National

9.19.14:  Man faces arson charge in huge California wildfire

 

PLACERVILLE, Calif. (AP) — A man with a long criminal history is scheduled to be arraigned Friday on charges that he set a huge wildfire still burning in Northern California.

 

California fire officials say the wind-whipped wildfire burned through 114 square miles of timber and vegetation east of Sacramento and has forced some 2,800 people from their homes. It is just 10 percent contained but had yet to damage or destroy any homes or buildings.

 

The suspect, 37-year-old Wayne Allen Huntsman, is being held on $10 million bail in El Dorado County Jail.

 

District Attorney Vern Pierson declined to say what led investigators to Huntsman. Investigators were in contact with Huntsman before his arrest Wednesday night in Placerville.

 

Huntsman’s sister, Tami Criswell, said she doubts her brother started the fire, but if he did, it wasn’t on purpose.


9.19.14:   GM to introduce new, high-end Cadillac next year

 

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors will begin building a new, top-end Cadillac sedan late next year at its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant.

 

The auto maker says that the rear-wheel drive car will make its debut in the first half of 2015, and that it will reveal the name of the new model soon.

 

The new Cadillac is part of a $384 million investment GM announced last spring in the assembly plant, which straddles the border of Detroit and the enclave of Hamtramck. That plant also makes the Opel Ampera, the Chevrolet Impala and the Cadillac ELR, a luxury version of the Volt.

 


9.18.14:  Census figures show Michigan incomes rise in 2013

 

DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. Census Bureau says household incomes in Michigan rose 1.7 percent in 2013 after years of decline.

 

Census data released Wednesday show the percentage of Michigan residents living in poverty was the same as in 2012, at about 17 percent. The share dropped slightly for children, to 23.8 percent.

 

Median household income rose to about $48,300 in 2013 from $47,450 in 2012. The median was about $54,500 in 2006, before the recession.

 

The poverty line is an income of $23,550 for a family of four.

 

Kurt Metzger says the report is the “first real indication” of improvement in the state. The director emeritus of Data Driven Detroit says there is still plenty of progress to be made.


9.18.14:  Border town of Nogales avoids flooding from storm

 

NOGALES, Ariz. (AP) — The mayor of Nogales, Arizona, says city crews were able to prevent the flooding of two trailer parks as a Pacific storm slammed much of southern Arizona on Wednesday.

 

The National Weather Service issued a flash-flood warning for the border community, where a major street was flooded with several inches of water.

 

Mayor Arturo Garino said officials initially thought they would have to evacuate two nearby trailer parks where about 100 families live. However, the water receded, and the city’s public works department was able to clear the street.

 

Earlier, a larger wash that cuts through the middle of the city was close to overflowing. Garino said it also receded from an at-risk level of 12 feet to between 5 and 6 feet.

 

Meanwhile, a flash-flood watch for Tucson was canceled.


9.17.14:  GM to add 750 workers to build small pickup trucks

 

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors is adding 750 workers to a Missouri factory in anticipation of high demand for two new small pickup trucks.

 

GM wants to add a third shift to its plant in Wentzville near St. Louis by the end of March. The factory now employs 2,600 people who make the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups as well as full-sized vans.

 

Alan Batey, GM’s North America president, says dealers already have ordered 30,000 pickups and 97,000 people have configured and built them on a GM website. Both are signs of strong demand.

 

GM is building the trucks and plans to start shipping them to dealers soon. Small pickups have declined in popularity, but Batey is confident people will buy the GM models for their hauling ability, gas mileage and price.


9.17.14:  Arizonans brace for soaking

 

PHOENIX (AP) — Tucson and Phoenix are getting ready for a major soaking as the remnants of Tropical Storm Odile  barrel toward Arizona. The forecast calls for Tucson to get slammed with up to 5 inches, while Phoenix is expecting lesser amounts. Residents around the state have been busy sandbagging their property.


9.17.14:  U.S. gets video warning

 

BEIRUT (AP) — The militant Islamic State group has released a video warning the United States that fighters await it in Iraq if President Barack Obama sends troops there, as he and his top general said may happen.

 

The 52-second video entitled “Flames of War” shows militants blowing up tanks, wounded U.S. soldiers and others about to killed. It then shows a clip of Obama saying that combat troops will not return to Iraq, ending with a text overlay that reads “fighting has just begun.”

 

The video’s timing, released Tuesday, suggests it was a response to Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said in testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee that if the current Iraq strategy doesn’t prevail, he may recommend the use of ground troops.

 


9.16.14:  Lava enters vacant lots in Big Island subdivision

 

PAHOA, Hawaii (AP) — Lava is moving closer to homes in a rural subdivision on Hawaii’s Big Island. Officials say right now the lava is moving over a vacant lot in the Kaohe Homesteads subdivision and that no homes are in imminent danger.

 

They say the lava from the Kilauea volcano is slowing and no evacuations have been ordered.

 

Meanwhile, workers are paving defunct roads that would be used as alternate routes if the lava reaches a major highway.

 

Officials say that could happen within weeks.


9.15.14:  Hundreds evacuate from 3 California wildfires

 

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — Two out-of-control wildfires in California are forcing hundreds of residents to flee from their homes.

 

One blaze near Bass Lake in Central California, prompted authorities to evacuate about 1,000 residents from 400 homes. Farther north, a wildfire about 60 miles east of Sacramento has forced the evacuation of 133 homes.

 

Meanwhile, a three-day-old wildfire in Southern California is 20 percent contained, but more than 200 homes remain evacuated near the Cleveland National Forest.

 


9.12.14:  Ford recalls hybrid SUVs to fix stalling problem

 

DETROIT (AP) — Ford is recalling about 74,000 older-model gas-electric hybrid SUVs in the U.S. and Canada to fix a stalling problem.

 

The recall covers Ford Escapes from the 2005 through 2008 model years and Mercury Mariners from 2006 through 2008.

 

The company says the coolant pump for the hybrid system could fail, causing electronics to overheat. That can shut down the engine, increasing the risk of a crash.

 

Ford says in documents filed with government safety regulators that it has no reports of crashes or injuries from the problem.

 

Ford is expected to start the recall on Oct. 27. Dealers will replace the coolant pump for free.