- The Washington Times - Friday, November 20, 2009

CALIFORNIA

Kerry’s daughter arrested on DUI

LOS ANGELES | The daughter of Sen. John Kerry was arrested Thursday in Hollywood for allegedly driving drunk.

Alexandra Kerry, 36, was stopped by officers about 12:40 a.m. and booked at the Hollywood police station for investigation of driving under the influence, Officer April Harding said.

She was held for about five hours and released about 5:30 a.m. after posting $5,000 bail, Officer Harding said.

Kerry spokeswoman Jodi Seth said the senator’s daughter was pulled over for an expired registration and was released after a breathalyzer test showed her blood-alcohol level was under the legal limit.

ILLINOIS

Cemetery reopens after grave scheme

ALSIP | A Chicago-area cemetery that was shut down after four former workers were accused of digging up graves in a scheme to resell burial plots is open again.

Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip reopened Thursday morning. People boarded a bus across the street and were then driven into the cemetery to visit the graves of loved ones.

The historic black cemetery had been closed for nearly four months after authorities arrested the four workers and began searching the grounds. They found more than 1,100 human bones, some strewn among overgrown weeds.

IOWA

Some charges cut in slaughterhouse case

IOWA CITY | A federal judge has dismissed dozens of immigration violations against the former manager of kosher slaughterhouse in Iowa.

Former Agriprocessors Inc. manager Sholom Rubashkin was set to face 72 immigration violations at a trial to start Dec. 2. Prosecutors asked U.S. District Court Judge Linda Reade on Thursday to dismiss the charges, and she agreed in an order filed hours later.

Rubashkin was convicted of 86 financial fraud charges last week. The financial and immigration charges followed a massive immigration raid at the Agriprocessors plant in Postville, Iowa, in May 2008.

No sentencing date has been set for Rubashkin’s financial fraud conviction.

MINNESOTA

Company: Bus driver had aneurysm

MINNEAPOLIS | A tour bus driver suffered a ruptured aneurysm just before the bus veered off a southern Minnesota interstate and crashed, killing two people and injuring 20, the owner of the bus company said Thursday. State officials said they couldn’t confirm the aneurysm and it was too early to know the cause of the crash.

Ed Erickson, 52, of Elgin, was driving a group of mostly older passengers home from a day trip to an Iowa casino Wednesday when the bus swerved off Interstate 90 and rolled in the ditch near Austin.

A passenger said Mr. Erickson’s body shook and he slumped over the wheel, Dalmer Strain, owner of Strain Bus Line, told KSTP-TV.

MONTANA

Yellowstone grizzly kept on save list

BILLINGS | A judge said the government must keep Yellowstone-area grizzly bears on the list of threatened and endangered species, denying an attempt by federal officials to reverse an earlier court ruling.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service two years ago said grizzlies in and around Yellowstone National Park had recovered from near-extermination and no longer needed protections under the Endangered Species Act.

But in September, U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy said climate change and lax regulations threatened to undermine the bears’ recovery. After Judge Molloy ordered the animals back onto the threatened list, government attorneys asked that he reconsider, saying the bear would thrive without sweeping federal protections.

In an order Tuesday, Judge Molloy rejected the government’s argument and confirmed his earlier ruling.

NEW YORK

Court OKs benefits in gay marriages

ALBANY | New York’s top court ruled Thursday that gay couples legally married elsewhere are entitled to some government benefits, boosting stalled legislative efforts to legalize same-sex marriage.

The Court of Appeals rejected a Christian legal group’s argument that same-sex marriage was akin to incest and polygamy, although the court avoided declaring that gay couples are entitled to all the rights of other married couples.

The 4-3 decision was on the narrow question of benefits; the court did not address whether the state must recognize same-sex marriage but encouraged the Legislature to settle the issue.

WASHINGTON

Schools given $335 million

SEATTLE | Three school districts and a coalition of charter schools have agreed to be test kitchens for some radical ideas for improving teacher quality.

In exchange, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gave them the biggest pile of cash it has spent on education reform in about a decade.

On Thursday, the foundation announced $290 million in grants to the four groups, plus another $45 million for education research aimed at uncovering what exactly is an effective teacher.

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