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View Sample Pages : Syracuse Post Standard, July 15, 2005

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Post-Standard, The (Newspaper) - July 15, 2005, Syracuse, New York r The Post-Standard Affiliated with FRIDAY, JULY 15, 2005 FINAL EDITION O J005 T SYRACUSE, N.Y. 50 CENTS CHANCY A front continues to stay near Cen- tral New York today, bringing the chance of a drenching thunderstorm with some flooding at any time. In the absence of a storm, there will be a mix of sunshine and clouds. Complete forecast, D-8 HIGH: 88 LOW: 70 State releases high school graduation rates Westhill Tops County Districts Syracuse board plans to appoint superintendent The Syracuse Board of Edu- cation is poised to appoint a new superintendent of schools today, district officials said Thursday. STORY, PAGE B-1 Source: Rove testified reporters gave him name White House staffer Karl Rover testified last year to a grand jury that he learned the j identity of a CIA operative origi- nally from journalists, then in- formally discussed the informa- tion with a Time magazine reporter, according to a person briefed on the testimony. STORY, PAGE A-9 I 1 Niagara Falls base plan j could hurt whole process j The Pentagon's decision to j close Niagara Falls Air Reserve j Station may cause legal prob- j lems that could cripple the entire j national base-closing process, according to a memo. STORY, PAGE A-11 Panel head: Land claims won't get rubber stamp The House Resources Com- mittee heard testimony Thursday on how to settle New York's In- dian land claims. STORY, PAGE A-4 Health officials: County has new case of listeriosis An unidentified elderly per- son Thursday became the fourth patient diagnosed with listeriosis in Onondaga County. STORY, PAGE B-2 Schilling flops in debut; Red Sox fall to Yankees Alex Rodriguez and the New York Yankees got the best of Curt Schilling this time. With the bloody-ankled hero of Boston's 2004 World Series victory debuting in his new job as a reliever, Rodriguez hit a two-run homer to break a ninth- inning tie and the Yankees beat the Red Sox 8-6 Thursday night. SPORTS, PAGE D-1 Albany fight over pay delays CNY roadwork A disagreement between Gov. George Pataki and the lead- ers of the state Legislature on paying "prevailing wage" for state transportation projects has delayed roadwork across the state and Central New York. STORY, PAGE A-11 Corrections Kodak Robert Romeo's involvement with Hotel "Unclaimed Ironman USA Tabatha's Family Tree Call Deputy Executive Editor Tim Bunn at 470-2240 to dis- cuss a correction on a news story. Subscription questions'? Call 470-NEWS Index Business...........C-1 Lottery..............A-2 Classified..........F-l Movies...............E-4 CNY...................E-1 New York......A-10 Comics..............t-6 Obituaries........B-4 Crime................B-6 Sports...............D-l Editorials.......A-12 Stocks...............C-3 Local news.......B-1 Television..........E-5 THE POST-STANDARD By Molly Hennessy-Fiske Staff writer High school graduation and drop- out rates released Thursday show a higher percentage of students made it through Hamilton Central School in four years 96 percent than at any other school in Central New i York. I The Madison County school's se- j cret? I "There's nothing that allows you to compare and say that anything works for Superintendent Pete Backus said. "You just keep looking at all test numbers each year and identify students as early as you can for intervention." State Education Department fig- ures indicate that 22.7 percent of Auburn High School's Class of 2004 dropped out. Superintendent John Plume said teachers plan to improve the district's alternative programs but warned, "We won't see results from this for two or three years." Statewide, 67.4 percent of the Class of 2004 earned a diploma in four years, 12 percent dropped out, 17 percent were still enrolled after their scheduled graduation date, 1.4 percent received a special education diploma and 2 percent transferred to GED programs. Westhill led the districts in Onondaga County with 92.3 percent of its students graduating in four years, according to the state num- bers. In Oswego County, Phoenix led with 79.3 percent. Superinten- dent Rita Racette credited the dis- trict's alternative high school, de- signed to help students graduate with their classmates. "We should be she said. Syracuse's four high schools had a combined graduation rate of 68.8 percent better than the state aver- age and Yonkers (56.4 Buffalo (53.9 percent) and Roches- ter (42.9 Nottingham had the highest graduation rate in the city at 76 percent; while Fowler had the lowest at 57.4 percent. How many students in Syracuse dropped out, stayed on after gradua- tion or received a special education SUPERINTENDENT, PAGE A-4 Inside Chart shows graduation, dropout rates for your school district. Page A-4 New national test scores for reading, math released. Nine- year-olds doing well. Page A-14 LIGHTNING BOLTS CRACK THROUGH THE