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State considering charging disabled at some facilities

ALBANY (AP) -- Lawmakers and some advocates are questioning a possible plan to charge disabled people to use state parks, campsites and golf courses.

State Parks Commissioner Bernadette Castro told the New York Post she is exploring a plan to charge disabled people half the regular fees to use the state's network of parks and other attractions, then dedicate the fees to making parks more accessible.

New York is the only state in the country that doesn't charge disabled people who use its more than 200 state parks and historic sites. State-run sites charge daily fees, or users can buy an annual pass for $49. Camping fees are $12 a day or more.

Castro told the newspaper the state could raise $2 million a year with the half-price admission for disabled people, using the money on such things as widening trails and improving access to rivers and lakes.

But advocates for the disabled say the fees could keep people from enjoying the parks. Susan Scheer of the Center for Independence on the Disabled in New York told the Post that 70 percent of people with permanent disabilities are unemployed and could not afford any fee.

2 former officers sentenced for lying in torture case

NEW YORK (AP) -- Two former police officers were put on probation for misleading FBI investigators about the torture and sodomizing of Abner Louima in 1997 at a Brooklyn precinct house.

Francisco Rosario, 36, and Rolando Aleman, 30, were among six officers to either be convicted or plead guilty in the attack on Louima, a black Haitian immigrant who was dragged into the precinct bathroom and sodomized with a broken broomstick.

Rosario was sentenced to three years' probation Friday by U.S. District Judge Eugene Nickerson. Aleman, 30, was given two years' probation.

Prosecutors said they saw Justin Volpe, one of the attackers, throw a battered, half-naked Louima into a holding cell. Volpe admitted in a guilty plea that he wanted to punish Louima because he believed he had punched him outside a nightclub.

Prosecutors accused Aleman and Rosario of lying to the FBI, first claiming they were not there and later saying the officer they saw was not Volpe.

Aleman pleaded guilty. A jury convicted Rosario last year.

7 infants got adult dose of antibiotic, but are OK

ROCHESTER (AP) -- Seven babies in an intensive-care unit were mistakenly given adult doses of a common antibiotic over a three-day period, but the hospital said there was no evidence that any of them was harmed.

"I can say unequivocally that we are not aware of any effects and do not anticipate any," said Dr. Raymond Mayewski, chief medical officer at Strong Memorial Hospital.

From Dec. 24 to 26, the infants were given Gentamicin -- the only medication for children that the hospital makes by diluting adult doses. Syringes of the antibiotic were mistakenly labeled by a hospital pharmacist as a pediatric dose, Mayewski said.

A doctor spotted high levels of the antibiotic in the babies' blood. Tests produced no evidence of side effects, which could include kidney damage and hearing loss.

The state Health Department is sending officials to the hospital this week to investigate.

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