Students could earn credit for Web classes

MOUNTAIN VIEW - Nearly 2 million students could be a step closer to getting credit for their work in free online classes, under an agreement announced Tuesday.

Mountain View-based Coursera - an online platform for about 200 classes from 34 universities such as Princeton, Duke and Stanford - said the American Council on Education would begin evaluating about five Coursera classes initially for possible credit recommendations.

It would still be up to individual universities whether to grant credit to students who complete such classes, but a stamp of approval from ACE would likely go a long way toward persuading at least some U.S. institutions to do so.

New York

Utility chief quits amid Sandy criticism

UNIONDALE - The chief operating officer of a utility company heavily criticized for its response to superstorm Sandy is stepping down.

The Long Island Power Authority announced Tuesday that Michael Hervey had tendered his resignation, effective at the end of the year. Hervey has been with LIPA for 12 years.

LIPA has come under withering criticism since Sandy knocked out power to more than a million of its customers on Oct. 29, both for how long it was taking to get power restored and for poor communication with customers.


Guilty plea expected in $53 million scam

CHICAGO - A former comptroller accused of stealing $53 million from her small northern Illinois city to fund a lavish lifestyle, including one of the nation's foremost horse-breeding operations, is expected to plead guilty today, federal prosecutors said.

Rita Crundwell will plead guilty to a federal charge that accuses her of stealing the public money while overseeing the public finances of Dixon, U.S. attorney's spokesman Randall Samborn said. Prosecutors allege that she stole the money over several years and siphoned it into a secret bank account.

US Rep. Jackson Jr. leaves Mayo Clinic

CHICAGO - Questions about Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s health and political future swirled again Tuesday as the Chicago congressman left the Mayo Clinic for the second time but didn't disclose where he was going, even as Congress returned from a seven-week election break.

The Democrat, who was easily re-elected last week, has been on a hushed medical leave since June for treatment of bipolar disorder and other medical issues. Neither his staff nor his family has given updates about when or if he's expected to return to work.


Bad driver given 'idiot' sign duty

CLEVELAND - A Cleveland woman puffed on a cigarette, wore headphones, and ignored passers-by and crowds of reporters as she stood for an hour Tuesday under a judge's order holding a sign that said, "Only an idiot would drive on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus."

A Municipal Court judge had ordered 32-year-old Shena Hardin to serve the highly public sentence Tuesday and today for the Sept. 11 citation after she was caught on camera driving on a sidewalk to pass a Cleveland school bus that was unloading children.

Hardin's license was suspended for 30 days and she was ordered to pay $250 in court costs.

Wire reports