National Roundup

Teacher address case sent back to Pa. lower court

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The state’s largest teachers’ union on Tuesday won a second chance to have a lower court consider whether its members’ rights would be violated by disclosure of their home addresses.

The state Supreme Court ruled 5-1 to send the closely watched lawsuit by the Pennsylvania State Education Association and several of its members regarding the Right-to-Know Law back to Commonwealth Court for further proceedings.

Commonwealth Court had thrown out the lawsuit, but the justices reversed that, saying there had to be a way for the teachers to bring the Office of Open Records into court to address issues that affect them, particularly whether a personal security exception in the law should prevent disclosure.

The teachers took the Office of Open Records to court not in relation to any specific records request but in an effort to prevent future disclosure by any school district of their addresses.

Justice Thomas Saylor’s majority opinion said the Supreme Court agreed with the union that the Office of Open Records “may fairly be regarded as an indispensable party to their efforts to secure a just, timely and meaningful judicial resolution of their claims.”

EPA: Cape Cod water woes not our problem

BOSTON (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit brought by environmental groups claiming the agency is not doing enough to protect Cape Cod’s coastal waters.

The EPA said in its motion to dismiss filed Monday that the plaintiffs’ grievance is with the state and local agencies that oversee water-quality issues.

The Conservation Law Foundation and Buzzards Bay Coalition sued the EPA in federal court two years ago, alleging the agency failed to slow nitrogen pollution.

The Cape Cod Times reports that the EPA argues that it is responsible for the regulation of pollution from point sources such as pipes, but not for pollution from non-point sources such as “runoff from fields and forests.”

Buzzards Bay Coalition president Mark Rasmussen said the EPA’s position is “shameful.”

New York
AAA: 33 million  Americans plan Labor Day travel

NEW YORK (AP) — Americans plan to hit the road this Labor Day weekend despite rising gas prices.

Thirty three million people will travel 50 miles or more, a 2.9 percent increase from last year, according to AAA, a federation of auto clubs which sell vacations, insurance and lobby on behalf of car owners. That’s the highest level of travel for Labor Day since the start of the recession in late 2007.

A gallon of gas now costs an average of $3.72. That’s up about 40 cents from July 1, although still down 22 cents from the peak reached in early April. Experts say gas could rise to around $3.75 per gallon by the holiday weekend.

The overwhelming majority of travelers — 85 percent — plan to drive to their destination. Once there, they will find hotel rooms costing 4 to 6 percent higher than last year.
Families planning to get away plan to spend $749, according to an economic model done for AAA. That’s up from $702 last year.

Of those who plan to travel, 66 percent said their current financial situation would not negatively impact their Labor Day holiday weekend travel plans, 21 percent said they will cut costs in other parts of their budget, 9 percent will shorten their trip and 4 percent will cut transportation costs.

Paltrow, Roberts, Swift lined up for cancer telethon

LOS ANGELES (AP) — An A-list cast of celebrities is joining a telethon to raise money and awareness to fight cancer.

Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Samuel L. Jackson and Emma Stone are among the stars participating in the third Stand Up to Cancer telethon, the organization announced Wednesday.

Paltrow also is an executive producer for the fundraiser that will be carried commercial-free from 8-9 p.m. EDT Sept. 7 on the four major broadcast networks, ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC, and more than a dozen cable channels.

Musical performances by Taylor Swift, Coldplay, Alicia Keys and Tim McGraw are planned, and more than 25 movie, TV and sports stars will be on hand to take phone pledges, said executive producer Joel Gallen.

Laura Ziskin, founder of Stand Up to Cancer and producer of its first two telethons in 2008 and 2010, lost her seven-year fight against breast cancer last year. The “Spider-Man” movie producer was 61.

USDA eyes if bad beef has entered our food supply

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Federal regulators who shut down a Central California slaughterhouse after receiving an animal welfare video were investigating Tuesday whether beef from sick cows reached the human food supply.

The video appears to show workers bungling the slaughter of cows struggling to walk and even stand. Under federal regulations, sick animals cannot be slaughtered for human consumption.

The investigation will determine whether sick cows were slaughtered and whether meat products from the company should be recalled, a spokesman for the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service said.

The agency suspended operations Monday at Central Valley Meat Co. in Hanford after receiving the video Friday from the animal welfare group Compassion Over Killing. The footage shows animals bleeding and thrashing after being repeatedly shot in the head with a pneumatic gun in unsuccessful efforts to render them completely unconscious for slaughter.

50 buildings are destroyed in new  Calif. wildfires

MANTON, Calif. (AP) — Dozens of buildings, many of them likely homes, have been destroyed in recent days a fire burning outside the Northern California community of Manton, fire officials said Tuesday night.

Fire crews assessing the rural area determined Tuesday that 50 buildings had been destroyed, state fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said. The count included buildings burned since the fire began, but officials did not say when the structures were destroyed.

The blaze, which was sparked by lightning on Saturday has consumed more than 33 square miles and continues to threaten hundreds of homes.

Nearly 1,900 firefighters were battling the fire in rugged, densely forested terrain as it threatened 3,500 homes in the remote towns of Shingletown, Manton and Viola, about 170 miles north of Sacramento.