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Symphony Conductor Henry Lewis Dies

Henry Lewis, a classical musician and conductor who led the way for blacks in his profession, died Friday at 63.

The cause was a heart attack, said his former wife, the mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne.

He was the first black conductor and music director of a major American orchestra and in 1972 he was the first black conductor at New York’s Metropolitan Opera.

In 1948, at 16 years old, he also became the first black instrumentalist with a major orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

During his 47-year career, Lewis conducted the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, bringing it from near-obscurity in 1968 to national renown.

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Sen. Maria Cantwell says governments should not be on the hook for coal mine cleanups

UPDATED: 12:25 p.m.

updated  WASHINGTON – Congress should end a practice that puts the federal government and states at risk of paying for expensive coal mine cleanups when mining companies go bankrupt, according to a new finding by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office. The GAO, an investigative arm of Congress, is recommending that lawmakers eliminate the ability of coal mine owners to self-certify their financial wealth, known as “self-bonding.” The controversial process lets owners avoid putting up collateral or getting third-party surety bonds – a requirement of companies in every other energy sector.