AP News


Lawn care error kills most of Ohio college’s grass PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by The Associated Press   
Friday, 16 May 2014 18:54
FINDLAY, Ohio (AP) — A university in Ohio is being forced to replace almost all its grass after weedkiller was accidentally applied to lawns instead of fertilizer.
University of Findlay spokeswoman Brianna Patterson says that the chemical was applied during the last week of April and that it will take several weeks to reseed and re-sod the affected areas.
Patterson tells the Findlay Courier for a story Friday the mistake is unfortunate because of how hard the university works to keep the campus looking nice.
Findlay University did not release the name of the company that made the mistake but is working with the business’ insurance company to pay for it to be fixed.
The university says grass was killed on as many as 54 of the campus’ 72 acres.
FINDLAY, Ohio — A university in Ohio is being forced to replace almost all its grass after weedkiller was accidentally applied to lawns instead of fertilizer.
University of Findlay spokeswoman Brianna Patterson says that the chemical was applied during the last week of April and that it will take several weeks to reseed and re-sod the affected areas.
Patterson tells the Findlay Courier for a story Friday the mistake is unfortunate because of how hard the university works to keep the campus looking nice.
Findlay University did not release the name of the company that made the mistake but is working with the business’ insurance company to pay for it to be fixed.
The university says grass was killed on as many as 54 of the campus’ 72 acres.
 
Cannes fest opens with Kidman in "Grace of Monaco" PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by By JAKE COYLE / AP Film Writer   
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 15:44
CANNES, France (AP) — The Grace Kelly melodrama “Grace of Monaco” kicked off the 67th annual Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday with classic French Riviera glamour, behind-the-scenes controversy and emphatic boos from critics.
The film, starring Nicole Kidman as Kelly during her marriage to Prince Rainier III of Monaco (Tim Roth), gave Cannes some local Cote d’Azur color and star wattage for a flashy opening. But it also started the 11-day festival on an unusually tumultuous note.
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First lady to deliver president’s weekly address PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 09 May 2014 19:49
WASHINGTON (AP) — Michelle Obama is delivering the president’s weekly address this week.
The White House says she will focus the radio and Internet address on Mother’s Day and the nearly 300 girls who remain missing after being kidnapped more than three weeks ago from their school in Nigeria by an Islamist extremist group whose leader has threatened to sell them.
The case has sparked international outrage. The U.S. and other nations are assisting the Nigerian government in its efforts to find the girls.
This week, Mrs. Obama tweeted a photo of herself in the White House holding a sign with the message “(hashtag) Bring Back Our Girls.”
Mrs. Obama has joined President Barack Obama on past weekly addresses. Saturday’s will be the first one she delivers alone.
 
Postal service had $1.9 billion quarterly loss PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 09 May 2014 19:47
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service reported a $1.9 billion loss for the first three months of this year and pleaded again Friday for reforms to its troubled financial system.
The agency said the loss for the quarter that ended March 31 matched the $1.9 billion in red ink in the same period last year and marked the 20th time of the last 22 quarters that it posted a loss.
It came despite continued cost-cutting efforts, a 2.3 percent rise in operating revenue, increased employee productivity and other improvements.
“We’re happy with the financial progress,” Postmaster Patrick Donahoe told reporters on a conference call.  “Bottom line: Unfortunately, we’re still in the red” because of congressionally-mandated retiree payments.
Postal officials have said repeatedly that they need comprehensive legislation that includes more control over its personnel and benefit costs and more flexibility in pricing and products. Though various legislative proposals have been advanced, Congress has not passed a bill with the requested changes.
The shipping and package business continued to rise and operating revenues were up $379 million over the same period last year — the third straight quarter of revenue increase. But there were annual inflationary cost increases and there was a continued decline in first-class mail.
Details in the report for the second quarter of the budget year, compared to the same period last year,  included:
• Operating revenue was $16.7 billion, an increase of $379 million or 2.3 percent.
• Operating expenses before non-cash workers’ compensation expenses were cut to $17.9 billion from $18.1 billion, a 1.1 percent improvement.
• Total mail volume fell to 38.1 billion pieces from 38.8 billion pieces.
• Volume in shipping and packages rose 7.3 percent.
• First-class mail declined 4.1 percent.
The Postal Service is an independent agency that receives no tax dollars for its day-to-day operations but is subject to congressional control. It has asked to end most Saturday deliveries, a move it says could save about $2 billion annually. And it’s seeking to reduce its congressionally mandated $5.6 billion annual payment for future retiree health benefits.
The pre-funding requirement for future retiree health benefits accounts for the brunt of the agency’s red ink and the agency has defaulted on a number of the congressionally-mandated payments. Officials note the solution to their financial problems is much larger than just addressing the retiree issue.
“Some comments in recent news reports suggest that all we need from Congress is help with restructuring our retiree health benefit plan,” chief financial officer Joseph Corbett said. “Nothing can be further from the truth. Our liabilities exceed our assets by $42 billion and we have a need for more than $10 billion to invest in new delivery vehicles, package sortation equipment, and other deferred investments.
“We haven’t been making the retiree health benefit prefunding payments because we can’t,” Corbett said, adding that if the retiree requirement was reduced, it still wouldn’t give the agency any more cash to pay down its debt or put needed capital into the business.
“Only comprehensive postal legislation ... will provide the necessary cash flows,” Corbett said.
Noting the positive trends that Donahoe also touted, National Association of Letter Carriers President Fredric Rolando said “it would be irresponsible to degrade services to the public,” a reference in part to the idea of curtailing Saturday delivery.
 
Express Scripts to lay off 290 PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 09 May 2014 19:46
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Express Scripts plans to cut 290 jobs at its Columbus facility as part of a national staff reduction.
The positions represent about 8 percent of the prescription-plan manager’s Ohio workforce.
All told, the St. Louis-based company plans to eliminate 1,890 of about 29,000 employees nationally through a combination of staff reductions and buyouts.
The announcement, which came last week, followed release of first-quarter earnings that fell 12 percent, to $328 million from $373 million a year earlier.
Spokesman Brian Henry said business operations have been re-evaluated after a merger two years ago and loss of a major client.
Express Scripts runs prescription-drug plans for employers, insurers and others. It processes mail-order prescriptions and handles billing for prescriptions filled at retail pharmacies. It filled 320 million prescriptions in the first quarter.
 
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