- The Washington Times - Friday, September 14, 2007


Sea turtle Dylan not set for freedom

ATLANTA — Five months after the first phase of his trek from the world’s largest aquarium to his native home off the Georgia coast, Dylan the sea turtle is taking his time finishing the journey.

Veterinarians at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island said Dylan, a 7-year-old loggerhead who weighs in at about 140 pounds, is still playing with his food and not showing enough skill at hunting to live free.

By now, they had hoped to have him ready to return to the waters off of Jekyll Island, where he was rescued as a hatchling straggler left behind by his nest mates.

But with fall approaching, bringing colder water, it might be next year before they release him into the wild.

After Dylan was rescued on Jekyll, he lived at nearby Tidelands Nature Center. But he quickly outgrew his surroundings and was sent to the Georgia Aquarium, where he became a popular attraction and, aquarium officials said, an ambassador to help teach people about the man-made dangers that sea turtles face in the wild.


Authorities dismiss Fossett theories

RENO — Authorities investigating the mysterious disappearance of millionaire adventurer Steve Fossett said yesterday they have ruled out some of the more unlikely explanations for why they haven’t found his plane, including the possibility he wanted to vanish.

No trace has been found of his single-engine plane despite a small air force that has scoured the canyons and hillsides along the Sierra Nevada’s eastern front for 11 days, raising the prospect that he is just not there.

Rich, famous and apparently happy in his pursuits of adventure, Mr. Fossett had been flying on a scouting mission for a dry lake bed to attempt to break the land speed record.

High winds kept most search planes grounded yesterday. Ground crews returned to a spot in the Pinenut Mountains in western Nevada where two witnesses reported seeing a plane like Mr. Fossett’s fly into a canyon, but not out, on Labor Day. About 80 percent of the area has been searched, Civil Air Patrol Maj. Ed Locke said.


Planner book found in casino’s rubble

ATLANTIC CITY — For six years, Avis Kirk had been wondering what she had done with her small leather planner book that held her checkbook, credit cards, ID and about $60.

The planner had vanished without a trace after the former Sands Casino Hotel food-service worker set it down near the buffet for a few moments in 2001.

But it wasn’t until Ed Ensman, a demolition crew supervisor helping tear down the former Sands building spotted it in the rubble Aug. 30 that the mystery was solved. He speculated that the planner fell behind a low wall when Miss Kirk put it down and was simply overlooked as new walls were put up.

Pinnacle Entertainment, the Las Vegas-based company that will build a new $1.5 billion casino on the Sands site, used old personnel records to track Miss Kirk down by contacting a reference that she had listed on her employment application and with whom she had fallen out of contact.

“The most exciting part is that I’m back in touch with my friend after almost seven years,” said Miss Kirk, who lives in State College, Pa. “We plan to get together again very soon. Life is amazing.”


Record corn crop may unseat wheat

BISMARCK — Hard red spring wheat has always been king in North Dakota, but this year, corn is stealing the crown.

The Agriculture Department is forecasting the state’s 2007 corn crop at a record 279 million bushels, up 2 percent from the August forecast and 80 percent above last year’s crop. The spring wheat crop is projected at 238 million bushels.

If both estimates hold true, it will be the first time in North Dakota history that corn bushels outpace spring wheat, USDA records show.

Earl Stabenow, a statistician with USDA’s agricultural statistics office in Fargo, said a big yield helps. The yield for this year’s corn crop is expected to top last year’s by nearly 15 percent.


Black men asked to patrol streets

PHILADELPHIA — The city’s embattled police chief, acknowledging that police alone cannot quell a run of deadly violence, has called on 10,000 black men to patrol the streets to reduce crime.

Sylvester Johnson, who is black, said black men have a duty to protect more vulnerable residents. He wants each volunteer to pledge to work three hours a day for at least 90 days.

“It’s time for African-American men to stand up,” Commissioner Johnson told the Philadelphia Daily News, which first reported the story Wednesday.


Woman drives stolen car to court

MANNING — A woman who went to court to pay a traffic ticket drove there in a stolen car and ended up behind bars, authorities said.

Clarendon County sheriff’s deputies received a tip that Amber Renee Helton was going to be in a stolen car when she paid the ticket, Chief Deputy Joe Bradham said.

They arrested her as she opened the door of the 2001 Dodge Intrepid Tuesday morning, authorities said.

Miss Helton, 21, and her passenger, Terry Lynn Alvery, 35, were charged with possessing a stolen vehicle, Deputy Bradham said.


Jury selected at polygamist’s trial

ST. GEORGE — Seven women and five men were selected as jurors yesterday to decide whether the leader of a polygamist sect coerced a 14-year-old girl into marrying her older cousin.

Warren Jeffs, the head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which broke away from the Mormon Church, is charged with two counts of rape by accomplice in the girl’s marriage to her 19-year-old cousin.

The girl has testified that Mr. Jeffs told her she risked her salvation if she refused to enter the religious union.

Mr. Jeffs, 51, was a fugitive for nearly two years and was on the FBI’s Most Wanted list when he was arrested during a traffic stop outside Las Vegas. If convicted, he could get life in prison.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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