Two Pilots Are Indicted

MIAMI -- A federal grand jury has indicted two America West pilots who were fired for allegedly being drunk in the cockpit just before takeoff.

The indictment released Thursday charges pilot Thomas Cloyd and co-pilot Christopher Hughes with being under the influence of alcohol while operating an airplane. The pilots were appealing similar state charges; they pleaded not guilty to the charges Thursday. Both were allowed to go free on $100,000 bail.

Cloyd, 46, and Hughes, 43, were accused of taking the controls of a jetliner after a night of drinking in 2002. Officials said 124 passengers were aboard as the pilots left a gate at Miami International Airport.

Authorities stopped the plane after security guards reported smelling alcohol on the pilots, and the jet returned to the gate before takeoff.

Wolf Program Protected

ALBUQUERQUE -- A judge has rebuffed an effort by ranching groups to shut down the Mexican gray wolf reintroduction program, saying the animals' survival is more important than minor economic losses.

U.S. District Judge M. Christina Armijo rejected a preliminary injunction of the program despite ranchers' allegations that wolves have attacked cattle and could breed with dogs to create a hybrid species.

"In this case," Armijo wrote in her order Tuesday, "the balance of hardships and the public interest weigh in favor of allowing the reintroduction and translocation efforts."

The program began with the release of 11 captive-bred wolves into the Arizona wild in March 1998. About 30 of the wolves were listed in the wild in both New Mexico and Arizona as of late 2003.

* SAFFORD, Ariz. -- Firefighters on rugged Mount Graham focused their efforts on protecting two communities of summer homes endangered by wildfires that have charred nearly 25,000 acres, and to reinforcing protection for a mountaintop observatory. Nearly 100 homes were at risk in Turkey Flat and Columbine on the flanks of the mountain in southeastern Arizona. Two lightning-caused blazes were about two miles apart and could possibly merge.

* FORT LAUDERDALE -- A man who was accused of plotting to fire bomb abortion clinics, churches and gay bars was sentenced to five years in federal prison. Stephen John Jordi received the minimum sentence from U.S. District Judge James Cohn. He pleaded guilty in February to a single charge of attempted arson of an abortion clinic in a plea deal with prosecutors.

* ST. JOHNS, Mich. -- Daniel Lynn Freshney was charged with assault and 21 other felonies for allegedly firing his shotgun at motorists on a highway Tuesday. At least eight people were shot at, and one woman was shot in the hand, police said. Freshney said he believed the city was "under invasion" and that he had to flee with his 6-year-old son. He said he had not been taking his medication and was trying to reach his psychiatrist.

-- From News Services