Malcolm X, country benefit show, rising tide: News from around our 50 states

·56 min read

Alabama

Montgomery: The state told a federal judge that it could soon be ready to use a new, untried execution method called nitrogen hypoxia to carry out a death sentence. The disclosure came Monday at a court hearing over inmate Alan Miller’s request to block his scheduled Sept. 22 execution by lethal injection. Miller maintains that prison staff lost paperwork he returned in 2018 requesting nitrogen hypoxia, an execution method that the state has authorized but never used. U.S. District Judge R. Austin Huffaker Jr. asked whether Alabama was ready to carry out executions by nitrogen hypoxia. James Houts, a deputy state attorney general, said the method could be available as soon as next week. He said, however, that a final decision on when to use the new method would be up to Corrections Commissioner John Hamm. The Alabama Department of Corrections did not respond to an email seeking comment about the status of the proposed new execution method. Nitrogen hypoxia, which is supposed to cause death by replacing oxygen with nitrogen, has been authorized by Alabama and two other states for executions but has never used by a state. Huffaker noted the “high stakes” involved with a looming execution date but did not immediately rule on the request to block the lethal injection.

Alaska

Anchorage: Joseph Hazelwood, the captain of the Exxon Valdez oil tanker that ran aground more than three decades ago, causing one of the worst oil spills in U.S. history, has died, the New York Times reports. He was 75. He died in July after struggling with COVID-19 and cancer, his nephew Sam Hazelwood told the newspaper. The Exxon Valdez, a 987-foot tanker, grounded on Alaska’s Bligh Reef at 12:04 a.m. March 24, 1989, spewing nearly 11 million gallons of oil into the rich fishing waters of Prince William Sound. Currents and storms carried the crude over 1,200 miles of Alaska coastline. The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council estimates the spill killed a quarter-million seabirds, 2,800 sea otters, 300 harbor seals, 250 bald eagles, up to 22 killer whales and billions of fish eggs. It took years for the fish numbers to rebound following the spill, and oil can still be found under the surface of some beaches in Prince William Sound. Hazelwood, whom prosecutors accused of being drunk when the tanker grounded, was the only crew member criminally charged after the spill. He had left a third mate in control of the ship while he went below to do paperwork. Hazelwood was accused of one felony, criminal mischief, and three misdemeanors – reckless endangerment, operating a vessel while intoxicated and negligent discharge of oil.

Arizona

Lees Ferry: The National Park Service will poison a Colorado River side channel below Glen Canyon Dam to remove fish that threaten native species, the agency announced. Meanwhile, biologists warn, rising temperatures and declining oxygen levels in water the dam releases into the river’s Lees Ferry stretch are stressing the popular trout fishery there. Nonnative smallmouth bass are known to have passed through the dam’s hydropower-generating turbines for several years to reach the Lees Ferry area, but their successful breeding at that stretch was not documented until this year. If it continues, agency officials fear, bass could establish themselves far downstream and eat humpback chubs, which are protected as a threatened species. “Threats to the native fish are increasing due to the warmer temperatures of water passing through the dam and related increased river temperatures below the dam,” said a statement released by Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which includes the river segment. The park service announced it will treat the slough with the fish killer rotenone Saturday and Sunday. While the plant-derived chemical is commonly used by fish managers, and the park service said it will carefully protect the environment and human health by isolating it in the slough, at least one Native American tribe with cultural links to the river and Grand Canyon has objected. The Zuni Pueblo of New Mexico consider the river and canyon sacred.

Arkansas

Fort Smith: Jason Andrew Vineyard, a Sebastian County Election Commission chairman, has a felony conviction that makes him ineligible to vote and has reportedly been removed from the position. Sebastian County Prosecuting Attorney Daniel Shue said Monday that Vineyard, 43, a Republican, has a 2003 felony conviction. Shue sent a letter to Sharon Brooks, Sebastian County Clerk, notifying the office that Vineyard is ineligible to vote, despite the fact he had continued to cast ballots in elections since his conviction. The letter says that Shue was responding to a recent request from Brooks on whether Vineyard is ineligible to vote. Lee Webb, Democrat election commissioner, said Monday that he was not aware if Vineyard had been removed as chairman. Either the Circuit Court or the Sebastian County Republican Party could remove Vineyard. But Larry Bishop, chairman of the Sebastian County Republican Committee, told reporters Vineyard had been removed from the commission Monday. “It is part of a long list of stuff that has been going on the last few months,” Webb said.

California

Sacramento: Gov. Gavin Newsom wants voters to reject a new tax on rich people that would pay for more electric vehicles in the nation’s most populous state, warning in a new statewide TV ad that a measure on the ballot this November won’t help the environment but is instead “one company’s cynical scheme to grab a huge taxpayer subsidy.” Proposition 30 would raise taxes on people who make more than $2 million per year. It would generate up to $5 billion in new tax money each year, most of which would go to programs that help people buy electric cars and install charging stations. A smaller amount would go to wildfire prevention response and prevention programs. The ballot measure’s campaign is paid for by the ride-hailing company Lyft. Last year, state regulators ordered companies like Lyft to make sure nearly all their rides are in electric vehicles by 2030. Newsom says the ballot measure is Lyft’s attempt to make taxpayers pay for that. “Don’t be fooled. Prop 30’s been advertised as a climate initiative. But in reality, it was devised by a single corporation to funnel state income taxes to benefit their company,” Newsom says in the ad, which will air in all of the state’s major media markets. “Put simply, Prop 30 is a Trojan horse that puts corporate welfare above the fiscal welfare of our entire state.”

Colorado

Denver: Police who shot a 22-year-old man after he called 911 for roadside assistance escalated the situation, needlessly leading to his death, the man’s relatives said in a tearful news conference Tuesday in which they called for accountability. After Christian Glass’ June 11 death in the small mountain town of Silver Plume west of Denver, the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s office issued a news release saying Glass was shot after he became “argumentative and uncooperative” and tried to stab an officer when police broke a car window to grab him. “Christian was experiencing a crisis, and he called 911 for help,” said the parents’ attorney, Siddhartha Rathod, “and yet these officers busted out Christian’s window, shot him six times with bean bag rounds, Tased him multiple times from two Tasers, and then shot him five times.” The Colorado Bureau of Investigation handles police shootings, including the Glass case, but the family wants prosecutors to file criminal charges, Rathod said. Videos shared with the Associated Press show Glass refusing to come out of his car while also telling police he’s “terrified” and making heart shapes with his hands to officers. At one point, he also can be seen praying with folded hands and saying, “Dear Lord, please, don’t let them break the window.” When the officers do break the window, Glass seems to panic and grabs a knife.

