Page 1

There’s always tomorrow with ‘Annie’

Suicide bomber targets Shiite pilgrims

Raul Castro becomes Cuba’s new leader See World in Brief, Page 3A

See Region in Brief, Page 2A

See World in Brief, Page 3A

Sparks Tribune Daily

Inside • Region in Brief, 2A • World in Brief, 3A • Calendar, 4A • Today in History, 4A


your community newspaper since 1910

50¢ • VOLUME 99 NUMBER 56

Nation in Brief Former DA agreed to use Kennedy assassination legal documents for movie DALLAS (AP) – A longtime prosecutor agreed while he was in office to give filmmakers access to documents connected to President Kennedy's assassination and helped form a company to take part in the venture, a newspaper reported Sunday. New details about District Attorney Henry Wade's involvement in the proposed project about the JFK assassination and the trial of Jack Ruby were contained in long-hidden files discovered in a courthouse safe, according to The Dallas Morning News. Wade died in 2001. Current Dallas County DA Craig Watkins announced the discovery of the files last Monday.

Man ‘anxious’ about his fate after arrest in wife's death in ‘80s

Sunny with a high of 50. WWW.DAILYSPARKSTRIBUNE.COM


Here, Charger, Charger: Sparks couple chases a BY MICHELLE ZEWIN

mzewin@dailysparkstribune. A dark highland green Mustang just like the Mustang Fastback in the 1968 movie “Bullitt” has just hit the streets of Sparks. But Steve McQueen isn’t driving. Sparks residents Jerry and Rhonda Walker are. And they’re not being chased by a Dodge Charger – yet. “I can’t wait until a Charger pulls behind me,” Rhonda said with a laugh. She and her husband sit on their couch anxious to head to Carson City to pick up their car. Both Walkers are donning “Bullitt” t-shirts this morning that depict a scene from the movie and read, ‘Drive it like Steve McQueen.’ They can’t wait for their chance. But to some of their friends and co-workers, Steve McQueen references fly right over their

heads. A cop named Bullitt and a car chase between a Mustang Fastback and Charger mean nothing. “A lot of people just give me a blank stare when I tell them I’m getting a Bullitt,” Rhonda said. “But people who know the movie and know cars are very excited for us.” Both Rhonda and Jerry come from car-loving families so they share their excitement. Jerry’s family has several cars that appear in Hot August Nights each year. And Rhonda has had a love for Mustangs ever since she was a teenager. “I saw it on the street corner and that was it,” Rhonda said, referring to a 1968 Mustang Fastback. She made her dad pullover and she bought it. That car sits in her garage today. Missing from the Walkers’ garage is a 2007 Mustang GT in grabber orange. It now sits in a

Tribune/Tony Contini Sales Manager Richard Bowen, right, presents Rhonda and Jerry Walker with a commemorative plaque displaying their newly bought car in a scene from the movie "Bullitt." private lot waiting to be sold. When the Walkers happened upon a press release announcing

that Ford was releasing some 7,000 Mustangs like the one in the movie “Bullitt” they knew

Homeschooling in Sparks: Backyard biology at a dining room desk

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Japanese officials on Sunday interviewed a businessman from their country who was arrested in a U.S. territory on suspicion of killing his wife a quarter-century ago in a Los Angeles parking lot. Kazuyoshi Miura was apprehended by U.S. authorities late Friday as he tried to pass through immigration control at Saipan's airport to take a flight home, said Toshihide Kawasaki, a Foreign Ministry official in charge of Japanese citizens overseas. Japanese consular officials later talked to him at a Saipan detention center.

Illinois university community gathering to honor 5 slain students DEKALB, Ill. (AP) – With many wearing ribbons in the school colors of black and red, community members and loved ones prepared Sunday to participate in a memorial for five Northern Illinois University students killed when a gunman opened fire inside a classroom. Five bouquets of red and white flowers were placed on the stage of the Convocation Center to commemorate those shot in the Valentine's Day attack. Outside the arena, school officials posted a banner reading, "Forward, together forward." Memoria organizers said they expected thousands of people to attend, and overflow viewing areas were set up around the campus, about 65 miles west of Chicago. The memorial was also to be simulcast to NIU gatherings across the country and in Iraq.

See Bullitt page 6A

Anti-gay church pickets service for Reno victim of serial rapist BY MARTIN GRIFFITH Associated Press

He was found in good condition outside the resort at about 10:30 p.m. after contacting rescuers with his cell phone and giving a general idea of his whereabouts, Bonner said. "(Searchers) found tracks in the snow, ultimately finding Groh," the sheriff said. The Mt. Rose ski resort above Reno reported up to 29 inches of snow over a 24-hour period ending Sunday morning, while the Kirkwood resort south of Lake Tahoe reported up to 28 inches of snow over a similar period.

