From USA TODAY Network and wire reports
Published 4:37 AM EST Nov 13, 2019
Montgomery: The state’s tourism agency has been honored for its work promoting civil rights travel in 14 U.S. states. The office was presented with an award recognizing its marketing campaign for the U.S. Civil Rights Trail during an industry trade show in London last week. The trail promotes museums, churches and other African American landmarks across the South. Promotional materials include video interviews with civil rights participants from the 1960s and photos of landmarks. Alabama oversaw the project in partnership with the Atlanta-based TravelSouth USA and the National Park Service. The trail includes sites from Kansas to Delaware, including all of the Deep South. The state won an award for best regional destination.
Anchorage: Warm temperatures and an abundance of food are keeping bears out of their dens in south-central Alaska. KTVA-TV reports the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is warning people to be aware of bears that have not begun to hibernate. Anchorage area biologist Dave Battle says the department has received regular reports of sightings of both brown and black bears. Battle says most black bears enter dens by October, but brown bears are sometimes still up in November. Battle says denning is a response to both cold weather and food availability, but it’s not cold enough, and bears still have food available. Battle says bears are trying to pack in every calorie they can.
Phoenix: The Arizona Sikh Community has donated 550 trees to low-income Phoenix neighborhoods. Local Sikh leaders gathered Sunday with Mayor Kate Gallego and other officials for a tree dedication ceremony. Planting of elm, Arizona ash and other drought-resistant trees has already started in some downtown neighborhoods. The gift worth about $68,000 is part of a worldwide observance of the anniversary of Sikh religion founder Guru Nanak’s birth in 1469. There were similar tree-planting campaigns in countries including Germany, Canada and Myanmar earlier this year. More trees are especially welcome in Phoenix, which suffers from an urban heat island effect that raises already high temperatures in areas covered by heat-retaining asphalt and concrete. Phoenix has planted thousands of trees in recent years in hopes of offsetting the effects.
Pine Bluff: Mold contamination is so high at an election office that officials are considering moving. Jefferson County Election Commissioner Stuart Soffer says air quality technicians found an election room with small mold spores measuring 73,300 particles per cubic foot, exceeding the acceptable levels of 2,500 particles per cubic foot. Technicians found large mold spores measuring 16,800 particles per cubic foot; the acceptable level is 200 particles per cubic foot. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports the mold is a health hazard and puts 150 voting machines at risk. Soffer said the county could be liable if it knowingly exposed people to mold. Mold can cause a stuffy nose, coughing or wheezing. Technicians recommended a $1,500 dehumidifier. County Judge Gerald Robinson, the CEO for the county government, says he’s exploring alternative buildings.
San Francisco: The head of a commuter train system apologized to a black rider who was detained and cited by police for eating a breakfast sandwich on a train platform after an outcry from people who assailed enforcement of a no-food rule as racist. More than two dozen people staged an “eat-in” at a Bay Area Rapid Transit station over the weekend, and others continue to protest the Nov. 4 encounter, which ended with a 31-year-old man, who was headed to work, in handcuffs and unable to leave until he had told BART police his name. BART officials said Monday that an independent auditor is investigating. Eating is not allowed in paid portions of stations to maintain cleanliness, but it shouldn’t be used to prevent people from getting to work on time, they said. Steve Foster says he knew eating was not allowed on trains but did not realize it was banned on platforms.
Denver: A state law banning the sale and transfer of large-capacity gun magazines has not stopped the sale and transfer of magazines that hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition. An undercover investigation by 9Wants to Know found examples of gun stores in Colorado either ignoring the law altogether or finding a loophole to get around the law. “It’s shocking to see that people are doing this,” said state Sen. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora. In 2013, a Democrat-controlled Legislature passed four comprehensive bills dealing with guns, including the bill sponsored by Fields banning magazines that hold more than 15 bullets. The bill, signed into law by then-Gov. John Hickenlooper, banned the sale, transfer and possession of a large-capacity magazine as of July 1, 2013.
