Montgomery: Gov. Kay Ivey says she should not have worn blackface in a college skit decades ago, but she does not plan to resign over something that happened so long in the past. In her first public appearance since issuing a public apology last week, Ivey, 74, reiterated that she was wrong to appear in the skit over 50 years ago and said it does not reflect who she is today. The Republican governor said she has no plans to quit. “Heavens no, I’m not going to resign. It’s something that happened 52 years ago, and I’m not that person. My administration stands on being inclusive and helping people,” Ivey said. Her admission and her office’s release of a video of her then-fiance describing the skit in 1967 came after she had said in February that she had never worn blackface. Ivey said Tuesday that she doesn’t remember the skit.
Anchorage: Expected rate increases in the state’s assisted living facility system have already prompted the departure of some residents. KTUU-TV reports the rate increases at Alaska Pioneer Home went into effect Sept. 1. Officials say new regulations increased the number of tiers in the Pioneer Home care system from three to five, based on residents’ levels of need. Officials say the highest tier previously priced at about $6,800 per month has increased to $15,000 monthly. The state Department of Health and Social Services says it previously covered the difference between what residents paid and the actual cost, while the new rate covers the full cost. The department says eight residents have left some of the six Alaska Pioneer Homes after the rate increases went into effect.
Tsaile: Researchers at the University of Arizona and Dine College are partnering to try to get more Navajo students into biomedical sciences. The schools recently were awarded a $1.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. Kathleen Rogers and Roberta Diaz Brinton from UofA and Fred Boyd from Dine College will develop a training program for Navajo students to further their studies in neuroscience. They say Native Americans make up 0.5% of the workforce in biomedical sciences – the lowest of any minority group. The students will work with Navajo elders while learning science research methods. The researchers say the approach recognizes that Native American students might have different perspectives in trying to address health disparities.
Fort Smith: The police department has received more than 100 threats after a 911 dispatcher scolded a frantic newspaper delivery woman for driving into floodwaters before she drowned. Fort Smith police spokesman Aric Mitchell says the threats over the holiday weekend were made primarily to the city’s dispatch center from out-of-state callers and aren’t considered credible. He told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that calls and messages ranged from vague insults to death threats. In a 911 recording released last week, Debra Stevens was heard crying and begging for help, saying she could not swim. Dispatcher Donna Reneau at one point tried to comfort Stevens but also told her, “This will teach you next time don’t drive in the water.” Reneau was working her final shift when she took the call Aug. 24 and is no longer employed by the department.
San Francisco: Organizers of the annual surf contest in the massive waves of Mavericks in Northern California say they are canceling the competition indefinitely. The World Surf League says logistical challenges and the inability to run the event the past two years prompted it to cancel it this year. WSL produces some of the world’s best-known surf contests and in 2017 bought the rights to the Titans of Mavericks big wave surf contest after its original organizer filed for bankruptcy. It changed its name to the Mavericks Challenge. If the surf was right, the contest was held in 25-foot-plus waves at the Mavericks’ break near Pillar Point in Half Moon Bay between Nov. 1 and March 31. The contest was called off in 2017 and 2018.
Denver: Country music star Dierks Bentley has been fined $139.50 for fishing without a license after concertgoers reported him to state officials. The Denver Post reports Bentley and fellow country star Luke Bryan talked on stage about fishing during a festival in Buena Vista. Officials say audience members contacted the Colorado Parks and Wildlife department to check whether the singers had fishing licenses. Officials say the reports alone were not enough to warrant action, but Bentley posted online proof Sunday. A photo posted on social media shows Bentley holding a brown trout in Cottonwood Creek in the central Colorado town. A parks and wildlife spokesman says an officer located Bentley in Buena Vista on Monday and issued a ticket. Bentley paid the fine in cash on the spot.