HEAT A THUNDERSTORM passes over Syracuse late Thursday afternoon in this view looking north from downtown. A violent storm with loud claps of thunder and vibrant lightning hit some areas of Centra! New York Thursday. Air heavy with humidity made the high of 88 degrees oppressive. The storm dumped a David lassman Staff photographer record 2.24 inches of rain on Syracuse, knocking out power to thousands of people and flooding streets and parking lots. East Syracuse firefighters used a rowboat to save three disabled bus passengers on a flooded street. Lightning struck a house in Cazenovia, igniting a fire. Stories and photograhs. Pages B-1, B-5 Gotcha! Oswego clerk nabs federal agent Motor vehicles worker gets suspicious during homeland security sting operation. By Delen Goldberg Staff writer Brenda Earl knew something was wrong with the Social Secu- rity card sitting on her desk. The man who'd handed it to her wanted to trade his Michigan drivers license for a New York drivers license. But the Social Security card he showed Earl, Oswego County Department of Motor Vehicles clerk, looked fake. Several key pieces of information were miss- ing. Earl stalled the man by pre- tending to process his applica- tion. That gave her a chance to gather personal information from him, take his picture and call her supervisor all the right moves, DMV officials said after- ward. The man wasn't a ter- rorist or a crook. He was a federal agent with the U.S. Department of Homeland Se- curity taking part in a statewide Earl sting. Thanks to Earl, the Oswe- go DMV wasn't stung. Homeland Security agents tra- versed New York last month checking state departments and infrastructures for security breaches that could make them vulnerable to terrorists. Their checks included tests of docu- ment security at local DMV of- fices, as well as surveys of local waterways, tunnels and hydro- electric plants. The DMV office in Oswego, run by the county clerk's office, and a state-run DMV office on Long Island were the only DMV offices in the state to be checked, state DMV Commissioner Ray- mond said. Both passed inspection. "The agents came to see how well the things we've been prac- ticing since worked, and they worked exactly as they were supposed Martinez said. "It's very reassuring when someone says the system you set up works." Federal agents will conduct similar checks in other parts of the country in the coming months. Martinez visited Oswego County on Thursday to com- mend Earl for a job well done. He and Oswego County Clerk George Williams presented Earl with a plaque in front of the Os- TWO, PAGE A-4 Neighbor takes stuff, camera takes picture vr .v By Robert A. Baker Staff writer For most people, the video- tape they make while on their honeymoon is something to cherish. For a former Oneida couple, it was something that sent a neigh- bor to jail. The couple noticed things had disappeared from their house, so they set up a video camera be- fore they left on their honey- moon, Oneida resident Christopher P. Rong was caught on tape en- tering his neighbors' house and helping himself to cigarettes and liquor while they were on their wedding trip. When confronted by police, Rong, who was sentenced Thurs- day for the Sept. 12 burglary, said he was just keeping an eye on the house. "They have you on tape doing these said Madison County Court Judge Biagio DiS- tefano. "They had to tell you about the tape and your memory WONKA Opens today. CNY, Page E-1, E-3 TOP 10 Dogs, that is. The Daily Dose, Page E-8 changed. You victimized the same people you told everyone j you were protecting." j Rong, 33, of 210 Stephens St., apologized to all parties in the case and told the court he recent- ly kicked a heroin addiction. "My life was dangling by a Rong said. "It took a lot of strength for me to admit 1 was an addict." The honeymooners have since moved. Rong was sentenced to six months in jail and five years' probation. SUDOKU Today's tip CNY, Page E-1 Today's puzzle CNY, Page E-7 Rehnquist: Pm not about to retire The Associated Press j Washington Squelching rumors of his retirement. Chief i Justice William H. Rehnquist said Thursday he will continue heading the Supreme Court I while battling thyroid cancer. "I'm not about to announce my he said. "I want to put to rest the speculation and unfounded ru- mors of my imminent retire- Rehnquist. 80, said in a statement first disclosed by The Associated Press and later con- firmed by the court. "I will con- tinue to perform my duties as chief justice as long as my health permits." Rehnquist issued the i statement hours after being re- I leased from an Arlington, Va., i hospital after being treated for j two days with a fever. President Bush had not been informed in advance about Rehnquist's statement, but the White House welcomed the chief justice's announcement. "The chief justice is doing an outstanding job, and we are pleased he will continue his great service to the presidential spokesman Scott McClellan said. His declaration scrambles an PUNDITS', PAGE A-7 f J ;