Waterford: Environmental groups are planning to remove a 1970s dam that has blocked alewife herring from returning from the ocean to freshwater spawning grounds. The Day reports a recently announced $187,000 grant from the Long Island Sound Futures Fund will help pay for the removal of the dam in Alewife Cove along the Waterford-New London line. The grant was awarded to the Connecticut Fund for the Environment and Save the Sound, which are working on the project with the Alewife Cove Conservancy. The groups will be required to provide $128,000 in matching funds. The groups say the project will restore 3 miles of a migratory corridor that benefits alewife as well as sea lamprey and American eel. A timeline for the project has not been announced.
Wilmington: The Central YMCA downtown will end its housing program for the homeless next spring, cutting 41 guaranteed beds in the city and potentially relocating dozens of men. The beds are reserved for the chronically homeless, a group advocates consider to be the most vulnerable among homeless adults and the most challenging to help. Those who qualify can stay indefinitely. Their rooms are paid for by a $264,000 federal grant that the YMCA of Delaware this year declined to apply to renew. The current grant lasts until May. The YMCA and Housing Alliance Delaware, the nonprofit that coordinates shelter placements statewide, is finding ways for the current residents to stay in their rooms with other funding such as vouchers, to move toward paying rent like the YMCA’s other tenants or to be relocated to other housing.
District of Columbia
Washington: Authorities say a man was walking his 4-month-old pit bull when he was robbed of the puppy at gunpoint. News outlets report the dog named “L.A.” was stolen Saturday. A D.C. police statement says the man and L.A. were walking that afternoon when a vehicle slowed next to them, and the driver asked about buying L.A. The man refused, and the driver followed the pair. It says the driver then stopped the car and got out with a passenger, who pulled a handgun and told L.A.’s owner that “it’s our dog now.” The driver grabbed L.A. and fled in a burgundy Kia Forte. L.A. was wearing a blue collar at the time. A $1,000 is offered for information leading to an arrest.
Inverness: Controversy over a county commission blocking a library system from having a digital subscription to the New York Times has spilled over into the local tourism realm. The Citrus County Chronicle reports that people are canceling trips to Citrus County, and the repercussions are being felt as far abroad as London. John Pricher, director of the Citrus County Visitors Bureau, said as of Wednesday afternoon he’s received 10 anonymous and signed emails from tourists who all oppose county commissioners’ actions. In late October, commissioners discussed whether to buy the digital subscription but didn’t make a final decision. On Nov. 19, Citrus County Commissioners will decide whether to take the advice of library officials and spend $2,700 annually for a digital subscription to the paper.
Atlanta: Enrollment at the state’s public colleges and universities is rising again, led by its largest schools. The University System of Georgia reported Tuesday that total enrollment rose 1.5% in fall 2019 from fall 2018. More than 333,000 students are enrolled across the state’s 26 institutions. Among those schools, 11 showed growth, and 15 showed declines. The fastest-growing institution, proportionally, was Georgia Tech, where enrollment went up nearly 12% to 36,000. The Atlanta’s school 3,800-student gain made up more than three-quarters of all student gains statewide. Other schools showing large gains were Kennesaw State University, Middle Georgia State University and Georgia Gwinnett College. Atlanta Metropolitan State College saw enrollment drop the most, falling 16% to 1,844.
Honolulu: A public health study says Native Hawaiians experience fewer years of good health compared with other ethnic groups in the state. The study by University of Hawaii researchers published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health found Native Hawaiians have 14 fewer years of healthy life than other groups. The study based on a self-reported survey calculates the number of healthy years among the state’s indigenous people and those with white, Filipino, Japanese and Chinese heritages. The study finds Native Hawaiians have 62.2 years of healthy life expectancy, compared with 75.9 years for Chinese, 74.8 for Japanese, 73.3 for Filipinos, and 72.1 years for white Hawaii residents. The authors say the analysis provides a more complete estimate of population health than life expectancy studies.
