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In brief: Bedbugs found in NYC landmark

Sun., Aug. 22, 2010

New York – It survived the Depression, a bomber crash and King Kong’s climb, but can the Empire State Building withstand a bedbug infestation?

Officials said exterminators had to clean out an employee changing room in the tower’s basement after bedbugs were found there last week. The officials told the New York Daily News that an employee had the bedbugs on his clothes and brought them into the building, but that the problem is now under control.

Bedbugs have been discovered recently in New York City theaters, clothing stores, office buildings, housing projects and posh apartments.

The city fielded 11,000 complaints about bedbugs last year.

Bear euthanized after mauling

Columbus, Ohio – A bear that mauled to death a caretaker was euthanized Saturday at the request of the family of the victim.

The bear attacked Brent Kandra, 24, when he opened its cage Thursday for a routine feeding at the home of a man who kept a menagerie of wolves, tigers and bears on the property southwest of Cleveland.

The owner, Sam Mazzola, who has drawn criticism from animal rights activists for letting people wrestle with one of his bears, had said Kandra’s family would decide the bear’s fate.

Kandra’s father, John, said he and his ex-wife, Deirdre Herbert, needed the bear to die. He also said his son felt shortchanged by Mazzola when payday rolled around.

“It just seemed like Sam kind of took advantage of my son,” Kandra’s father said. “I told him a couple times, ‘I really wish you wouldn’t work for him.’ ”

Mazzola’s lawyer didn’t return a call seeking comment Saturday.

Sherrod in talks to return to USDA

Epes, Ala. – Former USDA official Shirley Sherrod said she is meeting with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Tuesday to discuss a new job offer.

Sherrod was forced to resign last month after a conservative blogger posted excerpts from a March speech depicting her as racist. The NAACP and others, including the USDA, condemned the remarks before grasping the full context of the story, which was meant as a lesson in overcoming racism.

The White House and the NAACP have since apologized and Vilsack offered her a new position.

Springfield, Ill. – A 23-year-old woman drowned after getting trapped in an uncovered manhole during heavy rain in Illinois, authorities said.

The woman and a man were riding in a car Friday night and got stuck under an overpass where the road had flooded, according to Springfield police. Both got out of the car to start pushing, and the woman slipped into a manhole and underwater.

The woman was submerged for about four minutes before the man and a police officer were able to free her. She died at the scene, police said.

Authorities said up to 1.4 inches of rain fell on parts of Springfield in less than two hours Friday.


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