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The Journal Gazette

  • Associated Press
    Ellery Forsythe makes his way around his flooded neighborhood Thursday in Waseca, Minn. Heavy rain has flooded homes, closed highways and stranded motorists in several Midwestern states.

  • Thompson
September 23, 2016 1:01 AM

Feds drop accreditor of for-profit colleges

Associated Press

WASHINGTON – The Education Department withdrew recognition of the nation’s largest accreditor of for-profit colleges on Thursday, a decision that could force schools to close and threaten financial aid to hundreds of thousands of students.

The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools said it would appeal the decision to Education Secretary John B. King Jr. In a statement, ACICS Interim President Roger Williams said the council would “continue diligent efforts to renew and strengthen its policies and practices” to meet the department’s criteria for accreditors.

The accrediting agency has been accused of lax oversight of its schools, which included those once owned by the now-defunct Corinthian Colleges Inc. and the recently shuttered ITT Technical Institute.

Man accused of killing 4 children

A Detroit-area man who served 16 years in prison for killing his first wife was charged Thursday with killing his two children and two stepchildren and torturing his second wife.

Prosecutors allege that Gregory V. Green bound his wife, cut her face with a box cutter and shot her in the foot before fatally shooting her teenage children in front of her Wednesday at the family’s home in Dearborn Heights. Green, 49, also is accused of killing his and his wife’s young daughters by carbon monoxide poisoning at the home.

Police said Green called 911 early Wednesday and confessed to the killings. His wife, Faith Green, had recently filed for divorce. She survived her injuries.

NY governor’s pal accused of bribery

A former top adviser who New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo once likened to a brother was among eight men arrested Thursday in a bribery and fraud case that threatens to tarnish Cuomo’s efforts to spur the upstate economy and darken a reputation that until now has been spared from a federal prosecutor’s anti-corruption crusade.

Joseph Percoco, formerly Cuomo’s executive deputy secretary and one of his most loyal advisers, also worked for Cuomo’s father, Gov. Mario Cuomo. The court papers allege Percoco took more than $315,000 in bribes from 2012 through 2016 from COR Development and Competitive Power Ventures, an energy company in Syracuse looking to build a power plant in the Hudson Valley.

Afghanistan signs deal with warlord

Afghanistan’s government signed a draft peace deal on Thursday with a designated “global terrorist” after lengthy negotiations that could pave the way for a similar accord with the Taliban, who have been waging war on Kabul for 15 years.

The deal with warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is the country’s first peace agreement since the Taliban launched their insurgency in 2001 after being driven from power in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the United States. It grants full political rights to his Hezb-i-Islami Gulbuddin party and obliges Afghan authorities to work to have it removed from the United Nations’ list of foreign terrorist organizations.

Northern Midwest states flooded

Several Midwestern states were a soggy mess Thursday after up to 10 inches of rain fell in parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa and triggered mudslides that caused one death.

Washed-out railroad tracks derailed a train in southwestern Wisconsin, where a mudslide destroyed a house and killed the man inside. Crews built dams to protect a cheese cave and a woolen mill in southern Minnesota. And in northern Iowa, about 100 people were evacuated from their apartments.

National parks rife with harassment

Sexual harassment, bullying and other misconduct are rampant among employees at national parks across the country, including at iconic sites such as Yosemite, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon, a congressional committee was told Thursday.

At Yosemite, at least 18 employees have come forward with allegations of harassment or other misconduct so severe that a recent report labeled working conditions at the park “toxic.” At Yellow¬≠stone, officials are investigating complaints of sexual exploitation, intimidation and retaliation.

The complaints follow a report by the Interior Department’s inspector general that found male employees at the Grand Canyon preyed on female colleagues, demanded sex and retaliated against women who refused.

Hits mayor with pie, gets punched

A man took a coconut cream pie from a grocery bag, grabbed Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson from behind and smacked him in the face with it at a charity event, leading the former NBA star to start swinging and then tackle the man, who was left battered and facing assault charges.

The pie-wielder and local activist, Sean Thompson, 32, said Thursday that the mayor overreacted, sending him to the hospital for nine stitches before he went to jail. He said he was angry that Johnson devoted so much political energy to an arena for the city’s basketball team and not to other needs such as education and homelessness.

Prosecutors will review the case, including the mayor’s reaction, after receiving the police reports, district attorney spokeswoman Shelly Orio said.

Marine Corps jet crashes off Japan

A U.S. Marine Corps aircraft went down 100 miles east of the coast of the Japanese island of Okinawa, the Marine Corps said Thursday. The pilot ejected and was rescued.

The cause of the incident is unclear and currently under investigation. Okinawa is home to about 50,000 U.S. troops.

The AV-8 Harrier’s crash marks another incident in an unsettling string of aviation mishaps for the Marine Corps. In July, a Marine F/A-18C crashed during a training exercise, killing its pilot. Less than a week later, another aircraft of the same type crashed in Nevada, however, the pilot was able to eject safely. The causes of both crashes remain under investigation.

Manhattan Project physicist dies

A pioneering physicist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who helped build a key tool for studying the universe and played a role in the project that created the first atomic bomb has died, a lab official said Thursday.

Edward Joseph Lofgren died in Oakland, California, on Sept. 6. He was 102.

Lofgren led the development, construction and operation of the Bevatron, an early particle accelerator at the lab. A giant machine that smashes atoms, it was used to find the antiproton, a discovery which led to a Nobel Prize. This research helped scientists study how today’s universe was created and grew.

Lofgren also was involved in the Manhattan project, the federal government’s successful effort to build an atomic bomb.

Disney costume draws complaints

Disney said Wednesday it would no longer sell a boy’s costume for a Polynesian character that some Pacific Islanders have compared to blackface.

The getup depicts Maui – a revered figure in Polynesian oral traditions and viewed by some Pacific Islanders as an ancestor – who is a character in the upcoming animated movie “Moana.” It has a long-sleeve brown shirt and long pants featuring full-body tattoos. It comes with a fake shark-tooth necklace and green-leaf “skirt.”

Disney’s online store had offered boy’s pajamas and a men’s T-shirt in a similar design, but those were no longer available Wednesday.