News in Brief | AspenTimes.com

News in Brief

BOULDER (AP) – University of Colorado President Betsy Hoffman said a professor under siege for an essay likening some Sept. 11 victims to Nazis could face dismissal if a 30-day review uncovered misconduct but he won’t be fired for his comments.”If we find it is just about speech, there will be no action,” Hoffman told the school’s faculty assembly Thursday. She said she feared a “new McCarthyism” in the uproar over Churchill’s comments.”We are in dangerous times again,” she told the assembly of professors, who previously have voiced their support of academic freedom.The chancellor’s office is reviewing Churchill’s speeches and lectures to see whether he should be dismissed for exceeding the boundaries of academic freedom. A decision is expected next week.Hoffman did not comment on published reports this week that the university was considering buying out Churchill’s contract to end a firestorm over his essay.

HELENA, Mont. (AP) – Plagued by continuing drought, a shortage of mountain snow and forests full of dry timber, Montana is a powder keg as the summer wildfire season approaches, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer said FridaySchweitzer has asked the Pentagon to return some of the 1,500 Montana National Guard troops and aircraft called to active duty because of Iraq. He is urging anyone with firefighting equipment to sign up with the U.S. Forest Service so they can be summoned quickly when help is needed on the fire lines.Schweitzer also plans to ask governors in Idaho and Washington, and provincial officials in Saskatchewan and Alberta to commit manpower and machines should the fires ignite as he expects. Such mutual aid will be critical, he said.”Somebody’s going to have a blowup,” Schweitzer said in an interview. “Is it northern Idaho, is it eastern Washington or is it Montana? Are we all going to burn at the same rate or is one of us going to have a bigger blowup?”He fears the answer will be Montana.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – Volcanic rumblings at Mount Spurr are creating hazardous conditions for extreme skiers, snowboarders and pilots landing in the area, the Alaska Volcano Observatory said Friday.Possible dangers include unstable snow and ice, higher concentrations of potentially lethal gases and acidic water that could be strong enough to burn skin, observatory officials said. Heightened seismic activity has been recorded there for months.New measurements taken during flights over the volcano this week show the presence of sulfur dioxide, indicating activity stemming from molten lava, not simply heating of ground water, said Tom Murray, a scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey who works at the observatory’s Anchorage office. Carbon dioxide also has been detected.During the flyovers, researchers also spotted water at a summit lake bubbling up – either from increasing heat or gases floating to the top, Murray said.”We just want people to know this is not a normal mountain,” Murray said. “They need to be thinking beyond the normal rules. Climbing is already inherently risky as it is.”


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