- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 17, 2008


Crews advance on deadly wildfires

ORDWAY — Crews made headway yesterday against a wildfire that raced past this farm town on Colorado’s eastern plains, forcing hundreds of residents to evacuate their homes.

It was one of three fires blamed for the deaths of two volunteer firefighters and a pilot. One of the fires was unchecked yesterday, a day after it started.

Firefighters hoped dying wind and rising humidity would help them gain ground on the wildfires. The National Weather Service forecast a chance of rain in parts of the area and up to a foot of snow in Colorado’s eastern mountains by this morning.

No containment lines had been established around a fire at the Army’s Fort Carson that had charred 9,600 acres by yesterday morning, El Paso County sheriff’s Sgt. Jeanette Whitney said.


Sitters accused in tot’s dehydration

MERIDEN — Two family friends accused of depriving a toddler of fluid for a week as punishment for bed-wetting appeared in court yesterday to face charges in his death.

Police said 23-month-old Amari Jackson died of dehydration while Sharon Patterson and her brother Robert Patterson were caring for him in February.

Investigators said glasses around the house were laced with hot sauce to keep the boy from drinking.

Miss Patterson, 39, was charged with manslaughter, cruelty to persons and risk of injury to a minor. Her brother, 31, was charged with cruelty to persons and risk of injury to a minor.


2nd mistrial declared in terrorism case

MIAMI — A federal judge declared another mistrial yesterday against six men accused of plotting to spark a war against the government by toppling Chicago’s Sears Tower and bombing FBI offices.

U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard ordered a mistrial when jurors reported that they were deadlocked after 13 days of deliberation in the case of the so-called “Liberty City Seven.” The first trial ended in a mistrial in December because of a hung jury for the same six defendants and the acquittal of a seventh.

Judge Lenard set a hearing for Wednesday on whether the defendants will face a third trial.


New factors to aid decision on preemies

ATLANTA — Doctors now have a better way of helping parents make an agonizing decision: whether to take heroic steps to save a very premature baby.

The number of weeks in the womb generally has been the chief factor, but a study shows others are important, too. They include whether the infant is a girl and whether the child gets lung-maturing steroids shortly before birth.

Those extra factors and an extra 3½ ounces or so of weight and being a single birth can count as much as an extra week of pregnancy, the study found.

The information could change how doctors and parents decide what kind of care to provide to tiny, fragile premature infants, said John Langer, a co-author of the study published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine.


Pranksters come home to forks

DUBUQUE — When known pranksters Rick and Marilyn Jones left town for a wedding, neighbors seeking payback eyed their property and stuck a fork in it — a few thousand forks, in fact.

Tom and Paula Tschudi planted 3,000 white plastic forks in the Joneses’ yard Sunday and dangled more from the roof, fence and garage.

“We just wanted to do something funny to them, because every time we leave, they pull some prank on us,” said Paula Tschudi, who promised to help pick up the forks.

Over the years, the Joneses have strung beer cans like holiday lights around the Tschudis’ home, put a for-sale sign in their yard and strung yellow crime-scene tape around chalk outlines of bodies on the sidewalk.


Driver crashes into lingerie store

COMMERCE TOWNSHIP — Police say a man dressed as a woman repeatedly crashed his car into a suburban Detroit lingerie store that refused to hire him.

Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe said Jeremy McIntosh, 27, was arrested Saturday outside Intimate Ideas. Damage to the store was estimated at $3,000.

Mr. McIntosh told deputies that he is homeless and wanted to be sent to jail because he had nowhere else to go.


Blaze destroys 10 row houses

NEW BRUNSWICK — A fire destroyed 10 row houses and forced the evacuation of 38 people yesterday morning, New Brunswick Fire Chief Robert Rawls said.

He said one child was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation and another person was brought to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital as a precaution.

Chief Rawls said the fire began about 7 a.m. A cause hasn’t been determined.


Tow-truck driver takes car, boy

DALLAS — A tow-truck driver unknowingly hauled away a car with a 7-year-old boy asleep inside before returning the vehicle minutes later and speeding away, police said.

The panicked parents of the missing boy watched the driver hurriedly unhook their car and take off as they met with authorities late Monday, according to a Dallas police report. A kidnapping investigation at the apartment complex already had begun.

Fidel Retana Jr., 23, was stopped a short time later and arrested on child endangerment, but police said Tuesday that they expected to drop the charges.

David Traylor, Mr. Retana’s attorney, said his client noticed the boy only when he stopped to ensure that the car was hooked up properly. The car had been parked in a fire lane while the boy’s mother ran upstairs to her apartment.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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