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POSTED March 30, 2012 8:23 p.m.

CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE CAN ID SELF AS ASTRONAUT: SACRAMENTO (AP) — A Sacramento County judge has ruled that a candidate for U.S. Congress from the Central Valley can use the ballot designation "astronaut."

The Sacramento law firm, Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk, had argued in a lawsuit that Jose Hernandez's use of the "astronaut" moniker would violate state elections law because Hernandez has left NASA.

Ballot designations apparently can reflect a profession or vocation held during the previous calendar year, and Hernandez spent two weeks at NASA in 2011 before leaving the agency. He had flown aboard the shuttle Discovery in 2009.

Hernandez, a Democrat, is challenging freshman Rep. Jeff Denham, a Republican from Turlock, for California's 10th District seat.

LA WOMAN ASKS GOV TO COMMUTE SHAKEN-BABY SENTENCE: LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles woman convicted of shaking to death her grandson 15 years ago is asking the governor to commute her sentence.

Smith was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for killing her 7-week-old grandson, Etzel Glass, at a Van Nuys apartment in 1996. She maintains that he slipped off a couch.

Smith spent a decade in prison before an appeals court threw out her conviction in 2006. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed that decision last fall but she's remained free while awaiting Governor Jerry Brown's decision on whether to commute her sentence.

CARBON DIOXIDE LEAK AT VALLEJO PLANT: VALLEJO  (AP) — Hospital officials say one worker is in serious condition while all others have recovered from exposure to a carbon dioxide leak at a Northern California food processing plant.

More than 70 workers were sent to hospitals Friday after authorities say they were exposed to the leak at Ghiringhelli Specialty Foods in Vallejo.

Sutter Solano Medical Center spokesman Sy Neilson said 45 patients were treated for symptoms such as nausea, dizziness and trouble breathing.

He said all were released except for one who was admitted in serious condition due to more serious symptoms doctors wanted to monitor.

None of the 30 patients being treated at Vallejo Medical Center was expected to be admitted for treatment.

SAN DIEGO SUBURB DEFENDS VEHICLE IMPOUNDS: SAN DIEGO (AP) — The north San Diego suburb of Escondido is responding to criticism that its vehicle impounds unfairly target illegal immigrants by saying they have been a drain on city coffers.

The city said Friday that it lost nearly $100,000 towing vehicles over the last three years. The city released a financial report after the American Civil Liberties Union's San Diego chapter questioned whether it was profiting.

City Manager Clay Phillips says the report shows Escondido's fees are appropriate but that they should be reviewed each year. The ACLU says the report is seriously flawed.

Escondido has been a hotbed of controversy over illegal immigration since the City Council voted to require landlords to check tenants' immigration status. A judge blocked that ordinance in 2006 and it never took effect.

DEATH OF GIRL, 10, AFTER SCHOOL FIGHT UNDER REVIEW: LONG BEACH  (AP) — The Los Angeles County district attorney's office is reviewing the case of a 10-year-old girl who died following an after-school fight to determine if charges should be filed against her opponent.

District attorney spokeswoman Shiara Davila-Morales said Friday that Long Beach police gave their investigation into Joanna Ramos' death to prosecutors on March 13.

Prosecutors have not yet determined whether to file charges in the Feb. 24 fight.

Joanna died at a hospital about six hours after fighting with another girl, whose name has not been made public.

NBC'S 'THE VOICE' ADDS FACEBOOK APP FOR VOTING: LOS ANGELES (AP) — NBC's talent show "The Voice" is jumping on Facebook's "timeline" app bandwagon to give fans another way to vote for their favorite contestants.

The new application allows viewers to cast votes for "Voice" singers and connect with friends and others watching the show, NBC and Facebook said Friday. Voting on live performances begins Monday.

The Facebook app for "The Voice" is intended to create "a fully social online voting experience," said Vivi Zigler, president of NBC Universal Digital Entertainment.

"We have been working very closely with Facebook to really build a social voting app that takes advantage of every whiz-bang, bell and whistle that Facebook has built for timeline," Zigler said.

Besides serving as a ballot box and a bridge between viewers, the "Voice" app will lead users to new content, including performance videos and blogs, NBC said.

In January, when Facebook unveiled about 60 new apps that let people share the smallest details of their lives on their profile, now known as their timeline, the company said it expected developers to create thousands more.

Dubbed "frictionless sharing" by Facebook, the apps allow a user's activity to be automatically shared through Facebook — although people can limit who's able to see this activity when they sign up for the apps.

 

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