- The Washington Times - Monday, February 26, 2007


Ill teen joins Army training

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE - Weakened by a lifelong struggle with cystic fibrosis, 14-year-old Riley Woina dreamed of being strong like the heroes he’d seen in war movies such as “Black Hawk Down.”

He wanted to parachute, fire rounds and wear a uniform. He wasn’t scared of some of the most grueling training the Army has to offer.

So when he was offered the opportunity through the Make-A-Wish Foundation to realize his dream, he jumped at the chance. Recently, the Plymouth, Conn., teen got to spend a week watching the U.S. Army’s 6th Ranger Training Battalion train in Florida — and even try many of the tasks.

Riley is the first child to ask Make-A-Wish to visit a ranger camp, said Capt. Jeremiah Cordovano, spokesman for the battalion. It was an unusual choice — the foundation often grants wishes for Walt Disney World trips or shopping sprees.


Foster father to plead guilty in boy’s death

CINCINNATI - A man will plead guilty to killing his developmentally disabled 3-year-old foster son by binding him in a closet before leaving for a family reunion, the man’s attorney and a prosecutor said yesterday.

David Carroll Jr., 29, will agree to a sentence of 15 years to life in prison, plus one year for gross abuse of a corpse, prosecutor Don White and defense lawyer Cathy Adams said.

Mr. White said the agreement was subject to written confirmation and a judge’s approval at a hearing today.

A jury convicted Mr. Carroll’s wife last week of murder and six other charges, including involuntary manslaughter and kidnapping, in the death of Marcus Fiesel in August. Liz Carroll, 30, was sentenced to 54 years to life in prison.


Body shop removes trapped dead python

MAGNOLIA — Auto body shop owner Bud Hollensworth was called upon to remove a dead 5-foot-long python from the dashboard of a car.

He said a woman from another town had him dispose of the pet snake because she didn’t want her mother to find out that it had died. She told him that the snake had gotten loose in the car and then was trapped behind the dashboard.


Man killed family over failing health

HARTFORD — An 81-year-old man killed his wife and disabled adult children before fatally shooting himself because he was ill and worried the family might become a burden to others, police said yesterday.

Officers who discovered the bodies late Saturday in a condominium north of Hartford found a detailed note from Richard C. Brown saying that his wife’s health was also failing and that his children had experienced health problems throughout their lives.

“He said he didn’t want the family to be a burden,” Enfield Police Chief Carl Sferrazza said yesterday. “It wasn’t something he wrote down in five minutes. It was a pretty detailed note and not an impulsive act.”

Police found Brown’s three-page letter on the dining room table when they discovered the bodies of Brown, his 80-year-old wife, Martha, and their children, 49-year-old Janice and 53-year-old Kenneth, both of whom were mentally retarded and had physical disabilities.

Brown called a family friend on Saturday night, and that person called 911, police said. Officers discovered that Brown killed himself after making that call.


Civil rights honors bestowed upon 13

ATLANTA — The footprints of a journalist, a boxer and a crooner were among those added yesterday to the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame near the church where Martin Luther King preached.

The 13 honorees include actor Sidney Poitier, singer Tony Bennett, educator Marian Wright Edelman, editor and author Lerone Bennett Jr. and the late boxer Joe Louis.

This is the fourth group to be inducted into the Walk of Fame in the plaza of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site near downtown Atlanta. The walk, established in 2004, now includes 50 pairs of footprints, marked in granite, from people who organizers call the “foot soldiers” of the civil rights movement.

One of this year’s inductees, the Rev. Otis Moss Jr., who worked closely with King and his father, told the crowd about a photograph of the slain civil rights leader showing a hole worn through the bottom of his shoe.

Mr. Bennett, a supporter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference that King helped found, said that unless ignorance is eliminated, “this great country will fail.”


Road wrapped in plastic again

BOISE — A prankster is stretching sheets of plastic wrap across a Boise road — but police don’t think the joke is very funny.

For the second time in as many months, Boise police responded to a report from a motorist last week who struck one of the see-through barriers, which had been stretched between two power poles.

No one has been injured. In this case, the driver was simply startled by the loud popping noise that the barrier made when it snapped. But had it been a motorcyclist or bicyclist who didn’t see it, they could have been knocked off and seriously injured, police say.

A similar prank in Wisconsin in 2004 injured two persons and landed four teenagers in court.

“This is not a joke,” said Boise police Sgt. Paul Burch. “This is a very reckless activity and creates a serious hazard to the public.”


Garlic no miracle cure for cholesterol

CHICAGO — Garlic doesn’t do much for the breath, and it stinks for lowering cholesterol. That’s the conclusion of the most rigorous, head-to-head study of raw garlic and popular garlic supplements, despite promoters’ claims to the contrary.

Whether it was eaten raw in heart-healthy sandwiches or in pills made of powdered or aged garlic, the strong-smelling herb had no effect on cholesterol in people whose levels were already elevated, the government-funded study found.

“If garlic was going to have a chance to work, it would have worked in this study,” said researcher Christopher Gardner. But it didn’t.

Garlic is a longtime folk remedy for a variety of ills, including heart disease, cancer, infections and even mosquito bites. Scientific research on its purported benefits has had conflicting results. Some studies had suggested that garlic might help lower risks for digestive and prostate cancers or might reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Others found no benefit.

The study appeared in yesterday’s Archives of Internal Medicine.


Damages unlimited in ferry crash

NEW YORK — A federal judge yesterday denied the city’s request to limit the amount of damages from the Staten Island ferry crash that killed 11 persons and injured dozens in one of the city’s worst mass-transit disasters.

The city had sought to cap awards on outstanding claims at $14.4 million — the value of the vessel Andrew J. Barberi — under a 19th century maritime statute. Although many of the ferry lawsuits have already been settled, dozens of plaintiffs are still seeking tens of millions of dollars in damages.

City officials said they were considering an appeal.

The Barberi slammed into a concrete pier on Oct. 15, 2003, after pilot Richard Smith, who was suffering from extreme fatigue and was on painkillers, passed out at the helm. In a guilty plea in 2005, ferry director Patrick Ryan, the top-ranking city official charged in crash, admitted that he failed to implement or enforce a rule requiring two pilots during docking.

“The city’s failure to provide a second pilot or otherwise adopt a reasonable practice that addresses the issue of pilot incapacitation was plainly a substantial factor in causing the disaster,” wrote U.S. District Judge Edward Korman in Brooklyn.


Ex-lead paint makers ordered to clean up

PROVIDENCE — A judge yesterday ordered three former lead paint manufacturers to clean up contamination in Rhode Island and said he would appoint a special master to advise him on what the companies should be required to do. Lawyers and financial analysts have said the cleanup could cost more than $1 billion.

The decision by Providence Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein marks a major step forward in the state’s lawsuit to force the companies — Sherwin-Williams Co., NL Industries Inc. and Millennium Holdings LLC — to clean up properties that contain toxic lead paint.

A jury last February found the three manufacturers liable for creating a public nuisance, and Judge Silverstein’s 197-page decision affirms that verdict. Judge Silverstein did not predict a dollar figure or specify what the companies might have to do to fix the problem.

Judge Silverstein also rejected the companies’ motion for a new trial, saying the state presented enough evidence to support the jury’s verdict.

The companies said they plan to appeal to the Rhode Island Supreme Court.


Biologists record call of rare Asian bird

DALLAS — The call of the rare Sumatran ground cuckoo, which was widely thought extinct until a decade ago when one was briefly spotted, has been recorded for the first time, the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) said yesterday.

Recognizing a bird’s call is a vital tool of science as it is often the only way for ornithologists in the field to identify elusive forest-dwelling birds.

A team of WCS biologists managed to record the bird’s call — a piercing two-syllable shriek — after it was caught by a trapper who handed it over to them.

A fairly large and striking bird with a long tail, green plumage and blue facial markings, it is found only in the remote jungles of the tropical Indonesian island of Sumatra.

The bird that was recorded is being nursed back to health and will be released back into the wild. It is not known whether it makes other sounds.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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