In other items: Shelter, food requests rising at slower pace; Florida paralysis cases tied to botulinum toxin; Robert Blake attorney's computer recovered; and archdiocese gives five parishes reprieves.

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A single-engine airplane lost power and made an emergency landing yesterday in the middle of a bustling business district, knocking over a utility pole and nearly colliding with traffic.

The pilot, co-pilot and three passengers were not injured when the plane landed safely on a four-lane highway lined with fast-food restaurants, gas stations and motels. The 12-seat Pilatus PC12 came to a rest in front of a Howard Johnson and a pizza restaurant.

“He did a great job of putting it down,” Roseland Police Chief Mike Swanson said. “A couple of cars got close. He was just a couple of feet over them.”


Shelter, food requests rising at slower pace

Requests for emergency food and shelter increased in many large U.S. cities this year, but not by as much as in recent years, according to a survey released yesterday.

Requests for food rose by 14 percent, while appeals for shelter increased by 6 percent, according to the annual report by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, based on surveys of 27 large cities.

The numbers have risen every year since the conference began the survey 20 years ago. However, the rate of increase for food requests was the lowest since 1998. The rate of increase for shelter requests was less than half what it was in 2003, and the lowest since 1997.

Louisville, Ky., and its metropolitan area experienced the greatest spike in emergency food requests, up 32 percent. Seattle reported a 3 percent decrease.

Oakland Park, Fla.

Paralysis cases tied to botulinum toxin

Four people paralyzed by botulism were injected with large doses of a raw, unapproved botulinum toxin purchased from a California laboratory, federal documents show.

The suspended doctor who administered the shots, Bach McComb, used the material as if it were lower-strength Botox, a derivative of botulinum toxin that is a federally approved medication for treatment of some neck pain, eye movement spasms and wrinkle removal, federal agents said in court papers.

McComb is among the four people who remain hospitalized after getting the shots. Florida Department of Health records show McComb’s license was suspended in 2003 because of allegations that he prescribed excessive amounts of pain medication.

Los Angeles

Blake attorney’s computer recovered

A laptop computer that was stolen from the home of Robert Blake’s attorney and contained information about the former “Baretta” star’s murder case turned up at a pawn shop, and two young men were arrested on suspicion of burglary, authorities said yesterday.

Police said the two suspects, ages 18 and 19, had no known connection to the murder trial. An attorney appointed by the court to oversee the police investigation of the break-in said the computer had not been tampered with and there was no violation of attorney-client privacy.

Two weeks ago, the judge in the case delayed opening statements until Dec. 20 at defense attorney M. Gerald Schwartzbach’s request because of the Dec. 1 theft. Blake, 71, is charged in the 2001 shooting death of his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley.


Archdiocese gives five parishes reprieves

Responding to months of resistance and round-the-clock vigils at several churches, archdiocese officials yesterday reversed a decision to close one parish and will re-evaluate four others to determine if one should close.

Archbishop Sean O’Malley’s decision to close or consolidate 83 churches by year’s end came in the wake of declining attendance, a shortage of priests and financial pressure caused in part by the clergy sex-abuse crisis. But some churches have complained the closures were slated for vibrant and financially thriving parishes.

Yesterday’s announcement marked the first reversal of a decision to close a parish.