- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Damaged oil tanker back at sea

ANCHORAGE | An Exxon tanker that lost power Sunday while leaving Alaska’s Prince William Sound is under way again.

Coast Guard Lt. Herbert Law says the tanker Kodiak departed at 4:50 a.m. Monday from a safe harbor at Knowles Head, where tugboats had towed the 831-foot vessel.

Lt. Law says the Kodiak will head to San Francisco to off-load its oil, then go to Seattle for permanent repairs. The tanker is carrying about 613,000 barrels, or more than 25 million gallons, of crude oil.

The tanker departed from Port Valdez early Sunday morning but lost power when a rear steam generator overheated.

Power was transferred to a forward steam generator with an auxiliary generator as a backup, an arrangement that the Coast Guard approved for the ship to sail.


Taco Bell founder dies at 86

RANCHO SANTA FE | Glen W. Bell Jr., an entrepreneur best known as the founder of the Taco Bell chain, has died. He was 86.

Mr. Bell died Sunday at his home in Rancho Santa Fe, according to a statement posted Monday on the Taco Bell Web site. The Irvine-based company did not release a cause of death.

“Glen Bell was a visionary and innovator in the restaurant industry, as well as a dedicated family man,” Greg Creed, president of Taco Bell, said in the statement.

Mr. Bell launched Taco Bell in 1962 in Downey after cutting ties with his business partners in other restaurant ventures and quickly expanding around Los Angeles. He sold the first Taco Bell franchise in 1964.

In 1978, Mr. Bell sold his 868 Taco Bell restaurants to PepsiCo for $125 million in stock. Taco Bell is now owned by Yum! Brands and is the largest Mexican fast-food chain in the nation, serving more than 36.8 million consumers each week in more than 5,600 U.S. locations.

Mr. Bell is survived by his wife, Martha, three sisters, two sons and four grandchildren. A private funeral is planned.


Freak accident kills heli-skier

TELLURIDE | A California woman died in a Colorado heli-skiing accident after she fell into a creek and apparently drowned when her helmet got stuck between two rocks.

Mary Scott King, of Huntington Beach, Calif., was downhill skiing over the weekend with a guide in the Mineral Creek Basin near Telluride when she crossed a creek.

The San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office says Ms. King, 50, fell in the water and that her helmet became wedged between two rocks. The guide was unable to free her, and she drowned. San Miguel County Sheriff Bill Masters called the death “one of those freak things.”

Heli-skiing is backcountry downhill skiing in which skiers are taken to the top of a mountain by helicopter instead of a ski lift.


Pearl Harbor canal hit by sewage spill

HONOLULU | Work crews in Hawaii are repairing a broken main that spilled thousands of gallons of sewage into a drainage canal that empties into Pearl Harbor.

State health officials say more than 11,000 gallons of sewage was discharged Sunday at Ted Makalena Golf Course.

Honolulu officials say the broken main was connected to a pump station.

The area of Pearl Harbor where the canal empties is not a public recreation area, and the city has posted warning signs.


Dogs blamed in death of owner’s father

CHICAGO | Chicago police are investigating the death of a 56-year-old man who was apparently fatally mauled by his daughter’s pit bulls.

The daughter told authorities she came home Sunday night and found her father, Johnny Wilson, lying on the living room floor, covered in blood. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office said Mr. Wilson suffered numerous bite wounds on various parts of his body.

The daughter turned over four adult pit bulls and two puppies to Chicago Animal Care and Control, where the dogs were being evaluated. Neighbors said there was no sign of dogfighting at the residence, and that Mr. Wilson had never seemed to have any problem with the dogs in the past.


City provides houses as ‘60s redress

HAMTRAMCK | More than 40 years after her family was forced from their home because they were black, Sallie Sanders has received the keys to a new home in Hamtramck in the Detroit area.

“My parents would be ecstatic that their offspring would be able to enjoy the things they couldn’t,” the 60-year-old Ms. Sanders said Monday before a ceremony to celebrate the milestone on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Hamtramck agreed in 1980 to develop 200 family housing units to make up for violating the civil rights of blacks whose neighborhoods were targeted by white officials to make way for urban renewal projects in the 1960s.

