- The Washington Times - Monday, February 11, 2008


Critics squawk at picnic food designation

FRANKFORT — Animals’ rights advocates are criticizing a measure that would make Kentucky Fried Chicken the state’s official picnic food.

State Rep. Charles Siler, Williamsburg Republican, is sponsoring legislation to assign the designation to KFC’s “finger lickin’ good” chicken, first served by Colonel Harland Sanders in 1940.

The late colonel’s fried chicken deserves the title because of the worldwide attention and economic benefit it has brought to the state, Mr. Siler said. KFC, a subsidiary of Louisville-based Yum Brands Inc., has 11,000 restaurants in more than 80 countries.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals bristles at the idea. The animal rights group says the chickens KFC serves are abused, even tortured.

PETA has been involved in a long-standing battle with KFC and began a push two years ago to have a bust of the bespectacled Colonel Sanders removed from the Kentucky Capitol.


Boy, 7, remembered for big heart, smile

AUSTIN — A 7-year-old boy who died after being suspended from a hook in his school’s bathroom was remembered Saturday for his big heart and radiant smile.

More than 1,000 persons gathered at a church Saturday to mourn Tevin Park-Flowers. He died of cardiac arrest Feb. 1, two days after he was found hanging by his clothing from a hook in the bathroom. Police are investigating.

“I miss his smiles, his dimples,” said his older sister, Kia Thompson, adding that she is grateful to still have Tyler, Tevin’s twin brother.

Tevin was a member of a youth football program, which won a state title in the midget division. Tevin’s jersey will be retired, and a programwide academic award will be established in his name, said Leo Dawson, who spoke on behalf of the team.


‘Jaws’ actor dies, was treated for myeloma

LITTLE ROCK — Roy Scheider, the actor best known for his role as a police chief in the blockbuster movie “Jaws,” has died. He was 75.

Mr. Scheider died yesterday at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences hospital in Little Rock, hospital spokesman David Robinson said. The hospital did not release a cause of death.

However, hospital spokeswoman Leslie Taylor said Mr. Scheider had been treated for multiple myeloma at the hospital’s Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy for the past two years.

Mr. Scheider received two Oscar nominations, for best-supporting actor in 1971’s “The French Connection” in which he played the police partner of Oscar winner Gene Hackman, and for best actor for 1979’s “All That Jazz,” the autobiographical Bob Fosse film.

He was best known for his role in Steven Spielberg’s 1975 film “Jaws,” the enduring classic about a killer shark terrorizing beachgoers and well as millions of moviegoers.


Bride dies during reception

DAVIE — Kim Sjostrom wanted a real-life version of the film “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” which played in the background as friends fixed her hair and makeup before her own marriage ceremony.

But less than an hour after she and Teddy Efkarpides were wed, the bride crumpled in her husband’s arms during a Greek song that means “Love Me.”

At 36, she was dead from heart disease.

The wedding became a project at Davie Elementary School, where she taught first grade. Fellow teachers provided the wedding gown, the flowers and decorations. One of them, an ordained minister, Dominic Church, performed the ceremony.

Miss Sjostrom carried blue and white flowers during the ceremony — the colors of the Greek flag — as she exchanged vows with Mr. Efkarpides, a 43-year-old carpenter and Navy veteran. They met three years to the day before the Jan. 19 wedding.

During the couple’s first dance, the bride complained of being lightheaded. Mr. Efkarpides thought she needed sugar because of her diabetes, but she collapsed. Wedding guests, paramedics and doctors at a nearby hospital were unable to revive her.


Sixth body found at refinery

PORT WENTWORTH — Search crews recovered another body yesterday from a sugar refinery devastated by a massive explosion, raising the number of confirmed deaths to six, the state’s top elected fire official said.

Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John Oxendine told the Associated Press that crews removed the body from the debris of the Imperial Sugar refinery shortly before ending search operations at sunset.

