Headlines for Friday, February 10, 2012
- Year: 2012
- Length: 5:33 minutes (5.08 MB)
- Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)
Amid large protests, NYC pushes through school closures
In New York City thousands of protestors rallied last night at a Board of Education meeting. They’re angry about the city’s plans to close nearly two dozen so-called “failing” schools. FSRN's Jaisal Noor brings the report.
A raucous crowd of more than 2,000 students, teachers, parents and elected officials attempted to block the city from voting to close 23 schools. But their attempts failed, and the Board of Education passed the measure, which is being pushed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Audience members with the umbrella group Occupy the DOE staged Occupy Wall Street-styled mic checks, disrupting the meeting. They also organized a student and teacher general assembly to facilitate broader participation by stakeholders. Public school Parent Noah Gaubaum helped lead the protest. “It’s time that we have community involvement in our schools. Mayoral control has got to go. You cannot have one man overrule elected officials, parents teachers, students, community members and that's what’s going on.” Organizers say they now plan to occupy the closings schools. Jaisal Noor, FSRN, New York.
VA makes it legal to discriminate against LGBT adoptions
Virginia's General Assembly is continuing its assault on LGBT rights. The Senate passed a law Thursday legalizing discrimination by state-funded adoption agencies. Opponents say this not only harms gay couples, but also LGBT youth in the foster system. From Richmond, FSRN’s Brad Kutner reports.
In a 22 to 18 vote, the Virginia Senate joined the House in passing legislation that brings a discriminatory adoption policy one step closer to law. The bill allows state-funded adoption agencies to deny placement of foster kids, based on the beliefs of the agency. James Parrish of Equality Virginia says passage not only makes it more difficult for same-sex couples to adopt, but it also gives faith-based agencies the ability to place LGBT foster kids in homes that could put them in psychologically damaging situations. "This allows a faith based agency, who get a LGBT youth through the foster care system, to place that youth in a harmful home. In a home where they may be forced to go through ex-gay therapy, or conversion therapy.” If passed, the bill would still adhere to federal adoption policies, which limits adoption discrimination based on race, national origin, and religion, but not sexual orientation. Governor Bob McDonnell has made his support of the policy quite clear, and is expected to sign the bill into law. Brad Kutner, FSRN, Richmond.
Marine acquitted in suicide hazing case
A Marine Sergeant has been acquitted of charges related to the hazing of a Chinese-American soldier in Afghanistan who later committed suicide. The brief military trial wrapped up yesterday in Hawaii. FSRN’s Larry Geller reports from Honolulu.
Kaneohe Bay Marine Sergeant Benjamin Johns is the second of three Marines to face court martial in connection with the suicide of Lance Corporal Harry Lew. A military jury deliberated less than an hour before returning a “not guilty” verdict. Johns was charged with hazing and with dereliction of duty, not with Lew’s death. He was accused of ordering Lew, who had fallen asleep on sentry duty for the fourth time, to dig a foxhole as punishment. But commanders testified they had previously ordered that additional foxholes be dug. As to the hazing, the defense was able to show that upon hearing what was happening, Sgt. Johns immediately had it stopped. The trial probably would not have taken place were it not for intense political pressure from Lew’s aunt, US Representative Judy Chu of California. Defense attorney Timothy Bilecki: “Once we were inside the courtroom, we have an unbiased military judge, we have educated panel members, both officer and enlisted, and we were able to push out all the extraneous pressure from the politicians, and simply try the case.” The first Marine tried in connection with Lew’s death has already been demoted and sentenced to 30 days in jail The final accused Marine still awaits trial. Larry Geller, FSRN, Honolulu.
Court clears way for ski resort use of snow made of treated sewage water
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will allow a ski resort in Arizona to use treated sewage to make snow on public lands. The plan had raised concerns from Native and environmental groups in the state. FSRN’s Christina Aanestad has the details.
A 3-judge panel ruled against a lawsuit by environmentalists alleging the US Forest Service failed to adequately assess the environmental and health impacts of using treated sewer water to make snow. Treated sewage often contains pharmaceutical byproducts that are known to have adverse impacts on amphibians. The judges threw out the case, saying another lawsuit on the same grounds had already been decided. Plaintiff’s Attorney Howard Shanker says it’s an outrageous, biased ruling. “These plaintiffs are American citizens who are entitled to have their day in court. They have no privy with any prior plaintiffs. They filed the suit within the statue of limitations and they have a legitimate grievance.” The court said the suit was a deliberate attempt to delay the ski resort’s plans. Shanker says the previous suit upheld the environmental challenges, but was thrown out on a technicality. “So why shouldn’t this issue be resolved on its merits? It makes no sense.” Shanker says his clients can appeal the decision, but it’s unlikely they will see victory. Christina Aanestad, FSRN.