View Mobile Site

Nation news briefs

Text Size: Small Large Medium
POSTED February 25, 2013 8:59 p.m.

UTAH FACES REVENUE GAP AS STUDENTS GO ON MISSIONS: SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah lawmakers are considering a measure that would allow state universities to give high-performing out-of-state students in-state tuition as the state aims to fill a revenue gap created by an unprecedented exodus of students on Mormon missions.

A House committee hearing is set for Monday afternoon.

Mission applications have doubled since The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced in October it was lowering the minimum age for missionaries: from 21 to 19 for women; and from 19 to 18 for men.

Enrollment is down at eight colleges and universities in Utah this spring semester as new, younger missionaries prepare for missions at the same time as older missionaries who were already planning to go.

OHIO DIOCESE: NO BIAS VS. UNMARRIED PREGNANT WOMAN: CINCINNATI (AP) — A Roman Catholic archdiocese in Ohio has denied discriminating against an unmarried Catholic school teacher who says she was fired because she was pregnant.

The Cincinnati Archdiocese filed its response to Kathleen Quinlan's lawsuit Monday. It says there is no factual basis for her discrimination claims and asks that her lawsuit be dismissed.

Quinlan taught at a Catholic school in Kettering in suburban Dayton. She sued in December saying her firing was discriminatory because men who engage in premarital sex don't face the same consequences.

The archdiocese response says Quinlan violated her contract. It also says a "ministerial exception" doctrine providing constitutional protection of freedom of religion bars her lawsuit.

Her attorney has said Quinlan wasn't a ministerial employee and wasn't subject to a "morality clause."

MAINE MAN CAN WHISTLE, BUT HE MUST KEEP MOVING: PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A man charged with disorderly conduct for his loud whistling in downtown Portland has reached a deal with the city — he can whistle, but he can't linger in one spot.

Robert Smith, of Westbrook, has been cited by police twice in the past year after businesses complained. He pleaded guilty last summer and reached a deal with the city in which he can keep whistling as long as he's moving.

Smith maintains that his whistling — audible a block away — is protected free speech and usually brings smiles.

"God is showing me what I'm doing is OK," he told The Portland Press Herald. "He shows me every day with laughter."

But downtown businesses have complained about the 32-year-old Smith's never-ending noise-making.

Janis Beitzer, of the Portland Downtown District, understands why some business owners are upset.

"Just like if somebody plays an instrument in front of your business or has the radio on constantly, it's irritating," Beitzer said.

Smith said he works a construction job during the summer, but when he's not working he usually takes a bus into Portland and walks downtown streets from about 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., wearing a baseball cap, wrap-around sunglasses and a backpack while listening to classic rock and oldies through his headphones.

As he walks the streets, some people laugh and smile. But others scowl or roll their eyes in disgust, making rude comments after passing by.

In a plea agreement last summer, Smith pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and agreed to no longer whistle while standing in one place. As long as he's walking while he whistles, authorities agreed not to bother him.

The prosecutor, Trish McAllister, disagreed that Smith's whistling is protected by the First Amendment. A Portland city ordinance says whistling, hooting and other unnecessary noises that "annoy, disturb or injure the health, peace or safety of others" are forms of disorderly conduct.

"The judge and I viewed this as a behavioral issue," she said. "(Smith) was aggressive. He would follow people who gave him a wrong look."

NYC NEIGHBORHOOD HIT BY SANDY CHOSEN FOR BUYOUTS: NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City oceanfront neighborhood where three people died during Superstorm Sandy will be the first to get state-sponsored home buyouts.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlined the planned program during a visit on Monday to Staten Island, where Oakwood Beach is located.

The program calls for the state to pay 100 percent of the pre-storm value for the homes there. Residents who move elsewhere on Staten Island will be eligible for a 5 percent bonus.

So far, 141 of the roughly 200 homeowners in the targeted area have asked for buyouts.

TOWN TRIES TO SCARE BIRDS WITH WATER TOWER CARCASS: SANDERSVILLE, Ga. (AP) — A central Georgia town plans to adorn its water tower with a buzzard carcass -- and it's not an attempt to attract tourists.

Rather, Sandersville hopes to scare off live buzzards that plague the area by relieving themselves on cellphone antennas.

The Telegraph reports (http://bit.ly/XW8FiA) that the town will use a buzzard carcass made with real wings and tail feathers to ward off the real birds. The carcass is sold by the Department of Agriculture for $125.

Officials said the carcass should be in place on the Sandersville skyline as soon as a worker from the phone company can mount it in place.

THE ONION APOLOGIZES FOR OFFENSIVE ACTRESS TWEET: NEW YORK (AP) — The Onion is apologizing for calling the 9-year-old star of "Beasts of the Southern Wild" a vulgar and offensive name on Twitter, an attack that led to a firestorm online.

The satirical newspaper on Sunday referred to Quvenzhane Wallis with an expletive intended to denigrate women. The Onion was lambasted overnight and asked for forgiveness Monday.

"It was crude and offensive — not to mention inconsistent with The Onion's commitment to parody and satire, however biting," The Onion CEO Steve Hannah wrote on Facebook. "No person should be subjected to such a senseless, humorless comment masquerading as satire."

Hannah said the offensive tweet was taken down within an hour and the newspaper has "instituted new and tighter Twitter procedures" to ensure it will never happen again. Those responsible would be disciplined, he added.

"Miss Wallis, you are young and talented and deserve better. All of us at The Onion are deeply sorry."

The Onion's original tweet brought some calls for the fake news organization to publicly identify the writer of the tweet, vows to refuse to retweet its material, and requests from outraged consumers to email The Onion to complain.

 

Commenting is not available.

Commenting not available.

Please wait ...