tampabay.com

Midwest floods reach Ohio as losses mount

By Times Wires
Published August 22, 2007


GAYS MILLS, WIS.

Water-weary residents across the Midwest began counting their losses Tuesday, and damage estimates from the weekend's deadly flash floods climbed into the tens of millions. The rain moved into Ohio, where roads flooded, schools canceled classes and residents were rescued from flooded homes by boats. The death toll from the two storm systems - one in the Upper Midwest and the remnants of Tropical Storm Erin in Texas and Oklahoma - climbed to 22 when searchers found the body of a man tangled in a tree about 4 miles from his upside-down car near a creek south of Lewiston, Minn. In Wisconsin and Minnesota, thousands of homes were damaged. A preliminary survey by the American Red Cross in Minnesota identified about 4,200 affected homes, including 256 complete losses.

CHICAGO

Ex-governor loses appeal, stays free

A federal appeals court upheld former Gov. George Ryan's racketeering and fraud conviction Tuesday, but he will be allowed to remain free on bail while his lawyers make a fresh appeal. The 73-year-old former governor, once the state's most powerful Republican, had been under a court order to report to prison within 72 hours of the failure of his appeal. But the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals relented and allowed him to remain free while his lawyers press their case for a rehearing before all 11 judges. Ryan was convicted last year of racketeering conspiracy, fraud and other offenses for taking payoffs from political insiders in exchange for state business.

ST. FRANCISVILLE, LA.

Witness: No call for ambulances

The owners of a nursing home where 35 elderly people died after Hurricane Katrina had a contract for ambulances to evacuate the facility, but they did not contact the company as the storm approached, according to testimony Tuesday. Dennis Clark, a sales executive with Acadian Ambulance Service Inc., testified in the negligent homicide trial of Salvador and Mabel Mangano, the husband-and-wife owners of St. Rita's nursing home in St. Bernard Parish, in suburban New Orleans. Clark testified that he was inundated with evacuation calls from other nursing homes in the region but never heard from the Manganos as the storm bore down on Louisiana in August 2005.

Elsewhere

San Francisco: A New Jersey man was ordered Tuesday to stand trial on charges of stalking Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel and dragging the Holocaust scholar out of a hotel elevator.

Sacramento, Calif.: California lawmakers ended a budget impasse that had dragged on for nearly two months, agreeing to a $145-billion plan that eliminates a persistent deficit and addresses many concerns of holdout Republicans.

Minneapolis: President Bush said Tuesday that the federal government will use its power to accelerate Minnesota's recovery from an interstate bridge disaster that killed at least 13 people. "Our job now is to cut through the bureaucracy, as best as possible, and get the people down here a new bridge," Bush said from the Minneapolis/St. Paul Air Reserve Station.