- The Washington Times - Monday, July 24, 2006


Helicopters sent to listing ship

ANCHORAGE — The Coast Guard and the Air Force sent helicopters yesterday to rescue 22 crew members aboard an Asian cargo ship taking on water south of the Aleutian Islands.

The 654-foot Cougar Ace, which was carrying nearly 5,000 cars from Japan to Canada, had rolled almost completely onto its side.

Earlier yesterday, a Coast Guard plane dropped three life rafts, but roiling waters shoved the rafts underneath the ship, about 230 miles from Adak Island in the Aleutians.

It was not clear what caused the ship to list. Its crew sent out an SOS late Sunday night.

One crew member had a broken leg, but no other injuries were reported, authorities said.


Foundation chiefs convicted of fraud

PHOENIX — Two top executives with the now-defunct Baptist Foundation of Arizona, which collapsed in 1999 in the largest nonprofit bankruptcy in U.S. history, were found guilty yesterday of charges that could send them to prison for decades.

William Crotts, former president of the foundation, and Thomas Grabinski, its former legal counsel, were convicted after a 10-month trial in Maricopa County Superior Court. Prosecutors say the bankruptcy cost 11,000 mostly older investors more than $550 million.

Crotts, 61, and Grabinski, 46, were found guilty by a Phoenix jury of three counts of fraud and one count of knowingly conducting an illegal enterprise. The jury acquitted them on 23 counts of theft.


Schools ordered to keep Cuba book

MIAMI — A federal judge yesterday temporarily barred the Miami-Dade County School District from removing a children’s book on Cuba from school libraries.

U.S. District Judge Alan S. Gold ruled in favor of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, which is seeking to keep the book, “Vamos a Cuba” (“A Visit to Cuba”), in schools. Judge Gold’s decision will keep the book on the shelves until the case goes to trial.

Last month, the Miami-Dade school board voted to remove the book from its elementary schools after a parent complained that its depiction of life in the communist nation was overly rosy. The board then expanded that order to all 24 books in the series on children living around the globe.

The Miami-Dade Student Government Association and the ACLU said the board’s decision violated students’ constitutional right of access to information under the First Amendment.


FBI joins probe of interstate sniper

MUNCIE — The FBI joined the investigation yesterday into the sniper attacks that killed one person and wounded another along two Indiana interstates, and police searched fields, overpasses and roads for evidence.

Investigators delivered bullets and other forensic evidence to the Indiana State Police crime lab to determine how many and what types of weapons were used in shootings 100 miles apart, said state police Sgt. Jerry Goodin.

Sniper attacks on two pickup trucks on Interstate 65 near Seymour, 50 miles south of Indianapolis, killed a man and wounded another person early Sunday. About two hours later, bullets struck a tractor-trailer and a sport utility vehicle on Interstate 69. No one was hurt in that attack.

Authorities were considering the shootings linked “until proven otherwise,” Sgt. Goodin said.


Worker charged in stabbing death

NEW BEDFORD — A restaurant worker fatally stabbed his boss after she repeatedly reprimanded him for putting pans through the dishwasher, prosecutors said yesterday.

Ryan Jones, 28, was ordered held without bail on a murder charge. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment.

He is accused of stabbing Valerie Oranski 20 times Saturday morning as the Old Country Buffet in the town of Dartmouth was about to open.

Assistant District Attorney Cynthia Brackett said Mr. Jones had been reprimanded several times by Miss Oranski, 39.

“During the last two to three weeks, the defendant had made almost daily comments to other workers that he wanted to kill her,” Miss Brackett said.


Scouts face eviction over policy on gays

PHILADELPHIA — The city said it will evict a Boy Scout council from its publicly owned headquarters or make the group pay a fair rent price unless it changes its policy on homosexuals.

The Boy Scouts’ Cradle of Liberty Council, the country’s third-largest, has been battling with the city for more than three years over the policy, which like the national Scouts organization forbids homosexuals from being leaders.

City Solicitor Romulo L. Diaz Jr. wrote a letter to William T. Dwyer III, president of the Cradle of Liberty Council, saying the council’s “discriminatory policies” violate city policy and law, and that city officials have not been assured the group will not discriminate.

Unless the city gets a “fair-market rent agreement,” the council will be evicted, the letter says.


Yates’ drownings jury begins deliberation

HOUSTON — The jury in Andrea Yates’ second murder trial began deciding yesterday whether the Texas mother was insane when she drowned her five children in a bathtub.

The jury of six men and six women received the case after Mrs. Yates’ attorneys argued that she was delusional when she killed her children and thought it was the only way to save them from hell.

“Andrea Yates had a heart attack. It was a heart attack of the mind,” said defense attorney Wendell Odom. “The only reason we’re here is there are five dead bodies, five precious children that have been killed.”

Prosecutors contended that Mrs. Yates failed to meet the state’s definition of insanity: that she was so severely mentally ill she was unable to realize her actions were wrong.

Prosecutor Joe Owmby said Mrs. Yates drowned her children in the bathtub one at a time, making sure the remaining children wouldn’t try to flee or call for help, because she knew her actions were wrong.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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