Monuments Seeking Location

Better Forget About Philadelphia

The City of Brotherly Love cannot afford any more war memorializing.

Philadelphia officials, pleading poverty, are turning to private foundations to pay for the upkeep of the city's 20 war memorials. And, the city will no longer accept new monuments, war-like or otherwise, unless the donor agrees to foot the bill for maintenance.

In parks and walkways, tributes to war heroes and Civil War battles now verge on becoming eyesores.

"If you are going to take special note of the contributions of any conflict, along with that, the preservation costs of keeping that memory alive has to be borne," said Karen Lloyd Borski, director of the Fairmount Parks Commission. She said the public can no longer afford to carry the cost.

-- Michelle Garcia

Not Just Another Pretty Face,

Tumbleweeds Absorb Uranium

New Mexico scientists say there's a real role for the lowly tumbleweed, something more serious than being a prop in Hollywood Westerns.

The good-for-nothing-much tumbleweed can be used to absorb radioactive uranium out of desert soil, said New Mexico Tech and New Mexico State University researchers.

They have been studying native plants to determine which ones remove the toxic heavy metal from soil through their roots. Tumbleweed plants proved to do the job well.

There is a slight problem, however. "After the tumbleweed take up uranium, they do tend to tumble," said senior research scientist Dana S. Ulmer-Scholle of New Mexico Tech. "We have to be concerned about remediating or collecting them from a site." Her suggestion: harvest the tumbleweed before it starts to seed and gets blown away; burn it in a special facility; and deposit the filtered uranium in a hazardous waste dump.

-- Sylvia Moreno

Waikiki Beachgoers Won't See

Antiabortion Banners in Flight

People go to Hawaii to get away from it all. As long as they stick to the beaches and parks of Oahu, they still can. A federal judge has ruled the friendly skies will remain off-limits to advertisers, tossing out a lawsuit from a California-based antiabortion group challenging local ordinances against aircraft displaying advertising.

The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform already has a truck showing graphic pictures of aborted fetuses around the island but wanted to take the campaign airborne. The group wanted permission to fly 100 banners showing aborted fetuses over Waikiki.

U.S. District Judge David A. Ezra ruled the skies over Oahu's beaches are off-limits to advertising -- regardless of what they are trying to sell.

-- Kimberly Edds

Lewis and Clark Copycats

Decide to Call It a Season

Even re-enactors have to go home sometime.

The determined souls intent on following the explorations of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark are taking the winter off, trading cooking fires for gas stoves and canvas tents for 20th century construction after navigating more than a thousand miles of waterway in period clothing and hand-hewn boats.

Norman Bowers, 65, said he already misses life on the trail. "You're absolutely roughing it," he said. Bowers lived the part of Sgt. Nathaniel Hale Pryor for the Discovery Expedition of St. Charles, which is trying to match the moves of the adventurers 200 years after they paddled and portaged their way from St. Charles, Mo., to the Pacific Ocean.

The expedition is to resume April 7, just as Lewis and Clark did.

-- Peter Slevin