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Archive for Monday, May 27, 2002

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May 27, 2002

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Arizona: Residents evacuate as wildfire grows

About 100 residents were ordered Sunday to leave their homes on Mount Lemmon as a wildfire in the Coronado National Forest grew to 12,500 acres.

The fire hadn't damaged any structures but had the potential to threaten roughly 700 homes around Tucson, said Joan Vasey, a forest spokeswoman.

The fire was approaching an area of ponderosas and pine trees, and firefighters were trying to prevent it from entering the area and burning out of control, Vasey said.

"They are not too optimistic, even with all our resources, of being able to successfully deal with this fire," Vasey said. "The worst hasn't happened yet, but the potential is there."

The wildfire and extremely dry conditions also prompted officials to close to visitors Sunday the 222,000-acre forest district where the fire was burning.

Washington, D.C.: VA cites progress in processing claims

The Department of Veterans Affairs has doubled the number of claims it decides each month and slashed a mountainous backlog of benefit requests dating back years, Secretary Anthony Principi says.

That backlog, which generated widespread concern on Capitol Hill and among veterans groups as it ballooned during the 1990s, has been cut from 600,000 to 394,000 claims in recent months.

VA claims managers now resolve some 70,000 claims a month, more than double last year's monthly rate of 29,000, Principi said.

Utah: Film review board victim of budget cuts

The mayor disbanded a city film board that has kept score for 25 years on the amount of sex, violence and profanity on movie screens around town.

The nine-member Provo Media Review Commission has reviewed more than 5,000 films since 1977, when "Looking for Mr. Goodbar" a film about a promiscuous teacher caused a stir in conservative Provo and led to the board's appointment.

Mayor Lewis Billings said he was cutting the board to help balance next year's $129 million city budget. The board's portion was $6,500 a year.

Members did not pick or pan movies. They simply noted the types and amounts of sex, profanity and violence on screen. Using a review form and tickets paid for by the city, commissioners screened almost every movie that played in Provo.

The board's reviews were posted online and attracted 65,000 Internet hits a month.

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