End of Race-Based Schools Delayed

CHARLOTTE -- A federal appeals court sided with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system yesterday and ruled it does not have to dissolve its race-based pupil assignment system by next fall to meet a judge's ruling.

Until it rules on the merits of the case, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond indefinitely stayed U.S. District Judge Robert Potter's Sept. 10 order ending race-based school assignments in Charlotte schools, North Carolina's largest school system. It said there is too little time before the next school year begins to reassign students.

Potter's decision had ended a 1969 court order that made Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools the first major urban district in the nation to bus children to achieve racial balance. The Supreme Court later upheld the ruling.

The Charlotte case was watched by legal experts and educators nationwide because the landmark case, Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, led to busing to achieve desegregation nationwide.

Seven white parents had asked Potter to declare the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools integrated, and he ruled in their favor, despite opposition from the Charlotte schools' attorneys and black parents.

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Federal authorities were investigating a Christmas Day fire that destroyed the Oregon regional headquarters of paper manufacturer Boise Cascade after a group claiming to be the Earth Liberation Front said in a news release that its members set the blaze because the company was "ravaging the forests of the Pacific Northwest." An FBI spokesman said such an arson qualifies as domestic terrorism.

LIVINGSTON, Ala. -- A judge ordered the Rev. Martin Murphy to vacate his York Presbyterian Church church office after finding that Murphy used church assets to promote a group that wants southern states to secede. Murphy, who preached at York for seven years and has resigned from the League of the South, said he would appeal while his supporters called the decision a state intrusion into church life.

CHOUTEAU, Okla. -- A man who authorities said found his victims through for-sale ads was being sought in the killing of a 25-year-old woman and the carjacking and kidnapping of a toddler and a 79-year-old woman. Police searched southern Missouri for Steven Ray Thacker, an ex-convict from Chouteau, who is suspected of both crimes.

CHICAGO -- Lori Hoogewind, 40, lost two-thirds of her body weight when doctors removed a nearly 200-pound tumor this month and was in fair condition but still needs extensive skin grafts, according to officials at the University of Chicago Hospital. The gigantic neurofibroma, which had been caused by a genetic disorder and was found to be benign, had encased her lower body.