Archive for March, 2011

Westford school lunches kept in poor conditions

Posted in massachusetts, News, Sad on March 30, 2011 by punauni


WESTFORD, Mass. — Sick students lead to a disgusting discovery in Westford. Their school lunch was kept next to insects and rodent droppings – And that’s not all.

Rat droppings and urine on a box holding school lunch trays.

“It’s gross. It’s not something I’d want my kids eating at school,” said Julie Ferreira, parent.

The Board of Health started investigating when 70 students all missed school on the same day because of a stomach virus earlier this month.

And while the virus wasn’t caused by the bad conditions, what they found in the old rundown and apparently rat infested building is forcing the Westford School District to throw away more than $10,000 in food and supplies.

“In an old building like that I guess I wasn’t necessarily surprised that they would have found some rodent droppings, but that’s not acceptable. It’s not acceptable to them and it’s not acceptable to any of us,” said Westford Schools Superintendent Everett Olsen.

Olsen says no food in the freezer or in any of the cans was contaminated. Even the trays are wrapped in plastic.

“You think that with obviously multiple people going in to retrieve things that it would have been noticed before then or something would have been addressed previously,” said Diane Cadogan, parent.

Some photos show boxes containing peas dating 2008, but the superintendent says expired food was never served to students and never will be now that it’s all going in the trash.

“It’s the safest thing to do. I wouldn’t compromise the safety of any child,” said Olsen.

It will cost thousands to toss out, but parents say it’s well worth it.

“If it’s rat droppings and things like that, I think it’s a great decision,” said Pratima Vasiragua, parent.

The Westford superintendent says the reason they didn’t store the food at individual schools was just because there wasn’t enough room. He says now they will order is smaller quantities and will keep it at the schools.


IV infections examined after 9 Ala hospital deaths

Posted in News, Sad on March 30, 2011 by punauni


MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Federal and state health officials were trying to figure out how intravenous feeding bags became contaminated with bacteria after nine critically ill patients died and 10 others were sickened at Alabama hospitals after being treated with the commonly used solutions.

Health officials on Tuesday would not directly link the deaths to the outbreak of serratia marcescens bacteria at six hospitals, but the bags were pulled off the market.

“There is nothing to suggest the deaths were directly related to the bacterial infection,” said State Health Officer Donald Williamson who declined to give details on the patients including their ages and illnesses.

On March 16, two hospitals reported increased cases of serratia marcescens to the Alabama Department of Public Health. Officials linked the infection to TPN, a common nutritional supplement delivered directly from the plastic bags into the bloodstream through IV tubes.

A single pharmacy, Birmingham-based Meds IV, made the bags. Williamson said the company has notified its customers of the contamination, has discontinued production and was being very cooperative.

“We wouldn’t be nearly as far along as we are without them,” said Williamson.

Calls to Meds IV and its owner seeking comment were not returned.

Meds IV is registered to Edward Cingoranelli, who appears to have been involved in at least three other medical supply companies, according to the Alabama Secretary of State’s office. Meds IV was incorporated two weeks after one of the other firms.

When Select Specialty Hospital in Birmingham learned one of its suppliers may have distributed bags containing the bacteria, it started investigating and stopped using Meds IV products, said the hospital’s chief executive officer. Other hospitals also immediately stopped using the products.

“We are committed to high-quality patient care and are fully cooperating with government officials in their ongoing investigation of the supplier,” Jeffrey Denney said.

Hospitals have very strict infection control for TPN. The supplement compound of several different nutrients, including electrolytes, is delivered daily in bags that are pre-mixed, not done in the hospital. The supplement is administered into a central line intravenously, going directly into the patients’ blood stream. Patients are monitored carefully for symptoms of septic shock.

Serratia marcescens bacteria grow in moist areas and can settle in hospital patients’ respiratory and urinary tracts. The bacteria is common and easily treatable if detected early. Patients with serratia sepsis may have fever, chills, shock, and respiratory distress.

Besides Select Specialty, other hospitals hit with the outbreak were Baptist Princeton, Baptist Shelby, Medical West and Cooper Green in the Birmingham area and Baptist Prattville, north of Montgomery.

The state health department, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and the Food and Drug Administration are investigating.

Williamson said the risk of more patients being exposed to the bacteria has ended.

“There are no outstanding cases of this infection. It is contained and closed,” Williamson said.

The CDC in 2005 identified the bacteria as causing blood stream infections in about a dozen patients in New Jersey and California that were treated with contaminated salt solutions administered through IVs from similar bags.

