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NATION: Storm brings heavy wind, rain

Storm brings heavy wind, rain

LEVITTOWN, N.Y. — Torrential downpours from a faded tropical storm inundated the Northeast on Friday, toppling trees, washing out roads, forcing evacuations and cutting power to thousands. Water pooled so deeply in a Philadelphia suburb that a car floated on top of another.

Heavy rains whipped Boston for hours Friday afternoon while other parts of the Northeast dried out after being hit hard overnight. The storm was blamed for five deaths in North Carolina on Thursday and a sixth in Pennsylvania on Friday — a woman who apparently drove her car into a rain-swollen creek before daybreak.

A great swath of the Northeast was soaked by the morning commute, including New York City and Philadelphia. Flights coming into LaGuardia Airport in New York City were delayed three hours and traffic into Manhattan was delayed up to an hour under a pounding rain.

Pot now just a ticket in Calif.

SAN FRANCISCO — Possessing up to an ounce of marijuana in California is now no more serious than getting a speeding ticket.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a law late Thursday that reduces possession of an ounce or less from a misdemeanor to an infraction, with a maximum punishment of a $100 fine.

Even as a misdemeanor, possession of up to an ounce of pot was still punishable only by a $100 fine and no jail time. But offenders also faced arrest, a possible court appearance and a criminal record.

Couple indicted in kidnap case

PLACERVILLE, Calif. — A grand jury has indicted the couple accused of kidnapping and raping Jaycee Dugard, who was held for 18 years in California.

Phillip and Nancy Garrido were indicted on 19 counts in a process that will eliminate the need for a preliminary hearing, where their alleged victim may have testified.

The Garridos previously were charged with 29 counts of kidnapping, rape and false imprisonment. Officials have not released any details of the revised charges.

The court announced the indictment Friday during a hearing for Nancy Garrido. Her lawyers entered a plea of not guilty.

Criminal proceedings against her husband have been suspended to evaluate his mental competency.

Mother accused of cancer scam

ROSEVILLE, Mich. — An unemployed Detroit-area mother accused of drugging and shaving her healthy 12-year-old son so he appeared to have cancer, then accepting thousands of dollars in donations for his treatment, was arraigned Friday on charges of fraud and child abuse.

A Roseville district court judge ordered Carol Lynn Schnuphase, 47, of Warren, held on $100,000 bond.

‘‘A mother, no less, goes so far as to shave the head every other week, shave the eyebrows, and maybe the worst thing of all, to crushing up drugs to put in his applesauce to make him appear lethargic,’’ said Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith.

A hospital has tested the boy and declared him cancer-free, although he was going thorough opiate withdrawal, Smith said. Authorities haven’t yet determined what drugs were in the boy’s system and are awaiting hospital test results.

Automobile sales remain sluggish

DETROIT — New models and Labor Day promotions didn’t do much to fire Americans’ appetites for new cars in September.

Sales at Chrysler Group LLC and Ford Motor Co. rose slightly from August. They fell at General Motors Co. and Honda Motor Co. and were flat at Toyota Motor Corp. Car companies say a recovery is still happening, but it’s not as strong as they had hoped following a terrible 2009.

Dish forced to drop channels

LOS ANGELES — Satellite TV operator Dish Network Corp. said Friday that News Corp.’s Fox television unit cut its access to 19 regional sports networks, FX and the National Geographic Channel after Dish refused to pay for a rate increase of more than 50 percent.

In a related development, Dish also stopped carrying MSG and MSG Plus, affecting New York-area sports fans, saying it refused to accept a ‘‘double digit’’ percentage rate hike proposal linked to carrying MSG sister channel Fuse, which it called a ‘‘low-rated music video channel.’’

Dish, controlled by billionaire Charlie Ergen, called Fox’s rate hike demand ‘‘unprecedented’’ and said it was driven by what Fox has paid for sports rights.