- The Washington Times - Friday, July 24, 2009

ALASKA

Palin hailed at village visit

UNALAKLEET | Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was welcomed as an old friend as she and husband Todd visited Unalakleet, where Mr. Palin has stopped dozens of times on his snowmobile.

The governor joked that the visit was her husband’s first to Unalakleet by plane and the first time it was not covered in snow. Mr. Palin has traveled frequently to the western Alaska village along the Bering Sea for the Iron Dog snowmobile race.

The governor signed a bill to continue subsidies for rural energy costs, but the trip was also a farewell of sorts.

Mrs. Palin has been traveling throughout the state as she prepares to leave office Sunday fulfilling her surprise resignation announcement.

Mrs. Palin said the visits are not a farewell tour, but rather a way to thank Alaska residents for allowing her to serve as governor.

CALIFORNIA

Co-author of first AIDS report dies

LOS ANGELES | Dr. Joel Weisman, who co-wrote the first report on AIDS in 1981, has died. He was 66.

Dr. Weisman died Saturday at his Los Angeles home. His domestic partner, Bill Hutton, said he had heart disease and was ill for several months.

Dr. Weisman was a private physician in 1980 when he saw three gay patients who had symptoms of what would become known as AIDS. Dr. Weisman referred two of the patients to an immunologist at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Dr. Weisman, along with UCLA immunologist Dr. Martin Gottlieb, wrote a brief report of what they learned.

Their paper appeared on June 5, 1981, in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It was the first report on AIDS in medical literature.

IDAHO

2 men convicted of hate crime

BOISE | A federal jury has found two men guilty of committing a hate crime for beating a black man outside a Nampa Wal-Mart last year.

Michael Bullard and Richard Armstrong both face up to 20 years in prison when they are sentenced Oct. 19. Jennifer Hartpence was also accused in the hate crime, but the charges against her were dismissed before the case went to the jury on Wednesday.

Federal prosecutors said that the defendants, who are white, plotted an attack on Raylen Smith, then 24, after encountering him in the aisles of Wal-Mart. They beat him in the parking lot until he blacked out.

A fourth man accused in the attack, James D. Whitewater, pleaded guilty before the case went to trial.

INDIANA

Last of escaped inmates caught

INDIANAPOLIS | The last of three convicts who escaped from Indiana State Prison has been caught in Indianapolis after 11 days on the run.

Indiana Department of Correction spokesman Doug Garrison said 46-year-old convicted murder Mark Booher of New Castle was caught around noon Thursday at a hotel on the northwest side of Indianapolis.

Booher and two other inmates escaped July 12 through the underground tunnel system of the maximum-security prison in Michigan City.

Convicted murderer Charles Smith was captured the following day about eight miles from the prison in Grand Beach, Mich. Authorities arrested convicted rapist Lance Battreal on Tuesday at his parents’ home in the southern Indiana town of Rockport.

NEW YORK

Mayor asks drivers not to idle

NEW YORK | Mayor Michael Bloomberg has told his drivers to cut out the idling after the Associated Press reported it observed his SUVs idling throughout the city.

Bloomberg spokesman Stu Loeser said the mayor made it clear to the police detail that drives him around that he wants to set a better example. The city also said that months ago, the mayor had “No Engine Idling” signs installed on the dashboards of the Chevrolet Suburbans.

The AP reported Wednesday that in spot checks over the past week, the parked vehicles were idling at least eight times for periods of 10 minutes to more than an hour. The AP reported its findings after Mr. Bloomberg, who casts himself as an environmental leader, signed a bill strengthening the city’s anti-idling law earlier this year.

OHIO

Police: Ohio tot fatally shot self

VANDALIA | Police say a 3-year-old southwest Ohio boy has died after apparently shooting himself in the face with his father’s gun.

The boy’s mother said in a 911 call Tuesday afternoon that William McAnaul pulled the trigger after he found the 9 mm handgun under a bed in the family’s home in the Dayton suburb of Vandalia. He died at a Dayton hospital later in the day.

Vandalia city spokesman Rich Hopkins calls it an “absolutely tragic accident.” Police Lt. Harry Busse said Wednesday that details of the shooting would not be released until the investigation was complete.

The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office said autopsy results are pending.

TEXAS

State cleaning up coastal oil blobs

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND | Gooey oil blobs as big as basketballs have been washing up on the sandy beaches of South Padre Island in Texas, officials said Thursday.

The Texas General Land Office said it doesn’t know what is causing the tarlike blobs, but authorities were working to clean up the popular tourist destination. Beaches have not been closed.

Crews “scooped out a bunch of tar balls on the beach,” agency spokesman Jim Suydam told the Associated Press. “We’re doing analysis of the currents to track it back to the source as well as collecting some of the tar balls for chemical analysis to see where it came from.”

At least seven 55-gallon drums of oil have been removed since Wednesday morning after tourists began calling in reports of seeing blobs of oil on the beach, Mr. Suydam said.

“We don’t know the source. We suspect it’s coming from south of the border,” he said. Texas authorities are in the process of contacting Mexican officials for help pinpointing the contamination, he said.

WASHINGTON

Fouled nuke site gets treatment

RICHLAND | Construction has begun on an $80 million groundwater treatment system at the nation’s most contaminated nuclear site.

Federal stimulus money is paying for the construction, which will treat contaminated groundwater at south-central Washington’s Hanford nuclear reservation.

The Department of Energy is spending about $2 billion of stimulus money to speed cleanup at Hanford. Department officials say the water project is just one example of how the money is creating jobs, protecting the nearby Columbia River and reducing the long-term costs of cleanup.

The new system is expected to be operating by 2012. It will pump more than 85 million gallons of contaminated groundwater per month.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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