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Officer: Hockey father admitted being in fight



Published: Sat, January 5, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Officer: Hockey fatheradmitted being in fight

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- A police officer testified Friday that he arrived at the scene of a fatal fight between two hockey dads and found the victim motionless and surrounded by children.

Reading Police Sgt. James Cormier was the first to take the stand in the manslaughter trial of Thomas Junta, 42, who is accused of beating a man to death after their sons' hockey practice in July 2000. Junta claims he acted in self-defense.

Michael Costin, 40, died the day after the fight, which occurred at Burbank Ice Arena in Reading, a suburb 15 miles north of Boston.

Cormier said when he arrived he saw Junta outside the arena. His shirt was ripped and he had a scratch on his face. Cormier said he asked Junta if he was a participant in the fight and Junta nodded or said yes. He then asked Junta where the other man was.

"His response to me was that he was inside laying down," Cormier testified.

Cormier said Costin was lying motionless, with open eyes staring straight ahead. Costin was "surrounded by a lot of children."

Several children witnessed the fight, and the prosecutor's list of potential witnesses includes the two men's sons and nine other children.

Magazine says Houstonis nation's fattest city

HOUSTON -- When it comes to flab, Houston is No. 1.

For the second consecutive year, Men's Fitness magazine gave the title of fattest to the nation's fourth-largest city.

The magazine considers air and water quality, television viewing habits, obesity rates, availability of parks and open space, climate and nutrition when assigning ranks.

Later this month, Houston plans to launch a get-fit effort inspired by cheesesteak-loving Philadelphia, which implemented a citywide fitness campaign after the magazine named it the flab capital in 1999.

In response, health clubs offered discounts, businesses sponsored lunch-hour workouts and restaurants presented leaner dishes. Philadelphia dropped to No. 3 last year, and this year is No. 4 on the list.

Chicago ranked No. 2, followed by Detroit.

Houston isn't the only Texas city battling the bulge. Dallas weighs in at No. 5; San Antonio at No. 7, and Fort Worth rounds out Texas in the top 10 at No. 8.

The magazine's February "fattest city" issue appears on newsstands Monday.

Thousands of koalasfeared killed by fires

SYDNEY, Australia -- The bush fires raging in Australia have likely killed or injured thousands of koalas, further stressing the national icon's fragile population, wildlife experts said Friday.

Koala populations already are threatened by human development. Many of those populations will be diminished drastically by the fires burning across New South Wales state and may not rebuild for 15 years, the National Parks and Wildlife Service said.

"Koalas are vulnerable. They are slow moving," service director Brian Gilligan said. "No doubt many thousands of koalas have either been killed or injured in the fires."

Eucalyptus trees have a high oil content and are extremely combustible. Often, the wildfires engulf a tree before koalas have the chance to escape.

"What they would do is climb to the tops of trees and tuck themselves into a ball, covering their sensitive parts such as their nose, ears and eyes," said John Callaghan, chief ecologist of the Australian Koala Foundation.

"If they manage to survive by doing this, they still often end up with severe burns and respiratory problems."

Americans die in crash

BIRMINGHAM, England -- A private jet bound for the United States crashed on takeoff Friday at Birmingham International Airport in central England, killing five Americans on board.

The twin-engine Canadair Challenger executive jet that went down just after noon was registered with Georgia-based agricultural equipment giant AGCO Corp.

The company said its president and chief executive officer, John Shumejda, 56, and its senior vice president of sales, Ed Swingle, 60, were killed. Both had attended a meeting in Coventry of AGCO's British operation and were flying to Bangor, Maine.

The U.S. Embassy in London said the three crew members also were American citizens, but their identities were not released.

The cause of the crash was not known, although the British Broadcasting Corp. reported the plane clipped one of its wings on the ground during takeoff.

Witnesses described a huge pall of smoke billowing above the aircraft after the crash.

Associated Press




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