DETROIT MAYOR WANTS PLAYGROUND CLOSURES
Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick of Detroit says he wants to close six recreational centers -- another sign of urban belt-tightening. Additionally, nearly 200 people will be laid off, the Detroit Free Press reports.
The cuts are part of the mayor's plan to try to balance the city's $1.4 billion budget. Kilpatrick made the official recommendations to the Detroit City Council.
A group of city workers reacted by scheduling a rally to protest the mayor's service and job cuts.
There is some good news in Kilpatrick's budget proposals. He has included a 2 percent pay increase for city workers and also wants a 3 percent increase for police officers and firefighters.
PHOENIX SEARCHING FOR WATER CULPRIT
Water officials in Phoenix and the surrounding county are working with national health experts to hunt for a deadly organism. The amoeba-sized problem has killed two young boys in the region in recent weeks and at one point a water system was shut down for several days.
Epidemiologists are trying to locate the amoeba in groundwater to find the source of the contamination. All area wells are being tested for coliform, the basic bacteria that can cause sometimes-fatal water pollution.
So far Maricopa County has tested nearly 400 community wells and 29 have come back positive for coliform. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta also is working with researchers at the University of Arizona on the problem.
NEW YORK RECORDS 'NO-SMOKING' DEATH
Pro-smoking advocates are blaming New York's new restrictive smoking laws for the death of a Manhattan bouncer. According to the New York Post, the nightclub employee was stabbed to death by a patron who was told to put out his cigarette.
The so-called "Bloomberg law," backed by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is being blasted not only by cigarette interests but also by the surviving family of the dead man.
Anthony Blake, brother of the bouncer, tells the paper he is "very angry" and that his brother is a "victim of this stupid Bloomberg law."
The incident happened when the bouncer -- 6-foot-5, weighing 350 pounds -- allegedly dragged the smoker to an exit after he refused to douse his cigarette. At the exit the smoker's brother and a woman joined in a scuffle during which the bouncer was fatally stabbed. The trio has been charged in the death.
TWIN CITIES HIT BY WEATHER ROLLER COASTER
The old adage, "If you don't like the weather, just wait a few minutes," certainly applied to the Minneapolis-St. Paul area this week.
After weeks of coping with ice and snow in past months, during the past few days conditions seemed downright summer-like.
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune says the mercury hit 86 degrees on Monday, eclipsing the old record set in the mid-1950s.
The changing weather has been a real problem for city officials during the past few months. There have been worse winters but a roller coaster ride of highs and lows, freezing and thawing, has made it difficult for some street and road crews to keep up.
Much of the rest of the state, meanwhile, can't shake off winter. Some northern areas of Minnesota are seeing only highs in the 40s this week.