Fugitive pig, proverb library, sodium warnings: News from around our 50 states

From USA TODAY Network and wire reports, USA TODAY

Alabama

Guntersville: People in a rural area are raising concerns about the use of “chicken sludge” as fertilizer on farm fields as the state considers new rules on how such products can be used. Julie Lay says the sludge from a poultry processing plant created an overpowering stench when it was applied to a neighbor’s farm fields. Lay says flies also invaded her property in Marshall County. Al.com reports she says the material had a “crust” and chicken feathers. Lay was among several residents who spoke out recently at an Alabama Department of Environmental Management public hearing. The agency is considering new rules on how biosolids – solid material left over from wastewater treatment operations and chicken processing plants – can be used as a fertilizer.

Alaska

Homer: Two young harbor seals are back where they belong after being rehabilitated through the Alaska SeaLife Center’s Wildlife Response Program and released into Kachemak Bay. Dozens of people gathered at Bishop’s Beach on Sept. 5 to watch as the two seals – Ugashik “Uggy” and Charley Fritz – were released into the waters of Kachemak Bay in Homer by SeaLife Center staff and volunteers, the Homer News reports. Uggy was found neglected by her mother May 29 on a beach near McNeil Canyon, and Fritz was found neglected by his mother on a beach near Homer on May 12, according to an information sheet provided by the SeaLife Center. At that time, both were estimated to be only a week to two weeks old, says Jane Belovarac, curator for the Wildlife Response Program.

Arizona

Phoenix: Residents with overdue library books might want to wait a bit before bringing back their borrowed copies of the current bestsellers. Starting in November, Phoenix’s public library system will join a growing number of libraries around the United States that have dropped overdue book fees, becoming the nation’s largest metropolis to dump the fines. Phoenix City Librarian Rita Hamilton said the unanimous City Council decision would allow the system comprised of 17 libraries to ensure “that access to our resources is as equitable as possible.” The Phoenix system has been charging 20 cents per item per day, which can add up quickly into dollars owed, an extra expense some families cannot afford. Phoenix’s move is part of a worldwide trend by libraries to eliminate fines the American Library Association considers “a form of social inequality.”

Arkansas

Little Rock: The state’s attorney general is seeking to move lawsuits challenging a measure giving the prison director authority to determine an inmate’s competency to be executed to federal court. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge on Thursday filed notice to move the lawsuits by death row inmates Bruce Ward and Jack Greene from Jefferson County Circuit Court. The state Supreme Court in November struck down an earlier version of the mental competency law. Legislators this year approved a reworked version of the law, and the inmates are seeking to have it overturned. Rutledge’s filing says federal courts have jurisdiction because the inmates argue the new law violates the U.S. Constitution. Arkansas has no executions scheduled and lacks the drugs needed for its lethal injection process.

California

Fresno: California authorities have captured an emu after the flightless fugitive led officers down a highway. The Fresno Bee reported Friday that the bird was apprehended following a brief pursuit by California Highway Patrol officers. Authorities say officers responded to a report that an ostrich was wandering along the right-hand shoulder of U.S. Highway 99 northwest of Fresno. Authorities say Madera County Animal Services took the bird into custody uninjured. Officers say they do not know whether the emu escaped a nearby farm or a moving vehicle. Animal experts say the flightless native Australian birds can sprint at up to 30 mph and trot quickly for longer distances. Emus are the second-largest birds in the world behind ostriches.

Colorado

Boats form a circle in the Ships Wheel at Horsetooth Reservoir on Saturday.

Fort Collins: More than 40 boats gathered at Inlet Bay Marina on Friday and linked together to form a circle, planning on remaining in formation until Sunday. The event, known as the “Ships Wheel,” is a yearly tradition for the boaters of Horsetooth Reservoir to celebrate the end of summer together. The event was created by Inlet Bay Marina owners Glen and Nancy Werth. “It’s an end-of-year celebration. It’s definitely the highlight of the year,” says Anthony Robbins, a Ships Wheel participant. Robbins says those participating strive to create a safe, positive and family-friendly atmosphere in the reservoir, which he says hasn’t always had the best reputation. During the event, those in the wheel hang out on their boats all weekend, eating and sleeping.

