- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 16, 2010

GEORGIA

Continental Airlines to charge for food

ATLANTA | Continental Airlines, which used to boast about giving away free hamburgers and barbecue while rivals passed out tiny bags of pretzels, is changing its tune on food.

Continental plans to launch a food-for-sale program that would mirror what other carriers already are doing.

A spokesman said Monday that the airline, based in Houston, expects a $35 million annual benefit from cost savings and added revenue.

Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, US Airways and United Airlines are among carriers that already charge for food on flights.

Continental passengers on some international routes and on domestic flights longer than six hours and those who sit in first or business class on routes worldwide will continue to get free food. Snacks such as pretzels and nonalcoholic drinks will still be free for all.

MINNESOTA

Pilots who missed airport, FAA reach deal

MINNEAPOLIS | Two Northwest Airlines pilots who overshot the Minneapolis airport have agreed not to fight the revocations of their licenses but could fly again.

Under a settlement released by the Federal Aviation Administration Monday, Timothy Cheney and Richard Cole can apply for new licenses Aug. 29. That’s more than 10 months after they flew an Airbus A320 with 144 passengers about 100 miles past their destination before discovering their mistake.

The pilots told investigators they became distracted as they were working on their laptop computers on a complicated crew scheduling program.

Air Line Pilots Association spokeswoman Linda Shotwell said the union and pilots declined to comment.

NEW JERSEY

Dentist admits to dumping waste

CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE | A Pennsylvania dentist has pleaded guilty to dumping medical waste into the ocean, causing numerous beach closures in New Jersey.

Thomas McFarland, 61, had unsuccessfully sought to enter a pretrial intervention program that would have spared him a criminal record.

Under terms of a plea agreement, the state will recommend that McFarland be sentenced to one year of probation and be ordered to pay the seaside town of Avalon $100,000 to offset cleanup costs.

McFarland admitted dumping hypodermic needles, cotton swabs and other medical waste into an inlet just before Labor Day weekend in 2008.

His lawyer said the dentist was distraught to the point of mental illness over his wife’s lung cancer and appeared to be acting out in “a cry for help.”

NEW YORK

Ex-bank president charged in fraud

NEW YORK | The former president of a small Manhattan community bank on Monday became the first person accused of trying to defraud the federal bailout program.

Prosecutors also contend that Charles Antonucci Sr. stole so he could live a lavish lifestyle that included a Super Bowl junket.

He was arrested Monday.

Mr. Antonucci, 59, of Fishkill, was charged with self-dealing, bank bribery, embezzlement and fraud. The criminal complaint was filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. If convicted, he could face up to 260 years in federal prison.

Authorities said the rip-off targeted the New York State Banking Department, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Toxic Asset Relief Program.

Mr. Antonucci resigned last year as president of the Park Avenue Bank, which is headquartered in Manhattan, with four retail branches in Manhattan and Brooklyn. The bank was taken over by the FDIC on Friday and reopened Saturday as a new institution with its half-billion dollars in assets protected, authorities said.

Among other allegations, Mr. Antonucci was accused of using false information to request $11.3 million from the federal government’s TARP bank bailout program.

WASHINGTON

Mother, son missing; van found on beach

OLYMPIA | The fiance of a mother whose minivan was found on a private Puget Sound beach is using his Web site to plead for information leading to the safe return of the woman and her 8-year-old son.

Officials found no sign of Shantina Smiley, 29, of Silverdale or her son, Azriel Carver, after the minivan they were driving to her stepfather’s home in Castle Rock was discovered north of Olympia early Sunday.

Investigators said the doors of the car were open, and her wallet was inside.

Thurston County sheriff’s investigators are treating the case as suspicious.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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