- The Washington Times - Friday, August 1, 2008


New law allows all gay couples to wed

BOSTON | Massachusetts on Thursday began allowing any gay couple to get married there as Gov. Deval Patrick signed a bill repealing a 1913 law that had blocked most out-of-state same-sex couples from being wed.

The old law barred couples from marrying in Massachusetts if their union would not be legal in their own states.

Mr. Patrick said the repeal shows that “equal means equal” in Massachusetts, where a 2003 ruling by the state’s highest court made gay marriage legal a year later.

Supporters of repealing the measure said the old law had the taint of racism because it was passed 95 years ago as states tried to prevent interracial marriages.

Opponents said it prevented Massachusetts from interfering with the decisions of other states - the majority of which specifically bar same-sex marriage.


Small-jet crash kills at least 8

OWATONNA | A small jet crashed in strong thunderstorms Thursday while preparing to land at a regional airport in Minnesota, killing at least eight people, including several casino and construction executives.

Sheriff Gary Ringhofer said there were at most nine people aboard the Raytheon Hawker 800, which went down at a regional airport about 60 miles south of the Twin Cities. He said investigators were looking into whether there was a passenger who is unaccounted for.

Seven people were dead at the scene. One died later at a hospital.

Atlantic City, N.J., Mayor Scott Evans told the Associated Press that those on board included two high-ranking executives from Revel Entertainment, which is building a $2 billion hotel-casino project in Atlantic City.


Governor cuts state staffs, wages

SACRAMENTO | Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed an executive order that eliminates 22,000 government jobs and ordered that 200,000 state workers receive the federal minimum wage until a state budget is approved.

The governor said the moves are necessary to avoid a “full-blown” fiscal crisis in California.

Lawmakers have yet to agree on a spending plan a month after the state’s fiscal year began, leaving California without the ability to pay contractors, members of the higher education system and legislative employees.

Democratic and Republican lawmakers remain far apart over how to close a $15.2 billion deficit.

Mr. Schwarzenegger’s order on the minimum wage is likely to be challenged by employee unions and the state controller.


Air passenger died of heart trouble

DECATUR | A 61-year-old woman whose body was found in the restroom of a plane died from a heart abnormality, officials in Georgia said.

Medical examiners said Michaele O’Neil Carnahan of Ventura, Calif., had a pre-existing heart condition. The autopsy was completed Thursday.

Medical examiners said Ms. Carnahan was undergoing evaluation by her personal physician for suspected heart problems.

Her body was found in the restroom shortly before the Delta flight to Atlanta from Los Angeles landed Wednesday.


Man accused of biting off nose

IOWA CITY | An alcohol-fueled argument between two friends degenerated into a fight in which one man bit off the other man’s nose, police said.

Donroy Merrival was charged Tuesday with willful injury stemming from the July 24 fight. He also faced charges in an unrelated incident a couple of days later.

Authorities said he was drinking with another man when they started arguing and the other man hit him with a shovel. They said Mr. Merrival responded by biting off Matthew Osing’s nose and part of his lip.

The nose was not recovered, but police said Mr. Merrival didn’t think he swallowed it.

Both men were taken to the hospital for treatment. Police said the victim was not justified in hitting Mr. Merrival with a shovel in the first place, and it is possible more charges could be filed.


Dog adopts tiger cubs at zoo

CANEY | Three tiger cubs at a Kansas zoo are getting some maternal care from an unlikely source - Isabella the golden retriever.

The cubs were born Sunday at Safari Zoological Park, but their mother soon stopped caring for them. Isabella had just weaned her own puppies and was able to step in.

Zoo owner Tom Harvey said it’s unusual for dogs to care for tiger cubs, but it does happen. Isabella licks, cleans and feeds the cubs just like her own puppies.

Safari Zoological Park specializes in endangered species. It has leopards, lions, baboons, ring-tailed lemurs, bears and other animals.


Boy in hospital after gator attack

NEW ORLEANS | A day after his arm was bitten off by an alligator in a Louisiana pond, Devin Funck was recovering from overnight surgery to reattach the severed limb retrieved by an alligator hunter from the reptile’s belly.

An enormous alligator, dubbed “Big Joe” by residents, attacked Devin, 11, biting off his left arm at the shoulder and sparking a scramble to save the boy’s life, and perhaps his arm.

Doctors at Ochsner Hospital worked Wednesday night to reattach the arm, which had been recovered from the alligator’s stomach about 3 1/2 hours after the attack.

Amiee Goforth, spokeswoman for the hospital, said she could not release the boy’s condition or say whether the surgery was successful without the family’s permission.

Devin and two friends from Slidell, La., about 20 miles northeast of New Orleans, had trudged half a mile to a small pond called Crystal Lake for a swim Wednesday afternoon.


Fired official now works for TSA

MINNEAPOLIS | A Minnesota emergency manager who was fired after taking an out-of-state trip in the aftermath of last year’s bridge collapse is now working for the federal Transportation Security Administration.

Sonia Pitt, 44, is a security specialist for the agency in Arlington, Va.

Miss Pitt confirmed her new job but declined to comment.

A TSA spokeswoman said she was hired in May.

Miss Pitt had been director of homeland security for the Minnesota Department of Transportation. She was fired in November for travel improprieties and misuse of state resources.

Miss Pitt took an unauthorized, state-paid trip to Washington, D.C., after the Interstate 35 West bridge collapse. She didn’t return to Minnesota for nearly two weeks.


State to accept Navajo textbook

ALBUQUERQUE | In the Navajo language, there’s no one word that translates into “go” - it’s more like a sentence.

“There are so many ways of ‘going,’” said Evangeline Parsons Yazzie, a Navajo professor at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. “It states who is going, how many of us are going, where are we going. So the tense, the adverb, the subject, the number of people, all of that is tied up in one little tiny verb.”

Those verbs are part of what makes the Navajo language one of the most difficult to learn, she said.

Miss Yazzie said she hopes a book she recently wrote will provide a user-friendly way for New Mexico students to learn the language and the culture of a tribe that long has tied the two elements.

State officials formally adopted Miss Yazzie’s book, “Dine Bizaad Binahoo’ahh,” or “Rediscovering the Navajo Language,” this week in Santa Fe.

While other books on Navajo language exist, state officials said New Mexico is the first to adopt a Navajo textbook for use in the public education system.


Police nab man in woman’s slaying

NEW YORK | A man accused of fatally stabbing a woman in a Massachusetts apartment and then fleeing with his four children and their mother was arrested Wednesday by police, who said the siblings and their mother were in good health and apparently had not been taken against their will.

Rodlyn Petitbois was arrested as he walked down a Brooklyn street, while his children and their mother were found safe sitting under a tree in the borough’s Prospect Park, police said.

Earlier, Massachusetts state police had said the siblings and their mother had been taken against their will.

On Wednesday night, New York City police said they thought the family had not been abducted, but they said the details of the situation weren’t available.

The children’s mother was not thought to be an accomplice, they said.

A spokesman for prosecutors in Massachusetts said the circumstances under which the family left with Mr. Petitbois are under investigation.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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