Monday, November 21, 2005


State residents back Aruba boycott

MOBILE — Three-quarters of Alabama residents back the governor’s call for a travel boycott of Aruba to protest the island’s handling of the disappearance of teenager Natalee Holloway.

The poll, conducted by the Mobile Register and University of South Alabama and released yesterday, also found that seven out of 10 respondents would not travel to the Caribbean island even if they won a free trip.

Gov. Bob Riley, a Republican, proposed the boycott to protest the investigation into the disappearance of Miss Holloway, who went missing in May at the end of a Mountain Brook High School graduation trip.

The teen’s family claims authorities in Aruba have conducted a shoddy investigation. Miss Holloway, who was 18 when she vanished, was last seen leaving a bar with three young Aruba residents. The three were taken into custody but have been released.

Authorities in Aruba have reacted angrily to the call for a boycott. The State Department has refused to support a boycott, as have many travel groups.


Santa Ana wind feeds wildfire

VENTURA — The hot, dry Santa Ana wind blew strongly again yesterday while firefighters battled a 3,700-acre wildfire that had burned through rough terrain above this oceanfront city.

The fire was 72 percent contained as more than 1,300 firefighters worked in the area between Ventura and Ojai, about 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Crews expected to surround the blaze by tomorrow evening.

The blaze began Friday in foothills above expensive homes, but none of the homes had burned and none was in immediate danger, fire officials said.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation.


Family to retrieve Nez Perce skull

LEWISTON — A Lapwai family will travel to Washington next month to retrieve an ancestor’s skull for burial.

The skull of the Nez Perce warrior Five Wounds has been at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History for more than a century. Five Wounds was killed during a suicide charge in the Nez Perce War of 1877. The U.S. Army took his skull to Washington in 1898.


Boy, 12, charged in fatal shooting

CHICAGO — A 12-year-old boy has been charged with the juvenile equivalent of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of a 26-year-old man at a sidewalk dice game.

The boy, whose name was not released because of his age, was being held at a Cook County juvenile facility, said John Gorman, a spokesman for the Cook County state’s attorney’s office. A hearing is set for today to determine whether the boy will stay in custody or be released to his parents, Mr. Gorman said.

Witnesses told police the boy had been watching a teenage cousin shooting dice on Nov. 13. They said Deon McGary, 26, of suburban Hazel Crest, also was watching the game and traded insults with the boy’s cousin. The witnesses said that when the quarrel turned physical, the boy pulled out a handgun and shot Mr. McGary four times, police said.

Under Illinois law, a 12-year-old cannot be charged as an adult. Mr. Gorman said that if the boy is found guilty, he will face penalties ranging from probation to placement in a residential treatment facility until he is 21.


Mother-to-be killed on way to shower

SALEM — A pregnant woman driving to a surprise baby shower was killed in an auto accident along with her unborn child, officials said.

Krista M. Raymond, 22, who was eight months pregnant, was in Andover, Mass., on Thursday when another woman pulled out of a day care center and their cars collided, authorities said. The other driver and her three children suffered minor injuries.

The Salem woman was on her way to another day care center where she had worked for four years and where her co-workers had planned to throw her a baby shower.


Former Miss Americas asked for donations

ATLANTIC CITY — With its bags packed for Las Vegas and its bank balances sagging, the Miss America pageant is asking former winners to donate money for the scholarship that goes with the crown.

In an unprecedented step, Miss America Organization Chief Executive Officer Art McMaster appealed to former winners to kick in for the $50,000 scholarship, citing the pageant’s new fundraising push.

In a Nov. 3 letter obtained by the Associated Press, Mr. McMaster, who announced last week that the next Miss America will be crowned in Las Vegas, noted the pageant’s loss of network television revenue and said donations were needed to underwrite the Miss America scholarship.


Dog left alone starts a fire

JAMESTOWN — A pit bull left home alone jumped on top of a stove, turned on a burner and started a fire that caused about $2,000 in damage, officials said.

The dog, named Satchel, climbed on the stove and stepped on a push-button control to turn on a burner, said the dog’s owner, Josh Larson, who was at work at the time. The burner ignited something plastic on the stove top.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze on the stove top. No other residents of the apartment building were affected.

The dog ran off but was found a few blocks away about five hours later, shaking with fear.


Pastor camps on roof for turkey donations

PITCAIRN — A pastor who had been camping on his church roof came down after collecting more than 500 turkeys for needy families.

Pastor David Martin of the Pitcairn Assembly of God climbed to the roof last Monday and said he would camp in a tent until he collected the 500 birds.

Mr. Martin had collected 255 turkeys as of noon Wednesday. Someone promised him more than 100 turkeys, which, along with other donations, surpassed his goal of 500.

Mr. Martin said he reached his goal sooner than expected. He had planned to stay on the roof until Friday.


Heating aid delays anger lawmakers

MONTPELIER — Lawmakers are critical of the Vermont Department for Children and Families because of its slow processing of home heating assistance for the winter.

The agency says it has processed all of the assistance applications filed by Aug. 31. But 5,000 out of 25,000 total applications haven’t been processed. Deputy Commissioner Betsy Forrest says needed assistance will be provided.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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