US News: Cold Weather across the US; Great Lakes almost 80% Frozen; Animal News; Violin Theft Update

By: ap
By: ap

CALIFORNIA DROUGHT-RAIN
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Californians are welcoming a robust weekend storm that's soaking the northern half of the drought-stricken state but meteorologists say it will not solve the problem.
However, the rain and snow is threating to produce avalanches, flooding and rock slides.
The storm is powered by a warm, moisture-packed system from the Pacific Ocean known as a Pineapple Express.
The National Weather Service says the storm has so far dropped more than 7 inches of rain on Marin County's Mt. Tamalpais, an average of 4 inches in Sonoma County and one to three inches in San Francisco, San Jose and other urban areas.
Areas north of San Francisco are forecast to see another few inches by Sunday.
The storm deposited a foot of snow of on the top of Lake Tahoe ski resorts that have relied on man-made snow for much of the season, and elevations above 7,500 feet are forecast to get another foot or two by Sunday.

WINTER WEATHER-OUTAGES
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Thousands of Pennsylvanians are returning home as power is restored after an ice storm that downed trees and electrical lines.
Less than 100,000 customers in Pennsylvania and Maryland remain without power Saturday evening.
The majority of them are in the Philadelphia area. The utility PECO is reporting about 93,000 outages, down nearly 60,000 from Saturday morning.
The latest outages include nearly 39,000 customers in hard-hit Chester County, or more than one in five customers.
Montgomery County has about 22,000 customers without electricity, while Bucks County has 19,000.
PECO spokesman Greg Smore says weakened trees and limbs continue to fall, creating new obstacles. The company expects to restore power to everyone by Monday.
In Maryland, officials report about 2,000 outages.
More than 1 million customers lost power at the storm's peak.

ARKANSAS-WINTER WEATHER
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A person who jumped from an interstate bridge in southwestern Arkansas into an icy river to avoid a jackknifed 18-wheeler remains missing Saturday night.
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission spokesman Keith Stephens said the search for the person in the Little Red River was called off shortly after 6 p.m. Saturday because of darkness. He said the search would resume Sunday.
State police say three people were outside their vehicles after an earlier accident on the icy bridge when the truck jackknifed and slid toward them. Two people leapt over the guardrail and into the water during 29-degree weather.
The other person was quickly rescued.

GREAT LAKES-ICE COVER
CHICAGO (AP) - This winter's bitter cold temperatures in the Midwest have covered a stunning 79 percent of the Great Lakes in ice.
It's not a record, but it's well above the long-term average of about 51 percent.
Lake Michigan is about 63 percent frozen. And the largest(sic) lake in the system, Huron, is about 85 percent covered.
Lake Erie, at 93 percent, has the most ice cover.
The data comes from the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.
It tracks the ice cover because of its potential impacts on everything from hydropower generation to commercial shipping and fishing.
Studying the ice cover also helps determine climate patterns and water levels.

MEAT RECALL
PETALUMA, Calif. (AP) -- A Northern California company is recalling more than 8.7 million pounds of beef products because it processed diseased animals without a full federal inspection.
That's a whole year's worth of meat processed by Petaluma-based Rancho Feeding Corp.
The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service said Saturday that without the full inspection, the recalled products are unfit for human consumption.
They were processed from Jan. 1, 2013, through Jan. 7, 2014, and shipped to distribution centers and retail stores in California, Florida, Illinois and Texas. They include beef carcasses, oxtail, liver, cheeks, tripe and tongue.
Last month the company recalled more than 40,000 pounds of meat products produced on Jan. 8 that also didn't undergo a full inspection.
A call to the company went unanswered.
There have been no reports of illnesses.

CHICOPEE, Mass. (AP) -- A U.S. military transport plane that lost cabin pressure while flying over the Atlantic Ocean has made an emergency landing at its home base in western Massachusetts.
Master Sgt. Tim Huffman says the C-5B plane that was traveling from Germany to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware landed safely at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee just before 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
The base says a young woman was taken to a local hospital with a minor injury.
The plane lost cabin pressure at 34,000 feet shortly after 11 a.m. while flying from Ramstein Air Base with 25 passengers and crew.
The incident prompted the military to deploy emergency vehicles at Pease Air National Guard Base in Portsmouth, N.H.; Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, Mass.; and Westover Air Reserve Base.

LONDON (AP) -- News organizations that have published leaked National Security Agency documents have inadvertently disclosed the names of at least six intelligence workers and other government secrets they never intended to give away.
That's according to an Associated Press review.
The accidental disclosures illustrate the risks of even well-intentioned, public-interest reporting on highly secret U.S. programs.
In some cases, prominent newspapers quickly pulled down government records they published online and recensored them to hide information they accidentally exposed.
The inadvertent disclosures are another complication in the ethically and technically challenging coverage of the NSA's surveillance programs.

TOWN OF BELOIT, Wis. (AP) -- Authorities say a woman accused of stealing her half-sister's infant from a Wisconsin home had pretended to be pregnant.
An hour after Kayden Powell was reported missing, police found the half-sister in Iowa. Court documents say officers discovered a prosthetic pregnancy belly, baby clothes and a stroller in the half-sister's car. But there was no baby.
It would be another day before authorities discovered the missing infant in a plastic storage crate outside an Iowa gas station, alive and well, despite frigid temperatures.
Federal prosecutors in Madison charged Kristen Smith of Denver with kidnapping Friday afternoon. The charges came hours after an Iowa police chief miraculously found Kayden, who was swaddled in blankets.

