- The Washington Times - Monday, January 19, 2009


Second bomb scare at officer’s home

NAPA | A bomb squad destroyed another suspicious package at the Napa home of the parents of the former Bay Area transit officer arrested for shooting an unarmed man at a BART station.

The Napa police department said the package was found Saturday and did not contain explosives.

It was the second time that week authorities went to the home belonging to Johannes Mehserle’s parents. On Wednesday, a bomb squad destroyed two packages left on their porch.

Officer Mehserle and his family have received death threats since the New Year’s Day shooting of Oscar Grant. Officer Mehserle has been charged with murder and has pleaded not guilty.

He resigned from BART after the shooting.


Graham grandson mulls new role

FORT LAUDERDALE | A high-profile South Florida megachurch known for fire-and-brimstone preaching wants a grandson of Billy Graham as its new pastor.

If Tullian Tchividjian accepts, he’d assume the seat at Fort Lauderdale’s Coral Ridge Presbyterian left vacant by the death of longtime pastor D. James Kennedy.

Mr. Kennedy died in September 2007. He was well-known as an architect of the religious right whose image on Christian broadcasting was beamed around the globe.

Being discussed is a merger of Mr. Tchividjian’s small church with the larger Coral Ridge congregation. Mr. Tchividjian put out a statement Monday saying that only if agreeable terms can be reached, will the churches merge and he assume the role of pastor.


Police boost DUI arrests last year

HONOLULU | Police arrested nearly 400 more people for driving under the influence last year compared with the year before amid stepped-up enforcement efforts.

The increase continues a trend that started eight years ago. Police think their actions have helped reduce traffic deaths.

Fatal traffic deaths dropped to 46 on Oahu last year from 67 the year before.

Alcohol-related auto fatalities also fell, to 14 from 24 in 2007.


Man crowned king of Elvis impersonators

SPRINGFIELD | An Illinois man has been crowned the King - of the Elvis impersonators.

Bill Cherry of Collinsville took home the $3,200 prize this weekend in Springfield at the “Annual Midwest Tribute to the King Competition” for his Elvis impersonating skills.

He beat 14 competitors from Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. Mr. Cherry also was a finalist for an international contest during Elvis Week in Presley’s hometown of Memphis, Tenn.

Mr. Cherry takes home a King’s ransom: The $3,200 prize.


Residents dig out of 20 inches of snow

GRAY | Mainers were digging out Monday from a daylong storm that dumped more than a foot and a half of snow in some areas of the state.

The National Weather Service said Robbinston in far eastern Maine got the deepest amount, with 20.3 inches, while Orono received 19.8 inches.

Nineteen inches of snow was reported in Columbia, while 18 inches fell in Calais, Gorham and Ellsworth.

Portland got 16 inches from the storm, while setting a record for snowfall Sunday with 11.5 inches for the date, breaking the previous mark of 11.2 inches in 1979.


Five injured when bus skids

GRAFTON | State police are investigating after a bus headed for a Connecticut casino skidded off the Massachusetts Turnpike and down an embankment.

State Police Sgt. Timothy Finn said none of the 31 people on board late Sunday was seriously hurt. He said five people were treated for neck and back injuries at UMass Medical Center in Worcester.

The bus from Morning Sun Bus Company in Quincy slid off the road in snowy conditions at about 11 p.m. The bus came to rest upright after hitting a guardrail.

The bus was headed for Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn.

Sgt. Finn said he did not know what caused the crash or whether any charges would be filed.


Three killed in avalanches

BOZEMAN | A search dog helped rescuers find the body of a man who was buried by an avalanche, one of three men killed by snowslides in Montana during the weekend.

The man’s body was found Sunday under 3 feet of snow with his rescue beacon accidentally turned off, the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center reported. The site was near Cooke City in south-central Montana.

In southwestern Montana, a 50-year-old man died in a small avalanche in Madison County and a 21-year-old died in an avalanche on Mount Jefferson in Beaverhead County.

All three accidents happened Saturday.


FDA confirms salmonella in crackers

BATTLE CREEK | Food maker Kellogg said federal authorities have confirmed that salmonella has been found in a package of one of its peanut butter crackers.

Last week the Battle Creek-based company recalled 16 products because of possible salmonella contamination.

On Monday it said that contamination was confirmed by the Food and Drug Administration in a package of Austin Quality Foods Toasty Crackers with Peanut Butter.

Also Monday, Meijer Inc. is recalling two types of crackers and two varieties of ice cream because of possible salmonella contamination.

Meijer brand Cheese and Peanut Butter and Toasty Peanut Butter sandwich crackers and Peanut Butter and Jelly and Peanut Butter Cup ice cream are being recalled.

A salmonella outbreak has killed at least six people and sickened more than 470 others in 43 states.


Rescuer: Dolphins may be dead

TRENTON | The head of a marine mammal rescue group said he’s afraid the last five dolphins who have been staying in two Jersey shore rivers since June may be dead.

Bob Schoelkopf, co-director of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, said increasing ice in the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers, coupled with the fact that no one has seen the dolphins since Thursday, indicates they may have perished.

Mr. Schoelkopf says when he last saw the bottlenose dolphins Jan. 13, they looked emaciated and weak.

“I don’t think they’re alive anymore,” he said Monday.

A spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which has jurisdiction over the animals, did not return a call seeking comment Monday afternoon.


Jet crash probe to last one year

NEW YORK | The investigation into the crash-landing of a US Airways jetliner will last a year, and the lessons will go on for decades.

That’s the word from Robert Benzon, the National Transportation Safety Board’s chief investigator on the accident. He spoke Monday as experts began analyzing damage to the aircraft.

Mr. Benzon said the fact that everyone aboard the jet survived has made this investigation the most pleasant he has ever worked on. He said the probe also lacks the finger-pointing that sometimes accompanies accident investigations.

Pilot Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger landed the plane in the Hudson River after a collision with birds shut down both engines.


WW II pilot buried 65 years later

CHARLESTON | Maj. Marion Ryan McCown Jr. is finally at rest in South Carolina.

The World War II aviator was buried with full military honors Sunday, 65 years after he disappeared during a dogfight with a Japanese fighter over the Pacific. His remains were found last year inside the wreckage of his Corsair fighter on a mountainside in New Guinea.

The Post and Courier of Charleston reports that Maj. McCown was buried alongside his mother’s grave in the Unitarian Church of Charleston cemetery.

At the ceremony, he was remembered as a Golden Gloves boxer who enlisted in the Marines, quickly becoming a member of Marine Fighter Squadron VMF-321, known as the “Hell’s Angels.” He was 27 when he went missing while flying escort on a mission to bomb a Japanese air base in New Guinea.


Five killed in highway crash

MARINETTE | Officials in northern Wisconsin said five people were killed after a pickup truck slammed into a car on a highway.

The Marinette County sheriff’s department said the car may have failed to yield the right of way before the crash Sunday evening.

Chief Deputy Jerry Sauve said all five who died were in the car. Two of them were thrown from the car and another was partially ejected.

The victims are three females and two males. The driver of the pickup was treated at a hospital.

Snow and cold was inhibiting the investigation, Deputy Sauve said, but he doesn’t know whether the weather was a factor in the accident.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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