- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 18, 2009

ARIZONA

Tribe hit by flood to reopen to visitors

SUPAI | An American Indian tribe that lives in a gorge off the Grand Canyon plans to reopen the flood-damaged area to tourists May 1.

Water from a summer thunderstorm surged through the canyon that is the ancestral home of the Havasupai Tribe in mid-August and forced the evacuation of hundreds of residents and tourists. The reservation has been closed to visitors since then, shutting down the economic lifeline of the community.

The tribe said on its Web site that it started taking reservations in January.

The village of Supai, its campgrounds and towering blue-green waterfalls are accessible only by foot, helicopter or mule.

FLORIDA

Shuttle arrives at space station

CAPE CANAVERAL | Space Shuttle Discovery arrived at the International Space Station on Tuesday.

The shuttle docked with the orbiting outpost late Tuesday afternoon. It’s delivering the final set of solar wings.

Before arriving, Discovery’s commander guided the ship through a 360-degree backflip so the station astronauts could photograph its belly. Because of communication system trouble, the station residents did not hear Mission Control’s “start” and “end” calls for picture-taking. But they said they think they got some good shots nonetheless, and that the shuttle looked in good condition.

Experts will scrutinize the images for any signs of launch damage.

GEORGIA

Ex-leader of suicide ring vows fight

ATLANTA | The former president of the Georgia-based group at the center of a wide-ranging investigation into assisted suicide said he hopes his trial will be a test case validating the “right-to-die” movement.

Ted Goodwin told the Associated Press he is “prepared to go forward and defend this vigorously.” The comments are his first extensive remarks since his arrest last month.

Mr. Goodwin and three other members of the Final Exit Network are charged with assisted suicide, tampering with evidence and violating racketeering laws in the death of a 58-year-old man.

He said the group has helped guide nearly 200 people to their deaths since it started in 2004. But he said the network never actively assisted suicide, instead offering people support in their final hours.

MONTANA

Wolf numbers up, but expansion slows

BILLINGS | A record 1,645 gray wolves counted in the northern Rockies this winter shows the predators’ population remains strong, but is no longer expanding as rapidly as in past years, federal officials said.

Since their reintroduction to the region in the mid-1990s, wolf numbers had previously grown on average by 24 percent annually in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Ed Bangs said this year’s figure is up only 8 percent. Mr. Bangs said that signals that wolves have filled most of the prime habitat in the three states.

Federal officials in January declared the region’s wolves were ready to come off the endangered-species list.

NEW YORK

Feds approve third Bloomberg run

NEW YORK | New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is free to run for a third term this year now that federal regulators have brushed aside objections to a change in the city’s term-limits law.

The approval Tuesday from the Justice Department clears the last legal obstacle for another run by the popular billionaire, first elected in 2001.

Mr. Bloomberg persuaded the City Council to make the change last fall.

The federal government has to approve voting-law changes to make sure they do not discriminate against minorities. But the regulators didn’t buy arguments by Mr. Bloomberg’s opponents that the change hurt minorities’ chances to run for office.

TEXAS

Air Force nurse charged in deaths

SAN ANTONIO | An Air Force nurse has been charged with giving lethal amounts of medication to three terminally ill patients in his care, military officials said Tuesday.

Capt. Michael Fontana, 35, was formally charged in military court with deliberately giving three Wilford Hall Medical Center patients lethal amounts of medication, and with conduct unbecoming an officer for purportedly changing a medical document.

The Air Force began investigating after another staff member at the San Antonio hospital discovered irregularities in Capt. Fontana’s administration of medications that may have resulted in the death of a terminally ill patient, Air Force spokesman David Smith said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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