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US News: Mexican Drug Leader Arrested; Carbon Monoxide Kills 1; Walkway Collapse Kills Firefighter; Wild Mustangs in Peril; Maria von Trapp Dies

By: ap
By: ap
Pictured are the von Trapp Family Singers. Mario von Trapp, the last surviving member, has died at 99. The von Trapps became well known from the movie

Pictured are the von Trapp Family Singers. Mario von Trapp, the last surviving member, has died at 99. The von Trapps became well known from the movie "The Sound of Music" starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer and won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1965. The movie was based on Maria's memoir, "The Story of the Trapp Family Singers," in which the von Trapps flee Nazi Germany.

DRUG WAR-MEXICO-CHAPO'S SECURITY
US official: Security guards talked to authorities
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A U.S. law enforcement official says members of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's security team helped Mexican and U.S. authorities find the country's most wanted drug dealer in a hotel in a beach resort town.
The U.S. official says the guards had been arrested earlier this month in a series of raids at seven houses in Culiacan, Mexico. Agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Mexican military found a series of interconnected tunnels under the houses that Guzman is thought to have used to escape.
The official says Guzman is believed to have flown to the resort town of Mazatlan after the house raids. He was arrested there Saturday.
The official was not authorized to discuss details of the case by name and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

DRUG WAR-MEXICO-DEA
AG thanks DEA for role in Mexican cartel arrest
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Attorney General Eric Holder is personally thanking the Drug Enforcement Administration for its role in Saturday morning's arrest of Mexico's most-wanted drug trafficker.
In an email to DEA agents, Holder says he wants to send his personal congratulations for the work done to help arrest Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman.
In the email, obtained by The Associated Press, Holder tells DEA agents that the arrest would not have happened, in his words, "without the courage and commitment of all of you."
Guzman was arrested early Saturday morning at a hotel in the seaside resort of Mazatlan, Mexico.

CARBON MONOXIDE-MALL
HUNTINGTON STATION, N.Y. (AP) -- Police say a 55-year-old restaurant manager has died and more than two dozen others were taken to hospitals after being overcome by carbon monoxide at a New York mall.
A Suffolk County police spokesman identified the man who died Saturday as Steven Nelson, a restaurant manager at the Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station on Long Island.
Police said 28 others affected by carbon monoxide were taken to area hospitals.
Police earlier said three officers were among those overcome by carbon monoxide at the mall, which is about 35 miles east of New York City. They responded to a call shortly after 6 p.m.
Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless and can lead to death by suffocation.
Several restaurants at the mall were evacuated as a precaution.
The Walt Whitman Shops consists of more than 80 stores, including anchors Bloomingdale's, Lord & Taylor, Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue.

WALKWAY COLLAPSE-FIREFIGHTER DIES
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- Flags on all city buildings in Columbia, Mo., will be flown at half-mast for 30 days in honor of a veteran firefighter who was killed while helping evacuate students from a University of Missouri-run apartment complex after a second-story walkway collapsed.
Columbia Fire Chief Chuck Witt says Lt. Bruce Britt became trapped beneath rubble while responding to the collapse early Saturday at University Village Apartments.
Some second-floor residents had to climb out of their windows and down ladders to get to safety. No residents were injured.
City Manager Mike Matthes says "The City of Columbia family is devastated by this tragic loss of one of our own."
University Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin says structural engineers have been brought in to examine the building. He says all other Residence Life facilities owned by the university are being inspected and that on Monday all of the university's buildings would be examined to ensure structural integrity.
The apartment complex, built in 1956, houses students with children, married students, single graduate students and students older than 21.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration says cuts to Medicare Advantage plans are on the table for next year.
The private insurance alternative is popular with seniors, and the insurance industry is fighting back in an election year.
The administration says costs per person in the private plans will grow more slowly in 2015. Analyst Matthew Eyles of Avalere Health estimates a reduction of 1.9 percent.
The plans serve nearly 16 million people, about 30 percent of Medicare beneficiaries.
The administration says insurers don't need to be paid as much to turn a profit, because the growth of health care spending has slowed dramatically.
But insurers say they'll be forced to pass on higher costs to seniors, and some plans may drop out.
Final rates could change when they are released April 7.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The head of the Food and Drug Administration says her agency will add more inspectors in India to better monitor drugs from the country's burgeoning pharmaceutical industry, even as her agency also seeks closer cooperation with Indian regulators.
FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg says the FDA will expand its staff in India to 19 from 12 as it tries to assure the safety of medications from India. Hamburg spoke with reporters following an eight-day trip to the Southeast Asian nation, which has grown into the U.S.'s second-largest U.S. supplier of medications, behind only Canada.
But that growth has come with increased scrutiny from FDA regulators, who have issued a series of warnings letters and import bans to some of India's largest drugmakers over manufacturing and quality control problems.

Internal BLM memo shows mustang woes
RENO, Nev. (AP) -- The head of the government's $70 million wild-horse management program warned last summer that it is headed for financial collapse unless "drastic changes" are made in the decades-old roundup policy that she says could be setting U.S. rangeland improvement goals back 20 years.
In a strongly worded internal memo to her boss at the Bureau of Land Management, the agency's wild horse division chief recommended suspending all roundups until thousands of mustangs currently in federal corrals are sold or adopted.
A copy of the August memo obtained by The Associated Press also shows that Joan Guilfoyle recommended for the first time euthanizing wild horses on the range "as an act of mercy if animals decline to near-death condition" as a result of drought.
Horse advocates say that would violate the 1971 law protecting the mustangs on federal lands in 10 Western states.

