Around the Nation

Monday, November 24, 2008

40,000 Swarm Farm To Gather Free Food

PLATTEVILLE, Colo. -- A farm couple got a huge surprise when they opened their fields to anyone who wanted to pick up free vegetables left over after the harvest -- 40,000 people showed up.

Joe and Chris Miller's fields were picked so clean Saturday that a second day of gleaning -- the ancient practice of picking up leftover food in farm fields -- was canceled Sunday. " 'Overwhelmed' is putting it mildly," Chris Miller said. "People obviously need food."

She said she expected 5,000 to 10,000 people to show up Saturday to collect free potatoes, carrots and leeks. Instead, an estimated 11,000 vehicles snaked around cornfields and backed up more than two miles. About 30 acres of the 600-acre farm 37 miles north of Denver became a parking lot.

Miller said they opened the farm to the free public harvest after hearing reports of food being stolen from churches. It was meant as a thank-you for customers.

Richardson Said to Accept Post

President-elect Barack Obama has decided to appoint New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) as his commerce secretary, and Richardson has accepted, according to one Democratic source with knowledge of the situation. Obama transition officials and aides to Richardson declined to comment Sunday. Another Democrat close to the transition confirmed that Richardson is the "leading candidate" but said an announcement on the Commerce position was not likely to occur Monday.

Work on Shuttle Water System

HOUSTON -- Astronauts tinkered with a troublesome piece of equipment that can convert urine and sweat into drinkable water and allow the international space station to grow to six crew members. Station commander Michael Fincke and Endeavour astronaut Donald Pettit changed the way a centrifuge is mounted in the $154 million water-recycling system.

Suspect Sought in Mall Shooting

TUKWILA, Wash. -- Police sought a young gunman Sunday after a shooting the day before at a busy Seattle area mall left one teenager dead and another seriously injured. At least four people were detained and questioned after the shooting Saturday afternoon at Southcenter Mall, police officer Mike Murphy said. Murphy said the shooting stemmed from a fight between two groups of people and may have been gang-related. The 240-store mall reopened Sunday with a more visible security force.

1 Slain, 2 Badly Hurt at Church

CLIFTON, N.J. -- Police are looking for Joseph M. Pallipurath of Sacramento, who they say fatally shot his estranged wife during services at a New Jersey church and badly injured two other people. Officials say about 200 people were inside St. Thomas Syrian Orthodox Knanaya Church in Clifton during the shooting. Capt. Robert Rowan said Reshma James, 24, died at a hospital. Two other people are listed in critical condition with wounds to the head. James had recently moved from California to escape an abusive marriage, Rowan said.

Army School Opponents Hopeful

COLUMBUS, Ga.-- Demonstrators opposed to a school for Latin American military and government leaders on a Georgia Army base say they hope a new president or more sympathetic Congress will close it. School of Americas Watch protests each November to mark the 1989 killings of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter in El Salvador. A United Nations panel concluded that some of the killers had attended the school, now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.

-- From Staff Reports and News Services

View all comments that have been posted about this article.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company