• Northeast marinas scramble to repair damage from deep freeze

    Updated: 49 min ago

    GLASTONBURY, Conn. (AP) — The deep freeze that gripped the Northeast last winter dealt a severe blow to marinas and yacht clubs: Ice snapped pilings in half, shredded wooden docks and left behind wreckage that many compare to the effects of a hurricane. After a scramble to get ready for the all-important Memorial Day weekend, most marinas are back in business, although many are behind schedule and still in need of costly repairs to operate at full capacity. Mindy Kahl, co-owner of Birbarie Marine on a river in Branford, Connecticut, said it is operating this weekend but nowhere near where it should be. Hardest hit were yards in rivers and coves that became choked with ice during a record-breaking stretch of frigid wea

  • Light on NC solar industry focused on ending preferences

    Updated: 50 min ago

    RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina's rapidly-growing solar industry has an unwanted spotlight upon it from a cadre of fiscal conservatives at the General Assembly fixed on ending its preferential tax and energy policy treatments. "It's very simple: do you believe in subsidizing a special interest off the backs of our taxpayers or not?" Rep. Chris Millis, R-Pender, a fierce critic of the state's solar policies, asked colleagues during a recent debate. Millis and like-minded Republicans are in a full-court press this year to freeze portions of a 2007 law that are raising over time the percentage of retail sales that electric utilities must originate from renewable energy sources and energy efficiencies, reaching 12.5 percent

  • New Census numbers show Casper population exceeding 60,000

    Updated: 57 min ago

    CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — New U.S. Census Bureau estimates show Casper has exceeded 60,000 in population for the first time in its history. Casper gained nearly 400 residents during the year ending July 1, 2014, putting it just over the 60,000 mark by 86 people. Cheyenne remains the most populous city in the state with about 62,800 residents. Laramie is No. 3 at just over 32,000, followed by Gillette with about 31,970, Rock Springs with some 24,000 and Sheridan with about 17,900. State economist Wenlin Liu (LEW) says the active oil drilling in recent years boosted Casper's population. And Liu believes the recent downturn in oil prices won't cause large population losses in Wyoming because other oil producing states

  • Nigerian cell phone provider needs fuel to prevent shut-down

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria's leading cell phone provider said Sunday it urgently needs diesel to prevent shutting down services countrywide — the latest business hit by a months-long fuel crisis in Africa's biggest oil producer. Many aircraft have been grounded with foreign airlines diverting to other African countries to fuel for flights abroad. On Saturday night, some radio stations went silent. Nigeria's woefully erratic electricity supply keeps businesses dependent on diesel generators. Nigeria produces more than 2 billion barrels of petroleum a day but imports almost all refined fuel because its refineries are not maintained.

  • Hawaii groups plant coconut trees, protest against Monsanto

    Updated: 8 hr ago

    HONOLULU (AP) — Demonstrators planted coconut trees and waved signs in rallies across the Hawaiian Islands as part of an international day of protests against agriculture business Monsanto. The protesters on Saturday complained about the effects that companies like Monsanto have on the community when they spray fields with chemical pesticides. They say they want agribusiness companies to stop using Hawaii as a testing ground for pesticides and genetically modified foods. "Get off the island," said Diane Marshall, a Honolulu teacher. "I would like to see them close up shop." In Waikiki, a man wore a gas mask in front of a statue of surfer Duke Kahanamoku to demonstrate the dangers of pesticides.

  • Hawaii groups plant coconut trees, protest against Monsanto

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    HONOLULU (AP) — Demonstrators spent Saturday planting coconut trees and waving signs in rallies across the Hawaiian Islands as part of an international day of protests against agriculture business Monsanto. The protesters complained about the impacts that companies like Monsanto have on the community when they spray fields with chemical pesticides. They say they want agribusiness companies to stop using Hawaii as a testing ground for pesticides and genetically modified foods. "Get off the island," said Diane Marshall, a Honolulu teacher. "I would like to see them close up shop." In Waikiki, a man wore a gas mask in front of a statue of surfer Duke Kahanamoku to demonstrate the dangers of pesticides.

