- - Monday, February 20, 2012

NEBRASKA

Judge upholds city rule that employers use E-Verify

OMAHA — A federal judge on Monday rejected a portion of a Nebraska city’s ordinance that would have denied housing permits to illegal immigrants but upheld a requirement that employers verify the citizenship status of people they hire.

U.S. District Judge Laurie Smith Camp found some of the housing provisions in Fremont’s ordinance, approved by voters in 2010, are discriminatory in violation of federal law.

Both sides in the contentious immigration debate claimed victory after the ruling, which stemmed from a combined lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which claimed victory based on the housing provisions.

But Fremont attorney Kris Kobach said 75 percent of the ordinance was upheld, including a requirement that Fremont employers use the federal E-Verify database to ensure employees are legal.

MICHIGAN

Drive-by gang shooting kills 9-month-old boy

DETROIT — Attackers peppered a house on Detroit’s west side with gunshots early Monday, killing a 9-month-old boy, police said.

Delric Miller was in the living room and other children and adults were at home when the shooting occurred about 4:30 a.m., Sgt. Eren Stephens told reporters. The boy was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Police Chief Ralph Godbee said during an afternoon press conference that the shooting was gang-related. An AK-47 rifle was used in the attack. No arrests have been made.

“Again, adult behavior has brought another child in Detroit to an end that is certainly incomprehensible for a lot of people,” Chief Godbee said.

There were 344 homicides in Detroit last year, compared with 308 in 2010. As of Feb. 12, a total of 41 homicides were recorded. There were 33 at the same time last year.

ILLINOIS

Charter group nets $190K from $5 student fines

CHICAGO — Students at one charter school network in Chicago know there is a price to pay — literally — for breaking even the smallest rules.

Noble Network of Charter Schools charges students at its 10 high schools $5 for detentions stemming from infractions that include chewing gum and having untied shoelaces. Last school year, it collected almost $190,000 in discipline “fees” from detentions and behavior classes.

But that policy is drawing fire from some parents, advocacy groups and education experts who say Noble is nickel-and-diming its mostly low-income students over insignificant, made-up infractions that have little bearing on academic success.

NEW JERSEY

Girl in visa dispute home after transplant

HACKENSACK — A 5-year-old New Jersey girl whose bone marrow transplant was in doubt at one point owing to a visa dispute involving her Salvadoran older sister emerged from the hospital Monday, ready to begin the slow process of resuming a normal life.

Doctors at Hackensack University Medical Center’s Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital are optimistic that Yarelis Bonilla will make a full recovery after spending the last six weeks in the hospital, several months after being diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia.

“She was very lucky to have a matched sibling donor; those are the patients who usually do the best,” said Dr. Alfred Gillio, who performed the transplant last month and said the girl can return to school in three months.

PENNSYLVANIA

Jailed woman has history of faked pregnancies

PITTSBURGH — Barry and Rebecca Vest can’t conceive children - or conceive of why a woman pretended to be pregnant and persuaded them to travel from Idaho to Pennsylvania five days after Christmas to adopt a baby that didn’t exist.

The Vests claim to be the latest victims of a woman known to Pennsylvania authorities as 32-year-old Amy Slanina, who, according to court records and interviews, pretends to be pregnant so infertile couples or, in some cases, female friends or lovers will shower her with attention, affection and sometimes money, clothes, food and shelter.

Others, including the Vests, were convinced she was pregnant sight unseen during fast-moving friendships carried out through text messages, phone calls and emails. “She’s the true definition of a predator: She seeks out an adoptive couple and emotionally abuses them,” Mr. Vest said from his home in Rigby, Idaho.

Ms. Slanina has been in jail in Kittanning, some 35 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, since she was arrested in December on theft of services charges for staying at a battered women’s shelter after allegedly claiming to be the abused wife of a police officer, who authorities say doesn’t exist. She used the shelter’s computer and a cellphone to contact the Vests.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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