- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 2, 2005

CALIFORNIA

Graduation exam stops many seniors

LOS ANGELES — Nearly 100,000 California 12th graders, or about 20 percent of the senior class, have failed the state’s graduation exam, a report says.

Students in the class of 2006, the first group to face the graduation requirement, must pass both the English and math sections of the test by June, the Los Angeles Times said.

The exit exam is geared to an eighth-grade level in math and to ninth- and 10th-grade levels in English.

But the report by the Human Resources Research Organization showed that tens of thousands of students, particularly those in special education and others who speak English as a second language, might fail the test by the end of their senior year despite academic help.

FLORIDA

Court upholds class-action lawsuit

ST. PETERSBURG — A state appeals court upheld a decision granting class-action status to a 2000 lawsuit charging Pinellas County schools with failing to adequately educate black students.

The court upheld expanding the complaint to include more than 20,000 current students and all future black students. The school district contends that it’s working hard to close the achievement gap.

HAWAII

State bans fishing in new sea refuge

HONOLULU — Hawaii has banned fishing around the tiny islands and atolls of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, home to endangered Hawaiian monk seals and sea turtles.

Gov. Linda Lingle signed the new rules last week creating the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands State Marine Refuge in the three miles offshore the largely uninhabited island chain, which stretch across 1,200 nearly pristine miles in the Pacific Ocean.

IDAHO

County puts out sex-offender ads

POCATELLO — A southeastern Idaho county is purchasing newspaper ads to alert the public that a predatory sex offender has moved to the area.

State law requires Bannock County to display a picture of convicted sex offender Will Hart, 39, his address and most recent sex crime convictions.

ILLINOIS

Meth lab near baby brings stiff charges

CHICAGO — A Chicago couple is the first to be charged under a stricter drug law that targets methamphetamine labs.

Police say Andrius Fidorovas, 32, and Inga Makarewicz, 33, were arrested last week after a SWAT team swarmed the top-floor apartment of a three-story building on the city’s West Side.

Police told the Chicago Tribune that they found a “semi-sophisticated” meth lab, complete with chemicals, laboratory equipment and burners. A 10-month-old girl was sleeping in a crib.

KANSAS

Floods trap people in homes, cars

GRANTVILLE — A storm dumped up to a foot of rain over parts of northeastern Kansas yesterday, sparking flash flooding that left people stranded in homes and cars, emergency officials said.

No serious injuries were reported, but emergency crews used airboats to navigate fast-moving floodwaters that damaged many homes.

About a foot of rain fell overnight in Jefferson County, and up to 10 inches was reported in Jackson County.

Emergency officials did not have an estimate of how many people had been rescued. A shelter was opened in an Oskaloosa church, and officials were planning for about 100 evacuees, said Joy Moser, spokeswoman for the Kansas Division of Emergency Management.

KENTUCKY

Police to get new bulletproof vests

LOUISVILLE — City police officers are finally getting new bullet-resistant vests.

Officials say most of the old vests were made by Michigan-based Second Chance Body Armor Inc. That company announced in June that heat, light and moisture might degrade some of its vests, including almost 750 used by Louisville police. The new vests are made by First Choice Armor of Brockton, Mass.

MICHIGAN

Teen gets probation in miscarriage attack

MOUNT CLEMENS — A teenager accused of hitting his pregnant girlfriend in the belly with a baseball bat and causing her to miscarry has been placed on probation and ordered to perform community service at a pregnancy crisis center over his lawyer’s objections.

The 17-year-old pleaded no contest Aug. 31 to a charge of intentional conduct against a pregnant woman that results in a miscarriage or stillbirth.

Authorities said the girl wanted to end the pregnancy and consented to the beatings. She was not charged with a crime. Under the 1999 Michigan law used against the boyfriend, only the person acting against the pregnant woman can be prosecuted.

The boyfriend, whose name was withheld because was prosecuted as a juvenile, was put on probation Thursday until he turns 19. Juvenile Judge Matthew Switalski also ordered him to perform 200 hours of community service at the Compassion Pregnancy Center.

MINNESOTA

Mall places teens on time limits

BLOOMINGTON — The Mall of America is shortening the time teenagers will be allowed to wander on weekends without adult escorts. Children younger than 16 will have to have an adult with them after 4 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, starting Oct. 7.

The change broadens a rule that began in 1996, requiring escorts for teens starting at 6 p.m. on weekends. The new rule also includes the Camp Snoopy theme park, where some teens avoid mall security.

NEW YORK

Couples wed, promote marriage

NEW YORK — Ten couples tied the knot in a group wedding billed as “Marry Your Baby Daddy Day.”

Each of the couples who married at the House of the Lord Church had been living together for years and had children together.

“The older I get, I see getting married as the way to go,” said Garfield James, 34, who married Millicent Ellis, 35. “I want to raise my kids the right way.”

The ceremony was organized by Maryann Reid, author of the book “Marry Your Baby Daddy,” who said she was dismayed by what she said were too many single-parent families within the black community.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Initiative creates reading centers

COLUMBIA — The University of South Carolina hopes a $6 million plan will stimulate reading in a state with the nation’s third-highest adult illiteracy rate.

The “Children, Libraries and Literacy” initiative will create reading centers for children and adults and send a vehicle across the state to introduce people to libraries.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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