Connecticut

Hartford: A group of prison inmates has asked a federal judge for bottled drinking water, alleging the tap water at the Osborn Correctional Institution is tainted with bacteria found in sewage. The inmates are seeking a temporary injunction as part of a larger lawsuit that accuses the state of exposing them to hazardous materials such as PCBs and asbestos. They allege numerous inmates have become ill with bacteria known as helicobacter pylori, which is typically water-borne and caused by sewage entering the water supply. Affidavits filed by 38 inmates and former inmates at Osborn described discolored water that smells of feces and contains floating particles. They also say prison staff routinely bring in bottled water to drink and provide to therapy dogs. The state denies the allegations.

Delaware

Wilmington: Three fatal shootings in less than 12 hours in the state’s largest city mean it has already surpassed its number of dead or injured shooting victims for all of 2018. Wilmington Police report two men ages 24 and 26 were shot Friday morning in a residential area and later died. Police say earlier Friday a 36-year-old woman also was shot and died. Their names haven’t been released, and the deaths are under investigation. The woman was the 78th shooting victim of the year, matching the number recorded in all of last year. The total was exceeded with the shootings later Friday. This year 16 people have been killed in Wilmington shootings, compared to 19 in all of 2018.

District of Columbia

Washington: Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenager who helped spark a youth-driven push for climate change, has come to Washington. On Friday, Thunberg and about 1,500 protesters, many of them schoolchildren, marched and chanted near the White House. Thunberg, who is 16, gained international attention by inspiring protests and school strikes demanding immediate actions to avert environmental catastrophe. Her activism has drawn a passionate following of children essentially challenging their elders to take action. Last month, Thunberg crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a solar-powered boat, landing in New York City on Aug. 28. She is in Washington for several days of rallies and lobbying efforts in advance of a global climate strike declared for Sept. 20.

Florida

Wellington: It took 22 years, but a missing man’s remains were finally found thanks to someone who zoomed in on his former neighborhood with Google satellite images and noticed a car submerged in a lake. Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Teri Barbera says the skeletal remains were of William Moldt, who went missing in 1997. Barbera says a previous resident of Wellington was checking his former neighborhood on Google Earth when he saw what looked like a car in the lake. The former resident contacted a current homeowner, who used a drone to confirm it was a white car. Deputies then found the remains. The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System says Moldt went to a nightclub in November 1997 but didn’t appear intoxicated when he left alone.

Georgia

Decatur: U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson says he’s demanding answers from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs after a woman says her father was bitten more than 100 times by ants at a veterans’ home in Decatur. Isakson says he was horrified and “downright maddened” after Laquna Ross told WSB-TV she found her father, Joel Marrable, with swollen, red bumps all over his body when she visited him at the nursing home near Atlanta last week before his death. Marrable, an Air Force veteran, had cancer. The Atlanta Veterans Affairs Health Care System said in a statement that it was told the ants were affecting patients. It said all of the bedrooms at the Eagle’s Nest Community Living Center have been cleaned, and a pest control company is monitoring conditions.

Hawaii

Honolulu: Gov. David Ige says he and other state employees received death threats amid the heated debate over building a giant telescope on the state’s highest peak. Ige disclosed the threats as he and his Cabinet members held a news conference Friday asking people on all sides of the issue to be careful with their language. Attorney General Clare Connors played a voicemail recording in which an unidentified man told a state employee, “I hope you die.” She showed reporters a social media post offering a $5,000 reward for the identity of a law enforcement officer involved in last week’s demolition and removal of a small wooden house built by demonstrators near the camp where they are blocking the telescope’s construction. “I hope that we can all agree that putting a bounty on the head of law enforcement officer is disturbing and deeply concerning,” Connors said.

Idaho

Boise: A panel of lawmakers formed to monitor how federal laws affect the state’s sovereignty and report back to the Legislature has created three subcommittees to examine federal lands, education, and health and welfare. Republican Rep. Jason Monks, co-chair of the Committee on Federalism, says the federal lands subcommittee is not a repeat of an interim committee from several years ago that ran up big attorney fees while trying to find a way for the state to take control of federal lands. He says the purpose of the Committee on Federalism created by the Legislature earlier this year is to find ways for the state to work more effectively with the federal government, and the breadth of that challenge is better met by forming subcommittees.

