities said 15 persons suffered injuries that did not appear to be critical.

The Coach USA bus with about 30 adults and children on board slid off U.S. 36 northwest of Denver at about 9 a.m., police spokesman Tim Read said. Mr. Read said weather might have been a factor in the crash, which was under investigation.

“It was really slick. It was nerve-racking,” said James Graves of Denver, who drove a truck that was involved in the crash. “A UPS truck hit me and I don’t know what happened after that,” said Mr. Graves, who was not injured.

The UPS truck driver and 14 persons on the bus were taken to a hospital, Mr. Read said.

CONNECTICUT

Conservatives seek voice in lawsuit

HARTFORD — A conservative group went before the state Supreme Court, asking to intervene in a lawsuit over whether Connecticut must allow homosexuals to marry.

The lawsuit, filed in 2004 by seven homosexual couples, claims state marriage and civil union laws are unconstitutional because they treat homosexuals and heterosexuals differently.

IOWA

Democrats propose company accountability

DES MOINES — Democratic lawmakers introduced a bill to punish companies that knowingly recruit illegal aliens. It would create an employer accountability office in the attorney general’s office.

The measure would offer whistleblower protection to workers who turn in companies. It also would end state assistance to companies found to knowingly recruit illegal aliens.

MISSOURI

Funding pledged to woo automaker

JEFFERSON CITY — State senators passed legislation that could provide $16 million in development bonds for a DaimlerChrysler plant in Fenton. Local and state officials pledged $54 million in incentives for the $1 billion project.

The state also would provide $16 million in job training, said Department of Economic Development spokesman Paul Sloca. In return, the plant must keep employment levels stable for three years.

MONTANA

Workers’ comp chief fears lawsuit cost

HELENA — A looming workers’ compensation court case could cost taxpayers $100 million and force a $160 million rate increase for businesses buying insurance from the Montana State Fund, the agency’s top official said.

The case was brought by Catherine Satterlee, who was injured while working at a store. When she turned 65, her compensation benefits ended because of her age. The case could force the agency to pay benefits to people for as long as they live.

MISSISSIPPI

House backs ban on human cloning

JACKSON — The Mississippi House voted to outlaw human cloning. Critics said the measure could slow the process of finding cures through stem-cell research for diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

The bill was amended to say Mississippians would not face criminal penalties if they travel out of state to receive the products of human cloning as part of a medical cure. The bill moves to the state Senate.

PENNSYLVANIA

Man is sentenced, then gets married

WEST CHESTER — A man married his bride in a courtroom immediately after he was sentenced to at least a decade in prison.

Cassandre LaFortune, dressed in a white gown, listened to Akram “Ish” Jones enter his plea, then stepped forward to marry him.

When the judge asked her if she knew what she was getting into, Jones interrupted and said, “Your honor, I don’t mean to be rude, but she proposed to me.”

Jones wore a gray suit, tie and shackles on his wrists and ankles, which sheriff’s deputies removed before the wedding Tuesday. After the ceremony, the newlyweds posed for photos with 17 family members in attendance.

Jones, 26, entered a plea in which he did not admit guilt but acknowledged there was enough evidence to convict him on a charge of conspiracy to commit murder. He was sentenced to 10 to 20 years for plotting to kill Terrance M. Maxie.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Responders to test new radio device

CHARLESTON — A drill simulating Hurricane Hugo will be held this spring to test new communications equipment. The drill will test a radio device that allows all levels of emergency officials to communicate, even if their equipment is not compatible.

The technology was developed after the 9/11 terror attacks when various New York agencies couldn’t communicate across different frequencies.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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