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Firefighters hurt near power line
Four firefighters were injured – two seriously – when a fire truck’s ladder got too close to a power line after they helped Kentucky college students take part in an ice bucket challenge, police said Thursday.
The firefighters had just finished dousing cold water on the Campbellsville (Ky.) University marching band and were lowering the ladder when they were shocked by electricity. Two firefighters were in the bucket and two were on the main part of the truck.
The two in the bucket were at a hospital burn unit, Campbellsville Police Chief Tim Hazlette said. The other firefighters were treated and released.
The police chief said the ladder never touched the line, but it carried such a high voltage, it could shock people close to it. President donates in lieu of drenching
Instead of pouring cold water over his head, President Barack Obama has poured it on the idea of becoming the highest-profile participant of the ice bucket challenge.
Other well-known participants include former President George W. Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ethel Kennedy. The 86-year-old Kennedy family matriarch tagged Obama to participate after recently dousing herself at her family’s Massachusetts estate, knowing that the president would be nearby on vacation.
Obama participated financially by donating an undisclosed sum, the White House said.
Associated Press
Archdiocese of Cincinnati school officials take the ice bucket challenge Thursday.

Diocese douses ALS challenge

Cites ‘conflict’ in embryonic stem-cell use

– A Roman Catholic diocese in Ohio is discouraging its 113 schools from participating in the ice bucket challenge to benefit the ALS Association, saying the group’s funding of embryonic stem-cell research is “in direct conflict with Catholic teaching.”

Jim Rigg, superintendent of Catholic schools for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, told the schools in a letter this week to “immediately cease” any plans to raise funds for the association and to instead direct donations to another organization that combats ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease that causes paralysis and almost certain death.

The Catholic Church relates the use of embryonic stem cells in research to abortion and says it violates the sanctity of human life. The use of adult stem cells in research is not forbidden by Catholic teaching.

“We certainly appreciate the compassion that has caused people all over the country, certainly including many Catholics, to be interacting and engaging in a fun way to support ALS research,” diocese spokesman Dan Andriacco said Thursday. “But it’s a well-established moral principle that not only the ends be good, but the means must be good, too.”

Carrie Munk, a spokeswoman for the ALS Association, said her group largely funds adult stem-cell research but does fund one study involving embryonic stem cells using money from one specific donor.

She said all donors to the ALS Association can stipulate where their money goes and can ask that it not pay for embryonic stem-cell research. Munk said she hasn’t heard of other Catholic dioceses recommending against donating to the group.

The diocese said schools could participate in the ice bucket challenge, but any money raised should be directed to groups like the John Paul II Medical Research Institute in Iowa City, Iowa, which conducts “pro-life driven” research, according to its website.

Don Clemmer, a spokesman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said that the group views the Cincinnati diocese’s actions as “a local matter” and that his organization has not issued any directives to its bishops discouraging donations to the ALS Association.

Rigg, the superintendent of schools for the diocese, and a principal at one of the schools took the ice bucket challenge in front of bleachers of students Thursday, and both men are contributing to the John Paul II Medical Research Institute, Andriacco said.

The tens of thousands of people who have taken the ice bucket challenge douse themselves with freezing water and post videos of the stunt on social media sites to raise awareness for ALS. The challenge has gone viral and participants have included professional athletes, celebrities and politicians.

Since the phenomenon took over the Internet, the ALS Association received $41.8 million in donations from July 29 through Thursday. That’s compared with $2.1 million in the same time period last year.