Around the nation

A rewired cockroach is controlled remotely by students in an advanced-placement biology class at Boyd-Buchanan High School in Chattanooga, Tenn. The class cut off a small part of its antennae and put wires inside them. They also glued a circuit pack to the insect's back and use a remote control to send electrical impulses to the antennae, directing the bug.



New mayor picked in basket draw

HELPER - The new mayor of the Utah city of Helper got a little help from Lady Luck for his job.

Ed Chavez Jr. and Councilman Kirk Mascaro each received two votes from the council to fill the vacant position Thursday night. KSL reported that when it became clear the tie would not be broken, slips of paper bearing council members' votes were placed in a wicker basket.

City Attorney Gene Strate then drew Chavez's name from the basket, making him mayor of helper, a hamlet about 120 miles southeast of Salt Lake City.

Chavez is filling the rest of Dean Armstrong's term, which expires in January 2014. Armstrong resigned Feb. 23, one day after he was arrested for investigation of his third DUI.

Chavez retired from the Carbon County Sheriff's Office two weeks ago.

South Dakota

2nd would-be rescuer pulled dead from river

SIOUX FALLS - Crews on Saturday recovered the body of a second person who drowned in an icy South Dakota river while trying to save a 6-year-old boy, authorities said.

A search boat discovered the body of Lyle Francis Eagletail, 28, in the Big Sioux River shortly before 2 p.m. Saturday, said Jeff Helm, division chief for Sioux Falls Fire and Rescue.

Eagletail had been near the river in Falls Park Thursday evening when he saw 6-year-old Garrett Martin Wallace either fall into the frothing water or become obscured by the gathering foam. Garrett's 16-year-old sister had jumped in to save the boy and Eagletail followed. The boy later emerged from the river and was uninjured.

The body of Madison Leigh Wallace, of Vermillion, was discovered Friday afternoon. Eagletail's body was discovered about 100 feet from Wallace's body in a part of the river that was about 12 feet deep, Helm said. It was an area on the east bank that crews had previously searched.


Calm weather helps crews battling fire

FORT COLLINS - Calmer weather on Saturday allowed crews to gain the upper hand on a wildfire that has scorched between 750 and 1,000 acres in the foothills west of Fort Collins.

Nick Christensen, spokesman for the Larimer County Sheriff's Department, said strong winds that caused havoc Friday died down, and many of the residents who were forced to leave the area were allowed to return home.

No injuries were reported, and no structures were damaged.


Fewer state teachers given pink slips

SACRAMENTO - California teachers are seeing a steep drop in pink slips, thanks to a strengthening economy and new revenue from voter-approved taxes.

The California Teachers Association said 2,900 educators in districts the union represents received preliminary layoff notices just before Friday's statewide deadline for districts to warn teachers they could lose their jobs.

By contrast, about 22,000 teachers, nurses and counselors got pink slips by the March 15 deadline, according to the CTA, which represents 95 percent of California's K-12 educators.

School districts typically rescind most of the preliminary pink slips later in the year, but agencies are required to issue them if there's a chance employees could be laid off at the end of the school year.


3rd school district admits to cheating

EL PASO - A third El Paso-area school district has acknowledged wrongdoing in a scandal over cheating to meet federal accountability measures, the El Paso Times reported Saturday.

An internal investigation and an outside audit of the San Elizario Independent School District revealed that several students' credits were manipulated and students were reclassified inappropriately into different grade levels.

District Superintendent Sylvia Hopp told the newspaper that the district has taken steps to correct the wrongdoing by past administrators so the students can have their appropriate number of earned credits.

San Elizario trustees ordered a preliminary audit in December because of recent allegations at other area districts and concerns raised by staff members.

New York

2 officers who shot teen had faced suits

NEW YORK - Two police officers who killed a 16-year-old boy on a New York City street have been sued for alleged civil rights violations related to other encounters with the public, the Daily News reported Saturday.

The city has paid $215,000 to settle three lawsuits against Sgt. Mourad Mourad and two against officer Jovaniel Cordova, the newspaper reported.

The officers were in Brooklyn's East Flatbush section March 9 when they tried to stop and question 16-year-old Kimani Gray on the street. Police say the officers, who were not wearing uniforms, shot the teen after he pulled a gun.

Gray's killing prompted a week of protest marches in Brooklyn, including some incidents that turned violent, with people ransacking a market and throwing items at police officers and police vehicles.

The Associated Press