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American Scene: 1 dead, 1 trapped in Miami parking garage collapse

- - Wednesday, October 10, 2012

FLORIDA

MIAMI — A section of a parking garage under construction at a community college collapsed Wednesday, killing one worker and trapping at least two others in the rubble, officials said. One of the workers was rescued, but there was too much debris around the other to immediately get him out.

Several other workers were hurt when the roof of the five-story concrete garage fell, creating a pancake collapse on the campus of Miami-Dade College, officials said.

"It was a floor upon floor, collapsing all the way down to the ground floor," Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Capt. Louie Fernandez said.

The trapped worker was getting oxygen and being treated by a physician, but officials did not describe the extent of his injuries. Capt. Fernandez said the rescue would be a "long, tedious effort."

COLORADO

Tips from five states aid missing-girl case

WESTMINSTER — Authorities investigating the disappearance of a 10-year-old Colorado girl said Wednesday they're pursuing tips from five other states, including Maine, where a woman reported seeing a girl resembling Jessica Ridgeway on Sunday.

That tip and others from Maryland, Texas, Nevada and Wyoming are among the hundreds of bits of information that have been passed on to investigators in the Denver suburb of Westminster, said police spokesman Trevor Materasso.

He didn't release details but earlier in the day he said police were looking at whether there's a link between Jessica's disappearance and the Monday abduction of a girl in Cody, Wyo., about 500 miles away.

In that case, a man lured an 11-year-old girl into a sport utility vehicle saying he needed help finding his puppy. She was released about four hours later and found by hunters. Police there say they are looking for a white man between 55 and 60 years old with short, strawberry blond or white hair and a neatly trimmed mustache.

NEVADA

Californian gets 2 to 5 years in casino betting-chips grab

LAS VEGAS — A California man was sentenced Wednesday to two to five years in a Nevada prison for his role in a botched grab-and-run casino chip heist last May at the Bellagio resort on the Las Vegas Strip.

Michael Quinn Belton, 25, of Nuevo, Calif., apologized in court and gave Clark County District Court Judge Kathleen Delaney a letter saying he wanted to enter the military and turn his life around.

Belton could have faced up to 21 years in prison, but a presentencing report recommended no more than seven years.

Judge Delaney chose a more lenient sentence but rejected a bid by Belton's public defense lawyer, Dedree Miles, for probation for what Ms. Miles called a "stupid and foolish" robbery attempt at a Las Vegas resort featured in the 2001 movie "Ocean's Eleven."

FLORIDA

SpaceX Dragon capsule arrives at space station

CAPE CANAVERAL — A private company successfully delivered a half-ton of supplies to the International Space Station early Wednesday, the first official shipment under a $1 billion contract with NASA.

The SpaceX cargo ship, called Dragon, eased up to the orbiting lab, and station astronauts reached out with a robot arm and snared it.

"Looks like we've tamed the Dragon," reported space station commander Sunita Williams. "We're happy she's on board with us."

Ms. Williams thanked SpaceX and NASA for the delivery, especially the chocolate-vanilla-swirl ice cream stashed in a freezer.

The linkup occurred 250 miles above the Pacific, just west of Baja California, two days after the Dragon's launch from Cape Canaveral, Fla.

It marked the first delivery by the California-based SpaceX company under a $1.6 billion contract with NASA. The contract calls for 12 such shipments.

CONNECTICUT

Ex-Peace Corps worker gets 15 years for sex abuse

HARTFORD — A former Peace Corps volunteer was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years in prison for sexually abusing young girls while serving in South Africa.

Jesse Osmun, who pleaded guilty in June to traveling from the United States to engage in illicit sexual conduct with children, apologized in court to the victims, his family and the Peace Corps. He said he struggles with feelings of guilt and shame.

Prosecutors said Osmun, who is originally from Milford, Conn., preyed on children who were among the most vulnerable in the world, persuading them to engage in illicit sexual acts by playing games with them and giving them candy.

In arguing for leniency, a defense lawyer said Osmun accepted responsibility for his actions and spared the victims the ordeal of testifying by pleading guilty.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports