- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 11, 2007

CONNECTICUT

Ski masks worn to dispel fear

WINSTED — Bank robbers, terrorists and prowlers have given ski masks a bad name for years, but a Connecticut man is wearing them around town to prove that not everyone who dons one is plotting mayhem.

Kevin Lambert, 31, got the idea in 2005 after he walked out of a local package store and slipped on a ski mask for an impromptu photograph. A passer-by, fearing the store had been robbed, called police. Mr. Lambert was charged with breach of peace and had to perform 15 hours of community service.

Since then, he and his friends have worn ski masks in public places in an attempt to dispel the stereotype. Mr. Lambert has even launched a Web site (www.crazyskimask.com) dedicated to “Striving to keep America Warm By Combating Ski Mask Discrimination.”

“This isn’t something I do to go out and scare people,” he said.

In some chilly circles, ski masks seem to be making a comeback. Tom Ramos, 16, said the three-hole knit masks are retro-chic in the snowboarding community of Naugatuck.

IDAHO

‘Berserk’ house cat hospitalizes owner

HAILEY — A house cat attacked his owner, sending her to the hospital by ambulance with more than 20 bite wounds.

The cat, a black and white domestic male, went on the rampage Wednesday when a neighbor showed up at the door with a different cat, mistakenly thinking it belonged to the woman.

“She went to the door, and her cat went berserk,” Jeff Nevins, assistant fire chief for Wood River Fire and Rescue, told the Idaho Mountain Express.

The woman, in her 60s, was taken to St. Luke’s Wood River Medical Center with what Chief Nevins described as “pretty serious puncture wounds.”

“I think the owner said she was going to take it to the shelter because that’s not the first time she’s been attacked,” Chief Nevins said.

MICHIGAN

Victim goes home after school shooting

MIDLAND — A 17-year-old who survived after her ex-boyfriend shot her four times outside a high school, then killed himself, has returned home after being released from a hospital.

Jessica Forsyth was discharged from Hurley Medical Center in Flint on Saturday, three days after the shooting.

“Emotionally, she’s a mess,” her maternal grandmother, Georgana King, told the Midland Daily News.

Police say 17-year-old David Turner of Coleman shot her outside H.H. Dow High School on Wednesday.

Turner’s mother said he suffered from bipolar disorder and had stopped taking his medications. At the time of the shooting, he was on probation for stealing weapons.

NEBRASKA

Mouth-to-snout tactic saves pet dog

OMAHA — Lucy was drowning and turning blue, so Randy Gurchin recalled his Air Force training on mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

It didn’t matter that Lucy is a 10-month-old English bulldog, because he and Lucy are “best buddies.”

Lucy had jumped into a partly frozen lake in pursuit of ducks and geese, but the water was too cold for her. When Mr. Gurchin edged onto the ice and pulled Lucy out of the water, she was unresponsive and her face and paws were blue.

He closed her mouth, put his mouth over her nose, breathed air into her lungs and pushed on her chest, and after about a minute she began shallow breaths. He drove her to a veterinary clinic, where she was immersed in warm water, given injections and placed in an oxygen tent.

By Friday, a week after her ordeal, Lucy was back to normal, said Mr. Gurchin, a pilot who retired from the Air Force two years ago.

NEW YORK

Reward offered for seniors’ mugger

NEW YORK — New York’s streets and newspapers were flooded yesterday with pictures of a man suspected of mugging at least two women in the borough of Queens, including one who is 101 years old.

The other woman was an 85-year-old who uses a walker. Both were recovering from the violent robberies, which occurred a week ago in different apartment buildings but not reported until the weekend.

Rose Morat, 101, told the New York Post that she wished she could have fought back: “Fifteen years ago, we would have had a tussle.”

Both women were robbed of less than $35, and Miss Morat suffered a fractured cheekbone during the attack, which was captured by cameras. The other woman was robbed of two rings, including her wedding ring.

Police distributed pictures of a black male suspect from surveillance video.

“We are pulling out all the stops to find him,” said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. A police fraternal organization offered a $1,000 reward yesterday, and callers have made about 1,000 calls to tip lines, some of which provided leads, Commissioner Kelly said.

PENNSYLVANIA

Explosion destroys 3 row houses

YORK — An explosion destroyed three row houses and damaged three others, but no serious injuries were reported, a fire official said yesterday.

Authorities suspect it was a natural gas explosion, but they had not determined the source of the gas.

Five persons, ranging in age from an infant to a woman in her 80s, suffered minor injuries when the three-story buildings collapsed around them late Saturday.

“It’s amazing,” said fire department Deputy Chief Steve Buffington. “They were actually removed from the rubble.”

“We heard somebody screaming. We went back, and we started going through the rubble trying to get somebody out,” said Don Reisinger Sr., whose home backs up to one of the houses that exploded.

The state Fire Marshal’s Office and Columbia Gas had representatives at the scene yesterday.

TEXAS

Mother charged with killing children

SAN ANTONIO — The mother of two children whose decomposing bodies were found wrapped in plastic bags beneath a house last week was arrested Saturday and charged with capital murder.

Valerie Lopez, 19, was arrested early Saturday along with her boyfriend, authorities said.

Miss Lopez confessed to beating to death Sariyah Garcia, her 18-month-old daughter, and hiding her body beneath her home, Police Chief William McManus said. Sariyah died on Christmas Eve.

Miss Lopez told investigators that she killed Sebastian Lopez, her 5-month-old son, when she accidentally rolled over him about two months later, District Attorney Susan Reed said. Miss Lopez also hid his body under the house.

The boyfriend, Jerry Salazar, faces a charge of injury to a child by omission. He was aware that Miss Lopez was abusing her children, police said.

Police had been searching for the couple since Tuesday night, when the children’s bodies were found by residents of a triplex who were trying to locate the source of a foul odor they had been smelling for as long as two weeks.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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