From the monthly archives: July 2010

Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. said today that a jury’s verdict of first-degree murder this week in a 1988 homicide in Redding is a powerful example of how DNA analysis conducted every day by state laboratories can “stop criminals from getting away with murder.”

“The Harper conviction, like the Grim Sleeper arrest earlier this month, is further evidence that DNA is becoming an increasingly important factor in fighting violent crime,” Brown said. “Work being done every day in our labs stops criminals from getting away with murder.”

Brian Harper, 40, was convicted Tuesday afternoon in a Redding court room for the 1988 murder of Judith Hasselstrom, 43, a Shasta County woman whose body was found in a local park. Investigators determined she had been strangled.

After Hasselstrom’s murder 22 years ago, blood was found on bamboo stalks that covered her body, but there was no way then to submit DNA from the blood for forensic analysis. DNA technology had yet to be developed for use in criminal investigations, but in 2002, investigators were able to test that blood sample to create a DNA profile of an unknown suspect in Hasselstrom’s murder. No suspects were identified, however, and for years, the evidence remained stored in the Redding Police Department’s “cold case” locker.

Harper’s DNA was collected after he was convicted of a 2007 bank robbery. Although Harper had never been a subject of the murder investigation, his DNA was tested and found to match the DNA found at the 1988 murder scene. State forensic scientists were also able to match two palm prints found on the bamboo stalks to Harper’s prints. Harper initially denied knowledge of Hasslestrom’s murder, but eventually admitted to killing her.

It was Redding’s first cold case homicide arrest involving a DNA hit. The Shasta County jury trial lasted three weeks and came back with its first-degree murder verdict after several days of deliberations. Harper is scheduled to be sentenced on September 10. He faces 25 years to life in prison.

Like the “Grim Sleeper,” the Harper case is an important example of how every day Brown’s forensic labs use DNA to solve violent crimes. Harper’s conviction illustrates the state’s DNA program is fulfilling its promise to make Californians safer and to bring criminals to justice. Each day, an average of nine “hits” are made in which forensic scientists match crime scene DNA to that of a suspect in the state database of 1.5 million offenders and arrestees.


EL CENTRO, Calif. – July 28, 2010 – Having a baby is one of the most amazing things that will ever happen to some people; however, it can also be one of the scariest. To help ease and prepare soon-to-be and new parents El Centro Regional Medical Center (ECRMC) offers free classes covering all things baby.

ECRMC offers the following classes free of charge: Growing Baby Class, Childbirth Preparation Class, Newborn Care Class and Breastfeeding Preparation Class. “We at ECRMC understand the joys and anxieties of child birth and child rearing,” said Margaret Hatfield, director of Maternal Child. “We are proud to be able to support our community and provide these much needed services.”

Classes are held each week. The classes will cover needs while pregnant, what to expect during labor, newborn care and breastfeeding. ECRMC educators are trained and certified to help prepare expectant parents and help steer them in the right direction.

A full list of classes and schedules can be found below.

Growing Baby Class

With pregnancy comes a number of changes, both physical and emotional. The Growing Baby Class helps expectant parents understand what they can anticipate and how to prepare for the delivery and transition to parenthood.

English Classes Spanish Classes
First Wednesday of every month
10 am – 12 pm or 6 pm – 8 pm
First Thursday of every month
10 am – 12 pm or 6 pm – 8 pm

Childbirth Preparation Class

These sections help future parents understand the labor and delivery process, including the various options, methods and medication available. This is a two-part class.

English Classes
Part 1 Part 2
Second Tuesday of every month
10 am – 12 pm or 6 pm – 8 pm
Third Tuesday of every month
10 am – 12 pm or 6 pm – 8 pm
Spanish Classes
Part 1 Part 2
Second Thursday of every month
10 am – 12 pm or 6 pm – 8 pm
Third Thursday of every month
10 am – 12 pm or 6 pm – 8 pm

Newborn Care Class

These classes assist new parents in their transitions to parenthood. They include topics such as car seats, immunizations, diapering, bathing, adjustment to new roles and health and safety issues.

English Classes
Spanish Classes
Fourth Tuesday of every month
10 am – 12 pm or 6 pm – 8 pm
Fourth Thursday of every month
10 am – 12 pm or 6 pm – 8 pm

Breastfeeding Preparation Class

Breastfeeding is the best option for new babies. The most nutritious food source available for newborn babies is mother’s breast milk. What many women do not know is that breastfeeding is a skill that oftentimes does not come naturally. Mothers will learn preparation, tips and problem solving during the 2-hour class. They will also learn about feeding and sleeping patterns, returning to work, childcare options, what to do about a fussy baby, and more.

Breastfeeding has long been an important focus for ECRMC. The hospital is committed to ensuring the best for the local community and has recently been recognized as a leader by Baby-Friendly ® USA, Inc. for declaring its commitment to the principles of global Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative and establishing the highest standard possible for the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding.

“We recognize that breast feeding is ideal for both baby and mother,” said Roberta Webster, lactation consultant. “As such, we believe in strongly supporting the Baby-Friendly USA initiative and we are pleased to offer these breast feeding classes to the Imperial Valley community.”

