- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Flu outbreak closes school

HUACHUCA CITY | Health officials suspect an outbreak of swine flu has caused an Arizona school to shut down after more than a third of the students called in sick.

Huachuca City Elementary will be closed the rest of the week followed by the regular fall break. Crews will disinfect everything that children put their hands on, from door knobs and desks to restrooms and the cafeteria.

On Monday, 171 of the 475 students and 10 staffers stayed home from the southern Arizona school. That was up from 140 student absences Friday.

Cochise County Health Director Vaira Harik said Tuesday that the vast majority of flu circulating in the area is the H1N1 swine flu virus, so while victims haven’t been tested, officials assume swine flu is to blame.


Police: Boy, 13, was drunks’ driver

SAN ANSELMO | A Marin County couple with several drunken-driving arrests between them let a 13-year-old boy drive them home to avoid another DUI, police said.

San Anselmo police Sgt. Rob Schneider said the incident occurred after the three had dinner at a downtown restaurant Sunday night.

Officers investigating a vehicle stalled on a major thoroughfare discovered the underage driver. Sgt. Schneider said the boy claimed he stopped because he was “freaked out” and refused to drive further.

Heather Choulos, 32, of Mill Valley, was charged Monday with child endangerment and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Her boyfriend wasn’t immediately charged.


Surcharge added to busy flight days

MINNEAPOLIS | Several big airlines have added $10 surcharges for busy days around the holidays, making days that already tended to be expensive to fly a little more costly.

Last month, airlines added a $10 each-way surcharge for Nov. 29 (the Sunday after Thanksgiving) and Jan. 2-3.

Now, FareCompare.com CEO Rick Seaney notes that the same airlines have added 10 more days: Nov. 30; Dec. 19, 26 and 27; March 14, 20, 21 and 28; April 11; and May 28.

He said the surcharges have been added by Delta Air Lines Inc. and Northwest Airlines Inc., AMR Corp.’s American Airlines, UAL Corp.’s United Airlines, Continental Airlines Inc. and US Airways Group Inc.

Mr. Seaney said discounters such as Southwest Airlines Co. and JetBlue Airways Corp. appear to be avoiding the surcharges.


Prosecutor: Woman’s killing was random

MILFORD | Four teenagers picked a rural home at random and went inside intending to kill, a state prosecutor said. Authorities say the burglary left a 42-year-old woman dead and her daughter with serious injuries.

Kimberly Cates died in Sunday’s attack in Mont Vernon. A next-door neighbor said Ms. Cates’ 11-year-old daughter, Jaime, is expected to live.

Steven Spader, 17, and Christopher Gribble, 19, were arraigned on first-degree murder and other charges Tuesday. An 18-year-old and a 17-year-old are charged with burglary and robbery. None has entered a plea yet.

Assistant Attorney General Will Delker said the teens picked the home at random, but all four knew of the plan to kill whoever was home.


Councilman enters guilty plea

NEWARK | A northern New Jersey council member has become the 45th person charged and the sixth to plead guilty in the state’s largest corruption sweep.

Jersey City Council member Philip Kenny pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to commit extortion for accepting $5,000 from a government informant posing as a developer seeking help with a project.

Kenny admitted in federal court that he met with the informant between March and May.

The charge carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence, but Kenny is expected to serve far less than that under federal sentencing guidelines.

Federal authorities arrested 44 people in July in a corruption and money laundering investigation. More than two dozen were elected or appointed New Jersey officials.


Delphi emerges from Chapter 11

NEW YORK | Auto supplier Delphi said Tuesday that it has completed a deal with its lenders to allow it to exit bankruptcy protection nearly four years to the day it filed for Chapter 11.

Delphi Holdings LLP, created by the company’s emergence from bankruptcy court oversight, said it has finished acquiring most of Delphi Corp.’s core businesses as called for in its restructuring plan.

Rodney O’Neal will remain the Troy, Mich.-based company’s president and CEO. The company’s current executives will continue to manage its global operations, Delphi said.


Woman sentenced in cancer con

DELAWARE | An Ohio woman has been sentenced to eight years in prison for scamming family and friends out of tens of thousands of dollars by claiming her husband was sick with cancer.

Melanie Chen, 30, of Columbus, also was ordered to pay more than $792,000 in restitution to the 13 victims, plus court costs.

In August, the mother of six pleaded guilty to one count of theft. In exchange for her plea, a charge of receiving stolen property was dismissed.

Chen was sentenced Tuesday. She could have received up to 10 years in prison.


Contractor lays off 550 engineers, others

SALT LAKE CITY | The company that makes booster rockets for the space shuttle is laying off 550 engineers, factory workers and others at three Utah locations.

ATK Space Systems said Tuesday’s pink slips mark the phase-out of the space shuttle, as well as the end of production for the government’s Minuteman III ballistic missile program.

ATK alerted workers to the reductions in July. More than 130 of the employees voluntarily accepted a layoff. Along with others, they will get a severance package of up to a half-year’s wages.


Flu-masked inmate delays hearing

SPOKANE | A court hearing for a jail inmate had to be postponed a day because he was wearing a surgical mask and his defense lawyer refused to sit next to him.

The burglary suspect didn’t feel sick, but jailers made him wear the mask as a precaution against swine flu because he had shared a cell with sick inmates.

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno said it seems “a little paranoid” to do with everyone who has the sniffles. She has called a meeting with lawyers and jail staff Thursday to discuss the flu threat.

The jail requires inmates with cold or flu symptoms, and anyone near them, to wear protective masks when they leave their cells.

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