GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

March 4, 2013

Biden helps re-enactvoting rights march


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — SELMA, Ala. (AP) — The vice president and black leaders commemorating a famous civil rights march on Sunday said efforts to diminish the impact of African-Americans’ votes haven’t stopped in the years since the 1965 Voting Rights Act added millions to Southern voter rolls.

More than 5,000 people followed Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma’s annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee.

The event commemorates the “Bloody Sunday” beating of voting rights marchers — including a young Lewis — by state troopers as they began a march to Montgomery in March 1965. The 50-mile march prompted Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act that struck down impediments to voting by African-Americans and ended all-white rule in the South.

Biden, the first sitting vice president to participate in the annual re-enactment, said nothing shaped his consciousness more than watching TV footage of the beatings. “We saw in stark relief the rank hatred, discrimination and violence that still existed in large parts of the nation,” he said.

Biden said marchers “broke the back of the forces of evil,” but that challenges to voting rights continue today with restrictions on early voting and voter registration drives and enactment of voter ID laws where no voter fraud has been shown.

Egypt’s army intervenes to try to stop clashes between police, protesters in Port Said

PORT SAID, Egypt (AP) — The military intervened in clashes between thousands of protesters and police in a restive Egyptian canal city on Sunday, the latest in a cycle of violence that killed two security members and two civilians, and which continues to rock Egypt two years after the uprising that ousted longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak.

Also on Sunday, a court ruled that Mubarak will face a new trial next month on charges related to the killings of hundreds of protesters during the revolution that forced him from power.

Around 5,000 protesters threw rocks and firebombs at police in Port Said late Sunday, the scene of a civil strike now in its second week. Riot police responded with tear gas and bird shot in street battles that lasted for hours.

The battle outside the police and government buildings started early Sunday and continued until past midnight. At one point, Egyptian soldiers intervened by forming a line between the two sides, as protesters climbed the tanks chanting support for the country’s armed forces that, unlike the police, have not cracked down on rioters in the city. “The people and the army are one hand!” the demonstrators shouted, urging the soldiers to side with them.

Late on Sunday, the military spokesman denied that soldiers were firing at the police in a short statement indicating the tense situation.

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Most of house over sinkhole that swallowed man in Fla. demolished; man is presumed dead

SEFFNER, Fla. (AP) — Crews on Sunday razed more than half of the Tampa-area home perched over a huge sinkhole that swallowed a man three days ago, managing to salvage some keepsakes for family members who lived there.

Jeremy Bush, 35, tried to save his brother, Jeff, when the earth opened up and swallowed him Thursday night. On Sunday morning, Bush and relatives prayed with a pastor as the home — where he lived with his girlfriend, Rachel Wicker; their daughter, Hannah, 2; and others — was demolished and waited for firefighters to salvage anything possible from inside.

Early Sunday morning, just before the demolition began, Bush and an unidentified woman knelt and prayed at the mailbox in front of the home, owned by Leland Wicker, Rachel’s grandfather, since the 1970s.

After praying, Bush and the woman walked across the street to a neighbor’s lawn to watch the demolition.

The operator of the heavy equipment worked gingerly, first taking off a front wall. Family belongings were scooped onto the lawn gently in hopes of salvaging parts of the family’s 40-year history in the home.

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Supply ship arrives at space station, perfect rendezvous after a shaky start

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — A private Earth-to-orbit delivery service made good on its latest shipment to the International Space Station on Sunday, overcoming mechanical difficulty and delivering a ton of supplies with high-flying finesse.

To NASA’s relief, the SpaceX company’s Dragon capsule pulled up to the orbiting lab with all of its systems in perfect order. Station astronauts used a hefty robot arm to snare the unmanned Dragon, and three hours later, it was bolted into place.

The Dragon’s arrival couldn’t have been sweeter — and not because of the fresh fruit on board for the six-man station crew. Coming a full day late, the 250-mile-high linkup above Ukraine culminated a two-day chase that got off to a shaky, almost dead-ending start.

Moments after the Dragon reached orbit Friday, a clogged pressure line or stuck valve prevented the timely release of the solar panels and the crucial firing of small maneuvering rockets. SpaceX flight controllers struggled for several hours before gaining control of the capsule and salvaging the mission.

“As they say, it’s not where you start, but where you finish that counts,” space station commander Kevin Ford said after capturing the Dragon, “and you guys really finished this one on the mark.”

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With freeze-dried pets, Mo. taxidermist makes sure animal lovers never have to say goodbye

SLATER, Mo. (AP) — Growing up on the family farm, Anthony Eddy learned early on not to get too attached to animals, including household pets.

His devoted customers are a different story. Pet lovers across the country count on the Saline County taxidermist to faithfully preserve Brutus, Fluffy and other beloved companions for posterity. Even if it means shelling out thousands of dollars and waiting more than a year for the pets’ return.

“They’re very distraught, because their child has died. For most people, this animal is their life,” said Lessie “Les” Thurman Calvert, Eddy’s office manager. “Some are kind of eccentric. But most of them are just like you and me. They don’t want to bury or cremate them. They can’t stand the thought. ... It helps them feel better about the loss.”

The front showroom of Eddy’s Wildlife Studio in downtown Slater is a testament to pet owners’ perseverance. Lifelike dogs and cats of all sizes are scattered along the floor, from a perky-looking Brittany spaniel to a regal Persian cat, a lone iguana and the stray cockatiel or two. Departed pets of all persuasions spend up to one year in hulking, freeze-dry metal drums before they are painstakingly preserved and returned to their owners.

Eddy said his business is one of the few in the country to specialize in pet taxidermy and has a two-month waiting list.

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Female kicker lasts all of 2 kicks before injury at NFL regional combine in New Jersey

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Lauren Silberman lined up for a kick at NFL history, took a deep breath and booted the football.

It barely went anywhere, traveling 19 yards, and she grabbed at her right leg.

Still, it was good enough to make her the first woman to try out at a regional combine, even if her day lasted all of two kicks.

With the 36 other kickers — all male — a handful of scouts and more than two dozen media watching in complete silence at the New York Jets’ practice facility, Silberman struggled for about 20 seconds to place the football on the tee before measuring her steps and then trying that second kick.

This one went only about 13 yards.