- The Washington Times - Monday, September 8, 2008

ALABAMA

Flight prompts black school closings

HUNTSVILLE | Hundreds of black students each year continue to reject north Huntsville schools, often leaving behind half-empty buildings for a bus ride to higher-performing classrooms.

While the transfers are increasing integration in south Huntsville, the demand outstrips the room for extra desks. Each year more than 1,000 transfer requests from black children are denied.

“I saw so many disappointed black kids being turned away from Huntsville High,” said Lekisha Eyma, whose daughter discovered two years ago during freshman orientation that her request to transfer there had been turned down.

Each year about 20 percent of the black students in Huntsville request a new school. Last school year, 1,856 black children applied and only 506 were approved.

Some ask for permission to leave a failing school. Others, like Ms. Eyma’s daughter, ask to leave a majority black school.

Meanwhile, only 300 to 350 other students — white, Hispanic, Indian or Asian — request a switch each year. Most are approved.

Superintendent Ann Roy Moore and school board members say perception problems fuel the requests, that parents flee because of rumors of poor discipline and media reports of low test scores in north Huntsville.

But parents said that academic and economic differences between the mostly black and the mostly white schools drive the requests.

ALASKA

State experiences a chilly summer

ANCHORAGE | Summer in Alaska was generally cool and dreary in 2008, with only two days in July above 70 degrees.

The National Weather Service says that on average, Anchorage has 16 days when high temperatures are at least 70 degrees.

But the agency says this year “an astonishing 77 percent” of days were colder than normal.

The two days above 70 degrees this year sets a new record for the fewest days to reach 70 degrees.

Overall, the Weather Service ranks the summer of 2008 as having the third-coolest average high temperatures since record keeping began. Only the summers of 1973 and 1971 were colder. In overall average daily temperatures, 2008 ranked 11th place.

ARKANSAS

Murder trial to start over Fordyce death

EL DORADO | Jury selection will begin Monday in the capital murder trial of a former Fordyce police chief accused of fatally shooting his Sunday school teacher wife last year and making it look like a suicide.

Attorneys for Paul Douglas Gill had requested the trial be moved from Dallas County over the publicity surrounding the March 2007 death of Sandra Kaye Gill, 54.

The trial was moved to Union County, where he could be sentenced to life in prison or death if convicted.

Fordyce Mayor William Lyon had sent a letter last year to prosecutors asking for a rare jury investigation into Sandra Gill’s death.

Police found Mrs. Gill dead from a gunshot wound to her head and a .38-caliber revolver beside her body in her Fordyce home March 22, 2007.

COLORADO

Group makes U-turn on tax proposal

GRAND JUNCTION | An influential western Colorado lobbying group has done an about-face and is opposing a plan to invest oil and gas tax revenue for road and bridge projects.

Club 20, which represents 22 counties on the West Slope, voted Saturday to oppose the measure that will appear as Amendment 52 on the November statewide ballot.

The group’s board made the decision after a debate on the plan during the group’s fall conference.

Before the debate, board members said they supported the proposal to divert severance tax revenue to roads.

Club 20 Executive Director Reeves Brown said arguments that the measure focuses only on Interstate 70 and would place another fiscal constraint in the state Constitution helped change board members’ minds.

A state analysis said Amendment 52 would add some $225 million to transportation improvements over four years, but would siphon off funds for water-improvement projects and other programs.

Jim Lochhead, an attorney and the former director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, spoke against the amendment during the debate. “You’re hurting one thing to help another,” he said.

Rep. Frank McNulty, Highlands Ranch Republican, one of the measure’s chief proponents, disagreed.

“It’s right for Colorado, because it re-prioritizes existing revenues without tolls and without a tax increase,” Mr. McNulty said of the amendment.

IDAHO

Professors take aim at negative marketing

MOSCOW | A pair of University of Idaho business professors are taking aim at marketing that tries to sell people products by turning them against themselves.

Jeff Bailey, a marketing professor at the Moscow, Idaho, school, says one way to create demand for something is to get people dissatisfied with their bodies, their lifestyles and their world.

He and accounting professor Jason Porter authored a paper, published recently in the Journal of Global Business Issues, called “Utilitarian Ethics and the Purposeful Creation of Dissatisfaction.”

Mr. Bailey and Mr. Porter say they are trying to emphasize that more ethical and positive marketing strategies can be just as effective as ones that tear down people’s sense of self worth.

INDIANA

Police increase patrols after attack

BLOOMINGTON | Indiana University police increased patrols in areas of campus where international students live and congregate after an attack on five students including one of Indian descent, police said.

A group of two men and three women walking on campus near 17th Street and Woodlawn Avenue — just south of Assembly Hall and Memorial Stadium — was attacked at about 12:30 a.m. Saturday by a man with an unidentified sharp-edged weapon, Capt. Jerry Minger said.

Two women received superficial cuts to their faces that did not require medical attention, and one man, 18, suffered a 4-inch cut to the front of his neck and was taken by police to Bloomington Hospital.

“The victim was a U.S. citizen, but he was of East Indian descent,” Capt. Minger said. “He didn’t feel that his ethnicity had anything to do with the incident, but we thought it best to err on the side of caution.”

The injured man did not need stitches, Capt. Minger said, and was released after treatment from the hospital.

News coverage of the attack and a police composite sketch of the attacker prompted at least five people to call in tips.

“We’ve had several people call and say they did see someone running in that area,” Capt. Minger said.

The five students — two men and three women, all of them 18 or 19 years old — had attended an off-campus party and were about halfway through a milelong walk back to their dormitories when the attack occurred, Capt. Minger said.

MAINE

Hospital guard fatally shot

PORTLAND, Maine | A 27-year-old security guard at Mercy Hospital was fatally shot early Sunday while outside on his break, police said.

After hearing gunshots, hospital employees found James Angelo wounded in a fenced-in hospital parking lot. He was treated in Mercy’s emergency room before being transferred to Maine Medical Center, where he died, police said.

Witnesses told police that two people walking along Winter Street “had some kind of engagement with the victim” and fled in opposite directions after shots were fired at about 4 a.m., Chief Joseph Loughlin said.

Police said one of the two was described as a short, black man in his early 20s with a slight build, short black hair and apparently clean shaven, wearing black pants and a white hooded sweatshirt with a design or print. The other person was described only as wearing a light-colored shirt or jacket.

Mr. Angelo and his family had arrived in Portland from the Sudan in 1995. “It’s a good family,” said Chief Loughlin, recalling how he helped move them into the Parkside neighborhood when he patrolled the area.

Chief Loughlin characterized the shooting as a tragedy and vowed that whoever is responsible will be brought to justice.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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