Good News Blog

June, 2007

Friday, Jun. 29, 2007

Russian Sisters Reunited Through Adoption

A family in Kamas tonight has reason to celebrate. Two little girls recently adopted from Russia are now U.S. citizens. More than that, they are part of a family they had dreamed and prayed for. The family has adopted four siblings and reunited sisters who were separated for years.

Fifteen-year-old Emily and her 14-year-old sister Annie have new American names and certificates of citizenship.

John Simmons, their adoptive father, said, “Nobody can lead a life unchanged after watching kids leave an orphanage and come into a family and to watch them appreciate a family like nobody else can.”

The two girls were reunited with their two younger sisters last October. The Simmons had three biological sons before they adopted Jack, who has Down Syndrome. Then, in 2005, the Simmons adopted three orphaned children from Russia, little Celeste and Sarah who are sisters, and a boy, Denny, who was not related.

They were completing the adoption for the younger children when they learned of the two older girls, and though they did not plan to adopt more, were haunted by the thought of the two sisters still living in a Russian orphanage.

“Is this something we can do? Something we can do to help out because the odds of their survival is very bleak in Russia for them,” Amy Simmons wondered.

In Russia the girls were taken from their biological parents because of abuse and neglect, but now they’re reunited and are part of loving family, and they are flourishing.

The Simmons says international adoption is an emotional rollercoaster, but seeing their happy family makes it all the more worthwhile.

John said, “You go through the extremes in frustration, the extremes in anger, sadness and happiness, and it’s just incredible.”

“And for them to be able to be with their sisters and to have the opportunity to have a very full productive life, is wonderful to see,” Amy said.

Now this family of 11 shares a life of hope, happiness and most of all, love. The Simmons hope that others will consider international adoption, and they have just completed a book about their experiences, called “The Marvelous Journey Home.”

Ministry provides food for the body and soul

Every community wants something to benefit its citizens help them grow. That is just what Angel Food Ministries at First Baptist Church of Trumann is doing.

Angel Food Ministries has existed for about 11 years. The ministry started with a husband and wife team in Good Hope, Ga. The couple just wanted to create a type of supplement grocery program to help families. Since that time, it has become nationwide. Trumann’s First Baptist Church has been doing this program since December of last year.

“The only requirement you must have is that you eat,” said Peggy Rathbun, one of the coordinators of the ministry in Trumann. “You eat, you qualify!”

Rathbun said the program is non-denominational and everyone is welcome to participate. Things such as income and number of children are not considered. Participants are not required to attend a church to join either.

The program is simple. Participants order a box of food for $25. Each box is filled with a variety of foods valued at $50 – $75. All orders are pre-paid.

“You are not locked in,” Rathbun said. “You can come in and order every month or just do it ever so often.”

A sample menu includes one package of chicken nuggets, four eight-ounce hamburger steaks, four six-ounce pork chops, one and half pound of thick bacon, one dozen eggs, two pound bag of frozen French fries, five bagels, two pound bag of onions, four apples, five bananas and one gourmet pie.

In addition to help families save on grocery costs, participants are also able to bless others. For every 50 boxes of food the ministry sells, one box of foods is given away free to someone in need. This is what they call a “Blessing Box.” The volunteers ask different churches to see what families are in need at that time, and the families in need receive a “Blessing Box.”

Because the ministry utilizes volunteers, Trumann First Baptist is always looking for more people to join the 30 volunteers already in place. Volunteers go to Jonesboro pick up food and then help sort it out to the families.

“All volunteers are welcomed,” Rathbun said. “You do not have to be a member of the church or of the Trumann community.”

Since it began, Angel Food Ministries ahs reached over one million families nationwide. Now, it is reaching residents of Trumann and Poinsett County who will benefit from the program in great ways.

“We are just hoping to bless the county and allow them to see God working through us,” said Rathbun.

Field of Dreams

Karen Pusey’s vision for a field of dreams will finally become a reality this weekend when she and others break ground on a new baseball field specially designed for children with physical handicaps.

Through a partnership with Chesterfield Youth Softball Association (CYSA), Chesterfield County Department of Parks and Recreation, the Richmond Braves, dozens of local business and hundreds of contributors, the Miracle League field has been fast-tracked with a fall completion date.

Construction on the cushioned, synthetic turf, water-permeable field with painted lines and bases will begin at the end of May. Pusey and Gregory Curtis, CYSA president and now Miracle League president, are optimistic handicapped youngsters will play “fall ball” on the new field in September.

Currently, standard grass and clay Little League fields with raised bases are available for children with special needs through the Challenger League program. However, standard fields are not suitable for wheelchairs, walkers or crutches, and wet conditions make them virtually unusable for handicapped youngsters. The new Miracle League field will eliminate those barriers.

The national Miracle League Association provided the basic design for the field, but funds had to be raised – a responsibility Pusey took on herself. Starting with the Miracle Live Auction and Gala last February, the Miracle League’s funds have grown to $160,000.

The original cost estimate for the field of $300,000 has now been revised downward to $209,000. In order to get the project up and running to have the needs of this special group of children served as quickly as possible, some amenities have been delayed. Permanent restroom facilities and brickwork around both the dugouts and score board were put on hold.

“We cut some things back in order to get it up and going. We’ll add those other things later,” Pusey said.

There are more than 7,000 special needs kids in Chesterfield County who could enjoy and benefit from the Miracle League field, and businesses and civic groups as well as private citizens have recognized and responded to that need.

With Chesterfield’s parks and recreation department on board as a co-sponsor, the Miracle League will be included in the department’s course catalogues and other marketing efforts.

Girl, 16, earns hero award

Nicole Gorski of Chesterfield, 16, received an award from the Chesterfield Township Fire Department on April 12 for being a quick thinking hero during a time of crisis.

Gorski was at her home on Harrisburg Lane while her mother Melissa Malinwoski was at work March 28.

Gorski was keeping a watchful eye over her two younger brothers, six-year-old Ryan and four-year-old Andrew at the home. Gorski said she was setting some water to boil and since it was chilly, she bumped up the thermostat to get the furnace to warm up the house.

She took her brothers outside for a brief moment but, when Andrew got dirty, and she had to bring them inside.

That is when she noticed the smoke pouring from the air vents into the home.

“She noticed smoke in the rear of the home, told her brothers to get out and made sure no one re-entered the home,” said Antrikin.

Gorski said she held tissue over her nose as she turned down the thermostat and turned off the stove in the home before running out.

She also saved the family’s dog.

Firefighter Tracy Antrikin presented the award as Gorski’s mom watched with pride.

“We are very proud of Nicole. The actions she performed during this emergency were perfect,” said Antrikin.

“The house was filled with smoke but there was no fire. It looks like the furnace overheated but without her quick call to 911 and the fire department’s response, this furnace could have gotten hot enough to catch fire,” said Antrikin.

Antrikin said Gorski showed a presence of mind that many adults would not have shown during such as emergency.

“She acted in the way that we teach at local schools,” said Antrikin.

Malinwoski said the furnace has been replaced.

Gorski is a student at L’Anse Creuse High School North in Macomb Township and hopes to go to college to study journalism.

She also contributes to her school’s student-run newspaper.

Mum rescues her babies from house fire

A QUICK-THINKING mother rescued her two young children from a house fire minutes before it engulfed their home.

Jayne Willis, of Windermere Drive, Warndon, Worcester, said: “”I’ve lost everything, but I haven’t lost my babies.”

She was at home with one-year-old Mckenzi and four-year-old Jordan when a smoke alarm alerted her to the fire, which started in the television set in the lounge at about 10.30am yesterday.

The 41-year-old, who was in another room, rushed into the room, and ran outside.

Minutes later, the house was engulfed by flames.

