Police Break Up Riot

In Wis.; 16 Arrested

MADISON, Wis. -- Police used tear gas and pepper spray early yesterday to quell a disturbance that escalated into bottle-throwing and looting during a Halloween party attended by an estimated 65,000 people.

More than 100 police helped break up the riot, and eight suffered minor injuries, mainly from thrown objects, authorities said. At least 16 people were arrested.

The party is held each year on State Street, the city's main thoroughfare. It's dotted with restaurants and small shops and connects the state Capitol to the University of Wisconsin campus.

Police said the rampage began about 1:30 a.m., possibly after some people began fighting with bottles. When police tried to help some injured people, others threw bottles at them.

For several hours the crowd smashed windows in nine businesses and looted two in a two-block area before police regained control. Lt. Cameron McLay said those arrested were charged with battery and looting.

Fla. Paper: 1 in 4 Pupils

Give Up Vouchers

MIAMI -- More than 1 in 4 students who took a voucher to attend private school in Florida this semester have transferred back to public education, the Miami Herald reported.

This summer, 607 students requested taxpayer-funded vouchers to leave public schools that received failing grades. As of last week, 170 had returned to public schools, the newspaper said.

In Miami-Dade County, 90 of 330 students who requested vouchers have returned to public school -- and more than 2 in 3 were back in their original school.

Many returning students said they felt more comfortable at their neighborhood schools, even those labeled as failing. They also cited transportation trouble, more demanding curricula or firmer discipline at their new schools.

Critics of vouchers, a cornerstone of the education policies implemented by Gov. Jeb Bush (R), said the returning students show that vouchers are misguided.

But a spokeswoman for Bush called the trend a triumph of school choice. "No longer are these children trapped in failing schools," Katie Muniz said. "Now they have a choice -- and some prefer to stay in their home school. These were choices they never had before."

* NEW YORK -- A man identified as a rap music promoter was fatally shot while sitting in his van -- three days after Run-DMC co-founder Jam Master Jay was killed, authorities said. Keneth Walker, 31, was shot several times in the back and died three hours later at a hospital. Police said they don't believe the two slayings are connected.

* VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Sporting custom-made goggles, Brutus the skydiving dachshund plunged from a plane flying at 6,000 feet and parachuted before spectators at a military air show. Animal rights activists had condemned Saturday's jump as cruel and exploitative. But Ron Sirull, the dog's owner and diving partner, said Brutus likes the freefall while tucked into a pouch fastened to Sirull's chest. "The part he hates the most is the sound of the plane taking off," Sirull said. "I cup his ears."

-- From News Services