Westport: The public is invited to attend a ceremony marking the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. The event will be held Thursday at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Family members of those killed in the 2001 attacks will participate. The names of the 161 victims with ties to Connecticut will be read aloud. Connecticut holds its ceremony early so family members can attend the annual service in New York City on Sept. 11. Connecticut’s official memorial honoring the victims is located on a peninsula at the state park where the Manhattan skyline can be seen on a clear day across Long Island Sound. The site was used by the Connecticut National Guard as a staging area for the state’s relief efforts.
Dover: Lawmakers have introduced a bill authorizing restaurants and beer gardens to allow pets in outdoor seating areas. The bill introduced last week was prompted by a public reminder from state health officials last month that there is a regulation prohibiting pets in restaurants, including patio areas. Officials have acknowledged, however, that the regulation has not been strictly enforced. The regulation came as a surprise to Democratic House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf of Rehoboth Beach, a popular beach town where residents and visitors often take their dogs with them when grabbing an outdoor bite. Schwartzkopf introduced a bipartisan bill that allows owners of food establishments and beer gardens to permit leashed dogs in outdoor areas.
District of Columbia
Washington: Some high schoolers in the district are piloting a student safety app that will allow them to report suspicious activity, contact law enforcement and share live commute updates. The Washington Post reports students at Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter High School started piloting the app Thursday. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser’s administration announced plans for the app last month and said the district planned to spend about $26,000 to partner on it with LiveSafe, a Virginia-based tech company. The newspaper notes the app is the district’s response to students’ pleas for safer commutes and says students seemed the most excited for the commute update feature. Officials say it could take up to two more months to release the app. It still is unclear to whom students’ concerns will be directed through the app.
Orlando: The state saw more than a 5% increase in tourists in the first half of the year, but visits from international travelers were down. Figures released by Visit Florida, the state tourism promotion agency, show 68.9 million visitors came to Florida from January through June, the largest number of visitors during any six-month period. More than 61 million visitors came from within the United States, and 7.6 million visitors came from outside the U.S. Excluding Canada, the number of international visitors was down by about 2%. That is part of a nationwide trend blamed on competition and trade tensions. Visitor Florida also updated last year’s figures. The tourism agency says 127 million visitors came to Florida in 2018, 1 million more than originally reported.
Atlanta: The rapper Future has promised to give a $2,000 scholarship and pair of concert tickets to a fan at each stop on his Legendary Nights tour. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports eligible fans must be active area college students who follow Future’s FreeWishes Foundation on Instagram and submit an essay on how the scholarship would “be a dream come true.” The website says the Atlanta rapper and his family launched the nonprofit to deliver messages of hope by “making dreams come alive.” Future, whose real name is Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn, is touring 24 cities with Meek Mill and Megan Thee Stallion. The tour started in St. Louis, Missouri, and ends in Atlanta this month. Applications are due before the tour stops in each applicant’s city.
Honolulu: The state attorney general’s office won’t go after Bank of America for failing to provide $150 million in loans for building houses on Hawaiian home lands. Bank of America had committed to the loans as a condition of its 1994 acquisition of Liberty Bank in Hawaii. Last year, Gov. David Ige wrote a letter to a bank official saying the bank continues to be delinquent on its four-year commitment to provide the residential mortgage loans on the home lands, which are public lands for those with at least 50% Hawaiian blood. The bank says while it only made a fraction of the loans, it did fulfill its commitment – just not as originally conceived. The bank says it encountered challenges, including a lack of available lots to make loans in sufficient quantities and some borrowers not meeting loan qualifications.
Boise: The number of adopted wild horses in the state has increased as a result of a federal program intended to reduce wild horse overpopulation. KBOI-TV reports 230 horses have been adopted this year, compared to 150 horses in 2018. The federal Bureau of Land Management earlier this year announced it would pay up to $1,000 to people who adopt untrained wild horses. The bureau’s Boise district office says the program can assist new owners with initial expenses such as food and training. Officials say a wild horse and burro preparation facility supports four herd management areas in the state and holds horses for possible adoption. Officials say staff members at the corrals are available to help prospective owners select from among the 100 to 150 horses available there.
