Briefs


Former Mayor Gambling:

Former San Diego Mayor Maureen O’Connor is being accused of misappropriation of funds and money embezzlement to fuel a nine-year gambling habit, according to federal prosecutors. O’Connor, who has pleaded not guilty to her charges of misappropriation, was given a deferred prosecution and possible dropped charges under a plan that requires her to repay the $2 million taken from her husband’s non-profit organization during her billion-dollar gambling period.

O’Connor, 66, was described as frail and of poor health during her court appearance on Thursday; she is currently in “destitute” financial condition, having a fortune between $40 and $50 million at one point, and a net gambling loss of $13 million after playing in San Diego, Las Vegas, and Atlantic City casinos.

San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering:

After receiving a National Medal of Science award from President Obama in 2011, Shu Chien, director of the Institute of Engineering in Medicine and UCSD professor of bioengineering and medicine, has been selected as the chief engineer of the 2013 San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering.

The festival, March 16 to March 23, is being produced by the BIOCOM Institute, a nonprofit organization and is the largest festival of technology and innovation in Southern California. It includes over 40 activities, events and demonstrations.

UCSD will participate in six of the festival events, host 19 booths, and provide 13 speakers including speakers from UCSD will include Tara Hutchinson, mechanical engineer, and Todd Coleman, bioengineer.

82-Year-Old Woman Kills Roommate:

Barbara Brand, an 82-year-old woman, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after shooting and killing her roommate, Paul Slysh, Jr., inside their Morena Boulevard Bay Park trailer home last July.

Brand shot Slysh several times with a gun that belonged to her deceased husband, after he made insulting remarks about her granddaughter. She then reported her act to the authorities and was taken into custody, pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter. Slysh, 57, who suffered from paranoia and schizophrenia, died two days after the shooting; Brand and Slysh had known each other since 1984, and were said to have had a strained, mother-son relationship.

Comic-Con Sells Out:

Online admission tickets, including four-day passes and single day passes, to this year’s July Comic-Con International, sold out in less than two hours; last year, the tickets were sold in a record one hour and 20 minutes.

The San Diego Convention Center, which has outgrown its capacity to accommodate attendees, is hoping to undergo an expansion after approval from the California Coastal Committee. Currently, the city-approved, $520 million plan is awaiting a hearing to confirm whether or not hotel room surcharges to finance the construction are legal.

The annual convention, which attracts nearly 130,000 fans and totals $67.8 million in lodging, meals, transportation, and related expenses, will stay in San Diego through 2016.

Baby Killer Whale:

After nearly 18 months of pregnancy, 37-year-old killer whale Kasatka gave birth at SeaWorld, according to the SeaWorld zoological team.

The calf, born at 6:30 a.m. on Valentine’s Day inside of Shamu Stadium, is estimated to weigh between 300 and 350 pounds and measures between 6 and 7 feet long. Currently, the newborn orca’s gender is unknown; it will be named at a later date. 

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