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Longtime Ohio congressman Louis Stokes dies at age 90


Longtime Ohio congressman Louis Stokes dies

Former U.S. Rep. Louis Stokes, a 15-term congressman from Ohio who took on tough assignments looking into assassinations and scandals, has died at the age of 90, his family said Wednesday. He died peacefully at home Tuesday with his wife, Jay, at his side, a month after he announced he had brain and lung cancer. "During his illness, he confronted it as he did life — with bravery and strength," his family said in a statement. Stokes was elected to the House in 1968, becoming Ohio's first black member of Congress and one of its most respected and influential. Just a year earlier, his brother, Carl, was elected mayor of Cleveland — the first black elected mayor of a major U.S. city.


It's mile marker 419.9 now, stoners

If you're looking for milepost 420, you won't find it in Idaho. Idaho transportation officials say the mile marker has been replaced with 419.9 signs to curb thieves eager to own a number associated with marijuana enthusiasts. Idaho isn't alone in this problem. Washington and Colorado have also replaced 420 signs with 419.9 after repeatedly having to replace them after thefts by supposed sticky-fingered stoners. Adam Rush of the Idaho Transportation Department says officials have replaced the old sign along U.S. 95 with "MILE 419.9," just south of Coeur d'Alene. Rush said it's the only 420 sign replaced; most highways don't cover more than 400 miles. The number "420" has long been associated with marijuana, though its origins as a shorthand for pot are murky.

New York

Car-Freshner sniffs at slaughterhouse

The company that invented the iconic pine tree-shaped automotive air freshener is turning up its nose at a proposal for a slaughterhouse near its northern New York factory. The Watertown Daily Times reports local investors want to build a meat-processing plant in Watertown's Jefferson County Corporate Park, home to Car-Freshner Corp., whose products have dangled from rear-view mirrors for more than 60 years. A company official told planning board members Tuesday that Car-Freshner would close its local operations if the 42,000-square-foot meat-processing plant is approved. The official says it would interfere with fragrance testing in Car-Freshner's state-of-the-art labs. Slaughterhouse developers say they're looking into special air purifier systems to cut down on odors from the plant.


California: State health officials are investigating a second case of plague likely contracted by a Georgia native on a recent visit to Yosemite National Park.

Times wires