Poverty in U.S. stuck at 15 percent — a record 46.5 million
WASHINGTON — The nation’s poverty rate remained stuck at 15 percent last year despite America’s slowly reviving economy, a discouraging lack of improvement for the record 46.5 million poor and an unwelcome benchmark for President Barack Obama’s recovery plans.
More than 1 in 7 Americans were living in poverty, not statistically different from the 46.2 million of 2011 and the sixth straight year the rate had failed to improve, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday. Median income for the nation’s households was $51,017, also unchanged from the previous year after two consecutive annual declines, while the share of people without health insurance did improve but only a bit, from 15.7 percent to 15.4 percent.
“We’re in the doldrums, with high poverty and inequality as the new normal for the foreseeable future,” said Timothy Smeeding, an economics professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who specializes in income inequality. “The fact we’ve seen no real recovery in employment and wages means we’ve just flatlined.”
Colorado’s focus turns to damage tallies
LYONS, Colo. — The emergency airlifts of flood victims waned Tuesday, leaving rescue crews to systematically search the nooks and crannies of the northern Colorado foothills and transportation officials to gauge what it will take to rebuild the wasted landscape. More than 3,000 people have been evacuated by air and ground since last week’s devastating floods, but calls for those emergency rescues are now dwindling, federal and state emergency officials said. Military rescue crews have met to identify new areas to check and places to cover again with hundreds of people still considered missing.
“They’ve kind of transitioned from that initial response to going into more of a grid search,” Colorado National Guard Lt. Skye Robinson said.
The state’s latest count has dropped to about 580 people missing, and the number continues to decrease as the stranded get in touch with families.
N.J. boardwalk fire linked to Sandy-damaged wiring
TOMS RIVER, N.J. — The massive fire that destroyed part of a Jersey shore boardwalk and dozens of businesses began accidentally in wiring damaged in Superstorm Sandy, and should prompt coastal property owners to get their own equipment inspected for similar danger, officials said Tuesday.
The boardwalk fire in Seaside Park and Seaside Heights started Thursday in aged wiring that had been compromised by salt water and sand during the Oct. 29 storm, federal and county investigators said at a news conference. The wind-whipped blaze destroyed more than 50 businesses in the two towns.
Seaside Heights Mayor William William Akers said there is no issue with potentially compromised wiring on the surviving sections.
Mexico tropical storm death toll reaches 47
ACAPULCO, Mexico — The death toll rose to 47 Tuesday from the unusual one-two punch of a tropical storm and a hurricane hitting Mexico at nearly the same time. Authorities scrambled to get help into, and stranded tourists out of, the cutoff resort city of Acapulco.
With roads blocked by landslides, rockslides, floods and collapsed bridges, Acapulco was cut off from road transport after Tropical Storm Manuel made landfall on Sunday. The terminal at the city’s international was flooded, but not the landing strips. Emergency flights began arriving in Acapulco to evacuate at least 40,000 mainly Mexican tourists.
stranded in the resort city where some streets were transformed into raging brown rivers.