- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 1, 2008


Copter sputtered before crash

TUSCUMBIA — A search helicopter looking for a missing hunter was hovering above the man and two rescuers when its engine sputtered and the aircraft crashed into a fiery heap, killing three persons, witnesses said.

Emergency management worker Michael David Smith said he and two others were on the ground near the hunter when something went wrong with the chopper, which was directly overhead.

The crash occurred at 2:45 a.m. Sunday in a wildlife management area in Colbert County, in northwestern Alabama. The accident killed pilot Michael Baker and medical technicians Allan Bragwell, 40, and Tiffany Miles, 29, both of Florence, authorities said.

The hunter, Matt McDowell, 25, of Florence, was located less than two hours after relatives reported him missing. He was treated for dehydration.


TB-infected woman takes flight into U.S.

SAN FRANCISCO — Health officials were searching yesterday for dozens of airline passengers who may have come into contact with a 30-year-old woman infected with an antibiotic-resistant form of tuberculosis on a flight from India.

The woman, whom authorities declined to identify, was in stable condition at a Bay Area hospital with advanced TB symptoms. Officials said the chances that she had infected anyone else were minimal.

The woman arrived in San Francisco on Dec. 13 aboard an American Airlines flight that she boarded in New Delhi. The flight stopped in Chicago before continuing to San Francisco International.

“She did have symptoms on the flight,” said Santa Clara County Health Director Dr. Marty Fenstersheib. “She was coughing.”

Health officials said she was diagnosed with TB in India, but boarded the flight anyway. Such passengers typically are barred from boarding flights originating in the U.S., but American officials have little authority over who boards incoming international flights.


Lack of deep sleep tied to diabetes risk

CHICAGO — Deep, restful sleep may be important for keeping type 2 diabetes at bay, U.S. researchers said yesterday.

They said slim, healthy young adults who were deprived of the deepest stage of sleep, known as slow-wave sleep, developed insulin resistance — a trait linked to type 2 diabetes — after just three nights.

The effect was comparable to gaining 20 to 30 pounds.

“It demonstrates the importance of deep sleep not only for the brain, but for the rest of the body,” said Eve Van Cauter, a professor of medicine at the University of Chicago.

Earlier studies have shown deep sleep is important for memory and other brain functions, she said.

“It turns out deep sleep also has implications for glucose metabolism and diabetes risk,” said Miss Van Cauter, whose study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


‘Surge’ listed as banned word

DETROIT — Resist the urge to say you will “wordsmith” your list of New Year’s resolutions rather than write one. And don’t utter, “It is what it is,” when you fail to meet your first goal.

Those are two of the 19 words or phrases that appear in Lake Superior State University’s annual List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness. The school in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula released its 33rd list yesterday, selecting from about 2,000 nominations.

Among this year’s picks are “surge,” the term for the troop buildup in Iraq. “Give me the old days, when it referenced storms and electrical power,” Michael Raczko of Swanton, Ohio, said in nominating the word. The list also included “waterboarding,” “perfect storm,” “under the bus,” “organic” and “it is what it is,” which Jeffrey Skrenes of St. Paul, Minn., said “accomplishes the dual feat of adding nothing to the conversation while also being phonetically and thematically redundant.”

Sadly for grammar’s guardians, the lighthearted list isn’t binding, as evidenced by the continued use of past banned words and phrases such as “erectile dysfunction,” “i-anything” and “awesome.”


Post ceases after 126 years

CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Post said goodbye with its final edition yesterday — its presses stilled after 126 years.

“30,” a symbol traditionally used to signal the end of a dispatch, was the front-page headline in the last Cincinnati edition, about an hour before the printing of its sister Kentucky Post marked the final run for the daily newspapers.

In a front-page story about the closing, editor Mike Philipps said: “It’s a sad day, but we’re going out with heads high. This paper made a difference in the community.”

The Post and its sister Kentucky Post edition have struggled for decades, like other afternoon newspapers, in a climate that has challenged even the nation’s most storied dailies. E.W. Scripps Co., based in Cincinnati, decided in July to close the Post newspapers when a joint operating agreement with Gannett Co. expired. Joint-operating agreements allow newspapers to combine business operations when one faces financial ruin.


Contract awarded for border crossing

CALAIS — A Massachusetts company won a $48.3 million contract for a new border crossing here. J.J. Contractors Inc. will build the Land Port of Entry for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection, officials said.

The goal is to divert commercial traffic to relieve congestion for two crossings between Calais and St. Stephen, New Brunswick. The project is slated to open in two years. Its overall price tag of more than $120 million is to be shared by the United States and Canada.


Blues vocalist dies in fire

BOSTON — “Weepin’ ” Willie Robinson, a blues singer who performed with Steven Tyler and Bonnie Raitt but also spent time homeless, has died at age 81.

Mr. Robinson had been a sharecropper, an Army veteran and a friend of performers, including B.B. King.

“He was truly the elder statesman of the [Boston] blues. He was our godfather. He was the most dear man,” Holly Harris, host of “Blues on Sunday” on WBOS radio, told the Boston Globe for yesterday’s editions.

When he sang, “you knew he meant it because he had passion,” Miss Harris said.

Mr. Robinson died Sunday in a fire started by a cigarette he was smoking in bed, the Boston Fire Department said.


Women likely down on farm

MILWAUKEE — Diane Grezenski grew up a city girl, but now she and her husband run a dairy farm where she has taken on more and more of the work over the years.

“I do almost all the milking, feed the animals, and handle the book work and much of nearly everything else that needs to be done,” she said.

The public face of women in agriculture in Wisconsin for 60 years has been Alice in Dairyland, a young woman selected annually to promote the state’s farm products. But because of old barriers coming down, men doing other jobs and mechanical advances, women like Mrs. Grezenski are more actively involved.

Mrs. Grezenski’s husband does the field work and pitches in on milking when he can, while working full time at a nearby paper mill.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service’s most recent agricultural census, conducted in 2002, showed that women were the principal operators of 7,353 Wisconsin farms, up about 27 percent from 1997. There was about a 13 percent increase nationally during the same period.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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