Urban News

By DENNIS DAILY, United Press International  |  Jan. 14, 2002 at 1:04 AM
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(ATLANTA) -- A suburban Atlanta man has been given what some are calling an unprecedented jail sentence for giving beer and the keys to his car to minors. The teens who borrowed the car died in a fiery crash.

The Journal and Constitution says that the 31-year-old was convicted on two counts of felony vehicular homicide in the deaths of two boys, 12 and 16, from Stone Mountain. Court records show that in many similar cases adults faced civil lawsuits, not felony charges, for allowing teens to drink and drive.

In this case, though, a jury of 10 women and two men took what prosecutors called "a courageous step" in reaching their verdicts. The teens died when one drove the car that the convicted man had lent them at up to 60 mph in a 15 mph zone, ultimately crashing the vehicle into another car and a tree.

The newspaper says that in another case a 43-year-old woman, from the same suburban area of Atlanta, is awaiting trial in the death of a high school student who crashed her car on the way home from a "teenage keg party" at the woman's home in the fall of 2000.

(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- Yet another accident involving a big-rig truck on the busy Interstate 5 corridor through the Portland, Ore., area, has local highway experts wondering what will happen next. A tanker truck loaded 12,000 gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel became disabled and caught fire. While workers were trying to prevent spillage from becoming an inferno, the truck exploded. Local television showed dramatic pictures. The Oregonian newspaper had a full-color spread showing the dramatic event.

The newspaper reported that I-5 was closed for four hours. The Interstate became a parking lot. Luckily, the driver and all rescue workers escaped without serious injuries.

One witness called the driver a hero. After his truck suffered mechanical problems and the engine caught fire, he scrambled out and tried to direct traffic to keep people at a safe distance, fearing the worst. The driver was not cited. His company may be charged for the cleanup.

Transportation officials say they will need days to fully assess the possible damage to the pavement around the scene of the fire.

(DALLAS) -- With a vacancy in the mayor's chair -- now that former Mayor Ron Kirk has resigned to run for the Senate -- the operative word around Dallas is "pothole." Correspondent Jim Henderson, in a special report for the Houston Chronicle, says that with Kirk out, the city has lost direction, even though it has a huge number of projects hanging fire.

The "pothole" moniker caught on when former City Councilwoman Laura Miller noted that many of the ads running on local media by prospective candidates were full of negative thoughts ... which, in her words, "won't fill potholes."

So, euphemistically, "pothole" refers to not only to the vacant spot in the mayor's office but the real ones on city streets and countless other problems that are not being addressed.

The report in the Chronicle notes that Dallas has gone from a cohesive city, vying for an Olympics and trying to be the next headquarters for Boeing, to a city with dreams of new sports arenas and a space-age city park with signature bridges being put on hold ... at least for the time being.

(FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla.) -- A shining star in the world of amateur tennis and one of the South's best known tennis teachers has died. The Miami Herald is reporting that Donald Floyd, an avid Ft. Lauderdale player and instructor died after a long battle with cancer.

A native of the Carolinas, Floyd spent most of his life in Atlanta, working for the railroad before devoting his full time to the sport he loved. At age 40 he won a major tournament in Virginia. His daughter -- his prize pupil, and only 15 at the time -- won the women's title at the event. During the 1960s he was one of the Atlantic coast's most decorated players.

Among his most famous students, former Carter administration chief of staff Hamilton Jordan.

In the early '80s he moved to South Florida and got the nickname "mayor of the tennis courts" in the Ft. Lauderdale area. Floyd was 86.

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