Around the Nation

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Corps of Engineers to Face Suit Over Katrina Flooding

NEW ORLEANS -- A federal judge says a lawsuit blaming the Army Corps of Engineers for heavy flooding from Hurricane Katrina can proceed.

U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval dismissed the corps' argument that it cannot be sued for the flooding that devastated much of New Orleans in 2005. The decision clears the way for a trial scheduled to start April 20.

Lawyers for six flood victims say the corps did not maintain a navigation channel called the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet, allowing Katrina's surge to swamp eastern New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish.

The corps argued that federal law gives it immunity from lawsuits and that it properly maintained the channel.

Solar Wings Unfurled at Space Station

CAPE CANAVERAL -- Astronauts unfurled the newly installed solar wings at the international space station, a nerve-racking procedure that went exceedingly well and brought the orbiting outpost to full power. To NASA's relief, both wings went out smoothly, one at a time. Nothing hung up, and none of the panels stuck together as they had on previous wings. The wings stretched more than 240 feet. The work was a highlight of shuttle Discovery's mission.

Pet Owners Seeking Class Action

CINCINNATI -- Some pet owners are questioning their dogs' health and behavioral issues in the wake of a lawsuit claiming that Petland knowingly sold sick puppies bred in filthy conditions. Lawyers for a group of six customers who are suing the national pet store chain want a judge to certify the case a class action. That would mean others could join and share in any monetary award. The suit says Petland, the Hunte Corp. and other unnamed suppliers led customers to believe the puppies came from the finest breeders when they came from high-volume puppy mills and brokers. Petland has denied the claims, and Hunte has not responded to messages seeking comment.

Toddler Is Found Alone on Street

JASPER, Tex. -- Deputies say they found a toddler wandering alone on a Texas street and methamphetamine and more than a dozen snakes in his mother's home. Jasper County Sheriff Mitchell Newman told KFDM-TV that Tamara Jones, 28, has been charged with child endangerment and possession of a controlled substance. He said a deputy found a small amount of methamphetamine and as many as 16 snakes, one dead, in her home.

Third-Grader, 71, Is Lauded

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- Alferd Williams of Missouri is a lot of things: 71 years old. Sharecropper's son. Third-grader. Make that award-winning third-grader. Williams was honored by the Toys for Tots Literacy Program with the first Alferd Williams Literacy Award. Alesia Hamilton, his teacher at Edison Elementary, also received the award. Williams returned to school at age 68 to fulfill his lifelong dream of learning how to read. He said at a ceremony in the school gym he hopes to be a student for the rest of his life.

-- From News Services

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