N.M. to Step Up Fight Against Drugs

ALBUQUERQUE -- The weekend arrests of a prominent judge and a state education leader on drug charges prompted New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) to promise redoubled efforts to stamp out abuse of drugs and alcohol.

John Brennan, chief judge of state district court in Albuquerque, and Patricia Mattioli, head of the state Commission on Higher Education's Gear-Up program, were arrested on drug possession charges early Saturday after Brennan allegedly tried to elude officers conducting a DWI checkpoint.

"This incident shows the pervasiveness of the DWI and drug problem that exists today," Richardson said in a statement released by his office Sunday. "We must deal with these problems aggressively, regardless of the status of any individual."

Police said Brennan, 57, appeared to be "extremely intoxicated" when he was pulled over just after midnight. Officers found what they believed to be cocaine in his vehicle.

* CHICAGO -- Parishioners who wore rainbow-colored sashes to Mass in support of gay men and lesbians were denied Communion Sunday in Chicago, and laymen in Minnesota tried to prevent gay Roman Catholics from receiving the sacrament. Priests at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago refused to give the Eucharist to about 10 people wearing the sashes, as the Catholic gay-rights supporters do each year at Pentecost. In St. Paul, Minn., people wearing the rainbow-colored sashes were given Communion despite protests from some parishioners who kneeled in front of the altar blocking their way.

* WESTWATER, Utah -- A Greyhound bus en route to Grand Junction, Colo., was hijacked by a man with a knife who was captured just west of the Colorado state line, the Utah Highway Patrol said. About 60 passengers were let out when the man took control of the bus on Interstate 70. The bus driver remained on board, but later escaped by jumping out, police said.

* VERMONTVILLE, Mich. -- A small Lancair plane crashed in a rural area of central Michigan, killing the three people aboard the flight from Ypsilanti to Billings, Mont., authorities said. The victims were not immediately identified.

* CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. -- A man whose driving privilege had been suspended 24 times was arrested for driving recklessly with his 6-year-old son in the front seat without a child safety seat or a seat belt. Police said Alexander Stevens, 40, ran several red lights and then fled on foot, leaving the boy in the car, as officers pursued him.

* MILWAUKEE -- Firefighters found the body of a girl who jumped into the rain-swollen Milwaukee River more than a week earlier to try to save her younger sister, who had fallen from a floating dock. Firefighters searching the river by boat found the body of Temisha Warren, 12, but were still searching for her sister, Tia Woodley, 6.

-- From News Services