Boise: Federal officials have released a final plan for five open-pit phosphate mines and reclamation work in eastern Idaho proposed by J.R. Simplot Co. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service released the jointly prepared final environmental impact statement Friday for the Dairy Syncline Mine Project about 14 miles east of Soda Springs. The five mines, disposal areas, tailing ponds and other mine workings would cover about 4.3 square miles. The two federal agencies are taking comments before making decisions. The area contains one of the nation’s most abundant deposits of phosphate ore that’s turned into fertilizer needed by farmers to grow food. The area also contains more than a dozen federal Superfund sites needing cleanup from past phosphate mining activities.
Chicago: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is giving a legal aid group $30,000 to educate farmworkers about and to do research on pesticides. The EPA said in a statement that the money going to Legal Aid Chicago will, among other things, help it survey corn-detasseling workers and fruit harvesters in Illinois on their knowledge of pesticide use. It says the goal is to improve the health of migrant farmworkers. Legal Aid Chicago says the state Department of Agriculture has received a record number of nearly 1,000 complaints in 2019 on alleged misuse of pesticides. It says that’s 10 times recent averages and illustrates the need for better education. The money going to Legal Aid Chicago is part of a series of grants nationwide for groups working on similar measures.
Indianapolis: The state is bringing an exhibition exploring the opioid crisis to its official museum early next year. The Indiana State Museum says “Fix: Heartbreak and Hope Inside our Opioid Crisis” aims to remove the shame and isolation surrounding opioid addiction. It will feature displays on the biology behind addiction, the history of health crises in America, and personal stories from addicts and their families. The Indiana Business Journal reports more than 1,700 people in Indiana died from drug overdoses in 2017. Most of those deaths were linked to opioid abuse. The exhibit will feature multimedia displays, hands-on installations and interactive artwork. One display will allow a visitor to enter a giant brain and watch how substance abuse affects it. The 7,000-square-foot exhibit will run for a year starting Feb. 1.
Fort Madison: A monument marking a battlefield where 23 soldiers died has been installed in Fort Madison. The granite monument put in place last week includes a history of the military post on one side and the soldiers’ names on another side. Andy Andrews of the North Lee County Historical Society and Friends of the Old Fort says the $14,000 cost was underwritten by donations through Friends of Old Fort Madison. A flagpole will be installed nearby. The Fort Madison Daily Democrat reports that Fort Madison, originally known as Fort Bellevue, was built by the U.S. Army in 1808 and abandoned in 1813. It was the location of the only War of 1812 battle west of the Mississippi.
Wichita: A cold front that froze much of the state set at least six records for low temperatures. The National Weather Service reports Wichita, Salina, Russell, Dodge City, Garden City and Medicine Lodge set low temperature records early Tuesday. The lowest temperature was in Garden City, which dropped to minus 1, breaking the record of 7 set in 2018. The highest temperature of the six cities was 8 in Wichita, which breaking the former record of 9. Wichita, Salina, Dodge City and Medicine Lodge broke records set in 1911. Much of Kansas experienced below-freezing temperatures after an arctic air mass moved from the Rocky Mountains to northern New England on Monday, with forecasters saying much of the affected region would see record-breaking cold temperatures Tuesday.
Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area: The war on feral hogs at Land Between the Lakes has escalated, with plans announced this week to shoot them on sight from helicopters. The winter campaign to eradicate feral hogs at the site also includes bait trapping and euthanasia, managed by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the U.S. Forest Service. Feral hogs are non-native and threaten visitor safety, cultural sites, and native plant and wildlife species, Land Between the Lakes officials say. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service began assisting the Forest Service with trapping in 2014 with success but not at a rate that keeps up with the hogs’ rapid growth. Feral hogs can have two litters per year averaging five-10 piglets. Those offspring can give birth to a new generation in less than a year, according to a release.
Baton Rouge: The state’s social services agency says 893 children in foster care were adopted over the past year. The Department of Children and Family Services says that’s the second-highest number of adoptions from foster care in a single year in state history, falling just below last year’s record of 912. The latest numbers are from the federal budget year that ran from Oct. 1, 2018, through Sept. 30. The department says the 893 children were adopted into 661 families. Of those families, 27% adopted more than one child, including 164 families who adopted siblings. First lady Donna Edwards hosted an adoption celebration with the families Thursday at the governor’s mansion.
