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Headlines from Alabama 810 News
- Fire at Anniston Army Depot
- More plagiarism at JSU
- Smoking ordinance enforced in Oxford
- Lincoln accident among most costly
Fire at Anniston Army Depot
officials say that A fire at the Anniston Army Depot Monday evening
burst several containers containing a
radioactive gas, threatening a warehouse of contaminated material.
The Army discovered the smoke about 7 p.m. Monday and the fire was
extinguished within 30 minutes. The fire was ignited by a chemical
reaction from hydrogen peroxide on oily paper towels. Radioactive
tritium gas was sharing the warehouse and caught fire. All of the
materials were awaiting disposal. The Army did not release
information on the fire until after the Wisconsin nonprofit group
Nukewatch released a statement. Army representatives said they had
not planned a news release because the fire was so small. Tritium is
a radioactive isotope that is a byproduct of nuclear power plants.
It also is produced for commercial uses. Nuclear Regulatory
Commission spokesman Neil Sheehan said a fair amount of radioactive
waste was involved in the fire. The NRC, working from Army reports,
estimated that about 100 sources, each with 10 curies of
radioactivity, were burned. Sheehan said the contamination was
limited to the area where the fire occurred. He said an investigator
will visit Anniston within a few days. Another 1,100 radioactive
dials or other articles remain at the depot awaiting recycling or
disposal in a low-level radioactive landfill. Nukewatch co-director
John LaForge said the fire should have been reported to the public.
Officials said that the Army reported the fire to the Calhoun County
Emergency Management Agency on Tuesday. Tritium cannot penetrate the
human skin, but it is known to be dangerous if it is inhaled or
ingested. It is considered low-level radioactivity, but in recent
years studies have found it is more dangerous than previously
More plagiarism at JSU
The Birmingham News is reporting today that
Jacksonville State University officials are investigating other
newspaper columns that appeared under the byline of school President
William Meehan after a second instance of plagiarism was brought to
their attention. The latest accusation involves a July 4 column,
"Important rules about e-mails," which has passages identical to "8
e-mail mistakes that make you look bad," a Microsoft column written
about four years ago by Kim Komando, a computer talk-show host and
columnist. An Aug. 1 column on stress management also used
paragraphs word-for-word from an article on the Merck & Co. Web
site. Meehan's column, "Town and Gown," has appeared in the
Jacksonville News since his hiring in 2000. It is ghostwritten by Al
Harris, the university's retired news director, and other staff
members. Meehan is out of town attending a higher education
partnership retreat and has been unavailable for comment. Komando,
who hosts a radio program carried by 400 stations nationwide, told
the newspaper that this is not the first time her material has been
used without citation. Usually, her lawyers send out a letter asking
the person to properly cite the information. She said what troubles
her is this involves a university president, and this is plagiarism.
Meehan said earlier in the week that he proofreads the final article
before publication. JSU Vice President for Institutional
Advancement Joseph Serviss said the university is reviewing all
columns Harris has written for Meehan since his February retirement.
The university also has corrected a version of one of the columns
that appears on its Web site.
Smoking ordinance enforced in Oxford
The first court case involving new smoking
regulations met its first test in an municipal court Tuesday.
Oxford Municipal Court Judge Stan Allen found Pat Hammond, owner of
Pat’s Breakfast and More on U.S. 78, guilty on two counts of
violating the cities smoking ordinance. She was fined $25 for the
first offense, $50 for the second offense and a total of $226 in
court costs for both violations. The judge ordered that the
restaurant cannot allow smoking despite the owner’s arguments that
the business operated under the “private function” exemption of the
city’s new smoking ordinance. Hammond has two weeks to appeal.
Lincoln accident among most costly
A train derailment in Talladega County was
among the most costly in the nation between 2001 and 2006 according
to a study released Wednesday. The study by the University of
Louisville lists the top 20 derailments in each category for the
period. A collision of trains near U.S. 78 along the Coosa River on
Jan. 24, 2006, placed among the top 20 hazardous material
derailments in terms of cost, according to the study. The crash
injured three railroad workers and cost $2.53 million. About 4,000
gallons of diesel fuel and 280 pounds of sodium cyanide were spilled
in the crash. Residents of Lomar Villa Estates were trapped after
the derailment because the only way out of the subdivision was
blocked by the trains. Alabama Department of Transportation
officials are working with Lincoln city officials to build a second
road out of the subdivision.
The Alabama 810
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