- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 30, 2008

ALABAMA

Scuba teacher charged in fatality

BIRMINGHAM | A scuba instructor has been charged with criminally negligent homicide in a student’s death, accused of failing to properly supervise the man’s ascent from the bottom of a pool during a class, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

Though officials initially referred to the April 2007 death of Zachary Moore as an accident, the prosecutor said a grand jury decided there was sufficient evidence to charge instructor Allison Rainey Gibson, 44, after the student died during a class for beginners at the University of Alabama.

District Attorney Tommy Smith said the indictment returned Friday alleged that Miss Gibson, of Northport, had failed to “directly supervise” Mr. Moore “during a dangerous, out-of-air emergency ascent” at a university pool in Tuscaloosa.

Mr. Moore, 21, of Fairhope, died from an air embolism, authorities had said previously.

CALIFORNIA

Mistaken identity cited in 3 killings

SAN FRANCISCO | A man and his two sons were fatally shot in June because of mistaken identity and not road rage as originally suspected, San Francisco’s chief homicide investigator said.

Edwin Ramos, 21, is accused of fatally shooting the three at an intersection after police said their car blocked the shooter’s vehicle.

Lt. Mike Stasko said Monday that investigators now think the victims were mistaken for rival gang members.

Mr. Ramos has pleaded not guilty to murder in the deaths of Anthony Bologna, 49, and his sons, Michael, 20, and Matthew, 16.

Mr. Ramos’ attorney said his client is not involved with gangs.

FLORIDA

Judge: Workers can keep guns in cars

TALLAHASSEE | A federal judge said Florida employees can keep guns locked in their cars while at work, for now.

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle released a preliminary injunction Monday night on a law that went into effect July 1. The law bars employers from telling workers, customers and other visitors they can’t keep a firearm locked in their vehicles.

The new law was challenged in federal court in Tallahassee by the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Florida Retail Federation. The group thinks letting workers keep guns in cars compromises safety.

Judge Hinkle heard arguments against the law in late June, but has not ruled. The merits of the case still need to be heard in court.

ILLINOIS

Experimental drug shows early promise

CHICAGO | For the first time, an experimental drug shows promise for halting the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by taking a very new approach: breaking up the protein tangles that clog victims’ brains.

The encouraging results, presented Tuesday at a medical conference, electrified a field battered by recent setbacks. The findings by Singapore-based TauRx Therapeutics Ltd. are only from a midstage study, so much more testing must be done.

But experts who saw the results for the drug Rember were heartened.

“These are the first very positive results I’ve seen” for helping patients maintain mental performance, said Marcelle Morrison-Bogorad, director of Alzheimer’s research at the National Institute on Aging. “It’s just fantastic.”

The federal agency funded much of the early research that led to drugs like Rember that target the tangles of Alzheimer’s, made up of a protein called tau. For decades, scientists have focused on a different protein - sticky beta-amyloid deposits - but have yet to get a workable treatment.

LOUISIANA

Alligator disrupts traffic on interstate

LAPLACE | Commuters heading into New Orleans are used to dealing with traffic snarls, flooded roadways, wrecks and fog.

Now they can add an alligator shutdown to the mix.

State police said an alligator somehow got into the elevated eastbound lanes of Interstate 10 Tuesday morning - miles from an exit - and was hit by a car. Rush-hour traffic slowed to a crawl on the Bonnet Carre Spillway across the western edge of Lake Pontchartrain.

The mystery of the tagged, 5-foot gator’s ascent to the elevated highway was unsolved. St. Charles Parish wildlife nuisance control officer Kenny Schmill said the state Wildlife and Fisheries Department is attempting to track its origins.

NEW JERSEY

Ex-mayor draws 27-month sentence

NEWARK | Former Newark Mayor Sharpe James has been sentenced to 2 years and 3 months in federal prison for his corruption conviction regarding sales of city land to a former mistress.

U.S. District Judge William Martini on Tuesday also ordered James, 72, to pay a $100,000 fine, but no restitution to the city.

Federal prosecutors were seeking up to 20 years for James, but the judge last week said such a long sentence was not warranted.

Lawyers sought probation for James. He led New Jersey’s largest city for 20 years and was a Democratic state senator.

OHIO

Suspicious objects clear post offices

ATHENS | Two post offices were evacuated Tuesday in southeastern Ohio after the discovery of objects that appeared to be pipe bombs, authorities said. No injuries were reported.

Columbus police bomb squads, the FBI, a Postal Service inspector and local authorities examined the objects found in the small towns of Guysville and Stewart.

The device in Guysville was later determined not to be explosive, Athens County spokeswoman Tracy Galway said. It wasn’t immediately clear if the device in Stewart was a bomb.

Both devices are pipes with some kind of substance inside, and investigators were testing them for hazardous materials, Miss Galway said.

Fire officials and the Red Cross set up evacuation sites at a gas station in Guysville and a high school in Stewart and closed a 2-mile section of a state route that joins the towns.

TEXAS

Governor’s home fire video shows suspect

AUSTIN | The Texas Department of Public Safety, seeking the public’s help in capturing an arsonist who burned the Governor’s Mansion, released snippets of video Tuesday showing a potential suspect.

The Public Safety Department’s security camera video shows a man walking on a sidewalk behind the mansion before the June 8 blaze and then a man running from the downtown Austin mansion about three minutes later.

Investigators said they aren’t sure if it’s the same person.

Gov. Rick Perry and his family were not living in the home when the fire broke out because it was undergoing a $10 million renovation and maintenance.

WISCONSIN

Fire chief: 2 die in mill explosion

TOMAHAWK | At least two people were killed in a storage-tank explosion at a mill near Tomahawk, a northern Wisconsin fire chief said.

Tomahawk Fire Chief Don Peters gave no details Tuesday and referred all questions to the company that owns the mill.

Packaging Corp. of America spokesman Ron Zimmerman said up to 10 people were working in the area Tuesday afternoon. He had no comment on injuries but said there was no fire.

The tank that exploded was used to store a product used to make paper at the mill.

Packaging Corp. makes containerboard and corrugated packaging. Its headquarters is in Lake Forest, Ill.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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