By Barbara Liston ORLANDO Fla. (Reuters) - A string of 29 arson fires targeting historic buildings across central Florida prompted investigators on Friday to form a multi-agency task force to share clues. The task force brings together investigators from several local municipalities, as well as state fire and law enforcement authorities. Most of the 16 fires in Orlando, which began on June 5, were set in homes in older residential neighborhoods around the downtown area. About 30 minutes to the north in Sanford, the first of 10 similar fires on July 3 destroyed the Little Red School House, a century-old public school building.
By Alex Dobuzinskis LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Los Angeles city leaders are considering a lottery system to reward citizens for casting a ballot in local elections, in a measure to combat low voter turnout that officials and outside observers say could be a first for any U.S. municipality. The Los Angeles Ethics Commission voted 3-0 on Thursday to recommend that members of the City Council move forward with the lottery idea, either by putting it before voters as a local initiative or by adopting it on their own, said commission president Nathan Hochman. The commission discussed a number of possible ways for the lottery to work, including the use of $100,000 to be split into four prizes of $25,000, or 100 pots of $1,000 for lucky voters who win the drawing, Hochman said. Last year, only 23 percent of registered voters in Los Angeles cast a ballot for mayor, compared to 37 percent in 2001.
An Alabama teenager with dyed-red hair was sent home from school by her principal over concerns that her mane was too bright and distracting, the girl's mother said on Friday. Hayleigh Black, a 15-year-old student at Muscle Shoals High School in northwestern Alabama, had been dyeing her hair red for three years without incident until principal Chad Holden called her into his office last week, her mother said. Black, who plays flute in the school's marching band and spent her summer volunteering at a camp for children, was driven to tears after being sent home on what was her first day of 10th grade, her mother, Kim Boyd, said. "But red is a natural human hair color," she said.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Three teenagers indicted in the beating deaths of two sleeping homeless men in Albuquerque have pleaded not guilty.
FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — Below is a timeline of the shooting of Michael Brown on Saturday, Aug. 9, in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. The times are taken from documents provided by the Ferguson Police Department, including dispatch logs and an incident report on a robbery at a convenience store.
Philadelphia firefighters forced out of their station by fumes months ago are finally back where they belong tonight.
The first wave of National Guard troops has taken up observation posts along the Texas-Mexico border.
KEARNY, N.J. (AP) — Construction work on the 82-year-old Pulaski Skyway likely caused a fire at the base of a bridge pillar Friday, sending smoke billowing over the area but not causing any structural damage to the span, a state transportation official said.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — For a second time, a former New Orleans police officer has been sentenced to more than 17 years in prison for burning the body of a man shot to death by another New Orleans police officer in the chaotic days following Hurricane Katrina.
A South Jersey family says they were kicked out of a movie theater because of what they call necessary supplies for their son.
By Ted Siefer BOSTON (Reuters) - An auction for 100 wooded acres in New Hampshire that were the site of a nine-month standoff between an anti-government couple and federal agents closed without any bids on Friday, possibly because of fears it could be booby-trapped, authorities said. The U.S. Marshals Service had hoped to raise at least $250,000 by selling the property that included the fortified compound where Ed and Elaine Brown lived before agents in 2007 ended the nine-month standoff by sneaking onto the property posing as pizza delivery men. While bidding was open in U.S. District Court in Concord, New Hampshire, authorities would not allow interested buyers to tour the land in Plainfield out of fear that the couple and a slew of anti-government activists who had joined them may have left behind explosives or other traps. "I would imagine that was a factor," said Deputy Chief U.S. Marshal Brenda Mikelson.
The Philadelphia Fire Department said Friday that they could not determine the cause of the fire that killed four children back in July.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota boy who created a national stir last fall after he sneaked past security and boarded a flight to Las Vegas by himself is no longer under court authority.
By Jennifer Dobner SALT LAKE CITY (Reuters) - A Utah woman was in critical condition in hospital on Friday, five days after suffering burns to her mouth and esophagus from drinking sweet tea laced with a powerful lye-based cleaning solvent at a local restaurant. Jan Harding was dining with relatives at a Dickey's Barbecue Pit in the Salt Lake City suburb of South Jordan on Sunday when she poured herself tea from a self-service beverage dispenser. Her mouth began burning after just one sip, South Jordan Police spokesman Sam Winkler said. "She did not swallow it. The second it hit her mouth, the burning was so intense, she spat it out," Winkler said.
NEW YORK (AP) — Students and faculty at one of the nation's few free colleges asked a judge Friday to block the school's plan to start charging undergraduate tuition, a move the school calls a financial necessity but opponents say will alter the culture of a storied institution.
The city is behind the Little League team aiming for a championship!
NEW ALBANY, Ind. (AP) — A southern Indiana man already sentenced to death for killing a family friend and mutilating her body was sentenced Friday to death in the slaying of a second woman whose body was found buried in his backyard.
(Reuters) - Current TV founders Al Gore and Joel Hyatt filed a lawsuit on Friday against Al Jazeera, claiming the Qatar-based broadcaster owes them millions of dollars after it bought Current TV. Al Jazeera acquired Current TV for an estimated $500 million in 2013. David Boies, the attorney representing Gore and Hyatt, said in a statement, "Al Jazeera America wants to give itself a discount on the purchase price that was agreed to nearly two years ago. We are asking the Court to order Al Jazeera America to stop wrongfully withholding the escrow funds that belong to Current's former shareholders." Al Jazeera spokeswoman Dawn Bridges said its outside counsel is reviewing the complaint.
(Reuters) - A family of hawks protecting their nest at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces have attacked at least six people in recent weeks, leaving one person dazed, a doctor at the campus said on Friday. The Swainson's hawks - two adults and three babies - set up their nest in a tree above a sidewalk that runs along a parking area near an aquatics center and a gymnasium, said Justin Bannister, a school spokesman. Bannister added that he had never known of the birds of prey swooping down on people at the school before this summer. Since about three weeks ago, at least six people have been struck in the head and cut by the birds, said Dr. Benjamin Diven, the medical director of the school's clinic, which received five of those patients.
Philadelphia police are investigating after a man's body was found inside a home in Center City.