- - Monday, May 2, 2011

ALABAMA

Eye clinics, aid part of relief effort

BIRMINGHAM | Federal disaster relief offices are helping people navigate the red tape of applying for aid, and shelters are providing free haircuts and eye clinics as part of the massive relief effort that was in full swing Monday in tornado-ravaged Alabama.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has set up offices in Alabama and expects to open one soon in Mississippi. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano toured parts of both states a day earlier and pledged support.

“This is not going to be a quick comeback or an immediate [recovery] but it will be, in my view, a complete one,” she said in shattered Smithville, Miss., where little was left standing.

Last week’s storms flattened homes and killed 342 across seven states. Thousands were injured, though several days later most tornado-related injuries had been tended to. On Monday, workers at a shelter in Tuscaloosa sorted prescription drugs for folks who have lost their medications.

“They’re on chronic medications, and their prescriptions are gone,” said Dr. Beth Western, who volunteered Monday at a shelter in Tuscaloosa. Some need medicine for conditions such as high blood pressure, cholesterol or diabetes. “They need something to get them through until they can go see their physician.”

CALIFORNIA

White supremacist who ran for office killed

RIVERSIDE | A California white supremacist who drew widespread attention when he ran for a regional water board seat was fatally shot in his home, and his young son has been booked for investigation of murder, a police spokesman said Monday.

Jeff Russell Hall, 32, was killed early Sunday in the house he shared with his wife and five children, all of whom were home at the time. Mr. Hall died of a single gunshot wound fired “by a known assailant,” according to a Riverside County coroner’s office news release.

The weapon was described only as a handgun, and police Lt. Ed Blevins refused to divulge the caliber or identify the gun owner.

Mr. Hall’s son was booked at juvenile hall for investigation of murder, Lt. Blevins said. He would only say the child was younger than 18. A neighbor told the Press-Enterprise newspaper that Mr. Hall’s children are 12 years old and younger.

NEW JERSEY

Atlantic City is third in casino preference poll

ATLANTIC CITY | Atlantic City is the nation’s second-largest gambling market, but it’s America’s third choice among all casino destinations, according to a new poll.

The Fairleigh Dickinson PublicMind poll puts the seaside casino resort after Las Vegas and New Orleans when it comes to where gamblers would like to spend their time and money.

Las Vegas was the first choice of 47 percent of respondents who were asked which casino destination they’d most like to visit. New Orleans was second at 10 percent, followed by Atlantic City at 8 percent, Reno, Nev., at 5 percent, and St. Louis at 4 percent.

Those who picked Atlantic City as their first or second choice say its best characteristic is its beach (26 percent), followed by its casinos (11 percent), the fact that it is “someplace new to go” (8 percent) and offers exciting entertainment (6 percent).

NEW YORK

Historic records of Holocaust go online

NEW YORK | A trove of papers and photographs documenting the lives of Holocaust victims and survivors includes some notable names, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel and former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. But Benzion Baumrind’s name might have stayed forgotten to his descendants without the records kept by a humanitarian aid agency.

A genealogist discovered Baumrind, one of 6 million Jews killed during the Holocaust, was in her family with one stray document buried in a database of historic papers and photos kept by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.

With more than 500,000 names, and more than 1,000 photographs, the searchable collection documents the relief organization’s vast efforts during World War II and the postwar era in 24 countries, from China and Japan to the Dominican Republic and Bolivia. The records, being made available online for the first time Monday, open a singular view into the lives of survivors that the JDC aided during that cataclysmic period.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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