- - Sunday, November 13, 2011

CALIFORNIA

Report: Sheriff’s office used problem cases as jail guards

LOS ANGELES — A report finds Los Angeles sheriff’s officials routinely transferred problem deputies to the county jail as a way of keeping them from the public.

A Sunday story in the Los Angeles Times says some deputies were allowed to remain working in the county’s lockups after being convicted of crimes or found guilty of serious misconduct.

Documents obtained by the Times show that among those sent to work in the jails was a deputy accused of fraud, loan sharking and threatening to kill somebody. Another deputy beat a firefighter bloody and unconscious during an off-duty incident.

The background and conduct of deputies have come under increased scrutiny as federal investigators probe misconduct and brutality against inmates in the nation’s largest jail network.

GEORGIA

Macy’s Christmas tree snaps during hoisting

ATLANTA — It’s the drought that stole Christmas.

The Macy’s store in Atlanta’s Lenox Mall must cut down a new Christmas tree after the 60-foot white pine selected for the holidays snapped while being hoisted atop the department store Sunday morning.

Melissa Goff with Macy’s said the store usually selects its tree from a Georgia forest, but drought conditions have made it difficult to find a healthy tree this year. She said the 11,000-pound tree was from Douglas County. She said a backup tree has been selected and will be brought in this week.

The tree will be decorated between now and Thanksgiving Day, when the store will hold a lighting ceremony, a 63-year tradition. It’s not the first time the store has had to get a backup tree: The 2004 tree also broke.

ILLINOIS

Doctors: Test all kids for cholesterol by age 11

CHICAGO — Every child should be tested for high cholesterol between ages 9 and 11 so steps can be taken to prevent heart disease later on, a panel of doctors urged Friday in new advice that is sure to be controversial.

Until now, major medical groups have suggested cholesterol tests only for children with a family history of early heart disease or high cholesterol and those who are obese or have diabetes or high blood pressure. But studies show that is missing many children with high cholesterol, and the number of them at risk is growing because of the obesity epidemic.

The recommendation is in new guidelines from an expert panel appointed by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

NEW YORK

Jewish neighborhood march protests swastika attack

NEW YORK — Dozens of residents marched through a Brooklyn neighborhood Sunday to protest against vandals who torched three cars and scrawled Nazi swastikas in an area populated by Orthodox Jews.

Protesters said they were stunned after unknown vandals set the cars ablaze, spray-painted the letters “KKK” on a van, defaced four public benches with 16 swastikas and left other anti-Semitic messages on a sidewalk in the Midwood neighborhood before dawn on Friday. Police have made no arrests.

“I’ve never seen this level of violence here,” State Assemblyman Dov Hikind said. “This goes beyond the pale — blowing up cars in the middle of the Jewish community.”

About 100 people joined the march through Midwood. They passed the benches on Ocean Parkway that had been defaced with swastikas — all removed within hours of their discovery. The three torched cars had been parked nearby. Mr. Hikind said authorities told him they believe rags were soaked in gasoline, placed under the cars and lit.

OHIO

Man missing in explosion found dead a day later

FAIRBORN — The body of a 75-year-old man was found Sunday after he was killed in a house explosion in western Ohio that injured six others, including four children, and damaged neighbors’ homes, authorities said.

The explosion sent debris and the victims into the yard, and a neighbor reported seeing a baby burned, bloodied and covered in glass.

Work was being done on the duplex’s water line when the gas line was struck, causing the explosion Saturday, Fairborn Fire Marshal Carl Day said.

A 13-year-old was transferred in critical condition to Shriners Hospital for Children, one of about four hospitals in the country specializing in pediatric burns, said spokeswoman Louise Holker. Two men also were injured. Their conditions were not given.

The 1-year-old baby was in fair condition and a 5-year-old was in good condition Sunday morning, a spokesman for Dayton Children’s Medical Center said. A third child, whose age wasn’t available, was treated and released Saturday.

UTAH

Mayor used alias to double as news reporter

SALT LAKE CITY — The mayor of Utah’s second-largest city is acknowledging he used a fake name to write freelance stories for state news outlets because he says the municipality needed more “good news.”

West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder quoted himself in some of the stories he wrote for the Deseret News, KSL-TV’s website and a community weekly.

Mr. Winder told the Associated Press his career as a news reporter using the name Richard Burwash lasted several months until he decided to come clean this week. He says getting stories published was as easy as setting up a Gmail account and Facebook page under the alias.

Mr. Winder says he wanted to offer balance to what he saw as bad news coverage of his city. He complains that the media devotes too much time to covering crime.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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