DRIVER IS LUCKY DOG FOOD DIDN’T CRUSH HIM: FIFE, Wash. (AP) — Authorities in Washington state say a semitruck driver is lucky he wasn’t crushed by 50-pound bags of dog food when he fell asleep at the wheel, crashed into a ditch and spilled the kibble.
Washington State Patrol Trooper Guy Gill said Wednesday that the driver acknowledged he was sleepy and there was no sign he used his brakes before the big rig left Interstate 5 in Fife, about 30 miles south of Seattle.
Gill says the driver was sore but apparently uninjured. He was checked at a hospital as a precaution.
The accident happened about 11:45 p.m. Tuesday, and the highway’s northbound lanes were restricted until 5 a.m. while the bags of dog food were cleaned up.
HOMELESS MAN BEATEN TO DEATH IN SAN FRANCISCO: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Police say they are looking for a group of “cowards” who beat a homeless man to death as he slept in an alley in downtown San Francisco.
Police spokesman Albie Esparza said Wednesday that Tai Lam’s body was found inside a sleeping bag.
The 67-year-old man was “savagely” beaten by three suspects early Monday. Investigators are reviewing surveillance footage in an effort to locate them.
Esparza says Tai was not robbed, and there was no clear motive in the attack. He says it was “a vicious, unprovoked attack by these coward suspects.”
HUMANE SOCIETY OFFERS REWARD IN ALASKA DOG HANGING: ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward for information about the death of a dog in Alaska that was found hanging from a tree with its throat slashed, the organization said Wednesday.
The carcass of the male pit bull named Snoop was found in the woods in Anchorage on Oct. 10. Police have been investigating the death as a felony animal cruelty case.
The Humane Society said its reward of up to $5,000 is for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or people involved. The Anchorage Crime Stoppers program is offering a reward of up to $1,000.
GIRL, 12, SAVES 4-YEAR-OLD SISTER FROM HOUSE FIRE: HOMESTEAD, Pa. (AP) — A 12-year-old girl saved her 4-year-old sister by carrying her out of their burning home in the Pittsburgh suburbs.
Laniyah Coller said) that her mom hollered that the family’s Homestead residence was on fire about 6 a.m. Wednesday.
Laniyah was upstairs with her little sister, Angel-Lynn, and grabbed the still-sleeping girl.
Angel-Lynn says, “The first thing when I woke up, my sister was carrying me. I saw the fire all up there,” she added, pointing to her badly damaged home.
Laniyah says she asked her mother whether to jump out a window, and was told instead to hurry downstairs.
Laniyah says, “That’s when I grabbed my sister. I just skipped the steps. All the smoke was in my eyes.”
COLORADO MASTODON BONES SHOW ANCIENT WARMER EARTH: DENVER (AP) — A trove of ancient bones from gigantic animals discovered in the Colorado mountains is providing scientists with a fascinating look at what happened about 120,000 years ago when the Earth got as warm as it is today.
Evidence left behind by mastodons, mammoths, giant sloths and huge bison — along with insects, plants, pollen and other animals — offers a glimpse at how ancient animal adapted to climate change.
Among their findings: The warmer weather allowed forests to reach about 2,500 feet farther up the mountainside than today’s tree line, which is about 11,500 feet above sea level at the Snowmass site. Forests also may have been denser, and smaller trees and grasslands might have been more widespread amid drier conditions.
A team of 47 scientists has been studying material unearthed four years ago near Snowmass, a town just outside Aspen, when a bulldozer was enlarging a reservoir. The researchers published their first big batch of data in the journal Quaternary Research in November.
BANKER WHO LIVED TO 109 CREDITED UNLISTED NUMBER: JERMYN, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania banker and philanthropist who said the key to his longevity was having an unlisted phone number has died at age 109.
Leo Moskovitz would have turned 110 on Dec. 8. A funeral director says Moskovitz died Monday.
Moskovitz founded First National Bank of Jermyn and served as its president until 1993. The University of Scranton commemorated Moskovitz’s support by naming a theater for him and wife Ann.
Moskovitz joked that he lived so long because God couldn’t find his name in the phone book. He also said he ate either oatmeal or eggs for breakfast, but wasn’t sure if that’s why he’s lived so long.
He said if he knew the secret, he’d patent it.
US ADULT SMOKING RATE DIPS JUST UNDER 18 PERCENT: NEW YORK (AP) — A government report says the smoking rate for U.S. adults dipped below 18 percent for the first time last year.
That’s still about the same rate found in 2012, and translates to about 42 million smokers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the findings Wednesday. Smoking was more common in certain groups, like the poor, less educated, and gays and bisexuals.
The nation’s smoking rate had stalled at around 20 to 21 percent, until it started dropping a bit a few years ago. In last year’s survey, 17.8 percent of adults described themselves as smokers.
Smoking is the nation’s leading cause of preventable illness. It’s responsible for the majority of lung cancer deaths and is a factor in heart attacks and a variety of other illnesses.