• Lufthansa: Co-pilot disclosed earlier "severe depression"

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Lufthansa knew that the co-pilot of the passenger plane that crashed in the French Alps last week had suffered from an episode of "severe depression" before he finished his flight training with the German airline. The airline said Tuesday that it has found emails that Andreas Lubitz sent to the Lufthansa flight school in 2009 when he resumed his training in Bremen after an interruption of several months. In them, he informed the school that he had suffered a "previous episode of severe depression," which had since subsided. The airline said Lubitz subsequently passed all medical checks and that it has provided the documents to prosecutors. It declined to make any further comment.

  • Vermont documents: Little monitoring of Medicaid spending

    Updated: 14 hr ago

    MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — During the past decade, Vermont has spent $675 million setting up Medicaid managed-care programs but has done such a spotty job monitoring them that they can't even be audited. That's the upshot from a letter state Auditor of Accounts Douglas Hoffer sent to lawmakers last week. It followed up on an internal report in January by the Agency of Human Services detailing gaps in answers to this question: Have the state and federal governments — and taxpayers — been getting their two-thirds of a billion dollars' worth? Nearly every Vermonter is touched, or knows someone who is, by the wide range of programs in question, Hoffer said in an interview.

  • Missouri court rules against man claiming anxiety hurt trial

    Updated: 15 hr ago

    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Supreme Court has ruled against a man who appealed his death sentence for killing an elderly couple while burglarizing their home. The judges said Tuesday that Jesse Driskill failed to prove he was mentally unable to stand trial. The Lebanon resident had argued he didn't receive a fair trial because of complications from his anxiety. He didn't receive anxiety medication, and he sometimes chose not to be in court to avoid having panic attacks in front of jurors. Driskill was convicted of killing 82-year-old Johnnie Wilson and 76-year-old Coleen Wilson at their home near Lebanon in July 2010. The couple had just celebrated their 59th anniversary when they walked in on Driskill bur

  • Ronald Reagan speeches used for Alzheimer's detection

    Published: Tue, Mar 31, 2015

    Despite years of research, an effective method to detect early signs of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia has eluded the medical community. With early detection, many experts believe the progression of the diseases can be slowed or even prevented, Yahoo Health reports. But a new study from researchers at Arizona State University suggests that an effective method of early detection may be on the horizon — and it involves analyzing the speaking patterns of the late U.S. President Ronald Reagan, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1994 and died in 2004.  

  • Australia mandates at least 2 people stay in cockpits

    Updated: Mon, Mar 30, 2015

    CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia on Monday responded to the Germanwings air disaster by mandating that at least two crew members be present at all times in cockpits of larger domestic and international airliners. Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said airlines including Qantas and Virgin Australia would implement the changed security protocols from Monday afternoon. It would apply to all commercial flights with a least two flight attendants or more than 50 passengers. A flight attendant would enter the flight deck if one of the two pilots left it for any reason. Previously, most Australian airlines have allowed their pilots to be alone on the flight deck.

  • Kansas officials hope budget puzzle pieces drop into place

    Updated: Sun, Mar 29, 2015

    TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican Gov. Sam Brownback hopes the GOP-controlled Kansas Legislature wraps up several key budget issues this week, though he's not pushing lawmakers to finish a spending blueprint for state government that also erases a projected shortfall of nearly $600 million. The Senate has approved a $15.5 billion budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 that won't balance without tax increases. The House's Republican leaders aren't sure whether the chamber will vote on a spending plan before the Legislature begins its annual spring break Saturday. State officials and university economists plan to meet April 20 to issue a new forecast for state revenues through June 2016.

  • Struggle to explain what motivated co-pilot in doomed flight

    Updated: Sun, Mar 29, 2015

    LONDON (AP) — A disgruntled worker shoots up a workplace. A student opens fire at a high school. A pilot crashes a planeload of people into a mountainside. There may never be a convincing explanation for such devastating acts of violence, but experts say certain personality disorders such as extreme narcissism can help push people who want to take their own lives to take those of others at the same time. But as German prosecutors search for what might have motivated co-pilot Andreas Lubitz to deliberately smash the Germanwings plane carrying 149 other people into the French Alps, many experts caution against speculating on a diagnosis. "We don't have a clue what was going through his mind," said Dr.