Chicago: State officials are taking another step toward selling a downtown building that houses government offices. The Department of Central Management Services has issued a request for proposals seeking management and technical project management so Illinois can get “the best value” for the James R. Thompson Center. Responses are due Oct. 4. Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed legislation this year authorizing the sale of the building that’s an architectural landmark but also has numerous efficiency issues. Selling the building is expected to take two years. Segments have fallen into disrepair, and there are issues with heating and cooling. State officials say it’s an expensive building to maintain. The 17-story, curved-glass structure was designed by architect Helmut Jahn and opened in 1985. It was renamed for Illinois’ longest-serving governor in 1993.
Muncie: Wildlife biologists have rescued thousands of freshwater mussels left stranded out of water by the demolition of a dam on the White River. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources scientists joined Muncie Sanitary District staff last week to collect by hand nearly 2,800 mussels representing 16 native species along the river at Muncie’s McCulloch Park. The mussels were relocated farther downstream. The recent demolition of a dam at the park lowered and narrowed the river, leaving the mussels stranded high and dry. Brant Fisher, a DNR aquatic biologist, says the agency was ready to give the mussels a lift because they “can’t move fast or far” and likely would have died.
Holland: Businesses partnering with the state to provide real-world student learning opportunities are expected to boost career education for rural school districts. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports the state is using the recently unveiled Iowa Clearinghouse for Work-Based Learning to help students build job skills. Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise says it’s designed as a virtual workspace. Businesses, nonprofits and governmental organizations can post real-world tasks on a project board that students can then complete under the supervision of teachers. Teachers can also use it to connect students to job shadow, internship and apprenticeship opportunities. Wise says the program will broaden access to learning that hasn’t been available for some students, especially those in rural areas.
Wichita: A government snapshot of crop conditions shows the harvest of corn is now underway in the state. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Tuesday that 1% of the corn in the state has been harvested, near the 4% average at this point in the growing season. The agency rates half of the corn out in fields in good to excellent condition, with 34% of the crop in fair shape. About 16% is in poor to very poor condition. Other crops are also making progress. About 83% of the soybeans in Kansas are setting pods, with 3% of soybean crops already dropping leaves. About 1% of the Kansas sorghum crop has now matured.
Richmond: Children visiting Fort Boonesborough State Park this weekend can learn about life in the 18th century with hands-on lessons. Displays will include churning butter, grinding corn, baking ash cakes, carving powder horns, carding and spinning, and other pioneer skills. The Parks Department says concessions will be available, and there will be a puppet show featuring Punch and Judy and a demonstration on falconry. Displays will be available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. They are free with paid fort admission, which is $8 for adults, $5 for children ages 6 to 12, and free for children younger than 6. Fort Boonesborough is at the site of a fort built by Daniel Boone and other settlers in 1775 along the Kentucky River.
New Orleans: State residents can visit the National WWII Museum for half-price this month. In a news release, the museum says this is the fifth consecutive year it has cut prices for Louisiana residents. The discount also applies to rides on the museum’s restored PT-305 boat as well as tours. Residents have to show a valid Louisiana driver’s license in order to get the discount, which is only available for walk-up purchases. It does apply to group sales. The museum details the American experience in World War II. The museum’s newest exhibit tells the story of Andrew Jackson Higgins and Higgins Industries, which built the famed landing craft used during the Normandy invasion in 1944.
Bangor: Moviegoers from the area who watch “It: Chapter Two” this weekend might recognize a scene that draws on a painful event from the state’s history. The scene involves a gay character being attacked by teenagers and his subsequent encounter with the killer clown Pennywise. The scene is based on real-life Bangor resident Charlie Howard, who was attacked and thrown off a bridge in 1984. Stephen King tells the Bangor Daily News that the killing was fresh on his mind when he was writing the book on which the movie is based. He says he was outraged. The scene is not included in the 1990 TV miniseries, but that changes with “It: Chapter Two,” with the character based on Howard being portrayed by Xavier Dolan.