Speaking outside as firefighters investigated, she said tearfully: “I walked in the front room and saw the smoke so grabbed the little ones and ran out of the house.

“There was a small lot of smoke and by the time I came out to get the fire extinguisher and come back in it was everywhere and I couldn’t see. There was black smoke everywhere.

“Everything was so fast. All I know is it went up and went up fast.

“I’m angry and shocked.”

Miss Wallis said her three other children, 10-year-old Reece, nine-year-old Tammi and seven-year-old Conni were thankfully at school when the fire happened.

Firefighters extinguished the fire within an hour, but it caused severe damage to the house.

Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service spokesman Alec Mackie said the family was lucky to escape.

“The fire spread to other combustible materials that burn very quickly and caused a lot of smoke and fire,” he said.

“Had it happened at night it might have been a different tale.

“Thankfully the smoke alarms worked and it alerted her.

“She did very well to do what she did.”

However, Mr Mackie said the service did not recommend people going back into a burning building.

Police were on hand to divert traffic and Red Cross victim support volunteers were also there to assist Miss Wallis.

Fox saved in dramatic rescue

A fox trapped 80 feet up on a shopping centre ledge has a new name – Vertigo.

The vixen was spotted on Wednesday on a ledge behind Leatherhead’s Swan shopping centre, sparking a dramatic rescue.

Volunteers from Leatherhead’s animal hospital found the fox tangled in pigeon netting and facing another problem – a loud fire alarm that could frighten her in to jumping.

The animal experts were joined by a film crew, Wildlife SOS producer Simon Cowell and Surrey photographer Andy Newbold, who said the only plan was to try and open a window and get the fox back in to the centre.

“Somehow Vertigo, as she was later nicknamed, had leapt from the service desk through a small hole in netting designed to deter pigeons and onto the small ledge with a sheer drop either side,” Mr Newbold said.

“She needed calm to avoid the worse case scenario but we soon learned that within minutes a scheduled test evacuation of the shopping centre, which could not be changed, was due to happen.

“This would not only involve alarms making it the noisiest that particular spot would have been in years but large amount of people coming through the fire doors just yards from the terrified animal.

“The alarms sounded and seconds later people started filing out.

“They must have wondered what was going on when we shepherded them away from the area asking them to hush and when they saw the fox, many asked if that was why the alarms were sounding.

“Thankfully the fox stayed put and was not too disturbed by the alarms.”

Volunteer Sara Cowan got a nearby window open, which Vertigo climbed through.

After a brief struggle, Vertigo was caught and caged and taken back to the Wildlife Aid hospital where she was examined and treated for a mild case of mange.

She is expected to be released soon, while the footage of the rescue will be included in the next series of Wildlife SOS.

Unlikely hero helps police nab robbery suspect

A school district lawyer from an Atlanta suburb might seem like an unlikely hero in San Francisco’s crime-fighting world, but that’s what police are calling a tourist who stopped a downtown bank robbery suspect Friday.

“I didn’t know I was in the game, so I wasn’t prepared for that play,” said Jack Lance, a former football player, from his bed at St. Francis Memorial Hospital, where he was recovering from knee surgery Monday. “But you rely on instinct.”

At about 1:30 p.m. Friday, the 58-year-old attorney was walking through downtown during a break from the National School Board Association conference, which was being held at Moscone Center. The general counsel for the Rockdale County School District in Conyers, Ga., Lance had given a presentation the previous day on school law.

“I saw, over to the right, a man and a woman — something going on. They kind of bolted through the crowd,” near Powell and Market streets where Lance was walking. “I didn’t know she was a police officer. All I knew was that she was trying to stop him.”

The man turned in Lance’s direction, Lance said. “I got in his way and hit him with my forearm in the chest. It was kind of a glancing blow.

“Unfortunately, I went down to the pavement and all my weight went down on my knee. I knew I had shattered my knee.”

Officer Irene Michaud, who undertook the chase, was patrolling in plain clothes with her husband and partner, Brian Michaud, near Cyril Magnin and Eddy streets when they saw a man who matched the description of a bank robber they were looking for.

“We pull out our stars and call him over to us,” she said.

The guy yelled “hell, no,” Irene Michaud said, and took off running toward the cable car turnaround at Powell and Market streets.

“As he’s running, I see him dump a gun in the garbage can. My concern is the gun but I have to catch him too,” she said.

When the suspect, whom police identified as 26-year-old Ricardo Martinez, saw a foot beat officer near the turnaround, he turned and ran north on Powell Street, Michaud said. That’s when Lance stopped his progress.

“I stunned him and I slowed him down,” Lance said. “Unfortunately, I

didn’t knock him down, but I hit him pretty hard in the chest. I also got in his way.” His quick reaction was enough to slow the suspect down and allow Michaud to apprehend him.

After undergoing surgery Saturday morning, Lance received a letter of commendation from the officers at the Tenderloin station. Inside was a gift certificate for two nights at the Hilton, to make up for the time he spent in the hospital.

“It was the least we could do,” Michaud said. “He saw somebody in distress. He risked his safety and he tried to help me stop him. … He’s the true hero of this story.”

Martinez was booked on charges of assault, resisting a public officer, weapons violations and possession of stolen property, police spokesman Sgt. Steve Mannina said Friday.

Thanks to neighbors and other good teens

In our current environment, when we read weekly about underage drinking and illegal drug usage, it is rare to read about unheralded good deeds of everyday, neighborhood teenagers.

This letter is to recognize two such teenagers: Peter Schiller and EJ Schiller, teenage sons of Gene and Maureen Schiller of Bloomington.

The Schillers found out that I had fallen and broken my shoulder and foot, and that my husband had gone out of town. On the freezing Saturday afternoon before Easter, I looked out my window to see these boys mowing our lawn!

Instead of watching games on TV, listening to music or being with friends, they, instead, were out mowing their neighbor’s yard!

There are some great teenagers out there – and parents! Thank you to EJ and Peter, and all the other good kids who are daily performing good deeds – under the radar!

Joan Styczynski

Holocaust survivor recalls heroes who saved him

To commemorate Holocaust Martyrs’ Remembrance Day, or Yom HaShoah, a retired Glen Burnie physician who survived the Nazi and Soviet occupations of Poland will speak tomorrow at Temple Beth Shalom in Arnold.

The tale that Dr. Joseph Taler, 84, plans to tell began when Germany invaded Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, and one group thought it had the right to dominate the others.

Though the number of Holocaust survivors is dwindling fast, the message is still needed, said Ellyn Becker Kaufman, Temple Beth Shalom’s education director.

“If you don’t remember it, it could happen again, and not necessarily to Jewish people, but people anywhere in the world,” she said. “If we allow ourselves to go into such a prejudiced mode as happened in World War II, it could happen again.”

Dr. Taler said earlier this week that another holocaust is taking place today, this time in Darfur, where government-backed militia is exterminating Africans. Dr. Taler, 84, retired in 1991 after practicing medicine in Glen Burnie for 37 years. The Annapolis resident estimated that fewer than 10 Holocaust survivors live in Anne Arundel County now.

“I am the only one who speaks on the subject,” he said.

Dr. Taler’s tale is not only about cruelty, death and destruction, but also about human decency. It is as much about life as it is death, he said.

When German troops marched into Poland, Dr. Taler was a 16-year-old boy living in the comfortable town of Rozwadow, the only child of a pharmacist mother and a lawyer father. He was a straight-A student with lots of friends and a bright future.

Dr. Taler and a small handful of relatives were able to avoid extermination for one simple reason – a few Christians risked everything to save them.

“In my case, I was helped by six different Polish Christians, people who didn’t know each other,” Dr. Taler said of the people who forged documents, smuggled food and hid the Jewish boy.

