County gets a week to decide on bankruptcy
BIRMINGHAM | The state’s largest county has one week to decide whether to file for the largest-ever U.S. municipal bankruptcy or take a deal from Wall Street to settle more than $3 billion in debts linked to a massive sewer project stained by corruption.
Sewer rates will rise one way or the other for the 658,000 residents in Jefferson County, officials say, it’s just a matter of how much. The county, where rates already have jumped more than 300 percent in recent years, is Alabama’s economic hub and includes Birmingham, the state’s largest city.
Officials think they can stave off any new layoffs either way, and hope they don’t have to trim public services if they decide to file for bankruptcy.
Chavez, farmworker union head, dies
BAKERSFIELD | Richard Chavez, who helped brother Cesar Chavez build the United Farmworkers of America, has died at the age of 81.
He died Wednesday at a Bakersfield hospital of complications from surgery, union spokeswoman Maria Machuca said.
“Richard understood that the struggle for a more perfect union and a better life for all America’s workers didn’t end with any particular victory or defeat, but instead required a commitment to getting up every single day to keep at it,” President Obama said.
Born on the family homestead near Yuma, Ariz., the two brothers left farm work in 1949, spending a year working together in lumber mills in Northern California, Miss Machuca said.
Eventually dedicating himself to union work, Richard Chavez organized the farmworkers’ boycotts of California table grapes and other products in New York and Detroit during the 1960s and ‘70s. He was in charge of administrating union contracts in 1970, and later negotiated UFW agreements and oversaw union bargaining, Miss Machuca said.
SCLC president dies of heart attack
ATLANTA | The president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Rev. Howard Creecy Jr., has died seven months after taking office, the venerable civil rights group said Thursday.