Baltimore: A fashion exhibition with nearly 100 examples of women’s and men’s clothing and accessories spanning four centuries is scheduled to open at the Maryland Historical Society. The public will get to see the installation starting Oct. 6. The organization says the clothing has connections to presidents, royalty and everyday Marylanders. Among the pieces that will be on display is a gown worn to George Washington’s inaugural ball. The installation will also display clothing worn by slaves at Hampton Mansion, now a national historic site built in the 18th century north of Baltimore. The Historical Society says Christian Siriano, a Maryland native, will serve as the emcee of a fashion show the day before the exhibition opens to the public. “Spectrum of Fashion: Celebrating Maryland’s Style” will run through October 2020.
Plymouth: With summer winding down, the cranberry bog harvest can’t be far behind. The head of the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association, Brian Wick, says his members are largely optimistic about this year’s crop, but weather remains a variable. The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service forecasts the total U.S. cranberry crop to hit 9 million barrels, a 4% increase over 2018. One barrel equals 100 pounds of cranberries. In Massachusetts, the second-largest cranberry producer behind Wisconsin, the crop is projected at 2.3 million barrels, up about 3% from last year. Wick says early September is a critical period for cranberries, which need both additional moisture and cooler nights to reach full size and develop their distinctive color. While most growers deploy supplemental irrigation systems, he says, “nothing beats a good soaking rain.”
Detroit: Motown Records founder Berry Gordy Jr. is donating $4 million toward a project to expand a museum housed in the building where he built his music empire. Motown Museum announced Wednesday that Gordy’s gift is the largest individual donation to the project. It coincides with Motown’s 60th anniversary. Gordy said in a statement that he’s “excited about the future” of the museum and “happy to support it.” Museum expansion plans, announced in 2016, include interactive exhibits, a performance theater, recording studios, an expanded retail area and meeting spaces. Gordy launched the company in 1959 and moved it to Los Angeles in 1972. His late sister, Esther Gordy Edwards, launched the museum in the former “Hitsville U.S.A.” headquarters in 1985.
Minneapolis: City park officials say contaminated water led to a record number of beach closures this summer. Half of the city’s 12 beaches were not safe to swim in at various times during the summer. That’s the most since Minneapolis started a water sampling program in 2003, Minnesota Public Radio reports. Park officials say heavy rainfall was part of the problem. Officials say heavy rain brings in storm water runoff, and that runoff brings in debris and bacteria from streets and yards. But officials say goose droppings also contaminated the water at some beaches, as well as people with an illness who got in the water. Health officials are urging the public to stay out of the water if they’re sick and to wait a day to go in the beach after heavy rainfall.
Jackson: A federal judge is taking charge of the state’s mental health system, saying the federal government has proved the state isn’t doing enough to serve people outside the confinement of mental hospitals. In a ruling late Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves said he wants to appoint an outsider to oversee changes. He’s asking the state and federal governments to suggest someone for the role. The U.S. Justice Department argued during a monthlong trial this summer that Mississippi’s movement toward community services was far too slow, forcing hundreds or thousands of people into avoidable hospital stays. Reeves found that Mississippi is violating a 1999 U.S. Supreme Court decision that said “unjustified” mental hospital confinement is illegal. The judge rejects Mississippi’s arguments that it was progressing on its own.
Springfield: A federal judge has ruled that a cattle farmer did not defame a Branson attraction by leaving a three-star TripAdvisor review. Owners of Bigfoot on the Strip sued Randy Winchester and his daughter in June 2018, claiming the review was libelous and defamatory. Winchester had written that he was disappointed by a tour of Bigfoot Farms and its cattle. Owners of the attraction contended some of the details in Winchester’s review were inaccurate. Winchester said after tour owner’s contacted him to complain, he changed it to a one-star review. U.S. District Court Chief Judge Beth Phillips ruled late last month that Winchester’s statements were factually correct and/or didn’t diminish the company’s reputation in the community.
