Dead tree falls on car,killing 4 in family
GREENFIELD, Ind. -- A dead tree fell on top of a passing car, crushing the passenger compartment and killing a minister, his wife and two of their children.
"No wind. No storm. The chances of that tree falling at the time they were directly underneath it are astronomical," said Hancock County Sheriff Nick Gulling.
Authorities identified those killed in Monday night's accident as Stan Jones, 47, Beth Jones, 39, and their children Tyler, 10, and Lauren, 6. A third child, 4-year-old Emily, survived the accident and was listed in fair condition Tuesday night at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.
The family was driving on a narrow road at about 8:30 p.m. on Monday outside Greenfield -- about 20 miles east of Indianapolis -- when a large oak tree fell directly on top of their car.
Stan Jones was the pastor of Buck Creek Baptist Church in the Cumberland section of Indianapolis.
16th-century bells ring in New Year again
EAST BERGHOLT, England -- The bells of St. Mary's rang in the New Year Tuesday, breaking more than two years of silence after the 16th-century church chimes flunked modern safety standards.
"There were serious concerns that they would not ring again," said Paul Ireland, captain of the ringers. "The support from the village has been tremendous."
The ringing stopped in September 1999 after one of the ringers injured his left arm when it was caught between the slab of wood from which the bells hang and the frame holding the bells clear of the ground.
The church's insurance company withdrew coverage, and the parish embarked on a long effort to satisfy the government's Health and Safety Executive, its insurers and various secular and church bodies that the bells could be rung safely.
The key changes included shaving 4 inches off the side of the headstock to leave more room between it and the frame and creating a detailed training manual for ringers.
Then the church had to raise $51,000, most of it within the quiet, elegant village that enjoys some fame as the birthplace of painter John Constable.
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. -- Never underestimate the importance of good handwriting.
A bank robber's badly written note sabotaged his robbery attempt Monday, causing the panicked man to instead hit another bank across the street minutes later, police said.
It all started when the man entered Bank United in this Fort Lauderdale suburb and handed the teller a note.
Unfortunately for the robber, the teller was unable to read the note and asked the man what he wanted, Capt. Chris Hock said.
Hock said the man then offered spoken demands, but the teller was unable to understand the man's mix of Spanish and English. A commotion ensued and the man hurriedly left the bank empty-handed.
Ten minutes later the man robbed a SouthTrust Bank across the street, using the same tactics with a more legible note. The teller gave the man some cash and he left. No one was injured and no one at the bank saw any weapons.
As of Tuesday, the robber remained at large.
Famed observatoryto close for makeover
LOS ANGELES -- Griffith Observatory, which has linked this star-struck city to the stars above for 66 years, is getting a down-to-earth makeover.
The art deco observatory will close Sunday for a three-year, $66 million renovation and subterranean expansion that will more than double its size. The extensive remodeling will be the first for the city-owned observatory since it opened on the flanks of Mount Hollywood during the depths of the Depression.
"This place has been running full-bore since 1935," said Edwin Krupp, the observatory's longtime director. "We've just worn the place out."
The Griffith Observatory is one of the city's best-known landmarks, drawing 1.8 million people a year.
"When you have visitors in town, it's the place to start," James Adeyemo said as he squired 25 friends and family members on a nighttime visit to gaze at the city lights from the observatory's roof.
More people have peered through the observatory's 12-inch telescope -- which pokes through one of the three domes on that roof -- than any other telescope on Earth. The observatory is also a popular film location, appearing most famously in 1955's "Rebel Without a Cause" with James Dean.
"It's been in more films than most stars," said Paul Pohlman, who is managing the renovation project for Santa Monica, Calif.-based Stegeman & amp; Kastner Inc.