05 25 2016
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  • On Tuesday, a judge ordered the 78-year-old Cosby to stand trial on sexual assault charges 
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  • The judge concluded Officer Edward Nero played little role in the arrest and wasn't responsible for the failure by police to buckle Gray in  
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  • Bill Cosby faces a preliminary hearing Tuesday to determine if his criminal sex-assault case in suburban Philadelphia goes to trial.Prosecutors had declined to charge the comedian-actor over the 2005 complaint, but arrested him in December after his explosive deposition in the woman's lawsuit became public. In the testimony given in that deposition, Cosby is grilled about giving drugs and alcohol to women before sex; making secret payments to ex-lovers; and hosting Andrea Constand at his home. They knew each other through Temple University, where he was a trustee and she managed the women's basketball team. Bill Cosby's wife refused to answer dozens of questions during a combative deposition in a defamation lawsuit filed by seven women who say the comedian branded them liars after they accused him of sexually assaulting them, according to a transcript released Friday. Camille Cosby was subjected to intense questioning by the women's lawyer, who repeatedly pressed her to say whether she believes her husband "acted with a lack of integrity" during their 52-year marriage. The lawyer also asked if her husband used his position and power "to manipulate young women." Camille Cosby didn't answer those questions and many others after her lawyer cited marital privilege, the legal protection given to communications between spouses. She repeatedly said she had "no opinion" when pressed on whether she viewed her husband's behavior as dishonest and a violation of their marriage vows. About 50 women have publicly accused Bill Cosby of forcing unwanted sexual contact on them decades ago. Cosby has denied the allegations. He faces a criminal case in Pennsylvania, where prosecutors have charged him with sexually violating a former Temple University employee, Andrea Constand. He has pleaded not guilty. Camille Cosby answered questions in the deposition Feb. 22 and again April 19 after her lawyers argued unsuccessfully to stop it. A judge ruled she would have to give a deposition but said she could refuse to answer questions about private communications between her and her husband. Camille Cosby's lawyer, Monique Pressley, repeatedly cited that privilege and advised her not to answer many questions asked by the women's lawyer, Joseph Cammarata. The exchanges between Cammarata and Cosby became testy at times, and she admonished him: "Don't lecture me. Just keep going with the questions." Using a transcript of a deposition Bill Cosby gave in a civil lawsuit filed by Constand in 2005 and a transcript of an interview she gave to Oprah Winfrey in 2000, Cammarata asked Camille Cosby about extramarital affairs her husband had. "Were you aware of your husband setting up trusts for the benefit of women that he had a sexual relationship with?" Cammarata asked. She didn't answer after her lawyer cited marital privilege. Cammarata asked her about Shawn Thompson, a woman who said Bill Cosby fathered her daughter, Autumn Jackson, in the 1970s. Jackson was convicted in 1997 of attempting to extort money from Bill Cosby to prevent her from telling a tabloid she's his daughter. He acknowledged he had an affair with her mother and had given her money. "Was it a big deal when this came up in the 1970s that your husband had — big deal to you that your husband had an extramarital affair and potentially had a daughter from that extramarital affair?" Cammarata asked. "It was a big deal then, yes," Camille Cosby replied. She said she had "no opinion" on whether her husband's admission he obtained quaaludes to give to women with whom he wanted to have sex violated their marriage vows. Her lawyer objected and instructed her not to answer when Cammarata asked her if she ever suspected she had been given any type of drug to alter her state of consciousness when she had sex with her husband. A spokesman for the Cosbys declined to comment on her deposition. The Cosbys have a home in Shelburne Falls, an hour's drive from Springfield, where the lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages, was filed. An attorney handling a separate lawsuit against Bill Cosby revealed Friday that Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner provided sworn testimony Wednesday. In the sexual battery lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, Judy Huth says Cosby forced her to perform a sex act on him at the Playboy Mansion around 1974, when she was 15. Bill Cosby's former lawyers have accused Huth of attempting to extort him before filing the case and have tried unsuccessfully to have it dismissed. Huth's attorney, Gloria Allred, said Hefner's testimony will remain under seal for now. Hefner also was named as a defendant in a case filed Monday by former model Chloe Goins, who accuses Bill Cosby of drugging and sexually abusing her at the Playboy Mansion in 2008.   The Associated Press generally doesn't identify people who say they're victims of sexual abuse, but the women accusing Cosby have come forward to tell their stories.___AP Entertainment Writer Anthony McCartney contributed to this report from Los Angeles.
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Students at Boise Eliot/Humboldt School demonstrated their love of science in a visit with Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, Monday, April 29.

And the senator took the opportunity to unveil two bills he is sponsoring in the U.S. Senate. One would create a grant program to improve education in science, technology, engineering and math –the STEM subjects; the other would fund hands-on career education.

"We need to do a lot more to bring these concepts about math, science and real-life applications of them, into the classroom," Merkley told the students.

 "One way we can make it (America) work better is to get more programs like you're all going through, into the classroom. So I'm introducing legislation to fund grants to increase the availability of STEM programs across America."

Boise Eliot/Humboldt is a K-8 school specializing in the STEM subjects. And STEM coordinator Kylene Parks makes sure that learning about science is fun. Lessons are hands-on, and students are encouraged to act on what they learn. Parks also works with Boise Eliot/Humboldt's other teachers to help them integrate STEM subjects into their classrooms.

Judging by the curiosity and enthusiasm on display, the effort is working.

After asking Sen. Merkley about his work, students took turns to tell him about their projects and what they have learned.

Students raised salmon in the school and studied them before setting them free into the wild. Every class in the school visited the salmon once a week, to observe how they grew and developed. So it was an emotional day when they released the school-raised fish into Drano Lake near the Bonneville Dam.

The students also studied food and nutrition. And they investigated how far you'd have to go to get nutritious food in different neighborhoods, and how much it cost.

One girl said her mother had changed her shopping habits, after the class studied which foods are better for health. But the family soon found that healthier foods can be more expensive, and hard to find in their neighborhood.

The class went on to take action, sending a letter to President Obama about unequal access to healthy foods.

"It's not fair that people with higher incomes can get healthy food, and people with lower incomes are stuck," a student said.

Merkley also visited a third-grade classroom where students were studying pill bugs, which they also know as isopods.

Sen. Merkley's bill, "The STEM Education for the Global Economy Act" was introduced last week in the U.S. Senate. The bill would focus on middle and high schools, sending grants to states:

·         to bring high quality STEM education into more classrooms

·         to make sure teachers are trained to teach STEM subjects

·         to close achievement gaps, and

·         to make sure students from all backgrounds have opportunities for careers in science, engineering and technology.

"America is spending too little on education and shortchanging our economic future," Merkley said. "We need to make sure that our children are the most educated and well prepared for the global economy.

"That starts with more STEM education in our schools to train the next generation of engineers, while also exposing our middle and high school students to career technical education relevant for manufacturing, welding, and woodworking."

Merkley also plans to introduce another bill that would create grants for practical career and technical education.

"It's for what we used to call shop classes", Merkley said. "Because oftentimes when people build things with their hands in metal shop or wood shop, it takes the science world and it makes it very real. There's a lot of joy that comes with actually making things."

See all the photos on The Skanner News Facebook page

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