Connecticut

Waterbury: An FBI agent struggled to control his emotions Tuesday as he described on the witness stand seeing bodies inside Sandy Hook elementary school – a scene that the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones later claimed was staged by actors. FBI agent William Aldenberg was the first witness to testify as a Connecticut jury began hearing statements in a trial to decide how much money Jones owes for spreading the lie that the 2012 mass shooting in Newtown didn’t happen. Aldenberg broke down as he described being among the first law enforcement officers to enter the two classrooms where 20 children died. “Was what you saw in that school fake?” asked attorney Christopher Mattei, a lawyer for the plaintiffs. “No,” Aldenberg said. “It’s awful. It’s awful.” He also testified about how he and others in the community and law enforcement were targeted with threats and conspiracy theories, including one that claimed he was an actor who also pretended to be the father of a victim. The trial in Waterbury – less than 20 miles from Newtown, where the children and six teachers were shot to death – was attended by more than a dozen family members of victims, including David Wheeler, the father who conspiracy theorists had claimed was the same person as Aldenberg.

Delaware

Lewes: The City Council has set a public hearing for Oct. 3 to discuss a new ordinance that distinguishes short-term and long-term rentals and establishes certain rules for each. One Lewes couple said they’ve lived in the quaint, historic beach town for more than three decades, but it wasn’t until more recently that they started to see their neighborhood change. As more of the homeowners on their street began to offer short-term rentals through sites like Airbnb and Vrbo, they noticed that their quiet community would drastically switch from a near “ghost town” to “busy beach town” within the turn of a weekend. Knowing that Lewes typically has more year-round residents than many of its neighboring resort towns, another resident who commented at a city meeting last year said he worried that the sense of community in Lewes would start to break down if short-term rentals soon dominated. These residents all had concerns about how these rentals would affect their quality of life – from pressures on parking to issues with trash or noise – if the city did not specifically regulate short-term rentals. For at least the past year, the City Council, the city manager and a designated short-term rental committee have been discussing how to manage these rentals and ensure they do not add costs to the city.

District of Columbia

Washington: Washington Spirit fans can travel to games with new commemorative Metro SmarTrip cards celebrating their National Women’s Soccer League Championship win, WUSA-TV reports. The transit cards feature an image of the team hoisting the championship trophy after the title-winning game. The limited-edition cards are being sold at Navy Yard, Waterfront and Gallery Place stations in specially marked fare machines topped with a sign. The NWSL championship cards arrive just in time for soccer fans headed to Saturday’s game at Audi Field against the NJ/NY Gotham FC. “We are excited to honor the Spirit, reigning NWSL champs, with this commemorative card. The Spirit’s title run continues the winning tradition in the District of Champions,” Metro General Manager/CEO Randy Clarke said in a statement. “Metro is proud to support the team and fans getting to and from games.” The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority produced 10,000 of the commemorative cards, and they are only available on a first-come, first-served basis. Fans looking to grab the cards can meet up with starting midfielder Anna Heilferty at the Gallery Place station to grab a card and say hello starting at 4 p.m. Sept. 13.

Florida

Tallahassee: State health officials are fining an Orlando abortion clinic $193,000 for violating a law requiring a 24-hour waiting period before abortions are performed, according to a case assigned to an administrative judge Tuesday. The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration filed the complaint against the Center of Orlando for Women this summer. The mandatory 24-hour waiting period rule for abortions in Florida was signed into law in 2015 and was upheld by a judge in April after a nearly seven-year court case. State regulators used patient records to determine the clinic performed 193 abortions that violated the 24-hour waiting period rule between late April and early May of this year, the complaint said. State law allows for a fine of $1,000 per violation of the waiting period law. A clinic manager told officials she was aware of the law but did not know when it became effective, according to the complaint. A lawyer representing the center said the facility contacted the state several times to inquire about the law’s effective date, given the lengthy legal battle over the rule, but received no additional information. “It would be disastrous for the clinic if they had to pay a $193,000 fine to keep their license,” attorney Julie Gallagher said in an interview Tuesday. At least two other Florida clinics are facing similar but smaller fines.

Georgia

Statham: Republican Gov. Brian Kemp said Monday that he wants the state to provide grants to school districts to help students catch up on what they might have missed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, expand the number of school counselors, encourage teacher aides to become full-fledged teachers and pass a law requiring school lockdown drills. Kemp unveiled a relatively modest set of K-12 education proposals as part of his second-term reelection effort at an elementary school in Oconee County where one of his daughters was a teacher last year. “We have more work to do to address pandemic learning loss, bring more educators and counselors into our schools, and keep our students and staff safe,” Kemp said at Dove Creek Elementary School in Statham, just outside Athens. Kemp made a $5,000 pay raise for teachers a centerpiece of his agenda when he was running in 2018 and delivered the final chunk of the money this year, but he didn’t propose a pay raise for his second term Monday, although in response to reporter questions, he said he would “continue to work support all state employees to make the pay scale competitive in the future.” Democrat Stacey Abrams, who is running against Kemp, has proposed boosting average teacher pay over four years to $75,000 and guaranteeing a starting salary of $50,000.

Hawaii

Honolulu: Gov. David Ige on Monday appointed several people, including some prominent Native Hawaiian activists, to a new board charged with managing Mauna Kea summit lands underneath some of the world’s most advanced astronomical observatories. Two of the eight appointees – Lanakila Mangauil and Noe Noe Wong-Wilson – were leaders of 2019 protests that brought a halt to the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope, the latest observatory proposed for the mountain on Hawaii’s Big Island. Many Native Hawaiians consider the summit sacred, and protesters objected to building yet another telescope there. The summit currently hosts about a dozen telescopes built since the late 1960s. Responding to the protests, the state created the Mauna Kea Stewardship and Oversight Authority this year with a new law that says Mauna Kea must be protected for future generations, and science must be balanced with culture and the environment. Native Hawaiian cultural experts will have voting seats on the governing body, instead of merely advising the summit’s managers as they do now. The eight nominations must be confirmed by the state Senate. The authority will have 11 voting members. The other three are representatives of the Board of Land and Natural Resources, the University of Hawaii Board of Regents and Hawaii County’s mayor.

Idaho

Boise: Chipmaker Micron’s planned $15 billion investment in a new factory in the company’s hometown of Boise will help protect the United States from the vulnerabilities of a globalized semiconductor market, U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said Monday. “It is time to get America making things again, with American parts and American labor,” Granholm told a crowd of about 250 guests and Micron workers invited to a tent-covered dirt field for a ceremonial groundbreaking. The event included setting off a ground-clearing explosion far from the crowd that emitted red, white and blue smoke. The U.S. and Europe are pushing aggressively to build chipmaking capacity and reduce reliance on producers that are now mostly based in Asia. Semiconductor businesses have also been trying to diversify their operations to avoid bottlenecks caused by problems – such as a natural disaster or pandemic lockdown – in a specific region. Micron officials said that the high desert, sagebrush steppe area east of Boise is expected to have the largest chipmaking cleanroom, or fab, in the U.S. by the end of the decade, covering 600,000 square feet and creating 17,000 jobs. Construction is expected to start in 2023, with some cleanroom working space ready by 2025 and expanding in phases. Micron is among the nation’s largest chipmakers, with product development sites in five other states and eight countries. Research and development is centered in Boise.

