Urban News

By DENNIS DAILY  |  Oct. 5, 2001 at 4:30 AM
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(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- City officials in Portland, Ore., are still celebrating a decision by the experts at HUD in Washington, awarding Portland more than $35 million in federal housing cash.

The grants will be used to revamp the city's aging North Portland Columbia Villa housing complex. According to the Oregonian, the money will be used to leverage a loan of an additional $120 million to demolish the current buildings and put up a new Villa center.

The complex is home to 478 units of federally subsidized housing. Under the new plan, the same acreage will be used to accommodate more than 800 units. Many of the new units will be offered at going market rates through a new tenant-landlord system.

(NASHVILLE) -- The mayor of Nashville has -- according to the Tennessean newspaper -- "coasted through his first two years in office with little political opposition and has emerged with an image as a tireless presence throughout the community."

The publication, in a major assessment of his honor's record in office, noted this week that whether Purcell is talking with school children, taking part in a parade or addressing civic groups, he has generally gotten good marks.

The comments are a distillation of conversations between the paper's reporters and local civic and community leaders. In one important area Purcell has been keeping an ambitious campaign promise, to visit every school in Music City USA. So far he has completed more than 200 visits.

(NORFOLK, Va.) -- Even this year's American Sandsculpting Championships on the beach near Norfolk, Va., became a reflection of the mood of America in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The Virginian-Pilot newspaper's on-line service says that while some of the competitors kept to traditional sand-sculpting techniques and motifs, many did works that were more in tune with the national mood.

One Canadian artist -- Mark Lepire -- sculpted a firefighter emerging from the rubble of a building, a victim under his arm. Lepire told reporters that "all Canadians are with Americans, nowadays."

One sculptor who also did a rescue theme noted that she originally had wanted to do something in a nautical vein, but in the wake of the attacks, thought that a revised work would be a better tribute.

(MILWAUKEE) -- Nearly 40 Milwaukee gasoline stations have been served notice by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection that they may have gouged the public by hiking prices to astronomical levels last month.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel says that state regulators received more than 2,000 complaints about alleged gouging. Although prices shot up quickly, they also came down quickly when the stations got instant media attention and quick criticism.

In addition to the Milwaukee stations, nearly 360 in other parts of the state have been sent warning letters.

It is against state law to change prices on gas pumps more than once in a 24-hour period. If found guilty of gouging, the stations' owners could be fined up to $200 per violation.

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