Illinois

Oregon: The first steps in repairing a century-old landmark known as the Black Hawk statue are finally underway. Workers began erecting scaffolding last Monday around the 48-foot-tall statue in Lowden State Park in northern Illinois’ Ogle County. Sauk Valley Media reports Quality Restorations Inc. of Wood Dale was scheduled to begin the repair work last spring, but cold, wet weather thwarted that work. The 108-year-old monument has spent most of the past five years beneath a plastic covering to protect it from harsh weather. State budget troubles delayed a promised $350,000 matching state grant for the repairs, but that funding was finally secured over a year ago. The Black Restoration team obtained the remaining $225,000 needed for the project. The cost of repairs will approach $1 million.

Indiana

Indianapolis: The state is getting a $2.1 million federal grant to explore ways of reducing its high rate of pregnancy-related deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will provide the State Department of Health with more than $420,000 a year for five years to improve Indiana’s ability to collect data about pregnancy-related deaths and devise ways to combat them. The Indianapolis Business Journal reports the state has the nation’s third-highest rate of deaths of women while pregnant or within one year of their pregnancy’s end. The national maternal-mortality rate is 20.7 deaths per 100,000 births, but Indiana’s rate is 41.4 deaths per 100,000 births, according to the United Health Foundation. Only two other states scored worse: Georgia and Louisiana.

Iowa

Bill

Red Oak: The Coyote Johnson Muscle Car Auction at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds on Saturday marked the event of the summer in southwestern Iowa, the big reveal of a storied collection of cars the public had long awaited. The massive event saw an entire community come out to witness a newly minted legend and see up close the treasure trove of classic American machines that Bill “Coyote” Johnson had kept hidden away for decades. The existence of Johnson’s hoard, more than a hundred in total, was revealed in April. Its existence was a revelation, a previously unknown monument to mid-century auto engineering. VanDerBrink Auctions sold off nearly 100 vehicles in about three hours.

Kansas

Hutchinson: The Kansas State Fair will reevaluate its gun policy this fall because concert security concerns could conflict with state law that allows gun owners to carry their weapons openly. The Wichita Eagle reports that the fair had to screen concertgoers at the Sept. 7 Billy Currington performance because he required it in his contract, and the show was delayed while everyone and their bags were checked. Fair Manager Robin Jennison says the fair will likely have to employ that kind of security more often if it wants to continue booking top acts because such requirements are becoming common.

Kentucky

Frankfort: The state’s chief justice says the drug court program has failed to keep up with surging demand for its treatment services while the state struggles with addiction woes. Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. told lawmakers Friday that he’ll seek funding to expand drug courts. He told a legislative panel that drug courts and similar specialty courts are serving fewer than 2,500 people at a time when Kentucky faces its worst drug epidemic in history. Minton says that’s not even “scratching the surface of the need.” Drug courts provide court-supervised treatment so people can stay out of jail. Participants take part in counseling and education programs and must undergo drug tests.

Louisiana

New Orleans: Two Swiss women have recreated Homer Simpson’s gourmandizing tour of the Big Easy, snarf for snarf, finger-wiggle for finger-wiggle. Biz New Orleans reports it took Janine Wiget, of Zurich, and Katrin von Niederhausern, who now lives in Stockholm, a week to duplicate the segment, which covers 54 restaurants in 1 minute, 27 seconds. The side-by-side video created by the 30-year-old illustrators and graphic designers has attracted more than 1 million views since it was uploaded Aug. 23. The women duplicate every action and camera angle in the sequence from “Lisa Gets the Blues,” which first aired April 22, 2018. Tourism officials are delighted. New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp. president and CEO Mark Romig says it’s priceless publicity.

