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Snow, rain shuts down California highway.

Snow, rain shuts down California highway

LOS ANGELES - A powerful storm dumped snow and rain as it moved across California on Wednesday, shutting down a major interstate highway and prompting flood watches in areas scarred by wildfires.

California Highway Patrol officers escorted vehicles out of Tejon Pass as traffic was halted in both directions along Interstate 5 north of Los Angeles, a dispatcher said.

Nearly a foot of snow was reported at the ranch community of Lockwood Valley in Los Padres National Forest, northwest of Los Angeles, the National Weather Service said.

Along the coast, a record 4.14 inches of rain was recorded at the Santa Barbara airport, topping the date's old mark of 2.45 inches set in 1943.

Big Dig lawsuit settled for $450 million

BOSTON - Contractors will pay more than $450 million to settle the state's lawsuit over a fatal tunnel collapse and to cover the costs of leaks and design flaws in the Big Dig, officials said Wednesday.

Bechtel Parsons Brinckerhoff, the consortium that oversaw design and construction of the nation's costliest and most complex highway project, has agreed to pay $407 million, U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan said in announcing the deal. Several smaller companies will pay about $51 million collectively.

"The citizens of Massachusetts entrusted Bechtel Parsons Brinckerhoff to act as their eyes and ears on the Central Artery Project," Sullivan said. "They grossly failed to meet their obligations and responsibilities."

Under the settlement, Bechtel Parsons Brinckerhoff will not face criminal charges in the Interstate 90 tunnel ceiling collapse in July 2006. Milena Del Valle, 39, of Boston, was crushed by tons of concrete as she and her husband drove to Logan International Airport.

Fighter jets were flying near UFO sighting

FORT WORTH, Texas - Fighter jets were training nearby the night dozens of Stephenville-area residents reported seeing a UFO this month, Air Force Reserve officials said Wednesday, backtracking on earlier statements.

The announcement did little to satisfy residents of Texas dairy country who swear that what they saw in the sky Jan. 8 was no airplane. Some said it even bolstered their claims, because several people reported seeing at least two fighter jets chasing an object.

"This supports our story that there was UFO activity in that area," said Kenneth Cherry, the Texas director of the Mutual UFO Network, which took more than 50 reports from locals at a meeting last weekend.

Famed newspaper photographer dies

BASYE, Va. - Bernie Boston, a newspaper photographer best known for his iconic 1960s picture of a Vietnam War protester placing flowers in soldiers' gun barrels at a rally, died Tuesday of a rare blood disease. He was 74.

Boston died at his home in Basye, where he retired in 1994 after working for the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Star and the Dayton Daily News. His death was announced by the White House News Photographers Association, for which he had served as president.

Boston's photograph, "Flower Power," was a runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize. He took the picture at a war protest in Washington on Oct. 22, 1967.
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Title Annotation:Wire National
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jan 24, 2008
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