- - Monday, January 30, 2012

ARIZONA

Authorities probe letter sent to Arpaio

PHOENIX — Authorities are investigating an envelope containing white powder that was directed to President Obama and listed a controversial Arizona sheriff as the sender.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said he found the letter Saturday and brought it to his office for investigators to examine Monday. He said the letter never got to the White House, arriving instead at Sheriff Arpaio’s home in the Phoenix suburb of Fountain Hills.

The sheriff said the letter told Mr. Obama to “resign or die,” had a forged Sheriff Arpaio’s signature and claims that the substance is anthrax.

Authorities are awaiting tests on the powder.

Sheriff Arpaio is under scrutiny for his anti-illegal immigration tactics. He has said a federal probe of his office was politically motivated.

NEW YORK

Islam critic backs out of cadet event

WEST POINT — A retired U.S. lieutenant general who made comments denigrating Islam withdrew Monday from speaking at a West Point prayer breakfast after a veterans’ advocacy group asked the Army chief of staff to rescind the invitation.

VoteVets.org told Gen. Raymond Odierno in a letter that allowing retired Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin to speak at the U.S. Military Academy next week would be contrary to Army values and disrespectful to Muslim cadets.

Late Monday afternoon, West Point issued a brief statement saying Gen. Boykin had decided to withdraw speaking at the Feb. 8 event and that another speaker would be lined up in his place.

Gen. Boykin, a former senior military intelligence officer, had been criticized for speeches he made at evangelical Christian churches beginning in January 2002. He said that America’s enemy was Satan, that God had put George W. Bush in the White House and that one Muslim Somali warlord was an idol worshipper.

NEVADA

Legionnaires’ bacteria found in Luxor water

LAS VEGAS — Health officials in Las Vegas said Monday that the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease was found in water samples at the Luxor hotel-casino this month after a guest died of the form of pneumonia.

The Southern Nevada Health District said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s national surveillance program reported three cases in the past year of Luxor guests being diagnosed with the disease caused by Legionella bacteria.

The Las Vegas Strip resort’s water was tested after the first two cases were reported during the spring of last year, but no Legionella bacteria was detected, district officials said. Those guests recovered.

Officials say the Luxor immediately began a remediation process once the bacteria was found.

ILLINOIS

Nuclear reactor vented after power loss

BYRON — A nuclear reactor at a northern Illinois plant shut down Monday after losing power, and steam was being vented to reduce pressure, according to officials from Exelon Nuclear and federal regulators.

Unit 2 at Byron Generating Station shut down around 10:18 a.m., after losing power from an off-site source, Exelon officials said. Diesel generators began supplying power to the plant equipment, and operators began releasing steam from the nonnuclear side of the plant to help cool the reactor, officials said.

Even though the turbine is not turning to produce electricity, “you still need to cool the equipment,” said U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokeswoman Viktoria Mitlyng. Releasing steam helps “take away some of that energy still being produced by nuclear reaction but that doesn’t have anywhere to go now.”

TENNESSEE

Protesters sue TVA for banning costumes

KNOXVILLE — Several people who tried to go to a Tennessee Valley Authority board meeting in costumes including Santa Claus and a pirate are suing the utility, which banned such get-ups after people protesting a nuclear plant dressed up as zombies.

In July, the protesters in Chattanooga dressed as zombies in an effort to persuade TVA officials not to resume construction of the Bellefonte Nuclear Plant in Alabama, where work had stopped in 1988. Soon after, the utility banned costumes at its meetings in an effort to avoid disruptions.

In August, the four wearing costumes were not allowed to enter a TVA board meeting in Knoxville. A fifth was ousted from the meeting when he mimicked a zombie.

From wire dispatches and staff reports