- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Clerk’s simple ‘no’ deters robber

HESPERIA — Sometimes a simple “no” will deter robbers.

A clerk at Rocky’s Mini Mart on Main Street was confronted Feb. 13 by an armed would-be robber who demanded money from the cash register, said Roxanne Walker, a spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

“The clerk explained that she couldn’t do that, and that there were other employees inside the store. The suspect then said ‘thanks’ and left the store on foot without taking any money or items,” Miss Walker said.

The same gunman was suspected of robbing the nearby Cigmart a short time later. He again brandished a weapon and demanded money from the clerk, who did as the man asked, Miss Walker said.


New Yorkers honored for good manners

ATLANTA — It may seem a little difficult to believe, but New Yorkers are being honored for, of all things, their good manners.

The group Americans for More Civility has honored city residents for their “forbearance and aplomb” during the transit strike that hit at the height of the holiday shopping season.

The awards are known as the Civies and are handed out by Atlanta-based Glenn Dromgoole and Alan Gibson.

Other winners of the 2005 Civies include Kathy Holmgren, the wife of Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren, who was doing charity work in the Congo while the Seahawks were playing in the Super Bowl.


Gum chewing helps bowels after surgery

CHICAGO — Chewing gum after intestinal surgery can help reactivate paralyzed bowels and get patients out of the hospital sooner, according to a study yesterday.

Patients who have abdominal surgery often suffer a slowdown or shutdown of the bowels called ileus that causes pain, vomiting and abdominal swelling, and they may not be able to tolerate food or even water, according to the report published in the Archives of Surgery.

Study participants had no problem chewing sugarless gum three times a day. Chewing stimulates nerves that promote the release of hormones responsible for activating the gastrointestinal system, wrote study author Rob Schuster of Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in California.


Officials praise livestock registration

PORTLAND — A voluntary program to register livestock locations offers a first step toward protection against animal disease outbreaks, state agriculture officials say.

But Russ Libby, executive director of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, questioned the scope of the program. He said imposing the same regulations on big producers and hobby farmers doesn’t make sense.


Scientists dig into pile of comet dust

ST. LOUIS — Scientists said yesterday that they have begun slicing and dicing the first of hundreds of microscopic specks of comet dust, virtually unchanged since the birth of the solar system, that a NASA spacecraft successfully brought back in late last month.

Preliminary analysis shows the dust, captured when the robotic Stardust spacecraft flew past the comet Wild 2 in January 2004, is unmistakably cometary in origin, said Don Brownlee, a University of Washington astronomer who is the principal scientist for the $212 million mission.

As such, the grains represent pristine samples of the primitive material that came together to form the sun, the nine planets and everything else in the solar system.


Prescription pills tied to overdose deaths

PORTSMOUTH — Authorities say prescription pills accounted for nearly two-thirds of the drug-overdose deaths in the state last year: 96 of 147. Methadone was the biggest problem, but people also overdosed on OxyContin, Valium, fentanyl and morphine.

Experts say many teenagers and young adults combine alcohol with prescription narcotics, a recipe for disaster.


Mexican arrested on murder charges

ALBUQUERQUE — U.S. Border Patrol agents here have arrested a 33-year-old Mexican national wanted in his home country on three separate counts of murder, all of which were linked to drug trafficking.

Silverio Davila-Rivera was taken into custody by agents over the weekend in what Border Patrol officials called part of binational cooperation among law-enforcement officers on both sides of the border to create a safer border region. He was living in Albuquerque at the time of his arrest.

Border Patrol agents located Mr. Davila-Rivera after the agency’s Mexican Liaison Unit received information on his whereabouts from Chihuahua’s secretary of public security in Ciudad Juarez. Agents in Albuquerque immediately began surveillance and were able to take him into custody without incident.

Mexican authorities said Mr. Davila-Rivera is suspected of killing one victim in Mexico and is the primary suspect in two other violent murders.


Dancers set record, raise money

STATE COLLEGE — Their feet may be sore, but Penn State students grooved their way to another record over the weekend in their annual Dance Marathon.

The Penn State Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon says the 700 dancers raised more than $4.2 million in the 48-hour event, an increase over the $4.1 million raised last year and the $3.5 million the year before.

The announcement Sunday night set off a celebration by the capacity crowd. Since its inception in the early 1970s, the student-run philanthropy has raised more than $30 million to help children battling cancer.


Bus driver cited in crash on highway

RAWLINS — The driver of a Greyhound bus that rolled onto its side on the median of Interstate 80, injuring 39 persons, has been cited for driving too fast for conditions, the Wyoming Highway Patrol said.

The driver, David Soraiz, told troopers he was blinded by snow thrown up by a passing truck before the crash early Sunday, according to the Wyoming Highway Patrol.

Mr. Soraiz told troopers the bus veered onto the median, and that when he attempted to get back onto the roadway the vehicle rolled over, said Wyoming Highway Patrol Sgt. Stephen Townsend.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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