US News: Death Toll Rises in Okla; NM Wildfires; TV's 'All in the Family' Jean Stapleton Dies

By: AP
By: AP
Death toll stands at 9 in Okla. City area... Weather Channel meteorologist injured in tornado... New Mexico crews battle 2 wildfires as smoke pours into Santa Fe... Jean Stapleton, TV

Cars that were damaged by a tornado in parking lot at Canadian Valley Technical Center on State Highway 66, west of Banner Road, Friday May 31, 2013 in El Reno, Okla. (AP Photo/The Oklahoman, Jim Beckel) LOCAL STATIONS OUT (KFOR, KOCO, KWTV, KOKH, KAUT OUT); LOCAL WEBSITES OUT; LOCAL PRINT OUT (EDMOND SUN OUT, OKLAHOMA GAZETTE OUT) TABLOIDS OUT

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The death toll from the tornado barrage that hit the Oklahoma City area stands at nine.
Officials say two children and seven adults were killed in the violent weather.
The National Weather Service says a total of five tornadoes barreled across the metro area late Friday, including a powerful EF3 that hit near El Reno.
Hospital officials say more than 100 people were hurt during the storms that hit at rush hour, trapping many people in their cars along Interstate 40. Most of those injured suffered from punctures and lacerations from swirling debris.
To make matters worse, torrential downpours followed for hours after the twisters moved east -- up to 7 inches of rain in some parts, causing roadways around the area to crumble.
Oklahoma wasn't the only state to see violent weather on Friday night. In Missouri, areas west of St. Louis received significant damage from an EF3 tornado that packed estimated winds of 150 mph.

NEW YORK (AP) -- A meteorologist from The Weather Channel is nursing minor injuries after the "tornado hunt" car in which he was riding was thrown some 200 yards by a tornado in Oklahoma.
The SUV that Mike Bettes and two others were riding in was caught up in a storm near El Reno on Friday evening. The Weather Channel said all of the occupants were wearing safety belts and were able to walk away from the banged-up vehicle.
Network spokeswoman Shirley Powell says a Weather Channel team has been in the field for most of May following tornadoes. She says it's the first time one of the network's personalities has been injured while being caught up in violent weather it was covering.

JEMEZ SPRINGS, N.M. (AP) -- Fire crews are battling a pair of wildfires in New Mexico that have scorched thousands of acres, spurred evacuation calls for dozens of homes and poured smoke into the touristy state capital.
State officials say the uncontained blaze near Santa Fe grew to 8 square miles Saturday, leaving the city under a blanket of haze. The fire in New Mexico's Santa Fe National Forest is burning just 25 miles from the city.
Meanwhile about 80 miles west, forestry officials say the Thompson Ridge fire near Jemez Springs started had grown to about 1 square mile.
Between 40 and 50 homes in the area were evacuated as around 80 crew members and a helicopter arrived to help fight the blaze.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Norman Lear, who produced the groundbreaking, 1970s TV comedy "All in the Family says "No one gave more profound `How to be a Human Being' lessons than Jean Stapleton."
John Putch says his mother, who played Edith Bunker in the series, died Friday of natural causes at her New York City home surrounded by friends and family. She was 90.
The stage-trained actress co-starred with Carroll O'Connor in the series about an unrepentant bigot, the wife he called "Dingbat," their daughter and liberal son-in-law.
Rob Reiner, who played the son-in-law, says Stapleton "was a brilliant comedienne with exquisite timing. Working with her was one of the greatest experiences of my life."
She received eight Emmy nominations and won three awards during her eight-year run with "All in the Family." The CBS series ranked as the No. 1-rated program for an unprecedented five years in a row.

NEW BOSTON, Texas (AP) -- A law enforcement official says a Texas home has been searched and a resident interviewed as part of the investigation into ricin-tainted letters sent to New York City's mayor and President Barack Obama.
Authorities blocked off the house in New Boston for hours Friday and set up tents in the yard while searching for evidence.
FBI agents entered the home wearing white hazardous materials suits and ventilation masks. New Boston is located near the Oklahoma and Arkansas borders.
The law enforcement official says the FBI initiated the search after being contacted by the resident's spouse. The official wasn't authorized to disclose information about the probe and spoke to The Associated Press on Saturday on condition of anonymity.
An FBI spokesperson in Dallas wouldn't comment.
No suspects have been named.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius is calling for a review of policies affecting patients needing lung transplants as a 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl whose parents say she's been denied the life-saving surgery because of her age remains hospitalized on a ventilator.
Sebelius asks that the review particularly consider changes that would make more transplants available to children. She says the disparity between donors and children awaiting transplants is "especially stark."
Sarah Murnaghan's parents say the Newtown Square girl has end-stage cystic fibrosis. They say she has been awaiting a transplant from a child donor but is also eligible for a lung from an adult. Under existing policy, adults in the region with her blood type will be offered the lungs first, even those not as severely ill.

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) -- A 3-day-old harbor seal pup has been rescued on New York's Long Island and taken to a marine mammal hospital.
The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation says it received several calls about a distressed seal pup Saturday morning.
The female pup was struggling against the surf at The Sands, a banquet facility in Atlantic Beach. The pup was 2 1/2 feet long and her umbilical cord was still attached.
She was taken to the foundation's marine mammal hospital in Riverhead, where she's being fed formula.
It's uncertain if the pup was abandoned or if crowds of people on the beach may have kept the mother away.
Harbor seals are protected under federal law, and it is unlawful to approach, handle or feed them.

SMITHFIELD, Va. (AP) -- Residents in the southeastern Virginia town of Smithfield have mixed reactions to the idea that the maker of their famous cured hams may soon be owned by a Chinese company.
Smithfield Foods agreed this week to be bought by Shuanghui International Holdings for about $4.72 billion. The company is the majority shareholder in China's largest meat processor.
The deal still needs to be reviewed by federal regulators and approved by shareholders.
Mayor and native T. Carter Williams says the company founded there in 1936 has helped the town of about 8,100 prosper. But he hopes the pending sale doesn't compromise the town's identity.
While some oppose ownership by a Chinese company, other residents think the corporate change could ultimately benefit Smithfield and its namesake ham.

Gov. Quinn open to Great Lakes-Mississippi split
MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. (AP) -- Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says he's willing to consider placing barriers in Chicago-area waterways to keep Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes.
Meeting Saturday with fellow governors from Great Lakes states, Quinn said separating the lakes from the Mississippi River watershed is the "ultimate solution" to prevent migration of Asian carp and other invasive species between the two systems.
The Democratic governor's statement on Michigan's Mackinac Island represents a potential breakthrough in a longstanding dispute between Great Lakes states. Illinois and Indiana have resisted re-engineering Chicago's network of rivers and canals, saying it would disrupt commerce and cause flooding.
Michigan and four other states unsuccessfully sued Chicago over the issue. Scientists say if Asian carp reach the lakes, they could threaten native species and the region's fishing industry.

Ill. passes nation's toughest fracking regulations
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Illinois lawmakers have approved the nation's strictest regulations on high-volume oil and gas drilling, sending the measure to Gov. Pat Quinn.
The Senate passed the bill 52-3 on Friday.
Quinn has said he'll sign the bill, which establishes rules oil and gas companies must follow during hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The method uses high-pressure mixtures of water, sand or gravel and chemicals to crack underground rock formations and release oil and natural gas.
The measure requires companies to disclose chemicals and to test water before and after drilling. It also holds them liable for contamination.
Supporters say fracking would create thousands of jobs in southern Illinois. Opponents worry it would cause pollution and deplete water resources. They're pushing for a moratorium.

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