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now, Taylor said. Although the city’s more than 31,000 traffic citations brought in nearly $3 million last year, a large portion of that goes to the state, and what the city keeps is less than 1 percent of its total revenues. The number of tickets jumped when the department launched several traffic enforcement campaigns and put federal grant money into its traffic and DUI task forces. So farthisyear,23,120ticketshave beenwritten,puttingpoliceon track for a significant increase over last year’s numbers. Thosetrafficcampaignsand theresultingticketincreaseare not inspired by budget needs, Reyessaid,butareeffortstoreduce the high number of accidents, injuries and deaths. Thecityhadarecord46traffic fatalities in 2005. Only 15 people have died in wrecks so far this year, a statistic the department attributes to increased police presence and checkpoints. “It’s just like any other death –alifeislost,” Reyessaid.“That is just another part of our enforcement efforts that we feel the public wants us to do, even thoughwehavepeoplecalland complain: ‘Oh it’s all about the money’ or ‘You’re just trying to meet your quota.’ ”
A 2007 study by two university professors showed that officers in Massachusetts towns in a “fiscal crunch” wrote more speeding tickets than officers in other towns. The researchers from George Mason University noted that police officers are employedbycitygovernments and, to a degree, must be influenced by those cities’ financial needs. Thestudyacknowledgesthe officers’ personal sense of obligationtotheirdutiesandtheir communities, which Reyes said should be – and is – the drivingforceforHuntsvillepolice to pull over motorists who violate the law. “Weexpectourofficerstodo that,” he said. “We don’t tell them you have to write a ticket when you stop somebody, but if you see a traffic violation, you should pull them over.” Huntsville,however,doesn’t have the same restrictions that may have influenced those Massachusetts officers. Many of the towns in financial trouble had limits on the property taxtheycouldlevy,andthecash brought in by tickets played a more significant role in municipal budgets. Huntsville isn’t going to declarebankruptcybecausedrivers start obeying the law. “We depend on all the revenue, but we would find anotherway”ifticketrevenuesde-
‘We’ll find a way’
creased, Taylor said. “It’s clearly better to bring in money anotherwaythantohavethehazards that come with those trafficcitations.We’llfigureout how to pay our bills.” A municipality can always raise taxes. Court fees and fines, however, are paid by thosewhobreakthelaw,notall homeowners and consumers. The Legislature has used court revenue for decades to pay for the poor to have legal representation in court, to compensate victims of violent crimefortheirmedicalbillsand lost wages, and to give police new technology including DNA testing. Tickets from state troopers anddeputiespumpevenmore cash into the state general fund–upto$54acitation.The state general fund receives $21 from each Huntsville police citation. None of the money goes directly to the issuing police agency,but$3goesinthePeace Officers’ Annuity and Benefit Fund, which many officers don’tevenchoosetojoin,Reyes said. The state-imposed fine for speeding is $20. The rest is court fees – $107 in Huntsville and $135 in the county. “The vast majority of the (city’s)budgetissalestaxesand that type of revenue,” Reyes said.“Wedon’tevenlookatthe money coming in. “We do want our officers to be proactive, looking for violations and enforcing the law. That’s our expectation.”
The Associated Press
School rekindles debate on single-sex education
Philly’s Boys’ Latin proves popular, but some not sold
By KATHY MATHESON
The Associated Press
Richard Cherry Jr., right, departs Boys' Latin of Philadelphia with his father, Richard Cherry Sr., in Philadelphia on July 15.
Mom, 2 teen girls accused in slaying
75-year-old man was robbed, stabbed in Texas
The Associated Press
PASADENA, Texas – Two teenage girls are accused of stabbing a 75-year-old man to death in a robbery that netted them just $15, and police say the mother of one of the teens helped put them up to it. Dannette R. Gillespie, 38, gave knives to her 15-year-old daughter and Vanessa Anne Ocampo, 19, then waited in theircarwhiletheteensrobbed
and killed Eugene Palma, according to a probable cause warrant. All three were charged with capital murder Friday and were being held without bail. Police did not immediately respond to a call Saturday askingifthesuspectshadattorneys to speak for them. Palma, a bar owner, was found stabbed several times in thedrivewayofhishomeinthis Houston suburb Wednesday. He did not know the women, Pasadena police said. According to the warrant, Ocampo told police the three
had been looking for someone to rob that morning. “He would’ve given them money–that’s thecrazything,” Kim Nawrot, a bartender at Palma’s bar, told the Houston Chronicle. “He was the kind of guythatwould’vegivenanyone the shirt off of his back.” A palm print on Palma’s car led police to the women, authoritiessaid.Gillespieandher daughter, who was not identified because she is a juvenile, were arrested in Pasadena. Ocampo was arrested in San Antonio.
