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Archive for Sunday, July 29, 2001

Nation Briefs

July 29, 2001

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ATLANTIC CITY: Expressway tunnel's opening delayed again

For the second time in as many days, officials Saturday postponed opening the much-ballyhooed Atlantic City Expressway tunnel.

The South Jersey Transportation Authority now expects to officially open the entire 2.5-mile connector road, including the 2,200-foot tunnel, Tuesday barring additional problems by simply removing covers from directional signs and moving barriers, said James Crawford, the agency's executive director.

Friday's planned opening with symbolic ribbon cuttings, speeches, media briefings and public walk-throughs fizzled. That's because the Atlantic City Fire Department refused to give its approval to open the tunnel because of troubles transmitting on its radios from within the tunnel.

Alaska: Unpaid bond dividend dispute is settled

Bank of America will pay Alaska $35.6 million for years of failing to turn over unclaimed money from municipal bond dividends, the attorney general's office said.

Alaska authorities alleged the bank, which oversaw municipal bonds issued by state and local governments to fund projects, failed to turn over payments for investors who could not be located.

"This settlement represents an effort by the state and affected municipalities to work together for a just settlement involving the return of money rightfully belonging to the public," Atty. Gen. Bruce Botelho said in a statement.

The bank said in a statement that the settlement releases it from liability and "averts the enormous time and expense that would have been incurred in litigating this matter."

Arizona: Desert beacons seen as potential life savers

The Border Patrol plans to place six beacons in the Arizona desert that would allow illegal immigrants to push a button to send a signal for help.

Border officials have been devising ways to save immigrants since 14 Mexicans died in May trying to cross the desolate desert east of Yuma in temperatures that hit 115 degrees.

"I'm sure that if the large group had come across something like that, maybe we could have saved some lives here," Yuma Border Patrol sector spokesman Alfredo Casillas said.

Initial plans call for placing six 30-foot metal poles on 3-foot high, pedestals in the desert. Each pole will have a box mounted with a red button to signal for help.

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