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IN BRIEF

SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT

Maryland educator named to Washoe post

A Maryland man from the nation’s 16th largest school district was selected today as Washoe County schools superintendent.

Heath Morrison, 43, community superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools in Rockville, Md., accepted the offer pending contract negotiations.

His salary and benefits will be announced later by officials in Nevada’s second largest school district.

Washoe County School Board members praised Morrison, saying he has the vision, skills and experience to improve the district.

Morrison was a high school teacher and principal before assuming his current position in 2006. He has overseen 34 schools serving 23,000 students in Maryland.

Morrison replaces retiring Paul Dugan, who leaves the position Aug. 1 after holding it for five years.

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK

Hiker dies in fall from Half Dome park site

Park officials say a male hiker has fallen to his death while climbing Half Dome.

Yosemite National Park Ranger Scott Gediman says the man fell at 3:40 p.m. on Saturday. Officials believe he was using the cable handrails that help hikers make it up and down the landmark.

Gediman says conditions on Half Dome’s granite face were slippery because of rain and hail.

Thirty other Half Dome climbers were being escorted down by rangers for their safety Saturday evening.

It was not immediately clear if the man, who is not being identified until his next of kin are found, was with a group or alone.

SWINE FLU

Private school students quarantined in China

A private Carlsbad, Calif., school says 36 of its students are being quarantined in China while being tested for the swine flu virus.

Eileen Mullady, head of Pacific Ridge School, says the ninth graders were at the end of a 13-day educational tour of the country when a few students developed the sniffles.

She said Chinese health officials decided on Thursday to place the students, along with seven chaperones, under quarantine in a hotel. The group is expected to fly home early this week, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

WOMAN HAD BEEN SLAIN

DNA tests identify remains of patient

Twenty-six years after Elizabeth Nichols walked out of a Redding mental hospital while being treated for schizophrenia, police in Sacramento, Calif., finally have learned her fate.

DNA evidence shows the 19-year-old woman died within a few days of her disappearance, a victim of at least one blow to the head. A passer-by spotted her body in a drainage canal near Sacramento in March 1983, but she remained unidentified until this week.

Her mother, 63-year-old Alice Nichols of Redding, says that not knowing for 26 years “is the hardest thing you can imagine.”

Police still don’t know who killed the young woman. They’ve offered a $1,000 reward in the case.

UNEXPLAINED DEATH

Human fetus remains wash ashore in bottle

A bottle containing a human fetus has been discovered by biologists studying birds on an island in San Francisco Bay.

On Friday, the Contra Costa County coroner confirmed that the matter in the bottle was human, and police were trying to determine whether a criminal investigation is warranted.

Richmond police Sgt. Bryan Reynolds said the next step was to determine the gestational period of the fetus. Police are treating the case as an unexplained death.

The remains are about 2 inches long in a four-inch glass bottle containing a fluid. Police said there are scientific reasons for such a specimen to exist, but they want to know where it came from.

It washed ashore on Brooks Island, south of the Richmond Shipping Channel.

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