“They saved my life; they would have been shot or taken to a concentration camp – it was at the discretion of the person who caught them,” Dr. Taler said. “There was no penalty for killing a Jew or a Pole.”

In this strange and dangerous world, even the slightest turn of events could prove deadly, Dr. Taler said.

The Christian underground forged work papers that allowed Dr. Taler to walk the streets and hold a job, instead of being rounded up and taken to a death camp.

“I told them to keep my first name, Joseph, so that I would know to answer when anyone spoke to me,” Dr. Taler said.

Dr. Taler said he quickly realized a deadly possibility: If the forged papers showed his actual age, he likely would be put into the youth labor corps, the junakis. Joining this group would require a physical, and a physical would reveal that Dr. Taler had been circumcised, in a society where only Jews underwent the procedure.

“The man who took me up in the middle of the night told me to step into the courtyard of (a particular) apartment house, and take off my armband that bore the Star of David and showed that I was a Jew,” Dr. Taler said. “He gave me my false identity papers and we crossed the street and were in the Aryan section.”

Dr. Taler disappeared into the darkness as Josef Skwarczynski, a Polish Catholic who was born six years before Joseph Taler the Jew. With these papers, Dr. Taler found work in a train yard, where he shoveled coal and stoked train boilers.

One day, he saw an engineer, a young man who had gone to school with him. The man knew that Dr. Taler was a Jew, and all he had to do was shout out, and Dr. Taler was as good as dead. Each time Dr. Taler saw the man, he would bury his face in a handkerchief as if wiping away sweat, until one day he didn’t see the engineer in time. “He smiled at me and walked on,” Dr. Taler said.

World gone mad

Life under the Nazis was marked by one bit of insanity after another, Dr. Taler said.

Anyone who liked onions “too much” could be revealed as a Jew and carted off, since “everyone knew” that Jews liked onions, Dr. Taler said.

Dr. Taler’s wife, Bronka, whom he met at the end of the war, used fake papers and worked as a maid, all the while hiding her true identity.

Fortunately, she said, she had attended a public school where Catholicism was taught.

“There were 10 Jewish kids,” she said of her childhood. “We were put in the back of the class, but we had to stay (for religious training). We learned a lot about the Catholic religion and Jesus.”

“I had papers during the war that showed me as a Christian,” she said. “They (Nazis) were forever asking me questions about Christianity.”

Then, one day, Mrs. Taler uttered a Yiddish word, and her mistress quickly admonished her to never say that again.

The mistress no doubt knew that Mrs. Taler was a Jew, but chose to look the other way.

Never underestimate the role that luck can play when surviving underground, Dr. Taler advised. While a lot of families were scattered to the four corners of the earth and never reunited, Dr. Taler and his mother ended up in the same town, but she couldn’t acknowledge him as her son. Also by blind luck, Dr. Taler’s father ended up hiding in the same town, and Dr. Taler took him into his room. The father stayed in the son’s 21-foot by 21-foot room day and night for two years, even though there was no toilet or hot water. There was a trap door, where Dr. Taler and his father dug out a place under the floor in case they needed a hiding place.

A strong message

Jews who weren’t fortunate enough to come under the wing of a guardian angle did not fare well. Dr. Taler estimates that as many as 50 of his relatives died at the hands of Nazis.

Bronka Taler said she lost about 20 close family members.

She survived because she was able to escape from a transport train, bound for the Auschwitz extermination camp.

“I had a large family; my mother had eight siblings and I had a lot of cousins,” Mrs. Taler said this week. “Except for my brother and two cousins, nobody survived.”

Mrs. Taler rarely speaks of the Holocaust, and tears ran down her cheek as she talked.

“I have two wonderful children, and for the first 20 years, we didn’t even talk about it,” Mrs. Taler said. “My children didn’t even know; we didn’t want them to know.”

Men of steel rip up wrecks to rescue us

Every little boy wants to be a fire fighter. Maybe its that hero com plex we fantasize about. Certainly there’s no one more dashing than the helmeted man in the reflective yellow coat who saves the family home . . . and rescues Mrs. McGillicuddy’s kitty on the way back to the station.

But there’s a different aspect to being a firefighter, one thats just flat ugly. Firefighters also are the ones who head to car wrecks, and they cut you and me out of the mangled wreckage. Forget the Nash, save my . . . life.

Gary Klauss, a Warrensville Heights firefighter, and Terry Salvi, of the Bedford department, are experts in that field. In addition to their day jobs, they are field reps for Howell Rescue Systems, which makes tools used to get victims out of car wrecks.

One recent Friday, I joined Klauss, Salvi and a dozen firefighters from various local departments for a crash course on how to extricate people trapped in what’s left of their cars.

We spent two hours in the classroom going over the basics. Make sure you have your equipment before you leave the station. Know where it is on the truck. Know your assignment. Think about what you need, what you might need and how you might get what you might need. As you roll up to the scene, keep your eyes busy, especially if it’s a rollover, in which case victims are likely to have been ejected. Get plenty of light on the job. Be aware of the situation.

That last is critical. As we stepped outside for the first car, Klauss had one of our number do a walk-around. What did he see?

All the windows up. One airbag deployed. One (imaginary) unconscious victim in the driver’s side. Omigosh! A car seat in the back! But where’s the baby?!

The first step in any extrication is to assess the victim’s condition. So how do we get in?

Try the door. Sometimes the obvious is the easiest. If that doesn’t work, move on to the tools of the trade: cutters, spreaders and rams.

Cutters look like giant crab pincers. Spreaders look like the Jolly Green Giant’s pliers and are even heavier. Both treat steel like spaghetti noodles. Rams are telescoping rods that can exert 30,000 pounds of pressure – enough to get a dashboard off a victim. Anything strong enough to do the job these tools do has to be pretty solid, so it’s no surprise that the 29-pound cutters are among the lightest tools a firefighter uses in a rescue.

You know those sculpted bodies you see on firefighter calendars? Now you know how they get them. And it’s equally obvious why you never see feature reporters calendars. “Bunkered up” in full firefighter regalia – helmet, boots, jacket, pants, Nomex, goggles, gloves – I used every one of those tools at some course during the day. And by the time we finished cutting up that Mazda RX-7 with the caved-in roof, I was sweating like a hooker in church.

One of the first things a firefighter does is break the windows with a snap punch, or a Halligan bar (like a huge crowbar, with a punch on one end and the claw of a hammer on the other). That’s because once they get to work on the steel, it’s going to explode anyway. Make sure the victim knows what’s going on, Klauss said.

After flattening the tires or bracing the car to keep it stable and killing the batteries to make sure undeployed airbags don’t go off, firefighters tackle the different “posts” that create a steel cage for the vehicle occupants.

The A post is the front where the door hinges, the B post is where the back door hinges and so forth. Which gets cut first depends on the situation. Sometimes, no posts get cut, as in a Grand Prix we demolished. It was a simulated rollover that had ended up on its roof. We tunneled through the trunk.

Be careful what you carry in your car. I’m not sure where they got these vehicles, but I know they were real accidents. That would explain why we had to move a copier, some tools and even underwear to get to the driver’s compartment in that Grand Prix. The RX-7 had a glove box of shards that used to be Bone Thugs-N-Harmony CDs.

There is some humor in all this: Klauss said in one class a firefighter was too genteel when breaking windows. He didn’t want to scratch the paint.

Klauss said he’s never heard someone trapped in what used to be a car hollering about scratched paint.

Then there was the guy pinned by his car when the jack slipped. Firefighters got him out, and he was full of gratitude. So you have to wonder whose idea it was to send his saviors a bill for the gas tank they ruptured when they saved his bacon.

