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Archive for Tuesday, February 12, 2002

Local Briefs

February 12, 2002

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 Federal aid still available

Federal disaster aid is still available to help people and businesses recover from the ice storm, and officials from Federal Emergency Management Agency are urging people to call to see if they qualify for a grant.

"There are grants available to pay for temporary housing, emergency repair and other serious disaster-related expenses," said Art Navarro, a FEMA public affairs officer.

For small business owners, low-interest loans also are available from the Small Business Administration, which will cover residential and business losses not fully covered by insurance.

So far, 14 people from Douglas County have called, including eight from Lawrence, three from Eudora and three from Baldwin.

Above, Glen Rossman, Lawrence, surveys the smashed rear window on his 1999 Ford Taurus after a tree branch fell on it.

To see whether you qualify for a grant, call FEMA between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday at (800) 621-FEMA, or for the hearing impaired, (800) 462-7585.

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 Investigation: Fire damages vacant house

A homeless person might be to blame for a fire that heavily damaged a vacant North Lawrence house Sunday night, Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical officials said.

Shortly after 11 p.m. a passerby used a cell phone to report the fire at 1541 N. Third St., Deputy Chief Mark Bradford said. The first firefighters to arrive reported heavy smoke and fire coming from the second floor of the house.

Fire investigators found evidence of candles and a mattress in a second-floor bedroom where they believe the fire started.

No one was in the house at the time of the fire. The fire was extinguished after about 40 minutes, Bradford said. Fire & Medical on Monday was trying to determine who owned the property.

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 Brain Teaser: Hughes quiz, Day 13

This is one in a series of questions to test your knowledge on Langston Hughes, as part of the celebration of his 100th birthday. A new question will appear each day through Thursday. Each day's answer will be posted at langstonhughes.ljworld.com.

13) What colleges did Langston Hughes attend?

Answer to Monday's question: He was not allowed to practice law in the United States because he was black.

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 Kansas university: Researchers seek subjects for children's autism study

Kansas University researchers are seeking autistic children to serve as subjects in an upcoming study about communication.

The researchers, from KU's Schiefelbusch Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic, will compare two strategies used to teach communication skills.

They need children between the ages of 18 months and 36 months to participate in the three-week study. For more information, contact Lindsay Randle or Jane Wegner at 864-4960.

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 Construction: Eudora bridge project begins

Work to shore up the Kansas River bridge at Eudora has begun, but the construction is not expected to affect traffic on County Road 1061.

Douglas County Public Works Director Keith Browning said crews with Big River Construction of Nebraska City, Neb., began work on the project Friday. The first phase of the project, to be completed by April 1, will build two "l-head" dikes to protect the riverbank from further erosion, which over time could weaken the bridge.

The second phase of the project, to begin next winter, would build three more dikes. In total, the two phases are expected to cost $2 million, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers paying for 50 percent of the project. Douglas County will pay for 60 percent of the remaining local costs, while neighboring Leavenworth County will pay for the remaining 40 percent.

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