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News Briefs

CDC Chief to Resign


Jeffrey Koplan said Thursday that he will resign next month as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the federal government’s lead agency for public health research and epidemic investigations.

The 7,000-person agency earned both praise and criticism during last fall’s anthrax bioterrorism outbreak, in which it was responsible for making prevention and treatment recommendations to local health officials and clinical practitioners. Numerous experts both in and out of government said they were surprised by Koplan’s announcement.

Koplan, 57, said he was leaving the CDC, where he has worked 26 years, voluntarily. He said he has no immediate plans.

“There was zero pressure. This was my decision,” Koplan said Thursday night. “I felt that at this point in its history, the institution was strong and in very capable hands, with a strong senior leadership.”

Tommy Thompson, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services which oversees the CDC, said Koplan “provided dedicated leadership during very trying times for the CDC and HHS. ... He sets the standard for what it means to truly be a public servant.”

Prison Official Links Dog Owners To Aryan Brotherhood


The San Francisco couple charged in their neighbor’s fatal dog-mauling were associates of a white supremacist prison gang and helped inmates run a killer dog breeding ring, a state corrections official testified Thursday.

The defendants, Robert Noel and Marjorie Knoller, “were actively involved in raising, breeding and training dogs ... with these members of the Aryan Brotherhood,” said Devan Hawkes, a special agent with the California Department of Corrections.

Two of their dogs, Presa Canarios weighing more than 100 pounds each, attacked college lacrosse coach Diane Whipple outside her apartment door Jan. 26, 2001.

Noel, 60, and Knoller, 46, are charged with involuntary manslaughter and keeping a mischievous dog. Knoller also faces a second-degree murder charge and could receive a sentence of 15 years to life. Her husband, Noel, faces a possible sentence of four years.

The trial was moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles Superior Court because of publicity in the Bay Area. Opening statements and testimony began Tuesday.

Hawkes, who has investigated prison gangs for more than 15 years, told the jury Thursday that a series of letters, drawings and books showed that inmates at Pelican Bay State Prison were running a business breeding dogs for profit.