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Nation in brief: Contaminated milk blamed for deaths

Wed., Jan. 9, 2008

At Whittier Farms dairy, the fifth-generation owners brag of the quality of their Holstein cows and still deliver milk right to your door, in glass bottles. Customers like the products because they are a hormone-free taste of old New England.

But health officials now say three elderly men have died and at least one pregnant woman has miscarried since last June after drinking bacteria-contaminated milk from the dairy’s plant in Shrewsbury, about 35 miles west of Boston.

All were infected with listeria, which is extremely rare in pasteurized milk.

The outbreak is believed to be only the third time listeria has ever been linked to pasteurized milk in the United States, said Dr. Alfred DeMaria, state director of communicable disease control.

“We know something is going on; we just don’t know what it is,” DeMaria said.

Norristown, Pa.

Probation given for mailing cow’s head

A man who mailed a bloody cow’s head to his wife’s lover has been sentenced to probation and community service.

Jason Michael Fife “understands that in a civilized society a person cannot send a severed cow’s head to anybody,” said his defense lawyer, Henry Hilles.

Authorities in Lower Pottsgrove, northwest of Philadelphia, arrested Fife and charged him with stalking, terroristic threats, disorderly conduct and harassment after he allegedly sent threatening messages and pictures and the cow’s head to the victim between May and September 2006.

Santa Fe, N.M.

Searchers find lost snowboarders

A couple who spent three frigid nights lost near a Santa Fe ski area was rescued Tuesday by helicopter.

Adam Putnam, 36, and his fiancee, Rachel Fehl, 30, were treated at St. Vincent Regional Medical Center and released.

A hospital spokesman said the couple told him they slept on pine boughs in snow caves. They had a backpack hydration system with them that they filled with snow and stuffed into their clothing to melt.

The two got lost Saturday in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains after snowboarding out of bounds at Ski Santa Fe.

They contacted authorities at least four times Tuesday by cell phone, and searchers honed in on their location by tracking the calls.

Grand Rapids, Mich.

Man cut by knife he hid in pants

A man who hid hunting knives in his pants to try to steal them from a western Michigan store tripped while fleeing and stabbed himself in the abdomen, police say.

The suspect was hospitalized after Monday night’s attempted theft from a Meijer Inc. superstore in Grand Rapids. He is expected to face a misdemeanor shoplifting charge, police say.

The man had put about $300 worth of hunting knives in his waistband. Police say he tried to leave the store, but Meijer employees confronted him and a scuffle followed. The man then fell and was stabbed by the knives he had hidden in his clothing.


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