Savannah Fire Department Capt. Matt Stanley, spokesman for local firefighters at the scene, said he could not confirm that a sixth body had been found.

Two more workers were still missing in the smoldering remnants of the plant that exploded last week, sending dozens of workers to the hospital with burns and other injuries.

Sugar still burning in two of the refinery’s three badly damaged, 100-foot storage silos threatened to weaken the towering structures to the point of collapsing if the fire wasn’t extinguished soon, Fire Chief Greg Long said earlier.

Seventeen workers remained hospitalized in critical condition with severe burns.


City reclaims ’icebox’ title

INTERNATIONAL FALLS — International Falls is officially the “Icebox of the Nation.”

The city on the Canadian border had fought the ski town of Fraser, Colo., for the legal right to the trademark. International Falls claimed victory this week when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office sent the city attorney a certificate granting the community Reg. No. 3,375,139.

“I ran over to the attorney’s office and kissed the certificate,” Mayor Shawn Mason said Friday.

Miss Mason said more was at stake than bragging rights. She said International Falls has used the icebox title to market itself to industry as the nation’s premier site for cold-weather testing.

In the near term, Mother Nature is siding with International Falls.

“It’s supposed to be 20 below with wind come Sunday,” Miss Mason said while celebrating at her city’s Elks Lodge, toasting the chill with another frosty one.

The forecast for Fraser: sunny with highs in the mid-30s.


1 dead, dozens hurt in 68-vehicle pileup

HAZLETON — A blinding snow squall caused a 68-vehicle pileup on an interstate highway in northeastern Pennsylvania, killing at least one motorist and injuring several dozen, authorities said.

The snow led to the midafternoon pileup on Interstate 81. Northbound lanes were closed and motorists detoured.

A woman died when her car became wedged underneath a tractor-trailer, said Lt. Jason Zoshak of Hazleton Township Fire and Rescue.

About 35 people were injured, and at least 24 whose cars were not drivable were placed in shelters.

Eighteen persons were taken to a hospital.


Forest fire rages, threatens homes

CONWAY — A wind-whipped forest fire forced the evacuation of 60 homes and threatened to burn several houses as smoke billowed above this small city near the South Carolina coast yesterday, officials said.

The fire, reported at 1 p.m., had burned roughly 250 acres with flames creeping to within inches of an unspecified number of homes, Horry County Fire Rescue spokesman Todd Cartner said.

Dozens of coastal fire departments responded, and authorities urged people to stay away from a wedge-shaped area just north of the city that was bound on three sides by several miles of roads.

A portion of a highway north of Conway closed because of low visibility and the need to move fire equipment, Mr. Cartner said. People who fled their homes were congregating at a nearby church.

Mr. Cartner said he did not know how many people had evacuated.

The eastern half of the state was under a red flag fire warning, with winds gusting up to 30 mph and low humidity, according to the National Weather Service. The ground also is dry, which creates dangerous wildfire conditions.


Agents investigate fire at mosque

COLUMBIA — A mosque was destroyed Saturday by a fire that federal investigators say appears to have been caused by arson. No one was injured.

Investigators found drawings of swastikas and other graffiti at the Islamic Center of Columbia, said Special Agent Eric Kehn of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Daoud Abudiab, president of the center, said authorities told him the fire probably started about 5 a.m. The graffiti included the words “white power” and “we run the world,” Mr. Abudiab said.

“We have not had any trouble,” he said. “This is the first incident.”

Ten to 15 people regularly worshipped at the mosque, which opened in 2000. Mr. Abudiab said they plan to look for another place to worship in Columbia, about 50 miles south of Nashville.


Heavy snow inspires cooler mailbox

OGDEN — Heavy snow in parts of northern Utah has forced residents to get creative to get their mail. Drifts several feet high are blocking or have buried mailboxes, leaving carriers no easy way to make deliveries.

One man set out a blue 5-gallon cooler labeled U.S. Mail. It’s accessible, waterproof and meets all the government requirements.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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