Ah, the life of a hero.

Tyke the terrier reunited with his owner

TYKE the Lakeland terrier has been reunited with his owner after the dog spent six days buried in a badger sett.

The dog’s owner and a team of helpers moved in with a digger today and searched through a maze of tunnels for several hours to free the animal.

Owner Steve Walling, of Moorside, near Consett, County Durham, remained confident throughout the day that Tyke would be found.

He said: “I’ve heard him barking and whining a number of times. He is down there, it’s just a matter of time before we get to him.”

Tyke’s ordeal began last Thursday when he ran off and disappeared while Mr Walling was taking him for a walk on a cycle path near Castleside, Consett.

He put up flyers on the footpath and on Sunday evening he was contacted by some youngsters who told him they had heard a dog barking near a badger sett.

Mr Walling called the Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, which told him it was unable to dig without official permission.

On Tuesday, Mr Walling was given permission to start digging by a representative of Natural England, but the dog remained underground.

Mechplant North East, which provides equipment for contractors, today offered Mr Walling the free use of a digger, following his appeal for help.

The rescuers started digging again at 1.30pm and, during the course of the day, dug three deep trenches in an effort to find the dog.

Their efforts were rewarded when Mr Walling found Tyke as the light was beginning to fade.

Thursday, Jun. 28, 2007

Malaria-infected mice cured by one dose of new drug

Johns Hopkins University researchers have cured malaria-infected mice with single shots of a new series of potent, long lasting synthetic drugs modeled on an ancient Chinese herbal folk remedy.

The team also has developed several other compounds which defeated the febrile disease in rodents after three oral doses.

These peroxide compounds, containing a crucial oxygen-oxygen unit, promise not only to be more effective than today’s best malaria remedies, but also potentially safer and more efficient, said research team leader Gary Posner, Scowe Professor of Chemistry in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins.

An article about the team’s work is slated to appear on the Web on April 17, 2007 in the ASAP section of The Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. (Go to this page.)

“We are disclosing, for the first time, the curative activity of a new generation of compounds that are long- lasting and therapeutic, even when used by themselves,” Posner said. “Older drugs in this family of peroxide antimalarials also are known to be fast-acting, but they are unfortunately short-lived and not curative when used by themselves.”

Though they say their results are very promising, the researchers caution that the new compounds must be thoroughly tested for safety and for how they are absorbed, distributed and metabolized in, and eliminated from, rodents’ bodies before human tests begin.

Malaria afflicts between 300 million and 500 million people a year, killing between 1.5 million and 3 million, mostly children and mostly in developing nations. The parasite that causes the disease is spread by female mosquitoes feeding on human blood. The most commonly fatal species of the malaria parasite now shows strong resistance to most current treatments, making the development of effective new drugs a worldwide priority.

Since 1992, Posner and his team, which includes collaborator Theresa Shapiro, professor and chair of clinical pharmacology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, have been tackling that challenge by designing a series of peroxide compounds, called trioxanes.

“As a class, these compounds have proven to be unusually valuable in several ways, from their brisk and potent antimalarial activity to their lack of resistance and cross-resistance with other antimalarial agents,” Shapiro said.

The Johns Hopkins trioxanes mimic artemisinin, the active agent in a Chinese herbal drug used to treat malaria and other fevers for thousands of years. Artemisinin comes from the Artemisia annua plant, an herb also known by a variety of names including sweet wormwood.

The oxygen-oxygen unit in the peroxides causes malaria parasites essentially to self-destruct. The parasites digest hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying pigment of red blood cells, and, in the process, release a substance called heme, a deep-red iron-containing blood pigment. When the heme encounters peroxides, a powerful chemical reaction occurs, releasing carbon-free radicals and oxidizing agents that eventually kill the parasites.

But the first generation of trioxane drugs also had a number of shortcomings, including a half-life of less than one hour. (A drug’s half-life is the amount of time it takes for half of it to be metabolized.) Posner and team believe that their new compounds address those disadvantages.

“Our semi-synthetic artemisinin-derived compounds successfully overcome the disadvantages of their first- generation predecessors,” he said. “Most important is their curative activity after a single, low dose, which is distinctly unusual. But based on our intentional design, they may also have a longer half-life in animals. We also designed them to be more lipophilic, meaning they have an enhanced ability to dissolve in fats and thus to arrive inside malaria-infected red blood cells.” In addition, the new compounds are far less likely to break down into toxic substances when they are metabolized in the test animals’ bodies, making them potentially safer than their predecessors.

Although inexpensive by Western standards, the widespread use of artemisinins in the developing world remains limited, in part by availability and the cost of separating the active ingredient from the Artemisia annua plant. Posner and his team contend that the potency and curative activity of their compounds provide “a substantially more efficient and economical use of the price-setting natural product.”

The team’s research was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Johns Hopkins University Malaria Research Institute.

Woman meets her guardian angel

An 89-year-old great-grandmother shed tears of joy this afternoon when she met the mystery woman who saved her life.

Winifred Lindsay, on her way to a medical appointment on her motorized scooter yesterday afternoon, fell on the tracks and into the path on an oncoming CN Rail train Tuesday.

This afternoon, she hugged 52-year-old Deborah Chiborak, the Good Samaritan who pulled her off the tracks with the train only seconds away.

Chiborak’s mother, Agnes Rosmus, called the Free Press this morning after she read about her unidentified daughter’s heroic.

Chiborak, a restaurant owner and mother of two grown daughters, said any bystander would have done the same brave act.

“I knew I only had a few seconds to do what I had to do,” she said, wiping away tears.

When asked if she would do the same thing again, Chiborak replied: “Who wouldn’t?”

Mother’s ring returned to owner after being lost for 15 years

Our sons and their families gave me a Mother’s ring for Mother’s Day ‘way back about 1990. The ring was yellow gold and had three stones: a garnet for Ralph’s January birthday; an amethyst for Paul’s birthday in February and an aquamarine for Tim’s birthday in March.

Unlike most women, I don’t care for a lot of jewelry, but I loved my Mother’s ring. I lost it twice during the time I had it. The first time occurred when I was helping turn a queen size mattress, but I found it under the bed within a few days. The second time I lost it, I had no earthly idea as to where or when I’d lost it. I was embarrassed and ashamed of losing it, and I never mentioned my loss to anyone except my husband.

This month, much to my surprise, my ring was returned to me. I was thrilled to regain it, but I was amazed at the memories it brought back to me — memories of Alice Ann, the orange cat who made her home with us, of the way I identified with her during one of the saddest times in my life and of all the mixed feelings I had during this time. If all this sounds confusing, let me start at the beginning.

On April 1, 1992, our youngest son, Paul, was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. He and his wife, Abby, had returned to Oklahoma in 1990 after having lived in Baton Rouge, La., for 14 years. They made their home with us until they could build a house on our land. Until that diagnosis, we all had a marvelous time together. I’ll always remember those two years as among the happiest times in our lives.

The younger Milligan family brought with them two small dogs and one large orange cat called Alice Ann. Alice Ann had been a veritable kitten factory until her owners decided she had contributed enough to the feline population expansion and they had her spayed. Physically, I’m sure Alice Ann accepted the fact that she no longer had the job of providing for a litter of kittens, but on a more primitive level, she still thought of herself as a matriarch with hungry babies waiting to be fed. She had always been a tremendous hunter, and once or twice daily, she would come bounding through the doggy doors from the back steps to our deck, then on through a second doggy door from the deck into our den.

She always brought with her the latest catch from the fields or woods. She might come carrying a huge field rat, a mole or a gopher. She’d lay down her catch (Sometimes the prey was still alive.) and begin calling her non-existent kittens. In a low, throaty voice, she told her babies, “Come and see what Mama has for you. You’ll really like this.”

