- - Sunday, April 3, 2011

GEORGIA

Price cut for drug to prevent preemie births

ATLANTA | The maker of an expensive drug to prevent premature births slashed the price by more than half on Friday, following an outcry over the high cost and moves by federal regulators to keep a cheap version available.

The drug is still pricey at $690 per weekly injection but it is a drastic reduction from the $1,500 price charged by KV Pharmaceutical Co. when it went on the market last month. The company also announced rebates and other steps to give the drug to needy pregnant women at little or no cost.

The price cut came two days after federal officials said they would not stop specialty pharmacies from continuing to make a generic version that sells for $10 to $20 a dose, as has been done for years.

ILLINOIS

Historic gospel church firms up rebuild plan

CHICAGO | The on-again, off-again reconstruction of a landmark Chicago church known as the birthplace of gospel music is on again.

Church leaders have announced work to rebuild the fire-ravaged Pilgrim Baptist Church will begin in earnest this summer.

A 2006 fire ignited by workers repairing the roof devastated the 120-year-old structure designed by famed architects Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan.

Officials announced a $37 million rebuilding plan in 2008, but nothing came of it. Pastor Tyrone Jordan says a first construction phase set for a 2012 finish will “prove to the world” the church will be rebuilt. The four-phase project is expected to cost at least $30 million.

Mahalia Jackson, Sallie Martin, the Rev. James Cleveland, and the Staples Singers are among those who have sung at the church.

MASSACHUSETTS

1 killed, 1 hurt in bus-window mishap

SHIRLEY | One man was killed and another injured when the two fell out of a bathroom window of a tour bus in Massachusetts that was coming from a brewery in New Hampshire, Massachusetts State Police said Sunday.

Police said Thomas Johnson, 31, of Gardner was killed when he fell Saturday night onto Route 2 in Shirley. Seth Davis, 34, of Winchendon was in fair condition at a Worcester hospital, a nursing supervisor said Sunday.

The Colonial Tours bus was heading back to Gardner in central Massachusetts from the Red Hook Brewery in Portsmouth, N.H. Investigators were trying to determine what the two men were doing before falling out the window, state police Sgt. Matthew Murray said. Police believe alcohol was a factor.

“One of the avenues is whether it was some form of horseplay or a more aggressive interaction,” he said.

NEW YORK

Plan for 9-11 remains sparks criticism

NEW YORK | Some relatives of victims who were killed a decade ago at the World Trade Center decried a plan Sunday to place more than 9,000 unidentified pieces of human remains at a subterranean site at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

A plan that would locate the unclaimed and unidentified remains seven stories below ground behind a wall featuring a quote from Virgil is unacceptable, they said.

“The families here today say no,” said the families’ attorney, Norman Siegel. “They believe that the remains should be placed in a respectful and accessible location, such as something akin to the Tomb of the Unknowns above ground and separate from the museum.”

The families might consider legal action in the future but have no current plans to sue, Mr. Siegel said.

Sally Regenhard, whose firefighter-son Christian died at the World Trade Center, contended that families had not been consulted about where the remains would be placed and felt the proposed location was disrespectful. She said city and museum officials have never formally informed relatives of those killed about the plans.

NORTH CAROLINA

Duke lacrosse accuser accused of stab attack

DURHAM | Authorities say the woman who falsely claimed she was raped by Duke lacrosse players in 2006 has been accused of stabbing her boyfriend in the chest at a North Carolina home.

Durham police say 32-year-old Crystal Mangum was arrested Sunday morning several hours after the stabbing that seriously injured her 46-year-old boyfriend. Investigators said the two were arguing but didn’t release any other details.

Miss Mangum is charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. She is being held without bond, and jail officials did not know If she had an attorney. Miss Mangum was convicted in December of several misdemeanor charges, including child abuse, in a fire that nearly destroyed her home.

As for her rape claims, the state attorney general’s office later concluded there was no credible evidence an attack ever occurred.

WEST VIRGINIA

Mine-safety chief defends pace of probe

CHARLESTON | The head of the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration says a criminal probe into last year’s deadly explosion at a West Virginia coal mine is not delaying the release of his agency’s findings.

Joe Main said Sunday that his agency’s report into the deaths of 29 miners at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine will be released when MSHA’s investigation is complete.

Mr. Main says a U.S. Department of Justice investigation is separate and independent of MSHA’s review of the blast, which occurred last April 5.

West Virginia Democratic Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV said last week he was losing patience with how long it was taking MSHA to release its report.

Last month, MSHA announced it planned to hold a public meeting on its investigation in June.

From wire dispatches and staff reports