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Morning Headlines

Thursday, May 26, 2011

EDUCATION
Teachers No Longer Allowed to “Rescore” Regents Exams (WSJ)
There was once a policy that called for teachers to “rescore” essays or other open-ended questions on the Regents exam if the student scored within five points of passing the math or science exam. Well, no more. A Wall Street Journal report from February found some teachers apparently taking advantage of the practice, leading to widespread grade inflation. Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott is pleased with the announcement.

TRANSPORTATION
Subway Ridership Up; Bus Ridership Down (WSJ)
No one’s really sure why bus ridership is down, but factors include the recession hitting the working class in the outer boroughs harder and MTA service cuts of bus routes last summer.

CENSUS
U.S. Census Figures Show Mexicans Account for Largest Increase of Hispanics in NJ (Star-Ledger)
The state’s Mexican population saw its numbers rise by 115,000 people since 2000, with the city of Passaic accounting for much of the influx. Census figures also show for the first time a higher percentage of households with one person, than those with partners and children.

BUSINESS
NYC Construction Employment in the First Quarter Drops to Lowest Level in 13 Years (NY Building Congress)
A report from the New York Building Congress shows the number of those employed in construction declined to more than 101,200 in the first quarter of 2011, making it the lowest level in 13 years. They used statistics from the New York State Department of Labor.

REAL ESTATE
Real Estate Industry Watches Discrimination Case (WSJ)
The U.S. Attorney accuses Friedland Properties of failing to comply with federal anti-discrimination laws against the disabled when it designed Melar, a 22-story apartment building on the UWS. Those in New York’s real estate industry are watching the case closely because it could mean companies would have to redesign their properties to improve handicapped access and be subject to new penalties.

CRIME
Two Senior Prosecutors Take Over DSK Case (NYT)
Joan Illuzzi-Orbon and Ann P. Prunty will replace a less experienced assistant as lead prosecutors on the case. Meanwhile, Dominique Strauss-Kahn -- accused of sexually assaulting a hotel maid -- moved into a townhouse at 153 Franklin Street, just blocks from the courthouse. The NY Post reads “Chez Perv.” The woman accusing Strauss-Kahn also made changes to her legal team -- she hired noted civil rights lawyer and former assistant U.S. attorney Norman Siegel.

CRIME
City Pays $2 Million in Inmate’s Death (NYT)
The suit alleged that although the man was showing clear signs of alcohol withdrawal, medical staff at the Manhattan Detention Complex failed to treat him, which includes hospitalization. He was kept in the jail’s general population where he died 28 hours later. The city maintains the man received appropriate medical care and that the settlement was in the best interest of all parties.

IMMIGRATION
Most Undocumented Immigrants Checked by Fingerprints Not Charged With Crimes (NY Daily News)
More than 70 percent of undocumented immigrants who were detained after police officers shared their fingerprints were not charged with or convicted of a serious crime. That’s according to new data. Civil libertarians and immigration advocates have been campaigning to not have New York City join the Secure Communities program.

EDUCATION
Columbia Set to Sign Agreement Allowing ROTC Back on Campus (WNBC)
As part of Fleet Week activities, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and university president Lee Bollinger will sign the agreement aboard the USS Iwo Jima today. Columbia banned the ROTC in 1969.  Students and faculty members voted in April to allow the program back on campus in April after the military dropped its ban on openly gay soldiers.

TRANSPORTATION
License Plates for Bike Messengers and Deliverymen? (NY Daily News)
A City councilman wants to issue licenses (and plates) for bike messengers and food deliverymen so they can be identified, tracked, and held accountable. He calls licenses a “great equalizer.” Under the plan, businesses would only be able to hire licensed cyclists and would be charged $1,000 for going rogue.

POLITICS
City Council Expected to Approve New FDNY Exam Legislation (NY1)
Three years after a judge banned any hiring at the FDNY until the city agrees to adopt a new exam approved by the court, the city is raising the age limit for those taking the exam. It was 29, but changing it to 35 will allow those who passed the exam, but weren’t able to be hired because of the injunction to retake the test.

OPINION
Reject Property Tax Cap (NYT)
The Times editorial board writes that while a 2 percent property tax cap is popular, it “would only further devastate communities around the state that can least afford it.” They also write that while politicians like to point to taxes as a reason why businesses don’t move to New York, “Taxes generally rank behind education, infrastructure and other criteria.”

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