The world at a glance...United States
Reno, Nev.Fossett search back on: Two volunteer groups this week said they were renewing the search for millionaire adventurer Steve Fossett, who disappeared last September on a flight over rugged mountains along the California-Nevada border. Canadian geologist Simon Donato is leading a 10-member team of elite athletes and mountaineers in a search of densely wooded areas near where Fossett, 63, was last seen. Fossett was declared legally dead in February, and Donato does not expect to find him alive. “We’re here on the premise that he did crash, unfortunately,” Donato said. In August, a second, 15-person group led by Washington, D.C., mountaineer Robert Hyman plans to begin a search in the area just east of the region where Donato’s team is working.
Los AngelesElderly murderers get life: Two elderly women were sentenced this week to life in prison for killing two destitute men to collect their life insurance. Helen Golay, 77, and Olga Rutterschmidt, 75, were convicted in April of murdering Kenneth McDavid and Paul Vados, running each down in two separate incidents that were made to look like hit-and-run accidents. The two women, who prosecutors said shared an interest in “fleecing people,” had befriended the two men, housed them for two years, and insured their lives for a total of $2.8 million. The jury convicted the two women after hearing a taped conversation in which Rutterschmidt berated Golay for her greed and blamed her for their arrest.
Boulder, Colo. Tests clear Ramseys: DNA tests have cleared the family of JonBenet Ramsey of involvement in her 1996 murder, the Boulder County district attorney said last week. The announcement lifted the cloud of suspicion that has hung over Ramsey’s parents and older brother for more than a decade. The tests, performed using a technique that hadn’t been developed when the 6-year-old pageant queen was killed, confirmed that DNA found on her body didn’t come from any Ramsey family members. It likely “belongs to the perpetrator of the homicide,” said District Attorney Mary Lacy. She apologized to the family for contributing “to the public perception that you might have been involved in this crime.” JonBenet’s mother, Patsy, died in 2006.
Pinehurst, N.C.A hero’s lonely death: Army Spc. Joseph Dwyer, who became nationally known after being photographed carrying a wounded Iraqi boy in the early days of the Iraq war, killed himself in late June, The Army Times reported last week. Dwyer, a combat medic, had struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder after returning from Iraq in 2003, his family said. Medical examiners said he died from an overdose of prescription drugs and aerosol inhalants. The photograph that made Dwyer famous was taken during a firefight near the village of Al Faysaliyah in southern Iraq. Seeing that a 4-year-old boy had been hit in the crossfire, Dwyer picked up the child and sprinted with him to safety. But he denied that he had done anything extraordinary. “I wasn’t standing out more than anyone else,” he said.
BostonGay marriages expanded: Massachusetts legislators this week voted to repeal a 1913 law that had been used to bar out-of-state gay couples from marrying in Massachusetts, where same-sex weddings are legal. Originally intended to block interracial couples from crossing state lines to marry, the law had fallen into disuse in recent decades. But when gays started flocking to Massachusetts after the state’s highest court lifted the ban on same-sex marriage in 2004, then–Gov. Mitt Romney ordered the law enforced, saying he didn’t want the state to become “the Las Vegas of gay marriage.” A recent state study predicted that Massachusetts would reap hundreds of millions of dollars from gay couples traveling to the state to wed.
New York CityAir controllers wanted: Facing a severe staff shortage and a wave of retirements, the Federal Aviation Administration has begun aggressively recruiting prospective air traffic controllers, even reaching into high schools and MySpace. The FAA says that it will accept high school graduates into its three-month training program, then assign them to an air traffic control center, where they will undergo additional training. The agency is also offering bonuses of $100,000, payable over several years, to experienced controllers to work in the New York area, where staffing needs are greatest. The recruiting drive follows a recent near-miss at New York’s Kennedy Airport, where two passenger jets on intersecting runways nearly collided.