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"Deliver' teacher says he's quitting

LOS ANGELES _ Taking aim at what he called the "ingratitude" of fellow teachers and at parents who do not value academic achievement, celebrated math instructor Jaime Escalante said Wednesday he will resign from the Garfield High School faculty. Escalante, 59, whose unorthodox methods brought national acclaim to his faltering Los Angeles high school, said he may leave Garfield as early as June. His success teaching calculus to inner-city Latino youngsters was the subject of the 1988 movie Stand and Deliver. Escalante said the "No. 1" reason for his unhappiness is a handful of letters he received recently from parents who said their children want to drop advanced mathematics classes. In some cases, students were said to prefer sports. Some teachers speculated that Escalante may be grandstanding for more resources for the calculus program.

Ex-carrier pleads guilty in dog death

LOS ANGELES _ A former letter carrier who shot a family dog while delivering mail in a San Fernando Valley neighborhood has pleaded guilty to a charge of cruelty to animals. Floyd B. Sterling, 34, admitted that he killed Skippy, a 2-year-old German shepherd owned by the family of Tammie Brody in Arleta. In return for the guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to dismiss two gun charges. Sterling faces a maximum sentence of one year in county jail. He has been fired from his $29,775-a-year position and is challenging his dismissal.

Pasadena bans pesticide copters

LOS ANGELES _ Pasadena joined the revolt by Southern California cities against state spraying of the Medfly pesticide, pushing through a ban Wednesday on low-flying nighttime helicopter formations. The ban was the most aggressive of local efforts to halt spraying of malathion. Other cities have gone to court in hopes of doing the same. Opponents say too little is known about the health effects of malathion. However, the ban faces an uphill battle because Gov. George Deukmejian has declared a state of emergency in response to the crop-destroying Mediterranean fruit fly, and the declaration supersedes local ordinances, said Dr. Isi Siddiqui, assistant director of the state Department of Food and Agriculture.