- The Washington Times - Monday, September 28, 2009

CALIFORNIA

Michael Jackson’s sneak peek a sellout

Advance screenings to the music documentary “Michael Jackson: This Is It” sold out within two hours early Sunday as fans who began lining up three days earlier snapped up all 3,000 tickets to the Los Angeles shows.

The documentary opens nationwide Oct. 28, but fans will get a sneak peek the night before in screenings at the new Regal Cinemas Stadium 14. For the theater’s grand opening, the cinema will show “This Is It” on all 14 screens that night. Directed by longtime Jackson collaborator Kenny Ortega, “This Is It” draws on hundreds of hours of footage as Mr. Jackson prepared for a series of London concerts for which he was rehearsing before his death June 25.

FLORIDA

Six hurt in 15-vehicle crash

TAMPA | Authorities said a crash involving 15 vehicles including a charter bus injured six people on Interstate 75 near Tampa.

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Chief Craig Lynn said none of the injuries were considered life threatening. Chief Lynn said 32 people were aboard the bus Sunday afternoon. It was traveling from Sarasota to Gatlinburg, Tenn. He said the bus carried a church group that was headed to a Christian jubilee.

Chief Lynn said none of the bus passengers reported injuries. The northbound lanes are shut down near the crash site.

NEW JERSEY

Thomas Edison’s lab to reopen

WEST ORANGE | The New Jersey laboratory where Thomas Edison perfected some of his most famous inventions is reopening with a wealth of restored material.

The Thomas Edison National Historical Park has undergone a six-year, $13 million overhaul.

Mr. Edison built the lab and other buildings in West Orange in 1887 and worked there until his death in 1931. He used the lab to develop and mass produce inventions such as the phonograph and movie camera.

NEW YORK

Firefighters tie knot atop ladder trucks

EAST MEADOW | Two members of a Long Island, N.Y., volunteer fire department say they chose firefighting as their wedding theme, right down to the bride’s veil and boots.

Saturday’s nuptials in East Meadow included a line of fellow firefighters with crossed pike-poles and vows exchanged by Mary Carlson and David Paganini in buckets atop the tower ladders.

“When the ceremony is over, I was wondering if they were going to spray them with the hose or throw rice,” guest Marie Salemy told Newsday.

Newsday said the bride and groom are members of the East Meadow Fire Department and met at their 2004 Christmas party. The ceremony was held at a fire station with more than 50 fellow firefighters and emergency medical technicians in attendance.

PENNSYLVANIA

49 years married but no documents

WILMORE | A western Pennsylvania couple still plan to celebrate their 49th wedding anniversary next month even though they recently learned their marriage paperwork was never filed.

Frank and Betty Skrout were married Oct. 6, 1960, at a Catholic church in Wilmore, a tiny borough 55 miles east of Pittsburgh, where they still live.

They learned of the paperwork problem when she recently applied for pension benefits and was told she was still listed as single. The priest who married them never filed a return of marriage document proving he performed the ceremony.

The Skrouts are working with the church to fix the problem but for now are joking about it and say they have no plans to live apart.

TEXAS

Memorial service for slain teacher

TYLER | Hundreds of friends, family members, colleagues and students gathered to remember the life of an educator and musician who was stabbed to death at a Texas high school.

Drawings, letters, scrapbooks and notes from John Tyler High School students to special education teacher Todd Roberts Henry filled the foyer of the chapel at Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, where the memorial service was held Saturday.

A 16-year-old student is accused of stabbing Mr. Henry to death Wednesday. Lawyer Jim Huggler has said the student has a lengthy history of mental illness. At the memorial service for Henry, friend Mitch Shamburger told mourners that the 50-year-old teacher lived life to the fullest.

UTAH

Woman apologizes in Smart case

WEST VALLEY CITY | In letters written to her mother, the woman charged in the 2002 kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart has sought forgiveness for any pain she has caused and says she expects to spend the rest of her life in prison.

Wanda Eileen Barzee, 63, however, makes just one reference to Miss Smart in the 12 letters obtained by the Associated Press. And she doesn’t provide details about the nine months the girl allegedly spent with her and her now-estranged husband Brian David Mitchell.

The couple are charged with multiple felonies in state court and last year were indicted by a federal grand jury.

WISCONSIN

What’s ugly, smells, kills dogs?

WAUSAU | Waterways across the upper Midwest are increasingly plagued with ugly, smelly and potentially deadly blue-green algae, bloomed by drought and fertilizer runoffs from farm fields, that’s killed dozens of dogs and sickened many people.

Aquatic biologists say it’s a problem that falls somewhere between a human health concern and a nuisance, but will eventually lead to more human poisoning. State officials are telling people who live on algae-covered lakes to close their windows, stop taking walks along the picturesque shorelines and keep their dogs from drinking the rank water.

Peggy McAloon, 62, lives on Wisconsin’s Tainter Lake and calls the algae blooms the “cockroach on the water.”

“It is like living in the sewer for three weeks. You gag. You cannot go outside,” she said. “We have pictures of squirrels that are dead underneath the scum and fish that are dead. It has gotten out of control because of the nutrient loads we as humans are adding to the waters.”

The scum has killed dozens of dogs over the years, including at least four in Oregon, three in Wisconsin and one in Minnesota this summer. Wisconsin wildlife specialists are warning duck hunters with dogs to be extra cautious this fall.

WYOMING

Second train derails within 24 hours

GILLETTE | A Burlington Northern Santa Fe train hauling coal in Wyoming has derailed, marking the second time within 24 hours that trains belonging to the railway company went off the tracks.

Spokesman Gus Melonas said investigators at the derailments in Wyoming and Montana have ruled out sabotage but have not determined an exact cause. The Sunday morning derailment on a side connection near Gillette involved 21 coal cars.

Mr. Melonas said all the cars remained upright with no spillage. Crews are working to put the cars back on the track. On Saturday afternoon, 13 freight cars on the Montana Hi-Line derailed 57 miles east of Glasgow. Mr. Melonas said the car remained intact, but is off the track and its contents will be transferred to another car.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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