Twelfth church damaged by fire
BIRMINGHAM — A 12th Alabama church was damaged by fire yesterday, but authorities said the suspected arson attack appeared unrelated to 11 others across the state this month.
The fire at Chapman’s Chapel in Etowah County was reported at about 7:20 a.m., according to Jay Chambers, acting chief of police in Glencoe, the closest town to the church. Most of Chapman’s 25 regular worshippers are white.
Unlike other churches, damaged or destroyed in Alabama since Feb. 3, Chief Chambers said the fire at Chapman’s Chapel started outside the building. It sustained only minor damage to its exterior vinyl siding, he said.
Cheerleader dies suddenly at practice
LOS ANGELES — School officials and police said they were baffled Friday over the sudden death of a 14-year-old girl who lost consciousness after being tossed into the air at cheerleading practice.
Shauna Stuewe, a freshman at Esperanza High School in Anaheim, had just been twirled in the air by teammates when she complained of feeling dizzy and collapsed Wednesday. She was pronounced dead at a local hospital after suffering cardiac arrest.
“We did perform an autopsy, but the cause of death was inconclusive pending further microscopic and toxicology tests, which can take anywhere from six to eight weeks,” Orange County Sheriff’s spokesman Jim Amormino said.
Woman mauled; dogs euthanized
COEUR D’ALENE — A woman who was mauled by three Rottweiler-Chinese chow mixes she purchased for protection will have skin grafts on her legs.
Trudy Deon, 50, is recovering from the Feb. 11 attack. The three 100-pound dogs, and a fourth that was chained during the attack, were euthanized last week.
Judge won’t block child center closing
NEW ALBANY — A judge won’t block state plans to close the Silvercrest Children’s Development Center. Special Judge Cecile Blau said there was no evidence that closing the center for disabled children would cause irreparable harm.
Some parents and the union representing employees had sued to stop the closure.
Harvard president faces new pressure
BOSTON — Harvard University’s governing board is considering whether to intervene before the Ivy League school’s president faces an unprecedented second vote of no confidence over his leadership, three newspapers reported this weekend.
Members of the powerful Harvard Corporation have spoken with faculty and university officials about Harvard President Lawrence Summers’ management style and are mulling whether to ask him to resign before the vote, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Boston Globe wrote.
The Boston Globe reported one board member had asked Nancy Rosenblum, chairwoman of the government department and a longtime Summers supporter, how the faculty would react if Mr. Summers, whose abrupt style has won him praise and contempt, would step down.
The university’s faculty of arts and sciences has scheduled a no-confidence vote for its Feb. 28 meeting, almost one year after the body approved a no-confidence measure in March, after Mr. Summers’ comments on women’s underrepresentation in engineering and some scientific fields sparked controversy.
Firefighters help boy send stuck valentine
LINCOLN — Firefighters braved sleet, wind and freezing cold to rescue a valentine that got snagged in a tree after a boy sent it into the sky by balloon for his mother, who died of cancer last fall.
Joel Enriquez, 7, had made the valentine — a pink heart with purple heart stickers and the message “I miss you” — for Maria Enriquez at a grief-support group.
On Tuesday, the first-grader brought the valentine to his school, attached it to balloons and went outside with his 13-year-old brother and classmates to release the balloons. But as the balloons sailed up, the curly ribbon got tangled on tree branches.
Mary Rowan, the boy’s English-language teacher, later told firefighters what had happened, and on Thursday, despite the cold and 20-mph wind, an aerial truck crew pulled into the playground.
Capt. Arnold Jensen climbed 40 feet up an extended ladder, grabbed the deflated balloons and brought down the valentine. Another firefighter pulled three red balloons from the truck and helped Joel attach the valentine, and the boy released the balloons. This time, they disappeared into the clouds.
“I think she got your valentine,” Miss Rowan said, and Joel smiled.
School allows silent prayer
MINERAL RIDGE — A public high school that stopped opening the day with a prayer recited over the public-address system decided to let students pray silently instead if they wish.
Until recently, the Lord’s Prayer was recited before the Pledge of Allegiance and morning announcements at Mineral Ridge High School. District officials stopped the practice after being questioned by the Warren Tribune Chronicle.
Doorknob thief gets three years
PORT WASHINGTON — A man who claims he is obsessed with doorknobs faces three years in prison for a burglary spree in which dozens of them were taken from construction sites.
A criminal complaint said Thor Jeffrey Steven Laufer told police he took a variety of items from the construction sites in the Milwaukee suburb of Mequon to disguise his obsession, “so that it would look like a typical burglary rather than someone just stealing doorknobs.”
Laufer, 43, of Racine, was sentenced last week by Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Joseph McCormack to the three-year prison term, plus five years of extended supervision, and ordered to pay restitution. He had pleaded no contest to felony counts of burglary.
The thefts occurred in December 2004.
39 passengers hurt in bus accident
RAWLINS — A Greyhound bus rolled onto its side on snowy Interstate 80 early yesterday, injuring 39 passengers, after the driver was temporarily blinded by snow thrown up by a passing truck, authorities said.
There were no fatalities.
The bus, carrying 45 persons, started out in Salt Lake City and was bound for Denver with stops in Wyoming.
The driver, David Soraiz, 51, of Sandy, Utah, told troopers the bus veered onto the median, and that when he attempted to get back onto the roadway the bus rolled over, said Wyoming Highway Patrol Sgt. Stephen Townsend.
From wire dispatches and staff reports