Enterovirus 68 killed boy, 4, medical examiner concludes

A New Jersey medical examiner says a virus that has been causing severe respiratory illness across the country is responsible for the death of a 4-year-old boy.

Hamilton Township health officer Jeff Plunkett said that the medical examiner determined the death of Eli Waller was the result of enterovirus 68.

The virus has sickened more than 500 people in 43 states and Washington, D.C. – almost all of them children. Earlier this week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said four people infected with the virus had died.


Mormon leader: Be gracious in opposing gay marriage

A high-ranking Mormon leader reiterated the church’s opposition to gay marriage, but he urged members to be gracious toward those who believe differently.

Dallin H. Oaks of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Quorum of the Twelve said Saturday during the faith’s biannual conference that legalizing same-sex marriage is among current world values that challenge Mormon beliefs.

But Oaks said that while Latter-day Saints may disagree with others, they should not be disagreeable or come off as contentious in explaining their beliefs.

The church’s stance on homosexuality has softened in recent years, but this is third consecutive conference in which leaders have said marriage should be limited to a man and a woman, as God created. In October 2013, Oaks said human laws cannot “make moral what God has declared immoral.”


Pilots at balloon festival using tablets for mapping

The mass ascension of hundreds of hot air balloons above Albuquerque went off without a hitch Saturday morning.

Pilots began launching shortly after 7 a.m. at the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and landed safely around the city a few hours later, authorities said.

This year’s colorful balloons include one shaped like the head of Yoda and another like Darth Vader from “Star Wars.”

Organizers have equipped all 550 pilots with tablet computers capable of running a mapping application that will enable them to steer clear of the many restricted areas or prohibited zones like airport flight paths, the zoo and other locations.

The city has grown exponentially since the first fiesta more than 40 years ago, making flying and landing more challenging.

Last year, three people were seriously injured in separate incidents at the fiesta. A 61-year-old woman suffered a broken leg on the event’s first day when she was a passenger in a balloon that made a hard landing on a golf course.

Five days later, a pilot and his passenger were hurt when their balloon struck power lines and fell 40 feet. Passenger Daniel Lovato was severely burned and had to have his arm amputated.

The technology that pilots are testing this year was developed by Mike McKnight, the fiesta’s technology manager. Mc- Knight first developed a map for use on smartphones and GPS devices a couple of years ago. With the map now available on tablets, it’s easier to see than trying to peer at a tiny screen, or unfolding and folding large paper maps in the confines of a balloon basket.

The event, which lasts nine days, draws tens of thousands of spectators from around the world each year. The atmosphere is unlike any other, organizers say, since there are few boundaries for attendees.

– From news service reports