American Scene: Fastest U.S. highway, with 85 mph limit, to open

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TEXAS

AUSTIN — Texas will soon open a stretch of highway with the highest speed limit in the country.

The Texas Transportation Commission has approved the 85 mph speed limit for a 41-mile-long toll road near the increasingly crowded Interstate 35 corridor between Austin and San Antonio.

The road runs several miles east of the interstate between two of the state’s largest metropolitan areas. And while some drivers may be eager to put the pedal to the metal and rip through the central Texas countryside, others are asking whether it is safe.

“The research is clear that when speed limits go up, fatalities go up,” said Russ Rader, a spokesman for the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Higher speed limits get people to their destinations faster, Mr. Rader said, “But the trade-off is more crashes and more highway deaths.”

COLORADO

Holmes‘ behavior raised flags at Alabama school

DENVER — Colorado theater shooting suspect James Holmes‘ behavior during interviews raised concerns at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, which rejected him from its neuroscience program despite describing him as an excellent candidate.

The school on Thursday released Mr. Holmes‘ application, which included interview review forms filled out by those who met with Mr. Holmes when he visited the school in February 2011.

Professors noted Mr. Holmes was a “top-notch” student, but shy. One professor doubted whether he wanted Mr. Holmes in his lab, noting that “he may be extremely smart, but difficult to engage.”

Mr. Holmes later enrolled as a first-year Ph.D. student in a neuroscience program at the University of Colorado at Denver. He withdrew about six weeks before the July 20 attack in Aurora, where prosecutors say the 24-year-old opened fire during a midnight showing of the latest Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises,” killing 12 people and injuring 58 others.

The University of Iowa also rejected Mr. Holmes.

CALIFORNIA

Navy cited by OSHA for mishandling toxic materials

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