2.28.17:  Thousands throng to New Orleans for Fat Tuesday celebrations




NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Thousands of people are expected to throng the streets for Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans.

Fat Tuesday is the culmination of the city and region’s Carnival season.

Some of the biggest parades will take place along the St. Charles Avenue parade route.

Families, tourists and locals generally set up their chairs and ladders early to get a good seat for catching the trinkets thrown by riders on the floats.

In another part of the city, people dressed in elaborate costumes will take part in the St. Anne’s parade, an eclectic walking parade.

At the stroke of midnight, police on horseback will do a ceremonial clearing of revelers on Bourbon Street to mark the formal end of the Mardi Gras season before Lent begins Wednesday.


2.28.17:  3 dead, 2 injured as plane hits California homes




RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say three people died and two were injured after a small plane carrying them crashed into homes in Southern California.

Riverside Fire Chief Michael Moore said Monday night that there were no injuries from the homes, and everyone who might have been inside is accounted for.

The plane was carrying a husband, wife and three teenagers back home to San Jose from Riverside after they went to a cheerleading competition at Disneyland.

Two homes were destroyed, and there was minor damage to some neighboring homes.


2.28.17:  Pres. Trump will make his first address to Congress tonight




It will be President Trump’s first speech to a joint meeting of congress and it set to take place tonight a 9 PM .

His advisers say he will claim progress on some of his campaign promises.

He will likely focus on legislative priorities, including health care and infrastructure spending.

He also said he has been gathering ideas for the address from a series of “listening sessions”.


2.27.17:  A busy week in Washington for President Trump


WASHINGTON (AP) –President Trump will be sending his 2018 budget proposal to agencies today.  He’s proposing boosting defense spending and slashing funding for agencies like the EPA.  An administration official says the President is not making significant changes to Social Security or Medicare.


President Trump will meet today with the nation’s governors.  Many are concerned about health care plans for their states.


Congress is getting back to work this week.  Tuesday President Trump will speak to a joint session of Congress.   Lawmakers will look at key issues that include health care and a Supreme Court nominee.


On Wednesday President Trump is expected to sign a new refugee and immigration executive order.

2.27.17:  Stopping outflow from Oroville Dam




OROVILLE, Calif. (AP) — Water authorities in Northern California are stopping the outflow from the Oroville Dam’s crippled spillway to allow workers to remove debris blocking a hydroelectric plant from working. The Department of Water Resources says outflows will be stopped for several days. Earlier this month, more than 180,000 residents were evacuated for fear the emergency spillway could fail.

2.27.17:  Midwest, Wyoming lawmakers target wolf protections again




MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Pressure is building in Congress to take gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region and Wyoming off the endangered list, which would allow farmers to kill the animals if they threaten their livestock.

Representatives from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Wyoming have asked House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin for a fast floor vote before the season when most cows and sheep will be giving birth begins in earnest. That followed recent testimony before a Senate committee from a Wisconsin farm leader who said producers need to be able to defend their livestock and livelihoods.

Meanwhile, both sides are waiting for a federal appeals court to decide whether to uphold lower court rulings that put wolves in the four states back on the list.


2.27.17:  Takata guilty plea expected in cover-up of air bag troubles




DETROIT (AP) — Japanese auto parts maker Takata Corp. is expected to plead guilty Monday to a criminal charge and agree to a $1 billion penalty for concealing a deadly air bag inflator problem.

The company is scheduled to be in U.S. District Court in Detroit Monday afternoon. Last month it agreed to plead guilty to one count of wire fraud. Three executives also were indicted on charges that they falsified test reports.

Takata inflators can explode with too much force, spewing shrapnel into drivers and passengers. At least 16 people have been killed worldwide and more than 180 have been hurt.

Judge George Caram Steeh is expected to be asked to appoint attorney Kenneth Feinberg to distribute restitution payments to victims and their families.


2.24.17:  Agency publishes timetable for Mexico border wall




SAN DIEGO (AP) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection says it plans to start awarding contracts by mid-April for President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall.

The agency said Friday on a website for federal contactors that a request for bids would be published on or around March 6. Companies would have to submit “concept papers” to design and build prototypes by March 10.

CBP will narrow the field by March 20 and require that finalists renew their offers by March 24, with a price attached.

The timetable shows that Trump is aggressively pursuing plans to build what he calls “a great wall” on the 2,000-mile border with Mexico.

Trump told the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday that construction will start “very soon” and is ahead of schedule.


2.24.17:  46 protesters arrested while police clear camp




CANNON BALL, N.D. (AP) — Authorities say they arrested 46 protesters while clearing a Dakota Access oil pipeline protest camp in North Dakota.

The arrests came as authorities cleared the camp Thursday, a day after a deadline the Army Corps of Engineers set for protesters to leave in anticipation of spring flooding.

Officers methodically checked buildings and arrested anyone they encountered, including a man who climbed atop a building and stayed there for more than an hour before surrendering. Authorities say a group of veterans in a tent had to be carried out. The operation took about 3 ½ hours.

As officers worked, cleanup crews began razing buildings on the square-mile piece of property on federal land.


2.24.17: Rural California levees besieged by pounding wet winter




SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Federal and state workers are joining farmers in round-the-clock repairs to levees in California’s saturated Central Valley, where the wet winter has dams and waterways near or past capacity.

Billions of dollars of flood projects in the past two decades have eased fears of levee breaks in Sacramento and other Central Valley cities.

But flood experts say levees protecting farms and farm towns also need billions of dollars in maintenance and upgrades.

San Joaquin County emergency spokesman Rex Osborn says state crews, federal engineers and others are joining farmers working nonstop to spot and repair weak spots in levees before the earth and rock barriers can break.

Authorities fear that a single levee failure could trigger a chain reaction of levee breaks.