Teacher resigns to end fight over nude photos

Saturday, August 19, 2006

AUSTIN, Texas -- A high school art teacher who faced termination after students saw her nude photos online has agreed to resign. Tamara Hoover had been on paid leave since May, when students saw the photos on Flickr.com and showed them to another art teacher at Austin High School. That teacher, who was feuding with Hoover over ceramics equipment, notified administrators, according to sworn affidavits. The photos were posted by Hoover's partner and depicted her in the shower, getting dressed and doing other routine activities. Hoover said the district was focusing on eight pictures among hundreds that were posted, and she defended them as art. The school district said the photos were inappropriate and violated the "higher moral standard" expected of teachers. Hoover, who had been scheduled to argue her case in a termination hearing next week, submitted her letter of resignation Wednesday. Pending school board approval, she will receive several months' salary totaling $14,850 under an agreement with the school district.

Feds: 11 million illegal immigrants in country

WASHINGTON -- About 11 million illegal immigrants were living in the United States at the start of this year, the federal government said in a report Friday. That's up from an estimated 8.5 million living in the country in January 2000, according to calculations by the Office of Immigration Statistics in the Department of Homeland Security. The office estimated that 10.5 million illegal immigrants were living in the United States in January 2005 and that the number grew at a national average of 408,000 a year. Estimates of the size of the illegal immigrant population vary widely according to the political leanings of groups using them. The federal government acknowledged the difficulty of getting an accurate count in its report, saying estimates involve assumptions and combinations of data. A Homeland Security spokeswoman could not be reached immediately.

Cabin on Alaska Airlines jet fails to pressurize

SEATTLE -- An Alaska Airlines jetliner was diverted to Seattle after the plane's cabin failed to pressurize normally Friday during a flight from Canada, an airline spokeswoman said. The Boeing 737 landed safely at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where medics treated 10 passengers and three crew members complaining of ear and sinus pain, airline spokeswoman Amanda Tobin Bielawski said. She initially said they required no other treatment but later said the airline had learned four people were taken to a hospital. She did not have immediate details on their condition. "There's nothing at this point to suggest that this is anything other than an isolated incident," Bielawski said. An altitude warning alarm sounded when Flight 690 reached 33,000 feet, indicating a problem with the air pressure inside the cabin, Bielawski said. She said the plane's oxygen masks did not deploy.

Judge sentenced for exposing self during trial

BRISTOW, Okla. -- A former judge convicted of exposing himself while presiding over jury trials by using a sexual device under his robe was sentenced Friday to four years in prison. Donald Thompson had spent almost 23 years on the bench and had served as a state legislator before retiring from the court in 2004. He showed no reaction when he was sentenced. At his trial this summer, his former court reporter, Lisa Foster, testified that she saw Thompson expose himself at least 15 times during trial between 2001 and 2003. Prosecutors said he also used a device known as a penis pump during at least four trials in the same period. Thompson, 59, was convicted last month of four felony courts of indecent exposure for incidents that took place in his Creek County courtroom.

-- From wire reports

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