We've been looking for you

Sometimes, truth is stranger than fiction. For instance, in Vermillion, S.D., one day last week, sheriff's deputies were called from the Clay County Courthouse to help search for a pickup truck that had left the scene of an accident on nearby I-29. They needn't have bothered. Why? Because they ended up right back where they started. The suspect led the pursuit into town, abandoning the vehicle and dashing into a building that turned out to be ... the courthouse. Then he tried to barricade himself inside. Now for the weird part: He was overpowered finally in a courtroom where a jury had just been dismissed because the defendant in a drug-related case failed to appear. The defendant? Right: the guy from the pickup truck.

Like filings to a magnet, folks can't resist Sun Belt

As might be expected, most of the fastest-growing larger cities in the US are in the Sun Belt. And the fastest of all between 2003 and 2004, according to the Census Bureau, is Port St. Lucie, Fla. Its population expanded by 12 percent, a pace that exceeds that of any other community with 100,000 or more residents. The highest ranked non-Sun Belt city: Joliet, Ill. (No. 14), which averages more than 1,400 new housing starts a year. The 10 fastest growing US cities, their populations according to the Census Bureau, and the growth-rate percentage of each:

1. Port St. Lucie, Fla. 118,396 12%
2. Elk Grove, Calif. 100,760 10.6%
3. North Las Vegas, Nev. 158,748 9.8%
4. Gilbert, Ariz. 156,917 7.7%
5. Cape Coral, Fla. 127,985 7.6%
6. Moreno Valley, Calif. 166,290 5.7%
7. Chandler, Ariz. 223,991 5.7%
8. Miramar, Fla. 101,486 5.3%
9. Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. 159,346 5.0%
10. Roseville, Calif. 103,609 4.9%

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