- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Truck driver crushed by cargo of logs

FORT SMITH — A truck driver hauling logs in a rainstorm was killed when his rig slammed into a 10-vehicle pileup and the logs crushed his cab.

State police said the truck driven by Chester Jones, 47, was the last vehicle in the crash on Interstate 540 Monday evening in northwest Arkansas. A police report said the logs he was hauling shifted and crushed him.

Four other persons were injured in the wreck, police said.


Dog owners awarded in python killing

WEST PALM BEACH — The owners of a small dog killed by an 11-foot Burmese python were awarded $1,300 in the death of their pet.

A small-claims court judge on Monday awarded Boynton Beach residents Wayne Vassello and Shana Lane the amount in damages and court costs.

Mr. Vassello was walking the pair’s 8-pound rat terrier, Max, in February and let the dog off his leash near their apartment. A neighbor’s pet python, Diamond, had gotten free and grabbed the dog by the head and wrapped several coils around him.

Mr. Vassello hit the snake, which survived, with a golf club and got it to release the dog, but Max ran away and was found dead the next day with injuries consistent with constriction, a veterinarian said.


Student suspended for ‘threatening’ song

SUWANEE — A Gwinnett County high school suspended a junior for singing a song in class that referred to shooting a teacher.

Beth Anne Cox, a junior at Peachtree Ridge High School, was suspended Monday for singing: “On top of Old Smokey, all covered with blood, I shot my poor teacher with a .44 slug.” The verse is from a parody of the classic children’s song “On Top of Old Smokey.” The incident took place during the girl’s German class Friday.

Beth Anne, 16, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution she meant no harm. But Sloan Roach, spokeswoman for Gwinnett County schools, said the student was discussing a grade with her teacher and began singing the song out loud in class. Miss Roach said yesterday that the remarks were inappropriate, threatening and caused a disruption.


Grandma receives honorary diploma

POCATELLO — A great-great-grandmother who had to drop out of school in the eighth grade to care for her mother and 10 siblings received an honorary high school diploma at the request of her four children.

Dellcene Hughes, 84, wept as she was presented with the diploma in a ceremony. “It is probably as important to me as if I went through school and received it like everybody else,” she said.


67 gang members arrested in drug raid

CHICAGO — Authorities began rounding up 67 members of a street gang yesterday after prosecutors unsealed charges accusing them of conspiring to distribute large amounts of crack and other drugs.

The arrests were the result of a two-year investigation of the New Breed gang.

Forty-three members were in custody by midmorning, and officers also confiscated more than 4 pounds of cocaine and 2 pounds of heroin, authorities said.


Construction bosses, 76 aliens detained

LEXINGTON — Federal agents have arrested four construction supervisors of Fischer Homes Inc. and detained 76 illegal alien workers at Fischer Homes construction sites in Kentucky. Fischer Homes is a leading builder of homes in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.

Homeland Security Assistant Secretary Julie L. Myers, who heads U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and U.S. Attorney Amul R. Thapar said a coordinated investigation by ICE, the criminal investigation division at the Internal Revenue Service and local law-enforcement agencies resulted in the arrests early yesterday morning.

The Fischer Homes executives arrested were Timothy Copsy, a construction manager; Doug Witt, a superintendent; William Allison, a superintendent; and Bill Ring, an assistant superintendent. Each is charged in a criminal complaint with aiding and abetting, and harboring illegal aliens for commercial advantage or private financial gain.

Mrs. Myers said the maximum punishment is 10 years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.


Women hurt, man killed in bar brawl

NEW ORLEANS — A man wielding a bottle attacked two women in a Bourbon Street bar early yesterday, then apparently fatally shot a man who escorted the women outside to wait for an ambulance, police said.

Police were reviewing the bar’s security tapes to try to identify the gunman.

The argument began when a man “aggressively tried to buy drinks for three women” inside the Utopia nightclub about 4:30 a.m., said Capt. John Bryson, a police spokesman. When the women refused, he punched one of them and hit another with a bottle, Capt. Bryson said.


Lawmakers vote for ‘virtual school’

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri students who are home sick, home-schooled or in need of a different approach to education soon could find their teachers on the Internet.

State lawmakers voted yesterday to create a “virtual public school” that would link students to teachers and textbooks by computer starting next year. Gov. Matt Blunt, a Republican, supports the idea but is reviewing the legislation before deciding whether to sign it, a spokeswoman said yesterday.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, which would oversee the virtual school, expects it to start with about 500 students and a $2.6 million cost.

The Missouri legislation would require the program to meet the same standards as a typical school district, including using certified teachers, an approved curriculum and state-standardized tests, and making progress under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.


Girl is born on way to hospital

PHILADELPHIA — Addison Doxtader knows how to stop traffic. The newborn daughter of Adam and Stephanie Doxtader entered the world Sunday in the front seat of her parents’ car on the shoulder of a downtown expressway.

The Doxtaders were about a mile from the hospital when they realized they wouldn’t make it to the delivery room. That was when Mr. Doxtader spotted a Philadelphia police cruiser on Interstate 676. Inside was Officer Marc Desiderio.

Surrounded by traffic, Mr. Doxtader held down buttons on the officer’s two-way radio so Officer Desiderio could respond to directions from the police radio room. Addison, weighing 7 pounds, 2 ounces, was born at 12:20 p.m. Both mother and daughter were doing fine, Mr. Doxtader said.

“If it wasn’t for Officer Desiderio, I don’t know what we would have done,” Mr. Doxtader said. “Thank God for Officer Desiderio.”

“Thank God for police radio,” the officer said.


Lawmakers agree to extend health care

MONTPELIER — As many as 25,000 Vermont residents who have no health insurance will be able to get it under a reform package to which Gov. Jim Douglas, a Republican, and legislative leaders agreed yesterday.

The bill would extend health care coverage to as much as 96 percent of the state’s population by 2010. Slightly less than 90 percent of Vermonters now have health insurance.

The bill calls for the creation of Catamount Health, a new insurance plan that would be sold by private companies but would be subsidized by the state for those who cannot afford it. It would be funded by increases in the cigarette tax and a new $400-per-employee annual fee that would be imposed on businesses that do not provide their workers with insurance.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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