PHILADELPHIA – Calling all ninth-grade boys! Raise your hand if this school sounds like fun: wearing jackets and ties every day, staying until 5 p.m.,learningLatinand–totop it all off – no girls. Who’s in? Turns out, about 270 boys. And 100 more are on a waiting list. Boys’ Latin of Philadelphia, one of the city’s newer charter schools, began its second year on Wednesday, aiming to be an educational beacon in the financially and academically troubled district. Because it’s a single-sex public school – one of four in the city–Boys’Latinfacedhugeoppositionandalmostdidn’texist. Critics contend it’s unfair for taxpayers to fund a prep school curriculum for boys only. Supporters say Boys’ Latin is desperately needed in a city where 45 percent of students drop out and male academic achievement badly lags that of females. “Obviously something had to be done differently to engage these young men and prepare them for graduation, and for success beyond high school graduation,” said David Hardy, Boys’ Latin co-founder and
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acting principal. The Women’s Law Project and the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania had opposed Hardy’s charter application based on its exclusion of girls. It was initially rejected by Philadelphia school officials in January 2006, but was approved five months later after then-district CEO Paul Vallas called the gender achievement gap “a crisis.” Boys’ Latin opened in fall 2007. New rules implemented by the U.S. Education Department in 2006 allow same-sex education whenever schools think it will expand the diversity of courses, improve students’ achievement or meet their individual needs. But ACLU attorney Mary Catherine Roper said those regulations conflict with the ConstitutionandTitleIX,afederal law banning sex discrimination in education. There are nonexclusionary ways to improve education, such as decreasing class sizes, she noted. “There is no justification for offering kids different opportunities based on their gender,” said Roper. The 167,000-student Philadelphia district, which is under state supervision for poor performance, has tried to improve by establishing charter schools, hiring private companies and universities to manage schools, and offering single-
sex education. Results have been mixed. Three months ago, the district took six schools away from private and university managers for failure to improve sufficiently, including an all-boys high school. There are at least 442 public schools in the United States with single-sex educational opportunities, according to the Exton-based National Association for Single Sex Public Education. Most of those are coed schoolsofferingsingle-sexclassrooms. Asking if single-sex education is good is like asking if coed educationisgood,saidLeonard Sax, the association’s executive director. “It’s a very diffuse and not very meaningful question,” Sax said. “There are different rationalesforsingle-sexeducation and different track records.” Juniors at the city’s public High School for Girls, which has been single-sex since its founding in 1848, scored 79.3 percent proficient or higher in math and 85.3 percent proficient or better in reading. Hardy noted that no one has suggested making that school coed. Peter Kuriloff, research director at the Center for the Study of Boys’ and Girls’ Lives at the University of Pennsylvania, thinks single-sex classrooms are worth trying in some cases if paired with a strong curriculum. “It is not a panacea,” said Kuriloff. “Just putting boys in a boys school and girls in a girls school is not going to do anything.” Boys’ Latin, which opened in trailerswithonlyninth-graders, now teaches freshmen and sophomores in a renovated former Roman Catholic school. It will add a grade each year until it has grades nine through 12. Richard Cherry Sr. said he sent his son, Richard Jr., to Boys’ Latin because of the smaller class sizes and personal attention. He feared his son would get “lost in the system” at district high schools that he described as chaotic and sometimes violent. Omar Ortiz, 14, a freshman at Boys’ Latin, said he wasn’t sure about the no-girls part at first. But then he realized he’d betooshytoreadareportaloud in his old coed public school. “I don’t have to be shy here because it’s all guys,” Ortiz said. His mother, Lydia Hernandez Velez, 57, said she has no qualms sending her son to the school – even though it was not an option for her daughter. “They’re not the same,” Velez said. “Their needs are different at different times of their lives.”
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Will hold its Annual membership meeting on Thursday September 11th, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. at Alabama A & M’s Winfred Thomas Agricultural Research Station
Madison County Co-op