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More from the Appeal Newsroom

You will have to pardon me if I seem a little off; I was repeatedly violated this weekend ” by strangers.

I spent the weekend in San Francisco with the girlfriend. We ate good food, looked at cheap souvenirs and took more pictures than a baby photographer at Halloween.

So overall, not a bad three days ” aside from the repeated violations.

NEW ORLEANS ” As bells rang out the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall in New Orleans, residents paused from their grim rebuilding effort Wednesday to remember the dead and all their neighbors who are still unable to return.

Katrina was a powerful Category 3 hurricane when it hit the Gulf Coast the morning of Aug. 29, 2005, broke through levees in New Orleans and flooded 80 percent of the city.

By the time the last of the water dried up weeks later, more than 1,600 people across Louisiana and Mississippi were dead, and a shocked nation was looking at miles of wrecked homes, mud and debris from the worst natural disaster in its history.

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“We ring the bells for a city that is in recovery, that is struggling, that is performing miracles on a daily basis,” New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said at a groundbreaking ceremony for a memorial that will be the final resting place for more than two dozen still unidentified victims.

After he spoke, a large bell tolled a dozen times and a crowd rang hand-held bells for more than a minute to remember the victims.

“The saddest thing I’ve seen here is that there are 30 human beings who will be buried here one day that nobody ever called about,” said David Kopra, a volunteer from Olympia, Wash., holding back tears. “It says something to my heart. This city needs so much care.”

President Bush led a moment of silence at a recovering school in the Lower 9th Ward ” a predominantly black, low income area that was all but obliterated by the storm.

“Better days are ahead,” Bush said as he sought to assure residents that his administration had not forgotten the region and would make good on the promises of aid.

“We’re still paying attention. We understand,” the president said.

Protesters, remembering the government’s slow response in the storm’s immediate aftermath, planned to march from the Lower 9th Ward to Congo Square to spread their message that the government has also failed to help people return.

“People are angry and they want to send a message to politicians that they want them to do more and do it faster,” said the Rev. Marshall Truehill, a Baptist pastor and community activist. “Nobody’s going to be partying.”

The anniversary was a reminder of the desperation that filled New Orleans’ flooding neighborhoods in the days after Katrina hit. Images of dead bodies, people in the flood zones calling from their roofs and waiting days for help, and of the thousands of evacuees packed into the grimy and damaged Superdome, are still fresh in many minds.

Politicians have used the date to pitch policy. Scholars and activists have released a steady stream of reports on the state of recovery.

An international people’s tribunal, spearheaded by legal activists trying to build a case under international law accusing the United States of human rights abuses during and after Katrina, has also been convened to take testimony from victims.

In Gulfport, Miss., Gov. Haley Barbour urged people to see the positive. About 13,000 of his state’s families are still living in FEMA trailers, but that’s down from a peak of 48,000, and he expects they could all be out of the temporary housing in a year.

Biloxi, Miss., Mayor A.J. Holloway said he was grateful for how far his city had come.

“God has been good to Biloxi and its people of the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” Holloway said. “We have a new outlook on life and a new appreciation for what’s really important in life. It’s not your car or your clothes or your possessions. It’s being alive and knowing the importance of family and friends and knowing that we all have a higher power.”

In New Orleans, a candlelight vigil was planned in Jackson Square at dusk Wednesday, right around the time the French Quarter last year started getting tipsy with street parties and residents choosing to remember the anniversary in their own unique way.

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Associated Press writers Stacey Plaisance, Mary Foster and Alan Sayre in New Orleans and Becky Bohrer in Biloxi contributed to this report.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) ” The eBay auction for 22 Michael Vick football cards, chewed up and slobbered on by two Missouri dogs, ended Wednesday as the winning bidder dished out $7,400 ” with the money expected to be donated to the Humane Society.

The success of that auction, with 31 different bidders, created a craze of 25 other postings this week offering torn up cards featuring the disgraced NFL superstar.

But so far, the original post from Rochelle Steffen, of Cape Girardeau, Mo., has been the only auction to attract droves of bidders.

Steffen gave Monte, her 6-year-old Weimaraner, and Roxie, her Great Dane puppy, every Vick card she owned to destroy. The result: The cards worth $1-to-$10 were crumpled, crimped, chewed, torn and generally in a sorry state. Some even had corners missing.

“When I started this, I only expected to get $100 for a local shelter,” Steffen told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “But it’s received so much attention. It’s for such a good cause.”

The gnawed cards were the most expensive Vick items on eBay, with well-preserved rookie cards, autographed jerseys and other collectibles selling for far less.

Vick pleaded guilty to a federal dogfighting charge this week. He will be sentenced Dec. 10.

LAS VEGAS (AP) ” Two teens were arrested and an elementary school was locked down for several minutes after a shot was fired during a fight near the campus, authorities said.

No one was hurt by the gunshot, which police said was fired into the air about 2:10 p.m. Tuesday outside Hewetson Elementary School east of downtown Las Vegas.

About seven students believed to be 13 to 16 years old from other schools were involved in the scuffle near Bonanza Road and Bruce Street, and the two students at the center of the confrontation were detained, said Officer Jose Montoya, a Las Vegas police spokesman. Names were not made public.

The scuffle appeared to have stemmed from a dispute during the last school year, Clark County school police Lt. Ken Young said. Classes resumed on Monday.

A gun was not recovered, authorities said.

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Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, http://www.lvrj.com

About Town ” Young Business Professionals meet from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at D’Vine Wine, 200 N. Stewart St. A networking of young professionals. Call 720-7677 or 342-8089.

Also, last Carson City Farmers Market ” 3:30-7 p.m. at Pony Express Pavilion, Mills Park. Features doezens of vendors with fresh produce, flowers, crafters and food and refreshment. Call 887-2290.

For other events in the Carson City area, visit http://www.nevadaappeal.com/calendar

Today’s weather calls for partly cloudy skies with isolated showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Light winds becoming south up to 10 mph in the afternoon and highs from 88-98 degrees.

Tonight, partly cloudy with west winds 10-15 mph, in the evening becoming light. Overnight lows in the low- to mid-60s.

On the road ” – Gas pipeline work continues on the east and west sides of Fairview Drive, from Fifth Street to Butti Way. Intermittent traffic controls for heavy equipment; drive with caution.

– Due to the construction of the new Sheriff’s Administration Building, Harbin Avenue is closed to traffic between Musser and Second streets. This closure will remain in effect for the duration of the construction which is estimated to be completed in September.

Today’s weather calls for partly cloudy skies with isolated showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Light winds becoming south up to 10 mph in the afternoon and highs from 88-98 degrees.

Tonight, partly cloudy with west winds 10-15 mph, in the evening becoming light. Overnight lows in the low- to mid-60s.

On the road ” Gas pipeline work continues on the east and west sides of Fairview Drive, from Fifth Street to Butti Way. Intermittent traffic controls for heavy equipment; drive with caution.

– Due to the construction of the new Sheriff’s Administration Building, Harbin Avenue is closed to traffic between Musser and Second streets. This closure will remain in effect for the duration of the construction which is estimated to be completed in September.

For events in the Carson City area, visit http://www.nevadaappeal.com/calendar