- The Washington Times - Monday, June 4, 2001

ONeill anticipates economic turnaround

Treasury Secretary Paul H. O´Neill said yesterday he is encouraged by recent employment figures and believes "the pieces are in place" for an economic recovery.

He said he was "heartened" by a report on Friday showing that the nation´s unemployment rate improved in May for the first time in eight months, dropping from 4.5 percent to 4.4 percent.

Crowds wait at hospital in meningitis outbreak

ALLIANCE, Ohio — A hospital yesterday temporarily ran out of antibiotics for a meningitis outbreak that caused the deaths of two high school students in a week and left another critically ill.

A line of people was left waiting at Alliance Community Hospital, but a helicopter arrived by midday with fresh supplies.

Hospital officials estimated 10,000 people had received the antibiotic since the outbreak began, and as many as 15,000 more may need treatment.

Two Beloit West Branch High School students died after being diagnosed with the same strain of neisseria meninigitidis. It is spread by close contact, such as drinking out of the same container or sharing an eating utensil, health officials said. Freshman Jonathan Stauffer, 15, died May 23, and Kelly Coblentz, 16, a sophomore, died May 25. Both had attended an annual school picnic May 22.

Idaho children to stay with family friend

SANDPOINT, Idaho — Five children who surrendered after a five-day impasse with sheriff´s deputies at their isolated home will stay with a family friend until a judge decides what will next happen to the family, authorities said yesterday.

The children had holed up in the house on Tuesday after their mother was arrested on a felony child neglect charge. Sheriff´s deputies waited them out until Saturday because they were believed to be armed and suspicious of authorities.

"We´re all elated that everything turned out well," Bonner County Prosecutor Phil Robinson said. "Everyone used a lot of restraint, kept calm, kept cool."

California woman dies after roller coaster ride

LOS ANGELES — An autopsy was planned to determine what caused a woman to die after riding a roller coaster ride at an amusement park, authorities said.

The 28-year-old woman, who was identified yesterday as Pearl Santos, was found slumped over in her seat when the three-minute Goliath coaster ride came to an end Saturday at Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park. Park and county paramedics performed cardiopulminary resuscitation, but the woman died at a hospital.

Scout leader, assistant charged in cookie scam

FAIRFIELD, Ill. — A former Girl Scout leader and her assistant face felony charges after they purportedly skimmed more than $2,500 cash from this year´s Girl Scout cookie sale, Scripps Howard News Service reports.

Victoria A. "Vicky" Weaver, 35, of Mill Shoals, Ill., and Mary N. Maxham, 30, of Fairfield each face felony charges of theft and deceptive practice.

According to criminal information filed in the case on Friday, the two are accused of stealing more than $800 in cash from cookie sales between Jan. 4 and March 17.

They are accused of also writing a check in the amount of $1,900 to cover money collected from cookie sales — money that was never turned over to the Shagbark Council of the Girl Scouts, according to police.

Israel supporters demonstrate in New York

NEW YORK — Thousands of people demonstrated outside the Israeli consulate here yesterday to protest terrorist attacks and show support for the Jewish state.

Police said about 10,000 people turned out for the protest organized by a dozen Jewish organizations and groups in the wake of a suicide bombing by a Palestinian in Tel Aviv late Friday that killed 20.

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