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Bounce houses increasingly dangerous

– They might be a hit at kids’ birthday parties, but inflatable bounce houses can be dangerous, with the number of injuries soaring in recent years, a nationwide study found.

The number of children aged 17 and younger who got emergency-room treatment for bounce-house injuries has climbed along with the popularity of bounce houses – from fewer than 1,000 in 1995 to nearly 11,000 in 2010. That’s a 15-fold increase, and a doubling just since 2008.

Amusement parks and fairs have bounce houses, and the playthings can be rented or purchased for home use.

Lead author Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and colleagues analyzed national surveillance data on ER treatment for nonfatal injuries linked with bounce houses. Their study was published online today in the journal Pediatrics.

Man charged in cheating scheme

Authorities say a Tennessee man made a business of helping current and aspiring teachers cheat on certification tests.

Clarence Mumford Sr. is charged by the federal government with being the ringleader of a 15-year test-taking scam. Authorities say the scam involved aspiring teachers and Mumford’s stable of hired test-takers in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee.

Mumford faces more than 60 fraud and conspiracy charges that claim he created fake driver’s licenses with the information of a teacher or an aspiring teacher and attached the photo of a test-taker.

Prospective teachers are accused of paying Mumford between $1,500 and $3,000 per test.

‘Human error’ to blame in explosion

A natural gas explosion that injured 18 people and damaged 42 buildings in the Springfield, Mass., entertainment district was blamed Sunday on a utility worker who accidentally punctured a high-pressure pipeline while looking for a leak.

State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan said the Friday night blast was caused by “human error.”

He didn’t name the Columbia Gas Co. worker who pierced the pipe.

Civil rights leader Guyot dies at 73

Lawrence Guyot, a civil rights leader who survived jailhouse beatings in the Deep South in the 1960s and went on to encourage generations to get involved, has died. He was 73.

Guyot had a history of heart problems and suffered from diabetes. He died at home Thursday in Mount Rainier, Md., his daughter Julie Guyot-Diangone said late Saturday.

A Mississippi native, Guyot was director of the 1964 Freedom Summer Project, which brought thousands of young people to the state to register blacks to vote.