- - Thursday, August 12, 2010


Inmate dies after attack on guard

CLAYTON — An Alabama inmate who attacked a female guard at a rural prison died of injuries he received while being restrained by other officers, prison officials said Thursday.

The death of Rocrast Donnell Mack, 24, is being investigated by the Alabama Department of Corrections and the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, said prison spokesman Brian Corbett.

Mr. Corbett said Mack attacked an officer inside Ventress prison on Aug. 4. Other officers responded to help the woman, he said, and Mack was fatally injured while being restrained. He later died at a hospital.

“He continued to fight and resist,” Mr. Corbett told the Associated Press. Mr. Corbett would not say how many officers were involved or elaborate on Mack’s injuries because of the ongoing investigation.

A prison activist said Mack’s relatives, most of whom live in nearby Eufaula, suspect officers beat the prisoner to death.

“All of them are feeling like some foul play went on,” said Kenneth Glasgow, a pastor and head of the Ordinary People Society in Dothan. He said he planned to investigate.

The female officer’s injuries were not life-threatening, Mr. Corbett said. It was unclear whether any other officers were hurt.

Prison records listed Mack as being 5 feet 11 inches and weighing 160 pounds. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison in February for a drug conviction in Montgomery County.


Lighthouse awaits highest bidder

PORTLAND — The property has a $1 million view, but the quarters are cramped, the grounds are nothing to brag about and a loud foghorn blares every 10 seconds.

For the right price, the picturesque Ram Island Ledge Lighthouse can be yours. The federal government is auctioning off the 72-foot conical light tower a mile off Cape Elizabeth.

The property is hard to access because it is on a wave-swept, rocky ledge.

But the views are to die for, and the lighthouse oozes history — a reminder of an era gone by when lighthouse keepers lived in isolation manning kerosene lamps and foghorns to keep mariners safe.

A tour for prospective bidders is scheduled for later this month. The only bid submitted for the lighthouse was for $10,000.


Doctors discover pea in lung

BOSTON — Doctors said they found a pea sprouting in the lung of a 75-year-old Massachusetts man.

Doctors feared the worst when they studied Ron Sveden’s X-rays and spotted a small dark spot.

The former teacher worked for years smoking fish and already had fought emphysema before he felt his health take a turn for the worse this summer.

By the time Mr. Sveden reached the hospital, he had a collapsed left lung and pneumonia. Two biopsies came back negative for lung cancer.

Feeding a scope down Sveden’s throat, Dr. Jeff Spillane scraped away at an encrusted mass and discovered a sprout. Dr. Spillane said Mr. Sveden apparently inhaled a pea that took root in his lung.

Dr. Spillane removed the pea, and Mr. Sveden’s health has returned.


Tobacco for troops back in the mail

NASHVILLE — The U.S. Postal Service says it plans to resume shipping care packages with cigarettes and other tobacco to soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A law aimed at preventing smuggling had unintentionally banned families from sending tobacco to military members serving overseas. Spokesman Greg Frey said Thursday that the Postal Service is planning to issue new instructions that could allow shipments to resume as soon as Aug. 27.

The Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act of 2009 quietly took effect June 29. The law said tobacco must be sent by Express Mail, which requires a signature for delivery. But Express Mail delivery isn’t available for most overseas military addresses.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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