- The Washington Times - Monday, June 12, 2006

CALIFORNIA

Elephant dies at Los Angeles Zoo

LOS ANGELES — An Asian elephant has died at the Los Angeles Zoo, where critics have charged the animals are kept in unhealthy conditions.

Gita, 48, was found sitting down when keepers went to her yard Saturday morning. A “medical response” failed, zoo spokesman Jason Jacobs said. A necropsy was planned to determine the cause of death.

Gita, who came to Southern California in 1959, was one of three elephants at the zoo. She and another female, Ruby, have been living out of the public view in adjoining yards.

MAINE

Rodeo bull escapes, startles neighborhood

LEWISTON — A 1-ton rodeo bull escaped from a pen, setting off a chase that involved police and a horseback rider before the animal was captured in a back yard.

Dirty Rider apparently jumped a fence Friday night at the Colisee arena, where a professional bull-riding event was being held. He was cornered and roped within 15 minutes, but he gave handlers a battle and neighbors a start before being herded into a trailer.

Everyone came away fine, police Cpl. Tim Darnell said, “except for one unhappy bull.”

MASSACHUSETTS

6 Union soldiers return for burial

BOURNE — A fife-and-drum band led a hearse carrying the remains of six Union soldiers to the Massachusetts National Cemetery, where they were buried 145 years after they died in the Civil War.

“For them, it has been a long journey home,” cemetery director Paul McFarland said at a Saturday ceremony that drew a crowd of 200 despite steady rain.

The soldiers, killed in a skirmish days before the Battle of First Manassas, a Confederate victory in July 1861 that surprised President Lincoln, were discovered in unmarked graves in the early 1990s when relic hunters came across bones on a site slated for the construction of a fast-food restaurant in Centreville, Va.

War records and other clues, including uniform types, revealed them as members of the 1st Massachusetts Infantry Regiment. The remains were turned over to the Smithsonian Institution, where they stayed for about a decade.

MICHIGAN

Bus driver suspended for abandoning pupils

GAYLORD — A school bus driver was suspended after she apparently abandoned some students on a dirt road last month, district officials said.

Gaylord Community Schools bus driver Sena Black forced some students from her bus on May 22, authorities said. She was suspended with pay pending a school board meeting today.

On a video recording from the bus that includes sound, Superintendent Carl Hilling said the students can be heard telling the driver that they did not know where they were. Mr. Hilling said the driver responded by saying: “I don’t care.” The video did not show any bad behavior by the students, he said. Information about the number and ages of the students aboard was not available.

The students called their parents from a nearby home, the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported yesterday.

MINNESOTA

‘Superhero’ retrieves purse from mugger

MINNEAPOLIS — Cameron Evans, 26, suits up in superhero garb as part of his job, but he may never have guessed that his alter ego, “Luke Pie-Rocker,” would save someone’s day.

Teresa Skarman was walking home last week when a purse snatcher grabbed her red leather bag.

The 55-year-old grocery store bagger screamed for help and Mr. Evans — sporting orange tights, black boots and cape — chased the mugger. A deliveryman for Galactic Pizza, Mr. Evans tailed the robber for blocks, until two bystanders helped corner the crook in an alley. They ended up letting him go in exchange for the purse.

Miss Skarman said she admires Mr. Evans’ bravery.

“I’m so thankful,” she said, clutching her red purse. “He’s my hero.”

MISSISSIPPI

Governor aims to improve state’s health

JACKSON — After growing up in the Deep South, Gov. Haley Barbour is no stranger to fried chicken, syrupy candied yams and crumbly buttermilk cornbread.

But Mr. Barbour, a Republican who often takes good-natured ribbing about his ample frame, is concerned about his state’s growing reputation as one of the fattest, unhealthiest states in the nation.

On Thursday, Mr. Barbour will be host of the Healthy Mississippi Summit, where state and national specialists will discuss ways to promote nutrition and an active lifestyle. The goal is a statewide approach similar to programs operating in Arkansas, Michigan and elsewhere.

Taking a cue from Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Republican who lost 110 pounds to improve his health, after starting at 290, Mr. Barbour says he will lead by example.

OREGON

Forest Service sells timber rights

MEDFORD — To the dismay of environmentalists, the Forest Service auctioned off timber from a remote, burned-over section of a national forest Friday in the first such sale since the Bush administration eased logging restrictions.

A timber company paid $300,052 for the right to log 261 acres of standing dead timber that was burned in a 2002 fire in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. The blaze burned through roughly 500,000 acres.

Gov. Theodore R. Kulongoski, a Democrat, said he would seek a court order blocking the harvest, based on a lawsuit that Oregon, Washington, California and New Mexico have filed challenging the legality of the administration’s rules. He earlier asked the Forest Service to delay Friday’s sale.

RHODE ISLAND

State first to require cats to be fixed

PROVIDENCE — Gov. Donald L. Carcieri signed legislation Friday making Rhode Island the first state in the nation to require cat owners to spay or neuter their pets.

Cat owners must spay or neuter pets older than 6 months unless they pay $100 for a breeder’s license. Violators can be fined $75 per month.

“By signing this legislation today, we are taking the necessary steps to reduce the number of impounded cats that are euthanized in cities and towns throughout the state,” said Mr. Carcieri, a Republican.

The law would save money by reducing housing and feeding costs at city shelters, he added.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide