- The Washington Times - Monday, February 26, 2007


Murder-suicide blamed in 4 deaths

ENFIELD — An 81-year-old man shot two women and a man before turning the gun on himself, police said yesterday.

A two-page note was found in the condominium with the bodies Saturday night, along with about a half-dozen shotguns and rifles, said Police Chief Carl Sferrazza.

Police said the victims were acquaintances, but would not elaborate on their relationships. The women were 80 and 49, while the other man was 53, police said. Chief Sferrazza said police believe the shooter called a friend after the three killings, and that the friend called 911.


Toddler finds $1,300 in 25-cent book

McDONOUGH — Rhiannon Barnes may be the luckiest 15-month-old ever. Or maybe her baby sitter is the fortunate one.

While playing with a thrift-store book bought earlier in the day for 25 cents, Rhiannon uncovered $1,300 in cash stuck between the pages. Her baby sitter, Sheila Laughridge, said she only bought the book at Rhiannon’s insistence and was surprised when the toddler found a brown paper bag full of $100s, $50s, $20s and $10s.

Miss Laughridge took the money, which dated as far back as the 1960s, to a local bank, where she received only $300 in exchange because most of the bills were in pieces. The rest of the tattered money was sent to the U.S. Treasury Department.

Rhiannon’s mother, Shirley Barnes, joked that she’s considering using her daughter’s newfound talent more. “What I want to do is put pieces of paper with numbers on them out on the table and have her pick them so that maybe we can win the lottery,” she said.


Tribe seeks to outlaw ‘S-word’

SALMON — Ruby Bernal wasn’t self-conscious about her American Indian heritage until her adolescence, when a band of teenage boys called her “squaw” during a drive-by heckling.

“It’s like saying the ‘N-word’ to a black person,” says Miss Bernal, a member of the Shoshone-Bannock, one of five tribes with reservations in Idaho.

She is among American Indians across the West fighting to excise “squaw” from the names of region’s waterways, peaks and river valleys. The word litters the national map, with more than 800 place names including the word “squaw.”

Now one of the Northwest’s most influential American Indian tribes is campaigning to wipe the word off the names of 11 creeks, bluffs and canyons in Idaho. The gambling-rich Coeur d’Alene Tribe of northern Idaho argues the term is unsuitable for some of the area’s most stunning landmarks and is asking the Idaho Geographic Names Advisory Council to recommend changing it.

Tribal leaders want “squaw” to be replaced by Coeur d’Alene terms such as “chimeash,” which refers to a young woman of good character. The ultimate decision will be in the hands of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, and it will take months for the renaming to happen — if it does.


Judge performs wedding for convict

BELLEVILLE — With help from a judge, a man being sentenced to five years in prison also got a life partner.

After sentencing David Kite, 23, to prison Wednesday for stealing a lawn mower from a home, St. Clair County Circuit Judge John Baricevic obliged Kite’s request to marry girlfriend Victoria Smith in the same courtroom.

The groom sported an orange jumpsuit, shackles and handcuffs during the five-minute civil ceremony; the bride had on a T-shirt and sweat pants.

A day later, Judge Baricevic described the short ceremony as polite, with no visible grudge toward him by the love-struck man he’d just punished with prison. “Judges in all states marry people. Obviously, the situation involved here was not a usual one. It’s very unique,” the judge said.


Man charged with 1990 killing

CROWN POINT — A 51-year-old man has been charged with the 1990 slaying of his former wife after his daughter told police that he confessed to killing her, authorities said.

Prosecutors on Friday charged Rodney Boesel of Gary with murder in the death of Donna Boesel, then 22, said Lake County Sheriff Rogelio “Roy” Dominguez.

Authorities said the confession came as Alicia Boesel, 19, was looking at a machete in his home Wednesday.

“He said, ‘What are you doing looking at that? You don’t know what to do with that,’ ” Alicia Boesel said at a news conference. “Then he told me he was going to slice my throat with it like he did my mother.”

After five hours of questioning, he told detectives he had killed his wife, but did not use a knife, authorities said. One night during sex, he grabbed Donna Boesel by the neck and it snapped, Detective Shaw Spurlock said.

Donna Boesel’s twin daughters, Alicia and Ashley, were only 3 years old when she died. Throughout their childhood, Rodney Boesel told them she abandoned them by running off with another man, Alicia Boesel said.

Hunters found her skeletonized body two years later.


Hottest pepper sets Guinness record

LAS CRUCES — Paul Bosland recalls taking a bite of a chili pepper and feeling like he was breathing fire.

He gulped down a soda, thinking, “That chili has got to be some kind of record.”

The Guinness Book of World Records agreed, confirming recently that Mr. Bosland, a regents professor at New Mexico State University, had discovered the world’s hottest chili pepper, bhut jolokia, a naturally occurring hybrid native to the Assam region of northeastern India.

Bhut jolokia comes in at 1,001,304 Scoville heat units, a measure of hotness for a chili. By comparison, a New Mexico green chili contains about 1,500 Scoville units; an average jalapeno measures at about 10,000.


University pledges cash for slave past

PROVIDENCE — Brown University on Saturday promised to raise $10 million for local public schools and give free tuition to graduate students who pledge to work there in response to a report that found slave labor played a role in the university’s beginnings.

The university also will explore creating an academic center on slavery and justice, strengthen its Africana Studies Department, begin planning for a slavery memorial and revise its official history to provide a more accurate account of the school’s early years.

“One of the clearest messages in the Slavery and Justice Report is that institutions of higher education must take a greater interest in the health of their local communities, especially kindergarten through 12th-grade education,” Brown President Ruth J. Simmons said in a statement.

The report was issued last fall by a committee that was instructed in 2003 to study the university’s early relationship with slavery and recommend how the school should take responsibility.

It identified about 30 former members of the college’s governing corporation who at one time owned or captained slave ships. It also found that slave labor was used in the construction of Brown’s oldest building, and money used to create the university and ensure its early growth was derived directly or indirectly from the slave trade.


Man will auction copy of Declaration

NASHVILLE — A rare, 184-year-old copy of the Declaration of Independence found by a bargain hunter scouring a thrift shop is being assessed by specialists at about 10,000 times the $2.48 purchase price.

Michael Sparks, a music-equipment technician, is selling the document in an auction March 22 at Raynors’ Historical Collectible Auctions in Burlington, N.C. The opening bid is $125,000 and appraisers have estimated it could sell for nearly twice that.

In a tale worthy of PBS-TV’s “Antiques Roadshow,” Mr. Sparks found his bargain last March while browsing at Music City Thrift Shop in Nashville. When he asked the price on a yellowed, shellacked, rolled-up document, the clerk marked it at $2.48.

Mr. Sparks forked over the money and walked out with what turned out to be an “official copy” of the Declaration of Independence — one of 200 commissioned by John Quincy Adams in 1820 when he was secretary of state and printed by William Stone in 1823.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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