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Patrick Swayze: We'll always remember that famous smile

Patrick Swayze, the gracefully macho Texan who swiveled his way to movie stardom in 1987's Dirty Dancing, died Monday at 57 after waging a valiant public battle against pancreatic cancer.

"Patrick Swayze passed away peacefully today with family at his side after facing the challenges of his illness for the last 20 months," said a statement released Monday evening by his publicist, Annett Wolf. No other details were given.

Fans of the likable actor have been prepared for such an outcome for more than a year, ever since the National Enquirer blared, "Patrick Swayze Has 5 Weeks to Live."

He managed to defy that prediction, though he was pragmatic about his chances and candid when discussing the ordeal of fighting such a virulent illness.

{josquote}The actor, who was brought up Roman Catholic but studied Baha'i, Buddhism and Scientology, could be spiritual in interviews.{/josquote}

"You can bet I'm going through hell," he told Barbara Walters on Jan. 8 in his first TV interview since he was diagnosed. "And I've only seen the beginning of it. There's a lot of fear here. ... Yeah, I'm scared. Yeah, I'm angry. Yeah, I'm asking, 'Why me?'"

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Out-of-control blaze grows to 2,800 acres as crews struggle to gain containment of Lockheed Fire

BONNY DOON - The Lockheed Fire consumed 2,800 acres in the remote forest between Swanton and Bonny Doon on Thursday as quick-moving flames fueled by thick underbrush raged out of control for a second day, leading authorities to order the evacuation of up to 2,400 residents.

Bolstered by 120 engines and 20 aircraft, more than 2,000 firefighters serving in ground crews employed bulldozers, axes and bare hands to set backfires, lay hose lines and dig breaks in an attempt to contain the blaze, which raged in a parched expanse of tinder-dry brush and timber that hasn't burned for more than six decades.

{josquote}Nearby Bosch Baha'i School on Comstock Lane has closed its doors and cancelled all classes for the weekend due to the fire threat. All of the guests, volunteers and staff have left, according to the school's web site.{/josquote}

Cal Fire said the blaze started near the Lehi Camp, a Mormon retreat at the top of Empire Grade, and the Lockheed Martin facility. The cause is unknown.

Just five years ago, Cal Fire identified the largely inaccessible woodlands surrounding the two sites as the county's worst wildfire hazard. The last major blaze in that area, the 19,000-acre Pine Mountain Fire of 1948, which burned for a month, is still the county's largest wildfire on record.

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Homes evacuated as wildland fire near Boulder Creek grows


The Swanton Fire burns along a ridge above buildings on Swanton Road on Wednesday.

BONNY DOON — Flames leaped into the night sky above the ridges of the Santa Cruz Mountains on Wednesday as a wildland fire burned out of control in the rugged hills between the end of Empire Grade Road and Swanton Road.

The fire burned in heavily wooded terrain as winds gusted through the canyons, whipping the fire through the dry vegetation under the cool night air. At 10:30 p.m., the out-of-control fire had consumed 1,000 acres and was growing. At least four strike teams were called in to help protect an estimated 250 structures that were threatened by the biggest South Bay wildfire in a fire season that has been unusually mild so far.

{josquote}The Bosch Baha'i Camp is also near the area.{/josquote}

Mandatory evacuations were ordered for the entire Swanton area, and an evacuation area was set up at Davenport school.

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Daughter of murdered cab driver speaks out

For days, North Texans have heard of a taxi cab driver's brutal death. Sunday night, we learned of his life and the family he leaves behind.

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God and Steve McNair

{josquote}Neither this article nor any of the others I’ve seen has offered anything more enlightening than where to place the apostrophe in spelling Baha’i.{/josquote}

It’s not a surprise, but Nashville police today classified the deaths of former NFL MVP Steve McNair and Sahel Kazemi as a murder-suicide, with Kazemi killing McNair because she suspected he was having an affair with another woman — no, not his wife — and then turning the gun she had just bought on herself.

After the shock set in Saturday of McNair’s death, much of the reporting turned to the former Titans quarterback’s conflicting images. An open relationship with a 20-year-old girl wasn’t something people expected from a respected community leader, believed to be squeaky clean, and an ostensibly loyal husband and loving father of four.

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