Temporary contract to ensure services at Grand Canyon

A temporary contract for services at the Grand Canyon’s popular South Rim will ensure that mule rides and the park’s most iconic hotels and restaurants remain open to millions of visitors, the park’s superintendent said.

A new 15-year contract worth up to $1 billion for services at the South Rim is up for bid for a third time after previous bids didn’t meet the park’s terms. That contract won’t be awarded before the current one held by Xanterra Parks & Resorts expires Dec. 31.

Grand Canyon Superintendent Dave Uberuaga said park regulations allow a temporary contract to be awarded to a concessions company for up to a year to fill the gap.

The National Park Service has had trouble getting concessions companies to bid on the extended contract. The deadline in the latest bidding round has been extended four times. Proposals now are due Nov. 19.


U.S. citizen captured trying to escape Namibia prison

An American citizen attempted to escape from a prison in Namibia’s capital, Windhoek, but was caught, the country’s press agency said Monday.

The Namibian Press Agency, reported that Los Angeles native Marcus Kevin Tomas climbed a tree inside the Windhoek Central Prison and tried to jump over the barbed wire fence but instead landed on top of the fence. Prison authorities told the press agency that they found Tomas hanging from the barbed fence and called emergency medical services to remove him. .

Tomas and another American national Kevin Townsend were charged with the killing of a Namibian citizen, Andre Heckmair. According to local media, the men were arrested in 2011 and charged with murder, robbery and the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition. Tomas now also faces charges of escaping police custody.


Suspect in Halloween crash pleaded guilty to another

A California driver who police say struck and killed three teenage trick-or-treaters on Halloween before fleeing with his own children had recently pleaded guilty to a separate hit-and run, authorities said Monday.

Jaquinn Bell, 31, of Orange drove a black Honda SUV through a marked crosswalk on Friday near an elementary school in Santa Ana, hitting 13-year-old twin sisters Lexi and Lexandra Perez and their friend Andrea Gonzalez, police said.

The victims, wearing costumes, were found lying in the street.

Online court records show Bell pleaded guilty in August to misdemeanor counts of child abuse, driving under the influence and hit-and-run with property damage. He was sentenced to 10 days in jail, three years’ probation, and alcohol and child abuse treatment programs, according to a court spokeswoman.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates

American man, 70, arrested for breeching photo rules

A 70-year-old American man who came to the United Arab Emirates to speak at a conference on creative thinking was arrested last month for taking a photograph of a subject deemed off-limits by authorities, his daughter and a friend said Monday.

Robert Alan Black is the latest foreigner to be arrested for breeching rules limiting what can be photographed in the oil-rich Gulf federation. The country is an important American ally that boasts cutting-edge architecture, including a vertical disc-shaped office building and the world’s tallest tower.

Black’s daughter, Jessica Beasley, said she is concerned about her father’s health in jail and believes any inappropriate pictures that the Athens, Georgia, man may have taken were unintentional.