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Family, friends visit ailing congressman



Published: Sun, May 27, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Family, friends visitailing congressman

WASHINGTON -- Family members gathered Saturday at the bedside of a gravely ill Rep. J. Joseph Moakley, a Massachusetts Democrat who is fighting incurable leukemia and has spent nearly a week in the hospital.

The 74-year-old congressman was in stable condition at Bethesda Naval Hospital in suburban Maryland, said Kevin Ryan, his chief of staff. Moakley has been hospitalized since Monday, when he was admitted for a routine blood transfusion treatment that typically lasts a day or two.

"The congressman's condition is grave," hospital spokesman Ed Austin said Saturday evening, reading a statement authorized by Moakley's family. "He is resting comfortably with family, staff and friends by his side. Those closest to him appreciate the many good wishes and prayers that have been expressed by so many."

Moakley's two brothers arrived from Massachusetts to keep vigil.

Firefighters battleblaze in northern Fla.

MAYO, Fla. -- Firefighters hampered by drought and strong winds were battling a 54,000-acre wildfire Saturday that forestry officials warned could soon threaten at least three communities.

The largest was the Mallory Swamp fire near Mayo in northern Florida. Authorities said they could not forecast how long it would take to contain the blaze in commercial timberland and swamp.

"Our fire behavior forecast for today is miserable. The fire is generally in a position to create its own weather and it's going to display extreme fire behavior," said J.P. Greene, aviation manager of the Florida Division of Forestry.

"It's going to be a very hard day out there," Greene said.

Subdivisions could be threatened by the fire, depending on how area winds develop.

Heavy smoke and the fire's unpredictability prompted authorities to advise some area residents to leave their homes several days ago.

h Loretta Lynn opensmuseum in Tennessee

HURRICANE MILLS, Tenn. -- More than 1,000 of Loretta Lynn's friends, relatives and fans celebrated the grand opening Saturday of a museum chronicling her life as a "Coal Miner's Daughter" and country music legend.

Naomi Judd, George Jones and Lynn's sister Crystal Gayle were among those at the site of the new Coal Miner's Daughter Museum at Lynn's home west of Nashville. The museum replaces an earlier one that had been on the property for years.

Judd called Lynn, 66, a "hillbilly feminist" for such songs as "Don't Come Home A'Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)," and "You Ain't Woman Enough."

The museum includes items like Lynn's first bedroom furniture, bought for $200 from a musician in Hank Williams Sr.'s band. The furniture once belonged to Williams himself.

"I paid him back $10 a month, 'cause we didn't have any money," Lynn said.

Lynn's rise in country music was chronicled in the 1980 film "Coal Miner's Daughter," starring Sissy Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones.

The museum includes an old touring bus nicknamed The Coal Miner, and cars driven by Lynn and her husband. Lynn said she wrote "Fist City," a song that threatens violence to a woman who shows too much interest in her husband, in one of the Cadillacs on display.

Second explosionat Michigan plant

GAYLORD, Mich. -- A second explosion ripped through a mill that produces particle board and injured six firefighters early Saturday, a day after an initial explosion injured nine people.

One firefighter suffered first- and second-degree burns, and five others were treated for smoke inhalation and minor injuries after the blast about 12:30 a.m., said David Duffield, chief of the Otsego County Fire Department.

Friday's explosion at the Georgia-Pacific Corp. plant sparked a fire that spread to a silo containing wood chips 20 to 30 feet deep, Duffield said. The firefighters opened the silo to pour water on the flames, and the sudden infusion of oxygen caused the second blast, he said.

The fire was contained Saturday afternoon to the silo, and automated equipment was pumping water onto the smoldering wood chips, Duffield said. He was not sure when it would be extinguished.

A seventh firefighter suffered a knee injury while battling flames apart from the explosion.

Associated Press




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