- - Monday, August 20, 2012

OKLAHOMA CITY — The father of a central Oklahoma high school valedictorian said Monday that his daughter’s diploma has been withheld because she used a curse word during her graduation speech.

The Prague High School superintendent said in a statement Monday that Kaitlin Nootbaar “used language that was inappropriate for a graduation exercise.”

David Nootbaar said his daughter said during her May speech that she had wanted to be a nurse, then a veterinarian, but when people ask what she wants to be now, she said, “How the hell should I know? I’ve changed my mind so many times.”

He said Kaitlin’s speech was inspired by an installment of the “Twilight” movie series, in which a character used a similar phrase during a graduation scene. He said the written version of her speech used the word “heck,” but that she inadvertently used the curse word.

School Superintendent Rick Martin issued a statement in which he called Kaitlin “an outstanding student” whose written speech had been approved.

“Unfortunately, she did not present the speech as written and used language that was inappropriate for a graduation exercise,” Mr. Martin said.

CALIFORNIA

Fire burns 7 homes, threatens thousands

MANTON — Firefighters in Northern California struggled Monday to gain control of a growing wildfire that has destroyed at least seven homes and forced thousands of rural residents to evacuate.

The blaze, which started Saturday, has consumed more than 23 square miles near the towns of Manton, Shingletown and Viola near the border of Tehama and Shasta counties. It was about 5 percent contained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The Ponderosa fire threatens at least 3,000 homes and more than 300 other structures, said fire spokesman Daniel Berlant.

More than 1,200 firefighters are battling the wildfire burning in rugged, densely forested terrain about 170 miles north of Sacramento. It started after the area was hit by a series of lightning strikes.

The fire forced the closures of Highway 44 and some local roads and prompted the sheriff to declare a State of Emergency for Shasta County. The Red Cross set up an evacuation center in Redding.

The Ponderosa fire is one of many wildfires burning across California and the West.

FLORIDA

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