- The Washington Times - Monday, September 22, 2008


Ocean debris will likely worsen

HONOLULU | Birds and turtles are developing digestive problems as their stomachs fill with plastic they mistakenly think is food. The endangered Hawaiian monk seal population is struggling as many of the mammals get entangled in improperly discarded fishing nets.

These examples underscore that efforts to prevent and reduce ocean debris are inadequate and that the problem will likely worsen, according to a congressionally mandated report released Friday.

The report by the National Research Council recommends the U.S. take the lead in coordinating regional management of marine debris.

It said international maritime regulations should be changed to ban the dumping of trash into the ocean.

The report focused on marine debris discharged at sea, though it noted some ocean debris is generated on land as well.

The study recommended that Congress designate a lead agency to address problems like derelict fishing gear, ship waste and abandoned vessels.

International regulations also should be modified to prohibit the discharge of all garbage at sea, the report said.


Fire idles unit at nuke power plant

LAKE TOWNSHIP | A small fire led to the shutdown of one of the two units at a nuclear power plant in southwestern Michigan, utility officials said Sunday.

The fire happened Saturday night in a non-nuclear section of the Donald C. Cook Nuclear Plant, and there was no release of radioactive material or other danger.

No injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire wasn’t known.

American Electric Power Co. spokesman Bill Schalk said Sunday that the fire started in a turbine generator that uses steam to generate electricity.

The Cook plant is near Bridgman on Lake Michigan, about 180 miles west of Detroit. It generates about 6 percent of the utility’s power.

Mr. Schalk said the company will use its coal-burning plants and possibly turn to other utilities to replace the electricity that would have been produced by the idled plant.


Veteran sought in deputy’s slaying

LENOIR | Authorities in rural North Carolina are searching for an Iraq veteran who they suspect in the fatal shooting of a sheriff’s deputy. Another sheriff’s officer was shot but suffered minor injuries.

Officials with the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Department said Saturday night that they were searching for Skip Brinkley, 32, an Army veteran who served in Iraq from 2004 to 2006. They say he also has some law enforcement training.

Officials said Deputy Adam Klutz was responding to a 911 call at a home earlier Saturday when he was shot in a spot not protected by his bulletproof vest. The other officer was hit three times in his vest.

More than 200 officers searched the surrounding area in Lenoir, about 75 northwest of Charlotte.


Swollen Rio Grande recedes from town

PRESIDIO | Residents of the west Texas border town of Presidio are breathing easier as the swollen Rio Grande recedes for the second day in a row.

Presidio County Attorney Rod Ponton said the water dropped slightly Sunday. But officials have warned that a saturated levee holding back the river could fail at any time.

Presidio has been under threat of a massive flood for nearly two weeks as heavy rains have filled the normally shallow Rio Grande.

Crews are building a makeshift dam to protect against a flood from a levee break.

Mr. Ponton estimates that the river will remain about 25 feet deep for at least a week. Flood stage is 9 feet.


Forest Service officer, fugitive fatally shot

SEQUIM | A U.S. Forest Service officer was fatally shot Saturday at an Olympic Peninsula campground, and the suspected killer died hours later in a shootout with two sheriff’s deputies, the Washington State Patrol said.

Officer Kristine Fairbanks, 51, a canine officer with 15 years in the federal forest service, called the state patrol about 2:40 p.m. to run a check on a man and a van without license plates at the Dungeness Forks campground about five miles inside the Olympic National Forest, state Trooper Krista D. Hedstrom said.

When troopers called back and got no response from Officer Fairbanks, they went to the scene and found her fatally shot. Her police dog was not harmed in her vehicle and the van was nowhere in sight.

About 9:30 p.m., the man who authorities were seeking in the shooting, Shawn Roe, 36, entered a gasoline station and convenience store near the Seven Cedars Casino on U.S. Highway 101 and encountered two sheriff’s deputies who were involved in the search.

Mr. Roe exchanged gunfire with the deputies and died at the scene, Trooper Hedstrom said. The shootings occurred on the northern Olympic Peninsula about 50 miles west of Seattle.


Copter crashes into house; 2 killed

KENOSHA | A helicopter crashed into the roof of a house early Sunday, killing two people in the aircraft, but five people in the house were not injured, police reported.

The helicopter crashed about 5:30 a.m., about one mile south of the Kenosha Airport, police Sgt. Eric Larsen said.

Fog was reported in the area at the time, but there was no indication whether that played a role in the crash. Visibility at 5:30 a.m. was three-quarters of a mile to a mile, National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Franks said.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Tony Molinaro said the helicopter was a 2006 Robinson R-44 registered to Midwestern Air Services of Kenosha, which provides charter services and flight training.

Mr. Molinaro said the pilot didn’t appear to have filed a flight plan. The airport’s tower does not open until 7 a.m., so travel earlier than that is “at your own risk,” operations supervisor Corey Reed said.

A preliminary report on the crash will take about a week, said Ed Malinowski, an air safety inspector for the National Transportation Safety Board. He said he didn’t think the helicopter had a flight data recorder.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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