- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 5, 2006

CALIFORNIA

Protesters swarm bulldozers in garden

LOS ANGELES — Workers began bulldozing a 14-acre urban garden yesterday as several evicted growers protested the move.

One protester chained himself to a bulldozer, and firefighters were called to cut him loose. Another was arrested for lying in front of the bulldozer, said Dan Stormer, an attorney for the farmers.

“What was once a beautiful set of gardens, if this goes through, will now be a pile of rubble,” Mr. Stormer said.

For years, neighborhood residents grew vegetables and flowers on the site rent-free, but they were evicted three weeks ago after property owner Ralph Horowitz told them he planned to build a warehouse on the land.

The growers tried to fight the development plan but were unable to negotiate a deal. Mr. Horowitz offered to sell 10 acres of the land for $16.3 million to a trust set up on behalf of the farmers, but the group was unable to raise the money.

COLORADO

Marine surrenders after standoff

LOVELAND — A Marine who authorities say was armed with an assault rifle and threatening to kill himself surrendered after a seven-hour standoff outside his home yesterday, police said.

Pvt. Joshua Christianson, 18, was taken into custody about noon after officers fired “flash-bang” noise devices and plastic objects at him, police Sgt. Rae Bontz said.

Sgt. Bontz said Pvt. Christianson never pointed the rifle at police.

He faces a charge of failure to comply with orders from emergency personnel, Sgt. Bontz said.

Pvt. Christianson is stationed at Camp Pendleton, Calif., said Marine Staff Sgt. Ted Martinez.

NEBRASKA

Sector stays free of tornadoes

LINCOLN — Meteorologists at the National Weather Service office in Hastings are feeling lucky this year.

The 30-county area they serve in central Nebraska and north-central Kansas hasn’t had a confirmed tornado for the first six months of this year. That hasn’t happened since 1950.

“It’s quite unusual,” said Steve Kisner, warning coordination meteorologist in the Hastings office. “We’re glad Mother Nature is keeping everybody safe — again showing the unpredictability of the weather.”

Between five and 10 tornadoes usually hit the coverage area between Jan. 1 and June 30, Mr. Kisner said.

Tornadoes are especially common in the 30-county area because they are in the northern part of Tornado Alley, a tornado-prone region stretching from West Texas to North Dakota.

OHIO

Cameraman fined for enticing danger

NORWALK — A television news cameraman paid a $145 fine after police said he enticed three teenagers to ride their bicycles through waist-high floodwaters.

The boys told police that Gary Abrahamsen of WEWS-TV in Cleveland offered to put them on television if they rode through the water on a bridge, a police report said. They said a reporter waded into the water so they would be riding behind her in the video.

Police cited Mr. Abrahamsen with misdemeanor disorderly conduct June 22. He paid the fine June 28, Norwalk Municipal Court said.

Mr. Abrahamsen denied coaxing the two 13-year-olds and one 14-year-old to ride through the water, and told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that paying the fine was cheaper than fighting the citation.

Norwalk was hit hard by damaging storms that began June 21 and were blamed for flash flooding and two deaths.

PENNSYLVANIA

16 hurt in blast at fireworks display

KING OF PRUSSIA — An explosion in a crowd during a municipal fireworks display Tuesday injured at least 16 persons, but most had been released after treatment, police said yesterday.

The blast occurred about 75 yards from the fairgrounds display, police said.

A single fireworks shell shot out toward the crowd instead of upward, said Lt. Tom Nolan of the Upper Merion Police Department.

Police had not determined yesterday whether it was an errant shot from the company handling the display or whether someone else set it off, he said.

Nearly all the injured had been treated and released by yesterday morning. The most seriously injured person suffered a hand injury, Lt. Nolan said.

TEXAS

Yates trial delayed because of sick juror

HOUSTON — Andrea Yates’ second murder trial in the drownings of her children was delayed yesterday because of a sick juror, the judge said.

Testimony was postponed until today.

Mrs. Yates, who turned 42 on Sunday, pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in 2002. She is charged in three of the five drownings in a bathtub. If convicted, the Houston woman could be imprisoned for life.

Defense attorneys said they would begin the second week of her retrial with testimony from the children’s paternal grandmother, Dora Yates, who helped care for the children.

State District Judge Belinda Hill didn’t give details about yesterday’s postponement.

Mrs. Yates’ conviction was overturned last year by an appeals court, which ruled that a prosecution witness’ erroneous testimony may have swayed jurors.

VERMONT

Hydrogen station ready to fuel car

BURLINGTON — Vermont’s first hydrogen fuel station is up and running in Burlington. The station will fuel the first state vehicle designed to run on the fuel that produces emissions of water vapor.

The hydrogen that will run the modified 2005 Toyota Prius will be produced by a wind turbine owned by the Burlington Electric Department.

WASHINGTON

3 NOAA boats damaged in fire

SEATTLE — A roaring fire swept through an old wooden pier early yesterday, damaging two National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration buildings and three of the agency’s boats.

The cause of the blaze wasn’t clear.

The fire started at the NOAA pier on Lake Union, which is linked to Puget Sound by a ship canal, about 1:30 a.m., more than two hours after the end of a large Fourth of July fireworks show above the lake, Seattle Fire Department spokeswoman Helen Fitzpatrick said.

A 224-foot decommissioned research vessel and a former Navy ship that NOAA acquired last year with plans to retrofit it for oceanographic research were both damaged, along with a small aluminum boat, NOAA spokesman Brian Gorman said.

Authorities had no damage estimates. The two buildings were a navigation operations trailer and a steam plant used to supply ships moored at Lake Union.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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