Helena: The Montana Secretary of State’s Office has decided how to distribute $750,000 in federal grant money to upgrade voting equipment across the state’s 56 counties. A statement by Secretary Corey Stapleton on Tuesday shows the amount per sub-grant will range from $3,500 for the smallest counties to $45,879 for Missoula County. The money is matched by an equal amount contributed by the counties. Stapleton says the money will help counties buy new voting machines for people with disabilities. Montana received $3 million total from the federal government to improve its election system and security. Some $2 million was earmarked for a new voter registration system. Another $150,000 is going toward information technology security, and $100,000 went toward the state’s election supervisor’s salary.
Omaha: The Nebraska Farm Bureau estimates the ongoing trade dispute will cost the state’s farmers $943 million in lost revenue this year, though those losses will be partly offset by aid payments from the government. Bureau economist Jay Rempe says the lost revenue will add to the financial pressure on farmers in the state and hurt Nebraska’s economy because so many communities rely on farmers’ spending. University of Nebraska-Lincoln agricultural economist Brad Lubben estimates that Nebraska farmers will receive roughly $460 million in aid from the first half of this year’s $16 billion federal aid program. That would cover nearly half of the lost revenue. Additional aid payments are possible if the trade dispute with China lingers through the end of the year, but federal officials will decide that later.
Pioche: A rural county has given final go-aheads to two events based around a “Storm Area 51” drive that began as an internet joke. Lincoln County commissioners on Tuesday accepted a promoter’s plan to hold a music festival for 5,000 people in tiny Hiko and an inn owner’s effort to let perhaps 10,000 camp on her property in Rachel, the town closest to the once top-secret Area 51 military base. The board last month drafted an emergency declaration, with the sheriff planning to team resources with the state and neighboring counties ahead of Sept. 20-22 events inspired by the internet invitation. Commissioners and Sheriff Kerry Lee say promoters’ plans to bring in food, water and entertainment could help people survive in the desolate desert nearly three hours’ drive from Las Vegas.
Hampton: It’s been a great summer for piping plovers in the state. New Hampshire’s Fish and Game Department says a record number of state-endangered and federally threatened piping plovers hatched this summer at Hampton and Seabrook beaches. Five pairs nested on Hampton Beach fledged 10 chicks. On Seabrook Beach, six pairs of plovers fledged 10 chicks. Those numbers surpassed last year’s record of nine pairs and 17 chicks fledged, respectively. Biologist Brendan Clifford with the Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program said birds born in New Hampshire have a good chance of returning to their native beaches after wintering farther south. The bird’s population has reached almost 2,000 pairs along the coast from North Carolina to Canada since it was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1986.
Atlantic City: The city’s top casino is taking out its checkbook again. The Borgata says it will spend $14 million redoing its lobby and more than 300 hotel suites. The work follows a $12 million project that opened a new sports betting lounge and entertainment facility in June. The latest renovation will redo the casino hotel’s lobby, adding a new bar and VIP check-in that should be completed this month. The Borgata also is renovating 312 suites, work that should be done by early next year. The top-performing of Atlantic City’s nine casinos, the Borgata regularly reinvests in its property. From January through July of this year, the Borgata has won more than $455 million, more than twice its nearest competitors.
Las Cruces: Chile farmers in southern New Mexico say extreme shifts in weather have affected the harvest. Alonso Grajeda of Grajeda Farms says a cold snap early in the season and a later heat wave mean he won’t have as much green chile as in previous years. He says he had to replant, delaying the growth of his crops by about three weeks. Duane Gillis of Gillis Farms says his chiles are about two weeks behind schedule. But he says the best chile is being harvested now. New Mexico is known for its green chile grown in Hatch, where a festival celebrating the state vegetable was held over the weekend. The official state question is “red or green?”
