• Contractor sentenced for scamming Sandy victims

    Updated: Sat, Oct 18, 2014

    FREEHOLD, N.J. (AP) — A contractor who took deposits for work that was never done at two central New Jersey homes damaged by Superstorm Sandy has been sentenced to five years in state prison. Monmouth County prosecutors say the sentenced handed down Friday to 59-year-old John Martocci, of Matawan, will run concurrent to a state prison term he is now serving. Martocci had pleaded guilty in July to two counts of theft by deception. Prosecutors say Martocci accepted an $1,800 deposit in November 2013 to repair the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system on a Sea Bright home, then received a $1,411 deposit in January to install a new air conditioning condenser at a Howell home. In both cases, Martocci faile

  • South Florida district calls end to wet season

    Updated: Sat, Oct 18, 2014

    WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — South Florida's water managers say the region's wet season has ended with slightly above-average rainfall. Meteorologists with the South Florida Water Management District say that the region's daily sea-breeze cycle wet-season rains ended Oct. 4. Officials say the seasonal rainfall left water levels in good condition in many areas, which will give water managers more flexibility with the water supply during the dry season. The dry season typically runs from mid-October through mid-May with about 18 inches of rain on average. South Florida remains under the district's year-round landscape irrigation rules that limit residential and commercial landscape watering to two or three days per week

  • 9 more bodies push Nepal blizzard death toll to 38

    Updated: Sat, Oct 18, 2014

    KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) — A rescue helicopter spotted nine more bodies Saturday on a trekking trail in northern Nepal, bringing the death toll to 38 from this week's series of snow storms and avalanches in the worst hiking disaster in the Himalayan nation. The bodies were seen in a remote mountainous area, but the steep terrain made it impossible for the helicopter to land, said Yadav Koirala from the Disaster Management Division in Katmandu. The helicopter was able to pick up three survivors from near where the bodies were spotted in Dolpa district, he said. The latest fatalities were on snowy slopes that would take hours to reach by foot from the nearest point where the helicopter could land.

  • Flood worries have city looking at sewer bond

    Updated: Sat, Oct 18, 2014

    SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — In this coastal community, the weather may be campaigning for a city bond issue. Nearly six inches of rain that fell this past week, flooding numerous basements in the city. It came just weeks before residents vote on a $3.5 million bond proposal for part of a planned upgrade to the city's sewer and stormwater systems. City Councilor Tom Blake told television station WMTW (http://bit.ly/1nu0bCA) there are fears that recent flooding may represent a long-term trend. "With climate change and the rise of the tides, we have a lot of people with water in their basements regularly," he said. Fixing his property to prevent more erosion is costing tens of thousands of dollars, Blake said.

  • Memorials held for Ga airmen killed in typhoon

    Updated: Sat, Oct 18, 2014

    WARNER ROBINS, Ga. (AP) — Ceremonies are being held to remember three Robins Air Force Base airmen killed by a typhoon in Japan earlier this month. Services for Master Sgt. Daniel Paschal were set for Saturday afternoon in Warner Robins. A funeral mass was held Friday for Senior Master Sgt. James Swartz. And a funeral for Staff Sgt. Joshua Schoenhoff will be held Monday in his hometown of Bourbon, Missouri. The Macon Telegraph (http://bit.ly/1tBu6va ) reports the men were killed during a sightseeing trip to the Japanese coast on Oct. 5 while they were off duty. Four people were swept away by large waves generated from a typhoon well offshore. One person survived.

  • Director named for firm's Mississippi office

    Updated: Sat, Oct 18, 2014

    RIDGELAND, Miss. (AP) — Suzanne Cockroft has joined Butler Snow Advisory Services LLC as director of the firm's Ridgeland office. Firm CEO Matt Thornton says Cockroft has more than 14 years of experience in communications, business development, marketing and brand management. She most recently was with Butler Snow LLP, parent of Butler Snow Advisory Services, in creative and website development, project management, public relations and internal communications, business development and proposal and pricing strategies. Cockroft holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Mississippi and a master of business administration degree from Mississippi State University.