Father killed wife then himself after her affair with teenager

Posted in News, Parents Behaving Badly, People Behaving Badly, Sad with tags on March 27, 2011 by punauni


Barry Harrison, 47, feared that Amanda, 34, would take their two sons away from him. Mrs Harrison had told a friend she was seeing a 19-year-old customer she met at the shop where she worked.

The couple were found dead in their home in Shanklin, in the Isle of Wight, on Aug 9 last year, with their sons, Owen, three, and Aiden, five, playing inside the property.

Mrs Harrison is believed to have been strangled with a piece of washing line that was found near her body. Mr Harrison was found hanging.

Their bodies were undiscovered for at least 24 hours, until Pat Cannon, the property manager, let herself into the flat. She found food smeared on the walls and items strewn about the property. Aiden told her: “We can’t wake mummy and daddy up. Mummy is lying down and daddy is asleep standing up.” The inquest heard that Aiden demonstrated how his father attacked his mother. Pauline Clark, who knew the family, said: “He demonstrated with me the action of being grabbed by the throat, his Mummy was trying to push away his Daddy. He also said ‘Daddy had blood on his face’.”

The couple, who met while working at a Peugeot factory near Coventry, were both made redundant in 2006 and their home was repossessed.

They moved to the Isle of Wight in 2009 to start a new life, but were struggling with debt, Newport coroner’s court heard. Mr Harrison worked as a fruit picker and his wife at the Co-op convenience store but both suffered from depression.

Mrs Harrison had confided in a friend, Maureen Cannon, the property manager’s sister, about her relationship with the teenager, called Alex Harmer-Wood.

Ms Cannon said: “Amanda surprised me, she told me she was having an affair. She had been seeing him for two weeks. She felt he lifted her up.” Mr Harmer-Wood denied they had a relationship.

Shortly before their deaths, the Harrisons decided to spend three weeks apart and Mr Harrison returned to Coventry to stay with his sister, Carol Moreton.

He dreaded a repeat of the breakdown of his first marriage, from which he had two older children, Lee and Stacey, Mrs Moreton said. He would leave the house for hours at a time and was not eating.

She said he was devoted to his family and had a reverse vasectomy to have children with his second wife.

Stacey Harrison told the inquest that when her father left to return home he had been “on edge”. “He seemed to have made his mind up,” she said. “He said he wasn’t sure if he could cope with losing the boys in the same way he had lost me and Lee.”

During their time apart, Mrs Harrison allowed Mr Harmer-Wood to stay at their home with his girlfriend, but her husband found the young couple in his bed. The following day was the last time the Harrisons were seen alive.

Hugh Calloway, the Isle of Wight assistant deputy coroner, recorded verdicts of suicide and unlawful killing.

He said: “Barry was worried about history repeating itself. His actions were totally out of character.”

Woman Charged With 27 Felony Counts Of Sex With Minor

Posted in News, People Behaving Badly, Sad with tags , on March 27, 2011 by punauni


ANTIOCH, Calif. — A 30-year-old Antioch woman was charged Monday with 27 felonies for allegedly having an ongoing sexual relationship with a 14-year-old boy she met through her teenage daughter, Antioch police said Tuesday.  Police began investigating Nicole Bradburn in January after receiving a report that she was having a sexual relationship with the victim, police said.  The victim’s parents had noticed that their son had been spending a lot of time with Bradburn and became suspicious.   At one point they even obtained a temporary restraining order against her, police said.  Bradburn, however, had allegedly convinced the victim that she was in love with him, and he refused to admit he was having a relationship with her, police said.  It wasn’t until the boy’s father discovered what police characterized as an “incriminating text message” from Bradburn on his son’s cell phone that the boy finally admitted that he had been having a sexual relationship with Bradburn since October.Detectives served a search warrant on Bradburn’s house last week and arrested her.  She was charged Monday with 27 counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor.  She is being held at county jail in Martinez on more than $1.6 million bail.  Antioch police said they believed there could be other victims who had not yet come forward and were asking anyone with information about the case to call Detective Danielle Joannides at (925) 779-6931.

Animal Cruelty Charges Filed in Case of Brutalized New Jersey Pit Bull

Posted in Animal Cruelty, People Behaving Badly, Sad with tags , on March 27, 2011 by punauni


A Newark woman has been charged with four counts of animal cruelty in the case of a 1-year-old pit bull found starved and barely alive inside an apartment building garbage chute, New Jersey officials tell

Kisha Curtis, 28, was charged Friday with two counts of abandonment and two counts of failure to provide proper sustenance to the animal, according to Matthew Stanton, a spokesman for the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The pit bull, hailed by animal care workers as a “miracle dog,” was discovered March 16 by maintenance workers inside a garbage chute at the Garden Spires apartment building — a 550-unit complex in Newark notorious for drug trade and other crimes.

