- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 3, 2007


TB patient locked in hospital cell

PHOENIX — Behind the county hospital’s tall cinder-block walls, a 27-year-old tuberculosis patient sits in a jail cell equipped with a ventilation system that keeps germs from escaping.

Robert Daniels has been locked up indefinitely, perhaps for the rest of his life, since July. He has not been charged with a crime. Instead, he suffers from an extensively drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis, or XDR-TB, which is considered virtually untreatable.

County health authorities obtained a court order to lock up Mr. Daniels as a danger to the public because he failed to take precautions to avoid infecting others. Specifically, he said, he did not heed doctors’ instructions to wear a mask in public.

“I’m being treated worse than an inmate,” Mr. Daniels told the Associated Press last month. “I’m all alone. Four walls. Even the door to my room has been locked. I haven’t seen my reflection in months.”

Though Mr. Daniels’ confinement is rare, authorities say, it is a situation that public health officials may have to confront more often because of the spread of drug-resistant TB and the emergence of diseases such as severe acute respiratory syndrome and avian flu in an increasingly interconnected world.


Police beatings push chief to retire

CHICAGO — The city’s police superintendent announced yesterday that he was retiring early as his department tries to deal with two highly publicized videotaped beatings involving off-duty officers.

Last month, prosecutors filed felony charges against one officer accused of beating a female bartender, and six other officers were removed from street duty after they were accused of assaulting four businessmen in a bar.

Superintendent Philip J. Cline, who took over as superintendent in November 2003 and had been expected to retire later this year, said at a press conference that he would stay on until a replacement was found. He did not take questions from reporters.


Historical society hunts for log cabins

ALEXANDRIA — Kenneth Reis, president of the Campbell County Historical Society, estimates that 150 log cabins still exist in the county, which was formed in 1795. Some may be hidden beneath years of exterior additions or are decaying in the woods.

The society has started an inventory of the cabins and is asking anyone for information that would help with preservation.


District attorney fights bias ruling

NEW ORLEANS — An attorney for the city’s first black district attorney told a federal appeals court yesterday that jurors who decided that he discriminated in firing dozens of white employees had too little evidence to reach that conclusion.

When Eddie Jordan took over from longtime District Attorney Harry Connick Sr. in 2003, he fired 53 of 77 employees.

Defense attorney Donna Andrew argued that Mr. Jordan filled key positions with political supporters and did not discriminate based on race. Jurors did not have enough evidence to have issued the verdict against him, she told a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Clement Donelon, an attorney for plaintiffs in the case, said that of the 10 highest-paid blacks under Mr. Connick, nine were kept by Mr. Jordan and only two of the highest-paid whites stayed on.

The jury determined that he discriminated against 43 workers and awarded them millions of dollars in damages and attorneys fees in March 2005.

Mr. Jordan said his office did not have money to pay the judgment and appealed. Attorneys estimate that he owes about $3.4 million, with interest accumulating.


Bodies of 2 boys found encased in ice

MINNEAPOLIS — The bodies of two young brothers who disappeared while playing outside their home on the Red Lake Indian Reservation were found encased in ice in nearby First Thunders Lake, four months after the search for them began.

“Our worst fears were confirmed,” FBI Special Agent Ralph Boelter said, announcing that the boys had been found about a half-mile from their home.

Police dogs picked up the scent of Tristan Anthony White, 4, and Avery Lee Stately, 2, on Sunday, the first day of organized searching after the weather warmed, Mr. Boelter said.

The two boys, both American Indian, disappeared Nov. 22 from their home in a remote area near the Canadian border. Authorities have not determined whether they wandered onto the lake’s thin ice and fell in or whether foul play was involved in their deaths. They might have been trying to reach a beaver dam, which was near where the bodies were found, Mr. Boelter said.

Divers had searched First Thunders Lake shortly after the two were reported missing, and hundreds of volunteers and law-enforcement officers scoured the area, but they found no sign of the boys. The initial ground search was called off after five days.


Gas-line blast injures 4 workers

LAS VEGAS — A natural gas line ignited yesterday at a construction site on the Las Vegas Strip, setting off an explosion that injured four workers, authorities said.

One worker suffered serious burns over 30 percent of his body when the gas ignited while being vented from a line in a swimming pool pump room.

Three other workers suffered less serious burns in the blast at a condominium tower project, said fire department spokesman Scott Allison.

All four workers were taken to a hospital burn unit.

The fire was out by the time firefighters arrived, Mr. Allison said.


Bello the clown reunited with bike

NEW YORK — Bello Nock, the daredevil clown, was all smiles Sunday when he was reunited with his lost little bike.

The star of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus thanked Ricky Robinson, who found Bello’s shiny foot-high, 6-inch-wide contraption Friday night outside a restaurant on Manhattan’s West Side.

“Give me a hug. I need my bike. That is my bike. Thank you, buddy,” Bello said outside Madison Square Garden, where the circus was performing.

In exchange for returning the bike, taken from a Manhattan street Friday, Mr. Robinson, 54, will receive a $1,000 reward, a new bicycle donated by Toys R Us, and tickets to Knicks basketball games and the circus show named for Bello, “Bellobration.”

After reading about the lost bike and seeing a picture of it in a newspaper, Mr. Robinson showed up at Madison Square Garden Sunday with the bike.

“I didn’t know what it was,” said Mr. Robinson, a native of Bridgeport, Conn. “I didn’t know how anybody rides it.”


Pilots seek to fly past 60th birthday

HARRISBURG — Three airline pilots have asked an appeals court to let them keep flying past the mandatory retirement age of 60, a limit federal regulators plan to raise to 65.

The pilots said in a petition to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that they don’t want to wait for the Federal Aviation Administration to complete the process of raising the limit.

Plaintiffs Joseph G. LoVecchio of Lancaster, Pa.; Lewis J. Tetlow of Bedford, N.H., who turned 60 yesterday; and Richard C. Morgan of Charlottesville, Va., argue that it is unreasonable to deny their petition for a waiver to a rule that is likely to be wiped out anyway.

“I’ll probably have to look for a flying job, but at age 60, it’s always hard to do that,” Mr. Morgan said yesterday. “It’s very daunting, and the market is actually flooded with other airline pilots.”

The pilots, who fly for Tempe, Ariz.-based US Airways, asked the court in their motion, filed Thursday, to order the FAA to act on their waiver requests before April 30. The pilots said FAA officials told them that they would not act on waivers “piecemeal” while the rule revision is being considered.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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