- The Washington Times - Monday, March 31, 2008


Teacher grabs wheel of bus, saving children

SPRINGVILLE — The driver of a bus carrying 44 children on a field trip passed out at the wheel, and a teacher’s quick actions kept the vehicle from slamming into oncoming traffic, students said.

Math teacher Amy King grabbed the steering wheel and tried to straighten the swerving coach, witnesses told the Birmingham News.

The crash Friday sent 20 persons to the hospital, including the driver and Miss King, who was thrown through the windshield and airlifted to UAB Hospital, where she was listed in serious condition, officials said.

The bus, owned by Adventure Bus Charter & Tours Inc. of Sumiton, was headed north to Chattanooga’s Tennessee Aquarium. It was the lead bus in a caravan with two other charter buses hired by the Morris school and cars driven by chaperones.

The bus sideswiped 200 feet of guardrail before it came to rest upside down in a drainage ditch about 30 miles northeast of Birmingham. Wreckers had to lift the bus off one child, Springville Fire Chief Richard Harvey said. The wreck is being investigated by Alabama state troopers.


TV, movie actors split in studio talks

SAN FRANCISCO A unified front by Hollywood’s two actors unions engaged in labor talks with movie studios has dissolved in acrimony, leaving them to negotiate separate deals before a strike deadline.

The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, or AFTRA, told the Screen Actors Guild, or SAG, late Saturday that it was terminating a joint negotiation agreement, accusing the more-powerful SAG of trying to undermine it.

“AFTRA believes it must devote its full energies to working on behalf of performers, and not wasting its time assessing whether our partner is being honest with us,” AFTRA President Roberta Reardon said in a statement, sadding that her group aims to negotiate a contract as soon as possible for its 70,000 members, who include actors, singers, dancers, announcers and other broadcast performers.

The 120,000-strong SAG called AFTRA’s move “calculated” and “cynical” and said it did not serve members’ interests.

The two unions have clashed over territorial and procedural issues, with SAG pondering a stance on soap operas an area traditionally handled by AFTRA and seeking more seats on the joint bargaining committee under the rationale that it shoulders more of the work.

The current film and TV contract expires on June 30, which is being treated as the de facto strike deadline.


Public names apple Frostbite

MINNEAPOLIS — A contest to rename a Minnesota apple called MN447 has produced an appropriate name for a fruit developed in the Upper Midwest: Frostbite.

The brainchild of two University of Minnesota horticulture scientists, the contest gathered a variety of name suggestions and after slowly narrowing down their choices, Frostbite was the clear winner, the Star Tribune reported Saturday.

Lisa Rolf, who was one of eight persons who suggested Frostbite, said she took the naming process seriously and even created a matching slogan for the apple.

“If you want to reach for one of these apples, you better protect your extremities,” the Minnesota resident’s proposed slogan reads.

The university’s breeding program helped create the new apple, and one of the program’s top officials, David Bedford, told the newspaper the small apple tastes like “raw sugarcane on steroids.”


City board targets horn-happy cabbies

NEW YORK Community leaders in New York have asked city officials to install lights on all taxis that would light up when their drivers use their car horns.

Driven by complaints about horn-happy drivers, members of the Lower East Side’s Community Board 3 proposed the idea to the Taxi and Limousine Commission last week, the New York Post reported yesterday.

“Right now, the police actually have to see a cabdriver honk the horn to issue a ticket, and that’s obviously hard,” Board 3 district manager Susan Stetzer said. “This would allow the police to see exactly who honked and make it easy to enforce the rules.”

The next step toward eliminating the annoyance of honking car horns is to implement a fare discount of $1 for each time a cabbie leans on the horn.

“If the driver lost a buck every time he blew the horn, that would stop him real quick,” Lower East Side resident Avram Fefer told the Post.

TLC Commissioner Matthew Daus said any ideas presented to the commission would be evaluated.


Injunction sought against sea-lion kill

PORTLAND — The Humane Society of the United States wants a federal judge to prevent the capturing or killing of sea lions feasting on salmon at a Columbia River dam.

The group said in a motion filed in U.S. District Court on Friday that agents could begin taking the sea lions as soon as next weekend, and asked for a permanent injunction. If the request is denied, the group said it would likely seek a temporary restraining order to be effective before Friday.

In January, the National Marine Fisheries Service authorized the taking of up to 85 sea lions a year for five years from the Bonneville Dam, although it recommended a lower number.

The order encourages capturing the animals if possible and finding homes for them in aquariums and ocean theme parks but said they can be euthanized after 48 hours if no homes are found.

The Humane Society says homes could be found for only a few. It contends dams, birds and environmental damage pose a larger danger to salmon.


Draft of honor code was plagiarized

SAN ANTONIO Their goal was an honor code that discouraged cheating and plagiarizing.

However, the wording in a draft by students at the University of Texas at San Antonio appears to match another school’s code without proper attribution.

Student Akshay Thusu said that when he took over the project a month ago he inherited a draft by earlier project participants, including a group of students who attended a conference five years ago put on by the Center for Academic Integrity at Clemson.

Materials from the conference, which are used by many universities, were probably the main source of UTSA’s proposed code, Mr. Thusu said. That’s why parts of the Texas draft match word-for-word the online version of Brigham Young University’s code.

BYU credited the Center for Academic Integrity, but the San Antonio draft doesn’t. That will change when the draft is submitted to the faculty Senate, said Mr. Thusu. “We don’t want to have an honor code that is stolen,” he said.


High school student holds root beer kegger

WAUSAU — Cars lining the street. A house full of young people. A keg and drinking games inside. Police thought they had an underage boozing party on their hands.

But though they made dozens of teens take breath tests, none tested positive for alcohol. That’s because the keg contained root beer.

The party was held by a high school student who wanted to show that teens don’t always drink alcohol at their parties. It has gained fame on YouTube.com.

Dustin Zebro, 18, said he staged the party after friends at D.C. Everest High School got suspended from sports because of pictures showing them drinking from red cups.

The March 1 root-beer kegger was “to kind of make fun of the school,” he said. “They assumed there was beer in the cups. We just wanted to have some root beer in red cups and just make it look like a party, but there actually wasn’t any alcohol.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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