Fees will rise at national parks -
except in cases of extreme outrage
WASHINGTON - Entrance fees are due to rise at many national parks over the next three summers, though a public outcry over specific increases could cause the government to reconsider.
Through 2009, the National Park Service plans to phase in higher rates at about 130 of the 390 parks, monuments and other areas the agency manages. The government does not collect any fees at the other sites in the park system.
The Park Service, which has planned the increases for some time, did not publicize the higher fees through its headquarters in Washington, leaving that job to site managers, agency spokesman David Barna said yesterday.
The intention was to let affected communities absorb the news and see if they would go along with the increases. Park superintendents can recommend that the agency director rescind the increases if enough people protest. One such place where there has been an outcry is at Yosemite in California, which is in line for an increase in 2008.
A 59th birthday celebration
of Israel in New York City
NEW YORK - Thousands of Israel supporters marched up Fifth Avenue on yesterday in the Salute to Israel Parade commemorating the 1948 founding of the Jewish state.
Marchers sang "Hava Nagila," and waved the Star of David flag; many carried colorful paper torches indicating that Israel is the Biblical "light unto the nations."
"It brings a tear to my eye," said Devora Cohen, a tourist from Tel Aviv who watched the parade.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg led off the parade, accompanied by Mayor Uri Lupolianski of Jerusalem. There were floats sponsored by El Al Airlines, Hadassah and the Internet dating site JDate, among others. Contingents from yeshivas and Jewish day schools around the New York region marched in their school T-shirts.
Parade organizers said there were more than 100,000 marchers. Hundreds of spectators wearing "I Israel" buttons and stickers lined the parade route between 56th and 79th streets.
A few dozen pro-Palestinian protesters chanted "Nothing here to celebrate! Israel is a racist state!" behind a double row of police barricades.
Bike rider's record doesn't count because his helpers lost count
AURORA, Ill. - Errors in simple arithmetic got in the way of an attempt to get into the record books.
George Hood spent 85 hours riding a stationary bike in January, the equivalent of about 1,080 miles, and thought he had bested the existing record of 82 hours.
However, Guinness World Records officials invalidated Hood's entry: About 40 volunteers took turns logging Hood's efforts, but they made addition and subtraction mistakes and had trouble reading a 24-hour clock, Guinness officials said.
"I'm more frustrated, not disappointed," said Hood, 49, a supervisor with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Even without the record, his ride raised nearly $30,000 for a group that helps families of police officers killed on duty. And he's planning to try again this summer.
Off for a day of outlet shopping,
2 women haven't been seen since
LEBANON, Ohio - Mary Ellen Walters, 68, and Ada Wasson, 80, set out from their retirement community for a routine day of outlet shopping, not telling anyone they planned a long trip or asking anyone to feed Walters' beloved dog.
There hasn't been a trace of them in more than two weeks.
Authorities, volunteers and relatives have driven up and down roads covering thousands of square miles of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana and flown over the region. They've looked for credit card activity, studied store videotapes, checked under bridges, passed out thousands of fliers.
There has been no indication of foul play.
"They're out there somewhere. It may be the next square mile we search," said Brad Nixon, Walters' son-in-law. "The optimism is reduced . . . but how do you stop?" *
- Associated Press