- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 4, 2006

CALIFORNIA

Mayoral candidate a real clown

ALAMEDA — A real clown is running for mayor of Alameda, and even his sister won’t vote for him.

Kenneth Kahn, 41, a professional joker known as “Kenny the Clown,” acknowledges he is running a long-shot campaign for City Hall’s top spot. Mr. Kahn has not run for any other elected position and has never served on a public board.

“People ask me, ‘Do we really want to elect a clown for mayor of the city?’ ” he said. “I say, ‘That’s an excellent question.’”

Mr. Kahn’s mother, Barbara, said her son doesn’t have a chance, and Sylvia Kahn, a teacher, said her brother’s candidacy is a “mockery of our system.”

The funnyman, who graduated from the University of California at Berkeley, will face incumbent Beverly Johnson and City Councilman Doug deHaan in the election next month.

COLORADO

Hurricane forecast downgraded again

FORT COLLINS — Hurricane specialist William Gray downgraded his forecast for the Atlantic storm season again yesterday, predicting one more hurricane and two more named storms, but no intense hurricanes.

The new report calls for a below-average hurricane season, with a total of six hurricanes and 11 named storms.

Mr. Gray and fellow Colorado State University researcher Philip Klotzbach cited El Nino conditions for the reduced number of storms.

FLORIDA

Thieves spirit away Halloween displays

PALM BAY — For two nights in a row, elaborate Halloween displays have been stolen from David Stokes’ front yard.

The automated displays, including a mummy and several monsters, cost more than $1,000.

“This used to be a safe neighborhood. They just tore up my yard,” said Mr. Stokes, 53.

By Sunday morning, Mr. Stokes, a retired plumber, had enough and called police.

Mr. Stokes said his display last year was praised by parents and neighbors.

“There was even a lady from France who had her kids pose for pictures by the statues. That’s why I do it — for the kids to enjoy,” Mr. Stokes said.

IDAHO

Death penalty sought for sex offender

COEUR D’ALENE — Federal prosecutors will seek the death penalty against the registered sex offender accused of abducting two children last year and killing one of them, the U.S. attorney’s office said yesterday.

Joseph Edward Duncan III already faces state charges in the abduction of Shasta Groene, 8, and Dylan Groene, 9, from their family’s home east of Coeur d’Alene.

Dylan was later killed, but Shasta was rescued at a restaurant in Coeur d’Alene on July 2, 2005, after seven weeks of captivity.

Federal prosecutors have received permission from the Department of Justice to seek capital punishment in the case, said Jean McNeil, spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Tom Moss in Boise.

“Federal charges and formal notice to seek the death penalty are expected to be filed at a later date,” Miss McNeil said.

MAINE

Earthquake causes rock slides, burst pipes

BAR HARBOR — A small earthquake sent rocks tumbling onto a road in Acadia National Park and burst water pipes, but no injuries were reported, officials said yesterday.

The earthquake struck about 8 p.m. Monday and could be felt in Bangor and Augusta. It had a preliminary magnitude of 3.9, said John Ebel, director of the Weston Observatory at Boston College.

“That’s a good shake to the people who felt it. It would feel like a heavy truck passing by to people in Bar Harbor and 20 or 30 miles out,” Mr. Ebel said.

Part of Acadia’s Park Loop Road was closed because of a rock slide. Some power outages also resulted, said Jeff Chamberlain, dispatcher for the Bar Harbor Police Department.

Maine has experienced a recent string of small earthquakes after a long period of seismic inactivity. People on Mount Desert Island, home to Acadia National Park, experienced a magnitude 3.5 quake on Sept. 22. Before that, a magnitude 3.8 earthquake was recorded in the northern part of the state on July 14.

NEW YORK

‘Sniffers’ planned for Penn Station

NEW YORK — A sensor system designed to detect a chemical or poison gas attack will be installed at Pennsylvania Station now that transit officials have concluded they are satisfied with similar equipment at Grand Central Terminal.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to install the “sniffers” in the section of the train station under its control within six to eight months, said Lewis Schiliro, the agency’s director of interagency preparedness. The MTA plans to spend $1.6 million on the project.

Amtrak will install the sniffers in its section of Penn Station, and at stations in Chicago, Philadelphia and the District, said spokeswoman Karina Romero.

The MTA’s board also has agreed to spend about $2.3 million to upgrade the equipment at Grand Central and maintain both systems.

NORTH CAROLINA

Outages affect 911 service

RALEIGH — Emergency 911 service in about 30 eastern North Carolina counties faced sporadic outages for much of Monday night, and the service provider was trying to determine what knocked out the service.

Officials received no reports of residents failing to get medical or police help. The service provider, Embarq, said residents were able to make some local phone calls to reach emergency personnel through alternate numbers.

After the outage, emergency officials scrambled to provide the public with alternate phone numbers. Embarq said the service was restored in most areas by 9 p.m.

The source of the outage was likely problems with the company’s programming or equipment, said Tom Matthews, a regional spokesman for service provider Embarq.

OHIO

2 boys questioned in bus vandalism

NEWARK — Police questioned two fifth-grade boys after the city’s school district canceled classes Monday because vandals trashed the city’s school bus fleet twice during the weekend.

A caller to a school district tip line gave at least one of the boys’ names, and teachers were able to identify them on video from a surveillance camera on the bus lot, said Sgt. Paul Davis.

The boys, whose names and ages weren’t released, were brought in for questioning and sent home. They were scheduled to appear in Licking County Juvenile Court yesterday afternoon and likely would be charged with felony vandalism, Sgt. Davis said.

The day off for the district’s 6,700 students was intended to give police time to investigate all 50 buses for damage and evidence, district spokeswoman Karen Truett said. She said the vandals had discharged fire extinguishers, dumped trash in the buses and stuffed paper in the gas tanks.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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