ZOOKEEPER IN SOUTHWEST MISSOURI KILLED BY ELEPHANT: SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A longtime zookeeper in southwest Missouri was killed Friday morning when he was crushed by an elephant, a spokeswoman for the city of Springfield said.
John Bradford, 62, died while moving an elephant into a chute that connects the barn stalls to the barn yard at the Dickerson Park Zoo, city spokeswoman Cora Scott said.
Scott said in a release that the elephant, a 41-year-old female named Patience who had been at the zoo since 1990, hesitated in the approximately 12-foot-long chute. When Bradford reached for her with a guide to coax her forward, she suddenly lunged forward. Bradford was knocked into the chute and crushed against the floor.
Other zookeepers quickly pulled Patience away from Bradford, but he was killed instantly, Scott said. No other zoo employees were injured.
Bradford worked at the zoo for 30 years and had been the zoo's elephant manager for 25 years.
FEDS TO REOPEN REFUGE AREAS USED TO HUNT WATERFOWL: WASHINGTON (AP) — The Fish and Wildlife Service says it is reopening 3 million acres in wildlife refuges to allow hunting of pheasants and waterfowl.
The sites, in 10 states, have been closed since Oct. 1 because of the partial government shutdown.
The agency said Friday that despite limited staffing, allowing public access to Waterfowl Production Areas on wildlife refuges will not cost any money or jeopardize public safety.
North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple had threatened to sue unless lands in his state were opened.
Dalrymple says pheasant hunting should begin as scheduled this month. He says a government shutdown is not legal justification to close unstaffed, public lands.
The decision opens hunting areas in 10 states: North and South Dakota, Montana, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Nebraska, Idaho and Maine.
OFFICIALS SEEK PROTECTION FOR 9-YEAR-OLD STOWAWAY: MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota officials filed a petition Friday to intervene in the life of a 9-year-old boy who evaded airport security and slipped onto a flight to Las Vegas.
The petition filed in Hennepin County juvenile court argues that the boy — who also has stolen a car and repeatedly run away from home — needs either state protection or services. According to the county's website, child protection or services could include anything from removing a child from a home to parenting classes.
The boy's father said earlier this week that he and his fiance have tried to get their son help, saying he has behavioral issues that have gotten him suspended from school and routinely leaves the house without permission. He said officials told him they couldn't intervene because the boy hadn't done anything bad enough.
"I'm tired of people saying he's a minor, there's nothing we can do. There's something somebody can do," the father, who declined to give his name, said during a news conference.
MONTEREY COUNTY COMPUTER HACKED: SALINAS (AP) — Officials in Monterey County say computer hackers may have obtained the personal information of tens of thousands of county residents.
The Monterey County Herald reports that a county computer containing the names, Social Security numbers, addresses and dates of birth of more than 144,000 people was hacked in March.
The information on file was from people who received CalFresh, MediCal, CalWorks and Foster Care payments through the county between 2002 and 2009.
County Department of Social Services Director Elliot Robinson said the computer's network connection was severed after the security breach. Officials could not determine whether the hackers accessed or retrieved personal information, but they began sending letters out this week informing those whose information was on the computer.
Department spokesman Sam Trevino says it took seven months to notify residents because officials had to first complete their investigation.
POLICE UNION OFFICE MANAGER SENTENCED FOR EMBEZZLEMENT: FULLERTON (AP) — An office manager for a police union in Orange County has been sentenced to four years in prison for embezzling more than $360,000 by changing the amount on her paycheck after her bosses had signed it.
Prosecutors said 47-year-old Cindy Ann Su'a was sentenced Wednesday in a Fullerton courtroom and ordered to pay more than $1 million in restitution, taxes and fines.
Su'a previously pleaded guilty more than 140 counts, including forgery and fraud.
Authorities say Su'a was the only paid employee of the Anaheim Police Association and was supposed to earn $65,000 each year. But prosecutors say she began increasing her paycheck in 2007 by thousands of dollars.
She also used the union's online bank accounts to pay her bills.
MISSOURI GOV. HALTS 1ST US EXECUTION BY PROPOFOL: ST. LOUIS (AP) — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Friday halted what was to have been the first U.S. execution to use the popular anesthetic propofol, following threats from the European Union to limit the drug's export if it were used for that purpose.
Nixon also ordered the Missouri Department of Corrections to come up with a different way to perform lethal injections without propofol, the leading anesthetic used in America's hospitals and clinics. Nearly 90 percent of the nation's propofol is imported from Europe.
"As governor, my interest is in making sure justice is served and public health is protected," Nixon said in a statement. "That is why, in light of the issues that have been raised surrounding the use of propofol in executions, I have directed the Department of Corrections that the execution of Allen Nicklasson, as set for October 23, will not proceed."
Nixon, a Democrat and staunch supporter of the death penalty, did not specifically mention the EU threat in his brief statement. Nixon was Missouri's longtime attorney general before he was first elected governor in 2008. During his 16 years as attorney general, 59 men were executed.