  • Quotations in the News

    Updated: Sat, Oct 18, 2014

    "It's the regional office in Africa that's the front line. And they didn't do anything. That office is really not competent." — Dr. Peter Piot, the co-discoverer of the Ebola virus, after an internal report revealed the World Health Organization bungled efforts to halt the spread of the virus in West Africa. ___ "To be struck twice by two different cyclones is unusual, to say the least." — Max Mayfield, a former director of the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami, after Hurricane Gonzalo pummeled Bermuda, the second time in a week it was hit by a powerful storm.

  • Nepal official: Most stranded trekkers rescued

    Updated: Fri, Oct 17, 2014

    KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Most of the trekkers stranded by deadly blizzards in northern Nepal have been rescued or moved to safer ground, but efforts to reach those left behind will continue along the popular route where they were trekking, an official said Saturday. At least 29 people were killed this past week in a series of snowstorms and avalanches that struck at the height of the October trekking season. The dead and injured include foreign travelers as well as Nepalese guides and local villagers caught in the storms.

  • Center of Hurricane Gonzalo moves over Bermuda

    Updated: Fri, Oct 17, 2014

    HAMILTON, Bermuda (AP) — The eye of Hurricane Gonzalo crossed over this tiny British territory Friday night, pounding Bermuda with fierce wind and heavy surf as a Category 2 storm that carried the threat of a dangerous storm surge. The storm's top sustained winds remained at 110 mph (175 kph) as its core moved out to sea. It was centered about 35 miles (55 kilometers) north-northeast of Bermuda late Friday and moving north-northeast at 16 mph (26 kph), the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. A white haze covered the island as wind uprooted trees and waves slammed into the shore. Strong winds damaged part of the roof at Bermuda's main hospital and caused water damage in the new intensive care unit, police spokesman Dwayne C

  • Ana turns into hurricane off the coast of Hawaii

    Updated: Fri, Oct 17, 2014

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) — The powerful Pacific storm churning toward Hawaii became a hurricane but remained far enough away from the islands to allow tourists to make the most of Friday's remaining sunny weather. The National Weather Service said Friday that Ana became a Category 1 hurricane about 230 miles south of Hilo with maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour. A tropical storm watch was in effect throughout the archipelago. "Any of the islands could experience tropical storm impacts...so it's important to still prepare and make plans," said Chris Brenchley, a weather service meteorologist. The hurricane was expected to strengthen slightly on Friday and then gradually weaken to become a tropical storm

  • Missouri Memorial to remain open despite storm

    Updated: Fri, Oct 17, 2014

    PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (AP) — The Battleship Missouri Memorial is expected remain open over the weekend despite a hurricane headed toward Hawaii. The popular attraction will be open for public tours Saturday and Sunday. Any changes will be posted at www.ussmissouri.org . Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is also expected to remain open with regular hours over the weekend. However, the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center will close at 2 p.m. Saturday and remain closed Sunday. The visitor center's closure isn't expected to affect access to the Missouri or the Pacific Aviation Museum.

  • Tahoe level at 5-year low; no Truckee River flows

    Updated: Fri, Oct 17, 2014

    RENO, Nev. (AP) — Lingering drought has helped push Lake Tahoe's water level below its natural rim for the first time in five years, cutting off flows into the Truckee River, which has been reduced to a shallow stream as it meanders down the Sierra through Reno. The Truckee Meadows Water Authority is confident it has more than enough reserves in a string of reservoirs downstream from Tahoe to meet water demand 30 miles away in the Reno-Sparks area into next summer. But depending on winter conditions, agricultural users in the high desert east of Reno could face cutbacks on irrigation supplies for crops and livestock in the year to come.

