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West Virginia Coal Mine Closes, Cutting 1,200 Jobs

Morgantown, West Virginia - Coal producer Alpha Natural Resources said Tuesday it was cutting production by 16 million tons and eliminating 1,200 jobs companywide, laying off 400 workers immediately by closing mines in Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

The mine shutdowns start Tuesday, while the rest of the layoffs will be completed by the end of the first quarter after Alpha fulfills current sales obligations, Chief Executive Officer Kevin Crutchfield said. In all, the layoffs amount to nearly a tenth of Alpha's 13,000-person workforce.

Alpha said it was closing four mines in West Virginia, three in Virginia and one in Pennsylvania. They are a mix of deep and surface mines, and all are non-union operations.

Company spokesman Ted Pile said most of the displaced workers may eventually be rehired, either assigned to new jobs in other locations or replacing outside contractors. Only 150 workers in West Virginia and three in Pennsylvania will not have any other employment opportunities with the company, he said.

Though some miners will stay on to seal the operations, most will either be reassigned or laid off immediately.

Support positions will also be cut proportionally as Alpha reduces its operating regions from four to two, Crutchfield said, and two executives will retire Nov. 1.

It wasn't immediately what other states would be affected by the still looming layoffs.


Burning Body Found in South Los Angeles Street

The burning body was discovered near 94th Street and Grand Avenue

A body was found burning in a South Los Angeles street Monday night, according to fire officials.

The woman was pronounced dead at the scene in the 300 block of West 94th Street between Broadway and Grand Avenue (map), said Brian Humphrey with LAFD. The initial report from a passer-by was received at about 10 p.m., said LAPD Lt. Gerald Woodyard.

Aerial video showed a charred body in the road not far from the sidewalk.

Anyone with information can call 213-485-4341.


Chicago Public Schools Teachers' Strike Over

The Chicago teachers' strike is over.

The Chicago Teachers Union's House of Delegates voted Tuesday to end its strike after seven days, meaning classes will be in session Wednesday for 350,000 Chicago Public Schools students.

"Everybody is going back to school," said Jay Rehak, a delegate from Whitney Young High School.

Delegate Mike Bochner said "an overwhelming majority" of delegates voted to suspend the strike on a voice vote.

"I'm really excited, I'm really relieved," said Bochner, a teacher at Cesar Chavez elementary.

At a press conference a short time after the vote, CTU President Karen Lewis said the vote was approved by a margin of "like 98 percent to 2."

"There are some people that are going to be die-hard hold-outs," she said.

" ... We said that it was time, that we couldn't solve all the problems of the world with one contract. And it was time to suspend the strike."

Chicago Public Schools wasted no time embracing the news. A banner went up on its website shortly after the vote.

"Information alert: CTU leadership has chosen to end the strike. All CPS schools will be re-open Wednesday, September 19," it read. "Chicago Teachers Union leadership has chosen to end the strike. All Chicago Public Schools will re-open on Wednesday, September 19, and all CPS students are expected to be back in the classroom."

Heart - Black

Disabled Mother Dies after Her 11-Year-Old Son Beat Her Up

California, Elk Grove - A disabled Elk Grove woman who was allegedly beaten by her 11-year-old son has died, according to Elk Grove police.

Police say 51-year-old Tracey Gipaya died of a pre-existing condition and they do not anticipate filing any new charges against the boy.

Investigators say the 11-year-old boy was arrested at his elementary school last week for allegedly beating his own mother so badly that she was hospitalized. He has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon and elder abuse.

"She did have injuries to her arms, to her legs, to her back and other areas that we believe were a direct result of her son causing the abuse," Elk Grove Police Officer Chris Trim said when the boy was arrested


Frustrated Chicago Parents Sending Kids To Charter Schools Due To Teachers' Strike

Public school parents frustrated by the length of the Chicago teachers' strike are looking for other educational options, and the city's charter schools have reported a record number of calls.

CBS 2's Dorothy Tucker some parents are just asking questions, but others are enrolling their children for classes at charter schools.

Five-year-old Anthony spent his first week of school at Jesse Owens Elementary Community Academy. But, after the Chicago Teachers Union went on strike, and the walkout dragged on several days, Anthony's mom got fed up and Anthony is now enrolled at Lloyd Bond Charter School.

"It was just very stressful for me, and I started to get angry, because I'm like 'Why is it lasting this long?" Leondra Smith said.