Maine

Bangor: A man who caused a standoff that ended with him being shot three times and his home destroyed by a police explosive has sued law enforcement officials. Dixmont resident Michael Grendell argued police didn’t wait for a negotiator trained to handle mental health crises and failed to obtain a proper warrant to use a bomb. The Bangor Daily News reports 62-year-old Grendell sued Wednesday in federal court in Bangor. Eighteen state police members and one member of the attorney general’s office are defendants. A spokesman for the attorney general’s office declined to comment on the lawsuit. Grendell filed a notice in December saying he would seek $120 million in damages. Last year, he was sentenced to probation and a suspended jail term on charges including criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon.

Maryland

Annapolis: A state panel on school construction has approved more than $13 million for portable air conditioning systems in Baltimore County schools. The money approved by the Interagency Committee on School Construction on Thursday will bring portable air conditioning systems to four of the county’s seven schools that still don’t have air conditioning: Dulaney High School, Lansdowne High School, Bedford Elementary School and Catonsville Center for Alternative Studies. Comptroller Peter Franchot, who has pushed for years as a member of the Board of Public Works to bring air conditioning to schools that don’t have it, says there’s finally some good news, on a day when some schools were closed in the Baltimore area due to excessive heat.

Massachusetts

Plymouth: The state has received more than half a million dollars in federal grant money to help workers at the now-shuttered Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station find new jobs. U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey and U.S. Rep. William Keating, all Democrats, said the grant will help the state provide services like career planning, comprehensive assessments, resume writing and job placement to workers who were laid off earlier this year. The Plymouth plant, which produced electricity for 46 years, employed about 580 people in May. That number is expected to be about 270 by March 2020, according to plant operators. Last month the plant was sold to a private company for decommissioning. It was the state’s last nuclear power plant.

Michigan

Detroit: The Tidal streaming service has selected five Motor City-based artists as the first winners of a million-dollar grant program to boost music careers. The platform announced Friday that Tidal Unplugged’s inaugural group consists of Emma Guzman, Laurie Love, Olivia Millerschin, Raye Williams and Sam Austins. They were chosen among thousands of applicants. The winners will get, among other things, a monthly stipend, professional training, access to recording and creative resources, and promotional support. They also will produce three songs each that will premiere on the streaming service and perform at a showcase later this year. Tidal officials say they aim to expand the program to other areas of the country.

Minnesota

Duluth: Authorities say a fire that destroyed a historic synagogue doesn’t appear to have been a hate crime. Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken said Sunday that 36-year-old Matthew James Amiot, of Duluth, was arrested Friday in the fire last week at the Adas Israel Congregation, in the city’s downtown. Tusken says he has no reason to believe the fire was a hate crime, although the investigation is ongoing. Police are recommending that prosecutors charge Amiot with first-degree arson. Duluth fire Chief Shawn Krizaj says the blaze started outside the synagogue and spread into the building. No accelerants were found. According to its website, the Adas Israel Congregation is an Orthodox/High Conservative Jewish congregation with 75 members. Eight of 14 Torah scrolls, the holy books of Judaism, that were in the synagogue were saved.

Mississippi

Hattiesburg: The wood-frame home where a washerwoman lived as she scrimped to create a scholarship fund has been moved to a museum district honoring African American accomplishments. The Hattiesburg home of the late Oseola McCarty was placed in a tax sale in 2017. The Hattiesburg American reports the local convention commission bought it. Late last month, the home was moved a few blocks from its original site. It will be restored and turned into a museum. McCarty attended school until the sixth grade and washed clothes for a living, saving money to help students needing financial assistance. She was 91 when she died in 1999. She left about $150,000 to the University of Southern Mississippi, and the Oseola McCarty Endowed Scholarship was created.

Missouri

Independence: A worker has found what’s believed to be a Civil War cannonball lodged in a Kansas City area tree that he was hired to take down. KMBC-TV reports the small cannonball fell out as the worker was chopping the diseased tree on the grounds of the Overfelt-Johnston house. The house was used as a hospital during the First Battle of Independence, which was fought across the street in 1862. Fourteen people were killed and 18 wounded as nearly 800 mounted Confederates overpowered the 350 men of the town’s federal garrison. Property owner Randall Pratt says a cannonball also was found when the property was restored in 1980. That cannonball, which had been shot into a wall, is in a county museum. Pratt plans to keep the latest find at the home.