Illinois

Springfield: Anne Burke, chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court, announced her retirement Monday. The 78-year-old jurist will end her 16-year high-court tenure Nov. 30. “I have been blessed to serve as a Supreme Court Justice,” Burke said in a statement. “The past three years as chief justice have been a challenging time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but I am thrilled with the progress made by the Illinois courts.” The seven-member court, which has the authority to fill interim vacancies, has chosen Joy Cunningham, a justice on the First District Appellate Court, to take Burke’s place. Cunningham will be the court’s second Black woman. The first took her oath just three months ago. Lisa Holder White was appointed to replace the retiring Rita Garman. Burke herself replaced the first woman on the court, Mary Ann McMorrow, in 2006. Burke will leave just weeks after the fall election, in which two seats are up for grabs, and Republicans hope to gain control of the court for the first time in decades. Burke’s husband, Edward Burke, a Chicago alderman for half a century, is scheduled to go on trial next year on federal racketeering and extortion charges. He has pleaded not guilty and denies wrongdoing.

Indiana

Indianapolis: Local leaders and community stakeholders have highlighted a proposal to include money for a pilot clinician-led emergency response program in the city’s proposed budget – an initiative at the heart of calls for reform following the death of Herman Whitfield III in police custody during a mental health crisis in April. Mayor Joe Hogsett, alongside representatives from the Office of Public Health and Safety, the City-County Council and Faith in Indiana, voiced their support last week for the program, which would require $2 million in the city’s proposed operating budget for 2023. The program and its budget still need approval from the full City-County Council in October. If it passes, the pilot is expected to begin next year and would include 24-hour coverage of teams made up of mental health clinicians and experts in a limited number of Indianapolis police districts who can respond to calls for nonviolent mental health help. The proposed budget item would also include money to increase mental health expertise at the 911 dispatch center. “This team would be equipped to provide meaningful support for those who in years past would have spent the length of their crisis in a jail cell,” Hogsett said. “This is because we recognize that police are not health care providers and our jails are not hospitals.”

Iowa

Des Moines: The second-largest school district in the state improperly and repeatedly shut students with disabilities in seclusion rooms and restrained them in violation of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, federal authorities said Monday. The U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and the federal prosecutor for the Northern District of Iowa announced a settlement with the Cedar Rapids Community School District in which school officials have agreed to end the use of seclusion rooms and reform its restraint practices. The district based in Cedar Rapids, about 120 miles east of Des Moines, also promised in the settlement agreement to improve staff training on how to address and de-escalate students’ disability-related behavior through appropriate measures. A justice department investigation found that the district subdued students with disabilities through unnecessary restraints and improper confinement in small seclusion rooms, sometimes multiple times in a day and often for excessive periods of time. The investigation covered the three school years ending in 2019, 2020 and 2021. Investigators found 4,968 incidents where students were secluded, restrained or transported from class and more than 83% of cases involved a student with a disability.

Kansas

Topeka: A Topeka police officer hit a car while driving drunk last October, then told police his wife had hit it, says the body that voided his law enforcement certification last month. The Kansas Commission on Peace Officers’ Standards and Training revoked the certification of Steven Dorsey Smith, it said on its website Aug. 15. “Respondent’s conduct shows that he lacks the personal qualities of integrity, upholding the laws of the state, conduct that warrants the public trust, and upholding the oath required for certification,” the website said. Smith was employed by the city of Topeka from Oct. 7, 2019, through Jan. 21, 2022, said Gretchen Spiker, the city’s communications director. Smith was put on leave after the crash, Spiker said, and he resigned during the investigation, which continued even after he left the department. The investigation’s findings were then sent to the statewide commission. “While unfortunate, the city feels this is an example of an investigation that was handled with the utmost integrity,” she said, “and that all best practices were followed.” Kansas statute empowers KSCPOST to revoke the certification of officers whose actions show they aren’t of good moral character sufficient to warrant public trust in them.

Kentucky

Honky-tonk champion Dwight Yoakam finishes up one of his hit songs for nearly 10,000 fans at Starwood Amphitheatre on Aug. 19, 1989. Yoakam, Clint Black and headliners The Judds kept the fans entertained.
Honky-tonk champion Dwight Yoakam finishes up one of his hit songs for nearly 10,000 fans at Starwood Amphitheatre on Aug. 19, 1989. Yoakam, Clint Black and headliners The Judds kept the fans entertained.

Lexington: Three country music superstars, all natives of Kentucky, will come together for a concert to aid victims of this summer’s catastrophic flooding in the eastern part of the commonwealth. Chris Stapleton, Dwight Yoakam and Tyler Childers have announced the Kentucky Rising benefit concert, a special, one-night-only show that will be held at Lexington’s Rupp Arena on Oct. 11. A full 100% of net proceeds from the concert will benefit the Kentucky Rising Fund to support flood relief work and recovery efforts in eastern Kentucky, including support for the many victims, their families and first responders. In August, 39 people died as a result of devasting flooding in parts of eastern Kentucky. The flooding also destroyed many homes, roadways and other infrastructure. Both Childers and Stapleton stepped up in different ways to help out their home state in the days immediately following the flooding. Tickets for the benefit concert go on sale Friday. Visit KentuckyRising.com for more information. For Citi cardmembers, the official presale credit card of Kentucky Rising, sales began Tuesday and run through Thursday at 10 p.m. through CitiEntertainment.com.

Louisiana

New Orleans: The U.S. Department of the Interior said Monday that it wants to reverse some Trump administration rollbacks of offshore safety rules to prevent blowouts like the BP catastrophe that killed 11 people and fouled the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. “This proposed rulemaking will help ensure that offshore energy development utilizes the latest science and technology to keep people safe,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in remarks prepared for an afternoon announcement. “As our nation transitions to a clean energy economy, we must commit to strengthening and modernizing offshore energy standards and oversight.” The changes are a step in the right direction but not far enough, said Diane Hoskins of the ocean environmental nonprofit Oceana. “No operator can promise there won’t be another disaster like BP’s Deepwater Horizon blowout. The only way to prevent offshore drilling disasters is to permanently protect our coasts and workers from new offshore leasing,” she said. Under Trump, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement acted in 2019 to change rules put in place three years earlier while Barack Obama was president. The agency is proposing to change seven out of the scores of revisions and additions made in 2010, director Kevin M. Sligh Sr. said.

