Around the State, Nation & World


Around the State

Former SeaWorld employer makes fishy allegations

According to the New York Daily News, Linda Simons, the former head of safety for SeaWorld Orlando, said negligence led to the drowning of the SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau in February. SeaWorld is calling Simons an extortionist, in response, claiming she threatened to make “false allegations” and bribed the company. Simons said only two weeks before the trainer’s drowning, SeaWorld held a safety drill that went terribly, requiring another to be scheduled a month later. Staffers were no-shows and didn’t pay attention, Simons said. The response to Brancheau’s attack was chaotic. Staffers couldn’t get her body for half an hour, as the killer whale pulled her around the tank, scalping her and breaking her neck. Simons said SeaWorld didn’t show all key documents to investigators and prevented interviews with trainers. SeaWorld said Simons was fired for “poor performance.”

Around the Nation

Obama grants states, District of Columbia with education promotion funds

Nine states — Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island — and Washington, D.C., are the winners of Obama’s “Race to the Top” competition for innovative school reform. The winners will share $3.4 billion in grants from the department of education. The contest proposed motivation in school reform across the nation as under-resourced school systems hoped to win the grants. However, teachers’ unions and civil rights groups have knocked the program, saying the first winners covered only 3 percent of black students and 1 percent of Latino students. Also, they claim that the reforms put grossly high standards on teacher performance. The White House refuted, saying minority students have the most to gain from the program, and it’s trying to create a culture of accountability in the classroom.

Around the World

Experts expect ambushed miners to see light in four months

Thirty-three miners trapped 2,300 feet below the surface in San Jose, Chile have been found. However, experts say they will be stuck there for at least four months. After 17 days underground, rescuers were able to contact the miners with a probe. The miners returned a note saying they were alive. A hole is being drilled, but the chief engineer for the rescue operation said it would take a larger drill – and 120 days – to free the men. To keep the miners alive, slim plastic tubes filled with food and hydration gels will be sent down the borehole. Since Aug. 5, the miners have been caught in a space the size of a classroom some 4.5 miles inside the mine. According to BBC, the Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said though they’ll be trapped for months, “they’ll come out thin and dirty, but whole and strong.”