Bucksport: A company that intends to create a salmon farm at a former mill site is altering the plan to avoid a 19th-century farm identified during an archaeological survey. Arthur Spiess from the Maine Historic Preservation Commission said Whole Oceans will change the planned locations of an auxiliary building and an access road in Bucksport. He told the Bangor Daily News that the historical significance of the farmstead “is undetermined.” Whole Oceans plans to start building the $180 million salmon farm next spring. It’ll be located on the former site of a paper mill. Spiess declined to identify the contractor who performed the archaeological survey or release the contractor’s report, saying the exact location of historical sites, which the report identifies, is confidential under state law.
Westover: Officials gathered over the weekend to celebrate Somerset County’s new technical high school that allows students to explore a whole host of career fields in a brand-new, state-of-the-art facility. Somerset County Technical High School opened its doors to students in September, but officials from the county, state legislators and Congressman Andy Harris’ office gathered Saturday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and to tour the facility, according to a press release. The new $42 million building serves about 400 students from grades 8-12 and teaches them about a number of career fields including automotive technology, biomedical scienes, information technology and more, the release says. The funds for the building were provided by the state and loans from the federal government. The building is also eco-friendly and energy efficient, including a “vegetated roof” in some areas to provide insulation.
Boston: Medical marijuana products are set to become exempt from the state’s four-month vaping materials ban. Suffolk Superior Court Judge Douglas Wilkins ruled a week ago that marijuana cultivated for medical use must be exempted from Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s ban starting Tuesday. Wilkins ruled that the ban can’t apply to marijuana card holders seeking to purchase cannabis vaping products. He said the ban as written undermines the state’s medical marijuana law. Officials said patients will be able to resume making purchases at noon Tuesday. A group representing medical marijuana patients argued that only the state Cannabis Control Commission can regulate marijuana products. Baker issued the emergency ban in September in response to lung illnesses attributed to use of e-cigarette products.
East Lansing: A new Michigan State University exhibit is built around a 20th-century guidebook that a generation of black motorists used during the segregation era to find places where they could safely sleep, eat, shop or find services while traveling. The exhibit for “The Negro Motorists’ Green Book” runs at the East Lansing school until the end of November. It will also introduce the guide’s creator, Victor H. Green. Green’s book listed 86 black-friendly Detroit businesses and five in Lansing from 1936 to 1966. The exhibit presents before-and-after pictures of the businesses, showing how they looked 50 to 80 years ago and today. The historical display follows the 2018 release of “Green Book,” an Oscar-winning film highlighting the guide that African Americans consulted when traveling in the South during the Jim Crow era.
Minneapolis: After completing coursework for her hectic senior year, statistics major Emilia Janik has an additional responsibility: sorting through multiple data sets to determine what more than 30,000 students at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities care most about on campus. As the solo research and data coordinator for the Minnesota Student Association, it is Janik’s job to work with student government to create surveys for the student body every semester. Usually, the work is completed by more than one person, but Janik is a one-woman show. The survey results help discover the issues students want to see changed or advocated for at the University, the Minnesota Daily reports. The latest survey, which MSA says is its best yet, received more than 3,000 responses on questions about grocery stores, off-campus living, environmental justice issues and freedom of speech, among others.
Real Life. Real News. Real Voices
Help us tell more of the stories that matterBecome a founding member
Oxford: The University of Mississippi says a lecture by a conservative journalist is back on after initially being canceled. The Oxford Eagle reports Daily Wire contributor Elisha Krauss will speak in the university’s student union Wednesday. The talk was originally set to be inside the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics, but Krauss said she was told by a professor that a policy mandated no ideological groups could host speakers there. The event is hosted by the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter, a conservative youth activism organization. Krauss tweeted about the cancellation last week. Hours later, the university responded on Twitter saying the decision to cancel was made by two individuals and wasn’t authorized by the administration. The school rescheduled it and affirmed its commitment to free speech.
