- The Washington Times - Friday, December 11, 2009


Schools phase out gay-friendly lessons

ALAMEDA | After months of heated debate, the Alameda Board of Education has voted to phase out the elementary school curriculum it adopted in May to prevent anti-gay bullying.

The five member school board voted 4-1 to replace the controversial curriculum with more generic lessons that promote tolerance.

In a related move, however, the board went on to accept Superintendent Kirsten Vital’s recommendation to supplement the broader anti-bullying program with children’s books that address six specific forms of bias, including against gays.

The recommendation was meant to counter complaints from parents opposed to the original lessons that it was wrong to highlight only one type of bullying.


Man in custody after hostage-taking

ROSEVILLE | Police took a man into custody Thursday whom they think took a woman hostage with a sawed-off shotgun at an office building.

Roseville police got a report about 1 p.m. that a man with a gun had taken a hostage at the three-story building in a heavily trafficked area, at one point holding the gun up to the woman’s head. Authorities evacuated the building and locked down the nearby Brimhall Elementary School.

Acting Roseville Police Chief Rick Mathwig said officers arrived at the scene and almost immediately seized a man who matched the description of the gunman. No shots were fired.


Nielsen closes Editor & Publisher

NEW YORK | The Nielsen Co. is selling some of its most prominent trade journals, including the Hollywood Reporter and Billboard, and is shutting down Editor & Publisher, which has chronicled the newspaper business for more than 100 years.

The changes come in a tumultuous year for the media industry, with some storied brands put on the auction block or shuttered altogether. Such titles as Gourmet magazine and the Rocky Mountain News have been closed.

Nielsen is selling eight titles to e5 Global Media LLC, a new company formed by private equity firm Pluribus Capital Management and Guggenheim Partners, a financial services company. James Finkelstein, one of Pluribus’ three founders, will serve as e5’s chairman. Guggenheim’s executive chairman is the former CEO of Bear Stearns Cos. Alan Schwartz.

The price of Thursday’s deal was not disclosed.


Police: Artist’s son swipes paintings

ALLENTOWN | A Pennsylvania man used a backhoe to break into a museum owned by his father - the pioneering fantasy artist Frank Frazetta - in an attempt to steal 90 paintings valued at $20 million, police said Thursday.

State police charged Alfonso Frank Frazetta, 52, of Marshalls Creek, with theft, burglary and trespass after they said he was caught loading the artwork into his trailer and sport utility vehicle.

Frank Frazetta, 81, is renowned for his work on characters including Conan the Barbarian, Tarzan and Vampirella. He was in Florida at the time of the incident.

His son’s motive may stem from a family feud over the master illustrator’s assets, according to a law enforcement source who spoke on condition of anonymity because it is still early in the investigation.

Alfonso Frazetta was arraigned and sent to the Monroe County jail. Bail was set at $500,000.


Sanford wants to reconcile with wife

COLUMBIA | South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford said he still wants to reconcile with first lady Jenny Sanford and doesn’t begrudge her for speaking out in a nationally televised interview.

Mr. Sanford said Thursday that he knows the affair he publicly revealed in June hurt his wife, who had found out about it in January.

Mrs. Sanford’s interview with Barbara Walters aired Wednesday. She said she would not have stood by the governor during his tearful admission of the affair at a June news conference.

The Sanfords have said they are trying to reconcile, though Mrs. Sanford has more recently described the couple as separated.

A legislative panel voted 6-1 Wednesday against a resolution to impeach Mr. Sanford. Lawmakers voted instead to issue a rebuke tied to the affair and investigations of his travel.


Bone drugs eyed to fight breast cancer

SAN ANTONIO | New results from a large women’s health study suggest that bone-building drugs such as Fosamax and Actonel might help prevent breast cancer.

Women who already were taking these medicines when the study began were nearly one-third less likely to develop breast cancer over the next seven years. That’s compared to women who were not on such pills.

The study by itself is not proof that these drugs can prevent cancer. More definitive studies should give a clearer picture in a year or two. Until then, doctors say women should only take these drugs if they have osteoporosis or other bone problems.

However, doctors are excited because it fits with other research last year that found one of these bisphosphonate drugs cut the chances that cancer would come back in women already treated for the disease.


Rare conifer cut down in arboretum

SEATTLE | Whoever cut down a 7-foot conifer in the Seattle Arboretum got a lot more than a typical Christmas tree.

It was a rare, imperiled species from China that may be impossible to replace.

University of Washington Botanical Gardens manager Randall Hitchin told the Seattle Times that he nurtured the tree, a Keteleeria evelyniana, since it arrived as a seedling in 1998 from Yunnan province.

The university manages the 230-acre Arboretum as a collection of 20,000 trees, shrubs and plants used in classes and educational programs.

Officials have considered fencing or dousing at-risk trees with paint or foul-smelling animal urine in an attempt to prevent them from being sawed off for Christmas.

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