- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 8, 2007

State tries to avert furloughs, shutdowns

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Legislators trickled back into the Capitol yesterday with less than two days to agree on a state budget before a partial government shutdown that would furlough thousands of workers and curtail some services.

High-level negotiations between the General Assembly and aides to Gov. Edward G. Rendell ended late Friday with no agreements reported and no new talks scheduled.

A stalemate between the Democratic governor and the narrowly divided legislature over a $27 billion-plus budget and some of Mr. Rendell’s top priorities has showed no sign of easing.

If today ends without a deal in place, more than 24,000 state workers whose jobs are not deemed essential to health and safety will be furloughed without pay at 12:01 a.m. tomorrow.

Former JonBenet suspect arrested

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — John Mark Karr, who made what turned out to be bogus claims of killing JonBenet Ramsey, was jailed yesterday after a domestic argument at his father’s house in suburban Atlanta, police said.

Officers received a 911 call late Friday from the house about an argument involving Mr. Karr, his girlfriend and his father, Sandy Springs police Lt. Steve Rose said.

Mr. Karr, who was arrested last summer in Thailand after confessing to killing the 6-year-old beauty contestant, was arrested in the domestic case shortly before midnight and charged with battery and obstruction.

Girl punished for graffiti

KATY, Texas — Writing “I love Alex” on a school gymnasium wall brought a 12-year-old the same punishment as if she had made terrorist threats.

The Katy Independent School District rated the message, written with a baby blue marker by sixth-grader Shelby Sendelbach, as a Level 4 infraction — the same as for threats, drug possession and assault.

Only murder, gun possession, sexual assault and arson are considered more severe by the suburban Houston district.

For her punishment, Shelby was assigned to an alternative school from Aug. 27 through Dec. 21.

School district spokesman Steve Stanford said the district was just following a state law, saying it requires assignment to an alternative school for graffiti. Her parents have appealed and a hearing is set for this month.

Story Continues →