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Spinal Cord Injuries

Kerry shows support of stem cell research to NH

By Jessica Fish
October 5, 2004
With only 29 days left until Election Day, democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry and actor-turned-activist Michael J. Fox discussed the issue of stem cell research with an enthusiastic crowd Monday morning at Winnacunnet High School in Hampton, N.H.

In August of 2001 President Bush announced that the federal government would only support restricted study of stem cells. This allowed for 60 stem cell lines to be researched, many of which Kerry and Fox said are either useless or tainted. Advocates of stem cell research believe that conditions such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, heart disease and spinal cord injury, among others, could be aided or cured through stem cell therapy.

Kerry, who promised at least $100 million dollars of federal funding a year toward stem cell research, said, "President Bush just doesn't get it. Faced with the facts, he just turns away. Time and time again, he's proven that he's stubborn, out of touch, and unwilling to change."

Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson's, said that President Bush, "gave us a car with no gas and then congratulated himself for giving us the car. Instead of leading the world with our research, we're following it."

Over 100 million Americans and over 600,000 New Hampshire residents who suffer from a variety of diseases could potentially benefit from stem cell research, according to the Kerry campaign.

One of those 600,000 is the son of Steve Walter, of Londonderry. Walter voted for President Bush in 2000 but his seven-year-old son Alex has made him a Kerry supporter. Alex has type I diabetes and endures over 12 needle pricks and five insulin shots a day. Walter believes stem cell therapy could help his son Alex, who has developed scar tissue under his stomach and triceps and is susceptible to blindness, nerve damage and stroke, all of which are side effects of diabetes. Walter said, "President Bush is being morally irresponsible [and is showing] total disregard for human life."

According to a Harris Interactive Poll taken in August, 73 percent of Americans support stem cell research.

Kerry bolstered his stance by citing backing by Nobel Prize winners, scientists and many U.S. senators, including Republican John McCain. Kerry told the crowd that America has always been known for searching and finding medical breakthroughs yet, "now we stand at the edge of the next great frontier-but instead of leading the way, we're stuck on the sidelines. This president is making the wrong choice to sacrifice science for extreme right-wing ideology."

Martha Fuller Clark, a long time New Hampshire house representative running for state senate, said, "Kerry was outstanding and inspirational. He was clear about the choice Americans and students have."

Louise Testa of North Hampton said that she is "living and dying of Parkinson's and today Michael J. Fox and John Kerry gave me hope."

SUV Rollover tort claim targets city, county

News editor

Family alleges 911 call was mishandled

SANDPOINT - Jan 22, 2005 - The family of a man who was mortally wounded in a rollover crash in Sagle last year is planning to sue Bonner County and the city of Sandpoint over the way emergency communications and medical services were handled.

The parents and brother of Eric Dan Wylie claim dispatchers mishandled the call for emergency services, causing a delay that contributed to Wylie's death. The family members also contend the county commission failed in its duty to ensure there was adequate emergency medical services available to its residents.

The allegations are contained in a tort claim filed in 1st District Court on Jan. 13. The claimants are Eric Wylie's parents, Nicholette "Nicky" Hastings and Samuel "Cal" Wylie, and Eric Wylie's brother, Jordan.

The claim seeks damages in excess of $1 million. If the city and county do not honor the claim, the Wylies are entitled to pursue the matter in district court.

Eric Wylie, 24, suffered a closed head injury and complex skull fracture when the Toyota 4Runner he was riding in overturned on Garfield Bay Cutoff Road on July 18, 2004. He died at a Seattle hospital two days after the crash.

Jordan Wylie was also a passenger in the sport utility vehicle and suffered a severe hand injury.

The driver, Dustin P. Trevino, was charged with vehicular manslaughter. The state alleged Trevino, an eastern Washington resident, was driving drunk and recklessly when the crash happened.

Trevino, 23, was to stand trial on the felony charge this month, but the prosecution moved for the matter to be dismissed without prejudice because the state is still pulling together its evidence. Deputy Prosecutor Roger Hanlon intends to re-file the charge, Cal Wylie said last week.

The surviving Wylie's legal counsel, Sandpoint attorney Brent Featherston, alleges in the tort claim that the dispatch center, which at the time was operated jointly by the city and county, lagged in notifying Big Sky Paramedics and/or supplied paramedics with inadequate information, which delayed medical response by up to two hours.

The delay caused the Wylie brothers to suffer needlessly, according to the claim. Featherston further alleges that the negligent conduct was a "direct and proximate" cause of Eric Wylie's death.

The family also contends Bonner County had an obligation to make sure its residents had adequate emergency medical services available to them. The crash happened as Big Sky struggled to sustain its operations because of a funding shortfall, something commissioners had been aware of.

Featherston said in the claim Big Sky was inadequately staffed when it responded to the crash scene.

Big Sky, which is not targeted in the tort, had appealed to the commission for funding, but was denied. County commissioners ultimately formed a taxing district to help fund EMS in Bonner County.

However, the board and its attorney have said the county's legal obligation to provide EMS did not commence until the taxing district was created.

Toyota's Tundra Is Probed by U.S. for Steering Flaw

April 17 (Bloomberg) -- Toyota Motor Corp.'s 2004 Tundra pickups are being investigated by U.S. safety regulators after more reports of a steering-system defect that led to a recall last year of 790,000 of the automaker's vehicles.

The inquiry covers 95,000 Tundras built after Sept. 30, 2003, the last manufacturing date for vehicles in the recall last May, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration today said on its Web site. The Washington-based agency said it received four additional reports that a ball joint in the front suspension broke, causing drivers to lose control.

Toyota recalled some 2002 through 2004 Tundra large pickups and Sequoia sport-utility vehicles in May, as well as 4Runner SUVs from 2001 and 2002, and 2001 through 2004 Tacoma pickups. That recall was one of the largest in the U.S. for Toyota, the world's second-biggest automaker.

``We are cooperating fully with NHTSA to investigate the allegations,'' said Sam Butto, a spokesman at Toyota's U.S. offices in Torrance, California.

The agency said the reports that led to its investigation included one accident, with an injury. In the recall, failure of the ball joint, which helps keep the suspension in place, was blamed for at least two accidents without injuries.

The automaker, based in Toyota City, Japan, is second in sales to General Motors Corp.

Toyota's U.S. shares fell 45 cents to $112.67 at 4:02 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. They have gained 55 percent in the past 12 months.

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