She is among nearly 30 parents who enrolled their children in charter schools since last week.

According to the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, 12 percent of Chicago students attend charter schools. That percentage is expected to grow, because calls to charter schools from frustrated CPS parents have jumped from an average of 10 a day to nearly 70.

Life Preserver

Australia Teaching Drones a New Trick: Playing Lifeguard

Aerobot Ring, drone

The Aerobot Ring
The use for unmanned drones increases every day. This time it's to keep an eye on the beaches of Queensland, Australia to look out for swimmers in trouble - and, of course, any sharks lurking too close.

Surf Life Saving Australia will be deploying the Aerobot Ring, a co-axial hexacopter, in a trial of the drones' effectiveness. The drones are roughly three feet wide and have a payload capacity of around 15 pounds for a flight time of 15 minutes. They'll carry cameras to keep an eye on the water, as well as life buoys to drop to those in distress. Plus, there's a siren to warn people of potential trouble before it happens.

Should the tests prove to be successful, Brett Williamson, head of Surf Life Saving Australia would like to see the trials expanded to patrol many of Australia's remote beaches unmanned by lifeguards.


Rhode Island School District Bans Father-Daughter, Mother-Son Events

© Getty Images
School attorneys find such activities are not exempt under state law banning gender discrimination.

A school district in Rhode Island has ended its traditional father-daughter and mother-son sanctioned events, saying they violate a state gender discrimination law.

The move came after a single mother complained that her daughter had not been able to attend her father-daughter dance.

The American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to school officials on behalf of the mother, the Providence Journal reported.

School attorneys looked into the matter and found that national Title IX legislation exempts activities like father-daughter dances and mother-son ballgames. However, Rhode Island state law does not, the lawyers said.

The school then moved to ban such events.


Florida Man Used Dog to Beat Girlfriend


Michael Jones, 42, of Sanford.
Sanford, Florida - A Sanford man was arrested on allegations of beating his live-in girlfriend with her own dog.

Michael Wayne Jones, 42, was arrested Thursday on charges of domestic battery by strangulation, criminal mischief and animal cruelty.

According to Sanford police, Jones got into a fight with his girlfriend and she attempted to drive away.

ones, however, grabbed her dog and started swinging the animal in the air, said police, who added that Jones then beat his girlfriend with the dog.

Police said Jones also started choking his girlfriend before fleeing on a bike while carrying the dog. He was later located and arrested.

The woman, who police said had red marks on her neck, and the dog were not seriously injured.

Jones was booked into the Seminole County jail.

Heart - Black

Florida Farmhand Arrested for Sex with Miniature Donkey

WARNING! This article contains graphic content!

A Florida farmhand arrested for having sexual contact with a miniature donkey explained to cops that the Sunshine State was "backwards" since its residents "frown on zoophilia," according to a police report.

Carlos Romero, 31, was collared yesterday and charged with misdemeanor sexual activity with an animal.

Investigators report that a witness last month spotted Romero, pictured in the mug shot at right, "up against the rear of the donkey" apparently having sex with the animal.

Romero--who was shirtless and had his pants down--pulled away from the donkey when he spotted the witness, who had been delivering a horse to the barn he rents.

When interviewed Friday by cops, Romero made a series of shocking admissions.


Bomb Threat Prompts Louisiana State Campus Evacuation

© Ken Lund / Flickr
Tiger Stadium at Louisiana State University's Baton Rouge campus. A bomb threat forced evacuation of the campus, one of a string that has unsettled several American universities in the past week.
Officials evacuated Louisiana State University on Monday after yet another bomb threat forced students to leave a campus.

A caller phoned in a vague threat to 911 that was received by the East Baton Rouge Parish emergency center at 10:32 a.m., university spokesperson Kristine Calongne told the Los Angeles Times. University officials blasted out an evacuation notice on social media platforms a little over an hour later, at 11:37 a.m.

By Monday evening, law enforcement officials were allowing students to return to dorms and some other facilities while continuing to inspect the rest of the campus. Classes were canceled for the day.

"We have a huge campus, so it takes a little time," Calongne said.

Unless police find a bomb, the threat looks to be yet another hoax - the fourth to strike an American university in the past week. The trend is a tough one for school officials who must protect students even from potentially spurious threats since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and a gunma's rampage at Virginia Tech in 2007.