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Metallica spreads $1M donation across 10 community colleges

Nothing else matters to Metallica when it comes to furthering education.

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The heavy metal rockers donated $100,000 each to 10 community colleges across the country as part of its Within My Hands Foundation, the Houston Chronicle reported.

The nonprofit organization, formed in 2017, was established to support workforce education, the fight against hunger and other services, KUTV reported.

"Ten colleges from across the country will receive $100,000 to support more than 1,000 students training to enter the American workforce," the band said in a news release. "These students will become the first cohort of Metallica Scholars."

The 10 schools are:

  • Central Piedmont Community College, Charlotte, North Carolina

  • Clackamas Community College, Oregon City, Oregon

  • College of Lake County, Grayslake, Illinois

  • Community College of Baltimore County, Baltimore

  • Gateway Technical College, Kenosha, Wisconsin

  • Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Rapids, Michigan

  • Lone Star College, The Woodlands, Texas

  • North Idaho College, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

  • Spokane Community College, Spokane, Washington

  • Wichita State University Campus of Applied Sciences and Technology, Wichita, Kansas

Ex-Lehigh University student accused of trying to poison roommate

A former Lehigh University student is accused of trying to poison his roommate by tainting his food and drink with deadly chemicals, The Morning Call reported.

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Yukai Yang, a chemistry major, is accused of attempted murder following several months of investigations in a case District Attorney John Morganelli called “weird and bizarre,” the newspaper reported.

Yang, 22, was charged Thursday with attempted homicide, aggravated assault, simple assault and reckless endangerment, The Washington Post reported. He is in Northampton County Prison and bond was set at $200,000, Lehigh Valley Live reported. His student visa has been revoked, prosecutors told the newspaper. 

According to prosecutors, Yang was putting thallium into Juwan Royal’s food and drink -- including in his milk and mouthwash -- the Morning Call reported.

There does not appear to a motive, as Yang and Royal had lived together for several years without incident, the newspaper reported. Royal graduated this spring.

“Mr. Royal was as somewhat dumbfounded by this as anyone else,” Assistant District Attorney Abraham Kassis told reporters. “He believed they had a fairly cordial relationship as roommates.”

Royal first reported symptoms March 18 when he called campus police and said he was feeling dizzy, WPVI reported. He called authorities again March 29, telling police he had been throwing up for 45 minutes and felt “very shaky,” the television station reported.

On April 5, police came to Royal’s dorm room after racist graffiti was written on his desk and his television set was damaged, the Morning Call reported. Yang was arrested the next day and charged with ethnic intimidation against Royal, who is black, the newspaper reported.

In an interview with investigators May 25, Yang admitted he used the internet to purchase chemicals, including, thallium, and mixing them into foods and drinks he stored in a refrigerator he shared with Royal, Morganelli told reporters. But Yang claimed he intended to harm himself with the chemicals, “if he did poorly on future exams,” the Morning Call reported.

“The Lehigh University Police Department has worked closely with the District Attorney’s Office on the investigation and will continue to do so. From the outset, our concern has been the health and safety of the victim of these alleged behaviors and, as such, Lehigh staff and faculty have been providing support, services and assistance,” Lehigh spokeswoman Lori Friedman said in a statement.

Former teacher gets 3 years for having sex with 14-year-old student

A former Florida middle school teacher was sentenced Wednesday to time in jail as well as community service for having sex with a 14-year-old student. 

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A Volusia County judge sentenced Stephanie Peterson to three years in prison and two years of community service.

Prior to learning her fate, Peterson read a statement to the court. She explained how she tried to use an earring to kill herself when she was arrested in February

“Every day I wake up and ask, ‘What have I done?’ Every day I pray I will be forgiven,” Peterson said.

Peterson said she's battled with bipolar disorder and depression. She went on to apologize to the 14-year-old student and called it the worst mistake of her entire life.

According to deputies, the eighth-grade New Smyrna Beach Middle School student told detectives that Peterson would send him nude photos, and would go to his home at night, picking him up at about 11 p.m. and bringing him back hours later, the release said.

>> Teacher accused of having sex with eighth-grader

Detectives said the teen told them that Peterson asked him not to tell anyone about their relationship or they would get into trouble. The teen also said Peterson bought him marijuana and bowls for smoking it. He said that his grades suffered after the relationship started.

After the sentencing, the victim’s mother called Peterson a predator who took advantage of her son. The boy's mother said her son is teased by other students about what happened. He lost many of his friends and isolated himself from others.

She says the anger and fear he feels from being around the school kept him from going to his stepsister's dance recital there two weeks ago.

“Moments where he hated himself and what happened to him to the point where it gets overwhelming he turned to self-destruction,” said the mother, who is not being identified to protect the victim. “How is any 14-year-old supposed to emotionally handle that?”

Peterson will have to register as a sex offender. The judge is still allowing her to be around her niece and nephew.

‘It just dragged me:’ Pit bull bites third-graders after escaping from Seattle home

pit bull escaped a Seattle home and bit a third-grade girl inside nearby St. Therese Catholic Academy on Thursday. 

