- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 25, 2009

CALIFORNIA

Algae, mussels threaten Lake Tahoe

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE | Non-native, dime-size Asian clams are spreading rapidly across parts of Lake Tahoe, often accompanied by stringy mats of bright green algae, and posing a new threat to the world-renowned mountain lake, the Sacramento Bee reports.

Found in concentrations of up to 3,000 per square meter, the clams are concentrated in the lake’s southeast section. If they spread more widely - and some have recently turned up in Emerald Bay on the southwest side - the ecological health of the lake may be in danger.

The clams have been in Lake Tahoe for at least seven years, scientists say, and apparently arrived on the hull of a boat, or as fish bait. But it wasn’t until this spring that they were discovered in such high concentrations between Zephyr Point and Elk Point on the Nevada side of the lake.

MINNESOTA

Vet gets Favre goat

WINONA | A goat painted in the Minnesota Vikings colors, purple and gold, and with the number 4 - Vikings newcomer Brett Favre’s number - shaved into its side, was in the trunk of a woman’s car when she took it to a repair shop. The goat is in the care of a veterinarian, authorities said.

James Prusci, an auto repairman with Tires Plus, said a woman came in to the store just before noon Friday and informed him there was a live goat in her trunk, the Winona Daily News reported Monday.

Mr. Prusci said the woman told him she planned to butcher the animal but her car broke down en route to St. Paul, Minn. Workers heard the goal crying in the trunk, Mr. Prusci called animal control and a vehicle from the service arrived with two police cars as the woman was preparing to drive away.

NEBRASKA

Students injured in bus-truck crash

FIRTH | Twenty-one students and two drivers were injured when a school bus collided with a pickup at a rural intersection.

Capt. Don Young of the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Department in southeast Nebraska said the bus rolled over on its right side after colliding with the pickup Monday morning at the unmarked intersection about four miles west of Firth.

Capt. Young said the injuries were not believed to be life-threatening. He said the impact ripped off the front of the truck.

NEW JERSEY

Officials oppose Gadhafi’s stay

ENGLEWOOD | Town officials are trying to prevent Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi from staying here when he visits the United States next month.

Libya is renovating a mansion that it bought in Englewood in 1982. People in the New York-area suburb are riled by reports that Col. Gadhafi may stay in a bedouin tent on the property when he speaks at the United Nations.

State Rep. Steve Rothman, Englewood Democrat, says officials should do everything they can to prevent the leader from coming to town.

NEW YORK

Not-guilty plea in skyscraper case

NEW YORK | Elevator operator Joseph Pabon, 25, pleaded not guilty Monday in state Supreme Court in the death of a cleaning worker whose body was found stuffed in a skyscraper’s air-conditioning shaft.

Investigators said Mr. Pabon snatched 46-year-old Eridania Rodriguez on July 7 as she worked on an empty floor in the 26-story office building. They said he smothered her with tape, hid her body in the shaft and then told his manager he was ill and went home.

Police found Miss Rodriguez’s body four days later. Prosecutors said Mr. Pabon’s DNA was found under her fingernails.

PENNSYLVANIA

Kickback judges lose in court

ALLENTOWN | Two former Pennsylvania judges who pleaded guilty to fraud have lost their bid to keep their plea agreement in place.

Former Luzerne County judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan were charged in January with taking millions of dollars in kickbacks to place youth offenders in privately owned detention centers. Their plea agreements with prosecutors had called for sentences of more than seven years in prison.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Governor’s travel questioned again

COLUMBIA | A state senator said he has found four more pricey flights by Gov. Mark Sanford that violated rules requiring officials to use lowest-cost travel.

Republican Sen. David Thomas said Mr. Sanford flew business class on trips to Austria, Germany, Poland and Asia that cost taxpayers nearly $14,000 more than economy class.

Mr. Thomas, who is running for Congress, earlier said two other trips cost an extra $13,700. The governor has said he needed the costly seats to be well rested.

Mr. Sanford has been under scrutiny since he revealed a yearlong affair with an Argentine woman in June.

WISCONSIN

Man pleads guilty in Cudahy fire

MILWAUKEE | One of two brothers accused of starting a $50 million fire at the Patrick Cudahy Inc. meatpacking plant in Cudahy pleaded guilty Monday to reckless endangerment, and his brother is likely to plead guilty to charges next week, the brother’s attorney said.

Joshua J. Popp, 23, pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree recklessly endangering safety in an agreement with prosecutors in which he will serve three years of probation, a period of community service and be subject to other conditions left to the discretion of the court, said Popp’s attorney, Steven McGaver.

“My client is extremely remorseful and contrite about what happened,” he said. “Obviously it’s something he never intended in a million years.”

Kurtis J. Popp, 25, fired a flare July 5 given to him by his brother, who had taken it while serving in the Marines Corps, according to prosecutors. The flare landed on a roof at the meatpacking plant and the fire it cause destroyed four buildings.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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