September 29, 2007 in Nation/World

Nation in brief: Student fires shots inside high school

The Spokesman-Review
Associated Press photo

Police take a suspected student gunman into custody at Las Plumas High School in Oroville, Calif., on Friday. Associated Press
(Full-size photo)

A student fired shots inside a high school Friday and held three students hostage for more than an hour before he was taken into custody, authorities said. No one was injured.

The 17-year-old student initially took about 30 students hostage in a band room at Las Plumas High School. He quickly released most of them, but held three girls for about an hour longer before he was arrested, Capt. Jerry Smith of the Butte County Sheriff’s Department said. The gunman’s only demand to deputies during the standoff was that they “back off.”

Six schools in the Oroville Union High School District were locked down while a deputy talked to the hostile student on a cell phone.

“We made him realize that the best thing for him and everyone concerned was to release the remaining three hostages,” Smith said.

Rochester, N.Y.

Judge’s ban on children overruled

A family court judge overstepped her authority by ordering a drug-addicted homeless couple to have no more children, a state appeals court ruled Friday in overturning the ban.

Judge Marilyn O’Connor banned Stephanie Pendleton and Rodney Evers in 2004 from having more children until they could get back the four children they lost to foster care, three of whom tested positive for cocaine at birth.

Pendleton, now 38, challenged the ruling.

“We conclude that the court had no authority to prohibit (Pendleton) from procreating,” a five-judge panel of the Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court wrote.

O’Connor had directed Pendleton and Evers to seek family planning services, parenting counseling and treatment for drug addiction.

O’Connor’s ruling drew fierce criticism from civil libertarians, particularly the New York Civil Liberties Union, which filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the appeal arguing that the ruling effectively required Pendleton to abstain from sex, use birth control or be sterilized.

Lansing, Mich.

Most state workers are put on layoff

Two-thirds of Michigan’s state government workers were told Friday not to report to work Monday as negotiations continued on a budget plan that could avert a partial state government shutdown.

Messages went to about 35,000 state workers, telling them they were being placed on a temporary layoff beginning at 12:01 a.m. Monday and not to go to work unless otherwise notified.

About 18,000 state employees will remain on the job, including 12,000 prison employees, said Liz Boyd, a spokeswoman for Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

A shutdown would mean most government operations would cease, including food safety and gas pump inspections, liquor deliveries, lottery ticket sales, the issuance of driver’s licenses, and construction on state roads, Granholm said Friday.

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