- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 4, 2006


Canyon visitors return as road reopens

FREDONIA — A steady stream of tourists drove to the Grand Canyon’s North Rim yesterday after a highway closure prompted by a 58,600-acre wildfire was lifted.

The North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park was closed last week after the fire jumped the only paved highway leading to the remote area. Hundreds of tourists were briefly marooned at the park’s lodge, cabins and campground, although the fire was about 25 miles north of the rim. The more popular South Rim was not affected.

The area in northern Arizona was reopened yesterday after rain and higher humidity helped crews build a line completely around the fire.

The fire, in the Kaibab National Forest, was 70 percent contained yesterday. It was discovered June 8 after lightning struck the area.


Large asteroid zips past Earth

LOS ANGELES — A huge asteroid whizzed by Earth early yesterday, passing about 269,000 miles from the planet’s surface — slightly farther away than the moon.

More than three dozen asteroids have flown closer to Earth in the last few years, but scientists think 2004 XP14 is among the largest.

The asteroid, discovered in 2004, is estimated to be as wide as a half-mile based on its brightness. Late Sunday and early yesterday, it was expected to be visible as a small moving dot to amateur sky watchers with good telescopes in North America and as a fainter object in Europe. Its closest approach was over the U.S. West Coast.

Scientists estimate 2004 XP14 will have 10 more close encounters with Earth over this century, none expected to pose a threat to the planet.


Plane strikes truck; 2 persons dead

MONTROSE — A small plane crashed into a tractor-trailer rig parked on a residential street yesterday and burst into flames, killing both persons aboard, authorities said.

Montrose Fire Protection Battalion Chief Allen Weese said no one else was aboard the plane and no one on the ground was injured.

Neighbor Nancy Weese, the fire battalion chief’s mother, said the plane would have smashed into her house if long-haul trucker Levi Hawks’ rig hadn’t been there. She said burning fuel spilled onto her lawn and the fire was so intense it wasn’t immediately clear that a plane had hit it.

“I just thank the Lord the truck was there,” she said.

The neighborhood is below the flight path to Montrose Regional Airport, Montrose County sheriff’s spokesman Dick Deines said.


Feds investigate Yale accounting practices

NEW HAVEN — Federal authorities are investigating how Yale accounts for millions of dollars in government research grants, school officials said yesterday.

Yale received three subpoenas last week from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Defense Department and National Science Foundation seeking grant documents dating back as far as 10 years.

The school has acknowledged problems with its accounting procedures. In an e-mail to faculty and staff on Friday, Yale President Richard Levin urged employees to cooperate with investigators.

“Regardless of the outcome of the current investigation, we must get all our processes right and make sure that we are good stewards of the funds entrusted to us by the federal government,” Mr. Levin said in a statement released yesterday.

Like most large research universities, Yale relies heavily on government grants to pay for scientific research. The grants come with stringent accounting rules that in one recent case Yale did not follow, federal officials said.

Such investigations could lead to criminal charges, civil penalties or administrative sanctions.


Honolulu celebrates 100th birthday

HONOLULU — The largest cake in Honolulu’s history was served Sunday to celebrate the city’s 100th birthday. The cake was 15 feet long and 18 feet wide, enough to serve 10,000 people.

The downtown celebration also served foods including sugar-cane shrimp, sushi, ribs and hot dogs. There was also live entertainment, educational activities and tours of the city hall.


Study nix allergy drug as baby sleep aid

CHICAGO — An antihistamine most commonly sold as Benadryl does little to help infants sleep through the night even though parents and some doctors think it does, according to a study published yesterday.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine at Baltimore said they based the findings on a test of 44 children age 6 to 15 months, whose parents had reported they woke up in their cribs two or more times a night.

In tests conducted in 2004 and 2005, some of the children were given diphenhydramine as the medicine is known and others an inert placebo. The parents were then asked to keep track of the children’s sleep habits. Three of 22 children in the placebo group and one of 22 in the group that received the drug had fewer nighttime wake-ups, the parents reported.

The study was published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. The drug is a widely used anti-allergy medication which can cause drowsiness but is not marketed for inducing sleep in infants.


Special session called to resolve shutdown

TRENTON — As the state government shutdown threatened to close Atlantic City’s casinos, Gov. Jon Corzine yesterday said New Jersey lawmakers must report to the Statehouse today and stay there until they adopt a budget.

Mr. Corzine called for a special session of the Legislature after yesterday afternoon negotiations with the lawmaker leading opposition to the governor’s proposed sales tax increase failed yet again.

Barring a breakthrough in Trenton, the state planned to force the 12 casinos to stop taking bets as of 8 a.m. tomorrow because they cannot operate without state gambling monitors, and those workers are not deemed “essential” employees who keep getting paid during a shutdown.

An appeals court panel yesterday denied the casinos’ request to stay open while the appeals continue. Casino lawyers planned to appeal that decision to the state Supreme Court, said Daniel Heneghan, a commission spokesman.

With state government unable to spend, lottery-ticket sales and road construction were halted, courts closed, and about 45,000 state employees, more than half the government work force, were off the job.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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