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Washington Monument didn't sink after earthquake


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington Monument did not sink any further into the ground as a result of last year's 5.8-magnitude earthquake, government surveyors said in a report released Tuesday.

The upper portion of the monument sustained several large cracks during the quake on Aug. 23, 2011, and the iconic obelisk will likely be closed for repairs until 2014. The repairs, estimated to cost at least $15 million, will require a massive scaffolding to be built around the 555-foot monument.

The monument was built on land that used to be underwater and has sunk about 2.2 inches since 1901. Surveyors expected at least some modest settling as a result of the earthquake, but in a report released Tuesday, the National Geodetic Survey said the quake had made no discernible difference.


Effort to restrict ballot initiatives fails

SACRAMENTO  (AP) — Legislation that would force initiative supporters to identify funding sources for their pet causes has failed in the state Senate.

The proposed constitutional amendment by Democratic Sen. Mark DeSaulnier of Concord fell short of the required two-thirds vote, 24-14, on Tuesday.

It would have banned initiatives from appearing on the ballot if they increase state or local government spending without identifying a way to pay for it. Supporters would have to show they could raise an amount equal to or exceeding the cost of their program.

Lawmakers often complain about so-called ballot box budgeting, when discretionary spending is locked in by initiative mandates.

Republican Sen. Ted Gaines of Roseville questioned whether the Legislative Analyst's Office would be able to give an unbiased opinion.

Centenarian believed to be oldest Pullman porter

VICTORVILLE (AP) — A charismatic centenarian believed to be the oldest surviving Pullman railcar porter has died at his Southern California desert home at age 107.

Brother Andrew Isaacs said  that Ben Isaacs died of kidney failure on Aug. 15 in Victorville. His 89-year-old brother says Isaacs was released from a hospital days before his death.

Ben Isaacs became a Pullman porter in 1936 and spent more than three decades serving first-class passengers in Pullman sleeping cars. The Pullman Palace Car Co. was founded by George Pullman in 1867.

Isaacs, who at times serviced up to 50 berths, said he liked helping people.

Chicago's Pullman Porter Museum had recognized 102-year-old Lee Wesley Gibson, of Los Angeles, as the oldest living Pullman porter until Isaacs came forward in 2010.

Dick Van Dyke to get SAG Life Achievement Award

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dick Van Dyke will receive the Screen Actors Guild's highest honor: The Life Achievement Award.

Screen Actors Guild & American Federation of Television and Radio Artists co-president Ken Howard made the announcement Tuesday. He called Van Dyke "an enormously talented performer whose work has crossed nearly every major category of entertainment."

The 86-year-old entertainer will receive the honor at the annual Screen Actors Guild Awards ceremony in January. He has already won a Tony, a Grammy and five Emmy awards.

Van Dyke is being honored for his 60-year career, which includes his hit TV show and film credits such as "Bye Bye Birdie" and "Mary Poppins," and his commitment to philanthropic causes.

The 19th annual SAG Awards will be presented Jan. 27.