New York: A measles outbreak concentrated in Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in the city is over, meaning an emergency order mandating vaccines will be lifted, health officials said Tuesday. The officials said two incubation periods since the last reported cases have passed without any new infections. But city Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot cautioned that there’s still a threat from “one of the most contagious diseases on the face of the earth” and urged New Yorkers to still get their children immunized before the start of the new school year. “Staying up to date on vaccines is the best way for people to protect the health and safety of their friends, family and neighbors,” Barbot said. The city has seen 654 cases of measles – the most in 30 years – since an outbreak began in October 2018, officials said.
Raleigh: A judicial panel rejected state legislative district maps Tuesday, saying legislators took extreme advantage in drawing voting districts to help elect a maximum number of Republican lawmakers. The judges gave lawmakers two weeks to try again. The three-judge panel of state trial judges unanimously ruled that courts can step in to decide when partisan advantage goes so far that it diminishes democracy. Their ruling comes after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June in a separate case involving North Carolina’s congressional map that it’s not the job of federal courts to decide if boundaries are politically unfair – though state courts could consider whether gerrymandering stands up under state laws and constitutions. “Partisan intent predominated over all other redistricting criteria resulting in extreme partisan gerrymandered legislative maps,” the judges wrote.
Bismarck: Tribal leaders in the state gathered Tuesday to map out a campaign to help ensure their reservations aren’t shortchanged in the 2020 census. Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Mike Faith told the group during a tribal summit at United Tribes Technical College that his tribe has allocated $50,000 “for the purpose of helping get a true count.” The money will be used for advertising about the upcoming survey, the Bismarck Tribune reports. Faith said accurate numbers are important to get funding for road repairs, health, housing and schools, among other things. In addition to helping to determine federal spending, census numbers are used to determine seats in Congress and statehouses. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated American Indians and Alaska Natives were undercounted by 4.9% in the 2010 census.
Columbus: Health officials say the number of fatal drug overdoses in the state has declined for the first time since 2009. Preliminary figures from the Ohio Department of Health show overdoses dropped more than 22% last year. According to separate data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ohio’s decrease was more than four times the national decline of 5%. Health Department medical director Dr. Mark Hurst told the Columbus Dispatch he’s encouraged by the reduction, but the department’s “work is far from over.” State data shows that most of Ohio’s six largest urban areas had double-digit declines. Overdoses fell 47% in Montgomery County and 46% in Summit County.
Sand Springs: Authorities say a suspect is dead following an officer-involved shooting. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation identified the suspect Monday as 49-year-old Robert Desjarlais Jr. Authorities say Desjarlais was fatally wounded about 8:30 p.m. Sunday in Sand Springs, about 7 miles west of Tulsa and 92 miles northeast of Oklahoma City. Sand Springs Police Chief Mike Carter says shots were fired at the end of a pursuit involving a Sand Springs officer and Desjarlais. Carter says the officer was pinned against his vehicle during the incident and was transported to a local hospital for treatment and observation. The OSBI says Desjarlais was pronounced dead at the scene. The OSBI says the officer, who wasn’t immediately identified, has been placed on administrative leave.
Pendleton: The city excavated 2,000 cubic yards of gravel and rock from McKay Creek right after the flooding in April. The East Oregonian reports now the city is seeking permits to clear thousands more cubic yards of gravel from the creek before the end of winter and the possibility of more spring flooding. City Manager Robb Corbett said the state allows that kind of in-stream work from Dec. 1 to March 31. He said they have a short time to get it done. But he expressed confidence in getting the permits during a meeting with McKay Creek area residents Wednesday night. He said the city hired the engineering firm of Anderson Perry & Associates Inc. to shoulder that work.
