- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 5, 2006

ALASKA

73.4-pound cabbage wins prize for girl

PALMER — It was ugly, but Brenna Dinkel’s cabbage was big enough to win the Giant Cabbage Weigh-Off at the Alaska State Fair.

Just before the weighing began Friday in front of a packed grandstand, Brenna, 11, pointed out one particularly gooey leaf to her friends.

How heavy was the cabbage Brenna named Bruce? Mike Campbell, the official from the state Division of Weights and Measures, said it tipped the scales at 73.4 pounds.

Brenna won the $2,000 first-place prize for the second year in a row. Last year she won with an 85-pound cabbage. Barbara Everingham set the state record in 2000 with a 105.6-pound cabbage.

Brenna credited her grandfather, Don Dinkel, for helping her this year, as well as a fence that helped keep out the moose.

FLORIDA

Tropical depression brews in Atlantic

MIAMI — A tropical depression brewing over the open Atlantic was nearing tropical storm strength last night, forecasters said.

At 11 p.m. EDT, the depression had sustained winds of 35 mph, 4 mph shy of becoming a tropical storm and the sixth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season.

It was centered about 1,100 miles east of the Lesser Antilles and moving northwest at 13 mph, a path forecasters at the National Hurricane Center said they expected to continue for the next day.

The depression will be named Florence if it reaches tropical storm strength. Forecasters said it is expected to become a tropical storm today.

ILLINOIS

Toddler chubbiness signals problem later

CHICAGO — Pudgy toddlers face a good chance of becoming overweight youngsters, said government research that shoots down the notion that children just naturally outgrow early chubbiness.

Children who were overweight at age 2 or later during their preschool years faced a five times higher risk of being overweight at age 12 than youngsters who were not overweight early on, the study found. Sixty percent of the children who were overweight at any time during the preschool period were overweight at age 12.

“These findings underscore the need to maintain a healthy weight beginning in early childhood,” said Dr. Duane Alexander, director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, which funded the study.

The study was prepared for release today in the September issue of Pediatrics.

MAINE

‘Robo-trout’ used to track movements

GREENVILLE — Anglers, don’t be alarmed if you catch a trout with an antenna coming out of its belly. It’s just a “robo-trout.”

About 75 transmitter-equipped trout have been released into Moosehead Lake and its tributaries by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife as part of an effort to track them and maintain the right mix of fish.

Three of them have been caught by anglers, including Ken Snowdon, who nabbed one of the unusual fish back in January. The fish, without its transmitter and antenna, which were retrieved by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, won first place in a fishing derby and is being mounted at a taxidermist shop.

The trout Mr. Snowdon plucked from the icy waters was a trophy fish that was 23 inches long and weighed 5 pounds. It also had a thin, 10-inch antenna protruding from its orange-red belly that was transmitting a signal.

MICHIGAN

Judge falls victim to identity theft

MOUNT CLEMENS — Somebody out there has stolen Mary Chrzanowski’s identity, and that’s a powerful thing because she is a Macomb County Circuit judge.

The thief recently obtained Judge Chrzanowski’s Social Security number and birth date, then opened accounts with a Syracuse, N.Y., address and ran up a $5,800 phone bill and $500 in credit-card charges.

Judge Chrzanowski, who lives in Harrison Township, discovered the theft after receiving a call from a collection agency about her telephone bill.

The judge may not have to pay the bills, although she is aware it could take several months to clear her credit.

MINNESOTA

Smoke near cabin forces plane to land

DULUTH — A Northwest Airlines flight to London made an emergency landing after smoke was reported in the cabin, and passengers waited aboard for nearly 10 hours before the trip was canceled early Sunday.

Flight 44 from Minneapolis landed without incident just before 9:50 p.m. Saturday at Duluth International Airport, as airport firetrucks stood by. Passengers remained aboard until about 7:30 a.m. Sunday. No injuries were reported among the 255 passengers and 10 crew members.

Northwest’s manager in Duluth, Doug Wood, said it appears the smoke was electrical in nature. Mechanics fixed the problem, but because the crew was running out of its allowed time, the flight was canceled.

The airline was rebooking the passengers on another flight to London Sunday evening.

MONTANA

Weather complicates battle against wildfire

BIG TIMBER — Crews battling an enormous wildfire braced for hot, windy weather yesterday after hundreds of people were evacuated from the path of the flames.

The fire in south-central Montana had spread across 180,000 acres, or more than 280 square miles, since it was started by lightning Aug. 22. It was about 20 percent contained, authorities said.

Fire officials feared that wind and higher temperatures this week will create extreme fire conditions.

About 265 homes were evacuated in just a few hours Sunday night on the western flank of the fast-moving blaze, Sweetgrass County Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator Kerry O’Connell said.

The fire was spreading actively on its southwest side yesterday, fire information officer Char Fuller said. Crews were trying to protect buildings, particularly along the western flank.

PENNSYLVANIA

Shocks keep squirrels off from power lines

ALLENTOWN — Shocking news: Squirrels and power lines don’t mix.

These cute but pesky rodents are a leading cause of unplanned outages. They chew through power lines, fry themselves by completing electrical circuits and generally wreak havoc on power grids.

Utility companies, always on the hunt for new ways to combat animals, may have found an inexpensive solution to what has long been a vexing problem.

If you can’t beat ‘em, zap ‘em.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Two workers slain in fast-food restaurant

COLUMBIA — Two fast-food workers were found fatally shot after their restaurant failed to open on time, and a fellow employee was arrested yesterday and charged with murder and armed robbery.

Authorities said they think John Henry Portee Jr., 27, intended to rob the Wendy’s restaurant, said Richland County sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Chris Cowan.

Mr. Portee was arrested about 2 a.m., almost a day after the two women were fatally shot while preparing to open the restaurant at Columbia Place Mall, Lt. Cowan said.

Interviews with other restaurant employees led to the arrest of Mr. Portee, who also had been scheduled to work Sunday, Lt. Cowan said. Ballistics specialists were able to match shell casings and bullets at the scene to a gun found with Mr. Portee when he was arrested.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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