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Study: Oregon's state parks injected $1B into economy

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 19:59:29 UT

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A study by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department has found that visitors to the state's parks contributed more than $1 billion to the economy and supported 16,000 jobs in 2016. The report released this week measures how communities near state parks benefit from that presence. Employees earned a combined salary of $550 million and helped welcome more than 54 million visitors. The analysis also found that each dollar invested in the parks system generates $30.50 in related economic activity. State parks officials commissioned economist Eric White, a research social scientist with the U.S.



Passengers say man removed from JetBlue flight bit others

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 18:26:50 UT

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Police say an airline passenger who was removed from a Los Angeles-to-New York flight for causing a disturbance that prompted a diversion to Las Vegas last weekend was not charged with a crime. A JetBlue statement doesn't describe the disturbance, but passengers who shared cellphone video with KCBS-TV in Los Angeles said the man hit and bit other passengers late Sunday on Flight 1224 until he was restrained. Las Vegas police Officer Larry Hadfield said Wednesday the man was met by officers after the unscheduled landing at McCarran International Airport, but no police report was taken and no arrest was made. JetBlue says passengers stayed on the plane and it finished the trip to New York's John F.



Collision in Switzerland's Gotthard road tunnel kills 2

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 15:36:12 UT

BERLIN (AP) — A head-on collision Wednesday between a car and a truck in Switzerland's Gotthard Tunnel has left two people dead and forced the temporary closure of the tunnel, a key transit route through the Alps. Police in Uri canton (state) said the car, which was on the wrong side of the road, collided with the truck about 5 kilometers (3 miles) inside the tunnel on Wednesday morning. In addition to the two dead, four people were injured. The tunnel was closed for several hours following the crash, but was reopened in the late afternoon.



Crews gain on huge California fire but wind threat remains

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 14:42:42 UT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — After announcing increased containment on one of the biggest wildfires in California history, officials warned that communities remain at risk and the threat could increase as unpredictable winds whip up again. Red Flag warnings for fire danger due to Santa Ana winds and a critical lack of moisture were extended, with a possible increase in gusts into the end of the week. Evacuations continued Wednesday for the seaside enclaves of Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria and the inland agricultural town of Fillmore. Officials announced Tuesday night that crews had carved containment lines around one-quarter of the blaze straddling Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.



The Latest: Crews gain on California fire but threat remains

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 13:57:37 UT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on California wildfires (all times local): 5:30 a.m. After announcing increased containment on one of the biggest wildfires in California history, officials say communities remain at risk and the threat could increase as unpredictable winds whip up again. Red Flag warnings for fire danger due to Santa Ana winds and a critical lack of moisture have been extended, with a possible increase in gusts Thursday into Friday. Evacuations continue for the seaside enclaves of Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria and the inland agricultural town of Fillmore. Officials announced Tuesday night that crews had carved containment lines around one-quarter of the blaze straddling Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.



Camping fee at Chiricahua National Monument rising

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 09:08:55 UT

WILLCOX, Ariz. (AP) — The National Park Service says it will boost camping fees at the Chiricahua National Monument from $12 a day to $20 per day starting Jan. 1. The changes in fees at the Bonita Canyon campground inside the Chiricahua National Monument are the first since 2002. Park superintendent Allen Etheridge says in a statement Tuesday that the increase was needed to fund maintenance and improvements at the park. The Park Service conducted a nationwide review of entrance and user fees this year. The Chiricahua National Monument southeast of Willcox did community outreach and accepted public comments. It received no opposition to the boost in campsite fees.



The Latest: Homeless camp fire sparked Los Angeles blaze

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 04:12:45 UT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on California wildfires (all times local): 3:30 p.m. Authorities say a wildfire that destroyed six homes and damaged a dozen more last week in the exclusive Bel Air section of Los Angeles was sparked by an illegal cooking fire in a homeless encampment. City fire spokesman Erik Scott said Tuesday that investigators found the campsite in some brush near Sepulveda Boulevard where it passes under Interstate 405. No one was in the camp, and no arrests have been made. Scott says fire officials didn't know about the camp but beginning next fire season they plan to start looking for such encampments and will notify police.



US national parks to slash number of free days for visitors

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 01:32:50 UT

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — National parks in the U.S. will sharply drop the number of days they allow visitors to get in for free, a move that was criticized by opponents of the parks' plan to raise entrance costs at other times of the year. After waiving fees 16 days in 2016 and 10 days in 2017, the National Park Service announced Tuesday that it will have four no-cost days next year. They will be Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 15), the first day of National Park Week (April 21), National Public Lands Day (Sept. 22) and Veterans Day (Nov. 11. This year's free days included all of Veterans Day weekend and the weekends surrounding National Park Week.



Crews struggle to keep flames from California neighborhoods

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 01:09:30 UT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A cooking fire at a homeless encampment sparked a wildfire last week that destroyed six homes in the Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles, authorities said Tuesday, while the fifth-largest wildfire in California history burning northwest of the city kept expanding and kept thousands out of their homes. They are among a half-dozen fires that flared in Southern California last week and were driven by fiercely gusting Santa Ana winds. Arson investigators determined that the Bel Air fire near the world-famous Getty museum was started by an illegal fire at a camp near a freeway underpass, city fire Capt. Erik Scott said.



Protesters call national park plan for Utah monument a ploy

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 23:13:27 UT

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Environmental groups on Tuesday blasted a legislative proposal by U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart that would create a small national park within the recently downsized Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, calling it nothing more than a ruse to try to appease conservationists and open more land for mining and grazing. "This proposal is really an insidious, cynical ploy to undo the protections that we feel are critical," said David Nimkin of the National Parks Conservation Association. Nimkin and others spoke to reporters at the Utah State Capitol with about 150 people standing behind them holding signs that said, "Coal kills," ''Stop Stewart's theft" and "Stewart's park is a dirty trick, give us back our monuments.



Bruce Brown, whose 'Endless Summer' redefined surfing, dies

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 21:47:47 UT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Bruce Brown, whose 1966 surfing documentary "The Endless Summer" molded the image of the surfer as a seeker of adventure and fulfillment and transformed the sport, has died. He was 80. Brown died of natural causes Sunday in Santa Barbara, said Alex Mecl, general manager of Bruce Brown Films. Along with the music of the Beach Boys, Brown took surfing from a quirky hobby to a fundamental part of American culture. Surfers had largely been portrayed as beach blanket buffoons in the mindless party movies of the early 1960s. Then came Brown and "The Endless Summer" with his beautiful, soulful story of surfers on a quest for fulfillment — an image that became emblazoned on the cultural psyche.



Christmas in Ohio: Nutcrackers, Victorian village, Nativity

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 15:34:52 UT

Six-foot-tall nutcrackers, a life-size Nativity display and a Dickens Victorian Village: These are some of the ways Ohio says "Merry Christmas!" DICKENS VICTORIAN VILLAGE About 13 years ago, Bob Ley and his wife drove from their hometown of Cambridge, Ohio, to see the famous Oglebay Winter Festival of Lights in nearby Wheeling, West Virginia. "It was jam-packed with cars and buses," Ley recalled. "We started looking at license plates. Almost three-fourths of the cars had gone past Cambridge to get there. We thought, 'What could we do to waylay them so they'd spend some time in Cambridge?'" Ley was in the men's clothing business and his wife was fond of English literature.