Georgia: Habitat for Humanity creates slum village

Habitat for Humanity has built a Third World slum in its own back yard as a sort of theme park of poverty that it hopes will motivate visitors to contribute to affordable housing around the world.

Thirteen homes, representing housing from Haiti to South Africa to India, were completed in time for Saturday’s dedication in Americus of the Global Village and Discovery Center by former President Carter.

The unconventional mix of tourism and activism includes houses hardly large enough to accommodate a bed and a few sticks of furniture, with leaky roofs and earth floors.

“If we can get people to thinking of the needs of people who live in poverty housing, then we are accomplishing part of our goals, which is to raise awareness,” said Habitat spokeswoman Barbara Webber.

Alabama: Six killed in crash

A van crossed the median of a highway in southern Alabama and collided with a pickup truck, killing six people and injuring three others in a crash authorities described as one of the worst they had ever seen.

The force of the collision ripped the van’s transmission from the vehicle and scattered debris along more than 100 yards of highway, Cpl. James Patterson with the state patrol.

“It looks more like an airplane crash scene than a car crash,” said Jim Johnson of the Flomaton Volunteer Fire Department. “The van’s front end just disintegrated. I’ve never seen so much debris. All the windows exploded on impact from the looks of it.”

Idaho: Locals battle outbreak of Mormon crickets

Mormon crickets are chewing their way through southwestern Idaho at an alarming rate, devouring crops and creating road hazards in what locals say is the worst outbreak since World War II.

The Boise County Commission has already declared a disaster and the state has posted warning signs on roads. Crickets smashed by cars on the road surface create a mush slicker than black ice.

California: Shuttle widow says NASA must ‘fly again’

The widow of the commander of the Columbia space shuttle said Saturday that NASA needs to fly again, but she doesn’t want it to be “hammered” over irrelevant issues in the investigation.

“Fix it and fly again,” said Evelyn Husband, wife of Rick Husband, who piloted Columbia on its final flight in February. “I would like for them to solve the problem so nobody ever has to go through this again.”

Her comments came as the Columbia Accident Investigation Board began its report, set to be completed by July.