- The Washington Times - Monday, January 6, 2003

(ATLANTA) — The relatively new mayor of Atlanta says her focus in the coming years will be a "cleaner, safer" city. Mayor Shirley Franklin, in her State of the City address, told citizens that her administration will focus on tracking crime and push for cleaner drinking water.

She predicts that Atlanta will add as many as 10,000 residents a year during the next 10 years. The city's population, excluding the surrounding metropolitan area, could reach 500,000 by 2012.

Several hundred in-city projects, approved in a recent bond referendum, will finally get the go ahead, under Franklin's latest proposals.

She told listeners at City Hall that 2003 will be the year to deal with "nuts and bolts" issues.

Her honor delivered a half-hour speech. At the conclusion she got a standing ovation.


(BUFFALO, N.Y.) — The city of Buffalo hasn't done a good job in dealing with environmental issues and the reason might be lax inspections at City Hall. A new report, published by the Buffalo News, shows that the "chief culprit (in environmental lapses) is a government review process full of holes and inadequacies and a culture at City Hall that stresses minimization, not excellence."

The study was conducted by a citizens group, the Environmental Review Task Force. Thirteen specialists were appointed to the committee.

One area of the city that was a focus of the study is called Hickory Woods. It's an enclave of about 60 homes. The dwellings were built in the 1990s on land bought by the city. The study group contends that city engineers knew they were selling off land that had ground contamination and allowing homes to be built on it.

Another area, now a city park, was once the site of a fertilizer plant.


(NEW ORLEANS) — A Crescent City man was shot to death this week at a busy New Orleans bus stop. The New Orleans Times-Picayune says that the man was shot while standing with his brother at a bus loading area on Canal Street.

The man, in his early 20s, was gunned down by one of two men who fired as they walked past the victim and his brother. The publication says that the dead man, Benidicto Fuentes, was hit by several rounds. His brother wasn't injured.

Police are asking anyone who might have information about the killing to contact a local hot-line number.

Meanwhile, the investigation continues into the shooting, which seems to be random and without a motive.


(SAN FRANCISCO) — A week-long vigil continues outside the Immigration and Naturalization offices in San Francisco. All-news station KCBS is reporting that demonstrators are angry with a government ruling that calls for all foreign visitors of Middle Eastern and South Asian descent to register with officials by the end of this week.

The program is called Entry-Exit Registration. It was first written into law about four years ago but was never fully implemented. The terror events of 2001 caused a speed-up in the program and the setting of this week's deadline.

Meanwhile, a member of the INS tells the station that the registrations are necessary.

Organizers of the vigil say they will continue their actions until the end-of-week deadline and will hold a news conference at the termination of their sit-ins.

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