Negotiators have ‘framework’ to end Chicago strike

Posted Sept. 14, 2012, at 8:41 p.m.

CHICAGO — The city’s nearly weeklong teachers strike appeared headed toward a resolution Friday after negotiators emerged from marathon talks to say they had achieved a “framework” that could end the walkout in time for students to return to class Monday.

Both sides were careful not to describe the deal as a final agreement and declined to release the terms. They expected to spend the weekend working out details before union delegates are asked to vote on whether to call off the walkout, probably on Sunday.

School Board President David Vitale said the “heavy lifting” was over after long hours of talks placed “frameworks around all the major issues.”

Union President Karen Lewis agreed, saying there were no “main sticking points right now.”

The walkout has been a potent display of union power at a time when organized labor has been losing ground around the nation. The negotiations have been closely followed by many other unions and school districts that face the same issues about the future of urban education, particularly teacher evaluations linked to student test scores and the threat of school closures.

Wash. man arrested after pointing gun at pregnant smoker

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — A Washington state man has been arrested on allegations that he pointed a handgun at a pregnant woman because she was smoking a cigarette.

Justin Dain Palmer, 24, reportedly stopped his pickup truck Wednesday to shout at a smoker on a sidewalk, “Who the heck smokes when they’re pregnant?” Bellingham police spokesman Mark Young said. The woman replied, “I do.”

Young said after more words were exchanged, the man pointed a handgun at the woman. The Bellingham Herald reports the man then drove off, and the woman called 911.

Police stopped Palmer a short time later. Young says Palmer acknowledged confronting the woman but denied pulling a gun. Police say they found two semiautomatic .45-caliber handguns in his pickup’s center console.

Palmer was arrested for investigation of pointing a gun.

Polls: Obama leads Romney in four swing states

WASHINGTON — New polls in four battleground states show President Barack Obama holding a lead of 5 to 7 points over Republican nominee Mitt Romney, reinforcing the national surveys that indicate the incumbent gained ground with his convention last week.

Of the four, Obama’s largest lead comes in the critical state of Ohio, where he leads Romney 50 percent to 43 percent among likely voters, according to the latest NBC/Wall St. Journal/Marist University poll. The survey also polled likely voters in Florida, where Obama led 49 percent to 43 percent, and Virginia, where he led 49 percent to 44 percent.

In a separate survey by New Hampshire’s WMUR-TV, Obama led Romney 45 percent to 40 percent in that state.

The polls in all four states were taken in the days immediately following the Democratic nominating convention, so they may have caught Obama at a high point. Often, though not always, candidates gain ground after their conventions, then see their support erode in subsequent weeks.

Man convicted in 1957 murder of 7-year-old girl

SYCAMORE, Ill. — Fifty-five years after 7-year-old Maria Ridulph vanished, her friends and family let out a deafening cheer Friday as a judge pronounced a former neighborhood teen — now a 72-year-old man — guilty of her kidnapping and murder. It was one of the oldest unsolved crimes in the U.S. to make it to trial.

The roar of approval soon gave way to loud sobs from those who knew the little girl whose body was found after a five-month search that drew national media attention and haunted people across the country. Jack McCullough, who was 17-year-old John Tessier at the time, showed no hint of emotion.

McCullough was briefly a suspect, like more than 100 others, in the 1950s, but he had an alibi. He told investigators he had been traveling to Chicago to get a medical exam before joining the Air Force. He settled in Seattle, working as a Washington state police officer.

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