Suicide Claims Sept. 11 Widow

A Trade Center widow took her own life; the pilot of the plane than hit the Pentagon is buried; there's a security deal with Canada; Berkeley, Calif., is offering draft advice, just in case; Area 51 guards want more money; and a $500 reward has been offered to catch a Pennsylvania flag burner.

Widow of Trade Center Victim Kills Self

S T R O U D S B U R G, Pa., Dec. 13 — A 51-year-old woman whose friends say had been depressed since her husband died in the collapse of the World Trade Center committed suicide this week, authorities said today.

Pat Flounders, 51, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at her home Monday, Monroe County Coroner Dave Thomas said. Her body was found by a friend.

Her husband, Joe Flounders, 46, worked for Euro Brokers Inc. on the 84th floor of trade center's South Tower, the second skyscraper struck by hijackers Sept. 11.

Pat Flounders had said she was at home watching television when she saw a jet hit the North Tower. She called her husband and told him to leave, but was later told by one of her husband's colleagues that he stayed behind to assist a co-worker who went into shock.

"She was so distraught. She just lost her will to live, she lost hope," said Kelly Lewis, who helped Pat Flounders gather personal documents after her husband's death.

Flounders was also in poor health and was recovering from surgery in which she had a pacemaker implanted, Lewis said. She refused the offers of free counseling that were made to families of Trade Center victims.

The couple had moved to Monroe County from New York three years ago.

Pat Flounders held a memorial for her husband last week in New York, which was attended by friends and former co-workers, but she remained despondent.

Her husband's death "was just so hard for her; he was taking care of her, he took care of all the financial matters," Lewis said. "He was only a few years from retirement and they were really looking forward to it."

— The Associated Press

Pilot of Pentagon Jet Buried in Arlington

A R L I N G T O N, Va., Dec. 13 — The pilot of the plane terrorist hijackers crashed into the Pentagon is now buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Charles Frank Burlingame III, known as "Chic," was regarded as a gifted aviator.

At the funeral today, Navy Vice Adm. Timothy Keating said his Naval Academy classmate "could make the jets talk."

The former Navy pilot and 17-year Navy Reservist was 51 when he died.

He was initially denied his own grave at Arlington because he died before age 60, the eligibility age for reservists.

Sen. George Allen of Virginia had asked President Bush to grant an exemption.

Burlingame received a funeral with full Navy honors, and was buried near his parents' grave.

— The Associated Press

Security Deal Cut With Canada

T O R O N T O, Dec. 12 — U.S. and Canadian officials agreed today on a border action plan that calls for increasing security while speeding the flow of commerce at key crossings to protect the world's largest trade partnership.

The plan was endorsed today to conclude two days of talks in Ottawa led by U.S. Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Manley.

It includes some steps already taken by both countries and new measures in a coordinated effort to improve border safety after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. It also focuses on preventing traffic jams and other delays at the border to maintain trade worth more than $1 billion a day.

"There is no trade-off between our people's security and a trade-friendly border," Ridge said at a news conference following the signing of the deal. "We need both."

Provisions include resuming and expanding the Nexus computer system that eases the entry process into both countries for low-risk, preapproved users.

The pilot project started last November at the Blue Water Bridge connecting Point Edward, Ontario, with Port Huron, Mich., operated jointly by Canadian and American customs and immigration services. The special lanes were closed in the security crackdown following the Sept. 11 attacks.

"We are going to work very hard to expand and use this technology across the U.S.-Canadian border," Ridge said.

The 30-point plan calls for new technology to clear goods in factories, rail yards and sea ports instead of waiting until they reach the border crossing.

Noting that 70 percent of border traffic between the countries uses six major crossings, the plan advocates improving infrastructure and finding new technology to relieve congestion.

Ridge, on his first trip out of the United States since being named to a new Cabinet position introduced after the Sept. 11 attacks, also said biometric identification technology would be used in travel documents and the systems of each country would be compatible.

The plan includes sharing information on passengers on flights between Canada and the United States, and increasing immigration officers from each country at overseas airports.

"Our goal is to do everything we can to eliminate any hassle for no-risk travelers so we can focus on stopping high-risk individuals," Ridge said.

— The Associated Press

Berkeley, Calif., Organized Against Draft — Just in Case

B E R K E L E Y, Calif., Dec. 12 — Left-leaning Berkeley, already under fire for passing a resolution opposing the bombing of Afghanistan, has voted to lend a hand to would-be conscientious objectors.

The Berkeley City Council voted Tuesday night to supply workers who answer the city's general information phones with material about the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors.

The idea is to have information available for anyone who calls asking about how to avoid combat in the event of a military draft.

"During this time of military action, especially, we felt it was important that young people, who are of an age to consider enrolling in the military, have the full range of information available to them," said commission member Steve Freedkin.

Councilwoman Betty Olds proposed an amendment to the measure to provide staff with information about the military for people who called wanting to enlist. The amendment was rejected.

The city adopted a resolution earlier this month calling for an end to the bombing campaign. That move drew hundreds of angry e-mails, including many threatening economic boycott.

— The Associated Press

Area 51 Guards Protest Overtime Since Sept. 11

L A S V E G A S, Dec. 12 — Security guards from the secret Area 51 Air Force installation staged a public protest in Las Vegas, complaining of low wages and high rates of overtime since the terrorist attacks.

"There's been too much overtime since Sept. 11," union President Vernell Hall said Monday as pickets protested near McCarran International Airport. "Overtime on top of overtime."

Hall, head of the Security Police Association of Nevada, said association members decided to strike after negotiating for three months on a new contract with their employer, Las Vegas-based EG&G Technical Services Inc., on issues including wages and benefits.

Greg Rentchler, security manager for EG&G, said about 70 guards went on strike early Monday at the company's airport offices and at "remote test locations" where they support Air Force operations. He said supervisors manned posts vacated by the strikers.

The U.S. Air Force won't talk about Area 51, but acknowledges that a top-secret test area exists on the dry bed of Groom Lake, about 90 miles north of Las Vegas.

Stories nevertheless abound about the possibility of experiments on captured UFO spacecraft and alien beings at the installation.

— The Associated Press

Pennsylvania Police Investigate Flag Burning

P I T T S B U R G H, Dec. 12 — A Pittsburgh man is searching for the person who burned his American flag in his yard.

Anthony Smith says he found the burned flag early Tuesday morning.

Smith says he's upset because he put up the flag to show his patriotism after the September terror attacks.

Police say they're investigating the incident.

Smith says a Boy Scout troop has offered to retire the flag with honors and raise a new American flag during a ceremony.

A Pittsburgh business owner is offering a $500 reward for the arrest and conviction of whoever burned the banner.

The Pennsylvania Crime Code considers the desecration of the U.S. flag a second-degree misdemeanor. It has a maximum penalty of a $5,000 fine and up to two years in prison.

— The Associated Press