St. Louis: A 12-year-old girl has died from injuries suffered last month when a St. Louis County patrol vehicle struck her. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports Akeelah “Ke Ke” Jackson had been in critical condition since she was hit Oct. 14 while crossing a street in Jennings. Her family’s attorney, Robert Merlin, says she died about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. County Police Sgt. Benjamin Granda has said the officer told police he was trying to get closer to a suspicious car to make a traffic stop and wasn’t using lights and sirens. The patrol vehicle reached a top speed of 59 mph on a stretch of road with a limit of 30 mph, although the exact speed at the time of impact wasn’t known.
Kalispell: Park officials in the state have closed public comment on a road management plan intended to help officials better handle increased visitation. The Flathead Beacon reports Glacier National Park officials will begin weighing comments as they attempt to mitigate crowds and congestion on Going-to-the-Sun Road. Park officials say the alpine highway plan was released in September after receiving more than 3 million visitors this year. Officials say the plan suggests expanding the shuttle service, implementing a partial parking permit system, improving and adding trails and bathrooms, and extending visitor hours in some locations. Some comments say the plan omits determining a carrying capacity for the Sun Road, raising concerns about the long-term solutions to crowding. A former park official says a plan limiting use would be a better-suited first step.
Lincoln: The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is planning construction of a reflection area for its Veterans’ Tribute project. The university said in a news release Monday that the area will run from the steps of the Military and Naval Science Building to the Coliseum. The $3.75 million project is part of an upgrade of the mall just east of Memorial Stadium. The fundraising goal through the University of Nebraska Foundation is $4.5 million, which will cover construction and create an endowment for maintenance. Words on steps in the reconfigured space will honor career moments and personal sacrifices of veterans. The tentative design will embody the concept of glass panels featured in the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial in Washington, D.C. Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in spring 2020.
Reno: Federal land managers have withdrawn more than 500 square miles of public land from a swath of eastern Nevada where oil and gas drilling leases go to auction this week after a judge blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to ease protection of sage grouse habitat. The acreage pulled from Tuesday’s scheduled sale covers more than half the lease area the Bureau of Land Management originally planned to auction. It roughly corresponds to priority habitat designated in a 2015 federal sage grouse plan completed under President Barack Obama for Nevada and northeastern California. The Trump land-use plans finalized in March had removed the most protective habitat designations across millions of acres. A federal judge temporarily blocked the rules last month because they could allow activity likely to harm the struggling bird species in seven Western states.
Portsmouth: A bridge has been replaced and rededicated to a World War II submarine crew member who died when the vessel sank in August 1944. George Laderbush, of Portsmouth, was a torpedoman’s mate about the USS Flier when it sank after striking a Japanese mine. Seascoastonline.com reports the Woodbury Avenue bridge over the Route 1 Bypass in the city was originally dedicated to Laderbush when it was built in 1949. But the plaque wasn’t in a prominent location. The bridge was closed two years ago and was replaced. The plaque was removed and refurbished and is being featured in a more visible area. Laderbush’s niece and nephew, Marga Coulp and George Laderbush, were guests of honor at the Veteran’s Day bridge rededication.
Toms River: Police say a convertible traveling at high speed went airborne and crashed into the second floor of a commercial building, killing both of the car’s occupants. Toms River police say the red Porsche Boxster went out of control just after 6:30 a.m. Sunday. The car hit the center median, struck an embankment and went airborne into the building. Police said two Toms River men, 22-year-old Braden DeMartin and 23-year-old Daniel Foley, were deceased when emergency responders arrived at the scene. Police said the structure, which was unoccupied at the time, had been deemed unsafe by a building inspector. Sgt. Vincent Padalino said the building, which is across from Hooper Avenue Elementary School, houses four businesses, including a counseling service and a real estate company.
