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In brief: Sinking boat in bay ends bachelor party

Sun., Oct. 14, 2012

San Francisco – Nearly two dozen people who were enjoying a bachelor party on what’s billed as San Francisco Bay’s only “floating wine tasting room” are OK after their boat hit a shoal near Alcatraz Island and began sinking Friday night, officials said.

The 45-foot Neptune hit the shoal around 8:42 p.m. and started taking on water after the impact left a 1-foot gash in the side of the boat, U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Lt. j.g. Josh Dykman said.

The boat’s captain tried to steer the stricken vessel to San Francisco’s Pier 39. But the boat started having rudder issues and began to sink about 300 feet from the pier, Dykman said.

Three Coast Guard boats took all 22 passengers and crewmembers off the vessel and brought them to the pier, Dykman said. There were no injuries.

Scientists quit cancer institute in protest

Austin, Texas – At least seven scientists resigned in protest last week from Texas’ embattled $3 billion cancer-fighting program, claiming the agency created with the backing of the governor and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong is charting a new “politically-driven” path that puts commercial interests before science.

The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas has awarded nearly $700 million in grants since 2009, making Texas home to the nation’s biggest pot of cancer-research dollars behind only the federal National Institutes of Health. But how the state agency picks projects has fallen under intensifying scrutiny, beginning in May when its chief scientific officer resigned in protest after it approved – without scientific review – a $20 million commercialization project.

Nobel laureate Dr. Phillip Sharp was among those stepping down last week, writing in his resignation letter that the CPRIT is making funding decisions that carry a “suspicion of favoritism” in how the state is handing out taxpayer dollars. Dr. Bryan Dynlacht, another reviewer who’s leaving, warned that the agency was headed down a path of systematic abuses.

Commercialization projects focus on turning research into drugs or other sellable products rather than funding the research itself.

In a statement, CPRIT executive director Bill Gimson called the accusations false and misinformed.

Sample ballots misspell Obama’s name

Utica, N.Y. – Can you spell “correction?”

A county board of elections in upstate New York said it would take quick action Friday after being informed that it had drawn up election ballots that misspelled Barack Obama’s name.

The Utica Observer-Dispatch reported that sample ballots printed on the Oneida County Board of Elections website were missing the “C” in the president’s first name.

The newspaper said it informed Election Commissioner Pamela Mandryck about the error Friday. She said templates sent recently to a printer also contained the error. But she said they would be retrieved and corrected in time for election day.


 

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