Montana

Male sage grouse strut their stuff during a courtship dance northwest of Winnett, Mont.

Billings: The state’s greater sage grouse population has fallen more than 40% over the past three years, mirroring recent declines across the U.S. West for the bird species for which federal officials rejected protections in 2015. State wildlife officials estimate there were about 44,000 ground-dwelling sage grouse in Montana this spring. Sage grouse once numbered in the millions but have seen their range that stretches across portions of 11 states diminished by oil and gas drilling, wildfires, grazing and other pressures. Weather can affect populations from year to year, and wildlife officials say those short-term cycles are most directly responsible for the recent declines. Montana’s drop from almost 78,000 grouse in 2016 was traced to an extreme drought in eastern parts of the state in 2017, says Catherine Wightman with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Nebraska

Lincoln: The state government collected more tax revenue than expected in August. The Department of Revenue announced Friday that the state received a net total of $462 million last month, which is nearly 5% higher than its official forecast of $441 million. The department says net sales-and-use and miscellaneous taxes came in higher than expected, as did net corporate and individual income taxes. Net tax collections are also higher than expected in the current fiscal year that began July 1. The forecast was set in April by the Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board. The board’s projections help lawmakers and the governor determine how much money they have available for the state budget.

Nevada

Las Vegas: An innkeeper selling tickets for campers this week in a tiny desert town is being threatened with legal action by the originator of the “Storm Area 51” internet hoax over the “Alienstock” name. A Las Vegas attorney representing 20-year-old Matty Roberts sent a cease-and-desist letter Thursday telling Little A’Le’Inn owner Connie West to pull the plug on events West says she’s still planning for Thursday through Sunday. West didn’t immediately respond Friday to telephone and email messages. She told the Las Vegas Review-Journal she’s still “full steam ahead” with vendors, merchandise and musical acts. Roberts broke with West last week and says he’ll appear at a party venue in downtown Las Vegas on Thursday – the night before the Life is Beautiful music and art festival begins a few blocks away.

New Hampshire

Concord: State education officials are moving ahead with Gov. Chris Sununu’s plan to help students earn high school diplomas and college degrees at the same time, at no cost to their families. Sununu, a Republican, first announced his goal for the New Hampshire Career Academy program in January. Modeled after a privately funded partnership between Great Bay Community College and Spaulding High School in Rochester, the new statewide program also provides participants with guaranteed job interviews. Sununu signed an agreement Friday with the state’s education commissioner and chancellor of the community college system to set up the program. Commissioner Frank Edelblut said the program creates a new pathway for students, who will get career-ready educations and a head start in the job market.

New Jersey

Atlantic City: The governor has signed a bill allowing the Golden Nugget casino to accept bets on most National Basketball Association games. Texas billionaire Tilman Fertitta owns the casino – and also owns the NBA’s Houston Rockets. When New Jersey lawmakers legalized sports betting last year, a provision in the law banned team owners from placing or accepting bets on any games involving their sport. It was directly aimed at the Golden Nugget and enacted over protests that Nevada regulators allow Fertitta’s casinos to take bets on pro basketball games as long as they don’t involve the Rockets. The bill Murphy signed Friday brings New Jersey in line with regulations in Nevada and Mississippi, which also allow Fertitta’s casinos to handle NBA bets that don’t involve the Rockets.

New Mexico

Albuquerque: Health officials say the state had more suicides in 2018 than any other year in at least two decades. According to data provided by the state’s Department of Health, 535 people died by suicide last year. That a rate of 24.8 per 100,000 residents and represents a 6.7% increase over the state’s 2017 suicide rate. Mental health experts told the Albuquerque Journal the 2018 numbers represent the highest suicide rate on record in New Mexico since the state began consistently keeping track in 1999. According to an analysis released by the Violence Policy Center, New Mexico had the fourth-highest suicide rate in the nation in 2017 at 23.51 per 100,000 people. Authorities say there’s an association with firearm ownership and firearms use and deaths connected to suicide.

