Amusement park sold on Santa Monica Pier
SANTA MONICA - The Ferris wheel and other amusements on the Santa Monica Pier have been sold.
The landmark Pacific Park amusement center was bought for $34 million by an Orlando, Fla.-based real estate trust.
CNL Lifestyle Properties Inc. told the Los Angeles Times that it bought the park, along with a ground lease for the two-acre property.
Santa Monica Amusements, which opened the park in 1996, will continue to operate it.
CNL Managing Director Curt Caffey said the park is an emblem of Southern California that's seen frequently on TV shows.
Exiting governor pardons man executed in 1939
DENVER - A mentally disabled man executed more than 70 years ago has been pardoned.
Outgoing Gov. Bill Ritter on Friday awarded a posthumous pardon to 23-year-old Joe Arridy, who was executed in 1939 by lethal gas after being convicted of killing a Pueblo girl with a hatchet.
Arridy was labeled "mental defective" at the time and reportedly couldn't tell red from blue. Ritter said an overwhelming amount of evidence now suggests Arridy didn't commit the crime.
DUI arrests, traffic deaths rose in '10 on Big Island
HONOLULU - Traffic fatalities and arrests for drinking while under the influence have increased significantly on the Big Island.
The Hawaii Tribune-Herald is reporting there were more than 1,500 DUI arrests in 2010, compared with a few less than 1,400 in 2009 - an increase of 8.5 percent.
The paper also reported there were 28 official traffic fatalities on public roads on the Big Island last year, compared with 22 in 2009.
Governor hopes to market state as hunters' paradise
WICHITA - Gov.-elect Sam Brownback announced nominees for key Cabinet posts on Friday, including a prominent former lawmaker Brownback hopes will spur the rural economy by marketing Kansas as a paradise for hunters.
Brownback said former House Speaker Robin Jennison's experience as a legislator and hunting enthusiast make him well qualified to lead the Department of Wildlife and Parks.
Tulsa TV personality Betty Boyd dies at 86
TULSA - Betty Boyd, a longtime Tulsa television personality and former state lawmaker, is dead at 86.
Boyd's family says she died early Thursday at a Tulsa-area hospice of complications from a recent stroke.
A native of Tulsa, Boyd had a 25-year career in television, including stints at Tulsa's KOTV Channel 6 and KTUL Channel 8. She began her television career as a news anchor and later hosted her own television programs, including "Boyd's Eye View," "AM Oklahoma," and "Oklahoma Sunrise."
Boyd ran as a Democrat for a state House seat in 1990 and served five terms before losing her seat in 2000.
Lack of education hurting Las Vegas, professor says
LAS VEGAS - Las Vegas is the least-educated major metropolitan area in the West, a sociology professor studying Nevada's economy told state leaders Friday.
Robert Lang, director of Brookings Mountain West at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, painted a grim landscape for a city once considered a last bastion for low-educated workers seeking middle-class wages.
Lang said roughly 19 percent of Las Vegans obtain a bachelor's degree, compared to 31 percent of people in northern New Mexico and 27 percent in the Phoenix area.
He said Nevada can no longer count on the gambling industry to keep its communities or its state coffers afloat.
Former astronaut Schmitt named state energy chief
SANTA FE - Former astronaut Harrison "Jack" Schmitt, who walked on the moon and served in the U.S. Senate, was nominated Thursday by Gov. Susana Martinez to run a state agency that oversees energy production in New Mexico.
Schmitt was selected as secretary of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department.
Schmitt, 75, was one of the last men to walk on the moon as part of the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. He won election to the Senate in 1976, but lost his re-election bid in 1982 to Democrat Jeff Bingaman.
Lubbock fish kill linked to algae bloom in lake
LUBBOCK - A fish kill at Lake Meredith that prompted Lubbock to put an odor-smothering chemical in city drinking water is being blamed on a toxic algae bloom.
As many as 20,000 gizzard shad were found dead last week in Lake Meredith. Water from the lake is used by nearly a dozen Panhandle and South Plains communities.
Charlie Munger with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department said Thursday that golden algae can release a fish-killing toxin.
Lubbock Water Utilities director Aubrey Spear said the city is using powdered activated carbon to help avoid fishy-smelling water. Humans are not in danger.
NSA breaks ground for cyber-security facility
BLUFFDALE - Elected officials and military leaders broke ground on the construction of a $1.2 billion National Security Agency cyber-security center at a Utah National Guard camp near Salt Lake City.
The secretive project will be built on 200 acres at Camp Williams, about 30 miles south of Salt Lake City. The Thursday afternoon groundbreaking was probably one of the last times the public will be allowed to access the site.
The center is designed to help the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other agencies protect national security networks and identify cyber threats, although the NSA has refused to disclose its full purpose or function.
The Associated Press