- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 5, 2006

ARIZONA

Carbon monoxide kills man at home

GLENDALE — One person died from carbon-monoxide poisoning and five others were hospitalized yesterday after a pickup truck was left running inside a garage, fire officials said.

There were indications that the poisonings were an accident, although the incident was being investigated, the fire department said. It also said alcohol may have been a factor.

When emergency crews arrived, they found people inside the house overcome by carbon-monoxide fumes, according to fire department accounts.

CALIFORNIA

L.A. mayor names first black fire chief

LOS ANGELES — The mayor appointed the first black to lead the city’s fire department yesterday after the previous chief resigned amid a furor involving a black firefighter who was fed spaghetti mixed with dog food.

Douglas Barry, a 31-year veteran, will serve until Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa selects a permanent replacement for Chief William Bamattre, who announced his retirement Friday. Mr. Barry does not want the permanent job, the mayor’s office said.

Firefighter Tennie Pierce said he was fed dog food because he is black. But other firefighters said it was an ordinary firehouse prank with no racist intent.

The mayor vetoed a $2.7 million settlement with Mr. Pierce after photos surfaced showing that Mr. Pierce had engaged in firehouse hazing.

COLORADO

Baby hospitalized with .364 alcohol level

COLORADO SPRINGS — A 2-month-old girl was in good condition yesterday after being hospitalized with a blood-alcohol level more than four times the legal limit for an adult driver, police said.

The infant was taken to Memorial Hospital early Sunday with a blood-alcohol level of 0.364 percent and was being treated in the intensive-care unit.

Hospital spokeswoman Sharon Miracle said alcohol is “virtually a poison” at levels as high as those found in the infant.

Authorities were looking into how the girl ingested the alcohol. Police Lt. Rafael Cintron said the incident was being investigated as child abuse.

GEORGIA

Judge refuses delay in shooting trial

ATLANTA — A judge yesterday rejected a defense request to delay the upcoming murder trial of a man accused of killing four persons in a shooting spree that started inside a courthouse.

Brian Nichols’ attorneys had said they needed more time to prepare for the trial, but they did not specify in court papers or at a hearing how long a delay they were seeking.

Superior Court Judge Hilton Fuller sided with prosecutors, who opposed a delay, and said in his ruling the trial will proceed as planned on Jan. 11.

The judge left open a delay if the state Supreme Court agrees to hear a defense appeal of other pretrial rulings by Judge Fuller.

ILLINOIS

Freight train derails, causes evacuations

CHICAGO — Two locomotives and 21 cars of a Union Pacific railroad freight train derailed in southern Illinois yesterday, spilling a chemical that forced the evacuation of about 75 homes in bitterly cold weather, the railroad said.

Spokesman James Barnes said several people were taken to a hospital after they reported breathing problems. The substance, which leaked, was an industrial detergent that may cause irritation but is not volatile.

Crews were in the process of removing some of the cars that left the tracks, he added, and the cause of the accident was under investigation.

The 83-car train was headed to Chicago from Houston when it left the tracks near Benton, Ill., early yesterday morning, he said.

LOUISIANA

New Orleans hires recovery manager

NEW ORLEANS — Fifteen months after Hurricane Katrina destroyed his city, New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin said yesterday that he has hired a disaster-recovery specialist amid widespread criticism that rebuilding has been too slow.

Edward Blakely, who worked in New York after the September 11 attacks and in Northern California after the 1989 earthquake and 1991 wildfires, will head Mr. Nagin’s newly created Office of Recovery Management.

Mr. Blakely, currently chair of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Sydney in Australia, has visited New Orleans several times since the deadly storm on Aug. 29, 2005. More than 80 percent of the city was flooded after water broke through the levees.

Mr. Blakely, 69, said he will coordinate all the pieces of the public bureaucracy and work with private plans for his long-term goal of bringing back those who want to return.

Mr. Nagin justified the delay in the hiring by saying that only now did the city have the “momentum and clarity” to take advantage of the expertise of someone such as Mr. Blakely.

NEVADA

Nurses claim lockout at Las Vegas hospitals

LAS VEGAS — Nurses picketed yesterday at two hospitals that union officials said had locked them out, despite calls by top elected officials for continued talks to avoid a strike that could affect thousands.

The more than 600 union nurses at Valley Hospital Medical Center and Desert Springs Hospitals wanted to honor the call by Nevada political leaders for a 30-day cooling-off period to continue contract talks and avoid a job action, said Chris Coil, a Service Employees International Union spokesman. The two hospitals have 800 nurses.

“We rescinded a strike call, but the hospital rejected Nevada’s leadership just as they rejected the nurses,” Mr. Coil said. “This is clearly a lockout.”

Mr. Coil said the main sticking point in contract negotiations was staffing, which he said nurses want increased to the levels at other hospitals in the area. The two sides also are divided over compensation and union-access rights.

NEW JERSEY

E. coli outbreak linked to Taco Bell

SOUTH PLAINFIELD — An E. coli outbreak that has sickened at least 22 persons — two of them seriously — was linked by health investigators yesterday to three Taco Bell restaurants in New Jersey.

All but two of the people who fell ill had eaten at one of the fast-food restaurants between Nov. 17 and Nov. 28, authorities said. But exactly what food contained the bacteria is not clear.

All but four victims are younger than 18, authorities said. Five were in the hospital yesterday, including two in serious or critical condition with hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can permanently damage the kidneys, officials said.

Twenty of those infected, including two restaurant employees who tested positive for E. coli but did not get sick, ate at a Taco Bell in South Plainfield; another ate at a Taco Bell in Edison; and one ate at a Taco Bell in Franklin Township, authorities said.

WISCONSIN

Snow slows robbery suspects

MILWAUKEE — Two armed robbers got a little lesson in cold justice.

The Milwaukee men, 27 and 22, were arrested after authorities said they robbed a man outside a check-cashing store and held up a woman less than an hour later on Friday in a heavy snowstorm.

According to police, the suspects pushed the woman into their car, robbed her and threw her back out on the street.

Officers responded to the scene, where they found the men trying to dislodge their vehicle from the snow, which reached up to 12 inches in parts of the city. The men fled on foot but were arrested about six blocks later.

“There is a God,” Milwaukee Police Capt. Debra Davidoski said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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