- The Washington Times - Monday, August 11, 2008

GEORGIA

Colleges peddle bikes to car-loving students

The school is selling discounted bicycles to students and faculty, adding bike lanes to campus roads and stocking bikes that can be borrowed free of charge. The university is pushing its $250,000 “Bike Emory” initiative, launched a year ago, in hopes of convincing students and faculty that the eco-friendly bikes are a better alternative to their four-wheeled, gas-guzzling counterparts.

Cycling has a foothold at many colleges, where hefty parking fees, sprawling campuses and limited roads make it tough to travel. Still, most students are reluctant to leave their cars parked.

“They’re using them to drive from residence halls to class, which is a two- or three-block commute,” said Ric Damm, an administrator and cycling coach at Ripon College, which is giving away $300 bikes to freshmen who leave their cars at home.

NEW YORK

Firefighters help cadets prepare for war

NEW YORK | Before they hit the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, West Point cadets have gotten a taste of chaos, New York City style.

More than three dozen cadets hit city streets Saturday for a double shift with the fire department’s emergency medical technicians, who handle everything from traffic accidents to construction crane collapses.

“This place is a proving ground,” said Benjamin Zederbaum, who runs the recently established cadet medical intensive training course at West Point. “It’s trial by fire. There’s drama here. This is a tough town.”

The ride-alongs are part of Mr. Zederbaum’s rapid-fire class, which crams about 170 hours of instruction into several weeks.

“It’s a perfect fit,” said John Peruggia, chief of the fire department’s Emergency Medical Service Command. “We have many difficult and challenging assignments every day. We wanted to give them some practical exposure.”

CALIFORNIA

Officials to ID remains from crash

WEAVERVILLE | Authorities worked Sunday to identify badly burned remains collected from the site of a helicopter crash in the Northern California wilderness as crews continued the painstaking effort to recover bodies from the wreckage.

A day earlier, helicopters carrying flag-draped stretchers that bore some of the remains were greeted by an honor guard of firefighters at a forest base camp.

Accompanied by a fire engine escort, the stretchers were taken to the Trinity County coroner’s office in Weaverville. Authorities there probably would have to rely on DNA analysis and dental records to identify the bodies, U.S. Forest Service spokesman Tom Kroll said.

Nine people were killed in the crash.

LOUISIANA

Four boaters killed in collision

NEW ORLEANS | Divers in New Orleans are looking for a man reporting missing after two boats collided, killing at least four people.

State Wildlife and Fisheries spokesman Lt. Dennis Bueche said a 20-foot motorboat collided with a 30-foot cabin cruiser Saturday on the Blind River. Each boat had six people on board.

Lt. Bueche said the pilot of the small motorboat and three passengers died. One other passenger was in critical condition and the sixth person on board was missing.

Two people on the cabin cruiser were injured, but their injuries were not considered life-threatening.

MISSISSIPPI

Four tourists killedin bus crash

TUNICA | Authorities in Mississippi said four people have died and several others have been injured after a casino bus overturned.

Tunica County spokesman Larry Liddell said the Harrah’s Casino bus was taking a group of tourists to the airport when it crashed Sunday morning.

Mr. Liddell said the tourists were traveling to catch a flight to South Carolina.

The accident happened at the intersection of Casino Center and U.S. Highway 61 in Tunica County, an area with several bustling casinos along the Mississippi River in the northwest corner of the state.

Mr. Liddell said 43 people, including the driver, were on board. The injured were taken to the Regional Medical Center in Memphis, Tenn., or to Baptist Memorial Hospital-Desoto.

NEVADA

MIT presentation on hacking blocked

LAS VEGAS | A federal judge has ordered three college students to cancel a presentation at a computer hackers conference showing security flaws in the automated fare system used by Boston’s subway.

A U.S. district court judge in Massachusetts issued a temporary restraining order preventing the Massachusetts Institute of Technology students from demonstrating at the Defcon conference on Sunday in Las Vegas how to take advantage of the system’s vulnerabilities to get free rides.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority said in a complaint filed Friday that the students offered to show others how to use the hacks before giving the transit system a chance to fix the flaws.

MIT also is named in the lawsuit.

NEW JERSEY

Fat cat finds permanent home

VORHEES | A fat cat named Prince Chunk who landed in a South New Jersey animal shelter has a new home, officials said.

Prince Chunk, who weighed 44 pounds when he arrived at the Camden County Animal Shelter, also has been given a diet and exercise program, the New York Daily News reported.

Catherine Harr, the shelter’s president, said a veterinarian found that the cat has none of the problems that might accompany obesity.

“Aside from being grossly obese, the cat is completely healthy,” Miss Harr said after receiving the cat’s test results.

Prince Chunk’s new owners, selected from more than 500 applicants, already have two cats. Their identities are being withheld.

NORTH CAROLINA

Grave corrected after 125 years

RALEIGH | The grave of a Union soldier has been correctly marked after 125 years in a North Carolina grave mistakenly identified as belonging to a Confederate.

Pvt. Jacob Pfeiffer of New York has a new tombstone and was honored Saturday by about a dozen Civil War buffs and others in Raleigh’s Oakwood cemetery, the Raleigh News & Observer reported Sunday.

Pfeiffer grew up on a farm in east Manhattan and was 21 when he died from wounds incurred during the Battle of Gettysburg. He was thought to be a North Carolina soldier until Civil War historian Charles Purser of Raleigh uncovered his true identity.

The stone formerly standing over Pfeiffer’s grave carried the name of Confederate Pvt. George Piper. The burial location of Piper’s body is not known.

OHIO

Court favors couple in ‘caged kids’ case

NORWALK | An Ohio appeals court has ruled against a new trial on additional charges for a couple convicted of abusing some of their adopted children and forcing them to sleep in cages.

Huron County prosecutor Russ Leffler had argued that a judge should not have dismissed falsification and perjury charges that were filed against Michael and Sharen Gravelle.

But on Friday the appeals court in Toledo agreed with the lower-court judge and upheld his dismissal of the charges.

The Gravelles’ attorney, Kenneth Myers, said it means one less potential hurdle to overcome as they appeal their child abuse and endangering convictions.

TEXAS

Viper feared stolen from aquarium

GALVESTON | Police are investigating the disappearance of a venomous snake from an aquarium in Galveston and said they think the reptile has been stolen.

The 10-inch African bush viper was last seen Thursday evening at the Moody Gardens aquarium.

Officials said the fastener holding a padlock on the snake exhibit appeared to have been tampered with and damaged.

The snake’s venom is not deadly to humans but could cause serious health problems.

Staffers have taken X-rays of three vipers to make sure they did not eat the missing snake.

The same snake disappeared for two days in July. Workers found it hiding on a metal screen sealing the top of its enclosure but cannot explain how the snake got up there.

UTAH

Iconic stone archcollapses in park

ARCHES NATIONAL PARK | One of the largest and most photographed arches in Arches National Park has collapsed.

Paul Henderson, the park’s chief of interpretation, said Wall Arch collapsed sometime late Monday or early Tuesday.

The arch is along Devils Garden Trail, one of the most popular in the park. For years, the arch has been a favorite stopping point for photographers.

Mr. Henderson said the arch was claimed by forces that eventually will destroy others in the park: gravity and erosion.

“They all let go after a while,” he said Friday.

He said it’s the first collapse of a major arch in the park since nearby Landscape Arch fell in 1991. No one has reported seeing it fall.

The arch, first reported and named in 1948, was more than 33 feet tall and 71 feet across. It ranked 12th in size among the park’s estimated 2,000 arches.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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