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July 1, 2012 at 6:00 PM
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Waldo Canyon fire 45 percent contained

COLORADO SPRINGS, July 1 (UPI) -- The wildfire outside Colorado Springs was more than 45 percent contained Sunday, and some residents were allowed to inspect their properties, officials said.

The Waldo Canyon fire, which destroyed more than 350 homes and killed at least two people since it started June 23, has burned more than 18,000 acres and is the largest wildfire in Colorado history. Evacuation orders for many of the 36,000 residents who were forced to flee have been lifted, The Denver Post reported.

"I have to start all over," 80-year-old stroke survivor and Lupus victim Lauretta Anzalone told the Post after seeing what remains of her home. "Pots, pans, everything, there's nothing left here."

Firefighters reported they have made "good progress" in the past few days on the fire that was zero percent contained for nearly a week.

Meanwhile, the Canyon fire near Blue Ridge Reservoir outside Flagstaff, Ariz., has burned 5,000 acres, the Arizona Daily Sun reported. The fire, which was started by a lightning strike, temporarily shut down highway 87, the Forest Service said.


Arrest in shooting of 7-year-old girl

CHICAGO, July 1 (UPI) -- A 26-year-old alleged gang member has been arrested for the fatal shooting of a 7-year-old girl in Chicago, police said.

Jerrell Dorsey was charged with first-degree murder and aggravated battery with a firearm for the death of Heaven Sutton, who was shot by a stray bullet while selling candy to neighbors last week, the Chicago Tribune reported.

"Bringing Heaven's shooter to justice will not bring her back, but I hope it will provide some level of solace to her family," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Police said the shooting was a result of heightened tension between two local gangs.

A 19-year-old alleged member of the Mafia Insane Vice Lords, who have been fighting with the Four Corner Hustlers, was shot in the ankle at the same time as Sutton was shot, police said.

Dorsey was also charged with aggravated battery for that shooting, officials said.

Dorsey was identified by witnesses as the shooter. He was taken into custody by the Chicago Police Department's fugitive apprehension unit and the U.S. Marshals fugitive task force Friday night as he tried to flee from a building, police said.

Sutton's mother, Ashake Banks, said Saturday the arrest made her "feel a little better."

"Maybe I can get a little rest tonight," Banks said. "It's a start."


Pelosi ready to defend Obamacare

WASHINGTON, July 1 (UPI) -- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi Sunday dismissed the idea the individual mandate in President Obama's healthcare plan is a tax.

Pelosi, D-Calif., told NBC's "Meet the Press" the mandate requirement is a penalty for so-called free riders and contended the plan known as "Obamacare" actually includes tax breaks for most Americans.

"It's not a tax, it's a penalty for free riders," Pelosi said. "But since you're bringing up the subject, it's important to note the middle-income families will get about $4,000 in tax breaks and tax credits in order to buy their health insurance. Middle-income families make out very well in this."

Pelosi said Democrats in Congress are ready and able to debate the merits of the law when it comes to the American public should Republican leaders on the Hill make good on their vow to overturn the controversial program.

"When they bring it up, they will ask to repeal all the things I said that help children, help young adults, help seniors," Pelosi said, adding, "So if that's what they want to repeal, we're happy to have that debate."

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican, countered the predicted benefits of the Obama plan are shaky at best and that he and his fellow governors objected to having more healthcare cost and responsibilities foisted on the states. "We can't afford the programs that we have today," he said. "He wants to create a new program."


Boehner seeks cautious healthcare reform

WASHINGTON, July 1 (UPI) -- U.S. House Speaker John Boehner said Sunday Republicans want to tweak insurance regulations and reform medical malpractice laws.

Appearing on CBS' "Face the Nation," Boehner vowed to lead a GOP repeal of President Obama's reviled "Obamacare" legislation and replace it with "common sense" ideas he said would "lower healthcare costs and allow the American people to choose the health insurance they want, not the health insurance the government wants them to have."

Boehner said Obamacare failed to include worthwhile ideas that would help reduce the overall cost of insurance coverage.

"Why wouldn't we allow small businesses to group together for the purchases of buying health insurance?" Boehner asked. "Why wouldn't we deal with one of the big cost drivers in healthcare, and that is medical malpractice reform?"

The speaker said he accepts a provision to keep young adults on their parents' policies and would like to see a way for people with pre-existing conditions to access "affordable" healthcare.

On the other hand, he said, Obamacare is too big and complex to stand as a single entity. He told CBS he would prefer to see the entire law overturned so Congress, preferably dominated by Republicans, could take a step-by-step approach.

"We believe our (plan) will work just as well at much less cost to the American people," Boehner said.


Heat persists as D.C. cleans up after storm

WASHINGTON, July 1 (UPI) -- Heat advisories were posted across much of the U.S. Southeast Sunday while sweltering residents of the Washington are cleaned up after a vicious storm front.

The National Weather Service said 14 states were under some form of heat warning with triple-digit highs likely over much of Dixie.

Highs in the metro Washington area were expected to be in the 90s Sunday, which was cooler than recent days but scant relief for thousands of people whose power remained out following Friday's wild weather, which left a dozen people dead nationwide.

Officials at Pepco, the utility that serves the capital, said it could be a week before all electricity is restored. Meanwhile, residents coped as best they could with the lack of power, refrigeration and air-conditioning.

"It's awful," Carolyn Stewart, 45, Landover, Md., told The Washington Post. "There's no light in my building, it's hot, sticky."

Another woman told the Post she figured she should fill up her gas tank but ran out of fuel before she could find a filling station that was operational.

CNN said as many as 4 million people from Ohio to Virginia had their power interrupted by Friday's fast-moving thunderstorms.

The Ohio National Guard was called up to check on disabled and elderly people stuck in darkened homes. People across the affected region were urged to seek out air-conditioned public cooling centers rather than try to ride it out.

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