  • Pipeline that leaked wasn't equipped with auto shut-off

    Updated: 15 hr ago

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — The pipeline that leaked thousands of gallons of oil on the California coast was the only pipe of its kind in the county not required to have an automatic shut-off valve because of a court fight nearly three decades ago, a county official said. The original owner of the pipeline skirted the Santa Barbara County requirement by successfully arguing in court in the late 1980s that it should be subject to federal oversight because the pipeline is part of an interstate network, said Kevin Drude, deputy director of the county's Energy and Minerals Division. Auto shut-off valves are not required by federal regulators. "It's the only major pipeline that doesn't have auto shut-off," Drude said. "For us, it's routi

  • Nigerian airlines cancel flights amid fuel crisis

    Updated: 17 hr ago

    LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Nigerian airlines grounded flights Saturday and radio stations were silenced as a months-long fuel shortage aggravated by striking oil tanker drivers worsened in Africa's biggest oil producer. Vehicles also were grounded. Normally bustling roads in Lagos, a metropolis of 20 million, were half-empty and gas stations closed Saturday. One station owner said he had fuel but strikers are threatening to set fire to any stations selling it. He insisted on anonymity for fear of reprisals. Police were arresting black marketers selling fuel at roadsides at four times the regulated 87 naira (40 cents) a liter.

  • Dayton vetoes agriculture-environment and jobs-energy bills

    Updated: 18 hr ago

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Gov, Mark Dayton vetoed two major budget bills ahead of a Saturday night deadline for final action on measures that passed before the end of the legislative session, but he proposed a temporary tax cut in return for a scaled back version of his proposal for universal preschool for all 4-year-olds. While Dayton signed a state government finance bill, he vetoed an agriculture-and-environment budget bill that contained his top environmental initiative, a requirement that farmers plant buffer strips to keep agricultural chemicals out of drainage ditches, streams and other waters. It also included money to combat the bird flu crisis.

  • 2 people chained to Shell ship north of Seattle

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — Two people have chained themselves to a support ship that is part of Royal Dutch Shell's exploratory oil drilling plans and currently moored in Washington state. Eric Ross of the Backbone Campaign said on Saturday morning that Matt Fuller joined student activist Chiara Rose in suspending themselves from the anchor chain of the Arctic Challenger, which is in Bellingham Bay. Rose suspended herself from the ship with a climbing harness on Friday night. The Coast Guard cutter Osprey spent the night monitoring Rose but took no action, Petty Officer 3rd Class Katelyn Shearer said Saturday morning. "We're really most concerned for her safety and the safety of everyone involved," Shearer said.

  • About 162,000 U-Haul vehicle trailer hitches recalled

    Updated: 20 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — About 162,000 trailer hitches sold at U-Haul outlets are being recalled because of weak steel that could cause the parts to break. The recall, announced Saturday, covers two types of hitches made by Wisconsin-based Curt Manufacturing between July 2014 and January 2015 and sold under the "U-Haul Power Tow" brand. They were sold only at U-Haul stores and online. Curt Manufacturing said a Chinese company, Shandong Jiyang Machinery, changed the way it cleaned steel during the hot-rolling process, reducing the steel's strength. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that if owners don't also attach safety chains for the trailers, the defective hitches could mean a trailer breaking away fr

  • What we know right now about the deadly Amtrak derailment

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Nearly two weeks after a deadly Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia killed 8 people and injured more than 200 others, investigators are still trying to piece together what led the train to enter a sharp curve at more than double the 50 mph speed limit. The National Transportation Safety Board has ruled out the locomotive being hit by a bullet and is now focused on whether the engineer was using his cellphone while operating it. Funerals have been held. Lawsuits have been filed. And all but a few of the most seriously injured remain hospitalized. Here are a few key questions and what we know right now: ___ WAS THE ENGINEER USING HIS CELLPHONE AT THE CONTROLS? That's what the NTSB is trying

  • AAA Mid-Atlantic: New Jersey gas prices drop from a year ago

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Motorists hitting the road this Memorial Day weekend are seeing lower prices than a year ago. AAA Mid-Atlantic says that while the average price of a gallon of regular gas in New Jersey on Friday was $2.53, up 2 cents from last week, prices are down from a year ago. Drivers in New Jersey paid $3.50 for a gallon of regular gas in 2014. The national average Friday was $2.74, up 5 cents from last week. That's also lower than the national average from a year ago, when drivers paid $3.65. New Jersey travel for this weekend is expected to be up almost 5 percent over last year. AAA Mid-Atlantic says that's a 10-year high in travel volume and it's likely fueled by the drop in gas prices.

