- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 2, 2005

Pharmacists ordered to offer contraceptives

CHICAGO — Illinois’ governor has issued an emergency rule compelling pharmacists to dispense contraceptives even if they believe the drugs kill unborn human beings.

Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich’s action follows a refusal Friday of an Osco pharmacist to dispense “morning-after” pills to two women, suggesting they return later and ask for a different pharmacist, the Chicago Sun-Times reported yesterday.

State lawmakers could overturn Mr. Blagojevich’s rule.

Mr. Blagojevich, a Democrat who said he was taking a stand against a growing national trend of pharmacists refusing to dispense contraceptives, also filed an administrative complaint against Osco, charging it with “failure to provide pharmaceutical care” and “unprofessional conduct” for refusing to dispense contraceptives to the two women in February.

Man arrested in dragging incident

GALLUP, N.M. — A 24-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the dragging of a Hispanic man behind a vehicle, which left the victim with burnlike abrasions over half his body.

John Pete Talamante was booked Friday on charges of kidnapping, aggravated battery and assault with intent to commit a violent felony.

Mr. Talamante was being held without bond in the McKinley County Detention Center, said Gallup police Chief Sylvester Stanley. More arrests were likely, he said.

The victim, 32-year-old Fausto Arellano, remained hospitalized in critical condition. He had been bound by the ankles and pulled by a rope for about 4,000 feet on Easter morning, according to police.

Chief Stanley said narcotics could be an “indirect motive” in the dragging, but added that officers had no indication that Mr. Arellano was involved in drugs.

Hotel where RFK was shot spared for now

LOS ANGELES — The hotel where Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1968 is safe from the wrecking ball, at least until a lawsuit aimed at preserving it can be resolved.

The Los Angeles Unified School District agreed Thursday not to alter any part of the Ambassador Hotel until the lawsuit is settled, said Jeffrey Dintzer, an attorney for Los Angeles Conservancy, a historic-preservation organization.

The district purchased the Ambassador out of U.S. Bankruptcy Court in 2001 and wants to build three schools there. It says a $318 million campus for about 4,000 students will relieve the district’s crowded schools.

But preservationists consider the hotel a historic gem.

Five of Mr. Kennedy’s nine surviving children have urged the district to demolish the hotel, saying the entire 23-acre site should be renovated into an education complex.

Public-access channel airs strippers in error

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. — George Morton got an eyeful when he came home from Mass on Palm Sunday and turned on public-access television.

Mr. Morton saw a tape of a striptease contest — a far cry from the usual public-access programming of local meetings and talk shows.

“I thought, this is terrible,” he said. “I don’t get HBO or anything like that.”

Cablevision said Thursday that a “program-switching error” had occurred.

“When it was detected, the programming was removed immediately,” Cablevision spokesman Bill Powers told the Poughkeepsie Journal. “We have taken appropriate steps to prevent this from happening again.”

Mr. Morton said he planned to file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission. The mistake affected customers in four counties.

Gaffe leads to wrong doses of radiation

TAMPA, Fla. — Dozens of patients at a cancer-treatment center were exposed to radiation levels 50 percent stronger than they were supposed to receive because a radiation machine was improperly installed.

Physicists from the federal Radiological Physics Center detected the error March 7, but the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute didn’t acknowledge it until Friday.

Officials said 77 patients were affected. Twelve have since died.

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