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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Thu, 27 Feb 97 14:28:10 -0800
Subject: WhiteBoardness 2/27/97
Excerpted-from: WhiteBoard News for Thursday, February 27, 1997
New York, New York:
A 400-pound man charged with running a teen-age prostitution ring was
arraigned outdoors because authorities didn't think they could squeeze him
into the courtroom.
In an ambulance outside the Manhattan Criminal Courts building Monday,
Robert York, 47, was arraigned on a charge of promoting prostitution. It
took eight men to lift him into the vehicle.
Wearing only a white hospital gown speckled with tiny blue flowers, York
rested on a gurney and covered himself with a dingy gray wool blanket, his
nose just 2 inches from the ambulance's ceiling.
"The defendant is in an ambulance lying on his back," acting State Supreme
Court Justice Laura Drager noted for the record. "It would be physically
impossible to move him through the building now."
York was arrested after a teen-age girl told police that he sent her out on
prostitution jobs and that three other defendants in the case would drive
her to and from the jobs.
Court officials say they will have to figure out how to get York to the
courthouse's 15th floor on March 12 when the case resumes.
"He's miserable," [his] defense lawyer ... said after the seven-minute
proceeding. "He's been beat up and robbed of his gold neck chain. He has no
clothes. He's naked in there."
An American Airlines jet made an unscheduled landing in Ireland to let off
an ill passenger, who subsequently vomited 21 packets of cocaine, police
The 19-year-old man fell sick after the plane left London for Jamaica on
Sunday evening, possibly when one of the packets burst, police said.
Crew members thought he was having an epileptic seizure and diverted the
plane to Shannon Airport.
At a hospital, the passenger vomited packets containing a total of more than
4 ounces of cocaine, authorities said. He said he had swallowed another 11
packets carrying a total of more than 2 ounces.
Police said the man appeared to be a courier for Jamaican drug gangs and
had taken a flight from Kingston, Jamaica to London via New York last week.
In London, he had been stopped by immigration officials, who decided to
return him to his native Jamaica.
Police are still questioning the man, whose name has not been released.
Washington, District of Columbia:
Rotten fruit might have led to the temporary closure of Washington's
National Airport, not a gas leak as first suspected, officials said Tuesday.
Officials ordered the main terminal and control tower evacuated Sunday night
after foul odors wafted through the terminal, causing air traffic
controllers and ticket agents to suspect a gas leak.
Airlines had to cancel 26 flights and divert 24 others to nearby Dulles
International and Baltimore-Washington International airports, upsetting
the travel plans of thousands of passengers.
But in all-night testing, baffled Washington Gas Co. technicians could find
no leaks in the gas pipes.
Airport officials said they have now focused on a trash bin loaded with
rotting fruit and leftover food as the possible culprit.
The bin was removed from the terminal shortly after the incident. When
firefighters took it away and opened the doors, the odors vanished.
"We really don't know what they smelled," said airport spokeswoman Tara
Hamilton. "We're still looking into it."
How many firefighters does it take to change a lightbulb?
At Livermore's Fire Station 1, the question is moot.
For nearly a century, firefighters there have been keepers of what is
believed to be the longest-burning bulb on the planet. Donated to the
department by a local businessman, it has been shining since 1901.
The naked bulb, which hangs from the ceiling, is celebrated in Ripley's
Believe-It-of-Not and has attracted tourists from as far away as Japan and
Australia to this city just east of Oakland.
Through earthquakes, fires and riots, the bulb has burned faintly with only
short interruptions for the occasional power outage and a 23-minute respite
in 1976 when the station moved locations. The bulb was brought along to the
"We gave it (an emergency) code 3," firefighter Jim McCraw remembers. "We
had all the trucks out with sirens and lights flashing. It was like the O.J.
Simpson chase, we moved it so slowly down the street."
Now, it has become such an institution that the firefighters worry about
the day it burns out.
"I'd hate to be on duty if that ever happens," McCraw said. "We'd all be
brought in and interrogated."
© 1997 Peter Langston