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Urban News

By DENNIS DAILY, United Press International   |   April 17, 2002 at 4:45 AM   |   Comments

(SEATTLE) -- Actor-director Rob Reiner has brought his case against a Seattle-based bank to that city. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer says that the popular entertainment personality flew from Los Angeles to Seattle to participate in a demonstration Tuesday outside the annual stockholders meeting of Washington Mutual. Reiner is angered at the company because of its backing of the development of what is called the Ahmanson Ranch area in Los Angeles.

Many locals in L.A. are against the planned massive housing project because of its projected damage to the environment and the impact on traffic in the area.

Countering Reiner's and environmentalists' claims was former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt, speaking for Washington Mutual. He noted that the company is using only a small percentage of the total acreage; most of it has been set aside and will be left "as is."


(SAN FRANCISCO) -- In a case that is being watched by gay men and women around the world, the surviving partner of that San Francisco woman mauled to death by a neighbor's dogs says she may seek an out-of-court settlement. Sharon Smith had filed a suit against the dogs' owners. Now she tells KCBS, a local all-news CBS affiliate, that she might settle quickly in order to not have to sit through another agonizing trial.

Meanwhile, Robert Noel and Marjorie Knoller face prison time following their convictions in a Los Angeles court in the case. The trial had been moved to L.A. because of the immense publicity surrounding the case in the Bay Area.

Other circumstances surrounding the death remain complicated. The dogs had been sold to their owners by Paul Schneider, an "adopted son," who was a former inmate at the Pelican Bay State Prison. Additionally he is a member of the Aryan Brotherhood and prosecutors claimed that he and a companion were breeding dogs for killer sports games.


(PHOENIX) -- Competition has come to Phoenix phone users. Now they have a choice of "dial tone" providers. MCI Group has become the first major "alternative" phone company to enter the fast-growing Phoenix market. The Arizona Republic says that MCI's move into Arizona (and more than 30 other states) is just what many in Congress anticipated when laws were changed to encourage local phone competition.

During the years that the Bell System was a protected monopoly most everyone in the country dealt with but a single phone company. The situation prompted a mock radio commercial produced in New York years ago in which an announcer -- familiar for his work on legitimate radio and TV commercials -- basically told consumers where they could go: "We ARE the phone company," he noted in the fake spots.

The deregulation of the phone system brought about an influx of long distance companies hawking their wares. Now in many areas -- Phoenix being the latest -- the competition for local dial-tone service has begun.


(MIAMI) -- Final preparations are being made for this year's annual AIDS Walk fundraiser in Miami. Organizers tell the Miami Herald that this year's event will be the 13th annual run. Officially it's called AIDS Walk Miami -- Run, Walk, Blade for the Cure.

The event will be held on April 20. Many parties and associated events are planned in conjunction with the walk.

The movie "Elvira's Haunted Hills," a gothic-style parody on the horror flicks of the '60s, will be screened. Elvira (Cassandra Peterson) will be Grand Marshal of the event.

The run begins from the grounds of the Miami Beach Convention Center. It is a 5K event.

Immediately after the walk a "Taste of the Beach" eat-fest will be staged on Lincoln Road in South Beach.

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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