Harrisburg: The governor will be traveling next week to visit National Guard troops stationed in Lithuania and to honor the victims of last year’s Pittsburgh synagogue shooting during a stop at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial. Gov. Tom Wolf’s office announced Tuesday he will spend time with some of the nearly 600 Pennsylvanians stationed with the National Guard in Lithuania and Poland and will meet with Lithuanian government and business leaders. Pennsylvania’s military partnership with Lithuania involves training and collaboration and goes back more than a quarter-century. Wolf’s visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial will be to honor the 11 worshippers shot to death during an attack on the Tree of Life synagogue building in October. The Democratic governor plans to pay his own air travel and lodging costs.
Providence: A police oversight board is reviewing the constitutionality of how the Providence Police Department added people to a database to identify suspected gang members. The department said in July that it had temporarily stopped operating the database, after the Providence Youth Student Movement filed a lawsuit. WPRI-TV reports the Providence External Review Authority heard testimony from the American Civil Liberties Union Rhode Island chapter last week. The chapter’s executive director, Steven Brown, says people can end up in the database even if they haven’t been involved in any way in criminal activity. Lindsay Lague, a police department spokeswoman, has said police are reviewing their policy. The Providence Youth Student Movement is suing over non-gang members being included, which they say led to discrimination in interactions with police.
Murrells Inlet: A few hundred people in a coastal area will get to vote on which county they live in this November. Gov. Henry McMaster has signed an executive order allowing an unprecedented election for about 200 property owners who thought they lived in Horry County but, as it turns out, are actually in Georgetown County. A review of the boundary by state officials determined it was drawn using natural markers and didn’t take into account tidal changes. That shifted the affected properties into a new county. The homeowners will vote on whether they want to be annexed into Horry County or remain in Georgetown County. To change counties will require a two-thirds vote. A law allowing the referendum passed in May.
Lead: The operator of the only large-scale, active gold mine in the Black Hills will be conducting exploratory drilling. Wharf Resources has notified state regulators it will drill 125 holes near the Richmond Hill Mine in search of gold. The mine was closed 26 years ago because of environmental pollution caused by acid-rock drainage. The company produced nearly 77,000 ounces of gold and more than 50,000 ounces of silver last year at its Wharf Mine near Lead. Sales of the gold and silver generated $96.5 million in 2018. The Rapid City Journal says the remaining life of the Wharf mine is estimated to be seven years.
Clarksville: The state Transportation Department has announced a $1.82 million federal grant for the city’s construction of a pedestrian bridge to complete a 10-mile hiking and biking trail linking the downtown riverfront with the northeastern part of the city. The bridge over the Red River is the final phase of the Red River Trail, which also includes a connection to the Austin Peay State University campus. Clarksville will be responsible for about $675,000 of the total project. It will involve construction of a 290-foot-long, 10-foot-wide bridge that will cross the river at the site of a former railroad bridge. It also includes construction of a 500-foot overhead boardwalk that descends from the bridge to the surface level on the north bank of the river and complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Austin: Gov. Greg Abbott is dismissing calls to hold an emergency legislative session on guns following a violent August that began and ended with mass shootings. The Legislature doesn’t meet again until 2021, which Democrats said Wednesday is too long to wait for new safeguards in the wake of mass shootings in El Paso and Odessa that killed 29 people. Only the governor can call a special session, and state Democratic lawmakers are trying to ratchet up pressure on Abbott after last weekend’s attack in West Texas that killed seven people and injured about two dozen more. But Abbott, an avid gun rights supporter, has resisted those calls. His spokesman says that the solution isn’t dividing lawmakers on party-line votes and that legislating on tough issues takes time.
Monticello: Federal officials say rock climbers are now free to enjoy an area near the town where raptors historically have nested. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management had asked climbers in February to voluntarily avoid some walls within the Indian Creek corridor. Wildlife biologists say peregrine falcons, eagles and other birds rely on the area to lay their eggs and raise their young. The BLM had cleared several walls for climbing earlier this year after finding no nests there. It said Tuesday that the entire area is open for fall climbing since two peregrine falcons have left a nest. The agency says Indian Creek draws climbers who want to practice their technique on cracks that split the face of a rock.
