Across the Southeast

Tires on ocean floor disrupt marine life


FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. - A mile offshore from the city's high-rise condos and spring-break bars lie as many as 2 million old tires, strewn across the ocean floor - a white-walled, steel-belted monument to good intentions gone awry.

The tires were unloaded there in 1972 to create an artificial reef that could attract a rich variety of marine life and free up space in clogged landfills. But decades later, the idea has proved a huge ecological blunder.

Little sea life has formed on the tires. Some of the tires that were bundled together with nylon and steel have broken loose and are scouring the ocean floor across a swath the size of 31 football fields. Tires are washing up on beaches. Thousands have wedged up against a nearby natural reef, blocking coral growth and devastating marine life.

"The really good idea was to provide habitat for marine critters so we could double or triple marine life in the area. It just didn't work that way," said Ray McAllister, a professor of ocean engineering at Florida Atlantic University who was instrumental in organizing the project. "I look back now and see it was a bad idea."

Former prison worker quietly accepts prize

RALEIGH, N.C. - For more than two months, Jackie Alston quietly celebrated her winning Powerball ticket, quitting her job at a state prison and then putting together a team of financial advisers.

The 38-year-old single mom was ready to take the party public - sort of - Friday when she stepped forward to claim her $74.5 million prize.

Ms. Alston appeared briefly at a news conference to discuss her win and smile for the cameras before pulling away in a stretch Ford Excursion limousine.

Ms. Alston decided to take her winnings in a lump sum, about $36 million before taxes.

- Edited from wire reports