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CALIFORNIA: School supe slashes his pay

Some people give back to their community. Then there's Fresno County School Superintendent Larry Powell, who's really giving back. As in $800,000, what would have been his compensation for the next three years. Until his term expires in 2015, Powell will run 325 schools and 35 school districts with 195,000 students for less than a starting California teacher earns. "How much do we need to keep accumulating?" asks Powell, 63. "There's no reason for me to keep stockpiling money." Powell hopes his example will help restore faith in government. He asked his board to allow him to return $288,241 in salary and benefits for the rest of his term. He technically retired, then agreed to be hired back for $31,000 a year, with no benefits.

WASHINGTON: Voters boost repeal efforts

More than 14 months before the next general election, voters fed up with state lawmakers are taking matters into their own hands, gathering signatures to repeal the most legislation in more than a decade. Around the country, five referendums aimed at overturning legislation have already qualified for the 2012 ballot, the most in a single year since 1998. That's on top of a record 10 recall attempts to oust politicians this year.

MONTANA: Small school's contribution

Guidance counselor Dan Lucier studies hallway-mounted photos of past graduating classes at Superior High School, pointing to the teenagers who joined the military after graduating from the one-story school in Superior, a town of 900 in the forested northern Rockies. But the class of 2003 was the most striking for its military service, coming two years after the attacks of Sept. 11. Three graduates enlisted in the military, and the county briefly held the distinction of producing the highest number of Army recruits per capita in the nation. One became a military doctor, one is a sergeant serving in Iraq, and the third lost both her arms as a bomb disposal expert when an explosive device she was trying to dismantle detonated.

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