December 20, 2006 in Nation/World

Nation in brief: Truce reached over evolution stickers

The Spokesman-Review

A suburban public school board has abandoned its four-year legal fight to place stickers in high school biology textbooks that say “evolution is a theory, not a fact.”

In a settlement announced Tuesday in federal court, the Cobb County Board of Education agreed not to use any similar “stickers, labels, stamps, inscriptions, or other warnings,” or to undermine the teaching of evolution in science classes.

In turn, the parents who sued over the stickers – charging that they promoted religion in science classrooms and violated the separation of church and state – agreed to end all legal action.

“The parents brought the suit because they wanted their children to have proper instruction in science,” said Debbie Seagraves, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia. “It’s pretty clear the parents in Cobb County got what they wanted.”

Anchorage, Alaska

Lawsuit seeks otter protection

A conservation group, alarmed at a decrease in the number of sea otters in southwest Alaska, filed a lawsuit in federal court on Tuesday to try to compel the government to designate critical habitat to help the endangered species recover.

The lawsuit, filed by the Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity, argues that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service missed an Aug. 9 deadline for the designation under the Endangered Species Act. If granted, the designation means that federal agencies must ensure activities in certain areas do not harm the species.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service generally is required to designate critical habitat when a species is listed as endangered or within a year if it can’t be done immediately. The sea otter was put on the list in August 2005.

Lancaster, Ohio

Teen electrocuted while walking dog

A teenager was electrocuted when he tried to retrieve a dog leash caught on a power line, authorities said Tuesday.

Jacob Guisinger, 15, was walking his dog off the leash Monday in woods near his home and apparently tossed the leash in the air, where it caught on the 10-foot-high power line, Fairfield County Sheriff Dave Phalen said.

Deputies found the leash still draped over the wire and believe the teen had pressed on a dead tree that was leaning against the power line to lower the leash. Once he could reach the leash, he apparently touched a metal part and was shocked, Phalen said.

The dog went home without Guisinger, and the boy’s father found his son along the teen’s usual route, Phalen said. Guisinger was unresponsive when deputies arrived and was pronounced dead at a hospital.

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