• 5,000 NYC PAY PHONES WILL TAKE YOU BACK TO 1993: NEW YORK (AP) — Want to journey to a grittier time in New York City’s not-too-distant past, when the murder rate was sky-high, Times Square was a crossroads of crime and porn, Starbucks had yet to arrive, and hardly anyone owned a cellphone?
A project designed to promote an art exhibit has turned 5,000 Manhattan pay phones into time machines that take callers back to 1993, a pivotal year in the city’s art, culture and politics.
Pick up a receiver on the rarely used phones that still dot the New York streetscape, punch 1-855-FOR-1993 and you will hear a notable resident recounting what life was like on that block 20 years ago.
An eclectic mix of artists, writers, food and fashion stars, and others has been recruited to reminisce, including chef Mario Batali, actor Chazz Palminteri, porn performer Robin Byrd and former Yankees pitcher Jim Abbott, who threw a no-hitter in 1993.
The narrators describe a New York that was dirtier, bloodier, raunchier and less gentrified than today — but also an easier place for a talented young person to gain a foothold.
Batali says in his sound bite that opening a restaurant was easier in 1993 when he debuted his first restaurant, Po.
“You didn’t have to have a rich daddy or an investor or put together a team or anything like that,” he says. “It’s sad to watch the cost of business push the real individualist entrepreneurs out of the game.”
• SUSPECTS BOOKED ON MURDER IN NEV. OFFICIAL’S DEATH: CARSON CITY (AP) — Investigators believe four suspects stole property in the apartment of Nevada’s chief insurance examiner before killing him and dumping his body in a river, authorities said Sunday.
Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong said all four suspects have been booked on murder charges in the death of William McCune, 62, whose blanket-wrapped, duct-tape-bound body was found Saturday.
Initially, Michael Evans, 23, and Anthony Elliot, 20, were booked on murder charges, while Raul Garcia, 22, and Makyla Blackmore, 20, were arrested on burglary charges. But Furlong said Sunday that Garcia and Blackmore were later booked on murder charges.
The suspects are from the Carson City area, he said, and the case isn’t related to McCune’s work for the state.
Investigators found evidence of a bloody, violent struggle in McCune’s apartment on Thursday, the same day he was reported missing after he failed to catch a business flight with a co-worker.
Detectives believe McCune knew two of the suspects socially, Furlong said, and the possible motive was the theft of property or money from him driven by illegal drug use. They’re still processing evidence at McCune’s apartment and trying to compile an accurate list of stolen items, he said.
“We think stealing was quite apparently the motive because they took so much from him,” Furlong told The Associated Press. “The mystery is if you intended on robbing and killing him, why did you have to take the body out? That doesn’t make sense to me.”
• NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND, THIS SEASON’S NAME IS MUD: MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — It’s known in northern New England as the fifth season: mud.
But the time of year when the thawing winter landscape turns dirt roads into mucky seas and paved highways into frosty roller coasters sprinkled with potholes doesn’t get featured on tourist calendars.
Every place with a snowy winter has its own version, but mud season occupies a special place in northern New England. It’s the ugly mirror image to the picture-perfect foliage of September and October that draws millions to look at mountains painted red and gold.
From late March to May, many hotels offer rock-bottom mud-season rates to lure people in. In the popular Killington area, many restaurants that cater to tourists close between the end of skiing and the arrival of spring, defined not by the calendar, but by pale green buds and long days that make people want to visit again.
Despite its reputation as the season to forget, cultural chroniclers ranging from poet Robert Frost to novelist Howard Frank Mosher to political cartoonist Jeff Danziger have paid homage to the purgatory that begins in late March and can last into May.
• PHILLY FLAGS AT HALF-STAFF IN FIREFIGHTER’S HONOR: PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The mayor of Philadelphia on Sunday ordered flags flown at half-staff and called for prayers for the family and colleagues of a veteran fire captain killed when a roof collapsed beneath him as he battled a blaze, the third city firefighter killed in the line of duty in a year.
Capt. Michael Goodwin, 53, plunged onto the second-floor roof of the three-story building in the Fabric Row section during Saturday night’s blaze. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Fellow firefighter Andrew Godlewski, 28, burned on his hands while trying to rescue Goodwin, was discharged Sunday from a hospital, officials said.
• END IN SIGHT FOR MARATHON POLLUTION TRIAL IN NH: CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Jurors in the longest state trial in New Hampshire’s history will return to the courtroom this week after a nearly two-week hiatus to hear closing arguments in the state’s groundwater contamination case against Exxon Mobil Corp.
Lawyers for the state want jurors to hold Exxon Mobil liable to the tune of $240 million to monitor and clean up wells and public water systems contaminated by the gasoline additive MTBE, or methyl tertiary butyl ether.
Lawyers for Exxon Mobil counter that MTBE was used to comply with federal Clean Air Act requirements to reduce smog. They also blame any lingering contamination on third parties not named in the state’s decade-old lawsuit.
Each side will get three hours to make its case Monday.
The trial began Jan. 14 and testimony ended March 27, making it the longest in state history. Court Clerk Bill McGraw said the Claremont school funding challenge of the 1990s — the trial’s only rival in terms of duration and complexity — “pales by comparison.”