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St. Therese Catholic Academy is an elementary and middle school.

“(It) jumped on one of my friends and started attacking me,” said Doris Dickerson, the 8-year-old who was attacked and bitten on her head and hand. “It just dragged me.”

Dickerson is related to KIRO 7 reporter Michael Spears. Her mother took her to the hospital, where she spent much of the day. She was released Thursday night with stitches in her face and hand.

All three students are expected to be OK.

“Screaming and then my teacher was trying to get the dog away from me,” said Dickerson, who had been in a hallway on a bathroom break when the dog got inside the school.

Police said two dogs managed to get loose from a nearby residence and entered the school grounds as students were ending their recess period. Two other students also received several minor bites. 

Animal control investigators are conducting a follow-up investigation. Click here for more information on the incident from the Seattle Police Department.

Huggable moment: Kindergartners' daily greeting goes viral

Hugs can go a long way toward making someone’s day happy.

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That’s the idea behind a viral video shot at a kindergarten class in northwest Wisconsin, KARE reported. It was a huggable moment by students that has been viewed more than 10 million times on social media.

The reaction to the video on Facebook, shot at an elementary school in the tiny village of Birchwood, surprised Nicole Schlapper, the teacher who came up with the idea.

“It’s incredible,” Schlapper told KARE. “Within a few days it went crazy.”

The video shows Schlapper’s students choosing the way they wanted to be welcomed to class. The choices included a handshake, a fist bump, a wave, a high-five or a hug.

On the day Schlapper recorded her video, the assigned greeter was 5-year-old Colin Baker. In the video, most of his classmates chose to hug Colin.

“He’s so loving,” Schlapper told KARE. “He loves hugs.”

Schlapper told the television station she began using the greeting this school year, and said she liked the idea that her students had a choice.

“I think some mornings for them at home might not be easy,” Schlapper told KARE. “Maybe they don’t want a hug that day, maybe just a simple wave is all they need. We just want it to be a good, positive start to the day.”

Georgia teacher's assistant accused of pushing child to floor

Georgia police said they are investigating after a paraprofessional at McNair Discovery Learning Academy was arrested on simple battery charges.

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The incident happened Dec. 7.

Carlas Smith, 47, is accused of using her hands to push a 10-year-old student in the chest, causing the victim to fall to the floor, according to DeKalb County police. The woman initially approached the child in a provoking way, according to a warrant.

The warrant did not provide any other details on what led up to the incident.

Smith was arrested Thursday and later appeared before a judge.

Some parents said the woman was friendly and competent, especially on field trips. Her arrest is something they never expected.

"I think it's upsetting," one parent said.

DeKalb County Schools has not commented on the incident.

Florida law requires 'In God We Trust' to be displayed in all schools

A bill signed into law by Florida Gov. Rick Scott in March now means students will see “In God We Trust” displayed at all schools in the state.

WPTV reported that the law requires the state motto to be shown in a “conspicuous place.”

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According to state statute 1003.44, “Each district school board shall adopt rules to require, in all of the schools of the district and in each building used by the district school board, the display of the state motto, ‘In God We Trust,’ designated under s. 15.0301, in a conspicuous place.”

According to the Florida Department of State, “In God We Trust” was adopted by the state legislature as part of the state seal in 1868. It was officially designated as Florida’s state motto in 2006.

Officials: Georgia PE teacher resigns after accidentally showing porn in class

A physical education teacher in Georgia resigned after he accidentally showed pornographic images in class, WSB reported. 

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The sixth-grade teacher meant to show Sandy Springs Charter Middle School students an instructional video Tuesday from his personal laptop, WSB reported. 

Instead, officials said, “a few seconds” of porn were displayed on the screen. 

Fulton County Schools officials investigated the teacher, who eventually submitted a letter of resignation, WSB reported. 

“It is our expectation that teachers and staff maintain a safe and appropriate instructional environment for all students,” a Fulton County Schools official said in a statement to the news station. “Our focus will continue to be student achievement and the safety or our students and staff.”

The teacher’s name was not released

Children find Spirit Airlines pilot, wife dead in apparent overdose

Four children found their parents – including their airline pilot father – dead Thursday in their Centerville, Ohio, home in what investigators said appears to be the latest incident in a scourge of drug deaths plaguing Montgomery County and Ohio.

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The husband, Brian Halye, was an active pilot for Spirit Airlines, flying for them nine years, and captaining a passenger jet as recently as last Friday.

He and his wife, Courtney Halye, were found in a bedroom of their home on East Von Dette Circle, a suburban cul-de-sac.

RELATED: Centerville pilot, wife deaths may be fentanyl-related

The deaths appear “drug related due to paraphernalia found at the scene,” Centerville Police Officer John Davis said. Ken Betz, director of the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office, said the incident resembles other opioid cases and “could be consistent with what we’re seeing with fentanyl products in our community.”

“We’ve been talking about this for how long now?” Betz said by phone. “Here I go again … year-to-date, accidental drug overdoses exceeded 160 already this year.”

Official causes of death for the couple have not been released, as a full medical exam will be performed today.