Santa Clara Pueblo: Federal officials say a tribe will see an increase in federal disaster aid as it continues to recover from flooding that occurred several years ago. A significant portion of Santa Clara Pueblo’s watershed was wiped out by wildfire in 2011 and the flooding that followed. President Donald Trump recently authorized an increase in the level of funding for public projects undertaken as a result of flooding that occurred during the summer of 2012. Under the disaster declaration issued for the state in August 2012, the federal share for public assistance was 75% of total eligible costs. Trump’s order increases that to 90% for the pueblo. The tribe is in the midst of rehabilitating the Santa Clara Creek and surrounding areas by building erosion-control structures and replanting.
Albany: The state’s court system says it plans to expand the gender options on jury documents in an effort to be more inclusive of people who do not identify as male or female. State court spokesman Lucian Chalfen says the system aims to have the updated juror information card set for distribution by early January. Chalfen says the new categories will include female, male, transgender, nonbinary, intersex and other. He says the cards, which tell people when they must attend jury duty, only have male and female gender options right now. The court system is also changing up its juror questionnaire.
Raleigh: Education officials had to warn parents not to use Google to search for two schools because the results included explicit images. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports searches for Four Oaks Middle School and South Johnston High School over the weekend returned an “explicit image” in the top results. The newspaper described the image as “graphic and overtly sexual.” A search of the two websites Monday showed the offending images appear to have been removed. Johnston County Schools said it was working with the schools, law enforcement and Google to get the images taken down, and it asked faculty and staff to help remove the image by reporting it as inappropriate to Google.
Grand Forks: A break-in at a sorority house at the University of North Dakota has some students on edge. Police are looking for a man who broke into the Gamma Phi Beta house early Monday and took pictures of a woman who was sleeping. Senior Matthew Ely tells KVLY-TV the crime is “kind of weird, kind of scary” because it’s something that doesn’t happen very often on campus. Chloe Shelton, a freshman and sorority member, says she always walks with a group of people, especially at night. University administrators sent an alert to students after the crime occurred.
Columbus: Tree farmers are joining forces with the state to send a little holiday cheer to the troops overseas. The Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Ohio Christmas Tree Association are partnering on an effort that will ship more than 100 Christmas trees to military members stationed overseas. Growers will donate the trees, and state inspectors will make sure they are free of pests and disease. Both groups will work with volunteers Tuesday to wrap, load and ship the trees at the Ohio Department of Agriculture in Columbus. Each shipment will also include decorations provided by schoolchildren, churches and veterans’ groups.
Oklahoma City: A group working to reduce the state’s prison population is launching a new initiative petition that could lead to the release of hundreds more inmates. A group of business, political and religious leaders filed the constitutional ballot initiative Tuesday. The proposal would prohibit prosecutors from using previous felony convictions to enhance sentences in nonviolent cases. It would also allow people who already had such sentence enhancements to petition the courts for relief. Once its petition is finalized, the group will have 90 days to gather nearly 178,000 signatures from registered voters to place the proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot. The same group launched a successful initiative in 2016 that reduced criminal penalties and ultimately helped lead to the release of hundreds of inmates from prison last week.
Portland: A Portland State University study found tiny pieces of plastic in the vast majority of razor clams and oysters sampled along the state’s coast. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports up to 700,000 of the microscopic fibers are shed by yoga pants, fleeces and other active outerwear made of synthetic textiles during a wash. These fibers are in the wastewater from laundry machines that eventually winds up in the ocean. Some of the tiny plastic fibers could also come from derelict fishing gear. The study’s authors collected and sampled shellfish from 15 sites from Clatsop in the north to Gold Beach near the California border. Of the roughly 300 shellfish studied, all but two contained at least some microplastics. There was an average of 11 pieces of microplastic in each specimen.
Harrisburg: The family of a sick inmate who died inside a rural jail two years ago claims guards and medical professionals ignored and even ridiculed his distress but documented his agony. A federal lawsuit filed Friday by the mother of 40-year-old Shawn Kitchen blames Clinton County, jail officials and medical staff for mishandling what began as a urinary tract infection and led to a fatal kidney infection. The lawsuit claims Kitchen exhibited symptoms shortly after being jailed for an alleged probation violation and within three days was seen crying in his cell and unable to stand without assistance. It accuses medical and jail staff of responding to his complaints by putting him in a restraint chair and solitary confinement.
