- The Washington Times - Monday, December 21, 2009

CALIFORNIA

Head-mounted cameras tested

SAN JOSE | City police are testing head-mounted cameras to record interactions with the public.

The test using 18 patrol officers comes as citizens’ groups criticize the department for too often using force during arrests.

Officers are to turn on the cameras every time they talk with anyone. They download the recordings after every shift.

The cameras are the size of a Bluetooth cell phone earpieces and attach by a headband above the ear.

San Jose is the first major American city to try the devices, made by Arizona-based Taser International. Taser is paying for the experiment, but the eventual price could be high if San Jose equips all 1,400 officers.

Each kit costs $1,700, plus a $99 per officer monthly fee. That’s $4 million departmentwide each year.

HAWAII

Economy woes trouble paradise

HONOLULU | The state’s public schools are closed most Fridays, rats scurry across bananas in uninspected stores, and there may not be enough money to run the next election.

About the only parts of Hawaii untouched by the foul economy are its sparkling beaches and world-class surfing.

Hawaii’s money troubles are creating a society more befitting a tropical backwater than a state celebrating its 50th anniversary and preparing to welcome President Obama home for Christmas this week.

Hawaii has the shortest school year in the nation after the state and teachers union agreed to shutter schools for 17 days a year, leaving 171,000 students without class on most Fridays. Negotiations to reopen them collapsed last week.

Besides the shortcomings in food inspection, homelessness is on the rise as mental health, child abuse, welfare and day care programs run short on cash.

And next year may be even worse because tax revenues continue to plunge with the economy.

NEVADA

Broadcasting firm files for bankruptcy

LAS VEGAS | Citadel Broadcasting Corp., the nation’s third-largest radio broadcasting company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Sunday in an effort to restructure its hefty debt load as it continues to face declining advertising revenue.

Citadel owns and operates 224 radio stations in all major markets and produces news and talk radio programing for 4,000 station affiliates and 8,500 program affiliates. Citadel’s WABC is home to several syndicated hosts, including Don Imus, Rush Limbaugh, Joe Scarborough and Mark Levin.

Much of the Citadel’s debt burden stems from its $2.7 billion purchase of ABC Radio from Walt Disney Co. in 2007. Citadel also has been hurt over the past couple of years by declines in advertising revenue in nearly all major markets as many listeners abandoned the format for prerecorded music and the commercial-free satellite radio offerings of Sirius XM.

In documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, Las Vegas-based Citadel listed total assets at Oct. 30 of $1.4 billion and total debt of $2.46 billion. The company said in a statement it has reached an agreement with more than 60 percent of its lenders on a deal that would erase about $1.4 billion of debt in exchange for control of the company.

Such deals usually wipe out shareholders completely. That hits private equity firm Forstmann Little & Co. - which holds a nearly 29 percent stake - the hardest.

NEW YORK

Researchers study unique MS theory

BUFFALO | Officials of the Neuroimaging Analysis Center said they hope to have the results of unique study on multiple sclerosis finished within months.

Dr. Robert Zivadinov, the principal investigator on the study, told Sunday’s Buffalo News that he views early evidence on their MS theory as compelling - that the complex, incurable disease is caused by blocked or narrowed veins that prevent the brain from draining blood properly, adding he hoped to have results early next year.

If the theory is correct, MS sufferers could be treated with angioplasty, the same procedure used to open clogged arteries around the heart, the newspaper said.

“The idea looks encouraging, but even if it turns out to be right, people need to remember that miracles don’t happen overnight. We have to prove it first,” Dr. Zivadinov said.

The newspaper said Dr. Zivadinov’s team is trying to replicate to findings of Dr. Paolo Zamboni of the University of Ferrara in Italy in a much larger group of patients. The study will recruit 1,100 patients with all types of MS, including children, as well as 300 healthy volunteers and 350 people with other neurological diseases.

UTAH

Man leaves state in missing mom case

SALT LAKE CITY | Police said they think that the Utah man considered a person of interest in the disappearance of his wife is now in Washington state.

West Valley City police Capt. Tom McLachlan said Sunday that neighbors of Josh Powell said he left Utah either Friday or Saturday, presumably to be with family in Washington.

His wife, Susan, has been missing since Dec. 7. Mr. Powell told police that he last saw her at 12:30 a.m. that day when he took his two young sons on a camping trip and left her at home.

Police have called Mr. Powell a person of interest and said he was not forthcoming in interviews with detectives.

Capt. McLachlan said there are no restrictions on Mr. Powell’s movements.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Powell’s family and friends were planning a candlelight vigil Sunday night in Puyallup, Wash.

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