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American Scene

CALIFORNIA

Councilman killed after finding pot field

FORT BRAGG — A well-respected California community leader who was gunned down after finding a remote illegal marijuana operation was a former two-term mayor and current council member whose fundraising and good will helped build firehouses and a first-class high school football stadium.

The city of Fort Bragg was reeling Monday after the death of Jere Melo, a forest land manager who was fatally shot Saturday while he and a co-worker were walking through a rugged area of forest just outside town.

A manhunt continued for the suspected gunman.

Mr. Melo was in his 15th year on the City Council and had dedicated most of his life improving Fort Bragg.

LOUISIANA

Katrina 6th anniversary finds Gulf Coast vibrant

NEW ORLEANS — The Gulf Coast mixed somber ceremonies with New Orleans' signature flair to mark the sixth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and honor those killed during the catastrophic storm that inundated much of the region's dominant city and devastated coastal towns in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana.

Monday marked the passage of six difficult years of rebuilding for the region, which is showing signs of a strong recovery from the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history.

The storm killed more than 1,800 people.

NEBRASKA

Nuclear plant ends flood emergency alert

OMAHA — An idled Nebraska nuclear plant that was entirely surrounded by Missouri River floodwaters earlier this summer is no longer under a flood emergency, officials said.

Omaha Public Power District spokesman Jeff Hanson said the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant about 20 miles north of Omaha ended its low-level flood emergency Monday.

The river near the plant has fallen to a half-foot below the elevation of the plant's main buildings. Workers already have begun removing some flood barriers and disassembling the elevated catwalks workers used to cross the flooded parking lot.

NEW YORK

2 states: 9/11 charities are under review

NEW YORK — Officials in Arizona and New York have launched investigations into charities that claim to serve 9/11 causes, probing whether they failed to follow state laws and may have misspent millions intended to help and honor those affected by the terrorist attacks.

The announcements follow an investigation by the Associated Press last week that uncovered dozens of 9/11 charities across the country that didn't disclose publicly how they raised and spent money, didn't keep promises to create memorials or contribute to 9/11 causes, or did more to help their creators than those affected by the terrorist attacks.

Among troubled charities identified by the AP was Urban Life Ministries, a Manhattan nonprofit that its founder said raised more than $4 million to help 9/11 victims, relatives and first responders. Arizona state officials are investigating Stage 1 Productions, a nonprofit that raised $713,000 to promote creation of a memorial quilt stretching across 25 football fields that would honor those killed in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

TEXAS

Fasting polygamist put in medically induced coma

HOUSTON — Polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs was hospitalized Monday in a medically induced coma in critical condition after fasting in the weeks since receiving a life sentence for sexually assaulting underage followers he took as spiritual brides, officials said.

The 55-year-old head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was expected to survive, an official familiar with Jeffs' medical condition told the Associated Press. It was not clear how long Jeffs — who has a history of refusing to eat while incarcerated — would remain in the coma or how long he would be hospitalized, the official said.

Doctors were not specific about why Jeffs was put into the coma.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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