- - Sunday, March 20, 2011


Worker facing layoff jumps to his death

COSTA MESA | Crisis counselors have been brought in to help stunned co-workers of a Costa Mesa maintenance worker who jumped to his death from the roof of City Hall an hour after he was called in to get his layoff notice.

Huy Pham, 29, jumped off the building at 3:20 p.m. Thursday and was pronounced dead at the scene, Costa Mesa police Lt. Bryan Glass said.

Mr. Pham was on a list of more than 200 people — nearly half of the city’s workforce — targeted for layoffs in a drastic move to plug a $15 million budget hole. Those who received notices would see their jobs outsourced in six months.

Mr. Pham had worked for the city for 4½ years, according to the Orange County Register. He had been at home with a broken ankle and was not supposed to work Thursday but was called in at about 2:30 p.m. to receive his layoff notice, the newspaper said.


Unknown substance detected in Gulf

NEW ORLEANS | The U.S. Coast Guard says there is some sort of substance in the water in the Gulf of Mexico, and officials are collecting samples to determine what it is.

Coast Guard spokeswoman Casey Ranel said the agency sent out a cutter Sunday morning to collect samples of the substance, which was spotted off the coast of Louisiana. Officials are still awaiting the results of testing and are working to determine how big of an area the substance covered.

The Coast Guard had gotten reports of an oil sheen, but officials have not confirmed that the substance is oil. Ms. Ranel says dredging had been going on not far away at the mouth of the Mississippi River, and it’s possible the substance is silt dredged from the bottom.


Prosecutors rejected runaway-teen charges

COLUMBUS | Police recommended charges against six of the people who helped a teenage Christian convert run away from her Muslim parents in Ohio in 2009, an investigation by the Associated Press has found.

But prosecutors in Ohio and Florida have declined to file charges against anyone who helped 16-year-old Rifqa Bary leave Columbus on a Greyhound bus and shelter her for two weeks in Orlando, Fla., without notifying authorities, according to police reports obtained by the AP through freedom of information requests.

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