In brief: Storm batters Alaska coast
Anchorage, Alaska – One of the strongest storms to hit western Alaska in nearly 40 years battered coastal communities Wednesday with snow and hurricane-force winds, knocking out power, ripping up roofs and forcing some residents to board up their windows and seek higher ground.
Emergency managers said Wednesday afternoon that the winds were tapering off, with 85-mph gusts winding down to 55-mph gusts.
“This is a storm of epic proportions,” said meteorologist Jeff Osiensky with the National Weather Service. “We’re not out of the woods with this.”
Water reportedly reached some homes in at least four Native villages, including Tununak and Kipnuk, state emergency managers said.
Charges dismissed against clinic
Olathe, Kan . – A judge Wednesday dismissed the most serious charges against a Kansas City-area Planned Parenthood clinic accused of falsifying records and failing to follow abortion law after a prosecutor revealed that state officials had destroyed key evidence.
Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe told the judge he had no choice but to ask that 49 of 107 charges against the clinic be dismissed because documents central to the case were destroyed.
Meanwhile, authorities in the state capital of Topeka, at the request of Attorney General Derek Schmidt, plan to investigate the records shredding to determine if any laws were broken.
Bull’s head freed from giant tire
Honolulu – A rodeo bull in Hawaii appears comfortable again after spending about 20 hours with his head stuck in a giant tire.
The 800-pound bull, named Skywalker, couldn’t eat or drink after he got his head lodged in the truck tire that someone dumped at the Triple L Ranch in Maui, ranch owner Paige De Ponte said.
No one could get near the cranky bull Tuesday until Skywalker became exhausted enough for ranch worker Kawika Manoa to use a piece of wood to pry off the tire, which weighs more than 50 pounds. Skywalker didn’t put up a fight and then went straight for the water trough after being released from the rubber ring, De Ponte said.
She didn’t know how the tire ended up around Skywalker’s neck.