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Nation in brief

More storms batter Midwest

By Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 8, 2003

DE SOTO, Mo. - Tornadoes swept across the Midwest and South overnight and early Wednesday, killing two people in Illinois and battering a region still trying to recover from deadly twisters that struck over the weekend.

A junior high gymnasium in De Soto, 35 miles southwest of St. Louis, was destroyed in Tuesday night's twister, but 25 young track athletes and their coaches were spared because they had fled the gym just in time.

"Chairs started flying. Everything started shaking. It was scary," Travis Shores, 14, said as he visited the ruins Wednesday.

At least four tornadoes hit southern Illinois overnight, killing two people, injuring at least 20 and destroying or damaging scores of homes.

Tornadoes also damaged more than a dozen mobile homes in northeast Mississippi and Downsville, La., but no serious injuries were reported. High wind and heavy rain also hit parts of Arkansas and Alabama, where officials closed schools and some churches canceled midweek services.

In eastern Tennessee, which has been drenched by rain since Sunday, flooding forced Chattanooga residents to take emergency shelter as the Tennessee River rose toward its highest level in nearly 30 years.

Nude models unionize

PHILADELPHIA - Complaining of low pay, cold rooms and air laden with paint fumes and charcoal dust, models who pose nude at a Philadelphia art school voted Wednesday to join a union.

"We were at a loss about how to get the schools to pay attention to us," said Claire Hankins, 39, who led the effort to organize artists' models at the Moore College of Art and Design.

The union vote came after the National Labor Relations Board rejected the school's argument that the models are independent contractors.

"We feel they are sporadic, occasional employees hired for a specific service, as opposed to employees that we can depend on," said Moore president Happy Craven Fernandez.

Only 13 models at the school had worked enough hours to vote on whether to join District Council 47 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Hankins said seven of the 13 attended Wednesday's meeting and all voted to unionize.

Gary Kapanowski, a District 47 organizer, said he does not know of any other school where nude models have organized.

Elsewhere ...

BAD BAR EXAM: One question on a test taken by most of the nation's aspiring lawyers was scored incorrectly, and the error could change whether some of them passed or failed, the National Conference of Bar Examiners said.

Washington, D.C., and all states except Louisiana and Washington state use the Multistate Bar Examination, a 200-question, multiple-choice test scored by American College Testing.

Of 20,204 people tested in February, almost 7,700 either got credit for the wrong answer or didn't get credit for the right answer on a single question.

AMTRAK DEATH: Larry Edenfield, 53, the engineer on an Amtrak train that collided with a lumber truck Tuesday, died at a Savannah, Ga., hospital Wednesday from his injuries.

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