Historic bath house is closed for repairs
HOT SPRINGS - The historic Fordyce Bath House in Hot Springs is now closed for up to a year as workers replace the building's heating and cooling system.
The building, which houses the Hot Springs National Park visitor center and museum, closed Monday for the repairs.
The Sentinel-Record reported the visitor center will be temporarily relocated to the Lamar Bath House, which already houses the Bathhouse Row Emporium.
The Fordyce opened as the park's visitor center and museum in 1989. Officials say the heating and cooling system needed to be replaced after the building's air conditioning system broke down in the summer of 2010.
Filming on four dramas boosted economy by $92M
CHICAGO - Four TV drama series that filmed in Illinois over the last year have contributed more than $92 million to the state economy and created more than 1,200 jobs.
Gov. Pat Quinn's office released the statistics on Tuesday. The productions include NBC's "Chicago Fire," Fox's "Mob Doctor," Starz' "Boss" and MTV's "Underemployed." Later this month the pilot for USA Network's "Sirens" starring Denis Leary is scheduled to start shooting in Illinois.
The state offers a 30 percent tax credit to filmmakers on money that productions spend on goods and services in Illinois. Authorities say the credit has helped generate $971 million and more than 10,000 jobs since it started in 2004.
Plan: Bar disruptive people from council meetings
CEDAR RAPIDS - The Police Department has recommended that the Cedar Rapids City Council pass an ordinance that would let the city bar from its meetings people who've created previous disturbances at City Hall or other city buildings.
The Gazette said acting Police Chief Bernie Walther proposed the idea to the council's public-safety committee on Monday.
The proposal comes just two weeks after City Hall critic Robert Bates yelled at Mayor Ron Corbett and others after a special council meeting.
Walther says current law already lets police arrest someone who disrupts a public meeting. Police are proposing an ordinance that would empower city officials, after a hearing, to bar someone from city property.
25 new West Nile cases reported statewide
BATON ROUGE - Louisiana's health department says 25 new West Nile virus infections were reported in the state last week, including seven that caused potentially fatal neuro-invasive disease, the most serious consequence of the mosquito-borne virus.
The seven were reported in Ascension, Caddo, East Baton Rouge, Franklin, Grant and Morehouse parishes.
There were 18 cases of the less serious, flulike, West Nile fever reported in Ascension, Bossier, Caddo, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Franklin, Jefferson, Livingston, St. Tammany and Tangipahoa parishes.
The total number of West Nile cases in Louisiana this year has reached 305, the most since 2002. Eleven deaths have resulted this year, although no new deaths were reported last week.
Clerk, 73, pulls gun again to head off customer threat
DEERFIELD TOWNSHIP - A 73-year-old store clerk in Michigan has staved off trouble at his store for the second time in recent years by pulling a gun.
Venture Corners clerk Fred Price said he pulled his weapon Monday on a man he thought had a gun. According to authorities, an apparently drunken man entered the store in Livingston County's rural Deerfield Township and demanded beer. Price says the man wouldn't leave the property so he pulled a gun.
"He went back on my porch and was sitting there with what I thought was a real gun," Price told the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus of Howell.
Police arrested the would-be customer at the store about 45 miles northwest of Detroit for disorderly conduct and trespassing. Sheriff Bob Bezotte said the 49-year-old man "never pulled the gun out of his waistband" but showed his weapon to the clerk.
In 2010, a masked man walked into the store demanding money. Price, who was 70 at the time, knocked what turned out to be a starter pistol out of the man's hand and shot at a getaway car. The man wasn't shot, but the would-be robber was later arrested, convicted and sentenced.
$1.4M US grant aimed at cutting mercury risk
MINNEAPOLIS - Minnesota has won a federal grant to reduce mercury exposure for women and children living along Lake Superior's north shore.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded the Minnesota Department of Health a $1.4 million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant.
Excessive blood mercury levels have been documented in infants in the Lake Superior area. The money will be used to improve health screening and develop more effective fish consumption advisories.
Burglar who was caught frying bacon gets prison
CLAYTON - A St. Louis County man who broke into a home and was caught frying bacon in the kitchen has been sentenced to seven years in prison.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the sentence was handed down Friday for 37-year-old Damon Petty of Ferguson. He pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary on Tuesday.
Authorities say a University City woman returned home in September 2011 and caught Petty making bacon in the kitchen. He has a long criminal record dating back several years.
Preservation group buys third Lloyd Wright house
MILWAUKEE - A nonprofit group that already owns two other Frank Lloyd Wright houses on one Milwaukee block has bought a third.
Frank Lloyd Wright Wisconsin hopes to turn the block of six Wright homes on Milwaukee's south side into an interpretive site for visitors. There are four duplexes and two bungalows.
The homes are known as American System-Built Homes and were built between 1915 and 1916 as prototypes for Wright's ideas for standardized home design.
The group now owns an example of each of the three System-Built models Wright designed for the street.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported the home will be rented as the group restores a duplex at the other end of the block and raises funds for the project.
The Associated Press