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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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In brief: Thousands rally for Confederate flag

From Wire Reports

OCALA, Fla. – Thousands of people have rallied in central Florida in support of flying the Confederate flag.

Police estimated 2,000 vehicles, mostly motorcycles and trucks adorned with the Civil War-era flag, took part in Sunday’s gathering in Ocala. The event was being held to back a decision by Marion County in that area of central Florida to return the Confederate flag to a display outside its government complex.

The Ocala Star-Banner reported that participants wore shirts with phrases including “heritage not hate” and talked of defending Southern traditions.

A replica of the General Lee car from “The Dukes of Hazzard” TV show led the procession.

‘Cheers,’ ‘West Wing’ actor Rees dies at 71

NEW YORK – Roger Rees, the lanky Tony Award-winning Welsh-born actor and director who made his mark onstage as Nicholas Nickleby and later played English multimillionaire Robin Colcord on the TV show “Cheers,” has died. He was 71.

Rees died Friday night at his home in New York after a brief battle with cancer, said his representative, Rick Miramontez. Rees had abruptly left “The Visit” on Broadway in late May to undergo a medical procedure.

Rees played the snobbish Robin Colcord on TV’s “Cheers” – he was known for his condescending remarks and rivalry with Sam Malone and for dating Rebecca Howe – and the British ambassador, Lord John Marbury, in “The West Wing.” Other recent TV credits include “Elementary” and “The Good Wife.”

But he was probably best known onstage for playing the title character in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s original production of Charles Dickens’ “The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby” in England and on Broadway. He won an Olivier Award and then a Tony. When it was adapted to TV, he earned an Emmy Award nomination.

Gasoline-price surge hits California

CAMARILLO, Calif. – While gas prices nationwide are on a downward trend, California is experiencing a spike that could see prices top $4 a gallon before easing again, according to analysts.

A shortage in oil and other components used in refining California’s unique blend of less-polluting gas is among the reasons for the price jump, industry analyst Trilby Lundberg said Sunday. A slowdown in imported crude and a refinery shutdown in Torrance also caused wholesale prices to skyrocket, experts said.

As of Friday, the highest average price in the nation was $3.66 a gallon in Los Angeles – a jump of 9 cents, according to Lundberg’s bi-weekly survey. But prices rose another 13 cents in a special survey conducted Saturday, she said.

Nationwide, the average price of gasoline dropped 2 cents over the past two weeks to $2.83 a gallon. The cheapest price recorded in the continental United States was $2.42 a gallon in Jackson, Mississippi.

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