- - Sunday, July 10, 2011

ARIZONA

Sheriff expands pink-underwear line

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio began putting inmates in pink boxer jail shorts 17 years ago as a way to counter the theft of the traditional white shorts worn by the inmates. He called the pink shorts “Go Joes” and their popularity grew so much after the program was publicized that the department began selling them at $15 a pair.

The sale of “Go Joes” has raised millions of dollars over the years to benefit at-risk youth programs and to help the sheriff’s all-volunteer posse to fight crime, according to the sheriff’s spokesman, Christopher Hegstrom.

Well, the “Toughest Sheriff in America” began looking for a way to boost sales and have a little fun at the same time, Mr. Hegstrom said, so there’s a new twist to the pink shorts.

Sheriff Arpaio is introducing a new pink boxer - one that promises to raise eyebrows as well as sales. The Spanish language version of “Go Joes” - Vamos Jose! - goes on sale Monday with Sheriff Arpaio kicking off sales at a Mexican restaurant.

GEORGIA

Concerns rise about gonorrhea cases

ATLANTA — The number of gonorrhea cases that are resistant to the class of drugs used to cure the sexually transmitted infection rose in the past decade, the federal government said Friday.

In 2010, 77 cases of gonorrhea were reported to show resistance to one kind of cephalosporin drug, while 19 cases were resistant to another drug in the same class. In 2000, only 15 gonorrhea cases were reported as resistant to either cephalosporin drug, said the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study involved about 5,900 men a year who visited a clinic for treatment of gonorrhea.

Health care workers, especially those who work in Western states with men who have sex with men, were advised to ensure that their patients with gonorrhea were completely cleared of the infection.

But William Smith, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, called for immediate development of new drugs to treat gonorrhea, which is acquired by about 700,000 people a year. “If this last class of drugs fails, we will have no definitive treatment options for gonorrhea,” said Mr. Smith.

MICHIGAN

Police: Gunman targeted ex-girlfriends in shooting spree

GRAND RAPIDS — An ex-convict who went on a deadly shooting spree in Western Michigan targeted two ex-girlfriends, fatally shooting both of them and five members of their families, including his own 12-year-old daughter, police said Friday.

At the start of his hours-long rampage, Rodrick Shonte Dantzler tracked down his daughter and her mother and killed them, along with the mother’s own parents. He then went to a different house and killed another former girlfriend, plus her sister and 10-year-old niece.

Dantzler “went out hunting” his victims, Grand Rapids Police Chief Kevin Belk said. He said the gunman used cocaine and alcohol on the day of the slayings.

The 34-year-old former prison inmate began the spree Thursday afternoon before leading police on a high-speed chase through downtown Grand Rapids. He crashed his car and took several hostages in a stranger’s home, then killed himself with a shot to the head late that night.

NEW YORK

Roller coaster closed after Iraq vet’s death

BUFFALO — A 208-foot-tall roller coaster in upstate New York remains closed as questions swirl about the death of an Iraq war veteran who lost both his legs to a roadside bomb and the decision to allow him on the ride.

Sgt. James Thomas Hackemer was ejected Friday from the Ride of Steel coaster at Darien Lake Theme Park Resort, located between Buffalo and Rochester.

Amusement park industry consultant Dennis Speigel said Sunday that a combination of rider responsibility and operator responsibility comes into play when determining who should ride certain attractions.

Sgt. Hackemer’s death remains under investigation, but Mr. Speigel says it appears to be a bad decision on both parts. Relatives have said they don’t hold the park responsible.

From wire dispatches and staff reports