- The Washington Times - Monday, June 1, 2009

CALIFORNIA

Octuplets’ mom, kids get TV show

LOS ANGELES | The Southern California woman who gave birth to the world’s longest-surviving set of octuplets has signed a deal to star in a reality-television series, her attorney said Sunday.

Nadya Suleman, who gave birth to the six boys and two girls in January and also has six other children, agreed to be filmed for a proposed television show by 3Ball Productions, lawyer Jeff Czech said.

The company, which is a subsidiary of Amsterdam-based Eyeworks International, hasn’t yet sold the show to any American television network, he said.

The show will be modeled after a successful Eyeworks TV series in Denmark that documents the lives of four children from the day they were born until they become adults.

“They came up with this idea, presented to her, and she liked it because she’ll get to use a camera and do some of the filming herself,” Mr. Czech told the Associated Press.

He said film crews will not follow Mrs. Suleman and her children 24 hours a day, but will document certain milestones such as birthdays and special events.

“It’ll be less intrusive than a reality-TV type of program,” Mr. Czech said.

FLORIDA

Man sets record eating hot dogs

PINELLAS PARK | Hall Hunt of Jacksonville says a stomach full of confidence and not much else helped him set a state hot dog eating record.

The 27-year-old participant in the Florida Hot Dog Eating Championship in Pinellas Park downed 33 wieners in 10 minutes, shattering the state record by five and easily taking home a championship, the Tampa Tribune reported Sunday.

“Every time I go to a contest, I’m trying to break the record,” Mr. Hunt said after Saturday’s event. “I woke up. I felt really good this morning, really hungry, and I was really confident I could do it, God willing.”

While Mr. Hunt was able to beat his nearest competitor Saturday by 18 1/2 hot dogs, he recognizes the level of competition will increase when he takes part in Nathan’s Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest in New York.

“My chances in the final are a long shot,” Mr. Hunt said of the July competition, “because Takeru Kobayashi and Joey Chestnut have won the Nathan’s contest so many years in a row.”

NEW YORK

Bausch & Lomb settles lawsuits

ROCHESTER | Contact lens maker Bausch & Lomb Inc. had an overriding reason for going private in 2007: It wanted to handle a devastating recall of its flagship lens cleaner, its chief executive said, “without a lot of outside distraction.”

Over the past year, away from the glare of public scrutiny, the optical-products company has quietly settled nearly 600 fungal-infection lawsuits - with dozens more yet to be resolved. The cost so far: upward of $250 million.

More than 700 lens wearers in the United States and Asia say they were exposed to a potentially blinding infection known as Fusarium keratitis while using ReNu with MoistureLoc, a new-formula multipurpose solution for cleaning, storing and moistening soft contact lenses.

Sometimes, the damage was irreparable. Seven people in Florida, Maryland, New York, Oregon, Tennessee and West Virginia had to have an eye removed. At least 60 more Americans needed vision-saving corneal transplants.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed 180 cases in 35 states from June 2005 through September 2006, when the agency’s dedicated surveillance stopped, said Dr. Benjamin Park, a CDC epidemiologist. CDC continued to hear of sporadic, unconfirmed cases in the months after MoistureLoc was withdrawn, Dr. Park said.

“Surveillance usually captures the tip of the iceberg, and sometimes it captures a larger tip than other times,” he said.

PENNSYLVANIA

Mom free on bail after abduction hoax

PHILADELPHIA | A Pennsylvania woman accused in an abduction hoax that ended in Florida and involved her 9-year-old daughter is staying with relatives after her release from a county prison, her lawyer said.

Bonnie Sweeten, 38, must be supervised when she visits her children as a condition of her bail, attorney Louis R. Busico said in Sunday’s editions of the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Bucks County Courier Times. She has two other daughters, ages 15 years and 8 months.

Mrs. Sweeten was released from the Bucks County Correctional Facility in suburban Philadelphia on Saturday after posting $100,000 in cash, or 10 percent of her $1 million bail.

Mrs. Sweeten will stay with “distant relatives” outside the county, and she also will start receiving mental health treatment next week, Mr. Busico said.

She was returned to Pennsylvania from Florida on Friday and has been charged with identity theft and false reporting. A court hearing is scheduled for Thursday, Mr. Busico said.

Authorities say Mrs. Sweeten phoned 911 on Tuesday from downtown Philadelphia and said that she and her daughter had been carjacked and stuffed in the trunk of a Cadillac near their suburban home, prompting a frantic search that ended 30 hours later at a Walt Disney World hotel.

Police also are investigating whether Mrs. Sweeten stole money from a family member or others, but no related charges have been filed.

Her daughter, Julia Rakoczy, was reunited with her father, Anthony Rakoczy, in Florida on Thursday.

VERMONT

Sex offenders missing treatment

BENNINGTON | Sex offenders living in two Vermont counties have gone without clinical treatment for several weeks because the state’s contract with the provider unexpectedly ended.

The Department of Corrections won’t say why the contract was broken. Deputy Commissioner Lisa Menard said that in the meantime, staff members from probation and parole are holding regular meetings with offenders. A new provider will start work in Rutland County on Monday, but it could take several months to find a replacement in Bennington County.

That doesn’t sit well with many local officials, who said they weren’t told that offenders weren’t getting treatment. State Sen. Richard Sears of Bennington told the Rutland Herald that having parole officers fill in just doesn’t cut it.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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