Around the Big Ten

News from the home cities (and states) of the Big Ten universities:

PENN STATE: Filmmaker Ken Burns to be honored at Penn State

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns will serve as this year’s commencement speaker for Penn State University’s College of Communications.

Burns, who is known for high-profile public television documentaries such as “The Civil War,” ‘’Baseball,” and “Jazz,” will also receive an honorary doctoral degree during the May 15 ceremony at the Jordan Center. Burns’ most recent work looked at the history of national parks.

Burns will address 887 graduating students, which Penn State says is the largest class in the history of its College of Communications.

MICHIGAN: Fund set for boy who got million Christmas cards

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A dying boy who got 1.2 million cards from around the world after saying he wanted to have one more Christmas is being honored with a cancer research fund at the University of Michigan.

Six-year-old Noah Biorkman died Nov. 23, 2009, at his home in South Lyon.

On Tuesday, his mother Diana Biorkman gave the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital a check for $75,000 for the Noah’s Neuroblastoma Endowment Research Fund.

The money came from the 1,175,752 cards Noah got after his Christmas wish became known.

The neuroblastoma that claimed Noah’s life is a juvenile cancer that develops from nerve tissue.

The family also has launched The Power of Noah Foundation, with merchandise sales and fundraisers to support neuroblastoma research.

INDIANA: Woman says ex-boyfriend hit her with Chihuahua

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — A woman has told police in southern Indiana that her ex-boyfriend threw a Chihuahua at her head as he attacked her.

A Bloomington police report say that the man hurled the three-pound dog across the room at the 22-year-old woman. The report says the dog wasn’t injured as it struck the woman, slammed into the wall and then fell to the floor.

The woman said the man called her obscene names, punched her in the face and hit her in the head repeatedly with his cell phone before throwing her dog.

The April 19 confrontation wasn’t reported until a second altercation early Saturday, when the woman told police her ex-boyfriend ran into a house and found her in a bedroom with another man.

No arrests were immediately made.

IOWA: Iowa City considers alcohol-free areas in bars

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Less than a month after Iowa City raised its bar-entry to age 21, city officials say they’ll ask bar owners if they’re interested in having alcohol-free areas.

The city council on Monday discussed the idea of splitting facilities into alcohol-allowed and alcohol-free sections. Mayor Matt Hayek and city attorney Eleanor Dilkes plan to write a letter to assess the interest of bar owners and ask for input on how the idea would work.

On April 6, the Iowa City Council approved an ordinance shutting out people younger than the legal drinking age of 21 from taverns after 10 p.m. The law takes effect June 1.

The day after the law was approved a group filed paperwork to circulate a petition for a referendum. The petition asks the city to repeal the ordinance.

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