Four-day school week passes in Florida county
Marion County Superintendent Jim Yancy said the switch to four-day school weeks would save $4.5 million.
June 30th, 2011
07:21 PM ET

Four-day school week passes in Florida county

While students in many parts of the world attend school for up to six days a week, students in Marion County, Florida, will receive three-day weekends - every week - starting in the fall of 2012, making it the first county in Florida to make the change.

The Marion County School Board in Florida voted this week in a 4-1 decision to approve a four-day school week for the county’s schools, according to Kevin Christian, the school district’s public relations officer.

The action comes after a massive $24 million cut to next year’s operating budget. Making the switch will save the district around $4.5 million, Marion County School Superintendent Jim Yancey said, according to Orlando television station 13 News.

Students will attend school either Monday through Thursday or Tuesday through Friday, with an additional 75 minutes tacked on each day in the 2012-2013 school year, 13 News says. One day less a week will save on water and energy, along with transportation costs.

A downside, of course, is long, draining class days, with three-day weekends possibly providing too much time between lessons, causing regression in learning.

The Education Commission of the States says the most a school will save is 2.5% of overall budget savings by transitioning to four days a week.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 21 states already have school districts with public schools offering four-day school weeks.

While Board members originally considered implementing the shorter week for the 2011-2012 school year, the district was able to save in other places instead, but expects another $8 million in budget cuts for the 2012-2013 budget.

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Filed under: Budget • Economy • Education • Florida
Glass staircase not dress friendly
A glass staircase is causing women to rethink taking the stairs.
June 9th, 2011
08:44 PM ET

Glass staircase not dress friendly

For years, women across America have dealt with glass ceilings. But now, women in Ohio have a new problem - glass floors.

A $105 million courthouse opened in Franklin County, Ohio, on Monday, but the builders seemed to have forgotten one thing - the bottom of the stairs, reports affiliate 10TV. The staircase is made of glass.

Dress wearers need to avoid taking the stairs, according to Franklin County Judge Julie Lynch, who wears dresses under her robes almost every day.

"I wear dresses because that's my personal choice," Lynch told 10TV. "When you stand under the stairwell, you can see right up through them.”

She speculates that men, who didn’t take half the population into account, designed the stairs.

Attorney Lori Johnson was startled by the transparent stairs. She worries not only about stares, but also how many cell phones have cameras attached.

“The next thing you know, you’re on the internet,” Johnson said, according to 10TV. “It sounds like a lawsuit in the making.”

While security guards warn women about taking the stairs, it seems most are just hoping people will be mature about the situation.

"They hope people will be mature? That's not a solution," Lynch said to 10TV. "If we had mature people that didn't violate the law, we wouldn't have this building."

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Filed under: Architecture • Courts • Justice • Ohio
Unborn child has Facebook profile
"I am growing strong and waiting to get out of my mom's belly," fetus Marriah Greene says on her Facebook profile.
May 31st, 2011
10:28 PM ET

Unborn child has Facebook profile

Unborn baby Marriah Greene has a lot to say, at least according to her Facebook profile.

The child attends Tummy University, enjoys soccer and swimming and talks in first person. And her friends talk back to her– in baby-speak, naturally.

Of course, it’s really her mother, Ellie Greene of Whitehouse, Texas, updating the page, but the fetus already has more than 260 friends.

When Ellie and her husband, Matt, decided it was time to announce their pregnancy, they wanted a quick, inclusive method, and what’s faster than Facebook to spread exciting news?

“Within a day she had over 100 friends,” Ellie said, according to affiliate KLTV.

Friends quickly responded to updates about Marriah. They give advice, make jokes and compliment her beauty in the ultrasound photos.

“We wanted to keep the page going, so she could go back and look at it,” Ellie said, giving her daughter the opportunity to see how many people adored her before she was even born.

The parents plan to continue updating the page, with her birth story coming soon. After all, “The word in the belly is there's a lot more to see.”

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Filed under: Facebook • Technology • Texas
Man finds at least $40,000 in ammo boxes, returns it
The money was found inside eight ammo boxes in a Utah man's attic.
May 20th, 2011
02:51 PM ET

Man finds at least $40,000 in ammo boxes, returns it

Most people expect to find spiders or old boxes of junk in their attics. But a Utah man found at least $40,000 in cash.

Josh Ferrin recently purchased a home in the appropriately dubbed Bountiful, Utah, and noticed an access panel into the attic.  That's where he found the money, packed into eight ammo boxes, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

After briefly pondering his own needs, including fixing his house and his car, he decided to do what was right.

“I couldn’t let myself consider the money mine,” Ferrin told the Tribune.  "(The previous homeowner) didn’t put it there for me. He put it there for a rainy day.”

It turns out the previous owner, Arnold Bangerter, was a father of six, who bought the home in the 1960s and had died in November.

“I knew he was a father, and I am a father, too. And I can understand thinking about the future and your children,” Ferrin said.

Ferrin tracked down Bangerter’s youngest son, Dennis, and his brother, Kay, who said they would split the money between the six siblings. He wasn’t sure how much money he handed over, because he stopped counting bills at $40,000, and there were stocks, bonds and about 50 pounds of coins in the ammo boxes.

“Hopefully, they won’t hide it in their ceiling,” Ferrin joked.

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Filed under: Utah