Nation roundup for February 24


Wood burning rule sparks anger

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A federal proposal to clean up the smoke wafting from wood-burning stoves has sparked a backlash from some rural residents, lawmakers and manufacturers who fear it could close the damper on one of the oldest ways of warming homes on cold winter days.

Proposed regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would significantly reduce the amount of particle pollution allowed from the smokestacks of new residential wood-powered heaters.

Wood-burning stoves are a staple in rural homes in many states, a cheap heating source for low-income residents and others wanting to lessen their reliance on gas or electric furnaces. Outdoor models often cost several thousand dollars, but indoor stoves can cost as little as a few hundred dollars and sometimes double as fashionable centerpieces in homes.

Some manufacturers contend the EPA’s proposed standards are so stringent that the higher production costs would either force them out of business or raise prices so high that many consumers could no longer afford their products.

“There’s not a stove in the United States that can pass the test right now — this is the death knoll of any wood burning,” Reg Kelly, the founder of Earth Outdoor Furnaces in Mountain Grove, told Missouri lawmakers during a recent hearing.

Powerball, Mega Millions lift states

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The scores of losing players in last week’s $425 million Powerball jackpot did more than take an extremely long shot at getting rich. Their ticket purchases also helped fund a small but increasingly important part of their states’ budgets.

Changes in the nationwide Powerball and Mega Millions games have led to some of the world’s largest jackpots in the last two years, boosting player interest and sales. Fueled by the growth of those games and the steady expansion of other offerings, many state lotteries last year reported record revenues and transfers to the state budgets and programs they helped fund.

For every $2 ticket, 50 cents or more might end up paying for police officers in Massachusetts, services for the elderly in Pennsylvania, or education in rural school districts in Idaho, lottery directors say.

In all, about $20 billion out of the roughly $70 billion in overall annual lottery revenues is used by states after prize money, retailer commissions, advertising and administrative expenses are taken out. Most states target their lottery revenue to specific causes, with education being the most popular.

Texas Lottery Commission executive director Gary Grief said Powerball sales in his state multiply several times as the jackpots rise, from a normal range of about $3 million per week all the way up to 10 or 15 times that amount. That means millions more dollars for public education in Texas, the lottery’s beneficiary, he said.

Kiss says it won’t play at induction

WALL TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — Kiss won’t rock and roll all night — or at any point during the day, either — when they are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April, the band said Sunday.

The 40-year-old group is unable to agree on which lineup should perform during the April 10 ceremony in New York City, and has decided not to plug in at all.

The dispute concerns whether original members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss would join Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley in a live performance, or whether the current lineup of Stanley, Simmons, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer would play instead.

In a message on its website, Kiss said it won’t perform with any lineup, calling it “an emotional situation where there is no way to please everyone.”

“Our intention was to celebrate the entire history of Kiss and give credit to all members, including longtime present members Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer, and additionally Bruce Kulick and Eric Carr all who have made this band what it is, regardless of the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame’s point of view,” the band wrote on its web site.

“Although Kiss has moved forward far longer without them, Ace and Peter are at the very foundation of what we have built.”

and this would all be impossible had they not been a part of it in the beginning.”

The band made no mention of former guitarists Vinnie Vincent, who helped kick off the band’s unmasked era, or Mark St. John, who was with the band briefly in 1984 and who died in 2007.

“It is over 13 years since the original lineup has played together in makeup and we believe the memory of those times would not be enhanced,” Kiss wrote on its site. “To bring this to a quick end, we have decided not to play in any line-up, and we will focus our attention on celebrating our induction into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.”

 

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