- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 27, 2006

ALASKA

Hiker dies after sliding on glacier, falling

ANCHORAGE — A hiker slid to his death after losing his footing on an Alaska glacier near a popular tourist destination, authorities said.

John Roggenkamp, 27, was dead by the time searchers found him in a deep chasm on Byron Glacier late Sunday night. Mr. Roggenkamp, who lived in the nearby ski resort community of Girdwood, had been climbing with a friend when he slid down a 30-degree slope for at least 200 feet, then fell 60 feet into the crevasse.

Sgt. Bill Welch said Mr. Roggenkamp was wearing crampons, which are spikes that are attached to boots to provide traction on snow and ice, so it’s not clear how the accident occurred at the 1,100-foot level of Byron Peak, about 45 miles southeast of Anchorage.

“The blue ice there is really shiny and polished and slippery,” Sgt. Welch said Monday. “He either tripped or fell or a crampon came off. That’s what we think happened at this point.”

CALIFORNIA

Bride rides a camel to get to church

NORCO — To get her to the church on time, the bride chose a beast of burden.

Riding atop a camel named Matilda, bride Sherel Crockett bounced along a horse trail to a church to recite wedding vows with George Stone.

The animal lovers met four years ago, and including Matilda, who is considered by many to be the unofficial city mascot, in the ceremony was “my dream come true,” the bride said after the Sunday wedding.

The couple met while working as part of a pet-assisted therapy program, and both are currently therapists who work with children with severe emotional problems.

IDAHO

Spanish-language paper debuts Oct. 6

NAMPA, Idaho — A new Spanish-language newspaper, La Prensa Libre, will debut Oct. 6 in southwestern Idaho. The paper underscores the growing economic power of Hispanics in the region, said Publisher Stephanie Pressly, who also publishes the Idaho Press-Tribune.

Hispanics represent 9 percent of the state population, but make up 20.5 percent of Canyon County, where the paper will be published.

MISSISSIPPI

Mechanical failure causes fair accident

POPLARVILLE — Mechanical failure caused a weekend accident that injured four children on a Tilt-A-Whirl ride at the Pearl River County Fair, the county sheriff’s department said.

Parents said two workers had jumped onto the ride while it was moving and spun cars by hand when one car broke loose and hit another. Rebel Amusement Rides owner said the incident is under investigation.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Teddy bear blamed for trout deaths

MILFORD — A teddy bear has been implicated in 2,500 deaths — trout deaths, that is.

State officials say a teddy bear that fell into a pool at a Fish and Game Department hatchery earlier this month clogged a drain. The clog blocked the flow of oxygen to the pool and suffocated the fish.

Hatcheries supervisor Robert Fawcett said the bear, dressed in yellow raincoat and hat, is thought to be the first stuffed toy to cause fatalities at the facility.

He said it is not known who dropped the bear, but he urged anyone whose bear ends up in a hatchery pool to find a worker to remove it.

NEW YORK

Gotti jury deadlocked, but keeps deliberating

NEW YORK — Jurors in the trial of reported mob boss John “Junior” Gotti said they were deadlocked yesterday, but the judge sent them back to deliberate further.

Two previous trials were voided when deadlocked juries failed to reach a unanimous verdict.

The jurors sent a note to U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin saying they were split on the racketeering charges he faces, including extorting the construction industry and witness tampering. It was their sixth day of deliberations.

The judge issued them instructions to continue working.

The note said jurors had agreed on one racketeering charge, under which Mr. Gotti is accused of ordering the kidnapping of Curtis Sliwa, founder of New York’s Guardian Angels anti-crime patrols. It did not say which way they had voted.

OHIO

Car dealership drops ‘jihad’ ad, apologizes

COLUMBUS — A car dealership that planned to air a radio advertisement calling for “a jihad on the automotive market” issued an apology and promised not to use the commercial.

Several stations already had rejected the spot from Dennis Mitsubishi, which boasted that sales representatives wearing burqas — head-to-toe traditional dress for Islamic women — would sell vehicles that can “comfortably seat 12 jihadists in the back.”

The dealership received sharp criticism after press reports about the proposed ad, which was scheduled to run this week but never aired. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) decried it as disrespectful and divisive.

It “was simply an attempt at humor that fell short,” dealership President Keith Dennis said Monday. “I wish to offer my sincere apology to anyone who was offended. We do not wish to alienate anyone in our community — all of whom are potential customers.”

CAIR accepted the apology and said it hopes the issue is now over.

SOUTH DAKOTA

Car repossessed with girl, 4, inside

LEAD — A 4-year-old girl who slept in a car while her mother ran an errand was taken for a ride when a repo man, who didn’t notice the child in the back seat, took the vehicle, police said.

The mother thought the car was stolen and quickly called 911, Police Chief John Wainman said. Officers investigating the case learned that the car had been repossessed. Police contacted the repo company, and the girl was returned to her mother.

Mr. Wainman said the seizure on Wednesday was legal, but repossession companies are supposed to notify police before taking a vehicle to avoid unnecessary phone calls and investigation. He said the repossession company employee did not check the vehicle thoroughly before taking it away.

WASHINGTON

Snowmobiles banned to protect caribou

SPOKANE — A judge has declared nearly 470 square miles of national forest land in northern Idaho off-limits to snowmobiles in an effort to save the last mountain caribou herd in the contiguous 48 states.

In a ruling Friday, U.S. District Judge Robert H. Whaley banned the vehicles throughout a caribou-recovery zone in the Idaho Panhandle National Forests until the U.S. Forest Service develops a winter recreation strategy taking into account the impact of the loud, exhaust-spewing devices on the herd.

Estimates of the herd in the Selkirk Mountains, which extend from Priest Lake, Idaho, into British Columbia, run to about three dozen animals, a “precarious finger-hold” on survival, Judge Whaley wrote.

Citing aerial photographs that show snowmobile tracks crisscrossing caribou routes to vital feeding areas, the judge added, “The court chooses to be overprotective rather than under-protective.”

WEST VIRGINIA

Sago Mine tragedy leads to suicides

MORGANTOWN — Two men who worked at the Sago Mine on the day of a deadly explosion have committed suicide in the past month, a continuation of the January tragedy that had already claimed 12 lives.

Neither man had been blamed for contributing to the disaster, and neither victim’s family has linked the suicides to the accident. But those who knew them say there’s little doubt the tragedy haunted them.

John Nelson Boni, whose job was to maintain water pumps on the day of the blast, killed himself Saturday in Volga, though his ex-wife did not say how. He was 63.

William Lee “Flea” Chisolm, the 47-year-old dispatcher responsible for monitoring carbon monoxide alarms and communicating with crews underground that morning, shot himself at his Belington home Aug. 29, authorities confirmed yesterday.

Investigators have not determined the cause of the blast.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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