New York

New York: Gov. Andrew Cuomo says a multimillion-dollar initiative will restore aquatic habitats around the state. Cuomo announced the program Saturday as officials released thousands of juvenile shellfish at New York City’s Hudson River Park. The governor says the “Revive Mother Nature” initiative is the most aggressive in the country and will reintroduce millions of oysters to New York waterways. Cuomo also announced $2.8 million to restore marine habitat in New York Harbor and to expand the Soundview Park oyster reef in the Bronx River. Saturday’s event was part of an effort to create 4 acres of enhanced habitat off the Hudson River Park for 5 million to 10 million oysters. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul says the program is designed to combat climate change and advance the state as a world-class fishing destination.

North Carolina

Pittsboro: Police officers and barricades were in place as people for and against the removal of a Confederate monument stood on opposite sides of the street Saturday. Media outlets reported demonstrations were helds near the Chatham County Courthouse, where the monument has stood for more than a century. Chatham’s commissioners voted 4-1 in August to ask a United Daughters of the Confederacy chapter to have a plan by Oct. 1 to remove the statute. The county let the UDC install the statute in 1907. Without a plan, the county will declare it a public trespass by Nov. 1, making it eligible for removal. Monument supporter Barry Isenhour said the statue respects American veterans, but opponent Robert Finch said it was installed to intimidate the black community.

North Dakota

Fargo: A highly publicized North Dakota Air National Guard flight to bring an infant’s heart to a waiting transplant patient in California more than 30 years ago is set to be showcased. The flight of the F-4 Phantom, a supersonic fighter, took place in December 1986 after a Lear jet flown from California to Fargo to pick up the heart broke down in cold weather. The flight took place on emergency orders from North Dakota Gov. George Sinner, who died last year. The pilot, current North Dakota Air National Guard Brig. Gen. Bob Becklund, flew the golf ball-sized organ to Stanford Medical Center. KFGO radio reports that the heart recipient, now 33, lives in the San Francisco area. The “Heart Flight” display will be unveiled this month at the Fargo Air Museum.

Ohio

Sandusky: The state’s U.S. senators want Congress to rename a NASA research facility after astronaut Neil Armstrong. Republican Rob Portman and Democrat Sherrod Brown introduced legislation Thursday to honor the Ohio native by renaming the NASA Plum Brook Station in Sandusky. Portman says he raised the idea with Armstrong in 2012, a year before the astronaut’s death. The senator says Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, wasn’t comfortable with the attention it would bring. Portman says he has since spoken with NASA and Armstrong’s family, and they support renaming the facility. Brown says it would be a fitting tribute given Armstrong’s contributions as a test pilot and astronaut.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy talks to T. Boone Pickens at Oklahoma State's 2018 Pro Day in Stillwater, Okla.

Stillwater: A public memorial is planned at Oklahoma State University to honor the late T. Boone Pickens, who donated hundreds of millions of dollars to his alma mater during his lifetime. Pickens died Wednesday in Dallas at age 91. OSU says the university will honor Pickens on Sept. 25 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater. Pickens said last month in his annual letter to Oklahoma State fans that he checked with the school and learned he had donated $652 million over the years, with much of it going to athletic facilities. The school’s football stadium was named for Pickens in 2003 after he made a $70 million donation, which included $20 million set aside for a stadium expansion. A funeral service is also planned for Thursday in Dallas, where Pickens lived.

Oregon

Salem: The 2020 election season is officially underway in the state. Thursday marked the first day for major party or nonpartisan candidates to file declarations of candidacy with the secretary of state’s office. One of the top state races is for that role, secretary of state, the second-highest statewide office after the governor and currently held by a Republican. Filing their papers as Democratic candidates were Jamie McLeod-Skinner, who in 2018 unsuccessfully tried to unseat Rep. Greg Walden, who is from a U.S. congressional district that voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump in 2016; and state Sen. Mark Hass. Secretary of State Bev Clarno urged Oregonians to run for an office. Her office said there have been few candidates in recent elections, which means voters have not had many options.

Pennsylvania

Philadelphia: A new rule has gone into effect in the city requiring chain restaurants to post warning labels next to menu items that are high in salt. Warnings will be shown for any menu item that has more than 2,300 milligrams, which is the recommended sodium total for an entire day. Restaurants with 15 or more locations were required to post the warnings under the new regulation by Saturday. The legislation was signed by Mayor Jim Kenney last fall after City Council passed the requirement in 2018. Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley says the labels can help customers make healthier food choices. Officials say Philadelphia has one of the highest rates of hypertension and premature deaths due to heart disease. Eating too much sodium plays a big factor.