English Classes
Third Thursday of every month
6 pm – 8 pm


El Centro Regional Medical Center (ECRMC) is a licensed 165-bed general acute care facility located in El Centro, Calif. ECRMC is committed to providing the community with high quality healthcare as reflected in its mission statement: “To Provide Healthcare Excellence For The Imperial Valley.”

ECRMC is moving forward with the planning and development of the hospital expansion project that will replace the older portion of the hospital. In addition, the hospital is developing a new facility to meet the needs of the Imperial Valley and provide an advanced healthcare facility and service, helping ECRMC continue to achieve it’s goal of providing excellence in healthcare.

Recent additions to the hospital include the opening of the Wound Care Center; the implementation of the Hospitalist Program; the Asthma and Diabetes Program; and the Children’s Specialist Program. A new Outpatient Center is planned in order to continue excellent service within the local community.

ECRMC has also recently announced a collaboration with the Oncology and Hematology Center of Imperial Valley to create the El Centro Regional Medical Center Oncology and Hematology Center. Maintaining its commitment to medical technology advancement, the hospital has invested in the da Vinci Si HD Surgical System. The surgery system allows for safe and less intrusive procedures in various surgical fields, including urology, cardiology, obstetrics/gynecology and more.


Phoenix, AZ – Federal District Judge Susan Bolton issued a 36-page decision blocking enforcement of key provisions to the controversial Arizona immigration law. Judge Bolton wrote: “Applying the proper legal standards based upon well-established precedent, the Court finds that the United States is likely to succeed on the merits in showing that the following Sections of S.B. 1070 are preempted by federal law: Portion of Section 2 of S.B. 1070 A.R.S. § 11-1051(B): requiring that an officer make a reasonable attempt to determine the immigration status of a person stopped, detained or arrested if there is a reasonable suspicion that the person is unlawfully present in the United States, and requiring verification of the immigration status of any person arrested prior to releasing that person Section 3 of S.B. 1070 A.R.S. § 13-1509: creating a crime for the failure to apply for or carry alien registration papers Portion of Section 5 of S.B. 1070 A.R.S. § 13-2928(C): creating a crime for an unauthorized alien to solicit, apply for, or perform work Section 6 of S.B. 1070 A.R.S. § 13-3883(A)(5): authorizing the warrantless arrest of a person where there is probable cause to believe the person has committed a public offense that makes the person removable from the United States.”

Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution expressly states that Congress has the authority to “establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization.” The Constitution therefore establishes that the matter of immigration is to be the sole prerogative of the federal government so that state laws are pre-empted.

Mathew Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, commented: “I sympathize with Arizona. The Arizona law is a cry for help because the federal government has not done its job of securing the borders. Arizona can protect its citizens by enforcing state civil and criminal laws. However, Arizona cannot enter the immigration regulation business. I agree with the judge’s ruling because immigration is a federal, not a state issue. The rule of law expressly set forth in the U.S. Constitution regarding immigration compels me to conclude that the Arizona law is unconstitutional. If a state concluded that the federal government was doing an inadequate job of stabilizing the Iraqi government against insurgents, then that would not give that state the right to declare war against Al Qaeda. If a state concluded that the U.S. trade laws are bad, that does not give the state a right to develop its own trade policy with foreign countries. Neither may a state develop its own immigration law as Arizona sought to do. The remedy when the federal government fails in its duty to stop illegal immigration is to either change the Constitution to allow the states to do the job or change the federal elected officials and replace them with those who will do the job.”


