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News briefs

By Kathy Williamson
OW Editor in Chief

During the holidays, entertainer/activist Eartha Kitt, actor Bernie Hamilton, jazz great Freddie Hubbard, baseball pioneer Doc Ellis, and publisher/producer of the Oakland Black Expo, C. Diane Howell made their transitions. We honor their accomplishments.
Tax refunds – The state budget impasse could mean a possible delay in tax refunds to millions of Californians. According to Assemblymember Mike Davis, the failed negotiations also mean that vital services for the disabled and low income families and others are stalled until an agreement is reached. Budget talks collapsed again on Tuesday.
Out-of-state students – Assemblymember Curren Price, in a letter to Mark J. Yudoff, president of the University of California, objects to a  UC system policy that would increase the percentage of out-of-state students enrolled in our states 10-campuses for the purpose of gaining higher out-of-state student fees to aid the universitys balance sheet at this time of state budgetary crisis.
Alzheimers – UCLA researchers announced Monday that they have developed a way to use the PET brain scan (Positron Emission Tomography) to reveal early signs of neurodegeneration that could indicate Alzheimers disease, when combined with other patient information.
L.A. Arts Month – Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa officially declared January as L.A. Arts Month, Tuesday, encouraging residents to explore the citys cultural offerings.
Choices deadline – Jan. 9 at 5 p.m. is the deadline to submit an application for the Los Angeles Unified School District Magnet, Permits with Transportation or Public School Choice programs. Completed applications should be sent to the Student Integration Services (Magnet) office. (213) 241-4177.
Lead testing – On Feb. 10, a new law will go into effect that would require lead and phthalates testing in retail establishments for all items targeted for children ages 12 and under. Hardest hit will be the resale industry including second-hand stores such as Goodwill and other discount stores. Health and child safety advocates say that the ban is long overdue. Thrift shop owners say that much of their stock will now go directly to the landfills regardless of any lead content because the testing process is cost-prohibitive.
Plasma pigs – For those who dared to purchase a LCD or plasma television over the holidays, their bliss may be short lived when they receive their first energy bill. The news for those who waited and decided to stay with the rabbit ears, converter boxes and outdated units is that in 2011, state regulators will mandate retailers to sell only the most energy-efficient models. But, manufacturers promise that you will pay more.
Style chnges – Our Weekly will continue to use the AP Style Guide (APSG) for our basic writing. However, we are making some style changes to better serve our readership.
– Percentages: The APSG recommends spelling out the word percent instead of using the % sign. We feel that this is too distracting, especially in stories containing multiple percentage figures.
– Black, Brown, White: The APSG recommends that all references to color be lower case. After much consideration, we feel that color, as it refers to a group of people with similar racial backgrounds should be capitalized. Further, Asians are not referred to as yellows; Native Americans as reds, etc. Our Weekly will use African American when referring to Americans of African descent, otherwise, we will use Black to refer to the collective global population of African descent.