college bans Weapons investments
Occidental College is pledging to stay away from any investments in companies that manufacture military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines for general public sale, a move activists described as a first for a U.S. college or university. "It's a statement of principle about the mission of higher education to be a voice of reason in a world of a lot of violence," said politics professor Peter Dreier, a prime mover on the issue with religious studies professor Dale Wright. Colleges and other schools should "be held to a higher standard in their investment portfolios," Dreier said. While the L.A. college's endowment does not have any such investments, its board of trustees voted recently to ensure it stays away from any such stocks in the future, according to trustees Chairman Christopher Calkins. Those assault weapons "in private hands pose a particular risk to these institutions,'' he said of college, high school and elementary campuses. ''We felt it was important to take a position on it."
This is so cheesy
Nothing like a little pizza to take the edge off … a fracking explosion. Residents of rural Bobtown were rocked by a fracking blast last week that sparked a five-day fire and apparently killed one rig worker. But just days later, Chevron, the $21 billion company that owns the fracking site, sent about 100 gift certificates to locals offering each a free large pizza and a 2-liter soda. "We are sorry to have missed you," reads an accompanying letter that promises to "achieve incident-free operations." A fire started at the Marcellus Shale gas well on Feb. 11, then the heat caused a tanker-truck explosion that "sounded like a jet engine going 5 feet above your house," said a neighbor. The blaze was so ferocious that firefighters had to fall back and police put up a half-mile perimeter around the site. The wells are still leaking natural gas into the air, and a public-health assessment has found the state's six-year fracking boom is causing a wave of illness in southwest Pennsylvania.
10-year-old snatched, killed
A middle-school football coach was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder in the death of a 10-year-old girl who was snatched off a street just blocks from her home. Craig Michael Wood is accused of kidnapping fourth-grader Hailey Owens in Springfield as she walked home from a friend's house Tuesday evening, according to Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson, who filed the charges late Wednesday afternoon. He said the girl had been shot in the head. Wood, 45, was inside a truck parked outside his small, single-story home when police arrested him Tuesday night. He was holding a roll of duct tape when officers arrived, and the girl's body was found in his basement, stuffed in two trash bags inside plastic storage containers. The floor was still damp from bleach. Springfield school officials said Wood is also teacher's aide who supervises in-school suspensions at Pleasant View School, which has students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Hailey attended Westport Elementary.
Nuke whistleblower fired
The head of nuclear safety for the cleanup of the former nuclear weapons site at Hanford was fired after allegations she made over several years that the construction project was ignoring serious safety problems. Donna Busche, an employee of San Francisco-based URS Corp., said executives told her Tuesday she was fired for "unprofessional conduct." The company denied her dismissal was punitive or connected to her criticism. Busche, a nuclear engineer and health physicist who directed a staff of 140 engineers, scientists and technicians, is at least the third senior project official at Hanford who was fired or left under duress after raising concerns about safety at the massive $13.4-billion project, which has been stalled for more than a year over concerns about its basic design.
— tbt* news services