Maine

Portland: The governor said Tuesday that the federal government is moving ahead too quickly with potential new restrictions on the lobster fishing industry and isn’t taking the industry’s concerns about the changes into account. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently announced it was seeking input on new rules to reduce risk to rare whales. The North Atlantic right whales number less than 340, and they are vulnerable to entanglement in lobster fishing gear. Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, said the agency’s plan to provide only one chance for public comment about the new rules later this month is not sufficient. She wrote in a letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, who oversees NOAA, that lack of input from fishermen will put coastal industries and communities at risk. “As NOAA well knows, effectively reaching an audience of fishermen with challenging schedules absolutely requires in-person meetings and opportunities for comment,” Mills said. The protection of the lobster industry has emerged as an issue in Mills’ reelection race this year. Her opponent, Republican former Gov. Paul LePage, said last week that he would push back at the “Biden administration’s destructive regulatory policy aimed at destroying the livelihoods of our fishermen over the false notion they are harming whales.”

Maryland

Frederick: Five western Maryland police officers won’t face charges in a man’s death that occurred days after officers shocked him with a stun gun during an altercation, officials announced Monday. Frederick police said Daniel Michael Holley, 23, died at a hospital Nov. 14, two days after officers used a stun gun to subdue him, news outlets report. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is still trying to determine the exact cause of Holley’s death, but the report rules out the officers’ actions as a cause, officials said. The Office of the Attorney General looked into the incident, and nothing in the initial report from the office’s Independent Investigations Division led officials to believe that there was a basis for prosecution, Frederick County State’s Attorney Charlie Smith said. Officers were called to a home for a report of a person behaving erratically and found Holley nude, pacing and talking incoherently, police said. Body camera footage showed an officer use a stun gun after Holley tackled another officer. Officers requested emergency medical services, and Holley was taken to a hospital, where he died, officials said.

Massachusetts

Boston: President Joe Biden on Monday urged Americans to come together for a new “national purpose” – his administration’s effort to end cancer “as we know it.” At the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Biden channeled JFK’s famed moonshot speech 60 years ago, likening the space race to his own effort and hoping it, too, would galvanize Americans. “He established a national purpose that could rally the American people and a common cause,” Biden said of Kennedy’s space effort. “We can usher in the same unwillingness to postpone.” Biden hopes to move the U.S. closer to the goal he set in February of cutting U.S. cancer fatalities by 50% over the next 25 years and dramatically improving the lives of caregivers and those suffering from cancer. Experts say the objective is attainable – with adequate investments. Dr. Michael Hassett, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, said Biden’s goal to reduce cancer deaths could be met by following two parallel paths: one of discovery and the other making sure as many people as possible are reaping the advantages of existing therapies and preventive approaches. “If we can address both aspects, both challenges, major advances are possible,” Hassett said.

Michigan

Detroit: The chief justice of the state Supreme Court said Monday that she will step down by the end of 2022, an announcement that followed a major decision affecting abortion rights and more than two years of steering Michigan’s judiciary through the COVID-19 pandemic. Bridget McCormack, a Democratic Party nominee, has been on the court since 2013 and still had six years left in her second term. “After a decade, the time has come for me to move on, to let others lead, and to build on a foundation of progress,” McCormack, 56, said in a statement. She said she would resign no earlier than Nov. 22 and no later than Dec. 31. The timing will depend on the appointment of her successor. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she will pick a new justice, apparently no matter the results of the Nov. 8 election. Whitmer, a Democrat seeking reelection, called her a “phenomenal public servant.” McCormack is leaving to become president of an international provider of dispute-resolution services, the American Arbitration Association-International Centre for Dispute Resolution announced Tuesday. Kimberly Wiehl, leader of the group’s governing board, said the organization was looking for someone who has “outstanding business acumen” and is committed to expanding access to resolving disputes outside court.

Minnesota

St. Cloud: Local police and the FBI are investigating a break-in at a mosque as a bias-motivated crime. According to a press release from the St. Cloud Police Department, officers were called to the Islamic Center at 375 Fifth Ave. S early Thursday. Islamic Center of St. Cloud President Mohayadin Mohamed said the damage was discovered as individuals began to arrive for morning prayer. Police said a man and woman had damaged a door to enter the mosque, then caused damage inside. Both suspects were found before 7 a.m. at a nearby hotel and taken into custody. Mohamed said surveillance footage showed the two inside the mosque for two hours, roughly 1-3 a.m. He said they went into every space; caused damage to an exterior door, office space and the building’s downstairs area; and brought alcohol into the building. Consuming alcohol is forbidden in Islam. CAIR-MN, the Minnesota chapter of national Islamic civil liberties and advocacy group Council on American Islamic Relations, held a press conference at the center Friday morning regarding the incident, which CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein said the group is asking be investigated as a hate crime.

Mississippi

Jackson: The city hasn’t paid for its trash to be picked up in more than five months, as the mayor and City Council are locked in a battle over who truly won the bidding process, but Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said his administration is proposing a public referendum in which Jackson residents could pick between Waste Management, whose bid a majority of the City Council supports, and Richard’s Disposal, whose bid his administration supports. After the request for proposal blind-bidding process was completed, the mayor’s office maintained that Richard’s won, but the council refused to approve a contract, claiming that Waste Management had been victorious. That led to Lumumba attempting to veto the council’s no-vote on the Richard’s contract. A specially appointed judge ruled that Lumumba could not veto a no-vote, but the mayor has appealed that decision to the state Supreme Court. Lumumba said at his weekly news conference Monday that he trusts the will of the voters to resolve the dispute. The mayor said his legal team has researched statutes on referendums and consulted with the state auditor’s office in order to ensure that such a vote would be legal. Whether one will end up happening now rests with the council.

Missouri

Stockton: A Christian boarding school in southwestern Missouri can remain open despite the state attorney general alleging a “dark pattern of behavior,” a judge ruled Monday. Judge David Munton’s ruling allows continued round-the-clock monitoring of Agape Boarding School in Stockton by Missouri child welfare workers. The school serves about 60 boys. The Kansas City Star reported that the state was prepared to call two former Agape students to testify Monday. Agape attorney John Schultz told the judge that there was no proof of any immediate health or safety concern for students and that allowing former students to testify was “simply for publicity,” the Star reports. The judge didn’t allow the testimony but scheduled another hearing for Sept. 21. Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s office first sought to shut down Agape last Wednesday after learning that someone on the state registry for child abuse and neglect was actively working there. On Friday, the attorney general’s office filed an amended motion alleging systemic abuse. “Agape’s operation of a residential care facility must cease because it presents an immediate health and safety concern for the children residing at Agape,” the court filing said. It also accused Agape of providing the state with incomplete information concerning which adults have access to children.

