- - Wednesday, April 13, 2011

ARIZONA

Arpaio’s office accused of inappropriate spending

PHOENIX | The office of an Arizona sheriff known for efforts against illegal immigrants faces accusations that it inappropriately spent $99 million from two jail funds to pay for other law enforcement operations over the past eight years.

Maricopa County officials said Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office spent some of the money on immigration patrols and a public corruption squad that brought unsuccessful criminal cases against two county officials and a judge.

An initial estimate in September put the figure at $60 million to $80 million over four or five years.

Last year, officials asked federal prosecutors already investigating Sheriff Arpaio to determine whether the use of the money was a criminal violation.

Interim Chief Deputy Sheriff Jerry Sheridan said there was nothing criminal about the mistake. He blamed an outdated payroll system that failed to adequately track when jail officers were transferred to regular patrol.

CONNECTICUT

Yale student killed in hair-pulling lab accident

NEW HAVEN | A Yale University student nearing graduation was killed inside a school lab when her hair was pulled into a piece of machine-shop equipment, an official said Wednesday.

Michele Dufault, a senior majoring in astronomy, died Tuesday night “in what appears to have been a terrible accident involving a piece of equipment,” school officials said Wednesday. The school said the accident took place inside a chemistry lab machine shop but didn’t say what the equipment was.

The university told the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration that Miss Dufault was operating the machinery for a senior project when she was killed, said Kang Yi, an assistant area director for OSHA in Bridgeport, Conn.

OSHA was reviewing jurisdiction in the case and evaluating whether it would conduct an inspection, said Ted Fitzgerald, an agency spokesman in Boston.

MONTANA

Repeal of medical marijuana law vetoed

HELENA | Gov. Brian Schweitzer has vetoed a bill that would have repealed the state’s voter-approved medical marijuana law.

Mr. Schweitzer, a Democrat, vetoed the Republican-backed measure Wednesday along with several others he called “frivolous, unconstitutional or in direct contradiction to the expressed will of the people of Montana.”

Montana voters in 2004 overwhelmingly approved the use of medical marijuana by the very sick. There are now more than 28,000 registered medical marijuana users.

Supporters of repeal say the boom has gone too far and that the voter initiative has too many holes to be effectively reformed.

A separate bill proposing changes in the law is now in conference committee. It may be this legislature’s last chance of acting on the issue with little more than a week left in the session.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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