Archive for Tuesday, September 7, 1999

T STOP MID-ATLANTIC DROUGHT

September 7, 1999

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VIRGINIA

The remnants of Dennis spread rain across the mid-Atlantic states on Monday, but authorities said days of precipitation and flooding weren't enough to cancel the devastating drought.

Once a hurricane, then a tropical storm and now downgraded to a tropical depression, Dennis spawned minor flooding in Virginia and threatened to cause showers in Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania.

On Sunday, heavy rains drenched parts of North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey and New York. Raleigh, N.C., got more than 7 inches of rain, and water reservoirs in New Jersey were up an inch and a half. Still, much of the East remained parched.

"You can't break a drought with one storm," said National Weather Service meteorologist Joel Kline. "You need to increase your water over a long period of time."

CALIFORNIA

Fires continue

to test West

Firefighters battled Monday to control a handful of fires in the West, including two new ones in Oregon and Washington.

Near Big Bear Lake and other popular resorts in the mountains 80 miles northeast of Los Angeles, firefighters were finishing off a 63,486-acre blaze after containing it Saturday night. The fire began Aug. 28 and has cost about $10 million to suppress.

Officials don't expect to have it under control until Friday. The fire has destroyed 19 structures, including several homes, and 52 vehicles.

About 65 firefighters were trying to contain a 2,500-acre wildfire that broke out Sunday along the Columbia River gorge in Washington state. More than 10 houses were evacuated briefly.

An arson fire in central Oregon burned nearly 2,000 acres and threatened at least one home on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation.

MIAMI

Hazardous materials

still onboard planes

Despite the efforts of the Federal Aviation Administration, hazardous materials are still being shipped aboard the nation's commercial airliners.

Fines proposed by the FAA for hazardous materials violations are up from $2.3 million in 1994 to a total of $19.6 million in 1998.

But the Associated Press found there often is a gap of two years or more between a violation and the FAA's proposed penalty. And the fine amount tends to shrink.

Sears, Roebuck & Co. was cited for shipping 100 signal flares via UPS in 1997. The $150,000 proposed fine was settled for $75,000.

A California toy supplier was cited for a 1996 shipment of a five-gallon drum of flammable glue, which leaked at a UPS sorting center. When first told of the violation, the company had no idea what the FAA was talking about because so much time had passed. The proposed fine of $75,000 fell to $35,000 when the case was closed.

PHOENIX

Circle K founder

dead at age 90

Fred Hervey, founder of the Circle K convenience store chain and former mayor of El Paso, Tex., died Wednesday. He was 90.

Hervey, who dropped out of high school to support his family, opened a restaurant with his brother in El Paso during the Depression. They specialized in tamales and their mother's homemade pies.

After serving in the Navy during World War II, Hervey returned home and opened three more restaurants, a supermarket and a radio station.

After a failed run for Congress, he was elected mayor of El Paso in 1951 and served two terms. He won a third term in 1973.

In 1957, he expanded a small group of three food stores into Phoenix -- the beginnings of the Circle K chain, which became a successful international business. Hervey sold his Circle K interests in 1988.

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