Montana

Billings: U.S. officials have withdrawn parcels of public land near the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation from future mining to protect a reclamation area where more than $80 million has been spent to clean up past mining contamination. Mining will be barred for 20 years on 4 square miles of land at the Zortman-Landusky Mine site now administered by the Bureau of Land Management. Canada-based mining company Pegasus Gold Inc. declared bankruptcy in 1998, leaving cleanup at the site to U.S. taxpayers. The BLM has previously said the remaining cleanup work could cost about $70 million and involve moving millions of tons of waste rock and treating hundreds of millions of gallons of water in coming decades. Contaminated water from the shuttered mine site has flowed downstream to the Fort Belknap reservation and fouled its water. Treatment of mine water to prevent further contamination will continue indefinitely, the BLM said in announcing the Sept. 9 withdrawal. About 5.4 square miles were withdrawn from mining in 2000, but that action expired in 2020. A proposal for a new withdrawal on the remainder of the land – about 1.4 square miles – is pending.

Nebraska

Omaha: Fifteen years after being rejected as too controversial, Malcolm X is the first Black honoree to be inducted into the Nebraska Hall of Fame. The organization’s commission selected the civil rights icon Monday with a 4-3 vote, edging out the late University of Nebraska educator and author Louise Pound. “Malcolm X used the lessons he learned early in life and his intellectual power, dedication and perseverance in the fight for freedom and equality for all during the civil rights movement in America,” said commission Chairman Ron Hull. “His work and his legacy continue to impact the citizens of the world.” Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little in Omaha in 1925 as the son of a Baptist preacher. His family left for Milwaukee the following year after threats from the Ku Klux Klan. The firebrand was first nominated for Nebraska’s Hall of Fame in 2004 but passed over by a commission made up solely of white men who instead selected a U.S. senator who made a name for himself with his campaign to remove gay men from government posts in the 1940s and 1950s. The pick of Sen. Kenneth Wherry was later nixed because of an open-meetings violation. Malcolm X was passed over again in 2007 for little-known botanist Charles Bessey. Each Nebraska Hall of Fame member is immortalized with a bronze bust displayed in the state Capitol.

Nevada

Las Vegas: Demolition has begun at two Las Vegas-area casino properties had been shuttered since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020. A spokesman for Station Casinos declined to comment about work that began Monday at Texas Station in North Las Vegas and Fiesta Henderson in Henderson. Work has not begun at the company’s closed Fiesta Rancho, which is also slated to be razed. Red Rock Resorts, the publicly traded corporate owner of the properties, announced in July that the three casino-hotels would be demolished, and the land on which they sit will be sold. Fiesta Rancho opened in 1994 off Rancho Drive near North Las Vegas Airport, and Texas Station opened across the street in 1995. Fiesta Henderson opened as The Reserve in 1998 off U.S. 95 and was acquired by Station Casinos in 2001. Station Casinos markets its off-Strip properties to Las Vegas residents. It is building a new property, Durango Casino & Resort, off the 215 Beltway southwest of the Las Vegas Strip. Station owns six other casino-hotels in and around Las Vegas and is building a new site near a crossroads southwest of the Las Vegas Strip. It also operates several non-hotel Wildfire properties.

New Hampshire

Concord: The state Department of Justice is seeking to assuage concerns about a new state law curbing some enforcement of federal firearms laws. School officials can still report potential shooters on campus, Attorney General John Formella wrote this month. New Hampshire State Police officers can still confiscate weapons from alleged domestic abusers, the New Hampshire Bulletin reports. A new federal firearms law closing the “boyfriend loophole” will still apply in the state. The legal interpretations, issued in a nine-page opinion Sept. 1, are part of an effort by the department to provide more information and cool tensions around the new law, which prevents state and local officials from enforcing federal firearms laws that are not replicated in state law. “Unless expressly delegated by a federal law enforcement agency, state and local law enforcement have never had the authority or jurisdiction to enforce or administer federal firearms violations or laws,” the department wrote in an accompanying “Frequently Asked Questions” document. “HB 1178 has not changed this.” The law was championed by Republicans and Second Amendment advocates as a partial bulwark against federal firearms laws and rules, which include agency rules from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

New Jersey

Trenton: Workers can’t be fired just for testing positive for marijuana, under new guidelines the state released Friday. The long-awaited interim regulations for the nascent industry came as a relief to employers, who said they had been left in the dark on how to keep their workplace free of drugs. While a positive drug test for marijuana won’t by itself be grounds to fire or discipline a staffer or to decline to hire someone, an employee could still be let go if they’re also shown to be under the influence during work hours. “Striking a balance between workplace safety and work performance and adult employees’ right to privacy and to consume cannabis during their off hours is possible,” said a statement from Jeff Brown, executive director of the state Cannabis Regulatory Commission, which oversees the state’s marijuana industry. “We have been doing that with alcohol without thought.” For workers and bosses, the situation has been complicated by medical uncertainty ever since sales began April 21, as well as by fears of how weed could affect worker performance in high-risk jobs with little room for error. Pot and alcohol affect the human body differently, so long-established protocols for substance-free workplaces and gauging if someone’s under the influence hadn’t necessarily applied.

New Mexico

Santa Fe: Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is using a visit to Washington to celebrate Democrats’ flagship U.S. climate and health care bill and to advocate for addition federal wildfire relief. The Democratic governor said she was traveling to Tuesday’s celebration of the Inflation Reduction Act at the invitation of President Joe Biden. Signed in August, the law could save money for some Americans by lessening the cost of prescription drugs for the elderly, extending health insurance subsidies and reducing energy prices. The legislation represents Congress’ largest-ever investment in curbing carbon emissions. It would also modestly cut the government’s budget deficit. While in Washington, the 62-year-old governor and skiing enthusiast also planned to consult with an orthopedic surgeon about a lingering knee injury. Campaign related activities in Washington and New York are scheduled before the Lujan Grisham’s planned return to New Mexico on Friday. Lujan Grisham is seeking a second term in the November general election against Republican nominee and former television meteorologist Mark Ronchetti. He is campaigning on proposals for a permanent annual tax rebate tied oil-field production, new restrictions on abortion access and enhanced criminal penalties to address crime.

