October 14, 2009 in Nation/World

Nation in brief: California storm raises slide fears

From Wire Reports
Associated Press photo

Residents of La Canada, Calif., shovel sand as they make sandbags before a storm Tuesday.
(Full-size photo)

Los Angeles – A big Pacific storm swept into California on Tuesday with damaging winds and downpours that put a central community under an evacuation advisory because of mudslide fears, while residents near hillsides denuded by wildfires in the south braced for a dangerous overnight drenching.

The main fear was that the rains would cause mud and debris to rush down hillsides made bare from the summer fire, state fire spokeswoman Colleen Baxter said.

Authorities urged evacuation of about 60 homes in the Santa Cruz Mountains town of Davenport, 50 miles south of San Francisco, where an August wildfire stripped vegetation from about 12 square miles of land.

More than 6 inches of rain fell in the Santa Cruz range, the National Weather Service said.

Boy with utensils can return to class

Bear, Del. – A Delaware first-grader who faced a lengthy punishment for taking his favorite camping utensil to school – a combination folding knife, fork and spoon – got a reprieve Tuesday night when the school board made a hasty change to its strict code of conduct.

The Christina School Board voted unanimously to reduce the punishment for kindergartners and first-graders who take weapons to school or commit violent offenses to a suspension ranging from three to five days.

Zachary Christie, 6, had faced 45 days in an alternative school for troublemakers after he took the utensil to school to eat lunch last month. Now, he could return today.

The case is one of several that have sparked debate on whether schools have gone too far with zero-tolerance policies.

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