- - Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Medal of Honor recipient sues defense contractor

SAN ANTONIO — A U.S. Marine awarded the nation’s highest military honor is suing a defense contractor he says cost him a job by characterizing him as mentally unstable and having alcohol problems to a prospective employer.

Sgt. Dakota Meyer was presented the Medal of Honor by President Obama in September, becoming the third living recipient of the nation’s highest award for valor.

Sgt. Meyer filed a defamation lawsuit Monday against his former employer, BAE Systems OASYS Inc. The 23-year-old says the company retaliated after he raised objections to its sale of weapons systems to Pakistan.

BAE Systems spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said Tuesday the company was grateful to Sgt. Meyer for his bravery but strongly disagreed with his claims.

The lawsuit was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.


New border drug tunnel found

SAN DIEGO — U.S. authorities think they have found another cross-border drug-smuggling tunnel between Mexico and San Diego.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Lauren Mack says the tunnel was found Tuesday in a warehouse in the city’s Otay Mesa era. She released no other details.

The discovery isn’t the first. Another tunnel was found in the same area last week, and authorities seized about 17 tons of marijuana.

On Monday, a Mexican trucker was sentenced to nearly 16 years in prison for his role in a scheme that passed more than 50 tons of marijuana through two tunnels that linked warehouses in San Diego and Tijuana.

Those tunnels were raided last year and had lighting, ventilation and railcars.


Man sues former hostages, says they broke promise

TOPEKA — Can there be no trust between a kidnapper and his hostages?

A man who held a Kansas couple hostage in their home while fleeing from authorities is suing them, claiming they broke an oral contract made when he promised them money in exchange for hiding him from police. The couple has asked a judge to dismiss the suit.

Jesse Dimmick of suburban Denver is serving an 11-year sentence after bursting into Jared and Lindsay Rowley’s Topeka-area home in September 2009. He was wanted for questioning in the beating death of a Colorado man and a chase had begun in Geary County.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reported that Dimmick filed a breach of contract suit in Shawnee County District Court, in response to a suit the Rowleys filed in September seeking $75,000 from him for intruding in their home and causing emotional stress.

Dimmick contends he told the couple he was being chased by someone, most likely the police, who wanted to kill him.


Labor Dept. alleges discrimination by Cargill

LITTLE ROCK — One of the nation’s largest meat packers systematically discriminated against more than 4,000 qualified applicants who sought entry-level jobs at a turkey processing plant in Arkansas, the U.S. Labor Department said Tuesday.

Women were less likely to be hired for those jobs and Asian and Pacific Islanders were unfairly favored over applicants of other races at Cargill Meat Solutions’ plant in Springdale, Ark., federal officials said.

Cargill Meat Solutions is a subsidiary of Minneapolis-based Cargill Inc. The company blamed the problem on “documentation,” saying there wasn’t a satisfactory record of why it didn’t hire certain candidates.

The Springdale plant drew national attention earlier this year when it had to recall 36 million pounds of ground turkey after a salmonella outbreak that sickened 107 people in 31 states. One person died from the illness. The labor complaint is not related to that recall.

Federal officials want to cancel Cargill’s existing government contracts and prevent future contracts until the company stops what they call discriminatory practices.


Episcopal bishop cleared by national panel

CHARLESTON — A committee of the national Episcopal Church says its investigation of the conservative bishop of one of the oldest Episcopal dioceses in the United States concluded he has not abandoned the church amid the ongoing schism over the ordination of gays and other issues.

The Episcopal Church consecrated its first openly gay bishop in 2003, upsetting conservative Episcopalians who believe Scripture forbids same-sex relationships. Three years later, Bishop Mark Lawrence’s Diocese of South Carolina and two others voted to reject the authority of the national church’s presiding bishop but stopped short of a full break.

Since late September, the 18-member disciplinary board of the national church had been studying information provided by parishioners in the South Carolina diocese, which has roots reaching to the Revolutionary War.


More than 460 cars damaged in turnpike spill

PITTSBURGH — Authorities say 464 motorists have reported damage from last week’s 40-mile driveway-sealant spill on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

A leaking valve on a tanker spread the gooey substance over the eastbound lanes of the turnpike in Western Pennsylvania.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Tuesday that the number of damaged cars may be even higher, since some complaints may have gone directly to insurance companies. Authorities are still investigating.

The sticky substance covered tires and wheels and disabled many cars. Some maintenance vehicles had to be towed away after getting stuck.

From wire dispatches and staff reports