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AROUND THE NATION

Ferry capacity drops as obesity rises

SEATTLE (AP) -- The Washington state ferry service isn't going to start turning away hefty passengers, but it has had to reduce the capacity of the nation's largest ferry system because people have been packing on the pounds.

Coast Guard vessel stability rules that took effect nationwide Dec. 1 raised the estimated weight of the average adult passenger to 185 pounds from the previous 160 pounds, based on population information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

During the past 20 years, there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States, and about one-third of American adults are now considered obese, the CDC says.

The ferry system has complied with the new stability rules by simply reducing the listed capacity of its vessels, Coast Guard Lt. Eric Young said. "That has effectively reduced the amount of passengers by about 250 passengers or so depending on the particular ferry," said Young. "They generally carry about 2,000, so it's down to 1,750 now."

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Photo of tot bound, gagged called a joke

CHICAGO -- A Chicago father who allegedly posted a Facebook photo of his 22-month-old daughter bound and gagged was just joking and the whole case has been 'blown out of proportion' by the Internet, his attorney and family said Wednesday.

Andre Curry, 21 -- who has no criminal background -- was charged with aggravated domestic battery, a felony, after turning himself in to police Tuesday. A woman who answered the phone at the family home Wednesday and identified herself as Curry's grandmother said he loves his daughter and would never do anything to harm her.

Across the top of the photo, which has gone viral, are the words: "This is wut happens wen my baby hits me back" and then a smiley face, Assistant State's Attorney Erin Antonietti said. Judge Laura Sullivan set bond Wednesday at $100,000 and ordered Curry to have no contact with his daughter.

-- Chicago Tribune