- The Washington Times - Monday, September 4, 2006


Bear, cub enter woman’s home

VAIL — A 72-year-old woman making pot roast in her kitchen discovered uninvited guests in her home: a bear and her cub.

The unidentified woman walked into the kitchen Thursday and found the bear standing six feet away, police Sgt. Dan Torgerson said. The bear hissed at her and swatted her chest and arm, giving her some minor scratches. The woman then scared it off by yelling and clapping her hands, authorities said. Sgt. Torgerson said the bear hissed again and then left through a side door.

“If the bear was trying to hurt her, it very easily could have,” he said. “I think it was just surprised.”

The woman then found a cub in her house, and she pushed it out the door, Sgt. Torgerson said.

That bear and cub are thought to be the same ones that entered another home and ate food off the kitchen counter. The owners refused to let wildlife officials set traps for bears in their homes.


Countdown reset for shuttle launch

CAPE CANAVERAL — NASA restarted its countdown clocks yesterday at the Kennedy Space Center for the launch this week of Space Shuttle Atlantis after a week’s postponement resulting from a lightning strike and Tropical Storm Ernesto.

Liftoff of the shuttle and its six-member crew is targeted for 12:29 p.m. on Wednesday. The flight will be NASA’s first mission to restart construction of the International Space Station since the 2003 Columbia disaster.

The U.S. space agency now has three days — Wednesday, Thursday and Friday — before its launch window closes and it would have to delay until late October.

Atlantis will kick off a final spate of space-station assembly missions that must be finished by 2010, when the shuttle fleet is to be retired.


Teachers approve new contract

GARY — The city’s teachers union approved a contract agreement Friday, ending a strike that has kept 16,000 students out of class for more than a week.

Gary Teachers Union President Sandra Irons said the vote was unanimous.

Officials planned for the 1,200 teachers and paraprofessionals to return to their classrooms on Friday and prepare for students to start the school year tomorrow, after the Labor Day holiday.

Teachers went on strike on Aug. 21 for the first time since 1984. The district closed schools on Aug. 24, the day after few students attended the first day of classes. The teachers had been working under the terms of a contract that expired in December 2004.

The three-year contract, retroactive to last year, gives teachers a 2 percent-per-year pay raise. They also will get 45 minutes for lunch. The school board had wanted to cut the breaks to 30 minutes.


Trooper dies; fugitive sought

CASSADAGA — One of two troopers ambushed while searching for an escaped convict died yesterday of his injuries, and state police vowed to capture the man they think killed him.

Joseph Longobardo was shot in the leg Thursday night while staking out the property of a former girlfriend of Ralph “Bucky” Phillips. He died at a Buffalo hospital, a day after his leg was amputated, with his wife at his side, state police Superintendent Wayne Bennett said.

His death came in the midst of one of the largest manhunts in New York history. State police warn that Phillips, who has been on the run for five months, could hurt anyone who gets in his way.

Troopers held a candlelight vigil yesterday for Trooper Longobardo, 32, and Trooper Donald Baker Jr., 38, who was also shot in the woods of Chautauqua County. Trooper Baker, who was shot in the back, remained in critical condition in a medically induced coma, police said.

Hundreds of police searched rural western New York for Phillips, 44, who has been on the run since escaping an Erie County jail in April.


5 killed, 1 injured in boat collision

WILLIS — Steve Dover was vacationing at Lake Texoma when he saw two speedboats take off for a poker competition. They never returned.

Mr. Dover said he knew something had gone wrong when he saw the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and other emergency vehicles.

The boats collided during the High Roller Poker Run on Saturday. Four persons died at the scene and two were flown to a hospital, where one later died, according to the patrol.

Two couples were on one boat, while a third was on the other, Trooper Kera Philippi said. One of the boats struck the other on the middle of its side.

Trooper Philippi said Gordon Mineo, one of the victims, was the organizer of the poker run, in which participants get a playing card at each of five different stops along the lake and then compare their cards at the end of the game. The team with the best poker hand wins.


Klan holds rally at Gettysburg

GETTYSBURG — About 30 Ku Klux Klan members proclaimed hatred for blacks, Jews, homosexuals and Hispanics as they stood behind barricades at the Civil War battlefield where Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address.

Gordon Young of the World Knights of the Ku Klux Klan also called Saturday for the U.S. to pull its troops out of Iraq and use them to patrol the Mexican border to stop illegal border crossing.

The World Knights obtained a permit in July for the two-hour demonstration. The National Park Service granted it under the group’s First Amendment rights to free speech.

Several groups counterdemonstrated. Park Service spokeswoman Katie Lawhon said there were no major incident.

One man was cited for entering a restricted area carrying a rainbow flag.

Confederate re-enactors from Virginia and representatives of the national Sons of Confederate Veterans protested the Klan’s adoption of the Confederate battle flag as an emblem and its claim to be a continuance of the Confederate cause. In a nearby park, churches and other groups held a Unity Day rally.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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