- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Pet lovers throng for seized dogs

PHOENIX — A frenzy of tiny-dog lovers has descended on an animal shelter that rescued hundreds of Chihuahuas from a filthy rural Arizona home, with some potential owners getting into shoving matches and others calling from around the globe.

Nearly 800 small dogs, mostly Chihuahuas, and 36 parrots were found in a large mobile home northwest of Tucson last week. All that were old enough and healthy enough to leave the shelter were adopted by Monday, authorities said.

When news spread last week of the dog rescue, hundreds of people packed into the Humane Society of Southern Arizona in hopes of adopting the dogs, spokeswoman Jenny Rose said. Tempers flared, and a few people got into shoving matches, Miss Rose said. The sheriff’s department cleared everyone out, and the shelter closed for the day.

The next day, Miss Rose said, 500 people lined up to obtain the dogs, which included terriers, Pomeranians, Chinese cresteds and Lhasa apsos. The shelter assigned numbers and arranged for everyone to return in groups of 100 each day.

Miss Rose called it a hoarding case, in which an elderly couple who owned the animals wouldn’t part with them and felt no one else could give them a good home. No charges have been filed against the couple.


Man denies role in wife’s disappearance

OAKLAND — A software programmer testified he had nothing to do with the disappearance of his estranged wife, who hasn’t been seen since dropping the couple’s two children off at his house 1½ years ago.

Hans Reiser, known in programming circles as the creator of the ReiserFS computer file system, is charged with killing his wife, whose body has not been found.

Mr. Reiser, 44, testified Monday that he has tried to determine what may have happened to his wife since she was last seen Sept. 3, 2006. The defense suggests Nina Reiser could still be alive and living in her native Russia.

But prosecutors say she was not the sort of person who would abandon her children. They say DNA and other evidence points to Mr. Reiser. His car was found with two books about murder, the passenger seat was missing and the floorboard was soaked with water.

Mr. Reiser testified earlier that he removed the seat to make it more comfortable to sleep in the car and he bought the books because he realized he was under suspicion and wanted to read up on the topic. He said there was water in the car because he cleaned the vehicle after using it to carry gardening supplies.


Lawmaker pleads guilty, will resign

ATLANTA — A Georgia lawmaker pleaded guilty yesterday to money-laundering charges stemming from an undercover sting, and federal officials said the case opened a broader public-corruption investigation in the state.

As part of a plea deal, state Rep. Ron Sailor Jr., a church pastor, also agreed to resign within 24 hours from the Georgia General Assembly.

Sentencing was scheduled for May 22. The 33-year-old Democrat from Decatur could face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Sailor’s attorney, Bruce Maloy, said the plea agreement did not specify a sentence. He would not comment further.

Prosecutors said Sailor met in November and December with an undercover law officer who he presumed was a drug dealer from Florida, and agreed to launder $75,000 for a 10 percent fee. When he was arrested Dec. 19, he had taken possession of $300,000 that he had agreed to launder, the government said.

He told U.S. District Judge Jack Camp he got involved because he was deep in debt.


Detroit City Council asks mayor to quit

DETROIT — The Detroit City Council yesterday called for the resignation of Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who is being investigated over a reported affair he swore under oath he did not have. He quickly rejected the request.

The resolution, passed 7-1, amounted to a “no-confidence” vote because the council lacks the power to force Mr. Kilpatrick to step down.

“You take a whole day to discuss an issue like this,” Mr. Kilpatrick said. “My reaction is: This is over. It has no effect. It’s not binding. Let’s get back to work.”

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy is investigating whether the mayor and former Chief of Staff Christine Beatty lied under oath when they testified in a whistle-blowers’ lawsuit that they had not had a physical relationship. Mr. Kilpatrick has been dogged by media reports about steamy text messages the two exchanged that suggest a romantic relationship.

The lone vote against the resolution was cast by President Pro-Tempore Monica Conyers, wife of U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr., Michigan Democrat. One council member was absent because of illness.


Construction material burdened bridge

MINNEAPOLIS — More than 191 tons of construction material was piled over the weakest areas of the Interstate 35W bridge shortly before the span collapsed into the Mississippi River, federal investigators said.

The piles of rock and sand, to be used in resurfacing the bridge, were placed over steel gusset plates, connectors joining bridge beams, that were thinner than they should have been, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said in an update on its investigation Monday.

The Aug. 1 collapse near downtown Minneapolis killed 13 persons and injured 145. The NTSB said it expects to produce its final report on the cause of the collapse by the end of the year.

The NTSB previously cited the too-thin gusset plates and construction-project weights as factors in the collapse, but Monday’s update included drawings and tables that pinpointed the locations of those heavy loads on the structure.

The NTSB calculated that the bridge was carrying a total load of about 630 tons at the time of the collapse, with a little more than half of that atop the center span.


Floods blamed for two deaths

ST. LOUIS — Heavy rain caused widespread flooding yesterday in Missouri, chasing hundreds of people from their homes. The storm, which covered much of the nation’s center, was blamed for at least two deaths.

Republican Gov. Matt Blunt activated the Missouri National Guard as high water closed hundreds of roads.

The storm system also caused flooding in Arkansas and grounded hundreds of airline flights in Texas. One control tower at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport was briefly evacuated when a funnel cloud was spotted.

The National Weather Service posted flood and flash-flood warnings from Texas to Ohio, with tornado watches in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas.

Rain began falling Monday, and up to 7 inches had fallen by midday yesterday in parts of Missouri and Arkansas. Meteorologists said 5 more inches could fall in Missouri.

The body of an 80-year-old man was found in the water at Ellington, about 120 miles southwest of St. Louis, said Missouri State Water Patrol Lt. Nicholas Humphrey. A state Department of Transportation worker was killed near Springfield when his dump truck was hit by a tractor-trailer rig as he assisted in a flooded area, state officials said.


Re-enactors can’t mix guns, liquor

VIRGINIA CITY — History re-enactors posing as Old West gunslingers here need to follow some modern rules, the sheriff says: Guns and alcohol don’t mix.

A Storey County ordinance prohibits alcohol consumption by history re-enactors wearing a gun, but Sheriff Jim Miller said he’s going to increase enforcement of the ordinance because some people have abused it.

“They want to drink and carry a gun and look like cowboys,” Sheriff Miller said. “But you can see how easy that would be for someone drinking to accidentally put a live round in there and hurt someone.”

Under a program sponsored by the Virginia City Convention and Tourism Authority, volunteers dress in period costumes, including six-guns, and pose for photographs with tourists each summer.

Joe Curtis, a member of the authority board, said stricter enforcement comes after several persons with felony convictions appeared in town dressed as gunslingers.


2 hurt in blast at chemical plant

SPOONER — At least two persons were injured yesterday in a chemical-plant explosion in northwestern Wisconsin, authorities said.

The plant, owned by Cortec Corp., manufactures aerosols and paint solvents and has about eight employees.

“We had a small explosion unrelated to production,” Cortec executive Anna Vignetti said. “That’s all we know.”

The two injured workers suffered what were thought to be first- or second-degree burns, she said.

Miss Vignetti said she did not yet know how much damage was done to the plant. The facility, about 100 miles northeast of the Twin Cities, was closed pending further investigation.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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