Judge: Move inmates because of fungus

SACRAMENTO - A federal judge on Monday ordered the state to move several thousand inmates out of two California prisons because they are at a high risk of contracting a potentially deadly airborne fungus.

U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson instructed corrections officials to transfer most black, Filipino and medically at-risk inmates because they are more vulnerable to health problems from valley fever. The fungal infection originates in the soil of the San Joaquin Valley, where Avenal and Pleasant Valley state prisons are located.

He gave the state 90 days to fully comply.

About 3,250 of the two prisons' 8,100 inmates fall into the categories covered by the judge's ruling. But Henderson said inmates among those groups who already have had the disease do not have to be moved.

He also altered the recommendation from the court-appointed official who oversees prison medical care to exclude inmates over age 55, although that category of inmates could be included at a later date.

New Hampshire

Scouts hospitalized after lightning strike

BELMONT - A lightning strike Monday at a New Hampshire Boy Scouts camp injured nearly two dozen Scouts.

Scouts spokesman Greg Osborn said no one was directly hit by the lightning at the Griswold Scout Reservation. He said some of the 23 Scouts and three adults who were injured complained of tingling and burning sensations and all were treated by camp nurses before being hospitalized as a precaution. He said those who were treated are doing well and are in good spirits.

The lightning struck during a big evening storm just outside Belmont at Camp Bell, one of two camps at the reservation. The camp offers activities including rock climbing and sailing.

Firefighters said the lightning struck near where the Boy Scouts had gathered. Osborn said the Scouts were under shelter at the time.


Grain elevator blast kills 1 worker

UNION MILLS - An explosion Monday inside a grain elevator killed a worker at a sprawling northwestern Indiana farm co-op, authorities said.

The cause of the blast at the Union Mills Co-op remained unknown Monday evening several hours after the blast. The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration were among the agencies sending investigators to the scene.

It wasn't clear where the victim, James Swank, 67, of Union Mills, was at time of the blast, but he might have been loading grain into train cars with two other workers, Maj. John Boyd of the LaPorte County Sheriff's Department said.


Teen impaled on horn of bull statue dies

LUBBOCK - A 14-year-old West Texas boy died after he ran into a bull statue on the Texas Tech University campus and impaled himself on one of its horns.

University spokesman Chris Cook said Miguel Martinez impaled himself while playing hide-and-seek with friends in the pre-dawn hours of Saturday morning.

Campus police said Martinez was at the museum with two adults and two minors when police were called to the scene. Police said Martinez was running on the National Ranching Heritage Museum on the Texas Tech campus when the horn pierced his chest.

New Jersey

Rapper 'Fat Joe' sentenced in tax case

NEWARK - The former chart-topping rap star known as "Fat Joe" was sentenced to four months in prison Monday over his earlier admission that he failed to file federal income taxes for two years.

The platinum-selling artist, whose real name is Joseph Cartagena, apologized to his family and supporters during his sentencing Monday in federal court in Newark, N.J.

The 42-year-old resident of Miami Beach, Fla., and Tenafly, N.J., pleaded guilty in December to failing to pay taxes on more than $1 million of income in 2007 and in 2008.

U.S. Magistrate Cathy Waldor said she took into account for sentencing the government's allegation that Cartagena failed to pay taxes on some $3 million in income for the years 2007 through 2010.

Federal prosecutors said the total tax loss to the government for those four years was $718,038.

The Associated Press