- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 23, 2006

FLORIDA

Snowflakes fall in Orlando area

ORLANDO — There was hardly a run on snow shovels, but a few flakes of the white stuff hit the ground in Orlando for the first time since 2003, meteorologists said.

The flakes mixed with rain fell Tuesday night in the Central Florida hometown of Walt Disney World, National Weather Service meteorologist John Pendergrast said.

The last time the region saw snow was in 2003, when flakes fell over Brevard and Volusia counties.



Temperatures in the area Tuesday night dipped to the low 40s, with cold weather in the area expected through Thanksgiving.

Also Tuesday, Charleston, S.C., reported its earliest snowfall on record as a coastal storm that brought flooding also dropped a trace on the city and up to an inch in parts of Georgia.

IDAHO

Zamboni drivers fired for fast-food trip

BOISE — Two employees of the city’s ice-skating rink have been fired for making a midnight fast-food run in a pair of Zambonis.

An anonymous tipster reported seeing the two big ice-resurfacing machines chug through a Burger King drive-through and return to the rink about 12:30 a.m. on Nov. 10. The squat, rubber-tired vehicles, which have a top speed of about 5 mph, drove 1 miles in all.

The Zamboni operators, both temporary city employees whose names and ages were not released by the Parks and Recreation Department, had to negotiate at least one intersection with a traffic light on their late-night creep from Idaho IceWorld.

“They were fired immediately,” said Parks Department Director Jim Hall. “We’re pretty sure it was just the one time. When we interviewed them, they didn’t seem to be too concerned about it. I don’t think they understood the seriousness of it.”

Mr. Hall said neither the $75,000 Zambonis nor their $10,000 blades appeared damaged, but the city could charge the employees with operating an unlicensed motor vehicle on a public street.

INDIANA

Mother charged in children’s deaths

ELKHART — A woman accused of strangling her four young children was charged with murder yesterday, a day after hundreds of people attended the youngsters’ funeral.

Elkhart County Prosecutor Curtis Hill said he was considering seeking the death penalty against the mother, Angelica Alvarez, 27.

She was found unconscious with a faint pulse Nov. 14 in her Elkhart home next to the bodies of the children: Jennifer Lopez, 8; Gonzalo Lopez, 6; Daniel Valdez, 4; and Jessica Valdez, 2.

All the children had been strangled, Mr. Hill said. He didn’t know if investigators had determined a motive and wouldn’t disclose her injuries, but he said he would not describe the case as a murder-suicide attempt.

KENTUCKY

Court upholds lethal injection

LOUISVILLE — Kentucky’s lethal injection method is constitutional, the state Supreme Court said in a ruling yesterday that could clear the way for executions to resume.

Kentucky death-row inmates Thomas Clyde Bowling, 52, and Ralph Baze, 49, challenged the state’s method of execution in 2004, saying the drug formula causes inmates to feel pain and is therefore cruel and unusual punishment.

The state has not declared a moratorium on executions but had not scheduled any since the lawsuit was filed. Bowling and Baze have received several stays of execution because of the court challenge.

“We have moved the process forward and, at the appropriate time, will seek a warrant for execution from the governor,” Kentucky Attorney General Greg Stumbo said in a news release yesterday.

Bowling was sentenced to be executed for killing Edward and Tina Earley and shooting their 2-year-old son in 1990. Baze was convicted of killing Powell County Sheriff Steve Bennett and Deputy Arthur Briscoe during an attempted arrest in 1992.

MASSACHUSETTS

Chemical explosion destroys homes

DANVERS — A chemical plant outside Boston blew up yesterday with a roar so thunderous that people thought it was an earthquake or a plane crash, destroying two dozen homes in the tightly packed neighborhood but causing only minor injuries.

The fiery blast flattened the CAI Inc. factory, a manufacturer of solvents and inks, about 3 a.m., knocking buildings off their foundations, shredding roofs and shattering windows in neighboring Salem. The explosion could be heard more than 20 miles away.

Nearly 90 homes were damaged, with roughly 25 wrecked beyond repair, but only 10 of the more than 300 people thought to be in the neighborhood were hurt, and their injuries were minor, authorities said. The plant was empty at the time.

“The miracle is you have the equivalent of a 2,000-pound bomb going off in a residential neighborhood at night when everybody is home, and no one’s dead and no one is seriously injured,” Gov. Mitt Romney said.

Officials said it could take weeks to determine the cause of the explosion.

NEW JERSEY

Wild turkeys gather on train platform

RAMSEY — Some wild turkeys, it appears, were trying to get out of New Jersey before Thanksgiving Day.

A spokesman for NJ Transit said train officials reported a dozen or so wild turkeys waiting on a station platform in Ramsey, about 20 miles northwest of New York City, on yesterday afternoon. The line travels to Suffern, N.Y.

“For a moment, it looked like the turkeys were waiting for the next outbound train,” said Dan Stessel, a spokesman for NJ Transit. “Clearly, they’re trying to catch a train and escape their fate.”

A Ramsey police dispatcher said the department had received three calls about the traveling turkeys, which also were blamed for causing morning rush-hour traffic problems on a roadway.

NEW YORK

Skeletal remains found in bedroom

NEW YORK — A man hoping to reconcile with his parents after years of estrangement made a grisly find: His mother may have been living with his father’s corpse for three years, police said.

When Paul Iversen went to the Brooklyn apartment Tuesday, his 73-year-old mother, Joanne, told him his father, Frank, had died, police said. She showed her son the skeletal remains of an adult man stored under bedcovers in her bedroom, according to police.

The medical examiner was to conduct tests to confirm the identity of the remains, police Sgt. Mike Wysokowski said. No charges had been filed.

Neighbors said Mrs. Iversen had told them her husband was away.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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