- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 29, 2005

Beer label with elf concerns officials

HARTFORD, Conn. — A beer label that shows an elf firing a slingshot at Santa’s sleigh has state officials concerned — not about Santa, but about underage drinking.

State officials think the label on the British import Seriously Bad Elf could entice minors to drink. State liquor regulations bar alcohol advertising with images that might appeal to children. The regulations specifically mention Santa.

“There are certain symbols and images that appeal more strongly to children, and this regulation includes the most obvious among them,” Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said.

The state Liquor Control Division notified Massachusetts-based Shelton Brothers distributors that it was rejecting its application to sell the bitter winter ale brewed at the Ridgeway Brewery in England.

Pleasant aroma alarms residents

NEW YORK — New York City has many odors, but when the city began to smell a little too good, New Yorkers became alarmed.

Residents from the southern tip of Manhattan to the Upper West Side called a city hot line to report a strong odor Thursday night that most compared to maple syrup.

There were so many calls that the city’s Office of Emergency Management coordinated efforts with the police and fire departments, the Coast Guard and the city Department of Environmental Protection to find the source of the mysterious smell.

Air tests haven’t turned up anything harmful, but the source was still a mystery.

“We are continuing to sample the air throughout the affected area to make sure there’s nothing hazardous,” said Jarrod Bernstein, an emergency-management spokesman. “What the actual cause of the smell is, we really don’t know.”

2 charged in theft of fake tombstones

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Stealing fake tombstones from a haunted trail in broad daylight isn’t a good idea, particularly if a Fraternal Order of Police lodge operates the trail.

South Charleston police arrested two men Wednesday after Lt. D.B. Cunningham, president of FOP Lodge No. 85, saw several of the lodge’s handmade props in a passing vehicle. The driver was wearing a skull mask, Patrolman Jeremy Burns said.

Donald Jenkins Jr., 20, and Devon Halstead, 19, both of South Charleston, were charged with petit larceny, a misdemeanor. They were issued citations and released.

Caregiver sentenced in tot’s drug death

BILLINGS, Mont. — A day care owner was sentenced Friday to five years in prison for the death of a 1-year-old boy who overdosed on allergy medicine.

Sabine Bieber gave Benadryl to children at the Tiny Tots Day Care to put them to sleep, prosecutors said. The medicine killed Dane Jordan Heggem in January 2003.

District Judge Gregory Todd sentenced her to 20 years in prison, with 15 years suspended, for negligent homicide. She also received a 10-year suspended sentence for two criminal-endangerment charges.

Bieber, 36, will be eligible for parole after about 15 months.

During her trial, Bieber denied giving children any unauthorized medications. She didn’t speak at the sentencing hearing.

Embryo outside womb denied ‘person’ status

PHOENIX — A days-old human embryo preserved outside the womb isn’t a person under the Arizona law that allows lawsuits for wrongful deaths, the Arizona Court of Appeals has ruled.

The ruling stemmed from a lawsuit filed by a Phoenix-area couple against the Mayo Clinic, accusing it of losing or destroying some of their fertilized eggs.

The couple had asked the Court of Appeals to expand the definition of “person” under the wrongful-death statute to include embryos with the potential to be viable, but the court declined, saying it’s a matter for the Legislature to decide.

From staff reports and wire dispatches

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