- The Washington Times - Monday, April 9, 2007

CALIFORNIA

102-year-old woman makes hole-in-one

CHICO — Elsie McLean thought she might have lost her ball on the par-3, 100-yard fourth hole at Bidwell Park.

Instead, the 102-year-old Chico woman became the oldest golfer ever to make a hole-in-one on a regulation course.

Because of the slope of the green, Miss McLean and her partners couldn’t see where her ball landed after she teed off. Her friends, Elizabeth Rake and Kathy Crowder, found it in the cup. It was Miss McLean’s first ace.

Miss McLean, who used a driver, broke the age record of 101 set by Harold Stilson in 2001 at Deerfield Country Club in Florida.

She will appear on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” on April 24 to celebrate her accomplishment.

“For an old lady,” she said, “I still hit the ball pretty good.”

FLORIDA

Shelter fire kills animals

JACKSONVILLE — A fire gutted the local Humane Society headquarters, killing dozens of animals including nearly all of the cats in the building, authorities said.

Up to 200 animals were in the facility, but it could take days to account for all the animals and tally the dead, Humane Society Executive Director Leona Sheddan said.

The early Saturday fire destroyed the main shelter building, valued at $1 million, which housed cats, puppies and exotic animals. Most dogs escaped serious injury because the kennels are in the back, but dozens of cats likely died, she said.

“With a great degree of certainty, one could say virtually the entire population of cats at the Humane Society perished,” said Tom Francis, spokesman for the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue.

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation. One firefighter suffered minor injuries when the roof partially collapsed.

GEORGIA

Weather chills Easter services

ATLANTA — An unseasonable cold snap put a chill on Easter Sunday services across the Southeast and much of the rest of the country, moving some events indoors and adding layers over spring frocks.

The usual courtyard service at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church in Columbia, S.C., had to be moved indoors, said the Rev. Michael Bingham. Sunday-morning lows in Columbia dropped to the upper 20s, the National Weather Service said.

Across much of the eastern two-thirds of the nation, Easter celebrants swapped frills, bonnets and sandals for coats, scarves and heavy socks. Baseball fans huddled in blankets, and instead of spring planting, backyard gardeners were bundling their crops.

Two weeks into spring, Easter-morning temperatures were in the upper 30s along the Gulf Coast and in the single digits in northern Minnesota and the Dakotas. Atlanta had a low of 30 degrees, with a wind chill of 23, the weather service said. The same reading put a chill on New York City’s Fifth Avenue, site of the traditional Easter Parade.

Despite the chill, nearly 1,000 people attended the annual sunrise service at Georgia’s Stone Mountain Park, as a slight breeze whipped over the granite monument. The service usually attracts 10,000.

LOUISIANA

Motorcyclist hurt by bathtub on road

COVINGTON — A boxed bathtub fell from the bed of a pickup truck and slid into a motorcycle’s path, critically injuring the 72-year-old cyclist, state police said.

Charles S. Warren was traveling on Interstate 12 on Saturday when he was thrown from his motorcycle after hitting the bathtub, said Trooper Louis Calato. Mr. Warren was being treated at St. Tammany Parish Hospital, he said.

Mr. Calato said the motorcycle, the box and the bathtub all ended up in the grass median.

The pickup’s driver, Shain Autumn Springfield, 32, was booked with negligent injury and driving with an unsecured load, he said.

NEW YORK

Couple hail a cab for 2,400-mile ride

NEW YORK — Betty and Bob Matas have retired and are moving to Arizona, but like many New Yorkers they don’t drive and they don’t want their cats to travel all that way in an airliner cargo hold.

Their solution? “Hey, cabbie.”

They met taxi driver Douglas Guldeniz when they hailed his cab after a shopping trip several weeks ago. They got to talking about their upcoming move, and “We said, ‘Do you want to come?’ ” said Bob Matas, 72, a former audio and video engineer for advertising agencies. “And he said ‘Sure.’ ”

Initially it was a gag, Mr. Matas said, but as they talked over the ensuing weeks, it became reality.

They plan to leave tomorrow on the 2,400-mile trip to Sedona, Ariz., with Mr. Guldeniz driving his yellow SUV cab 10 hours a day for a flat fee of $3,000, plus gas, meals and lodging.

“This job is not easy, and I want to do something different,” said Mr. Guldeniz, 45, who has been driving a taxi for two years. “I want to have some good memories.”

OHIO

House is free, must be moved

BELLEVUE — Mike Bassett wants to give away a house — a big house, with a fireplace, built-in cabinets, a bay window, two full bathrooms and walk-in closets.

There’s just one catch — the lucky recipient has to move it.

Mr. Bassett, 54, of Port Clinton, says that if he doesn’t have a taker by July 1, he will raze the structure to make way for more parking for his supermarket and gas station next door in the town 45 miles southeast of Toledo.

He said that in the past week, he’s received about 20 inquiries about the house, which was used for offices until last June.

Connie Roberts, marketing director for Bassett’s Market, estimated that moving the house will cost $50,000 to $80,000, depending on where it’s going and other factors.

Mr. Bassett, whose family has been in the grocery business since 1898, said he’d like to donate the house to charity and would like to see donors provide a lot and pay for the move.

TEXAS

Nurse charged in deadly office fire

HOUSTON — A licensed vocational nurse has been arrested and accused of starting a fire in her office that killed three persons and injured six others.

The March 28 fire spread throughout the fifth floor of a six-story building. Three firefighters were among the injured.

Misty Ann Weaver, 34, was scheduled to make her first court appearance tomorrow, charged with three counts of felony murder and one count of first-degree arson.

Miss Weaver, arrested late Saturday, remained in jail Sunday in lieu of $330,000 bail, said Harris County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Lt. John Martin.

Authorities say she started the fire because she had neglected to finish an accreditation audit that was due to her boss, a plastic surgeon.

“She was fearful of being discharged by the doctor,” Fire Department investigator James Snowden said. “Therefore, she figured that by starting a small fire, it would more or less postpone the audit information.”

Investigators did not say how the fire was started.

WASHINGTON

Bomb scare closes ferry dock

STEILACOOM — A ferry dock was closed for several hours while authorities investigated a device that looked like a bomb but turned out to be a child’s homemade toy with plastic pipes, a sheriff’s spokesman said.

Police used a remote-controlled robot to examine the device, found jammed under a walkway leading to the dock Thursday afternoon, sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.

As they were investigating, Mr. Troyer said, a woman brought her son to the dock to explain what it was and how the toy had been lost in the water. It apparently floated to the dock and became stuck under the walkway, Mr. Troyer said.

The scare disrupted ferry and nearby railroad service for about four hours. Burlington Northern Santa Fe spokesman Gus Melonas said eight trains were held back as a precaution.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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