(Updated at 7:50 p.m.) SAN DIEGO Wildfires blown by fierce desert winds today reduced scores of Southern California homes to ashes, forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee and laid a hellish, spidery pattern of luminous orange over the drought-stricken region. At least one person was killed in the fires, and dozens were injured. Nearly 130 homes had burned in one mountain town alone, and thousands more buildings were threatened by more than a dozen blazes covering at least 310 square miles.
(Posted at 1:34 p.m.) Just days after Gov. Ted Strickland asked that Seneca County commissioners delay their plans to demolish the county s historic 1884 courthouse, commissioners this morning voted 2-1 to hire a Mansfield architectural firm to prepare bid specifications for demolition. Commissioner Mike Bridinger, who has said he believes the county should renovate the old courthouse, voted no on the contract with MKC Associates, which will cost the county $60,000. The agreement includes additional expenses of $15,000 for an environmental assessment of the vacant building and an optional $35,000 for an on-site project manager if a demolition contract ultimately is awarded.
(Posted at 11:53 a.m.) WASHINGTON Republican Party leaders on Monday recommended punishing five states for shifting their nomination contests earlier, moving to strip New Hampshire, Florida, South Carolina, Michigan and Wyoming of half their delegates. Iowa, which plans to hold Republican caucuses on Jan. 3, would not be penalized because, technically, the caucuses are not binding on convention delegates.
(Posted at 4 p.m.) With consent from the two victims families, Craig Daniels Jr. today pleaded guilty to killing his former girlfriend, Alicia Castillon, and her boyfriend, John C. Mitchell, last March at Castillon s Bowling Green home. Daniels, who had faced the death penalty if convicted of the aggravated murder charges, was then sentenced by Wood County Common Pleas Judge Reeve Kelsey to life in prison without the possibility of parole.