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) -- The tall stacks of a Duke Energy plant are a looming reminder of the environment dangers threatening a working class community outside of Wilmington.
Contaminated groundwater from a pair of huge Sutton Steam Electric Plant coal-ash dumps is headed toward the wells that provide drinking water for the Flemington community.
Duke says the wells are safe. But threat is so serious that the company has agreed to pay to extend pipes to connect residents to a public water system.
Sam Malpass is a longtime resident of Flemington. He says people are afraid to drink the water and the fish in nearby Sutton Lake because of coal-ash pollution.
Their concerns have been heightened in the wake of Duke's recent coal ash spill in Eden that polluted the Dan River.

CEDARVILLE, Calif. (AP) -- Practically everyone in the little high desert town of Cedarville in northeastern California's Surprise Valley knew Cherie Lash Rhoades.
A leader of the Cedarville Rancheria, she worked in the tribe's gas station and convenience store and wore brightly colored tank tops that showed off her tattoos.
Sandra Parriott, a Cedarville business woman and lifelong resident of the town, says Rhoades "bullied her way through life." But Parriott says she would never have expected Rhoades to "start blowing people away at a meeting."
Police arrested Rhoades on suspicion that she did just that Thursday at a tribal meeting in Alturas, leaving four dead and two wounded. Police say they are looking into whether the pressures of facing an eviction over a federal investigation into tribal finances may have been a motive in the shootings.

OBIT-MARIA VON TRAPP
STOWE, Vt. (AP) -- The last surviving member of the famous Trapp Family Singers made famous in "The Sound of Music" died this week at her home in Vermont. Maria von Trapp was 99.
Von Trapp's brother, Johannes von Trapp, says that she died on Tuesday. He called her a "lovely woman who was one of the few truly good people."
The family won acclaim throughout Europe for their singing and escaped from Nazi-occupied Austria in 1938. Their story was turned into the film and Broadway musical. Maria von Trapp is the second-eldest daughter and was portrayed as Louisa in "The Sound of Music."
They moved to Vermont in 1942 after visiting during a singing tour and vacationing in Stowe. The family opened and still operates a lodge there.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- When it comes to deciding whether airline passengers can use their cellphones in flight, federal agencies are sending different signals to consumers.
The Transportation Department regulates aviation consumer issues, and it indicated in a notice posted online Friday that it's considering retaining the 23-year-old ban on the calls. It's also seeking public comment.
Two months ago, the Federal Communications Commission voted to pursue allowing the calls. The FCC has responsibility for determining whether the use of cellphones in flight would interfere with cellular networks on the ground.
Polls show that many passengers, particularly frequent fliers, oppose allowing in-flight calls from passengers' cellphones.
Echoing their concerns, the Transportation Department says it believes that allowing passengers to make cellphone calls "may be harmful or injurious" to others.

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Tonight Show returned to New York this week, ending its four decades stop on the West Coast.
New host Jimmy Fallon is a New Yorker who says he wants the excitement of the nation's largest city to permeate his show. But there's another key reason for the show's return home: an unconventional New York State tax credit that could potentially save NBC more than $20 million a year.
The language of the 30 percent credit is remarkably specific, applying to shows that film in front of a studio audience and spent at least five years elsewhere.
NBC says it helped make the move possible. Similar credits have helped TV and movie productions thrive in the state but experts are divided about whether it's worth it.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A White House official says President Barack Obama is proposing a major change in the way the government pays to fight wildfires.
The proposal would allow federal agencies to draw on a special disaster account when the cost of fighting wildfires exceeds their annual budget. That's the same way the federal government funds its response to other natural disasters.
The funding change proposal will be included in the budget Obama will send to Congress next month. Obama plans to discuss the proposal Monday during a meeting with governors from states impacted by wildfires and drought.
The official was not authorized to discuss the details publicly by name and insisted on anonymity. The proposal was first reported by The New York Times.

DIGITAL LAB GRANT
Chicago, Detroit land manufacturing institutes
CHICAGO (AP) -- Chicago and the Detroit area stand to reap millions of dollars in federal grants and private sector investment as part of White House initiative to boost innovation in manufacturing and create jobs.
The White House says President Barack Obama will announce Tuesday the creation of two manufacturing institutes. The Detroit-area institute will focus on lightweight metals, while the Chicago hub will push innovation in digital manufacturing and design.
The institutes are being seeded by $70 million each from the Department of Defense, plus more than $70 million each from non-government sources.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin announced Saturday the Department of Defense awarded the grant to UI Labs, a partnership between public and private groups, including universities and manufacturers.
Durbin says the lab will revolutionize the way the country approaches manufacturing.

PHOENIX (AP) -- Customers of some medical marijuana dispensaries are finding they don't have to go far if they have a case of the munchies.
Girl Scouts seem to be foregoing the usual supermarket stops for selling their beloved cookies.
A few days after a teenager sold dozens of cookie boxes outside a San Francisco pot dispensary, 8-year-old Lexi Menees will return to Trumed Dispensary in Phoenix on Saturday for the same purpose.
The girl's mother, Heidi Carney, got the idea after hearing about what happened in San Francisco.
The family says Lexi sold more than 50 boxes on Friday.
Susan de Queljoe, a spokeswoman for the Girl Scouts -- Arizona Cactus-Pine Council, says this is not something the organization would encourage but that it's up to the parents.


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