Regional Briefs – December 15, 2015

NJ’s High School Graduation Rate Near Top

TRENTON – New Jersey’s high school graduation rate in the 2013-14 school year was higher than all but two states, according to date released Tuesday by the federal education department, The Associated Press reported. It has 88.6 percent of high school students graduating, lower only than Iowa’s 90.5 percent and Nebraska’s 89.7 percent and tied with Wisconsin.

30 Retailers Agree to Stop Selling Realistic Toy Guns

ALBANY – Thirty online retailers have agreed to stop selling realistic toy guns in New York, The Associated Press reported. State law requires toy guns sold to be brightly colored or have colored striping down the barrel. An investigation found 1,337 were sold in NYC. In November, a Cleveland police officer fatally shot a 12-year-old holding a realistic-looking pellet gun.

1774 Letter Referencing Boston Tea Party Found in NY

FONDA, N.Y. – A letter written a year after the Dec. 16., 1773, Boston Tea Party was found in the archives of an upstate county, The Associated Press reported. Jelles Fonda’s letter written in 1774 describes the repercussions the people of Boston would face for tossing British tea into the harbor. Fonda’s support of the patriot cause made him a target of loyalists.

10,500 Weighed in on NY Common Core Survey

ALBANY – More than 10,500 people responded to a survey seeking input on New York’s Common Core learning standards, with 70 percent giving positive feedback, The Associated Press reported. Commissioner MaryEllen Elia says the findings indicate that people support higher standards, but that adjustments are needed, particularly in the early grades.

US Geologists Survey Adirondacks for Rare Earth Minerals

MINEVILLE, N.Y. – The U.S. Geological Survey is wrapping up work using low-altitude flights over the eastern Adirondacks to map underground rocks and search for rare earth minerals used in cell phones, rechargeable batteries and super magnets, The Associated Press reported. The minerals may be in gravel left over from extensive iron mining in the late 1800s and early 1900s.