- The Washington Times - Monday, October 16, 2006

ALABAMA

Collapse kills coal mine inspector

BROOKWOOD — Rocks falling from a coal mine roof struck and killed a worker inspecting an isolated section of a large underground mine, officials said.

Jerry McKinney, 56, of Tuscaloosa was found dead by a mine rescue team Thursday, said Dennis Hall, a spokesman for Jim Walter Resources Inc., which operates the mine in Tuscaloosa County. Officials think the accident at the No. 7 mine occurred Wednesday night.

Mr. Hall said Mr. McKinney, an area manager for special projects, was by himself in a “non-producing area of the mine that one travels” when a section of roof collapsed. Although as many as 120 workers were on the property, others didn’t immediately realize what had happened, he said. He said the mine covers 15 to 18 square miles.

Investigators from the Mine Safety and Health Administration will try to determine the cause of the accident.

DELAWARE

Fruitcake baker sues Postal Service

WILMINGTON — Lucille Greene bakes and mails about 30 fruitcakes as Christmas gifts, and takes her work seriously.

That was why the 88-year-old grandmother claimed emotional distress after a postal clerk accused her of being a terrorist, according to her federal lawsuit against the U.S. Postal Service.

In December 2002, she showed up at the Magnolia post office to mail fruitcakes to relatives and friends when, her lawsuit says, a postal worker asked her, “What kind of explosives do you have in here?” before shaking the box.

Mrs. Greene says in the lawsuit that others in the post office laughed at her, leaving her upset and in tears. She said she tripped over a concrete parking barrier outside and fell, breaking her glasses and chipping a tooth.

U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson dismissed her accusations two weeks ago, and her appeal for $250,000 compensation, because Mrs. Greene had a prior eye condition and contradictory testimony.

Even though she has to go a post office farther from her home, Mrs. Greene said, she hasn’t given up on fruitcakes as Christmas gifts.

FLORIDA

Sheriff killed in charity bus race

NEW SMYRNA BEACH — A Florida sheriff was killed on his 47th birthday during an accident at a charity school bus race, the Florida Highway Patrol said yesterday.

Lake County Sheriff Chris Daniels Sr. died at the Battle of the Badges, an annual charity race for Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranches at the New Smyrna Speedway, officials said.

Witnesses said Sheriff Daniels’ bus spun out of control after colliding with another bus on the 12th lap of the 15-lap race. He ended up on the track and was killed by a third bus.

The Florida Highway Patrol was investigating. The Lake County’s Sheriff’s Office didn’t return calls yesterday.

The event was canceled after the crash, track general manager Terry Roberts said.

GEORGIA

Woman accused of having 6 husbands

LAWRENCEVILLE — Shawnta McBride is apparently more than living up to her name.

Police are searching for Mrs. McBride, 31, who has married five men without divorcing her first husband, according to warrants issued by Gwinnett County Police detectives. She is charged with five counts of bigamy and false swearing. Her last known address was in Decatur.

Mrs. McBride wed Robert K. Konaido in September 2004, court records show. The arrest warrants say she has since married five other men at the county courthouse.

Police said her case is similar to those of two men arrested in the suburban Atlanta county in September. Police suspect the men married a half-dozen or more women each to help them gain American citizenship.

Four of Mrs. McBride’s grooms were born in Ghana, one was from Morocco and one was a London native, said Lorraine Stafford, the Probate Court administrator.

IOWA

Son, 22, charged in family’s death

BONAPARTE — A 22-year-old man has been charged with murdering his parents and three teenage sisters at their home in southeastern Iowa, a sheriff’s office said yesterday.

Shawn Bentler is accused of gunning down five family members and faces five counts of first-degree murder, the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office said. He is being held on a $2.5 million bond at the Adams County Jail in Quincy, Ill.

The victims were found early Saturday near Bonaparte, according to the sheriff’s office. They were identified as Michael Bentler, 53; his wife, Sandra, 47; and their daughters Sheena, 17; Shelby, 15; and Shayne, 14.

The sheriff’s office said that it received a 911 call from Shayne Bentler at 3:38 a.m. Saturday. A recording of the call includes the sound of a gunshot and a scream before the line goes dead, the sheriff’s office said.

MASSACHUSETTS

Conservatives rally to defend rights

BOSTON — Conservative religious and political leaders rallied yesterday in opposition of same-sex “marriage,” arguing that their rights to religious expression are being threatened.

The event, broadcast to churches nationally, was part of a larger effort to energize conservative voters before the Nov. 7 congressional elections.

“Here in Massachusetts, activist judges struck a blow to the foundation of civilization: the family,” Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, told a crowd of about 1,000 people at Tremont Temple Baptist Church.

The Washington-based Family Research Council chose Boston for the site of its annual “Liberty Sunday” because Massachusetts — prompted by a ruling from its highest court — legalized same-sex “marriage” in 2004.

Eight states will vote in November on amendments banning same-sex “marriage.” Twenty states already have approved bans.

OHIO

Thieves steal Raggedy Ann statues

AMELIA — Raggedy Ann and Andy smiled and waved to visitors outside a store for two years before vanishing last week.

Their absence Tuesday morning might not have raised many eyebrows, except that this Raggedy Ann and Andy aren’t dolls, but two 5-foot-tall, 200-pound fiberglass statues.

A police investigator is trying to determine who may have taken the statues, which store owner Dave St. Clair considers landmarks.

“Everybody knows our store by them,” Mr. St. Clair said. He and his wife own Just 4 Fun, which sells pool tables, game tables, slot machines and other recreational items.

The statues, valued at $1,200 each, were custom-made in the 1960s for a New Jersey amusement park, Mr. St. Clair said. Though they might have been stolen as a prank, he said, he and his wife aren’t laughing.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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