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Arctic blast heads for Eastern U.S. on holiday weekend

first_imgABC News(NEW YORK) — The severe weather pattern that dumped more than 10 inches of rain in parts of Texas and Louisiana is now heading east toward Florida.In the Northern Plains and Great Lakes region, another winter storm is forming, which could bring half a foot of snow to the Dakotas, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan over the next 24 hours. Six states have winter weather alerts Friday morning.Snow already is falling in the Dakotas. It’s expected to spread eastward Friday evening, with the heaviest accumulation stretching from North Dakota to Michigan. Some areas may get as much as 9 inches.An arctic blast will chase behind the storm system throughout the Midwest and Great Lakes, pushing Sunday morning wind chills to below zero in some parts.That core of cold air will slide into the Northeast by Monday, pushing wind chills in Boston into the teens and in New York into the lower 20s.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

$50 million invested in Vermont rural development

first_imgRURAL DEVELOPMENT INVESTS IN VERMONTUSDA Rural Development for Vermont announced that during FY 2004$50,236,513 was invested in Vermont loans and grants. RuralBusinesses in Vermont received almost $6.5 million in direct andguaranteed loans from RD affecting approximately 254 jobs. Otherexamples include $767,854 in grants to organizations striving toimprove the economic conditions of rural Vermont. Three agriculturalentities received a total of $165,737 in Value Added MarketDevelopment Grants. More info? visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/vt(link is external).last_img

Steelers somehow still alive for playoffs

first_imgBen Roethlisberger breaks away from Green Bay Packers’ Jamari Lattimore (57) for a touchdown run during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)PITTSBURGH (AP) — The math remains tricky. The circumstances remain less than ideal.And yet, the Pittsburgh Steelers are still alive for the playoffs entering the final week of the season. The same team that started 0-4. The same team that appeared in need of a franchise-wide overhaul after a 55-31 pounding in New England that dropped the Steelers to 2-6 in late-October. The same team that let Miami score 34 points in the snow two weeks ago.Yep, that’s the team that can say the word postseason with a straight face after a frantic 38-31 win at Green Bay on Sunday.“Isn’t that crazy?” defensive end Brett Keisel said. “We still are breathing and we’re going to continue to fight. We’ve got one more that we’ve got to win to even have a shot and that will be our focus.”Well, that and the scoreboard. The Steelers (7-8) need to beat the fading Browns (4-11) next weekend and hope Miami, Baltimore and San Diego — all 8-7 — lose. It would create a five-way tie for the final wild card spot that would somehow end with Pittsburgh traveling to Cincinnati to face the AFC North Bengals for the third time this season.As improbable as it seems, Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin likes his chances. Last he checked, a slim shot was better than no shot at all.“We’ve made this bed,” Tomlin said Monday. “I like the way the group is laying in it.”The Steelers have won two straight and are 7-4 since Oct. 1, the same mark over that span as playoff-bound Indianapolis, Kansas City and New England. Despite the surge, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is reluctant to get too involved in the way the dominoes would have to fall for Pittsburgh to play into January.“I don’t even know what the scenario is,” Roethlisberger said. “But I’m sure it’s still crazy.”Nearly as crazy as nearly four hours of insanity at wintry Lambeau Field in a victory that included massive momentum swings, a rarely seen penalty on a batted ball, a perfectly executed fake punt and one last stand by a couple of veterans who are in the twilights of their career.Yet when Matt Flynn’s last-second pass fell incomplete, Pittsburgh hopped the plane home with a puncher’s chance.“This team just keeps fighting,” running back Le’Veon Bell said. “We faltered a bit at the beginning of the season, but guys are really fighting, trying to get into the playoffs.”Even if they don’t make it, the Steelers hardly look like the sad sack that was woefully overmatched when it was whipped by the Patriots. Pittsburgh forced a pair of turnovers and converted both into touchdowns. Bell shook off a fumble and ran for a career-high 124 yards and the winning score with 1:25 to go.It’s a touchdown that came after the 35-year-old Keisel — playing for only the second time in the last six weeks due to plantar fasciitis in his left foot — jumped on a loose ball deep in Green Bay territory after safety Troy Polamalu jarred it loose from a scrambling Flynn.Thanks to an offsides penalty on a field goal attempt that eventually pushed the ball to the Green Bay 1, Bell strolled into the end zone as the Packers intentionally put up little resistance.Green Bay’s goal was to preserve enough time on the clock to try and drive back down the field and knot the game again rather than let Pittsburgh milk the clock and kick a short field goal at the end.Though the Packers nearly pulled it off, Tomlin defended his decision again on Monday.“Obviously, there are a lot of options and I’m sure that they had options in terms of how they could have finished the game,” Tomlin said. “All of that is good armchair quarterback Monday stuff. We did what we had to do to win the football game.”Win one more and the Steelers avoid the franchise’s first losing season in a decade. Get help from the Bengals, the New York Jets and the Kansas City Chiefs, and a season filled that looked done two months ago becomes something considerably more interesting.“”Yeah, I feel like right now we are starting to come into our own, which you want,” wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders said. “We still have a shot at making the playoffs if things go in our favor next week, so we are optimistic about that.”__NOTES: Tomlin said Sanders will be limited in practice this week with a sprained knee. … LB Jarvis Jones, who was inactive on Sunday due to flu-like symptoms, is expected to practice on Tuesday.__AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.orglast_img read more