The dog was found so brutalized that his bones protruded from his fur and he had no body temperature. Animal care workers with the Associated Humane Societies/Popcorn Park called it one of the worst cases of cruelty they’ve ever seen.

Newark Animal Control rushed the dog to the 24-hour Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton Falls, N.J., where he was given a blood transfusion, pumped with fluids and covered with heating blankets.


The dog was later named “Patrick” because he made it through the night and into St. Patrick’s Day. Veterinarians said he would have died within 6 to 12 hours if he hadn’t received medical care.

“It was a rebirth,” said Karen Powell, an AHS spokeswoman.

Stanton told that Curtis, the alleged owner, faces two criminal counts and two civil counts, which he said could result in up to six months in jail or a $1,000 fine and community service if convicted.

“It all depends on the judge,” he said. “She [Curtis] caused the animal to be in that condition. She indicated that she couldn’t take care of him anymore.”

Stanton said the woman denied throwing the dog into the chute at the 22-story apartment building. Curtis could not be reached for comment when contacted Saturday by

Stanton added that the investigation into the crime is ongoing. He said the NJSPCA is working to determine whether anyone else was involved in the abuse and disposal of the animal.

Patrick, meanwhile, is making a slow but steady recovery at the animal hospital. Veterinary staff said the dog is now standing and eating small amounts of food several times a day.

“He loves people,” Powell said.

Houston Woman, 1-Year-Old Daughter Found Drunk on Four Loko

Posted in News, Parents Behaving Badly, Sad with tags , on March 24, 2011 by punauni


A Houston woman was facing felony child endangerment charges Thursday after police allegedly found her and her 1-year-old baby both drunk on the infamous alcoholic energy drink Four Loko, local media reported.

According to Houston Police, Lashwanda Allen, 32, said she had been drinking Four Loko and fell asleep with her children next to her and the drink beside the bed.

When she awoke, she told police, her one-year-old daughter was holding an empty can and was stumbling around like she was drunk, KTRK reported.

Police said that the incident was reported to them after Allen’s roommate found her wandering the halls of her north Houston apartment complex.

When the roommate asked of the whereabouts of Allen’s two children, Allen replied that they were inside the apartment and drunk.

According to police, the roommate found Allen’s four-month-old daughter hanging upside down from the bed, with sheets wrapped around her waist.

The baby girl was turning blue, police said.

Soon after, police said, a neighbor found Allen’s one-year-old daughter in the complex’s parking lot.

Allen’s roommate called for an ambulance. According to police, the one-year-old was legally intoxicated with a blood alcohol content of .09.

Allen was being held Thursday at Harris County Jail on $2,000 bond.

2nd woman charged in Indiana toddler’s death

Posted in News, Parents Behaving Badly, Sad with tags , , on March 23, 2011 by punauni

An Indiana woman who told police she held the legs of a 2-year-old Fort Wayne boy while his mother forced him to drink a concoction of olive oil and vinegar because they thought it would exorcise demons from him has been charged in his death.

Natasha Hawkins, 31,of Fort Wayne is charged with aiding in battery causing death, neglect of a dependent causing death, assisting a criminal and four counts of battery in Jezaih King’s death. She did not enter a plea when she appeared before Magistrate Robert Schmoll on Wednesday. She does not yet have an attorney.

Jezaih’s mother, 31-year-old Latisha Lawson, was charged with murder on Feb. 11. She previously had been charged with battery causing death, neglect of a dependent causing death, neglect of a dependent causing injury, neglect of a dependent and battery.

Police say they interviewed Hawkins on Jan. 26 and she said she and Lawson had performed an “exorcist” on Jezaih in November 2009 because they thought he was possessed. According to the probable cause affidavit, Hawkins told Lawson that to get rid of demons “you should drink olive oil.”

Hawkins said Lawson decided to add the vinegar. Hawkins said they also made Lawson’s daughter and her three children also drink the concoction. All the children began to vomit. She said they all saw Jeziah stop breathing.

Police say Lawson kept Jeziah’s body in a plastic tote for more than a year until she was arrested on Dec. 21, 2010.

Lawson was being held Wednesday at the Allen County Jail on $70,000 bond. Her next court appearance is April 6.

The Journal Gazette reports that Lawson’s court-appointed attorney has filed paperwork indicating she intends to use an insanity defense. She is scheduled to go on trial May 24.