American Scene: Hepatitis C probe spreads to other states

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NEW HAMPSHIRE

CONCORD — Health officials across the country are scrambling to identify and test thousands of patients who may have been exposed to hepatitis C from a traveling medical technician facing criminal charges in New Hampshire.

About 4,700 people in New Hampshire alone have been asked to get tested.

David Kwiatkowski is accused of stealing anesthetic drugs from Exeter Hospital and contaminating syringes that were later used on patients. Thirty of them have been diagnosed with the same strain of hepatitis C that he carries.

Health officials have confirmed that Mr. Kwiatkowski held temporary jobs in Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania before being hired in New Hampshire in March 2011. The staffing agency that hired him declined to comment Thursday.

NEVADA

Tourism panel OKs air race sponsorship

RENO — The state tourism commission has agreed to a $600,000 sponsorship of the National Championship Air Races to make sure the 49th annual competition goes forward in Reno in September.

Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday in support of the money that air race organizers say they needed to make a final insurance payment. The insurance premium jumped from $300,000 to $2 million after last year’s crash that killed 11 people and injured more than 70.

Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, who chairs the tourism commission, says the details of the sponsorship will be negotiated in the coming weeks.

Mr. Krolicki says the air races are important not only to northern Nevada but the entire state because of their significant economic impact and the worldwide exposure of the region they generate.

PENNSYLVANIA

Man gets 5 years for pilgrimage trip scam

PHILADELPHIA — A suburban Philadelphia man is heading to federal prison for bilking devout customers out of more than $400,000 by promising Holy Land trips that never happened.

A federal judge ordered John Baird, 74, to spend five years in prison for ripping off mostly elderly people who thought they were buying trips to Christian pilgrimage sites.

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