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Colin Jeffery

Colin Jeffery

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Scientists are assessing the damage from a massive wildfire burning around Yosemite National Park, laying plans to protect habitat and waterways as the fall rainy season approaches.

Members of the federal Burned Area Emergency Response team have been hiking the rugged Sierra Nevada terrain this weekend even as thousands of firefighters continue to battle the four-week-old blaze. The 50 scientists are working to identify areas at the highest risk for erosion into waterways, including the reservoir that provides San Francisco with its famously pure water. Officials say they hope to have a report ready in two weeks so remediation can start before the first storms.

The wildfire started on Aug. 17 in the Stanislaus National Forest when a hunter's illegal fire swept out of control. It now ranks as the third-largest wildfire in modern California history, having burned 394 square miles of timber, meadows and sensitive wildlife habitat.

9/11 responders far from NYC seek compensation

Sunday, 08 September 2013 09:26 Published in National News

NEW YORK (AP) — They weren't exposed to anywhere near the same level of ash, grit and fumes.

But some emergency workers who responded to the Pentagon and the Pennsylvania countryside on 9/11 are signing up for the same compensation and health care benefits being offered to New Yorkers who got sick after toiling in the dust of the World Trade Center.

Federal officials say at least 91 people from the Pentagon and the Pennsylvania sites have applied for payment from a multibillion-dollar fund for people with an illness related to the attacks.

There's little medical evidence that those responders were exposed to unusual environmental hazards or are getting sick in large numbers, but officials are urging some responders to enroll as a precaution.

More than 24,000 applied for compensation for ground zero work.

SLU looks to heal as Biondi departs

Sunday, 08 September 2013 09:25 Published in Local News

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Recent turmoil at Saint Louis University between its longtime president and students and faculty critics has given way to hope and optimism as the Jesuit school seeks its first new leader in more than a quarter-century.

The Rev. Lawrence Biondi presided over a 42 percent student body increase, a near doubling of full-time faculty and nearly $1 billion worth of new construction since his 1987 inauguration. Critics say he also led by fear and intimidation, stifling dissent and alienating campus members who called for his resignation.

Biondi announced his retirement in May and escalated the timetable with a September 1st departure for a one-year sabbatical. SLU must now consider whether to again hire a priest for its top job or look outside religious circles for a lay leader.

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