Providence: Brown University has announced plans to double the number of veterans it enrolls by changing admissions policies, increasing financial support and bolstering recruitment. The Ivy League university announced in a press release on Veterans Day that standardized test scores will be optional for veterans in the admissions process. The release indicates changes in financial aid will eliminate “all out-of-pocket costs” for undergraduate tuition and fees for veterans. “We owe an immense debt of gratitude to our veterans,” university President Christina Paxson says. The Providence Journal reports there are currently 21 undergraduate veterans at the school, out of about 7,000 undergraduates.
Clemson: Clemson University and WYFF 4 Greenville are partnering to create an on-campus satellite news bureau. The bureau gives Clemson students the chance to work alongside industry professionals. “Our students will have the opportunity to work alongside WYFF journalists in the bureau on campus and gain tremendous professional experiences doing that,” says Clemson University Department of Communications Chair Joseph Mazer. The bureau, housed at Hendrix Student Center next to the Student Media offices and studio, was unveiled Tuesday. WYFF 4 news director Bruce Barkley says the Clemson bureau won’t be a main fixture during the station’s newscasts but will be used by reporters and crew members while on assignment in the Clemson area. WYFF 4 sports reporters will be able to use the office as a home base during major sporting events.
Sioux Falls: Visiting and camping in the state’s parks will be a little more costly after legislators gave a proposed fee increase the final OK on Monday. The legislative Rules Review Committee agreed the process was complete for implementing the increased park entrance and camping fees, which was the final step for the proposal that began in September. Sen. Lance Russell, R-Hot Springs, was the sole opposition in the 5-1 vote. Beginning Jan. 1, an annual state park pass will cost $36, and a daily pass will cost $8. Prime campsites will cost $26, preferred campsites will cost $23, and modern campsites will cost $20. A new statewide $15 fee will begin for all non-electric, tent-only campsites. A seven-day motorcycle pass to Custer State Park will cost $20. Currently, an annual park pass costs $30, and a daily pass is $6, while the seven-day Custer motorcycle pass is $10, and campsites start at $17 for a modern campsite.
Lynchburg: The distillery that produces Jack Daniel’s whiskey is once again teaming up with a military support group to help service members and their families get home for the holidays. For the ninth year, the distillery is working with the Armed Services YMCA for the “Operation Ride Home” campaign. It provides financial assistance to active-duty junior-enlisted military members and their families to travel home during the holidays. Distillery officials say that since the campaign began, about 7,230 service members and their relatives have been assisted. Jack Daniel’s says it has again donated $100,000 to kick off the campaign. Military members have been able to travel to all 50 states thanks to the program.
El Paso: The makeshift memorial formed after the Aug. 3 mass shooting was completely removed Tuesday in anticipation of the reopening of the Cielo Vista Walmart. City officials say some materials will be preserved for historical purposes. A permanent memorial for the 22 killed in the shooting is being built by Walmart in the south end of the store. Construction crews could be seen building the memorial Tuesday morning. Some materials have been moved to a smaller memorial in Ponder Park. Staff from the El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso Museum of History and the Public Art Program, along with Zaragoza Rotary volunteers, began selecting items from the memorial Tuesday to take to Ponder Park. Erica Marin, a registrar at the El Paso Museum of History, says they selected a mix of items, from handmade ones like a string of paper cranes and wooden stars to religious items like rosaries and memorial wreaths.
Salt Lake City: City officials have bought more than 100 new hybrid sedans for the police department, but some have criticized the vehicle’s size. KUTV-TV reports some officers from the Salt Lake City Police Department have warned city leaders that the Ford Fusion Responder hybrid sedan is too small for use by officers or people they have in custody. Officers say the vehicle is a liability, citing concerns with safety in the event of a collision and lack of all-wheel drive in wintry conditions. City leaders say replacing police cruisers with hybrid models is more sustainable. Officers say the cars could still be used in other areas, but it doesn’t solve the patrol car problem. Officers say some cars are more than a decade old and have thousands of miles.
