1. Allegation: Mosquito agency spills pesticide
The entire fleet of the Collier County Mosquito Control District was briefly grounded this month after an employee said faulty and broken equipment may have caused pesticide leaks, potentially damaging the aircraft, livestock and the environment.
Commissioners ordered inspections on the district’s three airplanes and four helicopters along with tests on all pesticide application systems. The pesticides were found to be spraying properly. All aircraft were found to be in good condition and returned to the air, except for one helicopter that had corrosive damage to its frame.
The helicopter was already scheduled for maintenance, and the damage was thought to be caused by normal wear and tear and not related to any potential pesticide leaks, said Robin King, district spokeswoman.
2. Army lifts ban on recruits with mental health history
People with a history of “self-mutilation,” bipolar disorder, depression and drug and alcohol abuse can now seek waivers to join the Army under an unannounced policy enacted in August, according to documents obtained by USA TODAY.
The decision to open Army recruiting to those with mental health conditions comes as the service faces the challenging goal of recruiting 80,000 new soldiers through September 2018.
Expanding the waivers for mental health is possible in part because the Army now has access to more medical information about each potential recruit, Lt. Col. Randy Taylor, an Army spokesman, said in a statement. The Army issued the ban on waivers in 2009 amid an epidemic of suicides among troops.
3. Suspect in deaths of N.Y. women held in Collier
An East Naples man who was arrested by Collier County deputies on suspicion of driving without a valid license this week is being held on a warrant in connection with the 2000 slaying of a Bronx woman.
Christopher Gonzalez, 36, was booked at the Naples Jail Center, where he remained because no bail was set on the murder charge.
Gonzalez was sought in connection with the Dec. 2, 2000, killing of Dora Devalle Almontaser, 19, according to the New York Police Department.
NYPD officials said she was found dead in her family's apartment at 1186 E. 180th St. in the Bronx. A fingerprint found at the scene led investigators to identify Gonzalez, police reported.
Gonzalez also is a suspect in the 2005 strangling death of a Yonkers woman, The Journal News in Westchester, New York, reported.