JUSTICE-SAME-SEX RIGHTS
WASHINGTON (AP) - Attorney General Eric Holder is applying a landmark Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage rights to the Justice Department.
Speaking Saturday night to the Human Rights Campaign in New York, Holder says that same-sex spouses cannot be compelled to testify against each other and should be eligible to file for bankruptcy jointly. He also says that same-sex spouses are entitled to the same rights and privileges as federal prison inmates in opposite-sex marriages.
The Justice Department runs a number of benefits programs, and Holder says same-sex couples will qualify for them.
Last year, the Supreme Court struck down a provision in the Defense of Marriage Act defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Its decision applies to legally married same-sex couples seeking federal benefits.

FATAL DOG ATTACK
DAYTON, Ohio (AP) - An Ohio woman known for her love of cats was found in front of her home Friday fatally mauled by two neighborhood dogs.
Police say they found 57-year-old Klonda Richey unclothed, with her coat apparently torn off by the mixed-breed dogs.
Authorities said Richey's next-door neighbors, 28-year-old Andrew Nason and 23-year-old Julie Custer, were taken into custody and being held pending a formal charge of reckless homicide.
Results of an autopsy being conducted by the Montgomery County coroner weren't expected before Monday.
The Dayton Daily News reports police were forced to kill the two male dogs after they charged officers.
The newspaper reported Richey, of Bruce Avenue, owned and cared for at least 20 cats. She worked as a part-time supply clerk at the county children's' services office.

DOG SHOW-AGILITY
NEW YORK (AP) -- A border collie named Kelso has won the first-ever agility competition at the Westminster Kennel Club show.
And a husky mix called Roo! got a special award for the best mixed-breed dog at Saturday's event. It marked the first time mixes have appeared at the nation's premier dog show since early in its 138 years.
About 225 dogs competed in the agility trial at Pier 94 in New York City.
They spanned 63 different breeds, from tiny papillons and toy poodles to such big dogs as Doberman pinschers and Rottweilers.
The dogs raced through a course of jumps, tunnels, ramps, and other obstacles as handlers guided them with signals and calls. The dogs were judged on both accuracy and speed.
The traditional breed judging begins Monday.

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- A man accused of helping a Las Vegas pet shop owner torch her store with 27 puppies inside has been arrested in Indiana.
An FBI spokeswoman in Chicago says Kirk Bills was arrested Friday night in Crown Point, Ind., by its Violent Crimes Task Force. Joan Hyde deferred comments on extradition to Las Vegas authorities.
Prosecutors say security videos show Gloria Eun Hye Lee and a man torching Lee's Prince and Princess pet store on Jan. 27.
Lee was taken to jail Friday after a judge raised her bail from $40,000 to $310,000 after prosecutor Shanon Clowers filed additional charges.
She is charged with 31 counts of arson, conspiracy, burglary and attempted animal cruelty. Her attorney has said she will fight the charges.
Las Vegas firefighters rescued the puppies alive.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Wildlife officials say someone shot a pair of whooping cranes in southwest Louisiana, killing the female and seriously injuring the male.
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement division spokesman Adam Einck says the male is from the first group of whooping cranes released in a repopulation effort in 2011, and the female was from a second group. The cranes are an endangered species.
Whooping cranes mate for life and the first group's only survivor is a male who began making practice nests with a younger female last year.
Einck says the tagged birds apparently were shot Thursday. They were found Friday in Jefferson Davis Parish.
The male was taken to the LSU veterinary school for treatment.
Wildlife officials are offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the shooter.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- A top executive at Duke Energy has apologized for the company's massive coal ash spill in North Carolina and pledged to clean up its toxic waste from the Dan River.
Duke Energy president for North Carolina operations Paul Newton made the apology Friday as he visited with residents in the affected towns of Eden, N.C., and Danville, Va. The company says it is developing a long-term clean-up plan for the river.
Duke says it is now diverting the flow of coal ash from reaching the Dan but cannot yet declare the spill fully contained.
The nation's largest electricity provider says up to 82,000 tons of coal ash, mixed with 27 million gallons of contaminated water, have escaped since a drainage pipe collapsed Sunday, turning the river gray for miles.

MILWAUKEE (AP) – Remember the Stradivarius violin stolen in a stun gun attack a few weeks ago?
Two men have been charged in last month's heist of a multimillion-dollar Stradivarius violin in Milwaukee.
Forty-one-year-old Salah Salahadyn and 36-year-old Universal Allah were charged Friday with party to robbery. Salahadyn was previously identified as Salah Jones.
Court Commissioner Katharine Kucharski ordered cash bail of $10,000 for Salahadyn and $500 for Allah. She noted Salahadyn's lengthy criminal record, including bail jumping, and Allah's clean record.
The criminal complaint says Allah's stun gun was used in the attack. Allah's defense attorney, Paul Ksicinski (chuh-CHIN'-skee), says according to the complaint his client wasn't present during the robbery.
Salahadyn's public defender, Alejandro Lockwood, left the hearing without talking to reporters.
The 300-year-old violin is valued at $5 million. It was stolen in a January attack and recovered Wednesday night in apparently good condition.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal officials are planning to announce whether automakers should be required to equip new cars and light trucks with technology that enables vehicles to communicate with each other to prevent collisions. Such vehicle-to-vehicle communication promises to transform traffic safety.
The Department of Transportation has scheduled the announcement for midday Monday. Transportation officials estimate the technology could prevent up to 80 percent of accidents that don't involve drunken drivers or mechanical failure.
A transponder would continually transmit the vehicle's position, heading, speed and other information 10 times per second in all directions using dedicated radio spectrum similar to Wi-Fi. Cars would receive the same information back from other vehicles. A vehicle's computer would alert the driver to an impending collision. Some systems could automatically brake to avoid an accident.


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