In brief: Falling oak tree kills summer camp worker


Groveland, Calif. – A 21-year-old summer camp worker was killed Wednesday when a large oak tree fell at the site near Yosemite National Park, a group said.

The worker was identified as Annais Rittenberg by the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley, which provides scholarships for children to attend Camp Tawonga. No children were hurt.

Four other adults were treated at hospitals after the tree fell while people were eating breakfast. The tree took down power lines near the campfire area and mess hall but did not damage any buildings.

There were about 300 campers and 150 staff at Camp Tawonga, which offers sessions for students in second through 12th grades. The camp is located on 160 acres on the Tuolumne River, just outside Yosemite National Park.

Negotiations resume in Bay Area strike

Oakland, Calif. – Negotiations resumed Wednesday between Bay Area Rapid Transit and its striking rail workers after both sides indicated progress had been made during a lengthy overnight session that ended just hours earlier.

Josie Mooney, a chief negotiator with Service Employees International Union Local 1021, said she was hopeful the latest round of talks could end the three-day strike that has slowed commutes across the San Francisco Bay Area.

The strike continues to cause stress and frustration in the region. Commuters lined up early Wednesday for the transit agency’s charter buses at five locations, waited patiently for ferries heading to San Francisco, and endured heavy rush-hour traffic on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge that lightened considerably by midmorning. BART serves more than 400,000 commuters each weekday.

Church group to avoid fossil fuel investments

Pittsburgh – A group of Protestant churches has become the first U.S. religious body to vote to divest its pension funds and investments from fossil fuel companies because of climate change concerns.

The United Church of Christ, which traces its origins back to the Pilgrims in 1620 and has about 1.1 million members in 5,100 congregations, voted on Monday to divest in stages over the next five years. But it left open the possibility of keeping some investments if the fossil fuel companies meet certain standards.

“Implementing the multiple strategies outlined in this resolution will demand time, money and care – but we believe creation deserves no less,” United Church Funds President Donald Hart said in a statement. The affiliated group has managed church investments since 1909.

Homeowner catches burglar, heads to work

Tulsa, Okla. – A homeowner captured a would-be burglar Wednesday and left him hogtied in the front yard for officers, Tulsa police said.

The homeowner heard someone trying to break into his home at about 6 a.m. Wednesday, according to police. Tulsa television station KOTV reported that the homeowner captured the man, tied him up with rope, then left him outside. Police said the homeowner had to go to work so he left his wife to watch the suspect until officers arrived.

The 31-year-old suspect was jailed on a first-degree burglary complaint.


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