- The Washington Times - Monday, May 25, 2009


Two fatally shot at graduation party

MESA | Two people were killed and six others - two of them children - were wounded in a shooting at a high school graduation party, police said Sunday.

A 37-year-old man was arrested after a four-hour standoff with police at a house in Mesa, east of Phoenix, Mesa police Sgt. Ed Wessing said.

Preliminary information indicated that the suspect was an invited guest at the party who got into a physical fight with his ex-wife late Saturday, Mr. Wessing said.

The suspect reportedly went to his vehicle, got a gun, returned to the party and opened fire, killing his 38-year-old ex-wife and a 32-year-old man, Sgt. Wessing said.

He said six others had minor injuries. They included a 10-year-old boy who was grazed on the head and an 8-year-old boy injured by bullet fragments.

Mr. Wessing said when police arrived patrol cars were hit by gunfire and one officer was shot in the left arm. The officer’s injuries weren’t life-threatening, and no other officers were hit.


Michigan woman in mix-up graduates

UPLAND | A Taylor University student initially misidentified three years ago as a classmate who died in a car wreck has graduated from the liberal arts college in northern Indiana.

The school says Whitney Cerak of Gaylord, Mich., received a bachelor’s degree in psychology Saturday.

Ms. Cerak was severely injured when a school van carrying students and staff was struck by a semitrailer in 2006. Classmate Laura Van Ryn, who closely resembled Ms. Cerak, died along with four others in the crash.

The Van Ryn family later realized that the young woman they were caring for was Ms. Cerak.

The truck driver pleaded guilty to five counts of reckless homicide and four counts of criminal recklessness and in 2007 was sentenced to four years in prison.


Huge lobster roll planned for festival

PORTLAND | As record-setting sandwiches go, the planned world’s largest lobster roll will be a colossal crustacean creation.

A team of culinary whizzes plan to combine 45 pounds of lobster meat, four gallons of Miracle Whip and a special blend of herbs and seasonings into a mix that will be slathered onto a 60-foot roll - so large that the bread will be brought in on a flatbed truck.

The monster lobster roll is to be unveiled June 7 during Maine’s Old Port Festival in Portland.

The lobster roll will be cut into 4-inch sections that are to be sold as part of a fundraiser for a Portland neighborhood association for youth swimming lessons.

The association intends to get the roll certified by Guinness World Records.


Council member’s property tax: $68

DETROIT | A Detroit City Council member paid only $68 in property taxes this year because city records showed that her home doesn’t exist.

JoAnn Watson, 58, said she was unaware of a city records discrepancy that has, for the past decade, listed her house as an empty lot even though the brick Tudor-style home has been occupying the plot since 1926, according to a story Sunday in the Detroit Free Press.

Ms. Watson said she receives her property tax bill separate from her mortgage bill and never questioned why her taxes dropped - or why they didn’t increase when she repaired her home after a tornado.

She said she noticed the drop in her property tax bill, which she handles herself, but assumed it was because the tornado left a hole in her roof and damaged the home’s foundation.

“I pay the taxes. All I know is I had a big drop when my house got hit hard by a tornado,” Ms. Watson said. “We had great damage.”

The Free Press reported that Ms. Watson bought the home on a land contract in 1990 and agreed to pay $40,000. Assessors calculated the property’s current value at $1,658 because they considered it a vacant lot.


Search continues for mom, sick son

NEW ULM | Authorities in Minnesota say the search for a woman and her sick 13-year-old son remains focused in Southern California and Mexico.

The Brown County sheriff’s department said Sunday that it is continuing to look for Daniel Hauser, who has Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and his mother Colleen, who is refusing to allow chemotherapy treatment for her son.

They were expected in court Tuesday. But The FBI says they left their home in Sleepy Eye, Minn., that day for Los Angeles.

Doctors say Daniel has a cancerous tumor growing in his chest that’s likely to kill him without chemotherapy, but his family prefers natural healing methods.

The American Cancer Society estimates that there are 35 to 50 clinics in Mexican border towns that attract cancer patients looking for alternative remedies.


Craps player sets record

ATLANTIC CITY | Saturday was a record-setting night for a novice craps player at an Atlantic City casino.

Patricia Demauro set a record for the longest craps roll, hanging on for four hours and 18 minutes at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa.

Borgata officials say she beat the previous record by one hour and 12 minutes. They say Stanley Fujitake of Honolulu set that record nearly 20 years ago in Las Vegas.

“This was only my second time playing craps, so this was very exciting for me to be a part of history,” said Ms. Demauro, who lives in Denville in northern New Jersey.

Ms. Demauro bought into a game for $100 and quickly amassed a cheering crowd. When she finally lost at 12:31 a.m., after 154 rolls of the dice, she was greeted by Borgata with a champagne toast.

The casino wouldn’t say how much Ms. Demauro won.


Bride on board at Grand Central

NEW YORK | Next stop, marriage.

A man who wanted to make his proposal a little bit special arranged to have it announced at Grand Central Terminal.

The proposal happened Friday at the beginning of the evening rush hour.

Commuters heard it over the public address system: “Amanda Gunning, please report to the information booth to meet Brian Steed. He wants to ask you to marry him.”

Onlookers cheered as Mr. Steed got down on one knee and popped the question.

She said “yes.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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