Local Districts to Get More Power over Delinquent P-S Parents

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A bill approved by the Legislature and headed to Gov. Terry Branstad would give school districts more authority in dealing with parents who enroll their children in the state’s voluntary preschool program but then fail to bring the youths to class.  

The measure would allow school districts to require that children enrolled in preschool attend regularly. School boards could designate the number of days preschoolers must attend and reprimand parents of chronically absent children. Supporters say the measure is needed because many districts have waiting lists for preschool. If parents enroll their children but don’t bring them to school, they’re still taking spots that could go to others. Continue Reading

Pope Appoints Panel of Nine for Advice on Reform

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has named nine cardinals to advise him on running the church and reforming the Vatican bureaucracy.  

The Vatican announced Saturday the members of the advisory panel and said they would hold their first meeting Oct. 1-3. They include current Vatican officials but more importantly cardinals from Europe, the Americas, Australia and Asia. In the run-up to the conclave, a reform of the Vatican bureaucracy was a constant drumbeat, as well as calls for making the Vatican more responsive to the needs of bishops around the world. Continue Reading

Secretary Kerry Asks Chinese for Help with N. Korea

BEIJING (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry met with top Chinese officials today, asking for Beijing’s help to cool North Korea’s recent stream of threats and aggressive rhetoric.  

Earlier, in South Korea, Kerry said an expected North Korean test of a mid-range missile would be a big mistake. As North Korea prepares the potential missile test and issues threats almost daily, the Obama administration is hoping yet again that China can force its unruly neighbor to stand down. The results from such efforts have been uneven. U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, say that if the test missile is launched and the trajectory suggests that it could be a threat to either the U.S. or allies, the military would move to shoot it down. Continue Reading

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President Proposing Higher Medicare Premiums for Higher Incomes

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama’s recently released budget proposes raising Medicare premiums for individual retirees making more than $85,000 and couples making more than $170,000.  

It would also freeze the indexing for inflation of those income thresholds, so eventually 1 in 4 retirees will have to pay more. Right now only about 1 in 20 pays the higher rate. The higher premiums surprised a retired city worker from Albuquerque, Sheila Pugach. She says she’s paying about $500 a year more in premiums for Medicare outpatient and drug coverage, all because required withdrawals from her retirement savings bumped her into a higher income bracket. Continue Reading

Another juror released from Arias murder trial

A juror was released Friday from the high-profile Jodi Arias murder trial, the second jury member to be dismissed this month. Maricopa County Superior Court officials said Juror No. 11 was excused because of health reasons. Another juror was dismissed on April 2 for misconduct for allegedly making statements that showed a bias. That leaves the jury with 11 men and six women. Continue Reading

Dealer auctions ex-LAPD cop's gun for donation

A southern Nevada gun dealer wants to auction a handgun once owned by a rogue former LAPD officer who killed four people and fatally shot himself during a manhunt in February. George Bramlett, owner of Bargain Pawn, said he plans to donate the money to the families of two California police officers Dorner killed. But administrators handling the funds for San Bernardino County Sheriff Deputy Jeremiah MacKay and Riverside police Officer Michael Crain say the families don’t want the money. Bramlett posted the gun for auction Tuesday on a website, gunbroker.com, along with images of the sales receipt listing Dorner’s date of birth, California driver’s license number and La Palma, Calif., address. Bramlett bought the .38 special revolver from Dorner in January for $50. Continue Reading

Dealer auctions ex-LAPD cop's gun for donation

A southern Nevada gun dealer wants to auction a handgun once owned by a rogue former LAPD officer who killed four people and fatally shot himself during a manhunt in February. George Bramlett, owner of Bargain Pawn, said he plans to donate the money to the families of two California police officers Dorner killed. But administrators handling the funds for San Bernardino County Sheriff Deputy Jeremiah MacKay and Riverside police Officer Michael Crain say the families don’t want the money. Bramlett posted the gun for auction Tuesday on a website, gunbroker.com, along with images of the sales receipt listing Dorner’s date of birth, California driver’s license number and La Palma, Calif., address. Bramlett bought the .38 special revolver from Dorner in January for $50. Continue Reading

Authorities search home of former justice of the peace in murdered Texas DA investigation

Federal and local authorities searched the home of a former North Texas justice of the peace on Friday as part of an investigation into the slayings of the local district attorney and his wife. Agents were seen entering the home of former Kaufman County justice of the peace Eric Williams, who was prosecuted last year for theft by the district attorney’s office. Williams was convicted and lost his position. Williams has denied any role in the deaths of District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, who were found dead in their home on March 30. Two months earlier, a prosecutor in McLelland’s office, Mark Hasse, was fatally shot as he was leaving work in Kaufman, about 30 miles southeast of Dallas. Continue Reading

Another juror released from Arias murder trial

Another juror has been released from the high-profile Jodi Arias murder trial in Phoenix. Maricopa County Superior Court officials say Juror No. 11 was excused Friday because of health reasons. Last week, another juror was dismissed for allegedly taking about the trial outside of court. That leaves the jury with 11 men and six women. Continue Reading