- The Washington Times - Monday, August 10, 2009

CALIFORNIA

Seven killed in car crash

SAN FRANCISCO | A stolen car fleeing from police ran a stop sign and slammed into a pickup in the Central Valley, killing four young children in the truck and all three people in the car, police said Sunday.

The Dodge Neon was carjacked either late Friday or early Saturday in Selma, about 10 miles from Dinuba, where Saturday afternoon’s crash took place, Dinuba police Sgt. Thaddeus Ashford said. No other details on the carjacking were available, he said.

The four children were thrown from the truck, authorities said. None of the children in the truck was wearing seat belts or any restraints, California Highway Patrol Officer Felipe Martinez said.

A fifth child from the truck, Carlos Eric Salazar, 8, was airlifted to Community Regional Hospital in Fresno with major injuries. Dinuba is about 30 miles southeast of Fresno.

The children’s parents, Carlos Salazar Jr., 29, and Jennifer Salazar, 26, were also injured. One was airlifted to Community Regional with major injuries, the other taken by ambulance to the same hospital with moderate injuries, Officer Martinez said. He wasn’t sure which parent suffered the major injuries.

The three men who fled from Dinuba police died at the scene and haven’t been identified, police said. None of them was carrying identification.

HAWAII

Felicia downgraded to tropical storm

HONOLULU | Hawaii braced for Tropical Storm Felicia on Sunday, taking no chances even though the storm weakened as it slipped toward the islands.

The Central Pacific Hurricane Center said Sunday morning that the storm had been downgraded to a tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph with higher gusts. It’s expected to weaken even more before hitting Hawaii late Monday.

The Hurricane Center said the storm had a center about 770 miles east of Honolulu at 5 a.m. local time.

Parts of Hawaii were under a tropical storm watch. Several beach parks on Hawaii’s Big Island were being closed Sunday afternoon because the storm was expected to increase wave heights.

Felicia peaked Thursday as a Category 4 storm with winds topping 140 mph.

Residents stocked up on emergency items Saturday, crowding stores to buy water, batteries and other supplies. Propane was selling so quickly at the City Mill store in Oahu that the store’s tank was being filled daily, according to KITV.

“Things are just flying out,” said Vicki Lebowitz, manager of the store.

IOWA

Lack of isotopes called health risk

IOWA CITY | A University of Iowa official says the current limited supply of radioisotopes used in medical scans could put some patients’ lives in danger.

Dr. Michael Graham, a university official and president of SNM, formerly known as the Society of Nuclear Medicine, said some medical patients could be facing risky surgeries that could be avoided through medical scans utilizing the isotopes, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.

“It’s possible that some deaths could occur,” Dr. Graham said.

The radioisotopes are used in medical scans for afflictions such as heart disease and cancer.

The amount of available radioisotopes is limited partly because of the recent shutdown of the National Research Universal reactor in Chalk River, Canada, and the Petten nuclear reactor in the Netherlands.

The Chalk River reactor is not expected to reopen until late this year because of a leak problem, while the Petten plant is facing at least three months’ worth of repairs.

Radiologist Robert W. Atcher of the University of New Mexico agreed the lack of radioisotopes from the two sites could by problematic.

Mr. Atcher said the shortage “is one of the greatest threats to our profession of modern times,” the newspaper reported.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Sanford’s plane use under investigation

COLUMBIA | South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford used state aircraft for personal and political trips, often bringing along his wife and children - contrary to state law regarding official use, an Associated Press investigation has found.

Records reviewed by the AP show that since Mr. Sanford took office in 2003, the two-term Republican has taken trips on state aircraft to locations of his children’s sporting events, hair and dentist appointments, political party gatherings and a birthday party for a campaign donor.

According to state budget law, “Any and all aircraft owned or operated by agencies of the State Government shall be used only for official business.”

On March 10, 2006, a state plane was sent to pick up Mr. Sanford in Myrtle Beach and return him to Columbia, the state capital, at a cost of $1,265 - when his calendar showed his only appointment in Columbia was “personal time” at his favorite discount hair salon. He had flown to Myrtle Beach on a private plane and attended a county Republican Party event.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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