Hamtramck still hasn’t met that goal, although officials predict it will by next year.

The city of 23,000 is now extremely diverse, with immigrants from the Middle East, Africa and Bangladesh passing by a statue of Pope John Paul II in the historically Polish community. The 2000 census found 41 percent of the city’s residents were born in another country.


Governor approves medical-pot bill

TRENTON | New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine has signed legislation granting chronically ill patients legal access to marijuana.

Mr. Corzine’s office said the governor signed the bill late Monday, his last full day in office. Gov.-elect Chris Christie will be sworn in Tuesday.

New Jersey is the 14th state to allow patients with diseases such as cancer, AIDS, glaucoma and multiple sclerosis to use marijuana to alleviate their pain and other symptoms.

The legislation allows for dispensaries to be set up around the state where patients with prescriptions can access the drug. Growing marijuana at home will remain illegal, as will driving while high.


Pakistani scientist to face trial

NEW YORK | A Pakistani scientist who has been prone to rants in the courtroom is set for trial on attempted murder charges in New York.

Opening statements are scheduled for Tuesday in Aafia Siddiqui’s trial in Manhattan federal court, in a case riddled with curious questions.

Why did the 37-year-old surface in Afghanistan in 2008 carrying notes that authorities claim referred to a “mass casualty attack”? How did she end up in a shootout after her capture? And will she keep up her courtroom rants?

The defendant — a frail-looking reputed al Qaeda associate and neuroscience specialist trained at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Brandeis University — has already offered her own odd objections and commentary.

“There’s too many lies, injustices and hypocrisies here,” she announced last week during jury selection. Ms. Siddiqui, her face veiled with a white head scarf and hands aflutter, also argued that she can’t get a fair trial with Jews on the jury.

“If they have a Zionist or Israeli background … they are all mad at me,” she said. “They should be excluded if you want to be fair.”

Ms. Siddiqui hasn’t been charged with terrorism, accused instead of attempted murder and assault. But her case has drawn attention in part because authorities have accused her of fleeing the U.S. to her native Pakistan in 2003 after marrying an al Qaeda operative related to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the admitted mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Her supporters maintain she was kidnapped and held in U.S. custody before mysteriously turning up last summer in Afghanistan.


Officer gets 3 months for cruelty death

COLUMBUS | A military panel in Kuwait has convicted a U.S. soldier of cruelty against fellow soldiers, a case undertaken after an Army private from Ohio committed suicide in Iraq.

Staff Sgt. Enoch Chatman, of West Covina, Calif., was convicted last week on two violations of the cruelty and maltreatment article of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, said Lt. Col. Kevin Olson, a military spokesman in Iraq.

Chatman was one of four soldiers accused of mistreating others in their platoon in Iraq through verbal abuse, physical punishment and ridicule of other soldiers. The investigation was prompted by the August death of Pvt. Keiffer Wilhelm, who grew up in Willard in northwest Ohio.

Wilhelm, 19, was in Iraq with his new platoon for just 10 days before he killed himself. His family thinks he was treated so badly that he took his own life, but the military has determined there was no direct evidence the four soldiers’ misconduct caused the death.

His father, Shane Wilhelm, attended the trial and said he was glad Chatman “got something” but is not completely satisfied with the outcome. Chatman was sentenced Thursday to three months’ confinement, a reduction in rank and a reprimand, Col. Olson said. He had faced up to 10 years in prison.


Small-plane crash kills two people

CORVALLIS | A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employee and a contractor were killed when their small plane crashed in an Oregon forest.

Authorities identified the pilot as 52-year-old Vernon Ray Bentley, a Fish and Wildlife Service employee from Blodgett. His passenger was 59-year-old David Sherwood Pitkin of Bandon, a former employee who was working as a contractor for the agency.

Benton County sheriff’s deputies say they found the wreckage of the Cessna on Monday morning after it failed to arrive in Corvallis as scheduled on Sunday afternoon. A radio signal from the plane’s locator beacon allowed searchers to narrow the crash site to an area near Philomath.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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