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news & blues - PDF 3


When a fire started that threatened his house in Obion County, Tenn., Gene Cranick called the nearest firefighters, located in the city of South Fulton. The city charges county residents $75 to provide services to them. The emergency operator informed Cranick that he hadn't paid the fee and so wasn't entitled to fire protection. Cranick promised he would pay the firefighters as soon as the fire trucks arrived, whatever it cost, to stop the fire before it spread to his house. No dice. The fire burned for hours as Cranick fought to control it with garden hoses. Only when the fire spread to a neighbor's field did firefighters arrive. The neighbor had paid the fee. Cranick asked the fire chief to make an exception to save his house, but the chief refused. Even an appeal to the mayor of South Fulton fell on deaf ears. Cranick's house ultimately burned to the ground. ""I thought they'd come out and put it out, even if you hadn't paid your $75," Cranick said, "but I was wrong." (Paducah, Ky.'s WPSD-TV)Solar rays bouncing off the gleaming glass of a Las Vegas high-rise hotel pose a risk of severe burns to people lounging at the pool. Local media, as well as some staff and guests at MGM Resorts International's Vdara hotel and condominium, which opened last December, refer to the reflection off the concave-shaped building as the "death ray," although MGM Resorts officials prefer the term "solar convergence phenomenon." The firm installed high-tech solar film over each of the 3,000 glass panes covering the Vdara's south faade, hoping to scatter the rays, but the concentrated sunlight remains hot enough at times to melt plastic and singe hair - and penetrate shade. "My back and the back of my legs started burning, and I ran under a nearby umbrella," said William Pintas, 49, a Vdara condo owner who first encountered the death ray after a dip in the pool. "And I'm under the umbrella, and there is no shading from the light or heat." Pintas, who happens to be a lawyer, said he coul

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