‘They were very cold’

The couple each had two children from previous marriages. In two 911 calls to Centerville police shortly before 8 a.m., the children ages 9 to 13 told dispatchers their parents are on the floor and “not waking up.”

“They were very cold,” said the oldest child, politely answering “yes, ma’am” to the dispatcher as his sisters cried in the background.

The children ran outside the home to relatives as police conducted an investigation. By 10:30, police and emergency response vehicles cleared the usually tranquil neighborhood.

The Halyes purchased their home in summer 2013. The neighborhood, Pellbrook Farm, is just southwest of the Ohio 725-Wilmington Pike intersection. The quiet suburban cul-de-sac features homes valued around $150,000 to $225,000.

Warren County Court records show Brian Halye was divorced in 2011 in a shared parenting case. Courtney Halye was convicted of a felony drug possession charge in 2009, but the case was expunged. Her previous husband Jacob Castor, the father of two of the children, died in 2007 at age 27.

Neighbors were stunned by Thursday’s news.

“There’s never much activity going on over there,” said a neighbor, who declined to be named. Added another neighbor, “That’s what surprises us, because he was an airline pilot, and he flew for Spirit.”

Pilot flew last week

Halye last flew for Spirit on Friday, according to the “ultra low fares” carrier. The pilot’s social media accounts indicate he was based at its Detroit operations center. The airline does not provide service to Dayton International Airport.

“Captain Halye served at the airline for just over nine years,” Paul Berry, the company’s spokesman, said in a statement expressing the company’s sympathies to his family, friends and colleagues.

The Dayton Daily News asked Spirit Airlines officials to provide more details about Halye’s last-flown routes and upcoming flights, as well as the dates and results of any drug screenings. Spirit declined to answer.

Federal regulations require employers to administer drug and alcohol testing in pre-employment, reasonable suspicion, random, post-accident, reasonable cause and follow-up situations, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Elizabeth Cory said.

MORE: Spirit Airlines pilot suspected in OD flew 6 days ago

Pilots must hold valid medical certificates in order to fly. The Airline Transport Pilot certificate, which Halye held, requires a first-class medical certificate, which must be updated every 12 months for a pilot under the age of 40. Halye was 36.

The FAA database lists Halye’s medical certificate date as September, 2011, which would mean the certificate expired more than four years ago. Asked to double check, Cory said Halye’s certificate was up-to-date, with it due to expire this fall.

“I’m not sure why the online database does not have that information,” Cory said in an email to the Dayton Daily News. “The system could be in the process of update.”

Dr. Richard Garrison is among the doctors who conducts such tests locally. Garrison said that exam is roughly similar to an annual physical, and also includes vision testing and EKG heart tests for pilots over a certain age. But he said those exams do not include substance-abuse testing.

Drug issues everywhere

Multiple-death overdoses at a single site happened at least four times in Montgomery County in 2016 — including to Jamie Haddix and Darrell Morgan, who were found dead on Christmas Eve. The place where they died, a four-unit apartment building on Wiltshire Boulevard in Kettering, isn’t ground zero in the region’s opioid crisis because there is no ground zero.

“You always hear, ‘It can’t happen in my neighborhood,’ ” said Michael Link, who lives around the corner from the Halyes in Centerville. “But it does.”

Centerville ranked comparatively low on Montgomery County’s 2016 overdose list, with only five residents dying from drug causes, according to preliminary coroner’s data. That’s much lower than comparably sized Trotwood (17), Miamisburg (14) and Riverside (13). But nearly every community in the county had a spot on that list, which included 355 deaths.

Two of the children attended Centerville’s Tower Heights Middle School and two attended another district. Centerville schools Superintendent Tom Henderson said the district “continues to support friends of the students who were part of this family. Centerville had guidance counselors “on call and on deck as needed.”

Henderson said so many students know each other not only from school, but from sports and other cross-community activities that a tragedy like this can have a wider impact that people might think.

“These two students have come up through our district, so we try to be cognizant of that and get out to the other buildings they’ve attended,” Henderson said. “We’ll be ready (Friday) when students come in, and we’ll be ready when the students (in that family) come back to attend school again.”

Staff Writers Chris Stewart, Malik Perkins, Katie Wedell and Hannah Poturalski contributed reporting.

Why students don't have to stand for Pledge of Allegiance in Florida

Compiled from Associated Press and Florida News Service reports.

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Students excused from having to daily recite the Pledge of Allegiance in Florida public schools would no longer have to stand and hold their hands over their heart either, under a bill that is headed to the House floor.

The House Education Committee on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill (HB 1403) that would change how students are notified of their right to skip the daily pledge and what the excused student must do during the pledge.

Current law requires schools to conspicuously post a notice, telling students they don’t have to recite the pledge if a parent asks in writing for a student to be excused. The law also requires excused students to still stand and hold their hands over their hearts while the pledge is recited.

The bill would allow the notice to instead be placed in a student handbook, and excused students would no longer be required to stand or hold their hands over their hearts.

The bill was filed after a parent of a child at a Panhandle school told the school district it was not following notice requirements. A Senate companion bill has not yet been heard in the first of its three required committees.

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