Akron Zoo closing underwater exhibit

Akron -- The Akron Zoo is closing its underwater exhibit.

The zoo says the Journey to the Reef exhibit will close in November and that it has plans for something new in the space for next spring.

The exhibit opened four years ago and features 18 aquariums with more than 40 aquatic species.

The zoo says the exhibit was designed to change every few years.

Zoo officials say the new exhibit will have aquatic and terrestrial animals along with carnivorous plants.

-- Associated Press

Cases of contagious diarrheal disease continue to grow

Columbus -- Public health officials say a contagious diarrheal disease continues to grow in central Ohio.

The Columbus Dispatch reports health officials say 423 cases of diagnosed cryptosporidiosis were reported as of Aug. 29. Columbus Public Health Spokesman Jose Rodriguez says the number of cases of the disease caused by a parasite increased nearly 70 percent in a few days.

The outbreak in Franklin and Delaware counties is being linked to recreational water facilities and possibly poor home hygiene.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says cryptosporidiosis is most commonly spread through water. It also can be transferred through human-to-human contact in homes, schools and daycare centers.

Symptoms include stomach pains, watery diarrhea and vomiting.

The Ohio Department of Health says the entire state typically logs about 400 cases a year.

-- Associated Press

State seeks help to create habitats for monarch butterflies

Columbus -- A group is looking for help creating new habitats for monarch butterflies to bolster the specie's dwindling population.

The Ohio Department of Transportation's Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative is holding its annual milkweed pod collection campaign that runs for two months starting Sept. 1.

Seeds will be used to establish new plantings for the butterfly.

The group is asking people to collect milkweed seed pods and drop them off at Soil and Water Conservation District offices located in counties around the state.

Officials say it's best to pick the pods when they're dry, gray or brown in color.

Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on milkweed pods. A key reason for the decline in monarch population has been a loss of habitat during the summer breeding season.

-- Associated Press

Malcolm X

postcards to woman sell for $56,000

Cleveland -- A set of 16 postcards from civil-rights activist Malcolm X to a woman in Cleveland has been sold at auction.

Nate D. Sanders Auctions says the handwritten cards from 1957, 1958 and 1964 went for $56,426.25 in Los Angeles last week.

The cards were written to Gloria Owens. She was the sister of Maceo X Owens, secretary at a Muhammad's Temple of Islam in New York where Malcolm X preached alongside Louis Farrakhan.

The postcards feature landmarks and depictions of African-American life from Malcolm X's travels in the U.S. and abroad. That included images that denigrated or stereotyped blacks. Sometimes he sent racist cartoons.

One note read: "Since I've seen what a mess can be made of things by narrow-minded people, I'm still traveling, trying to broaden my scope."

-- Associated Press