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  • Grand Canyon awards temporary services contract

    FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The National Park Service has averted a shutdown of some of the Grand Canyon's iconic hotels and mule rides by awarding a temporary contract for services at the canyon's South Rim. The one-year contract goes to Xanterra Parks & Resorts Inc., which has been providing those services for decades. Its current contract ends...

  • State Dept. warns US travelers to be extra careful

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department is warning Americans traveling abroad to be extra cautious over the holidays. In a worldwide travel alert issued Friday, the department says an attack this week in Australia highlights the need to be vigilant. The alert says U.S. citizens traveling abroad should be mindful that terrorist groups, or those...

  • Manhattan Project park, Alpine Lakes add passes

    SEATTLE (AP) — Legislation to preserve Hanford's B Reactor as part of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park has been signed into law. The provision was among dozens of public-lands measures included in the National Defense Authorization Act that President Barack Obama approved Friday. The measure expands the Alpine Lakes Wilderness...

  • Travel alert issued for northeast ND cities

    GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota officials have issued a travel alert for cities in the northeast part of the state. Cities included in the travel alert are Grand Forks, Michigan, Adams, Grafton, Cavalier, Drayton, Pembina and surrounding areas. Officials say wet roads in the area may become slippery as temperatures drop overnight. A...

  • Group backs plan to turn Astrodome into large park

    HOUSTON (AP) — An idea to turn the iconic but shuttered Houston Astrodome into a massive indoor park and green space area holds great promise, a nonprofit research group focused on land use said Friday. At a meeting within sign of the structure, Washington, D.C.-based Urban Land Institute presented a report which detailed in broad strokes a...

  • Correction: Tule Springs National Monument story

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — In a story Dec. 12 about Tule Springs being designated as a national monument, The Associated Press reported erroneously that it would be Nevada's first. Lehman Caves was designated a national monument in 1922 before being made part of Great Basin National Park in 1986. A corrected version of the story is below: Fossil bed...

  • Volaris begins Cancun route at Las Vegas airport

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — Mexican airline Volaris says it's twice a week flights linking Las Vegas and Cancun, Mexico have begun. The airline announced Thursday that it would offer one flight twice a week, every Thursday and Sunday. It's the only flight linking Las Vegas with the tropical destination and the airline's first international flight from...

  • For US and Cuba, normalcy will take many steps

    WASHINGTON (AP) — How does one end almost 54 years of hostility toward a next-door neighbor? That's about to become clear as the Obama administration and the communist government of Raul Castro move to normalize more than a half-century of bitter animosity between the United States and Cuba. It won't happen overnight. Some of the likely...

  • VDOT to suspend highway work zones over Christmas

    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Virginia Department of Transportation says it will suspend most highway work zones for several days over Christmas. VDOT says the goal is to limit congestion and provide as many travel lanes as possible. VDOT will lift lane closures on interstates and other major roads in Virginia from noon December 24 to noon Dec....

  • Ex-worker at China's Forbidden City gets death

    BEIJING (AP) — A Beijing court on Friday sentenced a former employee of the Forbidden City to be executed for stabbing two of his supervisors to death on the museum's grounds, state media reported. Zheng Zhibiao argued at his trial in early December that he had been concerned over a lack of protection of artifacts held at the former palace of...

  • Protection sought for scenic California region

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A contingent of California environmental groups, business representatives and politicians will use a visit Friday from Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to push for permanent protection of some 350,000 acres of picturesque federal land near the state's famous wine country. Congress declined this session to pass legislation from...

  • Next steps on Cuba: Normalizing could take awhile

    WASHINGTON (AP) — How does one end almost 54 years of hostility toward a next-door neighbor? That's about to become clear as the Obama administration and the communist government of Raul Castro move to normalize more than a half-century of bitter animosity between the United States and Cuba. It won't happen overnight. Some of the likely...

  • La. police: Smoking ban would hit gambling halls

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Louisiana regulators say $104 million in revenues and state fees might be lost over two years from Harrah's casino, a horse racing track and video-poker halls if New Orleans enacts a widespread ban on smoking. After the New Year, the City Council will debate a proposed ban on smoking in public places. Among those most...

  • Delaware officials celebrate national park

    NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) — After being the odd man out for many years, Delaware is celebrating the creation of its first and only national park. Ending Delaware's status as the only state without a national park has been a mission for U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, Delaware's senior senator, for more than a decade. "That's a distinction I'm proud and...

  • 4 North Dakota high school coaches being honored

    MANDAN, N.D. (AP) — Four coaches are being inducted into the North Dakota High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Darrell Berglund of Hazen, Dan Carr of Linton, Denny Dinius of Langdon and Greg Hoeckle of Carrington will be inducted during the association's convention in late July in Mandan. Berglund coached basketball, golf and...

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