View Mobile Site

Nation news briefs

Text Size: Small Large Medium
POSTED April 29, 2013 9:14 p.m.

SOME LOSING JOBS AMID ALLEGED NEV. PATIENT DUMPING: CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Two staff members who violated discharge policies at a Las Vegas psychiatric hospital were fired Monday and three others are being disciplined following an investigation into busing patients to other states, the governor's office and agency officials said Monday.

The Department of Health and Human Services said another four people who were involved no longer work at Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital.

Gov. Brian Sandoval earlier in the day announced the firings and said his administration is looking for a national expert in the mental health field to review all the state's facilities "to ensure best practices are being implemented and followed."

The moves come in the wake of an investigative series by the Sacramento Bee after James F. Brown, who suffered from schizophrenia and depression, was given a one-way bus ticket in February to Sacramento, Calif., where he knew no one. The newspaper then reviewed bus ticket receipts dating to 2008 and found that the hospital, part of the Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services, had transported about 1,500 patients to other states. Roughly 500 went to California.

EX-TEACHER OF YEAR AVOIDS PRISON ON NJ SEX CHARGE : NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A former New Jersey county Teacher of the Year who admits having sex with a 15-year-old student from her honors English class has been spared prison time.

A judge in Newark on Monday sentenced 33-year-old Erica DePalo to lifetime parole supervision. DePalo also will have to forfeit her teaching certificate and register as a sex offender.

Prosecutors say the Montclair resident had a short sexual relationship with a boy at West Orange High School.

A tearful DePalo apologized. She pleaded guilty in February to child endangerment. She initially was charged with aggravated sexual assault and could've faced up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

A defense attorney says antidepressants the 2011 Essex County Teacher of the Year had been incorrectly prescribed contributed to her errors in judgment but aren't an excuse.

EX-MICH. CONGRESSWOMAN PRESIDES OVER ET HEARINGS: DETROIT (AP) — Ex-U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick of Detroit and six other former Congress members are presiding over hearings on the existence of extraterrestrials.

The 30 hours of congressional-style hearings kicked off Monday and are scheduled to run through Friday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Those testifying hope to prove that aliens contact Earth — and that the government is trying to keep it secret.

The News says Kilpatrick, who is being paid $20,000 plus expenses, will chair the panel on Tuesday.

Kilpatrick is a Democrat who served in Congress from 1997-2011. Her son, ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, is awaiting sentencing after being convicted on two dozen counts of corruption.

PA. SHERIFF HEADING TO TRIAL ON THREAT CHARGES: BEAVER, Pa. (AP) — A judge says a western Pennsylvania sheriff accused of threatening to cut a political campaign worker's hands off and shoot an online news reporter should go to trial.

Judge Michael L. Gerheim heard nearly five hours of testimony Monday before agreeing most of the 11 charges against Beaver County Sheriff George David should go to trial.

A grand jury report says David delivered expletive-fueled rants and uttered a racial slur to his victims. It says he threatened to cut off and eat a campaign volunteer's hands.

David denies the charges and remains in office because county officials are powerless to remove him and state legislators haven't tried to.

He was arrested last month on charges including terroristic threats, witness intimidation and obstructing an investigation. Authorities say the charges stem from encounters since November 2011.

VA WITHHOLDS DISABILITY CLAIMS EXECUTIVES' BONUSES: WASHINGTON (AP) — The Department of Veterans Affairs is withholding bonuses for senior officials who oversee disability claims, citing a failure to meet performance goals for reducing a sizable backlog in claims processing.

The backlog has increased dramatically over the past three years, and the department has come under intense criticism from veterans groups and members of Congress who have asked President Barack Obama to try to speed the process.

VA spokesman Josh Taylor said Monday the savings would be used to help reduce the backlog. He didn't provide specifics, nor could he say how many people would be affected or how much the savings would be. The withholdings apply only to executives of the Veterans Benefits Administration, which is part of the VA.

"We remain confident that VBA senior executives are dedicated to our nation's veterans, and they will continue to lead our drive toward VA's goal: eliminating the claims backlog in 2015," Taylor said.

In all, records show the VA paid its senior executives a total of $2.8 million in bonuses in fiscal year 2011. Among the VBA bonuses, three staff members received the top payment of $23,091 each.

The number of disability claims pending for longer than 125 days jumped from less than 200,000 to nearly 500,000 in fiscal 2011.

"How does the department expect to turn things around when it is rewarding employees and managers for falling behind?" said Rep. Jeff Miller, the Republican chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

 

 

MAN WOUNDED AFTER PULLING GUN IN UTAH POLICE LOBBY: WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (AP) — A man who told authorities months ago that he wanted to be killed by police entered a suburban Salt Lake City police station Monday and pointed a gun at an officer and a records clerk, prompting another officer to open fire on him, wounding the man in the arm.

The shooting at about 8:30 a.m. in the heart of West Valley City caused panic at a bustling train and bus stop nearby, with people taking cover as they heard gunshots and saw officers storm outside with their weapons drawn. No one else was hurt as the suspect was quickly shot and apprehended.

James Ramsey Kammeyer, 39, was released from a hospital Monday afternoon and booked into jail on suspicion of attempted homicide, threat of terrorism, aggravated assault and possession of a weapon by a prohibited user, said police Sgt. Jason Hauer. Kammeyer is a registered sex offender.

 

Commenting is not available.

Commenting not available.

Please wait ...