- The Washington Times - Monday, October 2, 2006

CALIFORNIA

Major wildfire under control

OJAI — Firefighters were in the final stage yesterday of surrounding one of the biggest blazes in state history, which has burned 254 square miles of brush and timber since erupting on Labor Day.

“There are still six miles of fire lines to build, but this fire is under control,” said Faith Nielson, a U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman.

The fire was 87 percent contained, and officials expected to have it fully surrounded by today.

Calm winds and higher humidity at the end of the week slowed the spread of flames as crews built containment lines.

The fire, ignited by someone burning debris, has blackened 162,547 acres, mainly in the Los Padres and Angeles national forests, making it the fifth biggest fire in California history.

DELAWARE

Devices in vehicles protect police dogs

DOVER — State police installed devices in their vehicles to ensure the safety of police dogs.

If the interior temperature rises too high while the handler is away, the device will activate the horn and roll down the rear windows. An Ocean View police dog died in July after being left alone in a car.

FLORIDA

Hurricane Isaac nears Newfoundland

MIAMI — A tropical storm watch was issued for southeastern Newfoundland yesterday as Hurricane Isaac moved north in the Atlantic, forecasters said.

At 2 p.m., Isaac had top sustained winds near 80 mph, up from 75 mph on Saturday, when it became the fifth hurricane of the Atlantic season, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

The ninth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season was centered about 310 miles northeast of Bermuda and 885 miles south-southwest of Cape Race, Newfoundland, forecasters said.

Isaac was moving north near 17 mph, and a turn to the north-northeast was expected. The storm also was forecast to speed up and begin weakening.

Meteorologist Daniel Brown said southeastern Newfoundland could begin experiencing tropical storm conditions with winds gusting near hurricane strength beginning this afternoon.

ILLINOIS

Three-car crash kills 6, injures 2

COLLINSVILLE — A three-vehicle crash in southern Illinois killed six persons, including five family members, authorities said yesterday.

The chain-reaction crash, which also injured two others, happened Saturday evening near Belleville, Ill., State Police Master Sgt. Roger Hayes said.

Gary Ohren was driving a minivan carrying family members ages 7 to 64 when an oncoming sport utility vehicle crossed into their lane, hitting the family’s van head-on, Sgt. Hayes said.

Two others were injured when their car, traveling behind Mr. Ohren’s, slammed into the SUV, police said.

IOWA

Mayor jailed on drug charges

DES MOINES — The mayor of Wilton in southeastern Iowa has been jailed on drug trafficking charges after a yearlong state investigation.

Richard Summy, 56, was arrested Thursday in Iowa City and charged with conspiracy to deliver marijuana and drug tax stamp violation.

Brad Thompson, a special agent for the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, said Mr. Summy is accused of dealing “pound quantities of marijuana” in eastern and central Iowa. Mr. Thompson said more arrests are expected as investigators continue gathering evidence.

Mr. Summy has served as mayor of Wilton — a city of about 2,800 — for three years. A salesman for steel maker Gerdau Ameristeel Corp., he reportedly was in Iowa City closing a sale for his job at the time of the arrest.

NEW YORK

Ex-senator injured at rail station

LAWRENCE — A former state senator slipped through a gap between a train and a Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) station platform and is demanding the spaces get fixed.

Carol Berman, 82, said she broke her ankle in two places and hurt her ribs in Thursday’s fall.

The LIRR “better get this thing fixed before more people get hurt,” she told Newsday from her hospital room. “It’s outrageous.”

LIRR spokesman Sam Zambuto said Mrs. Berman, a Democrat who was a state senator from 1978 to 1984, told investigators from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the LIRR, that the sun was in her eyes as she exited the train.

Railroad staffers pulled her to safety after she fell four feet onto the tracks at the Lawrence station, Mr. Zambuto said.

OHIO

Voices wake children quicker than alarms

COLUMBUS — Children in deep sleep awoke to recordings of their mothers’ voices — calling them by name and ordering them out of their bedrooms — even if they slept through the beeping sound a smoke alarm makes, a small study showed.

The study reaffirms research that shows what works for adults doesn’t always work for children, said Dr. Gary Smith, one of the co-authors.

“Clearly, the strategy that has been tried and true and used for years … fails miserably for children,” said Dr. Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Columbus Children’s Hospital.

The study of 24 children ages 6 to 12 found that 23 awoke to the recorded voice of their mother saying the child’s name and “Wake up. Get out of bed. Leave the room.” Fourteen of the children also awoke to the traditional tone alarm. One child didn’t wake up to either.

Those who responded to both alarms woke up faster to the voice, at a median time of 20 seconds compared with three minutes for the tone alarm, according to the study by Columbus Children’s Hospital researchers being released today in the journal Pediatrics.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Man charged in deaths of 5 family members

NORTH CHARLESTON — A man was charged yesterday with five counts of murder in the handgun killings of his wife and her four children in a domestic dispute at their home, authorities said.

Michael Simmons, 41, appeared at a bail hearing via video from the Charleston County Jail and was ordered held without bail. Mr. Simmons was not the children’s father, Charleston County Coroner Rae Wooten said.

Officers discovered the bodies, including that of a 6-year-old, Saturday after responding to a call.

From staff reports and wire dispatches

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