Created: Fri, 07 Feb 2014 01:15:02 EST
Updated: Fri, 07 Feb 2014 01:15:02 EST
UPDATE: Waiting for power
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A big chunk of the hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania residents without power could have their lights back on by late Friday.
That's according to PECO, the dominant electricity provider in the Philadelphia area.
Making it happen are utility crews from as far away as Arkansas and Canada. Some residents may not be restored until the weekend.
Rare snowstorm hammers W. Oregon, SW Washington
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Forecasters say a rare and powerful snowstorm has hammered parts of the Pacific Northwest, dropping as much as 10 inches of snow in western Oregon and southwest Washington.
Part two of the storm is expected to hit Oregon on Friday afternoon, bringing another 6 to 12 inches of snow.
Thursday's storm has left one person dead in a massive Interstate 5 pileup in southwest Washington, caused multiple other wrecks and closed schools and offices.
The Oregon Transportation Department says the snowstorm also caused a string of multiple car crashes on I-5 near Albany, closing the highway there for five hours.
A National Weather Service spokesman says the last back-to-back snow event like this in the region hit in December 2008.
NEW: Obama launching program to boost rural exports
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will launch a new program to help American farmers and rural businesses boost their exports.
He'll unveil the effort while at Michigan State University Friday, where he will also sign a sweeping farm bill into law.
The new "Made in Rural America" initiative will connect rural businesses with federal resources that can help sell their products and services abroad.
TSA bans carry-on liquids on Russia flights
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Homeland Security Department is banning all liquids from carry-on luggage for nonstop flights from the U.S. to Russia.
The ban comes after the department warned airlines that terrorists might try to smuggle explosives on board hidden in toothpaste tubes. The warning said terrorist might try to assemble explosive device in flight or upon arrival at the Olympics.
Delta Airlines, the only U.S. airline with regularly scheduled nonstop flights to Russia, posted a warning about the Transportation Security Administration policy Thursday.
The government warning became public on the eve of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Homeland Security has said the government is not aware of a threat to the U.S.
POLICE STOP-GROIN INJURY
Philly police frustrated in probe of boy's injury
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia's police commissioner says he's been rebuffed in his efforts to investigate claims that a teen suffered a groin injury during a police stop.
Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey says no official complaints have been filed, and neither the teen nor his lawyer are speaking to authorities.
Lawyer Lewis Small says 16-year-old Darrin Manning and his teammates were walking to an after-school basketball game last month when police approached.
He says Manning needed groin surgery after being injured during a pat-down by a female officer. Manning has been charged with several misdemeanors, including resisting arrest.
Small says he will not allow Manning to speak to police while the charges are pending.
The Associated Press normally does not name suspects charged as juveniles, but Manning's family allowed the use of his name.
SCHOOL LUNCH MENU CONTROVERSY
School apologizes for black history lunch menu
CONCORD, Calif. (AP) — Officials at a Northern California private school are apologizing after a lunch menu option to celebrate Black History Month angered some parents and students.
Students at Carondelet High School for Girls in Concord wanted to come up with ways to commemorate the occasion during a lunchtime celebration Friday. But when the school announced a menu of fried chicken, cornbread and watermelon on Monday, other students and parents became offended.
KNTV-TV reports that school officials held an assembly Wednesday to discuss the issue and also sent a letter apologizing to parents.
Principal Nancy Libby wrote that the items were taken off of the menu and that the school doesn't perpetrate racial stereotypes. Libby also wrote the school will hold a diversity assembly.
A school spokeswoman said Thursday that there was a communications breakdown and the menu was planned and publicized without administrative knowledge or permission.
CARIBBEAN-CRUISE SHIP OUTBREAK
CDC: Cruise ship bug was newer norovirus strain
ATLANTA (AP) — A new strain of stomach bug was the virus responsible for almost 700 recent illnesses on a Caribbean cruise ship.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday said by the new Sydney strain of norovirus was the cause of the illnesses on board Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas.
The ship, carrying 3,050 passengers, docked in New Jersey last week after 630 passengers and 54 crew members grew ill during a Caribbean cruise. It was one of the largest norovirus outbreaks on a cruise ship in the last 20 years.
The Sydney strain emerged within about the last two years. It's not considered unusually dangerous, but has quickly become a common cause of cases of vomiting and diarrhea that last a few days.
Developer sells historic natural landmark to conservation fund
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A 215-foot-high stone bridge once owned by Thomas Jefferson, a centuries-old tourist attraction, has been sold by its private owner at a fraction of its value to a conservation group.
Natural Bridge is destined to become part of Virginia's park system.
Under a complex deal sealed in Washington, D.C., real estate developer Angelo Puglisi accepted $8.6 million for the 1,500-plus-acre property in southwest Virginia. The land includes the 90-foot-long limestone bridge. Puglisi will receive tax credits for the bridge, which is valued at $21 million. The property, in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, includes a hotel and cabins.
Once the Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund repays the loan it used to pay Puglisi, the attraction will be transferred to Virginia as a state park. That could occur as early as 2015.
George Washington surveyed the property, and Jefferson called it "the most Sublime of Nature's Work."
UPDATE: Wake held for Philip Seymour Hoffman
NEW YORK (AP) — Only relatives and close friends of Philip Seymour Hoffman's will be admitted to a private funeral Friday for the Oscar-winning actor.
A wake was held Thursday at a Manhattan funeral home for Hoffman, who was found dead Sunday of an apparent drug overdose.
A larger memorial service will be held later this month.
Prosecutors consider vandalism case against Bieber
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles County sheriff's investigators have presented evidence to prosecutors for a possible felony vandalism case against Justin Bieber.
The pop star has been under investigation since eggs were thrown at his neighbor's home last month, resulting in thousands of dollars in damage.
Detectives searched Bieber's home looking for surveillance footage or other evidence Jan. 14.
The district attorney's office said Thursday that it has received the case. If prosecutors decide to move forward, it could result in Bieber's most serious criminal charges yet.
The 19-year-old has been charged with misdemeanor offenses in Miami and Toronto in recent weeks. But prosecutors in California have rejected three previous cases against Bieber that accused him of reckless driving, attacking a paparazzo and spitting on a neighbor.
UPDATE: After 22 years, Leno bids farewell to 'Tonight'
BURBANK, Calif. (AP) — After 22 years, Jay Leno has hosted his last "Tonight Show."
The final episode included tributes from other entertainers and a recorded send-off from President Barack Obama.
Like other politicians who have been targeted, Obama got the chance for payback in a video clip. He said he wasn't upset about the jokes but is making Leno the U.S. ambassador to Antarctica.
Leno, who is 63, plans to keep playing comedy clubs. Jimmy Fallon takes over "Tonight" in New York on Feb. 17.