We don't want a meltdown

From Alaska comes word that the state fire marshal's office has ordered a halt in construction of a hotel planned for Chena Hot Springs, a resort near Fairbanks. It was to be a Gothic-style structure. The state official cited, but didn't specify, building-code and public safety "concerns." We know this much, however: These concerns presumably don't include the risk of fire. That's because the structure is built of ice, in the manner of hotels that have proved popular with tourists in Sweden and Quebec. Despite the order, the developers say they're going ahead anyway. But now the project will be showcased as a work of art.

Next: bottled stuffing

Just in time for Thanksgiving last week, a soft-drink maker in Seattle marketed a new novelty flavor, Turkey & Gravy - admitting up front that it tastes just as you'd expect it to and half-wondering whether it would bomb. It didn't. All 6,000 bottles were sold via the Internet. Jones Soda Co. has pledged to donate the proceeds to charity.

Crime spree to crime-free: annual study ranks US cities

Detroit has displaced St. Louis to reclaim the dubious title of most dangerous American city, while Amherst, N.Y., was deemed the safest for a fourth straight year in the latest annual city crime ranking by Morgan Quitno Press. The research and publishing company based in Lawrence, Kan., used FBI data to compare 350 cities on rates of six types of crime: murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, and auto theft. The top five in each category and their respective ranks last year (in parentheses):

Most dangerous cities

1. Detroit (2)
2. St. Louis (1)
3. Atlanta (3)
4. Camden, N.J. (6)
5. Washington (14)
Safest cities
1. Amherst, N.Y. (1)
2. Brick Township. N.J. (2)
3. Mission Viejo, Calif. (9)
4. Simi Valley, Calif. (23)
5. Cary, N.C. (6)
- Associated Press

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