Brown blocks parole

for guard's murderer

SACRAMENTO - Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday blocked the parole of an inmate who is serving a life sentence for the execution-style killing of a prison guard 36 years ago during a series of armed robberies.

Michael Martin, who is now 53, was convicted of first-degree murder in the 1977 slaying of Correctional Officer Victor Sam in Riverside County.

Sam had stopped to help Martin and his partner, David Benard, who were pretending to have car trouble to lure passing motorists to rob them.

Benard discovered that Sam was a guard on his way to work at the California Rehabilitation Center in Norco and announced that "he has to die."

He forced Sam to lie down, then killed him with a shotgun.

It was one day after the officer had brought his infant son home from the hospital.


Radioactive material found in trash truck

GRAND JUNCTION - Public health officials are trying to determine who threw away a small source of radioactive material somewhere in the Grand Valley in western Colorado.

They are worried people who came in contact with a small piece of radium-226 may have been exposed to dangerously high doses of radiation.

The material was found when the radiation tripped an alarm as a city trash truck entered the Mesa County landfill on April 24.

Radium-226 emits twice as much radiation in one hour as the safe exposure limit set for it in an entire year. If a person was exposed to the radium-226 source for 15 hours in one year, it could pose a chronic health risk, according to health officials.

Steve Tarlton, manager of radiation programs for the state Health Department, said Thursday radium has been collected and studied for more than a century, and many people who collected it may not be aware it could be dangerous. He said the primary danger is from exposure to people who came in contact with it, and there is little danger of it spreading.


Visitors at Kilauea taking too many risks

HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK - U.S. Geological Survey officials are concerned over what they say is risky behavior by visitors to Kilauea Volcano at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

KITV-TV reports that the USGS' Hawaiian Volcano Observatory says the problem is that people continue to get too close to Kilauea's current ocean entry, approaching both by land and sea.

HVO officials say areas of ocean entry are dangerous places. Lava entering the sea builds a platform of new land known as a lava delta, which appears stable but is not. Lava deltas can collapse without warning.

Kayakers visiting the volcano on the Big Island recently paddled just feet from lava streaming into the ocean. They then went ashore and walked across new land built by the ocean entry and scooped molten lava with their paddles.


OSHA rules in favor

of whistle-blower

WICHITA - Federal regulators have ruled in favor of an engineer fired for reporting unsafe conditions created by a contractor at a nuclear power plant in eastern Kansas, his attorneys said Friday.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration also found Enercon Services, of Kennesaw, Ga., terminated him in retaliation for alerting superiors to the safety issues and refusing to comply with a supervisor's demand that he sign off on an engineering plan justifying unsafe remedial actions.

OSHA ordered the firm to reinstate the senior engineer at the Wolf Creek plant with back pay. The agency also told the engineering firm to pay him $50,650 in damages, plus his attorneys' fees and costs, according to the OSHA letter released by his attorneys.

Enercon provides engineering and management services to several nuclear plants, including the Wolf Creek Generating Station, located 90 miles from Kansas City. The firm, which employs more than 1,200 people, did not return phone messages left at its Georgia headquarters or its Overland Park office. Wolf Creek also did not return messages seeking comment.


Fewer kindergartners are obese, study says

LAS VEGAS - Nevada kindergartners are less likely to fritter away long periods of time in front of a TV than in past years, and fewer of them are overweight or obese, according to a new report from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

The report issued Thursday by the university's Nevada Institute for Children's Research and Policy found 30 percent of the state's kindergartners are overweight or obese. That's a four percent drop from last year and an eight percent drop over the past five years.

"While we are seeing some areas of improvement, like a decrease in kindergartners starting school overweight or obese, we also continue to see parents reporting that they experience barriers to accessing health care for their children," said Tara Phebus, interim executive director of the institute. "Progress has been made, but we still can take many steps to boost the health of our state's youngest citizens."

The survey found 13.5 percent of the children don't have health insurance, and more families say financial problems are an obstacle for them accessing care. That finding comes as more families reported slipping into lower income brackets with less than $45,000 annual household income.

new mexico

Carl Sagan's 'Cosmos' to be refilmed in state

SANTA FE - A new version of Carl Sagan's 1980 Public Broadcasting Service series "Cosmos" will be filming in Santa Fe through early June.

State film officials say the production of "Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey" will mean jobs for at least 80 New Mexico crew members, principal actors and background talent.

Writer, director and producer Seth MacFarlane and Sagan's widow and collaborator, Ann Druyan, have teamed up for the new 13-part series. It's scheduled to premiere on Fox in early 2014. The series will be hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

MacFarlane has said Sagan was a profound influence in his life and that he read all of the books written by the late astronomer.

Fox Entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly has said the new series might encourage a new generation to take a deeper interest in science.


1 new hepatitis case linked to dental office

TULSA- One new case of hepatitis has been found among thousands of patients of a Tulsa oral surgeon whose clinics were determined unsanitary by investigators, health officials said Thursday.

The update released by the Tulsa Health Department includes one new case of hepatitis B - bringing the total to five since testing began in late March among former patients of Dr. W. Scott Harrington. Unchanged among the patients who were tested are the 70 cases of hepatitis C and three of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

It's not clear if the patients got the diseases at Harrington's two Tulsa-area clinics. Officials noted in their investigation that Harrington's staff had said they knew several already-infected patients came to the clinic.


Man, 76, survives

over 200 bee stings

SAN BENITO - An elderly South Texas man has survived more than 200 bee stings when he was swarmed while mowing some grass.

A spokeswoman for Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen says 76-year-old Tiburcio Ramirez was in good condition Friday.

The victim's daughter, Claina Gonzalez, told the Valley Morning Star that Ramirez was attacked Thursday. Officials estimate he was stung at least 220 times. Emergency personnel used soapy water to help get rid of the bees before transporting him to a hospital.

The Associated Press