  • Island Air suspending flights because of weather

    Updated: Fri, Oct 17, 2014

    HONOLULU (AP) — Island Air is suspending some flights this weekend because of a powerful storm heading to Hawaii. The Hawaii Tourism Authority says Island Air will be suspending Maui and Lanai flights starting Saturday afternoon. The airline will suspend all flights on Sunday. Tourism officials say they've been informed some airlines are waiving change fees. Visitors in Hawaii or traveling to the islands in the coming days are advised to confirm their reservations. Ana is now at hurricane strength and is forecast to slowly weaken to a tropical storm on Saturday and into Sunday. The storm is expected to bring heavy rainfall, flash flooding, strong and damaging winds, high surf and coastal inundation across the state fr

  • Red Cross opens Big Isle shelters ahead of Ana

    Updated: Fri, Oct 17, 2014

    HILO, Hawaii (AP) — The Hawaii chapter of the American Red Cross is opening evacuation shelters on the Big Island for an oncoming hurricane. Tropical Storm Ana strengthened to a hurricane off the coast of Hawaii, in waters 230 miles south of Hilo Friday. The Red Cross will be opening shelters across the island at noon Friday. Because of Hawaii's isolation, the Red Cross recommends bringing seven days' of emergency supplies to shelters. The storm could damage airports and ports, which would delay merchandise arriving at local stores.

  • Body of airmen to arrive at St. Louis airport

    Updated: Fri, Oct 17, 2014

    ST. LOUIS (AP) — The body of one of three airmen who were swept away by high waves as they explored the island of Okinawa, Japan, was arriving Friday afternoon at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. Airport spokesman Jeff Lea says the plane carrying the body of Staff Sgt. Joshua Schoenhoff will land around 4 p.m. The 27-year-old Schoenhoff was an active duty Air Force member from Sullivan, and his body will be escorted there by a Patriot Guard motorcycle procession. Air Force officials have said Schoenhoff and two Georgia Air National Guard members had arrived for temporary duty at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa less than two weeks before their deaths. Funeral services are planned for Monday at Temple Baptist Church

  • Despite rain, western Oklahoma remains desperately dry, drought report shows

    By Silas Allen, Staff Writer | Updated: Fri, Oct 17, 2014

    Drought conditions improved in eastern Oklahoma, which saw heavy rains over the past week, a new U.S. Drought Monitor report shows. But in western Oklahoma, where the drought is most severe, conditions remain dire.

  • India launches index to measure air quality

    Updated: Fri, Oct 17, 2014

    NEW DELHI (AP) — The country's top environment official unveiled a government program Friday that will eventually measure air quality across India, home to some of the most polluted cities in the world. Over the next five years, the government will begin measuring eight major pollutants that affect respiratory health in cities with populations above 1 million, and then gradually expand the air quality index to the rest of the country, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters. The index will warn residents when pollution levels rise past dangerous levels. The World Health Organization said earlier this year that the Indian capital had the worst air quality in the world, surpassing Beijing, a statement that New D

  • Minot Area Community Land Trust selling first home

    Updated: Fri, Oct 17, 2014

    MINOT, N.D. (AP) — A community land trust set up in Minot is selling the first of 30 planned homes, with preference being given to buyers who lost homes in the 2011 Souris River flood. A community land trust enables people to buy homes at a more affordable price and build equity in them. Prices can be kept lower because the nonprofit trust retains the land. The concept was being explored before the flood and is now part of the recovery. "Once the flood came, as we all know, the need (for housing) increased substantially," Minot Area Community Land Trust Executive Director Carrie Welnel told KXMC-TV.

  • Officials confirm tornado in McDowell County

    Updated: Fri, Oct 17, 2014

    MARION, N.C. (AP) — The National Weather Service has confirmed that it was a tornado that touched down in southern McDowell County earlier this week. The weather service said that the storm Tuesday night in the Montford Cove community was classified as a week tornado, with winds of 75 mph to 80 mph. No one was hurt. Several structures were damaged. Weather Service meteorologist Larry Gabric told local media outlets the McDowell County tornado was the only one confirmed as the storm system moved through Tuesday. He says the storm traveled about four tenths of a mile on the ground in 30 seconds before lifting off again. Gabric said hilly terrain helps disrupt circulation, making tornadoes uncommon in the mou

  • Sunny skies, 70s Friday in central Oklahoma

    FROM STAFF REPORTS | Published: Fri, Oct 17, 2014

    Temperatures will be in the 70s in Oklahoma Friday. Winds will gust up to 21 mph in central Oklahoma.