New York

Albany: The man who shot and killed John Lennon outside his Manhattan apartment building in 1980 has been denied parole for a 12th time, New York corrections officials said Monday. Mark David Chapman, 67, appeared before a parole board at the end of August, according to the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. Chapman shot and killed Lennon on the night of Dec. 8, 1980, as Lennon and Yoko Ono were returning to their Upper West Side apartment. Lennon had signed an autograph for Chapman on a copy of his and Ono’s recently released album, “Double Fantasy,” earlier that day. State officials have yet to make transcripts of Chapman’s latest board interview available, but he has repeatedly expressed remorse in previous parole hearings. Chapman called his actions “despicable” during his hearing in 2020 and said he would have “no complaint whatsoever” if they chose to leave him in prison for the rest of his life. “I assassinated him … because he was very, very, very famous, and that’s the only reason, and I was very, very, very, very much seeking self-glory. Very selfish,” Chapman said then. He is serving a 20-years-to-life sentence at Green Haven Correctional Facility, north of New York City, according to online state corrections records.

North Carolina

Graham: A judge has dismissed a lawsuit by civil rights leaders that sought the removal of a Confederate statue in front of a historic courthouse. Superior Court Judge Don Bridges ruled Tuesday against the state NAACP, which had argued that the statue in front of the Alamance County Courthouse was a danger to public safety and violated constitutional rights to equal protection, according to The Times-News. A 2015 state law sharply limits state and local governments from removing Confederate statues and other objects of remembrance. The NAACP had argued in its 2021 lawsuit that county officials had leeway to remove the statue under an exception for public safety. The statue, erected in 1914, has been the site of protests in recent years. Separately, North Carolina’s governor ordered the removal of Confederate monuments outside the state’s historic Capitol in 2020, citing the public safety clause in the law after nearby monuments were damaged by protesters. Demonstrators have toppled other statues in recent years on the campus of the University of North Carolina and in downtown Durham. But Bridges said that he interprets the state law as protecting the Alamance County statue and that the local county commission is entitled to follow it.

North Dakota

Bismarck: Legalizing recreational pot could cut the number of people who are registered to use the drug as medicine by at least 80%, due to access to bigger quantities and more varied products, a state health official said Monday. Supporters of legalizing recreational cannabis in North Dakota succeeded last month in bringing the matter to a public vote in November by submitting more than the required 15,582 valid petition signatures to get it on the ballot. The state has issued more than 8,200 identification cards to qualifying patients since voters approved medical marijuana in 2016. North Dakota’s approved medical marijuana forms are dried leaves and flowers, concentrates, tinctures, capsules, topicals and transdermal patches. Edibles were part of the original initiative, but the Legislature removed them from the list, fearing they could get in the hands of children. The initiative on the ballot in November would allow people 21 and up to legally use marijuana at home, as well as possess and cultivate restricted amounts. Edibles would be allowed. Medical Marijuana Division Director Jason Wahl said thousands medical marijuana users may only purchase 2.5 ounces of cannabis flower in a 30-day period. Recreational users could potentially – though illegally – purchase at least that amount in a single day, as “none of that is tracked,” Wahl said.

Ohio

First graders read inside their classroom at Westside Christian School inside Memorial Baptist Church in the Hilltop, in Columbus, Ohio. The Center for Christian Virtue is helping churches across Ohio open private religious schools that rely on public school dollars, and Westside is the first school to open.
First graders read inside their classroom at Westside Christian School inside Memorial Baptist Church in the Hilltop, in Columbus, Ohio. The Center for Christian Virtue is helping churches across Ohio open private religious schools that rely on public school dollars, and Westside is the first school to open.

Columbus: An educational experiment happening in one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods could expand to a national model, using tax dollars to establish religious schools. Last month 31 children from the Hilltop and Franklintown areas began attending a new school called Westside Christian inside converted Sunday school classrooms at Memorial Baptist Church. Founders of this “micro-school” call it a new, low-cost way to open private schools in underserved communities using state education dollars – known in Ohio as EdChoice vouchers – instead of private donations. And if it’s successful, they hope to open hundreds more. “Our goal is five to 10 more in Ohio next yea,” Center for Christian Virtue Executive Director Troy McIntosh said. “But we want to take this model and export it to other states.” Public school advocates worry this is a misuse of the EdChoice Scholarship system at best or another step toward dismantling public education at worst. “It’s not about rescuing kids from failing schools,” former Democratic lawmaker and school finance expert Stephen Dyer said. “It’s all about subsidizing private education and mostly religious education.” Traditionally, opening a private school requires millions of dollars in donations that “float” the school until tuition can cover its expenses.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma City: The state received almost $17.9 million in tribal gaming exclusivity fees in August – the most the industry has ever paid to the state in a single month. The record amount is one sign of the region’s continued economic growth despite rising inflation. Summer is also a strong season for the tribal gaming industry, which generates a large chunk of its business from Texans and other travelers. Officials in both Oklahoma and Texas have said consumer spending as a whole ticked up last month as prices and pay increased. The previous record for exclusivity fees was nearly $17.8 million in May 2021, according to monthly totals published by the Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services. The fees have added up to $193 million over the past year, 13% more than the same time in 2021. Whether Oklahoma’s tribal gaming industry can keep expanding will depend largely on external forces, especially whether Texas legalizes widespread casino-style gaming or sports betting, said Victor Rocha, a tribal gaming industry analyst based in California. Oklahoma’s largest casinos are near the Texas border and draw heavily from Dallas-Fort Worth. Casinos on the other side of the border would be a game changer, said Rocha, who belongs to the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians.

Oregon

Salem: Saying that a police response is often an improper solution to mental health crises, Biden administration officials on Monday announced financial support for expansion of mobile crisis intervention teams in Oregon. The Pacific Northwest state, which has pioneered the use of unarmed intervention teams, became the first to receive the infusion of aid under President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act. The new Medicaid-supported plan will allow Oregon to provide and expand community-based stabilization services to individuals experiencing mental health and/or substance use crises throughout the state by connecting them to a behavioral health specialist, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement. HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra encouraged other states to take advantage of the funding opportunity. Federal health officials said that under the program, 85 cents of every dollar spent by states to expand these services and utilized by Medicaid-covered individuals will be paid for by the federal government. There are more than 1.4 million Medicaid recipients in Oregon, according to the Oregon Health Authority. That’s almost one-third of the state’s population of 4.1 million. An example of such a program exists in Eugene, where teams of paramedics and behavioral health practitioners take mental health crisis calls out of the hands of uniformed and armed officers.

Pennsylvania

Philadelphia: A white Philadelphia police officer became distraught when he learned that a Black motorist he fatally shot after a high-speed chase was unarmed, his lawyer said as the ex-officer’s third-degree murder trial began Tuesday. Prosecutors said former Officer Eric Ruch Jr. shot and killed Dennis Plowden Jr. less than six seconds after arriving on the scene – even as other officers held their fire. A grand jury investigation found that Plowden, 25, was dazed after crashing the car and had his left hand raised as he tried to follow commands on a city sidewalk. However, defense lawyer David Mischak told jurors that Plowden’s right hand remained hidden near a pocket. Only later, he said, did Ruch learn what was inside. “As soon as my client discovered it was heroin and not a gun, he was upset. He was distraught,” Mischak said. He urged jurors to consider not just what happened in the six seconds at the scene but also the two-minute chase beforehand. Police thought the car was linked to a recent homicide. Plowden, who had borrowed the car and was not involved in that case, drove at high speed for several blocks through a city neighborhood before crashing. “It was a tragedy,” Mischak said of Plowden’s death. “To call my client a criminal really compounds that tragedy.”

