Archive for Sunday, August 24, 2003


August 24, 2003


100th birthday present: U.S. citizenship

Omaha, Neb. -- It was not an ordinary birthday weekend for Mei-Fen Yeh -- not that 100th birthdays are ever ordinary.

With granddaughter Francis Phang, 16, translating, the native of Hangzhou, China, became a U.S. citizen on Aug. 17, a day after she turned 100.

That made Yeh the oldest person in Nebraska or Iowa to ever take the oath of citizenship, said Jerry Heinauer, district director of the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services.

It was the culmination of a 10-year project for her family, who helped her learn enough American history and teach her enough English to pass the citizenship test.

Yeh pledged her allegiance to the United States, even saying she would bear arms for her country.

Yeh said becoming an American citizen would make travel back to China a lot easier.

78-year-old rescued after four days in ditch

Kingston, N.Y. -- A 78-year-old woman fell into a ditch near a shopping mall and survived for four days through hail and lightning before she was rescued.

Ruth Merritt was reported missing last week after failing to return to her assisted living home in Poughkeepsie.

She had taken a taxi to the mall, authorities said. Merritt tried to cross the road to get to a store on the other side. She walked down a rocky embankment bordering the road when her knees weakened and she fell 15 feet in the ditch, Ulster Police said.

She sprained her ankle and could not stand up. For four days, and through a storm, Merritt stayed awake.

A mall security guard spotted Merritt lying in the ditch.

She was taken to Benedictine Hospital, where she was treated for a sprained ankle and dehydration.

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