DID SUPPLIER CAPITALIZE ON 9/11 RESCUE?
After the destruction of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, a West Virginia-based company reportedly sold thousands of respirators to clean-up workers, possibly through false advertising. Now, according to the West Virginia Gazette, that company -- National Equity -- was more of a middleman in obtaining the equipment than the "original" source it purported to be.
The firm had advertised on its Web site that it was "able to bring the product direct to you," giving the impression to New York purchasing agents that it could offer the cheapest deal.
Now the publication says that three of the companies that made the equipment have told it that National Equity wasn't an authorized distributor. What that means is that the company would have to have purchased the equipment, then resold it to officials in New York City ... at marked-up prices.
In addition, a Charleston, W.V., firm that is a licensed distributor says that National Equity bought much of the equipment from it. That would make the company a middleman-once-removed and not a first-level supplier, as it indicated in its advertising.
Amid all this, federal and West Virginia officials say that they are investigating the company in connection with other sales of supplies, some to flood-damaged schools in West Virginia and Wyoming.
ANOTHER ICE DROWNING TRAGEDY
An icy lake in Colorado has become the latest place where a young person has fallen through the ice and drowned. It happened on a mostly-frozen lake southwest of Denver. The Denver Post says that a 6-year-old girl died under the ice of Garfield Lake. She was submerged in the freezing water for the better part of an hour before her body was found.
The girl and her 8-year-old sister were playing at the edge of the lake. The surviving sister told rescuers that the younger girl had walked out onto the ice to retrieve her shoe, which had landed on the surface of the lake when it flew from her hand.
A passerby called 911 when he saw what had happened.
The girl's father and several others dove into the lake in an unsuccessful effort to save the girl.
The older sister had walked onto the ice and was in danger of going through as she tried to see what had happened. When others arrived, she was shouting: "Somebody save my sister!"
MINT CRITICIZED FOR PROPOSED NEW NICKELS
First it made a big mistake in the production of the ill-fated Susan B. Anthony "silver" dollar ... making it too similar to the quarter. Coin collectors began to call that coin the "Susan B. Agony dollar."
Then, in a second try, it produced a coin of the same size that was golden in color. But, strangely, that never caught on, even though it's easy to distinguish from a dollar and had a lovely picture of Sacajawea, the Indian woman who helped Lewis and Clark go west, acting as a pathfinder.
Now with the U.S. Mint announcing plans to redo the venerable nickel to honor that expedition, groups in Virginia are up in arms. They tell the Richmond Times Dispatch that a proposal to remove Thomas Jefferson's home from the coin is a big mistake.
A bill that would have produced a new set of nickels to commemorate the upcoming anniversary of the trek westward passed the U.S. House of Representatives this year. But it died in the Senate.
Meanwhile, legislators from Virginia say they are backing a compromise bill that would allow the commemorative Lewis and Clark coins to be minted, but only for a limited time, from 2003-2005. After that, the original 1938 design would return, Monticello and all.
Proponents of the special nickels point to the popularity of the limited edition state-themed quarters that are being minted. The Lewis and Clark set would be composed of four nickels, each for a year that the expedition was in progress, during the monumental journey's bicentennial.
WELL-KNOWN CANADIAN POLITICIAN INJURED
A former premier of the Canadian province of British Columbia has been badly injured in a fall and faces the possibility of being paralyzed for the rest of his life. Mike Harcourt is 59. He fell about 20 feet from a cliff at his British Columbia cottage.
Doctors tell the Vancouver Star that he may have severed his spinal cord in the accident.
The prognosis is clouded. The extent of the spinal cord tear is not fully known, and more tests are being conducted.
Because of the location of the break, in Harcourt's neck, there is great potential for complete loss of function in nearly all of his body.
Some surgery has been performed to stabilize the injury and prevent further damage.
The accident happened on Pender Island, about two hours south of Vancouver. Harcourt reportedly slipped off the edge of the deck behind the family's vacation home.