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Archive for Thursday, August 22, 2002

Briefly

August 22, 2002

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Florida

Hurricane Andrew upgraded 10 years later

After 10 years, Hurricane Andrew gained 20 mph in strength and one rung in status, as it was promoted to a Category 5 storm on Wednesday.

In announcing the upgrade to the highest category, the result of months of reanalysis, officials at the National Hurricane Center concede the only real ramification is satisfying scientific knowledge.

"We feel society needs an accurate account of a storm's intensity and track as a means to better plan for the future," said Max Mayfield, director of the center in Miami. "It makes Andrew a very, very rare event."

Andrew hit southern Florida on Aug. 24, 1992, killing 43 people. With $30 billion in damage, it remains the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history.

Andrew now becomes only one of three such storms to hit the U.S. coastline. The other two are Camille, which hit Mississippi and Louisiana in 1969 and killed 256 people, and the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, which killed 408 people in the Florida Keys.

California

Prison term given to videotaper of arrest

An amateur cameraman who videotaped the violent arrest of a black teenager will spend 204 days in jail on a probation violation, a judge ruled Wednesday.

That includes 115 days on top of 28-year-old Mitchell Crooks' original sentence because he failed to show up to serve his jail term in a 1999 misdemeanor case.

Crooks' attorneys and supporters had objected to the additional jail time, arguing that Crooks was being punished for coming forward with his videotape of the July 6 arrest of 16-year-old Donovan Jackson in Inglewood, a Los Angeles suburb.

Inglewood Officer Jeremy Morse, seen on the tape slamming Jackson onto a police car and punching him, was indicted on a charge of assault under color of authority and has pleaded innocent.

Washington, D.C.

Health insurance didn't expand with economy

The booming economy of the late 1990s did not lead to an increase in the percentage of American workers covered by employer-sponsored health insurance, a study finds.

The number of uninsured children in working families dropped, but only because of a new government program.

Overall, about three in four people under age 65 in working families got health insurance from an employer in 2001, statistically unchanged from 1997, according to the report released Wednesday by the Center for Studying Health System Change.

During most of those years, health costs were relatively stable. That, combined with the strong economy and demand for workers, should have helped increase health insurance coverage in the private sector but it didn't, analysts said.

California

11-day ordeal ends with rescue

A man whose car broke down in the Angeles National Forest fell off a cliff as he tried to walk home, and he wasn't found until 11 days later.

Hikers found Luis Cruz, 26, Tuesday afternoon in a canyon about seven miles from where he had left his disabled vehicle Aug 9.

He was flown to Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena for treatment of a fractured back and bruises. Authorities said they expected Cruz to make a full recovery.

"He looked pretty good for being out there for 10 or 11 days," said Los Angeles County Fire Department paramedic Mark Camp. "He was basically very cool, very calm, collected. What he was saying made sense."'

Cruz survived by eating leaves and drinking muddy water and his own urine, Camp said. Temperatures dropped to 45 degrees at night.

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