- The Washington Times - Monday, April 6, 2009

ALASKA

Volcanic ash bedevils residents

ANCHORAGE | Mount Redoubt is getting under the skin of Alaskans, and it’s not just the irritation caused by volcanic ash.

For residents of Alaska’s largest city, living near an active volcano means sometimes wearing air-filtration masks and stretching pantyhose over the air intake of cars and trucks.

The volcano also brings daily uncertainty about whether it will blow and, if it does, where the ash will go.

“I would like it to have a big boom and get it over with,” said Brad Sandison, a retired truck driver and avid cyclist who carries a face mask and goggles whenever he rides just in case the volcano starts spewing ash.

The mountain 100 miles southwest of Anchorage tends to erupt every decade or so and belch ash for months. Geologists have recorded at least 19 eruptions since March 22. So far, Mount Redoubt’s almost daily ash clouds have canceled hundreds of airline flights, reduced the number of shipments flowing through a huge FedEx cargo facility and cut shipments of fresh Alaskan seafood.

ARIZONA

Customs says art framed with pot

DOUGLAS | It wasn’t the beauty of the paintings that caught of the eye of customs agents.

It was their drug-sniffing dog turning up his nose at the art that stopped the show.

Federal officials in Arizona say a man was taken into custody after Customs and Border Protection officers found 90 pounds of marijuana hidden in the frames of six large paintings in his vehicle.

Officers selected the man’s vehicle for a routine inspection Friday at the border crossing in Douglas, and their dog showed an interest in the paintings.

An X-ray revealed the marijuana in the frames.

The agency says the paintings were professionally done and the frames were nicely constructed. The man was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He had not been charged.

CALIFORNIA

Son of Ryan O’Neal held on drug charges

LOS ANGELES | Los Angeles police say the 24-year-old son of actors Ryan O’Neal and Farrah Fawcett was arrested on a drug charge just months after he and his father were charged with drug possession.

Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore says Redmond O’Neal was arrested Sunday on suspicion of bringing narcotics into a jail facility after admitting he was carrying drugs. He is being held on $25,000 bail.

Mr. Whitmore says a deputy stopped Mr. O’Neal, who was at the jail giving a ride to a friend.

Mr. O’Neal was arrested in September with Ryan O’Neal and charged with felony methamphetamine possession. He was on probation for a previous drug conviction.

The arrest was first reported by RadarOnline.com.

MASSACHUSETTS

IBM takes back offer to buy Sun Microsystems

BOSTON | IBM Corp. withdrew its offer to buy Sun Microsystems Inc. for about $7 billion this weekend, clouding the prospects for a deal that would have shaken up the computing industry, The Associated Press has learned.

Talks were in their final stages in recent days, but IBM took its offer off the table this weekend after Sun terminated IBM’s status as its exclusive negotiating partner, according to two people familiar with the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the negotiations.

One of these people said the two sides were still meeting Sunday.

The breakdown in the negotiations was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

NEW YORK

NYC’s archbishop to get pacemaker

NEW YORK | Cardinal Edward Egan, the archbishop of New York, is scheduled to undergo surgery Monday morning to receive a pacemaker.

New York Archdiocese spokesman Joe Zwilling says Cardinal Egan. 77. went to St. Vincent’s Hospital with stomach pain. After undergoing tests to determine the cause, doctors determined that he needs a pacemaker.

He is expected to remain there until Tuesday. It is not clear whether he will be able to take part in any Holy Week activities.

Cardinal Egan is retiring from his post this month. The archdiocese serves 2.5 million Catholics in about 400 parishes. Cardinal Egan has led it for nearly nine years.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan, the prelate of Milwaukee, will succeed him.

PENNSYLVANIA

Argument over dog preceded ambush

PITTSBURGH | A 911 call that brought two city police officers to a home where they were ambushed, and where a third was later killed during a four-hour siege, was precipitated by a fight between the gunman and his mother over a dog urinating in the house.

The Saturday morning argument between Margaret and Richard Poplawski escalated to the point that she threatened to kick him out and called police to do it, according to a 12-page criminal complaint and affidavit filed late Saturday that contains her account.

When Officers Paul Sciullo III and Stephen Mayhle arrived, Mrs. Poplawski opened the door and told them to come in and take her 23-year-old son, apparently unaware that he had grabbed a long rifle and was standing behind her, according to the court papers. She told investigators she heard gunshots and spun around.

Autopsies show Officer Sciullo, 37, died of wounds to the head and torso, while Officer Mayhle, 29, was shot in the head.

A third officer, Eric Kelly, 41, was killed as he arrived to assist the first two officers. Officer Kelly was in uniform but on his way home when he responded and was gunned down in the street.

Officer Kelly’s radio call for help summoned other officers, including a SWAT team. The ensuing standoff included a gunbattle in which police say Mr. Poplawski tried to kill at least nine other officers. Mr. Poplawski is charged with three counts of criminal homicide and nine counts of attempted homicide.

TEXAS

Strong winds fuel fires, hamper crews

WHEELER | Strong wind on Sunday hampered fire crews’ efforts to control several Texas wildfires that had destroyed four homes and damaged about 20 others.

The largest fire, an 11,000-acre blaze near the Texas- Oklahoma line, was about 25 percent contained but wind gusting to 35 mph made it difficult to maintain fire lines, Texas Forest Service spokeswoman Jeanne Eastham said.

She said the Wheeler blaze burned four homes and damaged 20 others. The town of about 1,300 residents was temporarily evacuated Saturday after the fire jumped the North Fork of the Red River. Residents returned home late in the day.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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