- - Monday, June 6, 2011


Bus with students hits semi; dozens hurt

MOBILE A charter bus full of teenagers from Texas collided with an overturned tractor-trailer rig on a dark stretch of Interstate 10 near the Mississippi line early Monday, injuring about two dozen people.

One passenger was listed in serious condition, authorities said, but the rest of the injuries were thought to be relatively minor cuts and bruises.

Greg Eubanks, an Alabama state trooper spokesman in Mobile, said a bus carrying 48 teenagers and two chaperones from Del Rio, Texas, to Orlando, Fla., slammed into the trailer of an 18-wheeler moments after it overturned just a few miles inside Alabama on I-10 about 12:30 a.m.

Kelt Cooper, superintendent of the San Felipe Del Rio Consolidated Independent School District, said 98 Del Rio High School students, mostly band members, were on the two chartered buses for a non-school sponsored trip. The truck flipped so quickly the bus couldn’t avoid it, he said.

State troopers said 22 people were hurt.


Foes of Chinese-language class drop recall effort

HACIENDA HEIGHTS City residents have abandoned efforts to recall four members of their five-person school board over their support for a language program funded by the Chinese government.

Recall petition organizer Rudolph Obad said Monday that he and the other opponents of the so-called Confucius Classroom language program decided to use their funding to support sympathetic candidates in an upcoming school board election instead.

Four Hacienda La Puente Unified School Board members voted last year to accept funding and books for the program as part of an agreement with a Chinese government education agency.

A notice circulated by the recall backers accused the members of believing that the U.S. will be subservient to China and manipulating students to serve China’s government, among other allegations.


State sued over ban of doctors asking about guns

TALLAHASSEE The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence is suing to overturn Florida’s new law that bans doctors from asking patients about gun ownership.

The center filed the suit Monday in a Miami federal court on behalf of three doctors and three physicians groups. They claim the law violates doctors’ First Amendment rights to provide patients with information and advice on how to reduce risks from firearms.

The law’s supporters say it’s designed to protect patients’ privacy as well as their Second Amendment right to bear arms.

The Brady Center threatened to sue just hours before Gov. Rick Scott signed the bill last week. The Republican governor is named in the suit along with Secretary of State Kurt Browning, Surgeon General Frank Farmer and other state health officials.


CDC: Gay, bisexual teens do riskier things

ATLANTA Gay and bisexual high school students are more likely than their heterosexual classmates to smoke, drink alcohol or do other risky things, according to a government study released Monday.

Based on anonymous surveys of 156,000 high school students from 2001 to 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that nonheterosexual youth reported worse behavior in most risk categories.

“Many risk behaviors are related to how people feel about themselves and the environment they’re in,” said lead author Laura Kann of the CDC’s division of adolescent and school health, who presented the findings at a first Department of Education summit for lesbian, gay and bisexual youth in Washington.

The study asks all states to include questions on sexual identity and sex of sexual contacts in their health-risk behavior surveys. The study’s core data came from five states and four city school systems.


Casino to add bustier-clad dealers

ATLANTIC CITY Soon it might be more difficult to concentrate on the cards at one Atlantic City casino.

The Tropicana Casino and Resort is creating a new “party pit” near its Rumba Lounge nightclub where female blackjack and roulette dealers will wear bustiers and stockings.

It’s part of a trend in the nation’s second-largest gambling market to emphasize sex as the competition for the gambling dollar grows ever fiercer.

Steve Callender, the Tropicana’s vice president of casino operations, said the casino is in the process of hiring dealers “with great personalities that look nice” to work in the new pit. Existing dealers will not be required to wear the revealing costumes.

The new pit will be right next to the Rumba Lounge, a nightclub on the casino floor where scantily clad dancers work two V-shaped stages on weekend nights.

The six blackjack and two roulette tables in the “party pit” will debut over the July 4th weekend.


Jilted ex-boyfriend puts up abortion billboard

ALAMOGORDO A New Mexico man’s decision to lash out with a billboard ad saying his former girlfriend had an abortion against his wishes has touched off a court battle over free speech and privacy rights.

The sign on Alamogordo’s main thoroughfare shows the 35-year-old man holding the outline of an infant. The text reads, “This Would Have Been A Picture Of My 2-Month Old Baby If The Mother Has Decided To Not KILL Our Child!”

The man’s former girlfriend has taken him to court for harassment and violation of privacy. A domestic court official has recommended the billboard be removed.

But the man’s attorney argues the order violates his client’s free-speech rights.

The woman’s friends say she had a miscarriage, not an abortion.


2 women linked to immigrant list plead guilty

MIDVALE Two former state workers pleaded guilty Monday to their roles in the release of a list of 1,300 purported illegal immigrants that created panic among Utah’s Hispanic community last year.

Teresa Bassett, 59, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of computer crimes, despite maintaining her innocence during a hearing in 3rd District Court in Salt Lake City. Bassett recently changed her name to London Grace Wellington.

Earlier Monday, her co-defendant, Leah Carson, 32, pleaded guilty to making a false statement by an unemployment compensation agent, a misdemeanor. She will serve one year of probation and pay a $440 fine.

Both worked for the Utah Department of Workforce Services when they allegedly compiled the list from people who had applied for benefits. It was anonymously sent to law enforcement and media, along with a note demanding the deportation of those listed.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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