NEW ORLEANS

Gulf ‘dead zone’ smaller

A new report says this year’s Gulf of Mexico “dead zone,” an area of low oxygen that develops every spring and summer, is the fourth-smallest since measurements of the zones began in 1985. The zone measured 2,889 square miles, according to the report released Friday by the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium. The dead zone forms because fertilizer and other nutrients run into the Mississippi River, which empties into the Gulf. The nutrients feed huge numbers of microscopic organisms. When they die, their decomposition uses up oxygen. Last year’s hypoxic zone was about 6,765 square miles. The record is 8,400. The consortium says the dead zone is relatively small this year because record drought across the country meant fewer nutrients were washed into the river — not because steps have been taken to prevent drainage.

ASPEN, COLO.

Tracking program to start

The New York Police Department will soon launch an all-seeing “Domain Awareness System” that combines several streams of information to track both criminals and potential terrorists. New York police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, speaking Saturday at the Aspen Security Forum, said the city developed the software with Microsoft. He said the program, which combines citywide video surveillance with law enforcement databases, will be officially unveiled by New York’s mayor as soon as next week.

LITTLE COMPTON, R.I.

224-year-old shop closing

Gray’s Store in Adamsville village brought in customers for years with its old-fashioned marble soda fountain, cigar and tobacco cases, and Rhode Island johnnycakes. The 224-year-old business may be the oldest operating general store in America, although others have staked similar claims. But Gray’s is to close today. Owner Jonah Waite, 21, inherited the shop after his father died of cancer last month. He said Saturday it was a hard decision to close the store, but the shop’s finances aren’t sustainable and a supermarket down the street has siphoned away business. The store has been in Waite’s family for seven generations, since 1879.

Compiled from wire reports.