National Briefs: Phila. schools deficit grows
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PHILADELPHIA -- Stung by having less city money than planned, and bracing for a loss in revenue from property-tax appeals, the Philadelphia School District's budget hole has grown by as much as $64 million, officials said Friday.
Previously projected at $218 million, the 2012-13 budget gap is now anywhere from $255 million to $282 million. The district had been banking on $94 million in new city money -- the amount Mayor Michael Nutter had proposed would come through Actual Value Initiative, his tax-reassessment plan -- but a skeptical City Council delayed AVI and ultimately gave $40 million, some of that with conditions.
Rather than make further cuts or borrow more, the district hopes to make up the lost revenues by going after delinquent taxes. But those are not sure things, officials said.
NEW YORK -- Rep. Charles B. Rangel maintained a nearly 1,000-vote lead Saturday after election officials finished a hand count of the ballots in the June Democratic primary, giving him an edge in his bid for a 22nd term in the House.
After the New York City Board of Elections finished counting several thousand provisional and absentee ballots Friday, it turned to ballots that had been declared invalid but, after challenges from the candidates, were reinstated. In the end, Mr. Rangel, with 18,940 votes, had a lead of 990 over his main rival, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, who had 17,950 votes.
RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia is exceeding milestones to reduce wastewater pollution into the Chesapeake Bay, showing restoration can be achieved, the McDonnell administration said Friday.
Gov. Bob McDonnell said the state achieved significant reductions in nitrogen and phosphorus in wastewater ahead of two-year milestones intended to measure the progress of the cleanup overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency. Those elements are among pollutants that have fouled the bay after decades of neglect by the states.
LOS ANGELES -- A parasite called Toxoplasma gondii -- carried by about 10 to 20 percent of Americans, who can get it by changing litter used by infected cats or eating undercooked meat from an animal carrying the bug -- appears to increase the risk of suicide among women, research shows.
A study published Monday in the Archives of General Psychiatry seems to confirm the link by examining infection rates and suicide attempts in thousands of women in Denmark. The study showed 1 percent of women tried to take their lives.
But women with T. gondii infections were 53 percent more likely to attempt suicide than women who were not infected. Moreover, researchers found the women carrying the highest levels of T. gondii in their bloodstreams having a 90 percent increased rate of attempted suicides compared with women who were not infected.
SALT LAKE CITY -- A 4-year-old Utah boy was trying to make other children smile for a photograph when a 6-foot-tall tombstone that weighed hundreds of pounds fell on him and killed him at a historic cemetery in the resort town of Park City on Thursday evening, family members and friends said.
The boy's grandmother Geri Gibbs told The Associated Press it took three men to pull the heavy slab off Carson Dean Cheney, and rescuers "did everything they could possibly do." The child suffered injuries to his head, chest and abdomen and was taken to the nearby Park City Medical Center, where he died a short time later. Investigators were probing the incident.
First Published July 8, 2012 12:35 am