RENO – A small group from a Kansas-based church that protests at the funerals of U.S. soldiers faced off Saturday night against more than 150 counterdemonstrators outside a memorial service for a Reno woman killed by a serial rapist. The tense confrontation during a fierce snowstorm ended peacefully when three female anti-gay protesters associated with the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., were escorted away from the RenoSparks Convention Center in a police van, Reno police Sgt. Chris Lange said. "There were a couple of eggs thrown at them and that's about it," Lange said. Counter-demonstrators surrounded the three church members after the latter waved placards reading "Pray for More Dead Kids," ''Don't Worship the Dead" and "God Sent the Killer." Counter-demonstrators responded by chanting, "Go Back to Kansas" and waving placards reading "Let Friends Mourn in Peace." Inside, more than 3,000 people attended the service for Brianna Denison, 19, who police said was abducted Jan. 20 and killed by a serial rapist linked to two earlier attacks on the edge of the University of Nevada, Reno. Her body was found in a Reno field on Feb. 15. Members of the church picket military funerals out of a belief that the war in Iraq is a punishment for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality. Last month, the church announced it would protest the service for Denison because they think God hates Reno, as well as gay people and America's tolerance of them. Church officials said they targeted Reno because local law enforcement officers failed to protect three church members who picketed a Jan. 26 memorial service in Reno for staff Sgt. Sean Gaul, who was killed in Iraq on Jan. 9. On Saturday night, more than a dozen uniformed officers strived to keep an estimated 150 to 200 counter-demonstrators separated from the three antigay protesters, Lange said. Police barred a reporter from approaching the church members, citing safety con-

See Storm page 6A

See Church page 6A

2 weeks after explosion and fire at Georgia sugar refinery, an 11th person dies AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) – Another burn patient has died of injuries suffered in an explosion and fire at a sugar refinery, bringing the death toll to 11, officials said Sunday. Two weeks after the blast at the Imperial Sugar plant in Port Wentworth, 12 other patients remain in critical condition at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital in Augusta. Two are in serious condition. A 15th patient, whose name was not released, died Saturday evening, said Beth Frits of the Burn Center.

they had to have one. It didn’t matter that a few months earlier they had just bought a brand new Mustang. “This was a once in a lifetime opportunity so we had to jump on it,” Jerry said. While Jerry loves Mustangs, he’s always had a place in his heart for Dodges. He would love to have a Charger but the Walkers said they need to have a car with four-wheel drive for the winter. “But it would be so great if you could get a black Charger,” Rhonda said to her husband. “Yeah, and then we can do our own chase scene,” Jerry joked. On the drive to Carson City, Rhonda fiddles with her hands, giving away her anxiousness. “I have butterflies in my stomach right now,” she said. Jerry joked around to cool his nerves.

Tribune/Debra Reid Leondro, a hermit crab, emerges from his shell for Seleah Rushing, 9. Seleah and her sisters learn about other species from their crab collection, a fish and a rabbit. "We learn about animals and how to take care of them," Seleah said.


scooper@dailysparkstribune. Eight-year-old Ali Rushing took the delicate hermit crab out of the aquarium in her living room and held it in her little fingers. As the child examined the crab’s coloring and features, biology class had begun. For home-educated Ali, the school day starts at the breakfast table and ends as her mother tucks her into bed. In between, she finds time for physical education in the backyard, math at

the dining room table, reading on the sofa and biology with her hermit crabs. To Irene Rushing, homeschooling her three daughters is the most natural thing a parent can do. Rushing has been homeschooling her children for seven years, since the day her oldest daughter, now in her 20s, came home and requested a different kind of education. Since then, Rushing has organized cooperative field trips, lobbied for state law changes and mentored those who are new to the alternative form of education.

