NATION IN BRIEF: Excessive heat starts dogged eastward trek

Excessive heat starts dogged eastward trek

CINCINNATI -- Hot weather that has plagued the Plains for days spread eastward Thursday, blanketing several more states under a sizzling sun that made people sick, shut down summer schools and spurred cities to offer cooling centers and free swimming.

The temperature could soar to 101 in Toledo, Ohio -- 2 degrees above a record set in 1930. Combined with the humidity, it could feel as hot as 115 across Ohio.

Government forecasters issued excessive heat warnings for a huge section of the country, from Kansas to Massachusetts, while some southern states were under heat advisories.

Thousands of homes and businesses in southern Michigan lost power Thursday morning as people cranked up air conditioner use. Ferndale Recreation Director Julie Hall said a cooling center in suburban Detroit took in numerous senior citizens after their nearby apartment lost electricity.

2 teens shot, wounded leaving anti-gang program

LOS ANGELES -- Two teens were shot and wounded in an apparent gang shooting Thursday outside a Los Angeles recreation center that is part of the city's program to reduce violence in the streets by keeping public parks well-lit and open at night, police said.

A 15-year-old girl was shot in the back and a 19-year-old man was shot in the hand as they were leaving a Summer Night Lights event at the Wilmington Recreation Center, Lt. John Pasquariello said. They were hospitalized in critical condition.

The shooting came hours before delegates to the U.S. Conference of Mayors Summer Leadership Meeting in Los Angeles planned to attend a similar program in Boyle Heights. It was also the second time in a week that violence has erupted after one of the Summer Night Lights events, which are open from 8 p.m. until midnight and attended by police and gang-intervention workers.

Airplane makes landing on Mont. highway

DARBY, Mont. -- A retired air traffic controller piloting a small plane to western Montana for a vacation wasn't exactly cleared for a landing when his plane's engine died -- good thing the highway was empty.

Pilot James Hollis of Erie, Colo., was forced to make an emergency landing on an unusually empty stretch of U.S. Highway 93 just north of Darby on Thursday morning when his Cessna 182 appeared to run out of fuel.

''He actually got pretty lucky because there's a fair amount of traffic on that road,'' Montana Highway Patrol trooper Scott Bennett said. ''Without the engine running he had no control over where he was going to land.''

Cremation license suspended in wrong-body case

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- An Ohio funeral home that cremated the wrong child's body due to a morgue mix-up has had its license suspended for six months.

Last year, the body of 14-month-old Jaylen Talley was mistakenly released to the Marlan J. Gary Funeral Home in Columbus. It was supposed to handle the body of another boy, a 22-day-old infant whose family wanted cremation, The Columbus Dispatch reported Thursday.

Cremation is against the religious beliefs of Talley's parents, who had planned to bury him in a tiny white tuxedo.

The Ohio Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors this week suspended the funeral home's license and yanked the funeral director's license of owner Marlan J. Gary for six months, the newspaper said.

More prison for NY man known for colorful escapes

NEW YORK -- A notorious prison escape artist who gave New York City court officers the slip by passing as a lawyer has been sentenced to at least 28 more years behind bars.

Ronald Tackman was sentenced Thursday for the 2009 courthouse escape and the five store holdups that had brought him to court in the first place.

He pleaded guilty to the escape and was convicted of the robberies. Authorities say they featured phony guns, fake noses and disguises.

The shackled, 57-year-old Tackman questioned the constitutionality of the laws involved before hearing his sentence.

His brief prison escape and an attempted escape in the 1980s became the stuff of inmate lore. In one, he commandeered a bus full of inmates by brandishing a fake gun carved out of soap.