Nation briefs for January 9


Messages tie Christie aide to NJ traffic jam

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A political dirty-tricks investigation of Gov. Chris Christie’s inner circle broke wide open Wednesday with the release of emails and text messages that suggest one of his top aides engineered traffic jams in a New Jersey town last September to punish its mayor.

An “outraged and deeply saddened” Christie responded by saying he was misled by his aide, and he denied involvement in the apparent act of political payback.

The messages were obtained by the Associated Press and other news organizations Wednesday amid a statehouse investigation into whether the lane closings that led to the tie-ups were retribution against the mayor of Fort Lee for not endorsing Christie for re-election last fall.

“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Christie deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly wrote in August in a message to David Wildstein, a top Christie appointee on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

“Got it,” Wildstein replied.

A few weeks later, Wildstein closed two of three lanes connecting Fort Lee to the heavily traveled George Washington Bridge, which runs between New Jersey and New York City. The messages do not directly implicate Christie in the shutdown. But they appear to contradict his assertions the closings were not punitive and his staff was not involved.

Deep freeze has silver linings for natural world

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — From a field station in northern Wisconsin, where the previous night’s low was a numbing 29 degrees below zero, climate scientist John Lenters studied computer images of ice floes on Lake Superior with delight.

It might be hard to think of this week’s deep freeze as anything but miserable, but to scientists such as Lenters there are silver linings: The extreme cold might help raise low water in the Great Lakes, protect shorelines and wetlands from erosion, kill insect pests and slow the migration of invasive species.

“All around, it’s a positive thing,” Lenters, a specialist in the climate of lakes and watersheds, said Wednesday.

Ice cover on the Great Lakes has been shrinking for decades, but this year more than 60 percent of the surface is expected to freeze over at some point — an occurrence that could help the lakes rebound from a prolonged slump in water levels.

Even agriculture can benefit. Although cold weather is generally no friend to crops, some of southern Florida’s citrus fruits can use a perfectly timed cool-down, which they were getting as temperatures hovered near freezing.

 

Rules for posting comments