“(Teaching) is really what you have been doing with your children since birth,” Rushing said. “Every moment is a teachable moment for us.” More than 1.1 million children are homeschooled nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s 2007 “Condition of Education” report. The Home School Legal Defense Association, which provides legal services for home scholars worldwide, estimates that about 2 million children across the globe are being taught at home. The Washoe County school district

estimates that the number of local home scholars teeters around 1,000. These students form a loose network of learners who are tied together by chat rooms, online forums and cooperative groups. Jody Jarvis sits on four local homeschooling committees and heads her own cooperative group for home scholars from the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints in Gardenerville. “One of the weaknesses of homeschooling in Nevada is the See Homeschool page 6A

Storm brings heavy snow, traffic delays to Reno-Tahoe area BY MARTIN GRIFFITH Associated Press

RENO ­– A powerful storm dumped up to 29 inches of snow and shut down the main artery from Nevada into northern California overnight. Interstate 80 over Donner Summit was closed for more than four hours because of poor visibility and high winds, said Mark Dinger, a spokesman for the California Department of Transportation. Westbound I-80 traffic was backed up for about five miles at

Truckee, Calif., after the interstate reopened shortly after 5 a.m. Sunday. "They're trying to get traffic cleared out," Dinger said. "We have about 205 people and 135 pieces of snow equipment working on the I-80 corridor." South of Lake Tahoe, Highway 88 over Carson Pass was closed for nearly 21⁄2 hours Sunday after a small avalanche trapped two vehicles at about 8:30 a.m., Dinger said. Crews freed the vehicles from the slide, and no injuries were reported. A section of Highway 88

over the nearby Carson Spur remained closed Sunday afternoon because of avalanche-control activities, authorities said. Chains were mandatory on all three major trans-Sierra highways near Lake Tahoe, including I-80, Highway 88 and U.S. Highway 50 over Echo Summit. Searchers rescued a missing snowboarder on Saturday night near Truckee, Placer County Sheriff Edward Bonner said. Thomas Groh, 17, of Novato, Calif., was reported missing late Saturday afternoon by friends after he was last seen on a run at the Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort.

6A • Monday, February 25, 2008 HOMESCHOOL from page 1A

communication structure,” Jarvis said. “A big question we have to ask is, ‘How do you find other people?’ ” Jarvis uses online forums to connect with other parents. “That is one of the great things about the Internet,” Jarvis said. “You can unify homeschoolers.” Rushing, who lives in Sparks with her husband and children, is a member of several organizations and mentors parents through a cooperative group called Home Educators of Faith. In a 2003 U.S. Department of Education survey of the top reasons for home schooling, 31 percent of parents said they were concerned about a negative environment in public schools; another 30 percent cited a desire to provide religious instruction as their reason for homeschooling; and 16 percent homeschooled their children because they were dissatisfied with the academic instruction available in public schools. “I like homeschooling because I don’t have to be around bad influences all the time,” 16-year-old Rini Rushing said. Rini’s 9-year-old sister, Seleah, had several similar reasons for wanting to be taught at home. “I like to do my schoolwork with my parents and I don’t want to deal with all the drama (at public schools),” Seleah said. Rushing uses a pre-made curriculum plan from Accelerated Christian Educators. The package of faith-based textbooks covers everything from math to science to social studies. As a home-schooling mom, Rushing has the option to develop her own eclectic mix of curri-

BULLITT from page 1A

“Honey, this is the only time I can say there’s a Bullitt with our name on it and it’s a good thing,” he said. And the mood got even lighter at the dealership. The Walkers strolled into Capital Ford Saturday only to be greeted by applause and cheers – and their brand new 2008 Bullitt Mustang sitting on the showroom floor. “Pop the champagne!” someone joked and sales manager Richard Bowen presented the Walkers with a plaque congratulating them on owning the first Bullitt in Nevada. They own number 1,474 overall. Rhonda couldn’t take her eyes off of her new purchase. “It’s not just a new car,” she said. “It’s a special car.” She pauses for a moment and lets out a

Sparks Tribune Daily

cula from various providers, use correspondence courses or make her own lesson plans – often called “un-schooling.” “That is when, for example, you teach your children about measurements through baking,” Rushing said of un-schooling. Options for prepackaged curricula are almost endless, according to Rushing. Parents can purchase textbooks with pre-designed lessons, worksheets and directions. These usually cost between $300 and $500 per child, Rushing said. Some of these offer diplomas or are accredited by various national education councils. “When you are looking at a certain curriculum, tell the company that you are considering their product and don’t be afraid to ask for samples,” Rushing said. “Don’t buy any product without doing your research.” Jarvis defines a good curriculum as one that works for the child’s individual talents and abilities. She found hers though Web networking with other home school parents. “It’s really all about making sure they have a love of education,” Rushing said of developing a curriculum. The Washoe County School District posts its own curriculum standards for public school accountability online, but homeschooling parents are not required to adhere to those standards. Parents who want to homeschool their children need to fulfill two official requirements: file an intent form with the school district and provide a curriculum plan for the first year of education. After those two forms have been filed, the parent has no accountability to the school district unless they move or decide to enroll their child in public

school. The basic intent form requires names, addresses and signatures that certify the parent’s full responsibility for the child’s education. A basic educational plan must include the parent’s course of action for teaching English, math, science and social studies. Homeschooling parents have the option to have their children participate in extracurricular activities at a public school, such as school sports or band classes, if there is room in the class. “They can take up to three classes (through the school district),” said Barbara Creveling, the coordinator for the supplemental credit department in the Washoe County School District. “These are defined as courses that are not normally available through homeschooling, but that can be a pretty broad statement.”

