Wildfire contained; roads reopened

SUNDAY, OCT. 19, 2008

A wildfire in northern Los Angeles that destroyed 15 homes has been surrounded.

State and local fire officials announced Saturday that the San Fernando Valley blaze was completely contained. They could not say exactly when the nearly 30-square-mile fire would be out.

Closed roads have been reopened and evacuation orders for some neighborhoods have been lifted.

The fire erupted Monday when high winds knocked down an electrical distribution line that fell into dry brush. It cost more than $12 million to fight and destroyed nearly 80 buildings.

The blaze was one of two this week only a few miles apart in the San Fernando Valley. The other fire destroyed about 40 homes and killed one person and was contained Thursday.

Los Angeles

‘Soul Train’ host Cornelius arrested

Don Cornelius, the 72-year-old creator and longtime host of the iconic television show “Soul Train,” was arrested Friday night on suspicion of felony domestic violence, police said.

Los Angeles police were called to Cornelius’ home about 7:15 p.m. Friday, said Officer Norma Eisenman. Cornelius was arrested and taken to jail at 8 p.m.

It was not clear whom Cornelius was suspected of assaulting, Eisenman said. No one was taken to the hospital after the incident, according to police reports.

Cornelius was released at 5 a.m. Saturday after posting $50,000 bail, Eisenman said. He is scheduled to appear in Los Angeles Superior Court Nov. 14.

Cornelius began producing “Soul Train” in 1970 and was its host until 1993. The show featured rhythm and blues, soul and hip-hop artists, and its catchy “Sooooooooooo-ul Train” slogan.

New York

New head of ACLU promises outreach

The American Civil Liberties Union elected a new president on Saturday, choosing a constitutional law scholar who said she would reach out to African-Americans and to religious communities where the group has often been viewed more as foe than friend.

“We plan to reach out to communities where the ACLU is not well-known or not well-understood,” said Brooklyn Law School professor Susan Herman, the organization’s general counsel until the vote.

“There’s a very widespread misimpression that the ACLU opposes religion” despite its efforts to protect rights to religious expression, Herman told the Associated Press, adding that she was surprised “there aren’t more people in the African-American community that believe the ACLU is their organization.”

Herman’s selection gives the organization a new public face for the first time in nearly two decades. Nadine Strossen, the ACLU’s longest-serving president and the first woman to hold the job, had led the group since 1991, overseeing a substantial rise in formal membership and national staff.

Reno, Nev.

Quadruplets due, so soldier returns

A soldier deployed in Afghanistan is home for two weeks to witness his wife give birth to quadruplets in Nevada.

Twenty-two-year-old Army Spc. Joe Shatswell reunited with his wife, Darah, last week at a Reno hospital where she is expected to give birth soon.

The quadruplets were conceived without fertility drugs. They even have names already: identical twins Kaylee and Rory and fraternal twins Myleigh and Joseph Jr.

The couple also have a 2-year-old daughter.

Twenty-four-year-old Darah Shatswell says her husband can stay in Nevada until the end of October. He is deployed in Afghanistan until July 2009.

From wire reports


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