Randolph: The state will recognize the service and commitment of the late National Guard Brig. Gen. Michael Heston with a Memorial Walkway at the veterans’ cemetery in the city. A ceremony to dedicate the walkway is planned for Saturday at the Vermont Veterans Memorial Cemetery. The guard says Heston, a former assistant adjutant general of the Vermont National Guard who died last November at age 58, was instrumental in helping to expand the veterans’ cemetery. The new walkway connects the Circle of Flags, the Global War on Terror Memorial and the new Public Information Center. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.
Richmond: As the state’s ginseng harvest season begins, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is reminding residents about regulations aimed at protecting the plant. American ginseng, which grows wild in Virginia’s forests, is listed as a threatened species under the state’s Endangered Plant and Insect Species Act. Ginseng collection is prohibited on most public lands in Virginia. On public lands where ginseng harvesting is allowed, diggers must obtain a permit. On private property, anyone harvesting ginseng must obtain permission from the property owner. Wild ginseng harvest season begins Sept. 1 and ends Dec. 31 of each year. Ginseng younger than 5 years old cannot be harvested. Anyone who harvests wild ginseng must plant the seeds of the harvested plant at the harvest site at the time of the harvest.
Lynnwood: Officials have broken ground on a light-rail project that will eventually take riders from Lynnwood to downtown Seattle in less than half an hour. The Daily Herald reports a ceremonial groundbreaking took place near the future station Tuesday. Service is to start in 2024 and will for the first time link King and Snohomish counties. Lynnwood Link is part of the ST2 plan approved by voters in 2008 and builds on continuing work to extend track from Husky Stadium through the University District to Northgate in Seattle. Four stations will line the 8.5-mile route from Northgate to Lynnwood. The Everett Link extension to Lynnwood is part of the next planned expansion of Sound Transit and as of now is slated to open in 2036.
Charleston: A grant program that encourages the state’s schools and arts organizations to integrate arts education with science, technology, engineering and math is taking applications for approximately $175,000 in funding. The West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History is accepting applications for STEAM Power WV grants through Oct. 4. The funding is provided through a grant from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation. An agency statement says grants of up to $7,500 are available for public and private preschool through high school programs, school systems, nonprofit arts organizations and community nonprofits with arts-related missions. The department plans to fund at least 25 new projects taking place between now and June.
Madison: Young farmers hoping to make a living as well as those nearing retirement who want to hand off their operations to the next generation would benefit from a package of bills unveiled Tuesday designed to help stem the tide of farm bankruptcies in the state. The three proposals are sponsored by Democrats but have bipartisan support, increasing their chances of being considered by the Republican-controlled Legislature. Between 2012 and 2017, the number of Wisconsin farms decreased by more than 7%, more than double the national average of 3.2%, according to the Census of Agriculture. Total farm acreage in Wisconsin also shrank by 2% over that time. Wisconsin’s signature dairy industry has been hit particularly hard. The new bills don’t target dairy farms specifically but are designed to help farmers remain viable when they are just starting out.
Casper: The state Department of Education has issued a security survey to schools to determine how they plan to protect children. The Casper Star-Tribune reports the survey was sent to district superintendents across the state in a weekly email from department Superintendent Jillian Balow. Officials say the 20-question survey covers topics such as training programs, threat assessment tools and means used to secure entrances. Balow says the survey is meant to ensure “a baseline of best practices and support systems” in schools statewide. She says threat plans and related training programs can vary widely between school districts. Balow says she will publicize the survey results later this year. Wyoming lawmakers earlier this year failed to pass a proposed bill to require baseline security protocols for every school district.
From USA TODAY Network and wire reports
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