I’d watch Alice Ann for a moment or two and empathize with her, thinking “Once a mother, always a mother.” Then common sense would catch up with me, and I’d firmly pick her up, together with her prey, and put her outside, explaining that though her game offerings were very nice, I just didn’t want them in the house. Nobody was here to share. She’d have to eat all of it by herself.

I’m sure Alice Ann had always tried bringing inside her spoils from hunting expeditions, but I hadn’t identified with her so strongly in the past. Now, I knew exactly how she felt. She was mourning for the kittens that were grown and gone, and she was doing her motherly duty by bringing in food for them to share.

Mothers ought to be able to protect their offspring, I’d think. There ought to be some way that I, as a mother, could at least help Paul feel better. His cancer had metastasized in painful tumors all over his body. I couldn’t even hug him any more. It hurt him too much.

Paul died on Father’s Day, June 21, 1992 — two and a half months after he was diagnosed. Some time that spring or early summer, I lost my Mother’s ring. I didn’t mention my loss to Tim or Ralph. I did tell George and he commiserated with me, but we had no idea where to look for it. I think on an unconscious level, I figured I hadn’t done a very good job of mothering and that it was only fair that I lose my ring that identified me as a mother.

If enough time passes, we learn to live with loss, and though I still think about Paul a great deal, I could not honestly say I’d thought about my lost ring until last week. Then Ralph called to say, “Mom, did you lose your Mother’s ring?” I admitted that I had indeed lost it, and he brought it back to me on Easter.

What caused the missing ring to turn up after being gone 15 years?

It is a Milligan trait that we never get rid of anything so long as there is someone else in the family who can use it. In 1996, we bought a new car and asked Ralph if he’d like to have the1990 Pontiac Grand Prix that was still in good shape. He agreed to take it off our hands, and he kept it until this spring when he finally sold it.

The fellow who bought it lost his pocket knife under the car seats and he recruited his young daughter to help him look for it. It was she who unearthed my ring. He called Ralph who said, “Well, yes, my mom had a ring with three stones like that. I’ll ask her if she lost it.”

My Mother’s ring is back on my finger, held there firmly by a silver band made by my grandson. I’ve told my sons that now that I have my motherly identification back, I can revert to my former habits of being bossy, attempting to help them run their lives, and dispensing unsought advice. They grin in reply, indicating they hadn’t noticed that I’d ever stopped such behavior even for 15 years. I think again about Alice Ann and murmur, “Once a mother, always a mother.”

40 years later man reunited with film of his wedding

GODMANCHESTER carpenter and joiner Bob Goodman has been reunited with film of his wedding in Ramsey nearly 40 years ago – but not with his bride, who ran off with another man more than 30 years back.

The film was unearthed by a man from Bedale in North Yorkshire when he was sorting through his attic last Christmas. Following his letter appearing in The Hunts Post in January, Bob Goodman made contact with the finder, Laurie Graham, and last month retrieved the footage of the happy day at Thomas a Becket Church in March 1969.

“I don’t have particularly happy memories of her, of course,” Bob told The Hunts Post. “She cleared off when our son was five. He’s now 37 and lives in America. But I want the grandchildren to see the family. There are lots of aunts, uncles and cousins in the film, and my mother, who died in 1971 on her 49th birthday.”

Bob, 60, who was born in Edinburgh, moved to Huntingdon at the age of six weeks. Before moving to Godmanchester, he lived for many years in Great Northern Street, Huntingdon.

He now works for Bailey Burgashell, in Sutton, making sculling boats. He has not re-married.

Mr Graham believes the film came into his possession when he was stationed at RAF Upwood and bought a projector. Some airport footage at the start of the reel was used to demonstrate the machine. It was only when he came to transfer old cine film to DVD that he discovered the wedding footage.

Baby Eagles Rescued From Sanford Airport

Two baby eagles have been successfully rescued from their nest near Sanford’s airport.

The babies are between three and four weeks old, which is why the Audubon Society was afraid they might jump and hurt themselves before volunteers could take them out of the nest, WESH 2 News reported.

The adult eagles circled where their nest was. They did not know the man climbing the tree was working to give their babies a fighting chance.

They tried to get away from the Audubon volunteer who teetered on the edge of the nest. The fear was that the babies might jump from the nest in the extremely tall pine tree and be unable to fly, facing injury or death.

The climber was able to successfully get them covered, calm them, and send them one-by-one to waiting experts.

“This one’s so young, only three weeks or so,” volunteer Lynda White said.

Audubon had wanted the airport to wait before demolishing this nest so that the babies would have time to grow and learn to fly and hunt from their parents. The airport decided to take the nest down after the Federal Aviation Authority declared it a hazard to air travel.

“We have to remove these nests to make sure the airways are safe,” Orlando-Sanford International Airport representative Diane Crews said.

The airport targeted three nests; one on its property, two nearby saying the eagles created a safety issue for airplanes.

One did hit a plane and was killed.

“We need to do what’s necessary to protect eagles too,” Crews said.

Audubon said there are many other nests, and many other birds flying in and around the airport.

“Taking down these nests isn’t going to do any good,” White said.

The Audubon Society said it will try to put the baby eagles in a new nest if they can. They said the babies need to learn to fly and hunt from other eagles.

Infant OK after 20-foot tumble

An infant was treated at hospital after he somehow pushed out a screen and tumbled from a second-floor window in central Oshawa Wednesday.

The mother of the 23-month-old boy told Durham police she’d put the youngster in his crib for a nap around 10 a.m. and was alerted about a half-hour later by someone who found the child lying on the ground outside the Rideau Street townhouse.

It’s believed the child climbed up to a bedroom window and was leaning against the screen when it gave way, causing him to tumble 20 feet, police said.

Paramedics responded and rushed the child to hospital. He was treated for minor injuries and released.

The incident prompted police to warn parents to check screens and windows in children’s bedrooms.

Former Rescue Dogs Find Fame

Two former four-legged-friends from Dogs Trust Shoreham Rehoming Centre have found their new lives with their new owners have more than lived up to expectations by becoming stars of the airwaves and the small and big screen.

Alvie, a 4 year old Springer Spaniel was rehomed from the Dogs Trust Centre in Shoreham-by-Sea in November 2006 by Heather Driscoll and her partner Darrell Woodford.

Heather works on BBC Southern Counties radio and brings Alvie into work with her every day. Since rehoming him 4 months ago he has been “adopted” as the official Surrey Drivetime Show dog and has his own web pages and has even been on air a couple of times.

Heather Driscoll, Alvie’s owner from the BBC Southern Counties Radio webteam, comments, “Alvie has proved to be so popular at BBC Southern Counties and loves coming in to work where he gets a nice comfy bed and lots of attention and affection from everyone in the office. He has now taken part in the filming for the BBC’s new local radio adverts which are to be featured on prime time BBC TV, advertising the services that local radio has to offer and is really becoming a bit of a local celebrity. We’re really chuffed that we could offer him a new loving home and that he can enjoy this new life of his to the full.”

There is also Ross, a Great Dane / English Pointer crossbreed who was rehomed by Charlotte Cohen and her husband Kim 2 years ago when he was just 3 months old.

Since finding a new home with Charlotte he has gone on to star in the new Carling beer adverts on television and is also going to be in a film with Scarlett Johanssen and Natalie Portman called ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ – due for general release in the UK in early 2008.

As well as rubbing shoulders – quite literally, he is a big dog – with film stars Ross also shares his home with Charlotte’s other dog Elly who came from a dog shelter in Cyprus.

Charlotte Cohen, Ross’ owner, comments, “Ross is a real character and a big softie. His personality is as huge as he is and is full of cuddles for anyone who wants them! Ross was unsure at first when we took him home but has grown into such a wonderful dog and I find it extremely rewarding owning rescue dogs.”

