You are currently viewing the printable version of this article, to return to the normal page, please click here.

American Scene: Planned Parenthood sues Oklahoma over WIC funding

- - Monday, November 12, 2012

OKLAHOMA CITY — Planned Parenthood is suing the head of the Oklahoma Department of Health over the agency's decision to withdraw federal funding for three clinics in the Tulsa area that provide food and nutritional counseling to low-income mothers.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland filed its lawsuit in federal court on Friday against Terry Cline, Oklahoma's commissioner of health.

Health department officials declined to comment on the lawsuit. They've previously said the decision to terminate the Women, Infants and Children, or WIC, contracts was based in part on Planned Parenthood's cost per participant exceeding those of other clinics.

Planned Parenthood in its lawsuit said the health department has given a "hodgepodge of reasons" for ending the contracts but that none of those reasons are supported by facts.

REGION

Hostess closes three bakeries after strike

Hostess Brands Inc. is permanently closing three bakeries following a nationwide strike by its bakers union.

The maker of Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread said Monday that the strike has prevented it from producing and delivering products, and it is closing bakeries in Seattle, St. Louis and Cincinnati. The facilities employ 627 workers.

Hostess, based in Irving, Texas, operates 36 bakeries nationwide and has about 18,300 employees. It warned earlier this month that the strike, by about 30 percent of its workforce, could lead to bakery closures.

Hostess said customers will not be affected by the closures.

KENTUCKY

Geologist: Earthquake not from mining

LOUISVILLE — Geologists say the 4.3 magnitude earthquake that shook eastern Kentucky over the weekend was too deep to be induced by the region's underground mining activity.

The epicenter was about 10 miles west of Whitesburg, in the heart of Kentucky's coal country, where underground mining and surface blasting are common.

The head of the University of Kentucky's Geologic Hazards Section, though, said Saturday's quake occurred about 12 miles below the surface, far too deep for underground mining to have been a factor.

Zhenming Wang says it came near the Eastern Tennessee Seismic Zone. That area receives a 4-magnitude quake every five to 10 years.

INDIANA

Owner: Furnace may be cause of deadly blast

INDIANAPOLIS — The owner of one of the homes that exploded in Indianapolis said Monday that a problem furnace could be to blame for the blast that killed two people and damaged dozens of homes so severely officials say they must be demolished.

John Shirley, 50, of Noblesville, told The Associated Press that his daughter sent him a text message last week complaining that the furnace in the home where she lives with her mother and her mother's boyfriend had gone out and required them to stay at a hotel.

But Mr. Shirley also said when he asked if the furnace had been fixed, his daughter said yes, and he wasn't aware of any additional problems until he heard from his daughter again Sunday morning.

His ex-wife, Monserrate Shirley, declined to comment Monday.

A spokeswoman for Citizens Energy gas company said the utility didn't receive any reports about a faulty furnace at the home.

VERMONT

College's ox meat won't be used for food

POULTNEY — An ox that lived on a Vermont college's farm and was put down amid an outcry over the school's decision to process it into meat will be not used for food.

Green Mountain College says that because the animal was receiving medication for an injury, the meat was not fit for human consumption.

The 11-year-old ox, named Lou, and another ox were retired this summer from the college's farm. The school had planned to turn them into beef to be served in the college dining hall in keeping with the school's emphasis on sustainable agriculture.

But some animal-rights activists had wanted the oxen spared and had found a sanctuary for them.

The college said Sunday that the injured ox was euthanized. The other ox will stay at the farm.

GEORGIA

Titanic jewels to go on display

DORAVILLE — Most of the jewelry recovered from the wreckage of the Titanic will go on public display for the first time with a three-city tour.

The jewelry is from a single purser's bag found during a 1987 research and recovery mission. The collection includes diamond and sapphire rings, brooches, necklaces, cuff links and a gold pocket watch.

Although single pieces of the jewelry have been on display at one or more permanent and traveling exhibits sponsored by Premier Exhibitions Inc., their Atlanta debut is the first time the majority of the collection has been available to the public.

NEVADA

Rodeo bronc rider dies from injuries

LAS VEGAS — A Missouri man died after being critically injured during the Indian National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

Rodeo officials said J.D. Jones, 25, of Goodman, Mo., died after an accident at the saddle bronc riding competition Saturday night.

According to rodeo spokeswoman Perse Hooper, Mr. Jones got stuck after his foot slipped through a stirrup. The horse fell on him and eventually had to be euthanized for internal bleeding and a broken pelvis, she said.

It was Mr. Jones' first time competing in the national finals, which were held Nov. 6-10 at the South Point resort, Ms. Hooper said.

CALIFORNIA

State to officially launch greenhouse-gas system

SAN FRANCISCO — California's largest greenhouse-gas emitters will begin buying permits in a landmark "cap-and-trade" system designed to control emissions of heat-trapping gases and to spur investment in clean technologies.

The program is the most wide-ranging of its kind in the nation and a key part of California's 2006 climate-change law, AB32. The regulations dictate standards for cleaner-burning fuels, more efficient automobiles and increased use of renewable energy.

For the first time, the California Air Resources Board will auction off pollution permits on Wednesday called "allowances" to hundreds of businesses, including electric companies and refineries.

Some of the businesses regulated under California's plan say the extra costs will result in higher electricity rates and job losses.

GEORGIA

UPS bows to pressure, ends grants to Boy Scouts

ATLANTA — The UPS Foundation says it will no longer give grants to the Boy Scouts of America as long as the group excludes gays and lesbians from being Scouts or Scout leaders.

The philanthropic arm of the Atlanta-based shipping giant made the change Thursday after an online petition protesting the foundation's annual grants to the Boy Scouts attracted more than 80,000 signatures. The UPS Foundation gave $150,000 to the Boy Scouts in 2010. It wasn't clear how much they gave the group last year.

UPS spokeswoman Kristen Petrella says groups applying for the grants will have to adhere to the same standards UPS does. The company says it does not discriminate against anyone based on race, religion, disability or sexual orientation.

From wire dispatches and staff reports