Archive for Monday, July 25, 2005

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July 25, 2005

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Hawaii

Hiker survives five days in lava field

A hiker lost for five days in a lava field near a volcano says he survived by drinking water he squeezed from moss in a mostly barren landscape.

Gilbert Dewey Gaedcke III, 41, was rescued Friday afternoon after a teenager on a helicopter tour spotted him stumbling across the rocky lava, trying to attract attention with a mirror from his camera.

Gaedcke had been missing since last Sunday, when he decided to take a hike across desolate lava fields near Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to get a closer look at an active volcano.

The experienced hiker from Austin, Texas, said he saw no water, but there were pockets of jungle-like vegetation sprinkled throughout the old lava flow.

New York

Penn Station evacuated after bomb scare

A bomb scare emptied the nation's busiest commuter rail station Sunday for about an hour, disrupting service on trains and subways.

The midday threat at Pennsylvania Station arose after someone threw a backpack at an Amtrak ticket agent and said it was a bomb, said Marissa Baldeo, a spokeswoman for New York City Transit.

It was a false alarm, and service on all lines was restored by early afternoon.

Amtrak spokeswoman Sarah Swain said railroad police had detained a man, but she did not know whether he had been arrested.

The incident came days after a second bombing attack in London, which prompted New York police to start random inspections of subway riders' bags.

Chicago

Workers check on older residents as heat rises

Sweat-drenched city workers checked on senior citizens Sunday and shuttled people to cooling centers as temperatures surpassed the 100-degree mark here for the first time in six years.

Chicago was among scores of cities suffering amid a scorching heat wave that blazed across parts of the upper Midwest.

By late afternoon, temperatures at Midway Airport had reached 104 degrees, just one degree lower than the highest temperature ever recorded in the city, according to the National Weather Service.

The skyrocketing temperatures prompted Chicago officials to implement an emergency response plan that was honed after 700 people died during a July 1995 heat wave. An automated system began contacting 40,000 elderly residents at 9 a.m. to tell them about the heat.

The Cook County medical examiner's office reported no heat-related deaths Sunday, but city officials noted that it would take several days to confirm any deaths attributable to the weather.

Salt Lake City

Rain gives firefighters edge on Utah wildfires

Overnight rain and lower temperatures helped give firefighters the upper hand Sunday on two huge fires that had threatened three separate communities in southwest Utah.

Fire officials said Sunday that an 18,300-acre group of fires 12 miles north of St. George was 70 percent contained. About 10 miles north of the city, a group of seven fires that had burned into one covering more than 17,800 acres was 30 percent contained.

Together, the fires had formed almost a complete ring around 50 homes in Dammeron Valley and the towns of Veyo and Gunlock. Flames also had gotten to within one-quarter mile of homes in Gunlock, but an evacuation order there was lifted Saturday.

California

Accused molester was chronicling abuse

A man who authorities say could be the nation's most prolific child molester was crafting a lengthy memoir about his sexual exploits with boys when he was arrested, police said.

Authorities also said they have cracked "99 percent" of the detailed code that Dean Schwartzmiller used in notebooks he kept, apparently to chronicle crimes both real and imagined.

Schwartzmiller was arrested in May after investigators said they discovered notebooks with 36,700 handwritten entries of boys' names, descriptions of their anatomy and codes for suspected sex acts.

San Jose Police Lt. Scott Cornfield said investigators seized a memoir that Schwartzmiller had been writing about his exploits. Typed out, the manuscript is about an inch-and-a-half thick.

Schwartzmiller is being held without bail on one count of aggravated sexual assault on a child under 14 and six counts of lewd and lascivious conduct on a child under 14 involving two 12-year-old cousins. He faces two life sentences if convicted.

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