Local Leads: Europe Travel Warning, Carnival Ride Accident - NBC4 Washington

Local Leads: Europe Travel Warning, Carnival Ride Accident

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    Local Leads: Europe Travel Warning, Carnival Ride Accident
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    The following stories have been hand-selected by the Assignment Desk at News4:

    The Obama administration on Sunday warned Americans of potential terrorist threats in Europe and urged them to be vigilant in public places, including tourist spots and transportation hubs.   A State Department travel alert advises U.S. citizens living or traveling in Europe to take more precautions about their personal security. The alert is one step below a formal travel warning advising Americans not to visit Europe.  "Current information suggests that al-Qaida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks," it said. "European governments have taken action to guard against a terrorist attack and some have spoken publicly about the heightened threat conditions."

    An earthquake registering 3.0 on the Richter scale rattled Virgina yesterday.  The U.S. Geological Survey reports that the shaker hit the Southern state at approximately 4:17 p.m., with an epicenter some 20 miles north of Richmond.  Charlottesville felt the quake as did Canton, North Carolina, some 339 miles away Richmond.  Although this earthquake is considered mild by Los Angeles standards, the trembler still jazzed up a lazy afternoon on the East coast. No travel advisories have been issued as related to this act of Mother Nature, and, thankfully, no injuries or major damage have been reported because of the seismic activity.

    Bedbugs have made their way into the highly secured federal building that houses the U.S. Agency for International Development in Washington.  USAID officials told employees this week that juvenile bedbugs were discovered in a single office at the agency's tower in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. There was no sign of the bugs elsewhere in the building.
    Officials said a pest control service would inspect offices and any infected areas would be treated over the weekend. They also said USAID and the General Services Administration will continue to be proactive to prevent any future bedbug activity.

    A carnival ride collapsed at Frightland on Saturday night, sending five people to the hospital with minor injuries.  A section of the Merry Mixer came loose about 8:45 p.m. and flipped over while riders were on board, fire officials said.  Three adults and two children were taken to Christiana Hospital, said Port Penn Fire Chief Frank Schoeffler.  The ride was part of a small carnival outside Frightland, a seasonal Halloween attraction off U.S. 13 about a mile south of the St. Georges Bridge.  The cause of the malfunction was not known at press time, according to state police.  Jim Houghton Enterprises Inc. was listed as the owner of the ride. An employee working the carnival said no one would comment on the accident.

    Pepco Holdings Inc. will begin installing smart meters in the District in October and said it expects to have all D.C. customers connected with the advanced digital electric meters by December 2011.  Pepco is using $34.1 million in federal stimulus money to help pay for the smart meter program in D.C. The city’s Public Service Commission authorized Pepco’s smart meter plan this past December.  “Installing smart meters is the first step to transforming today’s aging power grid to one that is more flexible and efficient," said Thomas Graham, president of the D.C. and Maryland Pepco region. “Ultimately, customers will see benefits, such as fewer estimated bills and more tools to help customers better manage their energy use and help the environment.”