  • Attorneys: Sterilizations were part of plea deal talks

    Updated: Sat, Mar 28, 2015

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nashville prosecutors have made sterilization of women part of plea negotiations at least four times in the past five years, and the district attorney has banned his staff from using the invasive surgery as a bargaining chip after the latest case. In the most recent case, first reported by The Tennessean, a woman with a 20-year history of mental illness had been charged with neglect after her 5-day-old baby mysteriously died. Her defense attorney says the prosecutor assigned to the case wouldn't go forward with a plea deal to keep the woman out of prison unless she had the surgery.

  • House Democrats feature education, mental health in budget

    Updated: Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Highlights from the $38.8 billion state operating budget for 2016-17 unveiled by Democratic leaders of Washington's House of Representatives Friday morning: —K-12 EDUCATION: The proposed budget spends $3.2 billion more on K-12 education than the previous two-year budget, but about $1.5 billion of that is new spending, which includes $412 million to reduce class sizes in kindergarten through third grade, $741 million to cover the cost of textbooks, supplies and other costs of running schools, $180 million for all-day kindergarten for children statewide, and $70 million to help make students college and career ready via programs including guidance counseling and support for bilingual students.

  • Co-pilot appeared healthy, but may have hidden illness

    Updated: Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    MONTABAUR, Germany (AP) — Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz appeared happy and healthy to acquaintances, but a picture emerged Friday of a man who hid evidence of an illness from his employers — including a torn-up doctor's note that would have kept him off work the day authorities say he crashed Flight 9525 into an Alpine mountainside. As German prosecutors sought to piece together the puzzle of why Lubitz locked his captain out of the cockpit and crashed the Airbus A320, police in the French Alps toiled to retrieve the shattered remains of the 150 people killed in Tuesday's crash.

  • Mental health vetting of pilots ineffective, US experts say

    Updated: Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    WASHINGTON (AP) — There is little effective, real-world screening of airline pilots for mental problems despite regulations in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere that say mental health should be part of their regular medical exams, pilots and safety experts said. The crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 into an Alpine mountain, which killed all 150 people aboard, has raised questions about the mental state of the co-pilot. Authorities believe the 27-year-old German deliberately sought to destroy the Airbus A320 as it flew Tuesday from Barcelona to Duesseldorf. In the U.S., the Federal Aviation Administration requires that pilots receive a physical exam from a flight surgeon annually or every six months depending upon the pilot's ag

  • Correction: Vermont-Gun Bill story

    Updated: Thu, Mar 26, 2015

    MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — In a story March 25 about Vermont legislation to impose new regulations on gun ownership, The Associated Press erroneously reported the party affiliation of Sen. Joe Benning of the Caledonia district. He is a Republican, not a Democrat. A corrected version of the story is below: Vermont Senate advances trimmed-down gun ownership bill Vermont Senate advances bill to set gun ownership restrictions; critics see attack on culture By DAVE GRAM Associated Press MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The state Senate took a key vote Wednesday to advance a bill that would set new restrictions on firearms ownership but that lacks what had been its most hotly debated provision — expanded background

  • Poetry pulled Texas center McGee-Stafford from depression

    Updated: Thu, Mar 26, 2015

    AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Poetry, Imani McGee-Stafford says, saved her life. She was still in middle school when she began putting the words rumbling through her head down on paper, filling notebook after notebook in search of a voice to break free of the depression that was choking her. After being sexually abused as a child, the promising young basketball player attempted suicide three times by age 17. But she kept writing as part of her daily "dogfight" of emotions. Eventually, that writing pulled her out of depression. She found her voice when she arrived at the University of Texas, at slam poetry competitions where she could stand up and use poetry to tell her story.

