Archive for Monday, May 6, 2002

Nation Briefs

May 6, 2002


Texas: 4 dead, several missing after tornado in Happy

A tornado swept Sunday night through a western Texas town, killing at least four people and injuring others.

Several people were missing, said Mary Lenz, spokeswoman for the State Division of Emergency Management.

Twenty homes were heavily damaged along Interstate 27 in Happy, a small town about 30 miles south of Amarillo.

At least four people were injured, city secretary Patricia Simms said.

The tornado was one of at least six reported in the state Sunday. Homes and buildings were damaged by those storms, but no major injuries were reported.

West Virginia: Eight remain missing after Appalachian floods

Rescue crews searched Sunday for eight people reported missing after torrential floodwaters ravaged the central Appalachians, while relief agencies arranged food and shelter for the newly homeless.

At least five people were killed Thursday and Friday in West Virginia and one man died in Virginia. More than 500 homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed.

President Bush declared four West Virginia counties disaster areas, making residents eligible for federal relief. The Red Cross and the Salvation Army distributed food and cleaning supplies to flood victims at 12 emergency shelters in the state.

About 7,000 customers in West Virginia were without running water Sunday and several roads remained closed.

Colorado: More than 2,400 homes evacuated as fire nears

A wildfire forced the evacuation of more than 2,400 dwellings Sunday as it spread toward several subdivisions in Evergreen.

Thick smoke was visible in Denver, about 26 miles to the east. The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office was trying to evacuate houses within a two-mile radius of the blaze.

It was unclear how the 400-acre fire started.

Officials said that gusting wind grounded air tankers and hampered firefighters' efforts.

Meanwhile, firefighters said a 15,400-acre fire that had destroyed 20 structures in southern New Mexico was 65 percent contained. Full containment was predicted by the middle of the week.

Virginia: Jefferson group rejects Hemings descendants

An organization for descendants of Thomas Jefferson voted on Sunday not to extend membership to descendants of one of Jefferson's slaves reputed to have borne several of his children.

The Monticello Assn. in a closed meeting decided to continue to continue to restrict membership to the third president's descendants through his daughters, Martha and Maria.

The group will continue to exclude descendants of Sally Hemings, a slave at Monticello with whom Jefferson has long been rumored to have had a sexual relationship.

The decision also makes Hemings descendants ineligible for burial in the family graveyard at Monticello, Jefferson's estate near Charlottesville.

The group also rejected a proposal to create a separate organization for descendants of slaves and workers at Monticello.

Tennessee: Jet returns to airport after one engine fails

An American Airlines jetliner returned Sunday evening to Nashville International Airport after one of its two engines failed.

Flight 1307 landed safely about four hours after taking off for Los Angeles, airport spokeswoman Cathy Holland said. It carried 105 passengers and crew.

The cause of the engine problem was not immediately known.

Houston: Jury selection to begin in Andersen trial today

Arthur Andersen LLP's federal trial for obstruction could be the knockout punch in the company's fight to survive client losses, fleeing partners and severe damage to its reputation.

Unless attorneys reach a last-minute settlement, jury selection will begin today in the first criminal trial to emerge from Enron Corp.'s collapse last year.

Andersen is charged with obstruction of justice. Members of the accounting firm allegedly shredded documents and deleted computer records related to Enron audits as the Securities and Exchange Commission began examining Enron's complex web of accounting.

The firm publicly acknowledged the shredding in January.

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