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From the Wall Street Journal of Fri, 12 Dec 2014 21:41:21 EST
Union Seeks to Hold Line on Firefighter Training

The New York City firefighters union says it opposes further changes to physical-fitness requirements for new recruits, after the city said it would revise its policies to increase the number of women firefighters.

Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said during a City Council hearing Wednesday he had lowered the importance of so-called functional skills training, amid criticism that the requirements are discriminatory against women. The requirements, which involve training in full gear, remain the same, but failing the skills test alone is no longer grounds to cut a recruit from the academy.

Uniformed Firefighters Association Vice President James Slevin said in an interview that he supported the shift by Mr. Nigro, but was concerned about a push by lawmakers for further changes. He said that the city’s firefighters face unique challenges because of New York’s density and landscape. “We have more high rises; it’s a vertical city,” he said. “You need superior physical fitness [compared] to anywhere else.”

Women make up less than 1% of the city’s 10,500 firefighters. As they considered legislation that would require the FDNY to disclose information about its hiring process, some council members said the department’s paucity of women was unacceptable, and said functional skills training was part of the problem.

But Mr. Slavin said the training was critical. “Certainly we want a diverse department, but we don’t want to get those numbers by changing any of the requirements that we currently have,” he said.

—Mara Gay

‘Side Show’ Sets Closing

“Side Show,” the Broadway revival about circus freaks and the real-life conjoined twins Daisy and Violet Hilton, will close on Jan. 4, eight weeks after opening, producers announced on Friday.

The show, directed by movie director Bill Condon (“Dreamgirls,” “Twilight: Breaking Dawn 1 and 2”) was well received during previous runs at La Jolla Playhouse and the Kennedy Center, but has suffered week after week of lagging box-office numbers since moving to New York. Last week, the show took in $483,252 of a potential $1,174,824 million and was 62% filled.

The original “Side Show” ran on Broadway in 1997 for 122 performances.

—Stefanie Cohen

Casino Revenue Up, Down

Compared with November 2013, when there were 12 casinos and Internet gambling was only days old, Atlantic City’s casinos took in 10.3% less this November.

But when only the eight casinos now operating are considered, and when Internet money is added, those casinos saw their revenue rise by 11.5% to $202 million in November from a year ago.

The numbers released Friday show how schizophrenic Atlantic City’s gambling market has become, with good and bad news vying for attention.

—Associated Press

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