Vikings’ Peterson avoids jail in plea agreement

first_imgMinnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, center, arrives at the courthouse with his wife Ashley Brown Peterson, right, and attorney Brian Wice for an appearance Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014, in Conroe, Texas. A judge presiding over Adrian Peterson’s child abuse case may consider whether the Vikings star should be arrested for allegedly smoking marijuana while out on bond. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)CONROE, Texas (AP) — Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson avoided jail time on Tuesday in a plea agreement reached with prosecutors to resolve his child abuse case.Peterson pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of reckless assault under the deal that Montgomery County state District Judge Kelly Case approved during a court hearing. A no contest plea isn’t an admission of guilt but is treated as such for sentencing.The All-Pro running back was indicted in September on a felony charge of injury to a child for using a wooden switch to discipline his 4-year-old son earlier this year in suburban Houston. The case revived a debate about corporal punishment, which is on the decline in the U.S. but still widely practiced in homes and schools.Outside the courthouse after accepting the plea deal, Peterson told reporters that he regretted what happened with his son.“I stand here and I take full responsibility for my actions. I love my son more than anyone of you could even imagine and I’m anxious to continue my relationship with my child,” he said. “I’m just glad this is over. I can put this behind me, and me and my family can continue to move forward.”Peterson was not allowed to be near his son while the case was pending. The plea agreement will allow him to have contact with the boy.“Adrian wants to get on with his life and have his relationship with his son and get back to playing football,” Peterson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, said.Peterson has been on paid leave from the Vikings under a special exemption from the NFL commissioner to take care of his legal problems. It was not immediately clear how the plea deal would affect his playing status.“We will review the matter, including the court record, and then make a determination on his status,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said. “We cannot provide a timetable.”Peterson has said he never intended to harm his son and was disciplining him in the same way he had been as a child growing up in East Texas. The boy suffered cuts, marks and bruising to his thighs, back and on one of his testicles, according to court records.Peterson had tentatively been set to go on trial Dec. 1. If convicted of felony child abuse, he could have faced up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Instead, he received what is essentially probation, was fined $4,000 and must complete parenting classes and perform 80 hours of community service.Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon said this was the best resolution of the case and that Peterson did not get any special treatment because he’s a professional athlete.Last month, a visiting judge denied a request by prosecutors to remove Case as judge in the case. Prosecutors had accused Case of being biased against them and wanted a new judge appointed.The plea deal made moot a pending motion by prosecutors to revoke Peterson’s $15,000 bond for alleged marijuana use.Corporal punishment is legal in every state. The Texas Attorney General’s Office notes that belts and brushes “are accepted by many as legitimate disciplinary ‘tools,’” but “electrical or phone cords, boards, yardsticks, ropes, shoes, and wires are likely to be considered instruments of abuse.”Texas law says the use of non-deadly force against someone younger than 18 is justified if a parent or guardian “reasonably believes the force is necessary to discipline the child or to safeguard or promote his welfare.”___AP Pro Football Writer Howard Fendrich contributed to this report.___Follow Juan A. Lozano on Twitter at www.twitter.com/juanlozano70.last_img read more

Counties’ retiree health costs triple

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake Los Angeles County Chief Administrative Officer David Janssen said the county has a “pay-as-you-go” system and plans to hire an actuary this spring to calculate its unfunded liability for retiree health benefits. The county grand jury recently estimated the unfunded liability at $9 billion. Janssen said the CSAC survey is designed to help counties explore how to either reduce or pay the future costs. One option being considered is is issuing bonds, similar to the $2 billion pension bond the county issued in the early 1990s. While other counties have the option of negotiating with employee unions to limit or eliminate retiree health benefits, Janssen said a 1982 state law requires Los Angeles County to provide retiree health benefits. Just 4 percent of California’s counties have fully funded their retirees’ health benefit costs, a California State Association of Counties survey has found. The survey of 48 of the state’s 58 counties also found that the number of retirees statewide has grown by 12 percent in the last five years, while the amount counties are spending annually on their health care has tripled from $169 million to $567 million. “What’s been really dramatic is the substantial increase in costs due to the increased number of retirees as a result of the baby boom phenomena and medication inflation,” CSAC Legislative Coordinator Steve Keil said Thursday. The findings come as counties begin calculating the total unfunded liabilities of providing health care to retirees under a Government Accounting Standards Board rule going into effect next year. “We’d have to change the law first,” Janssen said. “We obviously want to take a look at attempting to minimize the cost in the out-years in discussions with the unions.” Keil said he expects many counties to explore bond issues and reducing health benefits provided to retirees. “There will be no easy fixes,” Keil said. “There will be significant new costs if they want to prefund the liabilities and amortize over 20 years. It could increase by 300 to 400 percent the cash flow costs as they pay down the unfunded liabilities.” Although the survey did not estimate the total unfunded liabilities for retiree health care, Keil noted that Los Angeles County has about 140,000 active and retired employees while the state has 1.5 million city, county, state and special district active and retired employees. The survey also found that 98 percent of retirees are eligible for health benefits and about nine out of 10 plans provide benefits past age 65 to dependents and survivors. In Ventura County, Chief Deputy Executive Officer Paul Derse said the county’s unfunded liability for retiree health care costs is about $40 million. But he said the county has already eliminated retiree health benefits for new managers and is considering eliminating a subsidized retiree health benefit program. “We don’t expect this to have a significant impact on our budget,” Derse said. “We knew they were out there, have started to have a little more serious discussion on the issue and have already eliminated one program.” — Troy Anderson, (213) 974-8985 [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more