Rhode Island

Providence: The state’s congressional delegation says a federal infrastructure grant will help replace and upgrade 11 bridges on a busy stretch of Interstate 95. The delegation visited the Northbound Providence Viaduct on Friday to celebrate the $60.3 million from the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America Grant Program. U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee member, helped design the program to meet Rhode Island’s need for funding for large infrastructure investments. The Rhode Island Democrat says a 55-year-old viaduct will be transformed into modern throughway. It carries about 220,000 vehicles daily. Construction is scheduled for late next year. Financing will come from several federal and state sources.

South Carolina

Columbia: This little piggy should have stayed home. The State reports that for the fourth time, Leroy – a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig – wandered over to Brennan Elementary School in Columbia, leading officials to slap McGregor Wallace with citations for owning a pig within city limits and having a fugitive pet. Wallace is scheduled for a court appearance in October. Wallace says Leroy is his emotional support animal meant to help him deal with PTSD from domestic trauma. Wallace says he got Leroy several months ago to replace a standard pig that grew too big. He says Leroy is clever and knows how to open the home’s gate when Wallace isn’t home. The pig also can open the refrigerator. The 7-month-old swine is now at Columbia’s animal shelter.

South Dakota

Billboards will be going up in Sioux Falls, Rapid City and Pierre protesting the new state law requiring

Sioux Falls: An organization promoting the separation of church and state is putting up billboards in three cities to protest the state’s new law that requires all public schools to post the motto “In God We Trust” in a prominent location. The billboards from the Freedom From Religion Foundation show “In God We Trust” carved into Mount Rushmore and the four presidents saying, “There goes the neighborhood.” The drawing is from Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Steve Benson. The billboards will be up for a month in Sioux Falls, Rapid City and Pierre. The foundation’s president, Annie Gaylor, says its members are concerned about the law, which she says is misguided. Gaylor says the motto, adopted during the Cold War, is outdated and divisive.

Tennessee

The Pride of the Southland band wears T-shirts made with a bullied child's design for Tennessee's home game against Chattanooga at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville on Saturday.

Knoxville: The University of Tennessee’s marching band is jumping on the anti-bullying bandwagon. The band briefly wore a T-shirt based on a design by a boy who was teased at school over the design and then offered a scholarship at the university. On Thursday, Tennessee officials offered the fourth grader a four-year scholarship beginning in the fall of 2028 if he chooses to attend Tennessee and meets admission requirements. The boy’s story went viral last week after his teacher posted on Facebook that the student’s peers mocked a T-shirt he designed for his school’s “college colors” day. After the post gained attention, the University of Tennessee’s VolShop website created its own Tennessee shirt featuring the boy’s design. School officials say over 50,000 shirts have been presold. Proceeds benefit STOMP Out Bullying.

Texas

Dallas: A federal judge has approved an agreement that will require the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make a recommendation by May 2021 on whether the lesser prairie chicken should be federally protected as a threatened or endangered species. The agreement was reached Thursday between the federal agency and three conservations groups: the Defenders of Wildlife, the Center for Biological Diversity and WildEarth Guardians. The groups sued the federal government in June to force it to make a designation for the lesser prairie chicken and its habitats. Once a designation is proposed, there will then be a public comment period followed by a final determination made later by Fish and Wildlife. The agency also could decide that no federal protections should be provided for the bird, which listed as threatened in 2014, but a federal court overturned the designation.

Utah

Layton: State Republican leaders refused Saturday to erase a bylaw to deny ballot spots for candidates who collect voter signatures instead of winning approval from the party’s caucus-convention system. The State Central Committee voted 68-40 to erase the bylaw, short of the two-thirds majority required for a bylaw change. The Salt Lake Tribune reports the bylaw threatened to keep Republican candidates off the 2018 ballot because of a state law allowing both paths. Then-Party Chairman Rob Anderson responded by declaring the bylaw illegal and refusing to oust any candidate, and Republican Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox had said then he’d certify candidates who used either qualifying method. Current party Chairman said Saturday that he won’t ignore the bylaw but that the party will do what’s necessary to get on the 2020 ballot.

