FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2012

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REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

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U.S. man in Bolivia jail a year
ASSOCIATED PRESS

SANTA CRUZ, Bolivia — Jacob Ostreicher, a New York businessman, has been confined for 10 months in one of Bolivia’s most unruly prisons without being charged. He has shed more than 30 pounds, helpless to do anything as, he alleges, the multimillion-dollar rice farming venture he managed has been plundered. At more than two dozen hearings, prosecutors have presented no evidence to back their allegations that the 53year-old American may have been laundering drug money. And this week, the presiding judge quit the case, likely meaning more weeks of delay.
ASSOCIATED PRESS

years ago. “This is the scam of Andre Zolty, one of the century,” Ostreicher said by telethe Swiss investors, phone afterward. “I said the idea came feel Iike I’ve been hifrom a Colombian jacked and kidnapped lawyer, Claudia Lilby people who are hidiana Rodriguez, who ing behind the law.” had done some work The prosecutor for him in Geneva would not discuss Oswhile a student. AP treicher’s complaints Ostreicher “I made a big miswith The Associated take to trust that Press. Nor would senior Boli- woman,” Zolty said. vian officials, though U.S. Some of the land that Rodiplomats have appealed to driguez bought for the venture them to try to extract Ostreich- turned out to belong to the er from the legal labyrinth. brother of a drug trafficker The troubles began when who had escaped from a Ostreicher and a group of Brazilian prison and who, the Swiss partners decided to in- investors say, became romanvest $25 million to grow rice in tically and financially enBolivia’s eastern lowlands four twined with her.

Pope Benedict XVI, center, washes the foot of an unidentified layman, during the Holy Thursday rite of the washing of the feet, in St. John in Lateran Basilica in Rome on Thursday.

Pope denounces celibacy dissidents
Issues statement from altar during Holy Week service
BY NICOLE WINFIELD
ASSOCIATED PRESS

THERE’S HOPE FOR BABY ANDREI
ASSOCIATED PRESS

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI has denounced priests who have questioned church teaching on celibacy and ordaining women, saying Thursday they were disobeying his authority to try to impose their own ideas on the church. Benedict made the rare and explicit criticism from the altar of St. Peter’s Basilica in his homily on Holy Thursday, when priests recall the promises they made when ordained. In 2006, a group of Austrian priests launched the Pfarrer Initiative, or pastor initiative, a call to disobedience aimed at

abolishing priestly celibacy and opening the clergy to women to relieve the shortages of priests. Last June, the group’s members essentially threatened a schism, saying the Vatican’s refusal to hear their complaints left them no choice but to “follow our conscience and act independently.” They issued a revised call to disobedience in which they said parishes would celebrate Eucharistic services without priests, that they would let women preach, and they pledged to speak out publicly and frequently for female and married priests. The group now claims more than 300 Austrian priests and deacons as well as supporters in

other countries, and its influence has grown to such an extent that top Austrian bishops met with Vatican officials in January to discuss how to handle them, Italian news reports said. So far, neither the Vatican nor the archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, have imposed any canonical penalties on them. In his homily, Benedict said the dissidents claim to be motivated by concern for the church. But he suggested that in reality they were just making “a desperate push to do something to change the church in accordance with (their) own preferences and ideas.”

GRANTS: Extra funds will dry up
Continued from Page One Boards of Education “It’s not like they could have bought computers that would have a life beyond that year.” Some members of Torrington’s school board never wanted the grant in the first place. “We tried to refuse it because we knew it was going to lead us to a cliff,” Chairman Kenneth P. Traub said. “We would have find a way to do without before. ... It gave us false hope.” Traub said the board was eventually persuaded to take the $1.4 million by legislators representing the city. Of that money, the board spent $400,000 last year on a literacy coach and a math coach in hopes of improving test scores, and the hiring and professional development of new special education paraprofessionals, Traub said. The city is spending the remaining $1 million this school year to pay the two coaches, as well as salaries for 11 teachers who replaced those who retired last year, Traub said. Told by city officials to request a flat budget, the school board is nevertheless asking for a $2.3 million increase, nearly half of which reflects the loss of federal grant funding from this year to the next. Rising insurance, salary and energy costs led to the rest of the requested increase and a proposal to cut 14 positions, Traub said. AFTER RECEIVING $1.7 MILLION FROM THE FEDERAL FUND, NAUGATUCK spent $300,000 last year and the remainder this year on positions that would have otherwise been cut, according to Business Manager Wayne McAllister. This school year, the $1.4 million saved 43 positions, but the school board is now left to find funding for those positions next year from somewhere else. The school board has not yet finalized its budget proposal, which currently stands at a 4.5 percent, or $2.6 million, increase that accounts for rising salary, insurance and utility costs. The increase would have doubled if not for some proposed cuts, such as the closing of Central Avenue Elementary School, which parents have vociferously protested. Closing the school would eliminate 14 positions, including nine teachers and a principal. The board is also considering closing a former elementary school that now houses preschool programs, and is deferring the addition of what members said were key positions and technological improvements. “If you don’t spend it, you lose it, and we were able to spend it last year and avoid what’s happening this year,”

