- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Health officials say four more people have died in the national meningitis outbreak, bringing the number of deaths to 19.

The deaths are among the 247 people in 15 states sickened in the outbreak, which has been tied to steroid shots for back pain. Most have a rare fungal form of meningitis. Two have joint infections.

A specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts made the steroid, and federal officials are investigating the business.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated the count Wednesday. There were two more deaths reported in Tennessee and one each in Florida and Virginia.


5 dead in apparent arson-homicide at bar

DENVER | Five people were found dead in a neighborhood bar where a fire broke out around early Wednesday, and police think the blaze was set to cover up their slayings.

The fire at Fero’s Bar & Grill was reported around closing time at 2 a.m., Police Chief Robert White said.

Firefighters found four women and one man dead inside the bar. Police don’t think they were killed in the fire.


Major dies during Air Force survival training

PENSACOLA | An Air Force major has died during survival training at a base in the Florida Panhandle.

The Air Force said Maj. Garrett Knowlan died Oct. 11 during the course in how to survive in open water after parachuting. He was training at Pensacola Naval Air Station.

Military officials said they could not release other information, such as what Maj. Knowlan was doing when he died.

Maj. Knowlan was stationed at nearby Eglin Air Force Base. An obituary in the Southeast Missourian newspaper said he was a 32-year-old native of Jackson, Missouri.


County assessor arrested in corruption case

LOS ANGELES | Los Angeles County assessor John Noguez, a top aide and a campaign contributor were arrested Wednesday as part of an investigation into influence peddling and slashing of property taxes for political allies.

District Attorney Steve Cooley called it the most significant case of public corruption he has seen in his four decades in the district attorney’s office.

Mr. Noguez was arrested along with his chief appraiser, Mark McNeil, and Arizona tax consultant Ramin Salari after being accused of conspiring to slash property values and save millions in property taxes for clients of Mr. Salari, a campaign contributor to Mr. Noquez.


Coach quits in Zumba prostitution scandal

KENNEBUNK | A longtime Maine high school hockey coach whose name appeared on a list of 21 men accused of paying a local Zumba fitness instructor for sex has stepped down.

School Superintendent Andrew Dolloff said Wednesday that Kennebunk High School coach Donald Hill announced the day before he wouldn’t seek to renew his contract for next season for personal reasons after 14 years as head coach.

Police on Tuesday released the names of the first batch of men to be summoned after being accused of engaging a prostitute.

Mr. Hill was listed alongside a former mayor and several businessmen. Men from Massachusetts and New Hampshire also are listed.


Fired ‘Gangnam Style’ lifeguards to get jobs back

EL MONTE | Fourteen lifeguards fired last month after appearing in uniform at the city pool in a parody of “Gangnam Style,” the Korean pop music video that has been viewed hundreds of millions of times online, are getting their jobs back.

The City Council in the Southern California town of El Monte voted to rehire them pending a management review at the aquatic center, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported.

The lifeguards’ parody of the video by Korean pop star Psy showed them in city-issued swimsuits dancing underwater and on diving boards at the pool. The “Gangnam Style” video has spawned countless such spoofs.

City officials had said the workers violated employee conduct standards and prohibitions on use of city property. The lifeguards countered, saying they were off the clock when they made the video.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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