  • Kansas lawmakers debate emissions, presidential primaries

    Updated: Tue, Mar 24, 2015

    TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas would stop scheduling a presidential primary once every four years under a bill advancing Tuesday in the Legislature, as members tackled a crowded agenda. The Senate gave first-round approval to a bill repealing a law requiring the state to schedule a presidential primary, and it expected to take a final vote Wednesday. The state has canceled each primary since 1992, usually because of the anticipated cost, but lawmakers have kept the law scheduling the elections on the books. House members advanced a bill directing the state Department of Health and Environment to develop a plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants but requiring the Legislature's energy committees to approve it

  • Kennedy: Jesse Jackson Jr. leaving prison for halfway house

    Updated: Tue, Mar 24, 2015

    PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. will be released from a federal prison on Thursday and will serve out the remainder of his term in a Washington, D.C., halfway house, former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy told The Associated Press after visiting Jackson. Kennedy said he spoke with Jackson at the minimum security federal prison camp in Montgomery, Alabama, where the son of the civil rights leader has been serving a 2 ½-year sentence after pleading guilty to illegally spending $750,000 in campaign funds on personal items. Jackson, an Illinois Democrat, began the sentence on Nov. 1, 2013. The Bureau of Prisons lists his release date as Sept. 20, 2015.

  • Partisan fighting killed 'Kendra's law' for mentally ill

    Updated: Tue, Mar 24, 2015

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Lost in the partisan bickering of the New Mexico Legislature's final moments was a measure aimed at helping residents with severe mental illness who refuse needed treatment. Since lawmakers failed to pass the bill, New Mexico remains one of only a handful of states without a "Kendra's Law." That law would have allowed judges in some counties to order patients to take medication and undergo treatment if they are deemed a danger to themselves and their community. The proposal came after calls in Albuquerque following more than 40 police shootings since 2010. Officials say 75 percent of the suspects shot suffered from some sort of mental illness and likely did not receive the needed treatment.

  • Help raise awareness about Oklahoma's prescription drug abuse problem

    FROM STAFF REPORTS | Updated: Tue, Mar 24, 2015

    Oklahoma has one of the nation's biggest problems with prescription drug abuse. In 2013 an average of two Oklahomans died from prescription drug overdose per day, replacing automobile accidents as the leading cause of accidental death. In an effort to curb these numbers, we recently partnered with Oklahoma Watch to discover the gaps in our system, research stronger solutions, and present the facts. And now we need your help. We hope you'll stand with us and fight for more prescription drug monitoring and more accountability for doctors to preserve the lives of our neighbors, friends, brothers, sisters, and children. Let your legislators know why this is important to you today.

  • Kansas Senate approves plan to control mental health drugs

    Updated: Tue, Mar 24, 2015

    TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Senate has approved a new proposal for controlling the cost of mental health drugs in the state's Medicaid program. The 40-0 vote Tuesday was on a bill requiring a review of Medicaid's mental health prescriptions. It also creates an advisory committee to draft guidelines on prescriptions for the 368,000 needy and disabled residents covered by the program. The measure goes to the House. The bill arose from discussions between Republican Gov. Sam Brownback's administration and mental health advocates after the Senate rejected a bill last month to repeal a 2002 law that blocks restrictions on mental health drugs for Medicaid participants.

  • New plan to control mental health drugs advances in Kansas

    Updated: Mon, Mar 23, 2015

    TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A new proposal for controlling mental-health drug costs in the Medicaid program in Kansas advanced in the Legislature on Monday, weeks after the Republican-controlled Senate rejected another plan from GOP Gov. Sam Brownback's administration. The Senate gave first-round approval to a bill requiring a review of Medicaid's mental health prescriptions. The measure also creates an advisory committee to draft guidelines on prescriptions for 368,000 needy and disabled residents whose health care is covered by the $3 billion-a-year program. Senators expected to take a final vote Tuesday that would determine whether the measure passes and goes to the House.

  • Senate endorses funds for community-based mental health care

    Updated: Mon, Mar 23, 2015

    HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana senators have given nearly unanimous approval to a slate of bills that would boost community-based mental health care. Republican-sponsored House Bills 24, 33, 34 and 35, along with Democratic-sponsored House Bill 47 passed initial votes in the Senate on Monday with no more than four opponents. The five measures would send a total of about $8 million to community-based mental health initiatives around the state including group homes, youth evaluations and secure, overnight emergency intervention. The proposals replace or expand on portions of Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock's plan to expand mental health care.