MONDAY, JUNE 19,2006 NATIONIL THE HAYS DAILY NEWS A7 Court-martial tinged with sex, drinking, race Coast Guard Academy coming under fire By MATT APUZZO ASSOCIATED PRESS NEW HAVEN, Conn. - At the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, where cadets in pressed shirts and gold-buttoned blazers train to become officers, a court-martial this week could provide a far less distinguished view of student life, one involving sex and drinking to the brink of unconsciousness. Cadet Webster Smith, 22, pleaded not guilty today to charges of rape, sodomy, extortion and assault as his court- martial, the first of its kind in the 130-year history of the academy, before a jury of Coast Guard officers. Smith faced misconduct accusations from several female cadets. Pretrial testimony in the case centered on several nights of heavy drinking, including one in June 2005 in Annapolis, Md. Friends have testified that the woman who accused Smith of raping her — his on-again, off- again girlfriend — passed out and was enraged the next morning when she learned she and . Smith had had sex. Defense attorneys counter that the couple had a lengthy sexual relationship that continued until the week before the alleged rape and resumed the semester after. The alleged rape was reported after attorneys say the consensual sexual relationship resumed. The trial also is expected to include undertones of race relations. Smith is black, his accusers are white and defense attorneys say the women conspired against him. Defense attorney Merle J. Smith, who is not related to the cadet, said it's easy to forget that the service academy is a campus full of college students. "They're youth between the age of 18-24, and they're under intense pressure — academic pressure and professional training folded over top of it — that is far more intense than your normal college," the attorney said. In an essay for the school's alumni magazine this month, Capt. Doug Wisniewski, the outgoing commandant of cadets, said it's becoming harder to bring students in line with the school's rigid expectations. "The society from which cadets come is simply disrespectful, self-focused and morally relativistic," he wrote. "The open sex culture adored in the media and online environments have translated into incredible sexual liberties at the high school level, which are, in my opinion, degrading of women. "Too many cadets see little problem when they illegally consume alcohol while underage." The court-martial is expected to take a week. MICHAEL CHOW / Associated Press Father J.C. Ortiz sprays water on the roof of St. John Vianney Church Sunday in Sedona, Ariz., as a wildfire burns to the north. Wildfire forces evacuations Communities facing battle after fire spreads quickly in Arizona By AMANDA LEE MYERS ASSOCIATED PRESS Tornado damages roofs in Wis. HARTFORD, Wis. (AP) — Severe thunderstorms rolled across southern Wisconsin on Sunday, spawning a tornado that ripped the roof off an elementary school, toppled trees and knocked out power. The twister touched down shortly before 3 p.m. in Hartford, a town of 8,200 people about 25 miles northwest of Milwaukee. Mayor Scott Henke said Sunday evening an initial count showed there was significant As for injuries, he said one area resident suffered a broken hip in a fall while rushing to his basement in response to the storm warnings. City Councilwoman Jacki Lokken said she saw a funnel cloud while driving home from the grocery store. "I was actually driving right in its path," she said. "I drove north a little bit and watched it as it headed southeast." The Lincoln Elementary School roof was damaged and a SEDONA, Ariz. — Hundreds of homes and businesses were threatened early today by a wildfire that blackened 1,000 acres in northern Arizona's scenic Oak Creek Canyon. The fire started Sunday afternoon and spread quickly through the parched region, forcing the evacuation of about 400 homes and businesses in Oak Creek Canyon and about 100 homes in five Sedona subdivisions. Fire crews were positioned today to protect homes from the fire, which had burned to within a mile of some of the buildings. "It's going to be quite a fight not to lose them," said Kristy Bryner, a fire information officer. Oak Creek Canyon, more than 90 miles north of Phoenix, is home to hotels, resorts, stores and houses scattered across the area. Helge Zipprich, who lives in a mobile home in Oak Creek Canyon, said he and his three sons were in Sedona on Sunday and didn't have time to return home for any of their belongings. He said the worst part was not knowing what was happening. "If the fire does spread and gets my home, I wouldn't know," he said. The fire ignited in a wooded area and quickly led to the evacuations in the Sedona subdivisions of Cibola Hills, Rim Shadows, Painted Cliff, Shadow Rock Circle and Casa Contenta. Evacuations followed in Oak Creek Canyon, between Sedona and Flagstaff. The cause of the fire was under investigation. In southern Colorado, another wildfire grew to more than 400 acres early today, prompting officials to urge voluntary evacuations of the 246 homes in Forbes Park. The fire was reported shortly before noon Sunday. No homes had been destroyed, and the cause of the fire was unknown. Wildfires have burned more than 2.9 million acres nationwide this year, well ahead of the average of about 900,000 acres by this time of year, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. Huge grass fires that swept Texas and Oklahoma this spring account for a large part of this year's high acreage. Briefs Report: Motorcycle fatalities up in Florida after law repeal MELBOURNE, Fla. (AP) — Motorcycle fatalities involving riders without helmets have soared in the nearly six years since Gov. Jeb Bush repealed the state's mandatory helmet law, a newspaper reported Sunday. A Florida Today analysis of federal motorcycle crash statistics found "unhelmeted" deaths in Florida rose from 22 in 1998 and 1999, the years before the helmet law repeal, to 250 in 2004, the most recent year of available data. Total motorcycle deaths in the state have increased 67 percent, from 259 in 2000 to 432 in 2004, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics. Records, though, also show motorcycle registrations have increased 87 percent in Florida since Bush signed the helmet law repeal July 1, 2000. 2 small planes collide in Illinois, killing 1 PERU, 111. (AP) — Two small planes collided in mid-air Sunday morning before the start of the Illinois Valley Air Show, killing one of the pilots, authorities said. While police and the Federal Aviation Administration said they believed the planes were practicing for the air show, an official with the event's organizer said the pilots were not part of the scheduled entertainment. The planes were among four that left Poplar Grove to be displayed at the air show, said J. Michael Maloney, president of American Air Shows. As they were attempting to land, one plane touched another — causing a crash in a field northeast of the Illinois Valley Regional Airport, he said. After the collision, the other pilot was able to land his plane and declined medical treatment, police dispatcher Jamie Bradish said. VISIT, Satellites and More 2522 Vine, Ste. 1 • Hays Offer ends 6-30-06 All prices, packages and programmings subject to ' 30-Day Money Back Guarantee. Try DISH NETWORK Risk-tree lor 30 Days. It you're not satisfied, we'll give you your .money back. 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