  • Woman chains herself to Shell ship in bay north of Seattle

    Updated: 22 hr ago

    BELLINGHAM, Washington (AP) — The Coast Guard says it has no plans to remove a woman who has chained herself to the Arctic Challenger, a support ship for Royal Dutch Shell's exploratory oil drilling plans. The activist attached herself to the ship anchored in Bellingham Bay, north of Seattle, on Friday evening. The Coast Guard cutter Osprey spent the night monitoring the protester but took no action, Petty Officer 3rd Class Katelyn Shearer said Saturday morning. "We're really most concerned for her safety and the safety of everyone involved," Shearer said. Authorities spoke with the woman and asked her to remove herself. Shearer said there are no plans right now to do anything further. The ship isn't scheduled t

  • NSA winds down once-secret phone-records collection program

    Updated: 22 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Security Agency has begun winding down its collection and storage of American phone records after the Senate failed to agree on a path forward to change or extend the once-secret program ahead of its expiration at the end of the month. Barring an 11th hour compromise when the Senate returns to session May 31, a much-debated provision of the Patriot Act — and some other lesser known surveillance tools — will sunset at midnight that day. The change also would have a major impact on the FBI, which uses the Patriot Act and the other provisions to gather records in investigations of suspected spies and terrorists.

  • Fido al fresco? NY weighs allowing outdoor dining with dogs

    Updated: 22 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Never mind the doggie bag: Spot wants a seat at the outdoor table, or rather under it. New York is considering whether to join a growing number of states that allow pet dogs at open-air eateries. After getting a unanimous OK from the state Senate, advocates are pressing its Assembly to sign on. Dog lovers and restaurateurs say the proposal would safely accommodate people who want to dine out with man's best friend in places from Manhattan sidewalk cafes to dairy country ice cream stands. But a health officials' group opposes it. And at least one lawmaker raises questions. Some restaurant-goers fear begging, barking, biting and other doggie don'ts — or, worse, doggie dos.

  • Fire on coastal Louisiana oil platform extinguished

    Updated: 22 hr ago

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A fire that burned for more than a day on an oil production platform off Louisiana's coast was extinguished early Saturday, the Coast Guard said. The fire was on a platform in Breton Sound near environmentally delicate barrier islands off the state's southeast coast. It was reported out around 6 a.m. after firefighting crews boarded the platform, Petty Officer Carlos Vega said. The fire had been reported at 2:50 a.m. Friday by an offshore supply vessel that evacuated 28 workers. No injuries were reported. The Coast Guard reported that a light sheen of oil near the site appeared to be dissipating and moving away from the Breton National Wildlife Refuge on the nearby barrier islands.

  • Fire on coastal Louisiana oil platform extinguished

    Updated: 23 hr ago

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Coast Guard says a fire on an oil production platform off Louisiana's coast is out. Petty Officer Carlos Vega said the fire in Breton Sound was extinguished around 6 a.m. Saturday. The fire had been reported at 2:50 a.m. Friday by an offshore supply vessel that evacuated 28 workers. No injuries were reported. The Coast Guard reported that a light sheen of oil near the site appeared to be dissipating and moving away from the Breton National Wildlife Refuge on nearby barrier islands. Vega said there have been no reports of oil reaching shore or harming wildlife. Crews with containment boom and skimmers remain on the scene while cleanup and repair work is underway.

  • AAA: Md. drivers paying $2.67 per gallon

    Updated: 23 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Motorists in Maryland are paying 3 cents more at the pump when compared with a week ago. AAA Mid-Atlantic said Friday in a report that the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas in Maryland was $2.67, up from $2.64 a week ago. The price of gas in the state is 7 cents below the national average of $2.74. The average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas in cities around the state includes $2.67 in Baltimore, $2.70 in Cumberland, $2.68 in Hagerstown and $2.55 in Salisbury. Motorists in the state are paying 98 cents less per gallon than at this time last year when the average price of a gallon of regular gas was $3.65 per gallon.

  • Up & Down in Texas politics: Tax cuts; crunch time calm

    Updated: 23 hr ago

    AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Gov. Greg Abbott used his January inaugural address to promise "lasting" property tax cuts. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick vowed plummeting oil prices wouldn't derail plans for the meatiest rollbacks in a decade: "Let there be no doubt — there will be tax cuts." A budget deal between the House and Senate does indeed deliver lower taxes. For many homeowners the windfall will be fleeting, however, and a slowdown in Texas' oil and gas industry is raining on the rest of the tax-cutting parade. The proposed budget features $3.8 billion in tax reductions — about $1 billion less than what lawmakers at one point proposed.




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