- - Tuesday, July 27, 2010


18 states, D.C. are grant finalists

ATLANTA | Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have been named finalists in the second round of the federal “Race to the Top” school reform grant competition, giving them a chance to win a share of $3 billion.

Department officials provided the Associated Press with a list of the finalists ahead of a speech by Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

The states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and South Carolina.

The competition rewards ambitious reforms aimed at improving struggling schools and closing the achievement gap.

Two states, Tennessee and Delaware, were awarded a total of $600 million in the first round.


Oil spews after boat hits well

NEW ORLEANS | Oil began spewing from a damaged well north of a bay where officials have been fighting the spill from the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Coast Guard said a tow boat called Pere Ana C. hit the wellhead near Mud Lake early Tuesday. No injuries were reported.

The Coast Guard did not know who owns the small well or how much oil had leaked. But a sheen was spotted in the lake. Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts said oil was spewing from the wellhead.

Coast Guard Lt. Brian Sattler said a helicopter was dispatched to survey the area, which is accessible only by boat.

Mud Lake is part of a network of bayous and lakes north of Barataria Bay, an ecologically sensitive coastal estuary where authorities have been fighting waves of oil from the BP Gulf spill.


Oil spill affects wildlife in creek

MARSHALL TOWNSHIP | Company officials say at least 800,000 gallons of oil have leaked from a pipeline into a creek that flows into the Kalamazoo River in southwest Michigan.

Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge Inc.’s affiliate Enbridge Energy Partners LP of Houston said the cause of the leak in the 30-inch pipeline Monday is under investigation.

Enbridge and the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Management said the pipeline pumps were shut down as soon as the leak was discovered. The foul-smelling spill has killed fish and endangered other wildlife.

The pipeline carries about 8 million gallons of oil a day from Griffith, Ind., to Sarnia, Ontario.

The oil spilled into Talmadge Creek, which flows northwest into the Kalamazoo River.


Immigration law may be halted

OMAHA | Faced with expensive legal challenges, officials in the eastern Nebraska town of Fremont are considering suspending a voter-approved ban on hiring or renting property to illegal immigrants until the lawsuits are resolved.

The City Council narrowly rejected the ban in 2008, prompting supporters to gather enough signatures for the ballot measure. The ordinance, which was approved by voters last month, has divided the community. Supporters say it was necessary to make up for what they see as lax federal law enforcement and opponents argue that it could fuel discrimination.

But the council’s president, Scott Getzschman, insisted the elected body was concerned about money, not about any lack of support for the ordinance.

The city faces lawsuits from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. City officials have estimated that Fremont’s costs of implementing the ordinance — including legal fees, employee overtime and improved computer software — would average $1 million a year.


Imaging worker suspect in list case

SALT LAKE CITY | Another employee in the Utah Department of Workforce Services has been identified as the second state worker under suspicion in the distribution of a list of 1,300 purported illegal immigrants.

Government officials familiar with the investigation identified the worker Tuesday as Leah Carson. KTVX-TV first reported Miss Carson’s identity.

Miss Carson could not be reached for comment. An e-mail to her work address went unreturned. A person who answered the phone at her work number said Miss Carson no longer works there.

Department of Workforce Services spokesman Curt Stewart said he could not discuss the case.

Miss Carson works in the imaging department of the agency, which administers food stamps and other public benefits.

Mr. Stewart said the imaging department is responsible for scanning documents such as utility bills and other paperwork that would help verify customers addresses and income levels.

From wire dispatches and staff reports



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