Nation digest 11/13/01

Tuesday, November 13, 2001

Court: Teacher can be fired for drunken driving

PHILADELPHIA -- A teacher at a drug and alcohol treatment facility convicted three times of drunken driving can be fired for immoral conduct, a state appeals court ruled.

The Commonwealth Court said officials were justified in firing Nancy J. Zelno.

Zelno, 44, pleaded guilty two years ago to driving under the influence, her third offense. Upon learning of the conviction, officials at the facility near Gettysburg, Pa., dismissed Zelno, saying her conduct was a bad influence on students.

Zelno, a tenured teacher at a residential treatment facility in New Oxford, near Gettysburg, fought the dismissal, saying no students had been corrupted and that her ability to teach hadn't been affected.

Death of man painted orange ruled homicide

MORRISTOWN, Tenn. -- A man found spray-painted orange from head to knees died from inhaling paint fumes, and his death has been ruled a homicide, police said.

Terry Pease, 45, was apparently disrobed and sprayed with "Halloween-type" hair coloring before collapsing at his cousin's house Nov. 2, Morristown detective Rick Harmon said.

No one has been arrested.

The paint fumes overwhelmed Pease's respiratory system, causing his bronchial tubes to swell and cut off the flow of oxygen to his bloodstream, Harmon said.

"On the cans of this type of hair dye, there are warning labels that say the paint can be fatal. This is unbelievable," Harmon said.

Harmon said he believes that Pease died as the result of a prank but said the investigation is ongoing.

Five die trapped in house by early morning fire

SHELBIANA, Ky. -- Five people died early Monday when they were trapped in a burning house in a rural area of eastern Kentucky.

Three of the victims were children, authorities said.

Evidence indicated the victims were trying to escape from the two-bedroom house, at Shelby Knoll about 10 miles south of Pikeville, said Fire Chief Glen Adkins of the Millard Volunteer Fire Department.

All exits from the house had been blocked by flames, he said.

The cause of the fire had not been determined and a state police arson investigator was called in, Adkins said.

Identities of the victims were not immediately released.

Ice cream cooler leak sends 67 to hospital

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- A suspected chemical leak from an ice cream cooler sickened people at a flea market, sending them to decontamination showers and hospitals, health officials said Monday.

Freon apparently leaked Sunday at Dr. Flea's International Flea Market said Dr. Jean Malecki, director of the Palm Beach County Health Department, which initially investigated the deadly anthrax case at American Media Inc. in Boca Raton.

Shoppers at the flea market reported burning eyes, scratchy throats, shortness of breath and tightness in their chest.

People with health complaints were decontaminated in a shower set up by a fire-rescue team and 67 were taken to hospitals.

"I always err on the side of caution," Malecki said. Anthrax has been found at six Palm Beach County postal facilities.

-- From wire reports

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