Firefighters Try to Protect

Observatory From Blazes

SAFFORD, Ariz. -- Firefighters widened a defensive ring around a mountaintop observatory Monday to try to hold back two wildfires and protect one of the world's most powerful telescopes under construction.

Crews used bulldozers and fire retardant around the Mount Graham International Observatory, which has two operating telescopes and the $120 million, soon-to-be-completed Large Binocular Telescope.

The building has a sprinkler system, but "smoke and heat could do some real damage to the instruments inside," said Pruett Small, a fire official.

Only Arizona's summer rains can put out the wildfires, officials said.

One of the fires was a lightning-sparked blaze that had grown to more than 6,200 acres by early Monday. It was burning less than a mile southeast of the $200 million-plus observatory. A nearby blaze grew to more than 6,500 acres.

* OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. -- Three years after he was nearly killed by a shark, Jessie Arbogast, 11, is "growing like a weed" but still uses a wheelchair and has trouble speaking, according to his aunt, Diana Flosenzier. The boy lost most of his blood in the July 6, 2001, shark attack in Florida. "Jessie is speaking clearer words but no sentences," Flosenzier said.

* FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- A former Olympic wrestler who crashed his sport-utility vehicle into a crowded terminal building at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport was hospitalized for psychological evaluation, an official said. Alexis Vila, 33, of Williamston, Mich., was taken into custody after he ran from his SUV after crashing Sunday into a vacant Southeast Airlines ticket counter. He had minor scrapes; no one else was injured.

* BOSTON -- A statewide indoor smoking ban covering workplaces, bars and restaurants took effect in Massachusetts, and public health officials said they plan to aggressively pursue violators. New York, Connecticut, Maine, Delaware and California also have statewide bans.

* OCALA, Fla. -- A community college professor was shot to death in front of an empty police station by her husband, who then committed suicide, police said. Debra Allen Vazquez, 50, had driven to police headquarters to get help, but all officers were on assignment, authorities said. Vazquez, a communications professor at Central Florida Community College, had argued with her estranged husband, Jose Vazquez, near a Wal-Mart on Sunday.

* FREEPORT, N.Y. -- A woman was killed and 11 people were injured in a Long Island apartment complex fire. Authorities said an accelerant may have been used to start the fire in the first-floor lobby, near the front door of the apartment belonging to the building's superintendent.

* BRANCHLAND, W. Va. -- Fire gutted a mobile home early, killing four family members. Roger Lee Frye, 41, and Angela Dawn Frye, 33, and Angela Frye's aunt, Ramona Farley, 52, were killed. Firefighters pulled Patience Frye, 3, through a bedroom window but could not revive her.

-- From News Services