Toddler’s mother thankful for rescue

Recently at BroMenn Regional Medical Center, I became trapped in my vehicle.

I had locked myself out and climbed through the hatchback and lost my balance and fell forward and became trapped.

My 2-year-old son was with me crying and I couldn’t comfort him. I lay there trapped for 20 minutes.

I could hear people walking by and I was screaming for someone to help us. Only one person stopped and I don’t know her name, but she was our hero.

She called 911 and a female police officer came along with the fire department. I don’t know which city they were from or anything. I would like to thank all of them.

Now, looking back at the situation, what a sight it was for them to see. But they handled it professionally.

I can’t tell you how much I am grateful for all of them. In that time, I realized how helpless I as a parent could become, and it was the scariest day of my life.

Too many people take them for granted. Thank you with all of my heart for rescuing my son and I. As for the lady passing out ribbons from Baby Fold that called 911, I thank her the most.

If it wasn’t for her, how long would I have been trapped there and who would have held my baby and blocked him from the cold? Thank you all so much!

Jamie Cook

Man rescues 5 from burning vehicle

“It’s very important to me that people recognize what he did,” Jim Wade said Thursday night from Wishard Hospital. “There is no way I’ll ever be able to express the gratitude I have to this guy. Words just don’t do him justice.

“He literally risked his life. If it wouldn’t have been for him, none of my kids would have survived.”

“He” is Greg Bugher, the passer-by who pulled Wade’s three children — Branden, Courtney and Kristin — and their friends Alex Stang and Chase Parker from a burning minivan in a horrific wreck that killed Joy Edwards, his former wife and the children’s mother, Easter morning.

“I can see him trying to downplay exactly what he did,” a grateful Wade said. “I feel a debt of gratitude to Greg Bugher that I can’t even express.”

Edwards and her children lived in Kokomo, with Courtney and Kristin attending Western High School and, ironically, the Bughers — Greg, Dianna, Gavin and Parker — live a little more than a mile west of the school. All were returning from spring break trips: the Edwards group from Gulf Shores, Ala.; the Bughers and Cody Jansen, Gavin’s best friend, from Fort Myers, Fla.

The Bughers nearly became the victims of Nicole King.

For a reason yet to be determined, the 25-year-old Noblesville woman drove the wrong way on Interstate 465 for 16 miles before colliding head-on with Edwards’ Pontiac minivan at 3 a.m. last Sunday.

The Bughers switched drivers shortly after crossing the Ohio River at Louisville, Ky., but by Indianapolis, they were in need of gasoline.

“I’m in the passenger seat and was just starting to fall asleep,” said Greg, a supervisor in Delphi’s Kokomo operations. “[Dianna] asked if I wanted to get gas at this exit. I said, ‘no, go to the next one.’”

Greg laid back and closed his eyes again. They wouldn’t be closed long.

“I was driving. It was just me and everybody else was behind me,” Dianna went on. “There were no taillights in front of me. There was no one for a long way. I was driving in the center lane and I saw what looked like headlights heading at me. A little farther and I said, ‘Oh my gosh, there’s a car coming at me.’ I got over into the right lane.”

Awake after his wife’s exclamation, Greg said the “car flew right past us.” He estimated that King’s vehicle was going around 80 to 85 mph.

“That’s just a guess, but you can tell when they fly past you,” he said.

“When something like that happens, you think ‘this can’t be.’ A car doesn’t just come against the traffic like that on the interstate,” he continued. “You want to put a net around it to stop it. You want to let the people behind you know and there is just nothing you can do.”

Dianna looked into her side mirror and saw the wreck happen as she stopped.

“[King] didn’t even try to swerve. She rammed the van head-on and I saw that it flipped up and over,” she said. “It caught fire immediately. I’d already stopped. I got out the cell phone and called 911. I couldn’t even tell them where we were I was so nervous.”

She gave her husband the phone and he saw a sign and was able to tell the 911 operator the nearest exit number.

“They wanted more information and I said, ‘I can’t. They’re screaming and need us now,’” he recalled.

Edwards swerved to the right at the last instant, and Wade fully believes she did it to take the brunt of the crash because “she always put the kids first.”

“I’m convinced that was why she swerved the way she did. It was her attempt to shield the kids,” said Wade, who also lives in Russiaville. “It was just a natural instinct to protect them.

“If she hadn’t turned that little bit, Courtney wouldn’t have survived. Fortunately, all the kids had their seat belts on and that saved them, I’m sure.”

The van was on its passenger side with fire coming out of the engine.

“We both ran toward it and I turned and yelled, ‘Stay there, don’t come any closer’ at Dianna,” Greg said. “I got up on it and I could hear everyone screaming and then I could see Courtney pushing on the windshield with her feet, trying to get out. I reached down and grabbed at the windshield where it had rolled up. It was heavy and then she crawled out through there.

“She stood up. Her feet were a mess and she fell. I grabbed hold of her and carried her back to my wife. Dianna got her up on the guardrail and sat with her there.”

Courtney had been sitting in the front, talking to her mother, with her feet on the dashboard. Her father said she hit the windshield, but because of her seat belt, she didn’t go through.

“Before I ever talked to Greg, one of the first things Courtney told me was that this man came running up as she was trying to crawl out. He came up, pulled her out and scooped her up,” Wade said. “It meant so much to her that someone was willing to do that.”

As he ran back toward the burning van, Greg stopped.

“It hit me at that moment. I could see the fire and hear the screaming,” he said. “You see things on TV and you think you know what it’s like. You don’t. It’s horrifying.”

He looked back at his van and saw his own children watching.

“I looked over at my wife and Courtney and, at that moment, I realized I might not be coming back,” Greg said. “My family, I knew they were safe and God was going to protect them. But, if I don’t go do something to help the kids in the van, they weren’t going to live.”

At that point, Greg was the only chance those in the van had.

“No one else got out to help,” Dianna said.

When he got back to the van, the fire was spreading. He tried to look inside but had to climb up on the van to see inside. That was when Kristin was able to get out, so he got her out of danger.

“I was scared for him,” Dianna admitted. “He climbed up on the van and I felt it could blow up at any point.”

Returning to the van, he saw one of the boys who couldn’t get out on his own. Greg couldn’t reach him and climbed onto the guard rail to get on top of the van.

“The flames were growing, so I ran back to the van and grabbed a gallon of water,” he said. “I jumped up and grabbed the boy. By then, another person was there. I said ‘I’ll have to roll him out over the top of the van and hand him to you.’”

Courtney was going into shock, and Dianna got her into their van.

“Courtney was shivering and shaking. Her pupils were enormous. The fire truck and ambulance got there. The [medics] worked on her while the boys were sitting there,” Dianna said. “Parker was talking to her, trying to calm her down and rubbing her as they worked on her.”

Greg and the other Samaritan got the second boy out and to safety, but the fire was back and moving underneath the van.

“The flames were to the point where they were burning my shoes. I was standing with one foot on the guard rail and the other on the luggage rack,” he said. “I could see the fuel cell and the flames were coming up on it.

“I reached down and grabbed Branden, but he couldn’t move at all. He was pinned and still partially had his seat belt on. I looked at the other guy and said, ‘We have to get the fire out.’ I told Branden I’d be back.”

He remembered the cooler in the van and retrieved it.

“We threw the water and ice on the flames. We poured Coke and juice and whatever other liquid there was on the flames and slowed it down,” he said. “Someone [possibly a state trooper who had arrived] had busted out the back window. I saw I had a clear view of him. I stepped in and grabbed his right arm. The other guy grabbed his left arm. I said, ‘We’re going to get you out’ and we began pulling him out. We had to carry him out.