Rhode Island

U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin missed a flight to Italy last month because an airline wouldn't take his wheelchair.
U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin missed a flight to Italy last month because an airline wouldn't take his wheelchair.

Providence: U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., said he hopes something good can come from an “outrageous” incident last month in which he nearly had to cancel a congressional trip because an airline wouldn’t let his wheelchair onto a plane. The event caused him to miss his flight and arrive late in Italy, where the House Armed Services Committee member was leading a congressional delegation with the U.S. Navy. The airline, Lufthansa, has acknowledged it made a mistake and has issued an apology. “It’s outrageous that airlines are blocking wheelchair users from traveling with FAA-compliant mobility devices,” Langevin tweeted Monday. “If I was denied boarding on a government trip, what do you think is happening to people with disabilities on vacations, visiting family, or traveling for work?” Langevin, who is quadriplegic, uses a wheelchair powered by lithium-ion batteries. Lufthansa staff at Boston Logan International Airport told him the chair was prohibited because its batteries posed a fire threat. Having had similar trouble in January, he’d taken steps to avoid another problem, with the Navy contacting the airline on his behalf in advance. Discussing the issue with a gate agent and operations manager, Langevin even got the wheelchair’s inventor on the phone to explain that it was safe. “They wouldn’t budge,” he said. Langevin noted that most people wouldn’t have a staff to help under such circumstances. “It’s very expensive to be disabled,” he said. “Not everyone has a backup chair.”

South Carolina

Columbia: Republican state lawmakers will keep trying to enact new abortion restrictions later this month. Speaker Murrell Smith announced Monday that the House will meet Sept. 27, more than two weeks after the Senate sent back a markedly different proposal from the one passed earlier by the lower chamber. Contentious debates among Republicans over exceptions have emerged in a special session on abortion that convened after the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. It is unclear if the House will take up the Senate’s bill. Smith told reporters earlier Monday that “all options are on the table.” While Smith was disappointed with the outcome last week, he said this is how legislation gets made. “I respect the Senate as a body and their votes,” Smith told reporters. “Obviously, the House is vastly different from their position.” The House passed a ban on abortion at all stages of pregnancy in late August with exceptions for the mother’s life and rape or incest up to 12 weeks. The Senate passed a six-week ban, based on when cardiac activity can be detected in an embryo, with exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest, to save the life of the mother and, when approved by two doctors, in cases of fatal fetal anomaly.

South Dakota

Sioux Falls: Gov. Kristi Noem disclosed Monday that she recently underwent back surgery to treat an injury impacting her spine and that her activity would be limited during several months of recovery. The 50-year-old Republican governor said she traveled to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, for the surgery after receiving medical treatment for several weeks in South Dakota. She said in a video posted on Twitter that she injured her back about two months ago. She said she will be restricted in the amount of travel she can do and the time she can spend standing while she recovers. Noem is in the midst of a reelection campaign and is also considered a potential 2024 White House contender. “I won’t be able to stand for more than 10, 15 minutes at a time. I won’t be able to get out and about South Dakota like I love to do so much,” the governor said in the video, where she appeared slightly dispirited. Dr. Mohamed Bydon said in a statement released by the governor’s office that he treated her for an “acute condition impacting her lumbar spine.” He said that the surgery was successful and that the governor is in “excellent health.” The governor’s office and her campaign spokesman did not immediately respond to a question on how she was injured.

Tennessee

Memphis: Police have revised the number of people killed in a man’s shooting rampage from four to three after a different suspect was identified in the slaying of a teenager during the tense ordeal. In a Facebook post, Memphis police said the killing of a 17-year-old girl, Corteria McKinnie, was not part of the series of shootings last Wednesday that terrorized the city and led to a shelter-in-place order. The teen was shot as police frantically hunted the man who posted some of his actions on social media. Police said Ezekiel Kelly, 19, carjacked two motorists and drove around Memphis and north Mississippi, opening fire on people. Kelly has been charged with first-degree murder in one of the shootings. More charges are pending, authorities said. Kelly’s next court appearance is scheduled for Friday. The court-appointed public defender has not returned calls seeking comment in his case. At a news conference early Thursday – just after Kelly was arrested – Memphis Police Director Cerelyn “CJ” Davis provided a timeline that included four people killed and three others wounded. In a Facebook post made after-hours Friday, police said the shooting of McKinnie in south Memphis was not carried out by Kelly but by a different suspect. Police said McKinnie reported the shooting at a fire station, but she was shot in her car at a separate location by a man wearing all black.

Texas

New Boston: A woman accused of killing another woman to steal her unborn baby to present as her own went on trial for capital murder Monday. Taylor Rene Parker has pleaded not guilty to capital murder and kidnapping in the October 2020 deaths of 21-year-old Regan Michelle Simmons-Hancock and the daughter who died after being cut from her mother’s womb. Authorities say Simmons-Hancock was stabbed and cut more than 100 times and had her skull crushed with a hammer in her New Boston home before a scalpel was used to remove her unborn baby. She is also charged with non-capital murder in connection with the baby’s death. Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp told the Bowie County jury Monday that Parker, 29, acted not because she wanted a baby but to keep from losing her boyfriend. Crisp said Parker disguised herself to make her look pregnant for nearly 10 months, faked ultrasounds, had a gender-reveal party and posted about her fake pregnancy on social media while searching for a possible victim, Crisp said. “How did we get here?” Crisp asked the jury. “How did it get this far? She is an actress, an actress of the highest order. The lies and fraud go on and on; the layers of fraud are staggering.” Leaving the victim’s 3-year-old daughter alone with her dying mother, Parker then drove with the baby in her lap when a state trooper stopped the car and sent the child to a hospital in nearby Idabel, Oklahoma, authorities say. The child later died.

Utah

A wild horse jumps among others near Salt Lake City in 2018.
A wild horse jumps among others near Salt Lake City in 2018.

