Originally created 12/24/06

Across the Southeast

Representative admits urging Castro's death

MIAMI - A Florida congresswoman acknowledged Saturday calling for Fidel Castro's assassination after earlier claiming that a video clip of her making the comments was fake.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, said she has not seen the unedited footage of her interview, which appears in a 28-second clip on the Internet by the makers of a British documentary, 638 Ways to Kill Castro.

In it, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen says: "I welcome the opportunity of having anyone assassinate Fidel Castro and any leader who is oppressing the people."

Earlier this month, the Havana-born lawmaker said filmmakers spliced clips together to make the sound bite. On Saturday, she backed away from that statement.

"If those words were said by me in the raw unedited version, then I said them," she said in a telephone interview. "I don't recall those exact words, but I do a lot of interviews and a lot of documentaries on Fidel Castro. It's an everyday situation for me."

Railroad, preservation group spar over saloon

GREENSBORO, N.C. - A fight is brewing between historic preservationists and a railroad company that wants to tear down a downtown building that once housed a historic saloon.

No one disputes that the former Cascade Saloon is in poor shape. City inspectors long ago declared the building a safety hazard and ordered it demolished, an order that was circumvented in a court fight.

This week, the city council granted historic status to the building. Preservationists hope the move will spur the owner to repair the building, which dates to about 1895, or sell it to someone who will.

But the North Carolina Railroad Co. says the building is in the railway's 200-foot right of way and could be torn down to make way for expansion.

Puppy's rescuers now face test for rabies

WILMINGTON, N.C. - He was irresistible - a cuddly, black puppy, affectionate and playful despite his broken paw and his apparent abandonment on a roadside.

Unfortunately for his rescuers, he was also rabid.

Now 40 people will have to be tested to see whether they were exposed to the lethal virus while the puppy, dubbed Johnny, was being treated at College Road Animal Hospital.

The 10-week-old puppy was found on a roadside in Castle Hayne on Dec. 5 and brought to the animal hospital for treatment. Two weeks after his arrival, he began to show disturbing symptoms. Tests for rabies came back positive Friday. The test requires the dog be put to sleep.

Check number twice before you call Santa

AUSTIN, TEXAS - Dennis Willms hears it every year about this time, the sweet, young voices looking for Santa Claus and his sleigh.

Mr. Willms is not Santa Claus nor does he know where the big guy will be tonight. Yet for the past four years, his specialty foods business, Hombres Foods, has been getting swamped with Christmas Eve calls from around the country.

That's because his toll-free number for customers, (877) HI-NOARD, is one digit different from the popular NORAD hot line set up for families to track Santa's sleigh on the big night, (877) HI-NORAD.


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