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Nuclear board warns of Washington tank explosion risk

Underground tanks that hold a stew of toxic, radioactive waste at the nation’s most contaminated nuclear site pose a possible risk of explosion, a nuclear safety board said in advance of confirmation hearings for the next leader of the Energy Department. State and federal officials have long known that hydrogen gas could build up inside the tanks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, leading to an explosion that would release radioactive material. The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board recommended additional monitoring and ventilation of the tanks last fall, and federal officials were working to develop a plan to implement the recommendation. The board expressed those concerns again Monday to U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who is chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and had sought the board’s perspective about cleanup at Hanford. The federal government created Hanford in the 1940s as part of the secret Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb. Continue Reading →

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3 North Dakota teachers suspended after allegedly leaving child outside in cold as punishment

Three teachers at a North Dakota YMCA have been suspended amid allegations they made a 4-year-old boy stand outside in the cold as punishment. A parent spotted the boy without a coat outside of the Y Learning Center on Monday morning in Fargo, KVLY-TV reported. The boy allegedly told the parent that he was being punished. The parent, in turn, called police. YMCA staff told the TV station that the teachers were having trouble getting the child to put on his outdoor apparel, so they took the child and his clothes outside and “had him stand on his snowsuit and were waiting for him to be ready to put it on.” Continue Reading →

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All 18 taxis in NH's largest city pulled off road

Odds are you won’t get a cab in New Hampshire’s largest city after police sidelined all 18 licensed taxis for inspection failures or failing to show up for inspection. Seventeen cabs in Manchester were cited for mechanical violations. The 18th was sidelined for failing to show up. Police Lt. Maureen Tessier said Tuesday six of the 18 cabs had such severe defects including conditions that could compromise their brakes inspectors pulled their registrations and they had to be towed. Queen City Taxi has surrendered its operating permits to the city clerk’s office. Continue Reading →

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NY DA: Don't dismiss Kennedy drugged-driving case

New York prosecutors are asking a judge to deny a motion to dismiss a drugged-driving case against Kerry Kennedy, the ex-wife of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. In court documents made available Tuesday, prosecutors argue that Kennedy’s case should move forward as it would for other first-time offenders. Lawyers for Kennedy had argued in a motion filed in North Castle Town Court last month that she had accidently taken a sleeping pill on July 13, 2012, before she swerved into a tractor-trailer on a highway and was arrested. But prosecutors argue that a trial should be held to determine whether Kennedy accidentally took the pill. A lawyer for Kennedy says he’ll respond to the motion this month. Continue Reading →

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Pa. inmate denies hiding phone in prosthetic leg

A former Pennsylvania jail inmate says he didn’t sneak a cellphone into the lockup in his prosthetic leg, though he acknowledged having it for a year as he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. Instead, 28-year-old Christopher Greer, of Uniontown, tells a judge the phone was in his cargo shorts when he reported in 2011 to serve a sentence for driving on a suspended license. Greer says he kept the phone because inmates at the Fayette County lockup 40 miles south of Pittsburgh must pay $4 per call. Greer pleaded guilty Tuesday, but the warden doesn’t believe Greer smuggled the phone in either his pocket or his leg, as county detectives charged. Brian Miller says both would have been searched too thoroughly for that. Continue Reading →

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Washington state dispatcher sends mom on kayak to rescue

A 911 dispatcher in Washington state called on her own mother to rescue a stranded boater in the Columbia River, knowing her mother could kayak to the area faster than sending the sheriff’s office patrol boat. The sheriff’s office says a 45-year-old kayaker was hanging onto a log piling Sunday after her kayak sank in swift current near a jetty. The Daily News reports Wahkiakum County dispatcher Raedyn Grasseth notified the sheriff’s office and then realized her mother, Cindy Faubion, and other members of Grasseth’s family lived nearby and could get there quicker. They paddled to the piling in a kayak and skiff and rescued the kayaker. The kayaker was cold and shaken but didn’t need medical attention. Continue Reading →

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New Jersey $338M Powerball winner reportedly pays back child support

The New Jersey deli owner who won the $338 million Powerball jackpot last week sliced off a piece of his prize to pay nearly $30,000 in back child support yesterday. Pedro Quezada, 44, appeared in Passaic County Family Court in Paterson, NJ, and cut a certified check for the payments, rounding the total up from the $29,490 he owed dating to 2009. The jackpot’s sole winner has five children ages 5 to 23. Three are minors, his attorney said. In court, the newly minted multimillionaire said he will be moving his kids into his new home. Continue Reading →

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Prison for man caught with meth at Calif. airport

Prosecutors say a man caught smuggling 17 pounds of methamphetamine and cocaine in three false-bottom suitcases at San Francisco International Airport has been sentenced to 12½ years in prison. The San Jose Mercury News reports (http://bit.ly/16gvwtK ) 22-year-old Pedro Daniel Rodriguez was headed to Sydney, Australia, with the drugs when he was caught at SFO. Rodriguez pleaded guilty in September to six felony charges. He will have five years of supervised release after he’s released from prison. U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag says Rodriguez arrived at SFO on Dec. Continue Reading →

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Rhode Island parents moved to tears after Pope Francis hugs their disabled son

A Rhode Island couple says they were speechless and moved to tears when Pope Francis hugged and kissed their disabled 8-year-old son in St. Peter’s Square on Easter Sunday. Paul and Christina Gondreau of Johnston and their five children attended Easter Mass at the Vatican. An usher directed the boy, Dominic, who has cerebral palsy, and his mother to an area designated for handicapped children, said Paul Gondreau, a theology professor at Providence College who is teaching this semester in Rome. When the pope’s vehicle arrived, the same usher motioned to the driver to stop and with the help of the mother, held the boy up to Pope Francis, who took the boy in his arms and kissed him, The boy appeared to try to bring his right arm around to embrace the pontiff. Continue Reading →

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