Tooele: Federal wildlife managers say they plan to gather approximately 700 wild horses later this week as part of an ongoing effort to tamp down the horses’ populations along the Utah-Nevada border. The gathering operation is slated to start Saturday and last for two weeks, starting in the proximity of the Cedar Mountain Herd Management Area, west of Tooele, according to the Bureau of Land Management. BLM officials say the herd management area should have between 190 and 390 horses but now has a population of 920. Horses removed from the range will be transported to BLM-contracted off-range corrals in Axtell, Utah. “The Cedar Mountain Horse Management Area wild horse gather supports the BLM’s continuing efforts to manage public lands for multiple use and sustained yield and to manage wild horse populations under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971,” Jessica Wade, the bureau’s Salt Lake field manager, said in an email. The agency’s method for rounding up the horses involves low-flying helicopters chasing the horses into corrals – a method that has drawn fire from advocacy groups over the years but that wildlife officials say is the quickest, most effective way to reduce herd sizes and minimize longer-term problems. Members of the public are invited to come and observe the operations, as long as they remain at a safe distance, starting Monday.

Vermont

Burlington: The U.S. Department of Education is investigating allegations of antisemitism at the University of Vermont, including that some Jewish students were excluded from campus clubs and that a teaching assistant threatened to reduce the grades of students who support the state of Israel. The complaint filed by the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law alleges that UVM has allowed a hostile environment to exist on campus in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The complaint, which was filed last year but acted upon by the Department of Education last month, says that Jewish students have expressed fear about identifying publicly as Jewish, that they hide their Jewish identity and that some have considered transferring from UVM due to the hostile environment. Jewish students are being pressured to disavow their sense of being Jewish if they want to engage on issues like LGBTQ, women’s or immigration rights or climate change, said Alyza Lewin, the president of the Brandeis Center. “It can’t be that today, the only community that’s not welcomed to bring their full identity to the table are the Jews,” she said in an interview with the Associated Press. In a statement, UVM spokesman Enrique Corredera said officials were aware of the investigation by the Office of Civil Rights and look forward to providing the agency with a full response to the underlying allegations, which were reported to the university in 2021 and investigated by campus officials.

Virginia

Norfolk: The Elizabeth River Project’s latest work will roll with the rising tide. The environmental group is constructing a 6,500-foot resilience lab with an intentional life span of about 30 to 50 years. When sea levels reach a certain height, the structure can be disassembled and moved to allow a living shoreline – part of the design – to take its place. The outdoor pavilion will float when the area floods and is meant as a refuge for people who canoe down the river-like streets after a deluge or for those caught outside. The Pru and Louis Ryan Resilience Lab and Learning Park is scheduled to open next fall. The $8 million project is funded by Pru and Louis Ryan of Norfolk and donations through the ERP’s Next Wave Campaign. The group picked the location because it is a notorious flood zone, and the creek is an important tributary. The lab will be equipped with solar panels, rainwater collection barrels and gray water collection systems. It also will employ natural cooling techniques such as a “green wall” of ivy. The proposed living shoreline will be at the back of the property and planted to restore wetland and oyster habitats. Once in place, it will help trap contaminants and filter the water. There will be two storage sheds, one of which will float, a research dock, and a public boardwalk for people to look out over the creek. A kayak launch will be just off the boardwalk.

Washington

Seattle: Seattle Public Schools said late Monday that it had reached a tentative agreement with the union for teachers who went on strike last week over issues like pay and classroom support. Earlier Monday, the district had canceled classes Tuesday – the fifth school day that students have missed since the strike began began Sept. 7. That was supposed to be the first day for approximately 49,000 students in the district. Details about the agreement weren’t immediately available. Striking teachers said their main concern was educational and emotional help for students, especially those with special needs or learning difficulties. The school district had offered pay raises of an additional 1% above the 5.5% cost-of-living increase set by state lawmakers – far less than the union says it wanted – plus one-time bonuses for certain teachers, including $2,000 for third-year Seattle teachers earning an English language or dual-language endorsement. Teachers in the city have seen healthy raises since their last strike in 2015, with many making more than $100,000, thanks largely to a new state education funding model. The union has said it is primarily focused on winning raises for its lower-paid members, including instructional assistants and front office staff. Paraeducators in Seattle Public Schools start at $19 an hour – nowhere near enough to afford to live in the city, many say. The union says it was opposing the district’s efforts to eliminate staffing ratios for special education students.

West Virginia

Charleston: The Legislature passed a sweeping abortion ban with few exceptions Tuesday, approving a bill that several Republicans said they hope will make it impossible for the state’s only abortion clinic to continue to offer the procedure. Under the legislation, rape and incest victims would be able to obtain abortions at up to eight weeks of pregnancy – but only if they report to law enforcement first. Such victims who are minors would have until 14 weeks to terminate a pregnancy and be required report either to law enforcement or to a physician. Rape and incest victims would have to report the assault within 48 hours of getting an abortion, and a patient would have to present a copy of a police report or notarized letter to a physician before the procedure could be performed. Abortions also would be allowed in cases of medical emergencies. Lawmakers resumed debate on the bill after failing to come to an agreement in late July, giving up the chance for the state to become the first to approve new legislation restricting access to abortions since the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in June removing its protected status as a constitutional right.

Wisconsin

Madison: Hundreds of Madison nurses seeking to be recognized as a union canceled a three-day work strike at the last minute after Gov. Tony Evers called the health care workers and their bosses to Maple Bluff over the weekend to hash out a settlement. Evers announced the agreement to avoid striking Monday at a state Capitol news conference, where UW Health health care workers and UW Health CEO Alan Kaplan said the two sides agreed to pursue an analysis from the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission on whether the health system must recognize their union. “I just made an offer to come to the residence, sit down together, and my message was quite clear that people in Wisconsin expect everybody to work together for the best of everyone. And no one wants a strike,” Evers said. The agreement came a day before the nurses were set to start a three-day strike they voted in late August to take if UW Health officials did not agree to negotiate with their union, SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin. Their pursuit of union recognition has been brewing since 2011, when Republican state lawmakers and then-Gov. Scott Walker passed a collective bargaining law that eliminated most collective bargaining for public employees. Kaplan has argued state law prevents officials from bargaining with the union.

Wyoming

Cheyenne: Republican U.S. House nominee Harriet Hageman won’t agree to a debate with Democratic challenger Lynnette Grey Bull, the Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports. Hageman, who defeated incumbent U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney in the GOP primary after winning the endorsement of ex-President Donald Trump and pushing his election conspiracy theories, declined an invitation to appear on stage with Grey Bull next month, first citing a scheduling conflict and later saying she wouldn’t take part at all. Grey Bull said voters deserve to hear the candidates discuss their differences and calling the refusal a tactic of the privileged class, according to the newspaper. WyomingPBS officials, who have long hosted statewide debates, also said they were diappointed that Hageman wouldn’t agree to participate in a forum that helps constituents learn about the candidates and issues.

From USA TODAY Network and wire reports

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Malcolm X, country benefit show: News from around our 50 states