EDUCATION JOBS FUNDING BY DISTRICT
Barkhamsted ......................................................................... $51,203 Bethany ................................................................................. $58,800 Bristol.................................................................................. $2,471,717 Canaan.......................................................................................$8,857 Cheshire ................................................................................ $551,742 Colebrook ............................................................................... $14,591 Cornwall.................................................................................... $3,527 Kent............................................................................................. $7,713 Litchfield.................................................................................$87,806 Naugatuck ........................................................................ $1,733,245 New Hartford....................................................................... $102,201 New Milford ........................................................................ $708,432 North Canaan ....................................................................... $85,854 Oxford.................................................................................. $273,346 Plymouth ............................................................................... $578,112 Salisbury .................................................................................. $8,306 Seymour ............................................................................. $583,645 Southington ....................................................................... $1,177,145 Thomaston.......................................................................... $334,072 Torrington ....................................................................... $1,420,075 Waterbury ........................................................................ $6,741,424 Watertown ........................................................................... $697,145 Winchester......................................................................... $464,234 Wolcott ............................................................................... $803,353 Region 1 ................................................................................. $49,650 Region 6 ................................................................................. $57,907 Region 7 ................................................................................ $154,731 Region 10 ............................................................................. $416,765 Region 12................................................................................. $31,777 Region 14 ............................................................................... $130,191 Region 15............................................................................... $184,319 Region 16 ............................................................................. $555,610

BUCHAREST, Romania — Baby Andrei has confounded doctors just by being alive: The tiny boy with twig-thin limbs was given just days to live when he was born with almost no intestines — eight months ago. Now there’s a glimmer of hope for another miracle. People in Europe and the United States have started offering funds to help Andrei get a complicated intestine transplant in the United States, the Romanian pediatrician in charge of the baby’s care said Thursday. The offers came after an Associated Press story last week chronicled how Dr. Catalin Cirstoveanu, head of the neonatal unit at Bucharest’s Marie Curie children’s hospital, flies babies abroad for lifesaving surgery to get around a culture of corruption in which many doctors won’t operate unless they’re bribed. “Offers of help have come in, particularly from abroad, from a non-governmental organization,” Cirstoveanu said. The cost of the surgery goes into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, way out of the reach of Andrei’s Gypsy parents, who live in a poor part of eastern Romania. Romania’s average monthly salary is $460. Andrei, who still weighs less

AP

Baby Andrei at 8 months. than an average newborn, has just 4 inches of intestine, compared to about 3 yards for other babies his age. Like them,

he has started teething. He has captured the hearts of his nurses, some of whom played the lottery to try to raise the money needed for surgery in the U.S., which Cirstoveanu hopes the infant will now get for free. The bribery culture in Romanian hospitals is so ingrained that nurses expect bribes just to change sheets. Surgeons can get hundreds of dollars and upward for an operation, while anesthetists get roughly a third of that. Cirstoveanu runs the cardio unit at Marie Curie. But its state-of-the-art machinery has lain idle because he has banned staff from taking bribes. So he flies sick babies to western Europe on budget flights so they can get treatment from doctors who won’t expect kickbacks.

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Chairman David M. Heller told the Republican-American last month. Watertown’s school board spent $697,000 — the full amount of its grant — this year to pay the salaries of more than 16 positions. Its proposed budget next year includes a $1.4 million increase and the elimination of 11 positions. “This was really just buying us another year to keep what we had in place,” Business Manager Karen Clancy said in February. IN THE MINORITY AMONG SCHOOL DISTRICTS, WATERBURY will apply $2.4 million of its federal money to payroll at the start of next school year until Sept. 30, when the grant expires, Chief Operating Officer Paul Guidone said. That will allow the school board to budget more money for payroll the rest of the year. The school system received $6.7 million overall, spending less than $100,000 last year and $4.2 million this year on salary increases. “We thought it was fiscally prudent to do that, to spend the funds over time, rather than use up all the funds one year and then have a cliff,” Guidone said. Having been funded flat for the past three years, the school board is asking for $3.7 million more from the city next year due to rising costs, Guidone said. Although its expiration will

make budgeting harder, Guidone said he did not regret accepting the grant. “I think it was a great idea at the time, for its purpose to bridge what was a difficult period,” Guidone said. “Things have not quite turned around yet and it would be very helpful to have a continuation grant of that sort.” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has proposed additional state funding for some of the lowest-performing districts, including Waterbury and Naugatuck. Waterbury would receive $4.4 million and Naugatuck would receive about $600,000 but, under the current proposal, the money must fund new reformoriented initiatives and cannot be applied toward standard operating costs. “If those restrictions were not in place, we’d be pretty close to being able to get through the year without major difficulty,” Guidone said. Districts that spread out their appropriation of the federal grant money are having an easier time than those that spent most of it in one year, McCarthy said. In hopes of easing school boards’ budget woes, CABE is lobbying legislators to approve Malloy’s proposed increase to state Educational Cost Sharing grant money, McCarthy said. “It at least helps to soften the blow,” she said. Staff writer Laraine Weschler contributed to this article.

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