“When Branden came out, the flames were at the second seat. Thirty or 40 more seconds and he would have been burning. By the time we got him away and turned back, it was engulfed and there was nothing anyone could do to stop it.”

Seeing everything transpire, the boys got scared for Greg, his wife said.

“Parker was crying. He thought his dad was going to get killed, and Gavin was telling me to tell Greg to get off the van,” Dianna said.

Courtney had been telling her there were six people in the minivan.

“There were five people out and I asked Greg if he got six out. He said he’d lost track,” Dianna said.

By this time, Greg was having problems breathing from the smoke he’d inhaled.

“The firemen and ambulance attendants decided he needed to go to the hospital. Parker kept saying he couldn’t leave him. They came back and took Parker with him in the ambulance to the hospital,” Dianna said.

After receiving an oxygen treatment, Greg was released and the family made it home.

Monday, Dianna heard someone had died so she called Wishard Hospital, afraid it was one of the children.

“I found out it was their mother. I told Greg, and he got upset.”

“I took it hard because I thought I had missed her,” he said.

Wade has seen the van and “it was literally pulverized.”

“It doesn’t seem possible anybody could have come out of that alive,” he said. “Everything burned, the seats, the carpet. It was all gone, just black.”

Tuesday, the Bughers went to Wishard to see the children and met their father at that point.

Seeing the children has helped immensely.

“They immediately reached out for us and said thank you,” Dianna said.

Wade reassured Greg there was nothing he could have done to save Joy.

“Jim told us you couldn’t have seen her,” Greg said. “That really helped because I kept closing my eyes and thinking what I should or could have done differently.

“That was the true blessing. I know it wasn’t possible to save Joy. That is what I struggled with most. The second was being able to see the kids. Looking at them, there were still three in the van when the flames were getting worse, I thought ‘are we going to make it?’ Going and touching them was the best recovery there was.”

There is one unsung hero, all agree.

“If anyone knows who that man was, the families would like to thank him. At the end, there he was and he was a big help,” Greg said.

Wade will be eternally grateful to Bugher.

“He’s the kind of person who is going to be humble and not want to emphasize what he did. It really is important to me that everyone knows what he did. He’s a hero. There is no other word to describe what he did.”

Firefighters Rescue Family From Blazing Home

Firefighters rescued a young family from their burning house when a mystery blaze trapped them in a bedroom.

A man, woman and child were rescued from the bedroom window as flames engulfed their home in Enfield, north London.

The family were trapped in the bedroom when the fire began just before mdnight on Saturday.

The blaze took hold in the ground floor of the house in Wishaw Walk and fire crews helped two adults and a young boy to safety from a first floor window.

The three were treated for smoke inhalation, but were otherwise unharmed.

A London Fire Brigade spokeswoman said: “We were called at midnight to a fire at Wishaw Walk, Enfield, in a house of two floors.

“One adult male, one adult female, and one male child were rescued from a first floor bedroom suffering from smoke inhalation.

“Ten per cent of the ground floor was damaged by fire. The firefighters used one hose reel, a fire extinguisher, breathing apparatus, and a thermal image camera.”

The cause of the blaze was being investigated.

Wednesday, Jun. 27, 2007

Hero emerges: Former soldier stepped up when he saw lives in danger

Eric Fullerton says he didn’t feel his skin being sliced when Curtis Allgier cut his throat, but he did feel the cold steel of the serrated knife and hear his flesh ripping.

Fullerton, a 59-year-old truck driver, was cut several times along the right side of his throat while struggling with Allgier, 27, for control of a pistol.

The fight took place Monday morning after Allgier attempted to take patrons and employees hostage inside a Salt Lake City Arby’s restaurant, Fullerton said Tuesday.

Allgier ran into the Arby’s at the end of a high-speed chase that began after the slaying of corrections officer Stephen Anderson, 60, at a University of Utah medical clinic and Allgier’s escape from custody.

Fullerton, who has been called a hero for his actions, said he was in line at the restaurant when the heavily tattooed prisoner ran inside, pointing a gun.

“I just wanted to get a sandwich,” Fullerton said, smiling. “I didn’t go there for my morning workout.”

When Allgier rushed in, he waved the gun wildly and told customers to get on the ground, Fullerton recalled. The fugitive then ran into the kitchen, grabbed one of the workers around the neck and hollered, “Don’t move or I’ll shoot you.”

But the employee did move and a shot was fired. Somehow, the employee wasn’t hit, Fullerton said. But by then, Fullerton, a Vietnam-era Army paratrooper, knew people were going to die unless he took action.

“I thought, ‘OK, we got a problem here — he’s going to kill somebody,”‘ Fullerton said. “(Allgier) had a grin on his face the whole time, like he was enjoying it or having fun. No remorse whatsoever.”

So the truck driver jumped over the service counter and wrested the gun from Allgier.

“I don’t know where I got the strength,” the 5-foot, 6 1/2-inch Fullerton said. “I just knew I couldn’t let go (of the gun) or I would be dead.”

Allgier, a self-proclaimed white supremacist, stands 6 feet, 1 inch tall and weighs about 200 pounds.

During the struggle, Allgier tried to stop Fullerton by pointing the gun at him and also grabbed a serrated knife and sliced Fullerton’s throat, he said.

Fullerton said he barely noticed the slashes from the knife because he was focused on using the strength of his hands to take control of the gun.

Once he secured the weapon, Fullerton aimed it at Allgier. Moments later, police stormed the Redwood Road Arby’s and arrested Allgier.

When paramedics arrived, Fullerton’s clothes were so drenched in blood that emergency workers thought he had been shot, he said. He was rushed to the hospital and required seven stitches to close one of the gashes in his neck.

Later in the afternoon, Fullerton returned to his job at California Packaging & Display, where his boss told him to go home early. And he did, but only after — finally — buying himself some food.

Tuesday, though he was sore from head to toe, Fullerton returned to work and tried to put the ordeal behind him. He said he forgives Allgier for trying to kill him and hopes he will receive a fair and speedy trial.

The grandfather of six, a Brigham Young University graduate who has always wanted to be an actor, said he doesn’t think of himself as a hero. He just did what had to be done, he said. But if Hollywood decides to put the story on the big screen, Fullerton would be happy to play himself.

Dolphin rescue goes swimmingly in Turnbull Bay

The female dolphin that’s been stranded in Turnbull Bay in Southeast Volusia was rescued and released Tuesday by teams from SeaWorld Orlando and its related Hubbs SeaWorld Research Institute.

The bottlenose dolphin became stranded in a creek at the south end of Turnbull Bay. It likely swam into the creek a few weeks ago during an exceptionally high tide, said Bob Wagoner, a supervisor with SeaWorld’s animal care division.

The rescuers used a power ski to herd the dolphin into a large net. Then it was carried out of the bay, placed in a boat, continually sprayed with water and moved from the north causeway boat ramp in New Smyrna Beach to be released in the Indian River.

The dolphin appears to be a female named Talon, identified by photos of her dorsal fin taken by researchers with Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution in Fort Pierce. The fins are used for identification much like human fingerprints. Dolphins live in the Intracoastal Waterway, but neighbors along the creek said they’ve never seen a dolphin there before.

Men rescue woman from crashed car

A man who spied steam rising from a ditch in southeast Missouri called a friend and the two of them rescued an elderly woman whose car had crashed.

Ken LeGrand said if he’d been driving near Kelso just a few minutes later, he probably wouldn’t have spotted anything Sunday night. But the puff of steam caught his eye. He called 911 and then a friend, Jeff Miller.

The two men smashed a window with a crowbar and pulled Bonnie Crawford, 70, of Scott City from her Buick. The car was wedged in the ditch, driver’s side down.