Vermont

Burlington: Proverbs have been developed for centuries around the world, from “Strike while the iron is hot” to “Been there, done that.” They’re spread by writings, word of mouth and, nowadays, social media. The vast amount of them is evident in a new, unique library at the University of Vermont. It’s the collection of UVM Professor Wolfgang Mieder, thought to be the world’s premiere paroemiologist. The extensive library of nearly 9,000 volumes ranges from proverb collections including German, Chinese, Turkish and Hungarian to thousands of books and dissertations and includes Mieder’s own writings. Among his favorite proverbs is “Different strokes for different folks” because he says that “it tells you to realize that people have different priorities, different thoughts, different ideas.”

Virginia

Richmond: Virginia’s attorney general says couples planning to get married in the state will not have to disclose their race on their marriage application. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports clerks were notified of the change in an email late Friday, about a week after three couples filed a federal lawsuit challenging the state requirement. Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring wrote that circuit court clerks must ask people seeking a marriage license their race, but couples can decline to answer the question. Herring says clerks should issue a marriage license regardless of whether an applicant answers the question. The lawsuit says one county provided a list of more than 200 potential races to a couple who questioned the requirement. It included “American,” “Aryan,” “Moor” and “Mulatto.”

Washington

Spokane: The state may seem ultraliberal, but voters in one of its deeply conservative areas have re-elected a Republican six times who thinks communists and atheists will destroy the U.S. Now Matt Shea faces a legislative investigation and calls for his resignation following media reports he was in a chat group discussing surveillance on progressives. Shea is also a major proponent of splitting Washington into two states, with Eastern Washington becoming the state of Liberty. The Army veteran hosts a weekly “Patriot Radio” show on the American Christian Network and on Facebook Live in 2017 complimented members of Team Rugged, a group that one member said provides special forces-type gun training for young men so they can “be effective in Christian warfare.” Shea didn’t respond to interview requests.

West Virginia

Charleston: Education officials say they’ve found a problem with the state’s school system – many students aren’t showing up to class. The West Virginia Department of Education released a report Thursday saying that more than 38% of schools did not meet attendance standards in the 2018-2019 school year. In a statement, schools superintendent Steven Paine didn’t give a reason for the high level of absences but said he looks forward to working with counties and local school boards to address the problem. The report also says a fifth of students statewide are considered chronically absent, meaning they missed 18 or more days of the school year.

Wisconsin

Madison: A media company that owns television stations in the state is partnering with a longtime farm charity on a live 18-hour telethon to raise money for struggling farmers. Quincy Media and Farm Aid have scheduled the event for Friday. It will include anchors and reporters from WKOW in Madison, WAOW in Wausau, WXOW in La Crosse, WQOW in Eau Claire and KBJR in Superior. A news release says volunteers will be answering phones throughout the day collecting donations to provide support, emergency relief and other resources for family farmers in the region. Farm Aid’s annual music festival is scheduled for Saturday at Alpine Valley Theatre in East Troy. The lineup includes Willie Nelson & Family, Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Bonnie Raitt, among others.

Wyoming

Laramie: Fifty years after 14 black football players were kicked off the University of Wyoming football team for considering a protest, eight of them returned to campus to commemorate the anniversary as the school takes another step toward reconciliation. University officials unveiled a plaque Friday at War Memorial Stadium commemorating the so-called Black 14. The event capped five days of ceremonies and discussions about the infamous dismissal of all the university’s black players in 1969. The players wanted to protest racism, but head coach Lloyd Eaton would have none of the idea – and was backed up by the university’s board of trustees and Gov. Stan Hathaway. He lit into them about coming from fatherless families and said they would only be accepted by traditionally black colleges if they weren’t at Wyoming, they said. The healing and reconciliation is not complete for some of the men who came back to campus this week. Some say they struggled for years after they were labeled as members of the Black 14.

From USA TODAY Network and wire reports

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: News from around our 50 states