Nation Digest

NATION DIGEST

July 20, 2006

Coors executive pleads innocent to DWI charges

GOLDEN, Colo. -- Beer company executive Pete Coors has pleaded not guilty to charges of driving under the influence and failing to stop at a stop sign.

His attorney entered the pleas for him and Coors did not appear in court, said Jefferson County district attorney's spokeswoman Pam Russell.

Coors, 59, vice chairman and a director of Molson Coors Brewing Co., was pulled over by the state patrol May 28 after he left a friend's wedding celebration.

Company spokeswoman Kabira Hatland has said Coors rolled through a stop sign a block from his Golden home and was stopped by the officer in his driveway. She said a breath test showed his blood-alcohol content was 0.088. The legal limit is 0.08.

Hatland said yesterday that the not guilty plea was part of the procedure of Coors' attorney asking for a pretrial hearing.

"What I can say is he's sorry to be involved in this situation at all, including the court process, but like any citizen, he has rights now that he's here," she said.

Tropical storm aims for New England

KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. -- Tropical Storm Beryl gained strength yesterday as it pulled away from the North Carolina coast and headed toward New England. The National Hurricane Center in Miami issued a tropical storm watch for southeastern Massachusetts, from Plymouth south and west to Woods Hole. Colin McAdie, a meteorologist at the center, said offshore areas of Massachusetts could get some wind as the storm passes by.

Mine's foam blocks failed in explosion

BUCKHANNON, W.Va. --The 12 men who died in the Sago coal mine explosion in January would have survived if foam blocks designed to seal off an abandoned section had withstood the blast, according to an independent report released yesterday. The 40-inch blocks were made to withstand up to 20 pounds per square inch, but the force of the explosion exceeded that. The report came the same day all mines were ordered to strengthen seals to withstand 50 pounds per square inch of pressure, which was part of federal mine safety legislation passed this year.

Serial killer victims had chance to flee

PHOENIX --The Baseline Killer sometimes strikes up a conversation just before he attacks, authorities said yesterday as they released new information about one of the two serial killers stalking the city. The Baseline Killer's victims probably had a feeling something wasn't right but shrugged it off, said Phoenix police Sgt. Andy Hill. That means that in many of the killings and sexual assaults attributed to him, the victims had an opportunity to get away. The Baseline Killer and another suspected serial killer, known as the Serial Shooter, have taken as many as 11 lives in recent months. Police have created two task forces to investigate, and officials have collected $100,000 as a reward for information leading to the arrest of either suspect.

Georgia voters cool to two candidates

ATLANTA --Georgia voters rejected former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed and left U.S. Rep. Cynthia A. McKinney facing a runoff after Tuesday's primary. Reed was unable to overcome his ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and conceded defeat to state Sen. Casey Cagle in the Republican primary for lieutenant governor. McKinney drew less than 50 percent of the vote in her re-election bid, her first since a highly publicized scuffle with a Capitol Hill police officer.

Ad changed, but not for critics' reason

WASHINGTON --When Sen. Mike DeWine, an Ohio Republican, ran a campaign ad accusing his opponent, Rep. Sherrod Brown, of being soft on national security, Democrats criticized DeWine for using images of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the 19 men accused of hijacking the planes. The senator was notified yesterday by a reporter that the image of the burning towers could not have depicted the actual event because the smoke was blowing the wrong way, so DeWine ordered the image replaced with a photo of the event, his campaign said.

Python doing well after blanket-ectomy

KETCHUM, Idaho --It took surgery to save a 12-foot Burmese python after it swallowed a queen-size electric blanket - with the electrical cord and control box. The blanket must have gotten tangled up in the snake's rabbit dinner, owner Karl Beznoska said. He kept the blanket in the cage to warm the 60-pound reptile, Houdini. Veterinarian Karsten Fostvedt conducted a two-hour operation on the python and said, "The prognosis is great."

From wire reports

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