SF elects first black woman as mayor
SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco Supervisor London Breed emerged victorious Wednesday to become the city’s first African-American woman mayor after narrowly defeating a rival who was seeking to become the first openly gay man in the position.
It took eight days of counting after Election Day for Breed to build a large enough lead to claim the city’s top job. With about 250,000 ballots tallied, she led former state Sen. Mark Leno by 2,177 votes with only about 6,700 left to count.
Leno called Breed to congratulate her on the victory and later she appeared briefly before reporters and cheering supporters on the steps of City Hall. She said she was humbled, honored and looking forward to serving as mayor.
Breed, 43, who will take office next month, is the second woman to be elected mayor in San Francisco history. The other was U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
US resumes destroying chemical weapons
DENVER — The U.S. Army resumed destroying obsolete chemical weapons at a Colorado depot after a nine-month shutdown for repairs, officials said Wednesday.
The highly automated, $4.5 billion plant at the Pueblo Chemical Depot began a gradual restart this week. It could take 60 days to return to full operation, site manager Greg Mohrman said.
“It’s going to be a very methodical process, like when we originally started the plant, to make sure both people and equipment are prepared to move up the production rate,” he said.
The plant is destroying 780,000 decades-old shells containing 2,500 U.S. tons of mustard agent. Although it’s often called a gas, the chemical is a liquid under most conditions.
Charges: Driver didn’t slow before he hit kids
MINNEAPOLIS — An unlicensed driver who was fleeing Minnesota state troopers did not use his brakes or slow down when he plowed through a basketball court, running over two children who were playing with their father and two other siblings, according to charges filed Wednesday.
Prosecutors said Kabaar Powell, 27, was driving at speeds of more than 80 mph through residential areas during Monday’s chase, raising questions about whether troopers should have been following him at that speed.
It’s not clear how fast Powell was going when he hit the kids, but police dashcam video shows the father had just four seconds to gather his children — including one in a stroller — and try to run.
Powell completely ran over 2-year-old Kayden Peltier, causing life-threatening injuries, and partially ran over his 4-year-old sister, Lillianna, according to the charges.
Raccoon set free after scaling 25-story tower
MINNEAPOLIS — A raccoon that became an internet sensation by scaling a 25-story office tower in downtown St. Paul was safely trapped Wednesday and released back into the wild.
The raccoon looked a bit bedraggled but healthy after it was caught before dawn atop the UBS Plaza. Technicians took the caged raccoon down a freight elevator to a truck, according to Wildlife Management Services, which provides animal control services for St. Paul.
“It’s definitely a healthy raccoon. It’s in good condition. It’s eating normally,” said Christina Valdivia, the company’s general manager, who accompanied the technicians to the rooftop.
The raccoon’s adventures caused a stir on social media as it scaled the tower Tuesday, with many Twitter users voicing concern for its safety or joking about the drama as its seemingly death-defying climb was livestreamed by several broadcasters. Valdivia said her mother-in-law saw it on the news in Chile.