Urban News

By DENNIS DAILY, United Press International  |  May 1, 2002 at 4:54 AM
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(LOS ANGELES) -- An earl and his countess have come calling in Los Angeles. The youngest son of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Edward, and his wife, Sophie, spent several hours this week touring a learning center in the heart of Los Angeles. The visit was at the same time President Bush was in L.A., remembering the riots of ten years ago this week that resulted in more than 50 deaths and a billion dollars in damage.

Edward and Sophie, according to KNX all-news radio, gave best wishes to students at a learning center and presented the center with a check for $5,000 for the purchase of additional computers.

The royal couple then attended a charity golfing event at a resort in the City of Industry, an L.A. suburb.

(PHOENIX) -- The metropolitan Phoenix area continues to grow ... possibly too rapidly. A new assessment of the area's infrastructure by the Arizona Republic newspaper finds that city services, utilities and road-building projects are being stretched "to the max."

The publication says that more people now live in Phoenix and surrounding Maricopa County than live in each of 21 states of the Union. For example, the population of the Greater Phoenix area is now more than that of Iowa, or New Mexico or Hawaii.

One executive of the county government says that the population will double in less than 30 years. Maricopa's estimated population is now more than 3.2 million. That's an increase of more than 122,000 since Census 2000.

(PHILADELPHIA) -- The Philadelphia mayor's office has announced a major crackdown of narcotics sales in that city. The Inquirer is reporting that the project is targeting some 300 open-air markets where drugs are reportedly sold.

The operation is the biggest in the history of the city and may be the largest drug-search dragnet in American history.

Hundreds of officers are being deployed in all sectors of the city. They are using information garnered not only from local law enforcement records but are using the help of the city's special narcotics unit.

The city's police commissioner, Sylvester M. Johnson, tells local media that the operation will not be a quick one, but "will take some time."

(HOUSTON) -- A would-be suicide jumper forced the closing of a section of busy U.S. 59 for some two hours Tuesdayin Houston. The man stood on an overpass over the freeway, threatening to jump from a railing.

Police eventually took the man into custody at about 7:40 a.m., but major damage to the morning rush hour had already been done.

The Chronicle says that he was persuaded to surrender by members of a special anti-suicide police task force. As he gave up, he banged his head into the bridge railing. He was later treated for the self-inflicted, non-life-threatening head wound. SWAT teams then cleared the scene and the freeway was reopened.

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