Floyd Is Devastating N. Carolina Estuaries

RALEIGH, N.C.--There's a new problem from Hurricane Floyd's deluge: Sewage-tainted floodwaters are creating a growing "dead zone" in Pamlico Sound where fish and other aquatic life cannot survive, scientists said yesterday.

The brown freshwater plume is flowing into coastal estuaries, where it sits atop the salt water, robbing the salt water of oxygen from surface air and reducing its salinity. Both ingredients are essential for aquatic life.

"What we're seeing is an ecological event on the catastrophic scale," said Hans Paerl, a marine scientist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Floyd dumped 20 inches of rain on eastern North Carolina on Sept. 16, killing at least 48 people as it flooded hog lagoons and sewage treatment plants, homes and cars.

The resulting sludge is flowing from the Neuse and Tar rivers into Pamlico Sound, the nation's second-largest estuary, and from the Cape Fear River near Wilmington into the Atlantic. Officials said said it may be next spring or summer before the runoff's long-term effect is known.


* SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico--Puerto Rican police arrested more than 1,100 people with outstanding warrants, including 16 murder suspects, in a "mega-raid" throughout the island, the sixth this year.

* OKLAHOMA CITY--A federal judge sentenced Michael Fortier to 12 years in prison for not warning authorities about the plot to bomb the Oklahoma City federal building. The new sentence, ordered by a federal appeals court, is nearly identical to what Fortier was already serving.

* RENO, Nev.--A federal judge blocked a citizens' group from rebuilding a remote mountain road that was washed out by a flood in 1995 and that the Forest Service decided not to rebuild because eroding soil in the Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest could foul the Jarbridge River and threaten bull trout, which are protected under the Endangered Species Act. The road led to a campground and outhouse.

* SANTA ROSA, Calif.--Olivet Elementary School was closed for at least a week after a teacher was diagnosed with legionnaire's disease Thursday. The building will be checked for the legionella bacteria, although officials said they had not determined if the teacher contracted the disease at school or elsewhere.

* PAINESVILLE, Ohio--Penny Page got her revenge by signing up her enemies for magazine subscriptions. Calling her "a menace to society," a judge sent her to jail for two months after Page, 46, pleaded guilty to forgery for sending 350 magazine subscriptions to a job counselor, a landlord and a neighbor.

* CHARLOTTE--Bomb-sniffing dogs and tightened security will greet NASCAR fans this weekend at North Carolina's Lowe's Motor Speedway after a series of bombings at nearby Lowe's hardware stores, officials said. Police are investigating a possible link between the bombings and a May 1 accident at the track in which three spectators died and several others were injured when a race car clipped the wall coming out of a turn, propelling a tire over a safety fence and into the stands.

* DENVER--The search for Jaryd Atadero, 3, who disappeared Oct. 2 while hiking with family friends, was suspended when police declared they had no new leads. The boy was hiking with about 11 adults in the Roosevelt National Forest, about 50 miles west of Fort Collins, Colo., when he wandered off.

* CHICAGO--Anna Flores, 36, was walking with her young granddaughter when Flores was struck and killed by a pane of glass from an insurance company's skyscraper, police said. The glass, part of a cracked window, dislodged from the 29th floor of the CNA skyscraper, flew over elevated train tracks, and struck Flores on the head. CNA inspected its windows and removed two of them soon after the accident.

* CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman is funding a new professorship at Harvard that will focus on international relations, diplomacy and the advancement of women, the school said.

* ITHACA, N.Y.--An anonymous donor is giving Cornell University $100 million to build new residence halls and student commons. The gift matches the largest single gift in the Ivy League school's history and is the 23rd donation of $100 million or more to a U.S. college, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

* DENVER--Cattle rancher and "The X Files" watcher Judy Messoline hopes that if she builds a 10-story UFO watch tower, aliens--and tourists--will come to her spread near Hooper, Colo. She plans to charge tourists $2 each to climb the tower and watch the sky. For aliens, she's building "a landing pad for UFOs."