She was taken by ambulance to Saint Francis Medical Center. The Missouri Highway Patrol listed her injuries as moderate.

Lifeguard comes to boy’s rescue

A lifeguard is credited with saving a boy’s life at a city pool on Tuesday.

The boy was swimming in the area directly under a water slide at Mae Simmons Pool about 2 p.m. Tuesday when he began to drown, according to witnesses.

“He took a mouth full of the water that was coming down the slide,” said Ivette Eads, outdoor recreation supervisor at Mae Simmons Pool on East 24th Street.

A female lifeguard who was on duty at the time jumped into the pool and pulled out the boy. She then performed CPR on him and cleared his airway.

“He was pretty full of water,” Eads said.

The boy, who witnesses say was about 6- or 7-years-old, never lost consciousness and was taken to Covenant Children’s Hospital.

Eads said lifeguards had told the boy several times to move away from the area under the slide before Tuesday’s incident.

The lifeguard credited with saving the boy did not wish to be interviewed immediately following Tuesday’s near drowning.

Efforts in classroom honored

Education is a demanding profession made even more difficult by new state testing standards. But some Columbia High School teachers say it is all worth it.

Five teachers at the school received awards from various community groups last week. As a group they insisted they are nothing special. They believe success in their profession is more than just pushing students to get high grades and looking to get awards for themselves.

“We get to see the kids grow right in front of us year to year,” said Tara Maney. “For us that is such a high. That’s our real satisfaction, an incredible satisfaction.”

Maney teaches special education and was recognized by the YMCA in part for her work with students doing memorial tributes to Nick Pablo. Pablo was a Goff Middle School student when he was hit and killed by a hit-and-run driver while riding his bike in August 2001 in Clinton County. He would have graduated from Columbia High School this year.

“Kids naturally want to help other people, and all you have to do is open the doors for them,” Maney said.

Peter Zilgme teaches social studies. He was recognized by the district’s teachers union for leadership and motivating the most resistant kids.

“You come in here and perform the best you can and help the difficult kids, but then you realize the energy to make everything work comes from them,” Zilgme said. “There are no bad kids, just unacceptable behaviors. Kids are no different today than they have always been. The distractions are just different.”

The teachers, who gathered at the school for a chat one recent day, said teaching has been made more difficult by new state testing mandates they believe have taken the wonder out of school and made it more about passing tests.

“It has made the job more difficult than it has ever been,” said Tom Amello who has been teaching English at the suburban school of about 1,600 students for 27 years. He received the Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno Award for Excellence.

“They don’t have time to just be a kid anymore,” Zilgme said.

“It’s like setting up a rule that kids all have to learn to tie their shoes by the end of age 2,” Amello said. “You just end up with more Velcro.’

Gregg Weinlein, who teaches English and heads up the school’s Columbia Alternative Program for at-risk kids, said he learned a life lesson from his first job.

“When I first started, I went to a conference and a grandmotherly teacher told the attendees something that I will always remember, ‘Just maintain them through adolescence,’ ” said Weinlein, a 27-year veteran who won the New York State English Council Educator of Excellence Award. “The school system is the last sanctuary. In many ways we are the most stable thing a lot of these kids have growing up.”

The educators said their greatest satisfaction is bumping into former students years later.

“I was walking in the community the other day and saw this guy glaring at me and realized he was a former student who had a lot of problems and was a substance abuser,” Weinlein said. “But he came right up and said ‘Hi,’ and said, ‘Mr. Weinlein it’s been really hard.’ But he was really telling me in his own way that he had made it.”

Also honored was Tracy Farrell, a business teacher who was named Educator of the Year by the Rotary Club of Renssalear County.

UK Neighbourhood heroes rewarded

TWO crime fighters in Times Territory have won awards for their efforts.

Pc Glenn Cook from Hatfield Community Team and Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator John Roper have both been recognised in the police Safer Neighbourhood awards.

Pc Cook, named Neighbourhood Officer of the Year, has helped to reduce anti-social behaviour in Oak Grove, Hatfield, by landscaping and transforming the area.

Residents have greatly appreciated the work, which has meant they are now free from drunken behaviour, off-road motorcycling and anti social behaviour.

There is a renewed community spirit and a landscaped area for both young and old to enjoy.

Pc Cook said: “It was good to give something to the community to improve their quality of life.

“It is an honour to now receive this award for it.”

John Roper won the accolade Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator of the Year for his work in his own community and as the borough link to Hertswatch.

He is described as the “driving force” behind many crime reduction initiatives, and has helped the police cut crime and anti social behaviour.

Richard Smith, Welwyn Hatfield representative on the police authority, said: “The standard of nominations was extremely high.

“The judging panel had its work cut out in deciding the winners.”

Winners will now go forward to the county finals today.

Soggy cat rescued from toilet

A curious kitten has been rescued by firefighters from a toilet outflow after negotiating the U-bend.

It appears that eight-week-old Mr Bingley jumped into the toilet and attempted to explore what lay beyond.

The kitten’s owners, from Cotham, Bristol, were unable to rescue the animal, so called the fire brigade.

Firefighters managed to free it unharmed after removing the toilet bowl. ” I guess it’s used one of its nine lives,” a spokeswoman said.

“We received a call at 11.18pm last night that an eight-week old kitten had got trapped inside a toilet,” she added.

“Somehow it had managed to get past the U-bend. Its owners couldn’t get it out.

“Firefighters removed the toilet and handed the cat back to its grateful owners.”

2 Children Rescued From Mobile Home Fire

An act of heroism by a Forest Lake firefighter early Wednesday morning saved the lives of two children trapped inside burning mobile home.

Deputy Chief Bruce Wightman was the first to arrive at 97 Lee St. just after 1 a.m. to see flames and smoke pouring out of the front bedroom window of a residence in the Woodlund Mobile Home Park, said Fire Chief Gary Sigfrinius.

Wightman learned that two children were inside and, without putting on his gear, he used a police officer’s baton to break a back door window and reached in to unlock the door, Sigfrinius said.

Wightman crawled a short distance down a smoke-filled hallway and found the children, a 6-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl, in a bedroom in the rear of the mobile home. He carried them out one at a time and handed them to a police officer. The children were taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, where they are in fair condition, Sigfrinius said.

The children’s mother was able to escape unhurt.

Wightman didn’t put on gear because “there wasn’t time to get it on” and save the children, Sigfrinius said. But no one without proper training should ever enter a burning house, he added.

“Absolutely not,” Sigfrinius said. “He is a trained firefighter and he knew what he was getting into and knew how far he could crawl. I never recommend this for a civilian. He showed a lot of bravery.”

Sigfrinius said his department is working with the state Fire Marshal’s office to determine a cause.

No firefighters were hurt and no damage to adjacent structures was reported.

Charity concert to help sick lamb

A charity rock concert is being held to raise money for a baa-dly injured lamb who was found on the Lancashire moors.

The five-week-old, who has been called Shaun, was rescued by passing horse riders who found him lying in a gully with a poorly leg and hoof.

They took him back to the riding stables where staff are looking after him and treating his wounds.

The concert, being called Lamb Aid, will be held on Saturday to help raise money for Shaun’s vet bills.

Shaun has suffered nerve and tissue damage and needs lots of help from the vets to get better.

Gian Rothwell, whose partner works at the stables, said: “When we first found him his leg was very weak, he had no strength in his shoulder and he was walking on the back of his hoof.

Animal sanctuary

“If we can strengthen his hoof up, he should be able to knock around quite well with that.”

A local rock band Badger are headlining the gig, with all the proceeds going to the Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary in Edenfield, Rochdale.

Inside Good News Blog