- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Border officials find stolen dresses

NOGALES — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Arizona have seized $3 million worth of wedding dresses and other items, which had been stolen before being delivered to Los Angeles for a fundraiser for the Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation, CBP officials said yesterday.

The dresses and other items were found at a commercial import facility in Nogales on Thursday after CBP officers spotted masking tape over the markings on a 40-foot trailer being towed and ordered an inspection of the truck. Officers questioned the driver, who had been refused entry into Mexico by Mexican customs officials.

When the officers opened the back of the trailer to look at the contents, CBP said, they found it full of wedding dresses. The masking tape had covered markings on the trailer showing that it belonged to Making Memories. The $3 million worth of dresses, along with the trailer and other items, had been reported stolen in a November robbery in Scottsdale.

The driver was taken into custody, and CBP contacted the director of Making Memories to let her know of the find.


Betty Ford goes home after surgery

RANCHO MIRAGE — Former first lady Betty Ford was released from a hospital where she underwent surgery last week, her office said Monday.

“Mrs. Ford is resting comfortably at her home. She is recovering well,” the office said.

The statement did not say when Mrs. Ford, who turned 89 on Sunday, was released from Eisenhower Medical Center.

The Ford office has not disclosed the nature of the surgery. A call to the Ford office was not returned.

“Mrs. Ford and the Ford family extend thanks to everyone for their prayers, well wishes, cards and flowers,” the statement said.


NASA delays shuttle launch

CAPE CANAVERAL — NASA has pushed back the launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis until at least early June to allow technicians to finish repairing its hail-damaged fuel tank, officials said yesterday.

The new launch date was set for no earlier than June 8 — a nearly three-month delay for the first shuttle mission of the year.

NASA had been trying to decide whether to finish repairing the tank and use it for Atlantis’ mission or swap it with another tank. But NASA managers said they were pleased with the progress of repairs.

“We don’t see any showstoppers in front of us, but we understand there still is quite a bit of work to do on the tank,” said Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for space operations.

Golf-ball-sized hail left thousands of dents on the foam insulation on Atlantis’ fuel tank as it sat on the launchpad in February. The space shuttle was rolled off the launchpad and sent back for repairs, forcing NASA to miss the original March 15 launch date.


2 students shot inside high school

CHICAGO — A high school student was passing a handgun to a classmate inside a Chicago classroom yesterday when it accidentally discharged, striking both in the leg, police said.

One boy, Jodale Woodfork, 14, was listed in good condition at John H. Stroger Hospital and was expected to be released last night, a hospital spokesman said.

Police and school officials said the teen who brought the gun to school was 15 years old but did not release his name. A call to University of Chicago Hospitals seeking the boy’s condition was not returned.

The boys were sitting in the back of a science classroom at the Chicago Vocational Career Academy on the city’s South Side about 2:15 p.m. when one boy passed the gun to the other and the weapon discharged, said Robert Lopez, an assistant deputy police superintendent.

One boy was struck in the thigh and the other near the knee, Mr. Lopez said.


Convicted student granted a new trial

BOSTON — Massachusetts’ highest court ruled yesterday that a new trial can be held for a Harvard University student who killed a man in a street fight, upholding a lower judge’s verdict.

In a case that highlighted class and racial tensions in the Ivy League community of Cambridge, Alexander Pring-Wilson was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in 2004 for stabbing Michael Colono, 18, of Cambridge five times with a pocketknife during an April 2003 fight.

The state Supreme Judicial Court said Judge Regina Quinlan did not abuse her decision two years ago in ordering a new trial for Pring-Wilson, a 25-year-old graduate student at the time of the killing and son of a well-known defense lawyer.

Judge Quinlan handed down the decision months after the state Supreme Judicial Court ruled in another case that a jury could consider a victim’s violent history if doing so could support the argument that a defendant was acting in self-defense.

Attorneys for Pring-Wilson, who is white, had argued during his trial that he had acted in self-defense after Mr. Colono, a Hispanic kitchen worker on probation for selling crack cocaine, started the fight. But they were not allowed to use evidence of Mr. Colono’s violent past.


Mayor’s errant pitch inspires new sandwich

CINCINNATI — The mayor’s errant ceremonial first pitch on baseball’s opening day has inspired a sandwich with a fitting name: The Mark Mallory Screwball.

The ingredients for the sandwich at Izzy’s deli will be “any two meats tossed in the general direction of a bun or two pieces of bread.” The Screwball will be served with a potato pancake and pickles for $7.75.

“This is wonderful,” Mr. Mallory said. “Who wouldn’t want a sandwich named for them?”

Mr. Mallory’s pitch in front of a sold-out crowd April 2 at Great American Ball Park didn’t go great. It was several feet to the first-base side of home plate, making him the butt of jokes among some late-night comedians. Video of the pitch has been played repeatedly on Web sites.

“There’s so much negativity that you hear about the city of Cincinnati all the time,” said John Geisen, president of Izzy’s, which is a block from City Hall. “But the mayor has brought some fun to it. So we wanted to, too.”


Funeral services set for slain FBI agent

POTTSTOWN — Funeral services for FBI Agent Barry Lee Bush, killed Thursday while in pursuit of bank-robbery suspects in a rural New Jersey community, will be held tomorrow in Pottstown, his hometown. Several thousand people, including FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III and Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, are expected to attend.

Mr. Bush, 52, lived in Forks Township and was born in Pottstown. He was a 1972 graduate of Pottstown High School. Before becoming an FBI agent, served with the Boyertown and Pottstown police departments.

Assigned to the FBI field office in Newark, N.J., he was fatally wounded when another agent apparently discharged his weapon accidentally. FBI headquarters in Washington described the death as a “tragic loss … during the pursuit of three extremely dangerous bank robbers.”

The 19-year veteran agent was a member of a task force tracking suspects in as many as 10 New Jersey bank robberies.

Two of the robbery suspects, Wilfredo Berrios, 28, and Michael Cruz, 21, were arrested outside a PNC Bank branch in Readington, N.J., which authorities say they were planning to rob. A third suspect, Francisco Herrera-Genao, 22, fled and was captured Friday morning a few miles from the bank.


Fire destroys home of Johnny Cash

HENDERSONVILLE — A fire destroyed the lakeside home of the late country singer Johnny Cash yesterday.

The fire started about 1:40 p.m. in this suburb about 20 miles northeast of downtown Nashville. Firetrucks arrived within five minutes, but the house was already engulfed in flames, Hendersonville Fire Chief Jamie Steele said. Just a few hours later, almost nothing was left except brick chimneys and the steel frame.

The cause is unknown, but Chief Steele said the flames spread quickly because construction workers recently applied a flammable wood preservative to the exterior of the house. The preservative also was being applied inside the house.

No workers were injured, but one firefighter was slightly hurt while fighting the fire, Chief Steele said.

Mr. Cash and his wife, June Carter Cash, lived at the home from the late 1960s until their deaths in 2003. The property was purchased by Barry Gibb, a member of the Bee Gees, in January 2006.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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