Montpelier: The state auditor says numerous questionable choices were made in the administration of the state’s remote worker program aimed at attracting new residents by paying them to move to the Green Mountain state. In a report released Tuesday, Auditor Doug Hoffer wrote that the program’s cost-effectiveness cannot be determined because it’s not known for certain if the grantees moved to Vermont because of the program. He also says the program has serious structural flaws by requiring applicants to prove their Vermont residency before applying. Hoffer writes that “spending taxpayer funds on programs of questionable value is bad enough,” and the problem is made worse by not spending that money “on programs with demonstrable and quantifiable long-term benefits.”
Richmond: An army of Confederate monuments dots the state’s landscape, but some of those statues could soon start coming down after Election Day gave Democrats control of the General Assembly for the first time in decades. Members of the new legislative majority say they plan to revive proposals to make it easier to remove the public displays honoring Civil War soldiers and generals in a state that was home to two Confederate capitals. Previous attempts to do so were quickly dispatched in the Republican-controlled General Assembly, in votes largely along party lines. Del.-elect Sally Hudson, a Democrat whose district includes Charlottesville, says she plans to reintroduce legislation her predecessor, David Toscano, sponsored, giving cities and counties the ability to remove Confederate monuments. Local governments are currently hamstrung by a 1904 state law.
Seattle: A new federal lawsuit aims to kill plans for building one of the world’s biggest methanol refineries along the Columbia River. Plans for the $2 billion refinery, shipping terminal and pipeline project in Kalama, Washington, are already stalled after a state board required further environmental review. Now conservation groups including Columbia Riverkeeper are suing in U.S. District Court in Tacoma. They said Tuesday that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did not consider the huge amount of greenhouse gases the project would emit or the effect on endangered orcas. The refinery would turn fracked gas from Canada into methanol, which would be shipped to China to make plastics. The project’s backer, Northwest Innovation Works, says the project would provide a cleaner source of plastics than coal-based methanol.
Charleston: West Virginians are being told to be on the lookout for an invasive insect. The state Department of Agriculture says in a news release that a small population of the spotted lanternfly was detected in the Eastern Panhandle community of Bunker Hill last month. The insects are devastating to trees and crops such as grapes and hops. They lay eggs in the fall on surfaces including vehicles, firewood, outdoor furniture and campers. That allows them to hitch a ride to new areas. Agriculture Commissioner Kent Leonhardt says protecting the fruit orchards and wineries in the Eastern Panhandle is a concern. The agency says landowners should inspect their property for lanternfly egg masses. The insect is native to China and likely arrived in North America on goods imported from Asia.
Madison: Gov. Tony Evers has signed an executive order designed to promote diversity and inclusiveness in state government. Evers signed the order at a state office building Tuesday surrounded by Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, members of his Cabinet, Democratic state lawmakers and others in his administration. The order requires state agencies to develop and implement equity and inclusion action plans. It also calls for creating and providing mandatory equity and inclusion training for all state agency employees. Evers is also creating a diversity and equity advisory council. He says the state is taking a proactive role in making make sure government employees feel empowered and heard in the workplace. Supporters say the effort will help address racial disparities in Wisconsin.
Cheyenne: An interim legislative committee has rejected a proposed bill to raise the state’s property tax. The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports that members of the Joint Revenue Interim Committee took the action during their meeting Monday in Cheyenne. The bill would have raised the tax rate on real and personal property from 9.5% to 11.5%, a jump that calculates to a roughly 20% increase in taxable property. Under the bill, minerals and industrial property would have been excluded from the increase. Proponents of the idea say the increase is essential to help the state deal with declining mineral industry revenue in the coming years. But opponents say raising the property tax could place an unfair burden on low-income people.
From USA TODAY Network and wire reports
Subscribe to the newsletter news
We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe