500,000 Have Guns at College

BOSTON About 3.5 percent of college students or nearly half a million have guns at school, a statistic that doubles among students with serious alcohol problems, Harvard researchers said in a study being published today.

With 14 million students in the nation s four-year and two-year colleges, that means there are as many as 450,000 students with guns, said Matthew Miller, a senior researcher at Harvard s Injury Research and Control Center.

The report is based on a sample of some 15,000 students at 130 four-year colleges and did not account for hunting weapons. The results, based on questionnaires completed anonymously by students in 1997, appear in the July issue of The Journal of American College Health.

Gun possession is significantly more likely among students who binge-drink and drive or who damage property after drinking, the report said. Binge drinking was defined as having five or more drinks at a sitting. The study also found gun possession at college was more common among whites than among minority groups, and more prevalent among students who belonged to fraternities or sororities.

Gun ownership differed according to the region of the country. Six percent of students attending colleges in the South had guns, compared with 4 percent in the West and 1 percent in the Northeast.

Minnesotan, 21, Wins Millions

ROSEVILLE, Minn. A 21-year-old woman who makes $9 an hour at a mortgage company called her boss to say she wouldn t be in because of a death in the family, then stepped forward yesterday to claim a $150 million Powerball lottery jackpot.

Farrah Slad beat 80-million-to-1 odds to win the third-biggest prize ever in the multistate lottery and one of the richest jackpots ever claimed by an individual.

Slad said she bought $5 worth of tickets at a store on the spur of the moment after stopping because her 1991 Acura Integra was running low on gas. She was on the way to her parents house for dinner and had not bought any tickets since last summer.

I thank my parents and my car for this, the single Brainerd resident said with a big smile at lottery headquarters in this St. Paul suburb.

Slad held the only winning ticket for Wednesday s drawing, which had a jackpot of $150 million over 25 years. She elected instead to receive a lump sum of $78.8 million, or $50.4 million after state and federal taxes are withheld.

On her list of things to do and buy: travel to Mexico, a new car, a house, good deeds and possibly veterinary school. She also plans to buy a dream house, trucks and boats for her parents. And she acknowledged: I m going to meet people who say they ve known me forever.

Addenda

AUGUSTA, Maine A torrent of water was unleashed through a man-made gap in the 162-year-old Edwards Dam in the first U.S. government-ordered demolition of a dam in the name of conservation. When removal of the hydroelectric dam is completed in November, it will open an upstream stretch of the Kennebec River to Atlantic salmon, striped bass, endangered short-nosed sturgeon and other fish for the first time since the 1830s. It is seen as a precedent for other projects, particularly in the West, where some dams have been targeted for similar fates.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. An Amtrak engineer ignored a red light, and his southbound Silver Palm smashed into the northbound Silver Palm at 3 a.m., injuring eight passengers, a National Transportation Safety Board investigator said. The train, headed to Miami from New York at 55 mph, struck the other, en route to New York from Miami, as it moved onto a side track at 14 mph. The trains carried a combined 300 passengers.

LOS ANGELES Two teenage cousins who said they were inspired to kill by the teen slasher movie Scream have been convicted of murder. Mario Padilla, 17, was found guilty yesterday in the killing of his mother, 37-year-old Gina Castillo. A separate jury convicted Samuel Ramirez, 15, earlier this week. That verdict was sealed until Padilla s panel returned its verdict.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. Chris Parrino, 31, swam for six hours to get help for his friend Steven Delgado, 44, who clung to their capsized 12-foot boat for 18 hours in Long Island Sound, the Coast Guard said. Parrino alerted police, and a Coast Guard helicopter plucked Delgado from the water after an all-night search.

GONZALES, La. Nearly one-third of Louisiana s 15,000 video poker machines fell silent at 12:01 a.m. in one of the nation s biggest rollbacks of legalized gambling. Voters in 33 Louisiana parishes voted 2 1/2 years ago to get rid of the machines, which are set up at truck stops, bars, racetracks, casinos and other locations. On Wednesday, lawmakers in South Carolina, the state with the most video gambling machines, at 34,000, approved a bill to let voters decide whether to ban the games.