February 18, 2008 in Nation/World

Nation in brief: Nancy Reagan hospitalized

The Spokesman-Review

Former first lady Nancy Reagan was hospitalized Sunday after falling in her home in Bel-Air but is doing well, her spokeswoman said.

Reagan, 86, was taken to St. John’s Health Center, where doctors determined she did not break a hip as feared, spokeswoman Joanne Drake said.

Drake said Reagan was doing well and would stay the night in the same room where former President Ronald Reagan stayed after he broke his hip at home in 2001. He died June 5, 2004.

The former first lady is “joking and visiting in her room,” Drake said.

Reagan’s family physician recommended the overnight stay “as a precaution,” Drake said.


Twisters, storm hit South, Midwest

Severe weather howled through much of the nation Sunday, producing damaging tornadoes in the South that injured nearly 30 people and treating winter-weary parts of the Midwest to freezing rain, snow and flooding.

A tornado damaged or destroyed about 200 homes and businesses in Prattville, outside Montgomery, where Mayor Jim Byard said crews searched for people trapped in the wreckage.

No fatalities were immediately reported, but two people were critically injured, said Fire Marshal Dallis Johnson. Twenty-seven people had minor injuries, officials said.

A 35-bed mobile hospital unit was set up outside a Kmart to treat victims with minor to moderate injuries so that hospitals could take those with serious injuries, Dr. Steve Allen said.

About 9,000 homes and businesses lost power in Prattville after storms swept across the South, damaging homes elsewhere in Alabama and in the Florida Panhandle.

Freezing rain and snow fell across the southern two-thirds of Wisconsin, still weary from a major snowstorm that stranded hundreds of motorists and snarled travel for days.

Heavy snow and slush closed Kansas City International Airport for almost six hours, the longest closure in its 35-year history, authorities said. Dozens of flights were canceled.


Atlantis ready to undock today

The crews of the space shuttle and station said a teary farewell, then sealed the hatches between them Sunday after more than a week of working tirelessly together to build a bigger and better scientific outpost in orbit.

Atlantis was scheduled to undock early today, its load considerably lighter than when it arrived Feb. 9 with Europe’s premiere space laboratory, Columbus.

NASA is aiming to wrap up Atlantis’ successful 13-day mission with a landing on Wednesday. Both the Kennedy Space Center and the backup landing site in California will be poised to receive Atlantis; the space agency wants the shuttle down that day to give the military enough time to destroy a damaged spy satellite.

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