- - Tuesday, April 17, 2012

DES MOINES — A judge has ruled that Iowa’s state government hiring policies have not discriminated against blacks.

District Judge Robert Blink ruled Tuesday against a class of up to 6,000 black employees and applicants passed over for jobs and promotions with Iowa’s executive branch dating back to 2003. He says the state does not have to pay them lost wages or change its policies to track and eliminate disparities among racial groups.

The ruling came after Judge Blink oversaw a monthlong trial last fall in the case, which has been closely watched by civil rights activists. Experts have called the case the largest class-action lawsuit of its kind against an entire state government’s civil service system.


State cracks down on sex, drugs at nude beach

MAZOMANIE — Wisconsin officials have long turned a blind eye to nudists who flock to a beach about a half-hour north of the capital, but they draw the line at public sex.

Officials say arrests for drug use and illicit sex at the beach on the Wisconsin River just north of Mazomanie spiked last year. In just nine days of surveillance, wardens arrested 42 people for illicit sex or drug possession, up from 14 in six days in 2007.

To try to curb the bad behavior, the state Department of Natural Resources said Tuesday that it will close down huge expanses of the woods around the beach in hopes of forcing people into clear view.

Nudists aren’t happy with the plan, but other river users say something must be done.


Bishop plans to reopen 12 closed Catholic parishes

CLEVELAND — Twelve of 13 closed Roman Catholic churches spared by the Vatican in the Cleveland Diocese will be reopened, the bishop announced Tuesday.

The action was a response to last month’s extraordinary Vatican decision overruling his decision to close the 13 parishes, a rare instance in which Rome reversed a U.S. bishop on the shutdown of churches.

Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon had ordered the churches closed over the past several years because of declining numbers of priests and parishioners and financial issues.

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy ruled that Bishop Lennon failed to follow church law and procedure in the closings.

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