DA: NYC WORKERS STOLE 100,000 TINY BOOZE BOTTLES: NEW YORK (AP) — Authorities say workers at New York's Kennedy airport stole 100,000 mini liquor bottles and duty-free items such as larger bottles of liquor, perfume and cigarettes.
Eighteen employees were arrested Wednesday on charges including larceny and possession of stolen property.
Fifteen are current or former truck drivers for LSG Sky Chefs, an airline catering company owned by Lufthansa that serves as a subcontractor to American Airlines. The other three are security guards.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown says they stole more than $750,000 worth of liquor and other items. He says a search warrant at the home of one retired truck driver turned up more than 500 garbage bags filled with mini liquor bottles.
The arrests came after a five-month investigation dubbed Operation Last Call.
RENOIR PAINTING FOUND AT W.VA FLEA MARKET: WASHINGTON (AP) — A woman who paid $7 for a box of trinkets at a West Virginia flea market two years ago apparently acquired an original painting by French impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir without knowing it.
The woman considered discarding the painting to salvage its frame, but instead made an appointment to have it evaluated in July by the Potomack Co. auction house in Alexandria, Va., said its fine arts director Anne Norton Craner.
When the woman pulled the painting out of a garbage bag she carried it in, Craner was nearly certain the painting was a Renoir with its distinct colors, light and brushwork. A plaque on the front labeled it "Renoir."
French handwriting on the back of the canvass included a label and number. Craner turned to the catalog by French gallery Bernheim-Jeune that's published all of Renoir's work.
HIKER INJURED 6 MILES SHORT OF PACIFIC TRAIL END: BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — A California hiker broke an ankle just south of the Canada border and had to be airlifted just six miles short of finishing the Pacific Crest Trail.
The Whatcom County sheriff's office says 60-year-old Timothy Nye of Sacramento had been hiking for five weeks and was approaching the end of the 2,663-mile trail on Tuesday when the ground gave way and he fell about 10 feet in a remote area.
Deputy Geroge Ratayczak says Nye activated an emergency beacon and was rescued by helicopter and flown to St. Joseph Hospital in Bellingham.
WHOOPING COUGH VACCINE LOSES PUNCH TOO FAST : NEW YORK (AP) — As the U.S. wrestles with its biggest whooping cough outbreak in decades, researchers appear to have zeroed in on the main cause: The safer vaccine that was introduced in the 1990s loses effectiveness much faster than previously thought.
A study published in Wednesday's New England Journal of Medicine found that the protective effect weakens dramatically soon after a youngster gets the last of the five recommended shots around age 6.
The protection rate falls from about 95 percent to 71 percent within five years, said researchers at the Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Research Center in Oakland, Calif.
The U.S. has had more than 26,000 whooping cough cases so far this year, including more than 10,000 in children ages 7 to 10.
'TEACHER OF THE YEAR' IN NJ DENIES SEX CHARGE: NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey woman recently named a county's teacher of the year was in court Wednesday to answer charges that she had sex with a 15-year-old boy enrolled in an honors class she taught.
An attorney for Erica DePalo, 33, of Montclair, entered a not guilty plea on her behalf during a hearing in Superior Court in Newark. DePalo faces aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault and child endangerment charges. The boy was in her honors English class and the two carried on what prosecutors described in court documents as a "sexual relationship" from June until recently.
DePalo has been indefinitely suspended from her job teaching English at West Orange High School, according to school officials.