- - Thursday, October 4, 2012

NEW YORK — U.S. health officials ramped up warnings Thursday about a Massachusetts specialty pharmacy linked to a widening outbreak of a rare kind of meningitis, urging doctors and hospitals not to use any products from the company.

Investigators this week found contamination in a sealed vial of a steroid at the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass., according to Food and Drug Administration officials.

Tests are under way to determine if it is the same fungus blamed in the outbreak that has sickened 35 people in six states. Five of them have died. All received steroid shots for back pain.

The company recalled the steroid medication last week and has shut down operations. The recalled steroid had been shipped to facilities in 23 states since July.


Teachers accused of sex contact with students

CAMDEN — Three teachers and two administrators at a New Jersey high school have been arrested on charges stemming from allegations the teachers had sexual relationships with students.

Camden County Prosecutor Warren Faulk said Thursday the principal and vice principal at Triton High School in Runnemede were charged with official misconduct for allegedly failing to report the relationships when they learned about them.

Mr. Faulk said the school had a culture that allowed the relationships even though school policies clearly barred them.

Authorities said the consensual relationships — between three male teachers and three female students ages 17 or 18 — occurred between November 2011 and June. They said explicit text messages also were sent during school hours.

The Black Horse Regional School District superintendent said the district is cooperating with authorities.


Manson family member gets parole recommendation

LOS ANGELES — A former follower of Charles Manson imprisoned for 40 years in a double murder engineered by Manson won a recommendation of parole Thursday in his 27th appearance before a parole board panel.

Bruce Davis was convicted with Manson and fellow “Manson family” member Steve Grogan in the killings of musician Gary Hinman and stuntman Donald “Shorty” Shea. He was not involved in the infamous Sharon Tate murders in 1969.

The answer to his plea for freedom came on the eve of his 70th birthday. Davis long maintained he was a bystander in the killings of the two men, but in recent years he acknowledged his shared responsibility because he was present.

The recommendation is subject to a 120-day review period by the entire parole board, and Gov. Jerry Brown then has 30 days to review the decision.


Man given 10-year term for firebombing clinic

PENSACOLA — A homeless man who pleaded guilty to firebombing a Pensacola abortion clinic will serve 10 years in federal prison.

A judge sentenced Bobby Joe Rogers, 41, on Thursday. Rogers pleaded guilty in July to charges of arson and damaging a reproductive health facility.

The New Year’s Day fire gutted the Pensacola Family Planning Clinic.

Rogers, a transient with a lengthy criminal history, told detectives that he had been living in a parking lot near the clinic and decided to set the fire because he was upset that abortions were performed there.

The building was the site of previous anti-abortion violence, including a double-murder in 1994 when an anti-abortion activist killed a doctor and the doctor’s security escort.


Newest Navy destroyer pays tribute to SEAL

CALVERTON — The U.S. Navy’s newest warship will not be named for a former president, distinguished member of Congress or some historic figure from the past.

The USS Michael Murphy, a 510-foot destroyer, is being commissioned this weekend in New York City for a Long Island native and Navy lieutenant who became the first American awarded the Medal of Honor during the Afghanistan War when he was killed along with two fellow SEALs during an ambush in 2005. He was 29.

Already wounded, Murphy left a protected position and went to a clearing where he was exposed to gunfire to get a clear signal to contact Bagram Airfield for backup. He was killed along with 16 of his rescuers whose helicopter was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade on June 28, 2005.

From wire dispatches and staff reports