More Active, Less Disastrous

Hurricane Season Predicted

FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- Next year's hurricane season is likely to be busier than average but not up to this year's ruinous, record-setting pace, one of the nation's top hurricane forecasters said Tuesday.

William Gray of Colorado State University predicted 17 named storms in 2006, almost double the long-term average, and said nine could become hurricanes -- five of them major hurricanes, with winds of at least 111 mph.

Gray's research team estimated there is an 81 percent chance that at least one major hurricane would strike the U.S. coast.

"Enhanced major hurricane activity is likely to continue in the Atlantic basin for the next 15 to 20 years," Gray said.

Last year, he predicted that 2005 would have 11 named storms, including six hurricanes, three of them major. Instead, 2005 had a record 26 named storms, 14 of which were hurricanes and seven of which were intense hurricanes. Dennis, Katrina, Rita and Wilma combined to make it the costliest hurricane season on record.

* YORK, Pa. -- The two children and two sisters of a black woman who was killed during race riots in this central Pennsylvania city 36 years ago will share a $2 million settlement, city officials said. The deal would settle the lawsuit that Lillie Belle Allen's family filed against the city and five former police officers, one of whom was more recently the city's mayor. It also calls for the creation of a memorial to Allen and Henry Schaad, a white city police officer who also was fatally shot during rioting in the summer of 1969.

* SPOKANE, Wash. -- Mayor James E. West was recalled from office in a special election over allegations that he offered jobs and perks to young men he met in a gay Internet chat room. West, 54, is the city's first elected chief executive to be ousted. With just over half of the 110,000 mail-in ballots counted, 38,718, or 65 percent, voted to recall West; 20,681 (35 percent) voted to retain him. "I said I'd abide by the will of the voters, obviously, and they've spoken," West said. "I'm at peace with their decision and disappointed." He must leave his position when the election results are certified Dec. 16.

* U.S. marshals seized $150,000 in dietary supplements that contained the stimulant ephedra from distributors in Texas and Oregon, the Food and Drug Administration said. Authorities seized 2,634 bottles of Nature's Treat Energy Plus (Formula 1) from Nature's Treat Inc. in Gainesville, Tex., and 363 more from ACD Distributing in Eugene, Ore., the agency said in a statement. Last year, the FDA banned dietary supplements containing ephedrine alkaloids, which come from the herb ephedra, as unsafe.

* BOSTON -- A man accused of beating his stepdaughter tried to convince justices on Massachusetts's highest court that he should have a say in whether the comatose 11-year-old is removed from life support. Jason Strickland, who could face a murder charge if Haleigh Poutre dies, wants the seven-member Supreme Judicial Court to overturn a juvenile court judge's decision that he has no parental rights over the girl, who is in state custody.

-- From News Services