- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 31, 2006

FLORIDA

Owner pries puppy from alligator’s mouth

CORAL SPRINGS — A morning walk turned into a dangerous tango with an alligator for one dog owner.

Michael Rubin heard cries from his 6-month-old golden retriever, Jasmine, who had run ahead to the edge of a pond near a construction site Monday, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.

When Mr. Rubin went to check on Jasmine, he saw the puppy’s head inside an alligator’s mouth. Mr. Rubin jumped into the water and beat the gator with his fist. The reptile — which Mr. Rubin estimated was 7 feet long — refused to let go and started rolling in the water with Jasmine still in its mouth. Mr. Rubin eventually pried the dog loose and rushed her to an animal hospital, where she was treated for cuts and puncture wounds. The puppy is in good condition, Mr. Rubin said.

GEORGIA

Court to expedite gay ‘marriage’ appeal

ATLANTA — Georgia’s top court has granted the state’s request for an expedited review of a ruling striking down the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex “marriage.”

A statement from the Georgia Supreme Court released yesterday said the court will hear arguments in the case on June 27.

Gov. Sonny Perdue, a Republican, has said that if the court fails to rule on the issue by Aug. 7, he will call a special session of the state General Assembly so that another measure can be placed on the November election ballot. In 2004, 76 percent of voters approved the constitutional amendment banning same-sex “marriages.”

IDAHO

Woman dies in BASE jump

BOISE — A California woman died Monday after her parachute failed to deploy during a 486-foot leap from a bridge that is the among world’s most popular BASE jumping locations.

The 34-year-old woman is the third person to die since 2002 after jumping from the Perrine Bridge over the Snake River on U.S. Highway 93 near Twin Falls.

More than 5,000 jumps are made annually from the bridge, the only location in the U.S. where BASE jumpers — short for the buildings, antennae, spans and earth from which participants leap — aren’t required to obtain a special permit for year-round jumps.

MASSACHUSETTS

6 veterans receive belated diplomas

NEWBURY — John Whitney spent 1944 hunched over a radar terminal hunting for German planes somewhere in Europe while his high school classmates accepted their diplomas.

An army draft notice pulled Mr. Whitney into World War II after his junior year, and a life as a farmer and businessman never allowed him to pick up his degree.

On Memorial Day, however, the Governor Dummer Academy helped the 81-year-old finish what he had started as a teenager. Mr. Whitney was one of six veterans who received their degrees at the Newbury academy long after they left the school to fight for their country.

Only two of the class of six were able to return to the school Monday to accept their degrees. Former classmates received the diplomas for them in absentia. Gordon Hoyt, 80, who left the academy during his junior year for the Army, was the other veteran who made the trip. When his classmates graduated in 1945, Mr. Hoyt was in gunnery school in Florida.

MICHIGAN

FBI finds no body in Hoffa search

MILFORD TOWNSHIP — The FBI said yesterday that it found no trace of Jimmy Hoffa after digging up a suburban Detroit horse farm in one of the most intensive searches in decades for the former Teamsters boss.

The two-week search involved dozens of FBI agents — along with anthropologists, archaeologists, cadaver-sniffing dogs and a demolition crew that took apart a barn.

Louis Fischetti, supervisory agent with the Detroit FBI, said he thought the tip that led agents to the farm was the best federal authorities had received since 1976.

NEW YORK

Teen rescues four; grandma dies in fire

NEW YORK — A 14-year-old girl rescued four children from a deadly apartment fire, but she couldn’t save her grandmother or another child, who was critically injured, family members said.

Dacreene Shaw woke her grandmother when she discovered the fire Monday and grabbed her infant son and three young siblings, said her aunt, Drenda Shaw.

The grandmother, Sarah Shaw, 61, had suffered a stroke years earlier and had difficulty walking. She was able to get out of bed but collapsed, Drenda Shaw said. A 1-year-old girl was in critical condition, authorities said.

The teen was being treated at Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center for smoke inhalation.

RHODE ISLAND

Work release OK’d in club fire sentence

PROVIDENCE — A former band manager who was sentenced to prison for igniting a deadly nightclub fire should be allowed to work for a nonprofit agency while serving his time, a judge ruled yesterday.

Daniel Biechele pleaded guilty to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter in the 2003 fire at the Station nightclub in West Warwick and was sentenced earlier this month to four years in a minimum-security prison.

His attorneys said yesterday that he had been offered a job in the finance department of the Arc of Northern Rhode Island, a nonprofit agency that provides services to people with disabilities.

Biechele, 29, had no prior criminal record, and Superior Court Judge Francis J. Darigan Jr. ruled yesterday that he should be eligible for a work-release program.

WISCONSIN

Gunman kills 2 at crowded park

MILWAUKEE — Police yesterday hunted for a man who opened fire at a park packed with Memorial Day picnickers, killing two persons and wounding three.

Hundreds of screaming people fled after the shooting Monday evening next to a playground in South Shore Park on the Lake Michigan shore.

The picnickers and the gunman knew one another, police spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz said at a press conference yesterday. The man had argued with the victims before firing the shots.

Miss Schwartz said police know who the 32-year-old shooter is but would not release his identity. He fled in a vehicle after the shooting, she said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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