The biggest October snowstorm to hit Colorado in several years dumped more than 2 feet Thursday, grounding flights, closing highways, knocking out electricity – and jump-starting the ski season.
The storm began late Wednesday and turned highways wet and slushy across the state. At one point, snow was falling at a rate of about 3 inches an hour in Denver. A 125-mile corridor from Colorado Springs to the New Mexico line was under a blizzard warning.
Denver International Airport got 5 inches, and more than 110 flights were canceled. Some suburbs reported up to 10 inches of snow that fell at about 3 inches an hour before the storm moved east onto the Plains, where it caused more trouble.
At least one ski resort, Keystone, announced it would open Nov. 3, a week earlier than planned.
Suit claims rat found in salad
Dallas Cowboys assistant coach Todd Haley is suing a suburban McDonald’s, claiming his wife and the family’s live-in baby sitter found a dead rat in a salad they took home and began to eat.
The lawsuit filed Thursday in state district court seeks $1.7 million in damages, the Dallas Morning News reported on its Web site.
In addition to Haley, the suit was also filed on behalf of his wife, Christine, and the family’s au pair, Kathryn Kelley.
According to the lawsuit, Christine Haley and Kelley had eaten part of the salad purchased June 5 at a McDonald’s in Southlake before the rat was discovered. The women became violently ill and endured long-lasting physical injuries, the lawsuit said.
Smoking decline hits a plateau
The battle against tobacco in the United States appears to have stalled, with the number of adults who smoke cigarettes hitting a plateau after declining steadily for eight years, federal health officials reported Thursday.
The proportion of adults who smoke held steady at 20.9 percent in the most recent national survey of cigarette habits, conducted in 2005. It was the first time the rate did not fall from one year to the next since 1997, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta reported.
Health officials blamed the trend on a combination of factors, including states cutting back on anti-smoking programs, the price of cigarettes rising more slowly and increased advertising by tobacco companies.
“Cigarette smoking is still the major cause of preventable death in this country,” said Ann Malarcher of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “We’re not making the progress we need to make in terms of preventing smoking-related illness and death.”
Manatee in river eludes rescuers
A manatee that took an unheard-of swim 700 miles up the Mississippi River eluded a rescue team Thursday that hoped to return the animal to the sea.
The animal, about 8 feet long and 1,000 pounds, has been hanging around since at least Sunday in a three-mile channel along the downtown riverfront.
Rescuers, including marine biologists and Coast Guardsmen, began searching the channel early Thursday and quit in the evening, planning to return today. The manatee was last seen Wednesday.
“It’s never been recorded before this far up the Mississippi,” said Pedro Ramos, a team leader from SeaWorld of Orlando.
The rescue team hoped to net the manatee, load it on a truck, keep it wet between pieces of foam and take it to SeaWorld for medical tests and rehabilitation before releasing it along the Florida coast.