- - Monday, May 11, 2009

COLORADO

Safeway, workers continue talks

DENVER — With the threat of a strike looming, Safeway agreed to resume negotiations with its union workers a day after they authorized a strike, a company spokeswoman said Sunday.

The labor contract between Safeway and its workers expired Saturday night without a new labor agreement and workers were planning to walk off their jobs as soon as Monday.

The grocery chain remains “committed to negotiating new agreements which recognize the realities of the current economy and the highly competitive retail food market in Colorado,” said Safeway spokeswoman Kristine Staaf.

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 in Colorado represents about 17,000 workers at Safeway, King Soopers and Albertsons. The union said the three chains have offered similar proposals to replace the current labor contracts, which expired Saturday, but the sides still disagree over wages and pension benefits.

Ms. Staaf said Sunday’s agreement means the labor agreements that expired Saturday will be extended on a day-to-day basis until May 30 while negotiations continue. She says that either side can agree to terminate their temporary agreement with a 24-hour written notice.

MASSACHUSETTS

Wrecked train deemed sound

BOSTON — A spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board says no mechanical problems have been found on a Boston train that crashed into another Friday, injuring about 50 people.

The trolley driver told police he was texting his girlfriend before his train collided with a stopped train on the Green Line.

NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said that no problems were found with the brakes or other equipment on the train that caused the wreck. He says that the train was going 25 mph when it crashed and that the stopped train was first visible to the moving train from 480 feet away.

All the injured passengers are recovering, and the Green Line reopened Sunday.

The trolley driver faces firing and possible criminal charges.

NORTH CAROLINA

Winfrey gets degree, speaks at Duke

DURHAM — Oprah Winfrey urged graduates at Duke University’s commencement to “stand proudly in your own shoes while you help others stand in theirs.”

Miss Winfrey also collected an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from the university in Durham, N.C., Sunday.

She shared stories with the 4,400 graduates about interviewing celebrities such as Hugh Jackman and Nelson Mandela. She says it is the ordinary people that often inspire her even more.

She repeated her theme that “one of the best ways to enhance your own life is to enhance somebody else’s.”

“How can I help somebody else move to higher ground? That is success. That’s it. That’s why we’re all alive.”

Miss Winfrey also emphasized the need to make wise choices daily, saying, “Each of us has to stand in our own shoes. Will you stand in them in humility and compassion and courage? Every day will give you a chance to make that choice.”

OHIO

Teen expects prom suspension

FINDLAY — An Ohio teenager says he expects to be suspended from a Christian school for attending a public school prom with his girlfriend.

Officials at Heritage Christian School in Findlay had warned 17-year-old Tyler Frost that he would be suspended and prohibited from attending graduation if he went to the Saturday dance. The fundamentalist Baptist school in northwest Ohio forbids dancing, rock music and hand holding.

Tyler says he went to the dance because he wanted to experience the prom and didn’t think it was wrong.

School officials say he could complete his final exams separately to receive a diploma.

Tyler’s stepfather says the rules shouldn’t apply outside of school and he may take legal action if Tyler is suspended.

TEXAS

Six firefighters treated for chlorine

SAN ANTONIO — Authorities in Texas say six firefighters in San Antonio have been hospitalized after being exposed to chlorine gas while battling a blaze at a cemetery.

Assistant fire chief David Coatney told the San Antonio Express-News that the firefighters experienced burning skin and some had trouble breathing after dealing with the blaze early Sunday.

The fire was in a shed at Mission Park Burial Park North, next to a golf course.

The shed contained chlorine cylinders, but Mr. Coatney said he didn’t know whether the gas belonged to the cemetery or the golf course.

He said none of the injuries was considered life-threatening.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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