National briefs

Body ashes from rocket recovered

WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M. - A rocket payload that flew briefly into space with ashes of astronaut Gordon Cooper and "Star Trek" actor James Doohan was recovered Friday in the New Mexico mountains.

The payload was found in its designated recovery zone 20 days after Farmington, Conn.-based UP Aerospace sent it up in a 20-foot rocket on April 28.

The rocket, the first to be successfully launched into space from the fledgling Spaceport America in southern New Mexico, made a 4-minute suborbital flight before drifting back to Earth.

On board were partial ashes from Cooper, Doohan - who played Scotty on "Star Trek" - and 200 others, including John Meredith Lucas, a writer for the original "Star Trek" series.

The payload landed in rocky, steep terrain in the San Andres Mountains on White Sands Missile Range, east of the spaceport, and was found by a UP Aerospace crew with help from White Sands.

Wende Doohan, James Doohan's widow, said he "was in great company with Gordon and Meredith Lucas."

"He probably wished he could have stayed" in space, Doohan said in a telephone interview from her home in Renton.

"When Senator John Glenn went up in space (aboard the shuttle Discovery in 1998), he said, 'They're starting to use seniors now,' and he wanted to put his name on the list," Doohan said.


Pilot dies in crash during rehearsal

GREAT FALLS - A Canadian Forces Snowbird jet crashed Friday afternoon during rehearsal for weekend performances at Malmstrom Air Force Base, killing the pilot, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

During maneuvers above the base, one plane broke from the formation and crashed, FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer said. No one ejected from the single-engine jet, he said.

Lt. Jeff Noel, a spokesman for 15 Wing Moose Jaw, said the Snowbird pilots participating in the practice run in Montana were veterans, though he couldn't say exactly how many planes were in the air at the time.

New Jersey

Military suspends training at fire site

LITTLE EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP - Military officials announced Friday they were suspending training at an aerial bombing range where a flare dropped from a military jet might have caused a 27-square- mile wildfire.

New Jersey Air National Guard officials said the fire might have been sparked by a flare dropped from an F-16 into the tinder-dry southern New Jersey Pinelands during a training mission Tuesday.

The military has promised to reimburse property owners if investigations find the jet was to blame, and officials began handing out claims forms Thursday.


Congressman asks for Murtha reprimand

DETROIT - Michigan congressman Mike Rogers called on his House colleagues Friday to reprimand one of its most prominent and senior members, Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., who Rogers said threatened to retaliate against him for opposing a federal facility in Murtha's district.

Rogers, a Brighton Republican, said Murtha threatened him in an exchange on the floor of the House chamber Thursday evening, promising to cut off funding for special projects in Rogers' district.

Murtha's office declined to discuss the incident specifically, but released a statement Friday afternoon saying Democrats and Republicans are treated fairly and equally by his committee.


Tourists carjacked while napping

MIAMI - Hours away from catching a plane home, a couple visiting from Texas parked their rental van near Miami International Airport early Friday to catch some winks - only to be carjacked and robbed, police said.

Three robbers, at least one of them armed, fought their way into the van, driving off with Mark and Maria Jost before releasing them. The gold 2007 Dodge Caravan was later found in a parking lot. The robbers made off with the couple's luggage, laptop computer and wallets.