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Schools being labelled as "dropout factories"

1 in 10 schools are 'dropout factories' - Yahoo! News

My high school had a dropout rate somewhere between 25 and 30%.

WASHINGTON - It's a nickname no principal could be proud of: "Dropout Factory," a high school where no more than 60 percent of the students who start as freshmen make it to their senior year. That description fits more than one in 10 high schools across America.

"If you're born in a neighborhood or town where the only high school is one where graduation is not the norm, how is this living in the land of equal opportunity?" asks Bob Balfanz, the Johns Hopkins researcher who coined the term "dropout factory."

There are about 1,700 regular or vocational high schools nationwide that fit that description, according to an analysis of Education Department data conducted by Johns Hopkins for The Associated Press. That's 12 percent of all such schools, about the same level as a decade ago.

While some of the missing students transferred, most dropped out, says Balfanz. The data look at senior classes for three years in a row to make sure local events like plant closures aren't to blame for the low retention rates.

Utah liquor commisioner wants all booze kept out of sight

Salt Lake Tribune - Liquor commissioner wants booze out of view

Liquor control commissioner Bobbie Coray asked her colleagues on Wednesday to consider a rule to cover up bottles of booze displayed at restaurants because some diners may be offended at the sight of alcohol.

A glass partition between bartenders and customers required under current regulations may not be enough, Coray told her fellow liquor control commissioners at their monthly meeting.

Coray, a lone holdout opposing liquor licenses for strip bars, now wants the commission to place more restrictions on glass partitions in restaurants. She called the partitions "a Zion curtain," imposed to satisfy Mormons whose faith eschews alcohol.

October 26, 2007

Pit Bulls Kill Miniature Horse Donated To Cancer-Stricken Child

Pit Bulls Kill Miniature Horse Donated To Cancer-Stricken Child - San Antonio News Story - KSAT San Antonio

AMARILLO -- A miniature horse given to a boy with brain cancer by the Make-A-Wish Foundation was killed by a pair of pit bulls who were found roaming in his yard, authorities said.

The 31-inch tall horse, Anniversary, was donated by the foundation to 3-year-old Christian Vasquez in late August.

Christian, who was diagnosed in January with a malignant form of brain cancer, received a pull cart, a blanket, a halter and a bridle set from the foundation on Saturday, said Jelaine Workman, executive director for the foundation's Amarillo chapter.

Two days later, Anniversary was found dead on his property in Pampa by Christian's father, Raul Vasquez.

The father was nearly attacked by the dogs but managed to climb a tree and call 911 on his cell phone.

Man charged with felony after taking picture of woman in Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart employee charged with taking woman's picture with cell phone

ROUND ROCK — A Wal-Mart employee was arrested Monday after he took cell phone pictures of a shopper's bottom, Round Rock police said.

The shopper said she heard a camera click behind her as she walked through the store at 4700 East Palm Valley Blvd. When she turned around, she saw 23-year-old Baldemar Vela acting as if he were talking on the phone, according to an arrest affidavit.

. . .

Vela was charged with improper photography or visual recording, a state jail felony punishable by to up to 2 years in prison.

October 25, 2007

Real Violet Blue suing Porn Violet Blue over name use

Sex Writer Violet Blue Sues Porn Star Violet Blue Over Name on Threat Level

Violet Blue, the well-known sex and sexuality writer and blogger, filed suit this week against Violet Blue, a porn actress using a stage name, alleging that Ada Mae Johnson adopted the writer's name and distinctive black, Bettie Page bangs for performances in films such as Shut Up and Blow Me #29, Whore of the Rings and Who Violet Blew.

Journalist Violet Blue, whose actual name is Violet Blue (pictured right), filed suit in a San Francisco federal court Monday, accusing Johnson of trademark violation and dilution, as well as unfair business practices. Blue wants the court to stop Johnson from using her name and to force her to pay Blue damages.

Journalist Blue writes a sex-focused column for SFGate, blogs at tinynibbles.com and was recently named one of the 25 most influential people on the web by Forbes magazine. She's also written and edited more than 15 books, ranging from Best Women's Erotica 2008 to the Ultimate Guide to Fellatio.

October 24, 2007

Arson suspected as cause of So Cal fires

Arson Investigated in California Fires

Special FBI teams gathered evidence Wednesday as part of a possible arson investigation into the wildfires devastating Southern California, the agency said.

FBI evidence response teams recovered materials they hoped would identify the source of the fires that have burned for four days. The FBI said a house was not searched, correcting earlier reports from a law enforcement official.

Richard Kolko, an FBI spokesman in Washington, said the evidence response teams "have been working with other federal, state and local authorities" to identify the source of the fires.