By Bob Hurst

Another no-hitter was thrown this week in Major League Baseball.
In the Year of the Pitcher, no-hitters are becoming nearly as frequent as those pitched in high school softball games. There have now been five thrown this season, including two perfect games.
Detroit’s Armando Galarraga would have had a perfect game last month, but lost it with one out to go in the ninth inning on a bad call at first base by umpire Jim Joyce.  Tampa Bay’s Matt Garza is the latest one to do it, shutting down the Tigers in a 5-0 win at Tropicana Field on Monday night. And that’s not a misprint. It was a Rays pitcher who tossed the no-hitter, not a Rays opponent.
For the first time in Tampa Bay franchise history, all 13 years of it, the club has a pitcher with a no-hitter to his name. It’s about time too, because the Rays have been on the other end of a no-hitter or perfect game four times, twice this season and three times since 2009.
“We needed one,” said Garza, who faced the minimum 27 batters. “I don’t care who it came from. We just needed one for our own confidence. It’s fun.”
Garza, who came to the Rays in a trade with Minnesota before the 2008 season, gave up a second-inning walk, followed by a double play. Rays right-fielder Ben Zobrist made the defensive play of the day with a diving catch on the run near the wall off the bat of Danny Worth in the third inning.
“It was one of those days where everything lined up,” Garza said. “The defense made great plays. That ninth inning, I kept telling myself, ‘Just finish it, just battle. If it’s meant to happen, it’s going to happen.”
Garza (11-5) accomplished the gem by throwing heat. Of his 120 pitches, 99 were fastballs. He struck out six.
Matt Joyce provided the offense for Tampa Bay with a sixth-inning grand slam, which happened to be the first Rays hit of the night.
This is the first season with at least five no-hitters pitched since 1991, when there were seven. There were also seven no-hitters thrown in 1990.
StatsWatch: Here’s how the other four pitchers who have thrown a no-hitter or perfect game (and one special mention) have fared since (through July 27):
”    Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies (15-2, 2.75 ERA), is 12-2 with a 3.02 ERA, including a one-hitter and a pair of two-hit games since his no-hitter at Arizona on April 17.
”    Dallas Braden, A’s (5-7, 3.77 ERA), is 1-5, 4.11, including four games in which he allowed 10 or more hits, since his perfect game vs. Tampa Bay on May 9.
”    Roy Halladay, Phillies (11-8, 2.28 ERA) is 4-5, 2.60, with three games of 10 or more hits allowed and none with less than five hits given up since his perfect game at Florida on May 29.
”    Edwin Jackson, Diamondbacks (6-9, 5.01 ERA), is 1-3, 6.92 with no less than six hits, four runs allowed per game in four starts since his no-hitter at Tampa Bay on June 25.
”    Armando Galarraga, Tigers (3-3, 4.43 ERA), is 2-1, 5.25 in eight starts since his one-hitter, or perfect game, considering the missed call at first base, on June 2 against Cleveland.
Mauer, Twins, explode: Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer went 5-for-5 with a career-high seven RBIs in a 19-1 rout over Kansas City on Monday. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Mauer is the third catcher in history to have at least five hits and seven RBIs in one game.
The others were Walker Cooper, for the Reds against the Cubs in 1949 (six hits, 10 RBIs), and Victor Martinez, for the Indians against the Mariners in 2004 (five hits, seven RBIs).
Mauer had three singles, a double and a three-run homer.
New Hall members: Andre Dawson was inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown on Sunday, topping off a brilliant 21-year career. Dawson, who played for the Montreal Expos and Chicago Cubs, was an eight-time All-Star. He hit 438 home runs with 1,591 RBIs and stole 314 bases in a career that stretched from 1976-96.
Former manager Whitey Herzog, umpire Doug Harvey, broadcaster Jon Miller and sports writer Bill Madden were also inducted.
Diamond Notes: The 17,009 fans who witnessed Matt Garza’s no-hitter on Monday night at Tropicana Field are among the lowest attendance totals for a no-hitter. It was the  fifth-lowest attendance for a no-hitter thrown since 1995. Kevin Brown’s no-hitter for Florida against San Francisco on June 10, 1997 was witnessed by only 10,257 fans at Candlestick Park…Pitcher Dan Haren, who was traded to the Los Angeles Angels by Arizona on Sunday, has struggled following the All-Star break in recent seasons. In the last four years, Haren’s ERA ranged between 2.01 and 3.52 before the break, and 4.15 to 4.91 after. This year, Haren had a 4.36 ERA before the All-Star break, before ballooning to 6.51 in three starts after the break.

Copyright © 2010  Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media


Washington, DC – In a 3-0 decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Washington, DC, ruled that the National Motto, “In God We Trust,” is constitutional and does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Quoting the 1970 decision in Aronow v. United States, the Court wrote: “It is quite obvious that the national motto and slogan on coinage and currency ‘In God We Trust’ has nothing whatsoever to do with the establishment of religion.”

Judges David B. Sentelle, Karen L. Henderson, and David S. Tatel cited four cases in their succinct ruling. In each case, “In God We Trust” has been upheld against constitutional challenges. One of the precedents cited by the Court of Appeals comes from the 1996 opinion in Gaylor v. United States, which says: “[T]he statutes establishing ‘In God We Trust’ as our national motto and providing for its reproduction on United States currency do not violate the Establishment Clause.” The case began when an atheist from Texas, Carlos Kidd, filed suit in the Federal District Court in the District of Columbia. The District Court wrote: “Courts have consistently held that the phrase ‘In God We Trust’ does not violate the Establishment Clause.” Kidd then appealed and lost again.

“In God We Trust” became the National Motto in 1956. Passed during the Cold War, the Congressional Record states: “In these days when imperialistic and materialistic Communism seeks to attack and destroy freedom, it is proper [to] remind all of us of this self-evident truth [that] as long as this country trusts in God, it will prevail.” The phrase appears in the final stanza of The Star-Spangled Banner, written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key, which later became the National Anthem (“And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust'”). A law in 1865 allowed the motto to be used on coinage. In 1908 most coins were required to carry the motto. The penny and nickel were later included in 1938, and from that time to the present all coins have been required to carry the motto. “In God We Trust” is the National Motto and the State Motto for Florida. It is also the motto for Nicaragua.

Mathew Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, commented: “The National Motto, ‘In God We Trust,’ is obviously constitutional. The First Amendment was never meant to erase from history references to God or public acknowledgments of God.”

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