laugh. “It’s the Bullitt.” When making the Bullitt, engineers tried to make it as much like the one in the movie as possible, but with a few twists. The usual Mustang hood ornament is absent. No Ford logo can be seen but instead “Bullitt” is embossed on the back. And on start-up, the new car sounds a little different from other new Mustangs. “Engineers listened to the movie soundtrack and tuned the exhaust to sound like the Mustang in the movie,” car salesman Rick Stevenson said. The green color of the car is so dark that it can be mistaken for black in some lights. Black leather dresses the interior. The dash is aluminum and the speedometer and odometer have crosshairs. “It’s very true to the Mustang in the movie,” Jerry said as he looked on.

The Walkers were so excited about the car that they bypassed the test drive and went straight to signing papers. Since Rhonda drove the last new car home from the dealer, Jerry got the honor of driving the Bullitt first. He climbed into the driver’s seat a little nervous. “It’s such a strange feeling,” he said. “I’ve never owned a collectible car like this. I’m almost afraid to drive it.” Jerry added that it’s been a while since he’s driven a stick shift so that was adding on to his nerves. But with only a slight jump, he put the car in gear and began his drive home to Sparks. Only a few minutes had passed when he pointed out a Charger crossing the street. “I can’t wait to pull up behind one,”Jerry said, giving the impression that he was imagining that famous car chase as he spoke. It’s only a matter of time.

Tribune/Debra Reid Seleah Rushing, 9, repairs her model of the universe and solar system. Rini Rushing finds her extracurricular activities through acquaintances and homeschool cooperative groups. The 16-yearold has volunteered at the Nevada State Legislature helping Senator Maurice Washington with his paperwork. She has also worked with special-needs children through the Home Educators of Faith program. “I want to be a special education teacher, so that was cool,” Rini said of working with the specialneeds kids. Jarvis homeschools her two boys, who are 15 and 11 years old. Because of physical handicaps, Jarvis’ older son would attend special education classes if he were enrolled in public school. “I like letting him go at his own pace instead of feeling stupid,” Jarvis said. Rushing and Ceveling both said community involvement is

Regional News crucial for home-schooled kids. “A lot of people are worried that these children are not getting the social interaction,” Creveling said. “But the true home scholars have groups and activities and really address that.” She suggests getting involved though a lot of networking, both with other homeschooling families and curriculum vendors. “The greatest need right now is the conference,” Rushing said of a homeschooling convention to be held at the RenoSparks Convention Center on May 16 and 17, “because you are bringing the companies into a place teachers can learn about the products, just like teachers’ workshops.” The conference will have classes for home teachers on different methods and challenges they face. No certification of any kind is necessary to educate a child at home, according to state law. “The conference will allow the rejuvenation we need,” Rushing said. A homeschooled child’s educational credentials are established by the parent. District testing is available to them, but is not mandatory. “When you are working with your child on a day-to-day basis you know where they are and you don’t really need a test,” Rushing said. Creveling suggests two things to parents who are thinking about homeschooling: go to the Nevada Department of Education’s Web site and find a good curriculum. “I also share with them that when high school age comes around that they want to be sure that they have a curriculum that is in tune with high school standards,” Creveling said.

Otherwise, the credits will not qualify for high school credit and the child will have to take the classes over again. The County’s standards are posted on its Web site at http:// The





information site is http://www. Rushing also maintains resources for local home-schooling parents at

Tribune/Dan McGee Many Sparks residents, including Curtis Barrus, spent Sunday morning clearing snow from their driveways and sidewalks. Saturday's snow storm dropped from a couple to several inches of snow acros the Truckee Meadows area.


from page 1A

CHURCH from page 1A

cerns. A call to the church resulted in a recording that said no one was available. Counter-demonstrators said they strongly disapprove of the church's message and tactic

The Boreal ski area atop Donner Summit reported 11⁄2 feet of snow over the last 24 hours for a storm total of up to 34.5 inches of snow. The storm also dumped heavy snow along the eastern Sierra, including up to 12 inches in Carson City and 9 inches in Reno.


Former DA agreed to use Kennedy assassination legal documents for movie See Homeschool page 6A 2 weeks after explo- sion and fire at Georgia...