Rare butterfly spotted, gator attack, Georgia Guidestones: News from around our 50 states


Montgomery: Public officials said they have identified the state’s first known cases of monkeypox, a disease that has emerged in more than 50 countries and most U.S. states. The Alabama Department of Public Health said in news releases that two cases have been identified. The first was in Mobile County and the second in Jefferson County. Dr. Rendi Murphree, an epidemiologist with the Mobile County Health Department, said monkeypox can be transmitted through close person-to-person contact.


Anchorage: Authorities are searching for a grandmother whose 2-year-old grandchild was found alone and abandoned for two days in a locked car that was stuck in mud on a rural Alaska road. The search for Mary Dawn Wilson, 69, is being concentrated around the community of Healy, Alaska State Troopers said. The abandoned Ford Focus was found Thursday on Stampede Road, just outside Healy and off the Parks Highway. The child appeared to be in good health and was handed over to the state Office of Children’s Services, the statement said. Officials said evidence in the car indicated that the child and car were abandoned Tuesday when the vehicle became stuck, troopers said. There were indications she tried to free the car, Alaska State Troopers spokesperson Tim DeSpain said. Wilson was the last known person with the child, the statement said,


Phoenix: There has been a sharp decrease in traffic fatalities in Arizona this year after a deadlier-than-usual year in 2021, according to preliminary data from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. Traffic fatalities between January and June fell from 626 deaths in 2021 to 350 deaths in 2022 – a 44% decrease. Although the data provided didn’t offer a monthly breakdown of alcohol-related traffic fatalities, the current count of 51 alcohol-related deaths is far less than half of 2021’s 230 total death count.


Crews began the demolition of the St. Scholastica Monastery, the former home of the Benedictine Sisters, on Monday after heavy equipment moved into the area.
Crews began the demolition of the St. Scholastica Monastery, the former home of the Benedictine Sisters, on Monday after heavy equipment moved into the area.

Fort Smith: The St. Scholastica Benedictine Sisters said they have begun to demolish their former monastery building. The monastery, built in 1924, was considered unsafe and unlivable. It had sustained flooding, mold and wall damage, the sisters reported. In February 2019, the sisters moved out of the monastery to live in a more energy-efficient building. “The decision to demolish the former Monastery Building is not one that the Benedictine Sisters made lightly or without years of research and discernment,” according to a news release. Work to demolish the monastery had been planned for June but started July 11.


San Francisco: The international terminal at San Francisco International Airport was evacuated on Friday night after a bomb threat, and authorities found a potentially incendiary device, officials said. One person is in custody. The bomb threat was reported about 8:15 p.m. and authorities discovered a suspicious package, according to the San Francisco Police Department. Investigators at the airport “deemed the item possibly incendiary.” A man was taken into custody but other details were not immediately available. The terminal was evacuated “out of an abundance of caution,” police said. Hundreds of travelers were forced to leave the terminal.


This photo shows Larimer County Road 44H (Buckhorn Road) taken by a drone after a flash flood Friday just 20 miles west of Fort Collins, Colo. The road was heavily damaged by the flood.
This photo shows Larimer County Road 44H (Buckhorn Road) taken by a drone after a flash flood Friday just 20 miles west of Fort Collins, Colo. The road was heavily damaged by the flood.

Fort Collins: A flash flood rushed through Buckhorn Canyon on Friday night, killing two people and destroying a house. Multiple reports of flash flooding in the Crystal Mountain and Glen Haven areas started coming in shortly before 5 p.m., Larimer County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson David Moore said. Included in those calls was a report of a camping trailer that had been washed away in the upper-to-middle section of the canyon with an adult woman and a female child inside. Crews immediately started searching for them, and both were found dead at about 7:30 p.m., Moore said. The area in Larimer County received nearly an inch of rain in a short period of time, according to the National Weather Service in Boulder.


Hartford: The Connecticut Lottery Corp. has settled a lawsuit filed by its former vice president over the handling of her complaint to the FBI of possible wrongdoing in the quasi-public agency. Under the settlement agreement, obtained in an open records request by The Hartford Courant, Chelsea Turner and her attorneys will be paid $450,000 and she is absolved of any wrongdoing. Turner was suspended from her job in July 2019, a week after she testified at an administrative hearing about how she had contacted a friend of hers in the FBI in 2014 about possible wrongdoing by another lottery official. An FBI investigation ended with no charges.


Wilmington: A rare Hessel’s hairstreak butterfly was spotted in southern Delaware earlier this year, the first time anyone had seen the endangered species on the Delmarva Peninsula since 1995. The two-tailed, iridescent-green butterfly has a wingspan of just an inch and lives atop Atlantic white cedar trees, which are somewhat rare themselves. Hessel’s hairstreaks in Sussex County are “in the middle” of known populations in the New Jersey Pine Barrens and southeastern Virginia.

District of Columbia

Washington: Members of the DC Council are calling on Mayor Muriel Bowser to act as Arizona and Texas officials continue to bus hundreds of migrants to Union Station, WUSA-TV reported. Gov. Greg Abbott and other Texas officials started busing people seeking asylum to D.C. in April after the state voiced opposition to President Joe Biden lifting Title 42, a public health policy that allowed the government to quickly expel migrants and asylum seekers who come to the U.S. from countries where an infectious disease is present. A letter from 10 councilmembers called on District government to provide contingency funding toward the purchase of travel tickets, food, petty cash, cellphones and emergent medical needs of arrivals until it receives money from federal or philanthropic entities to address the issue. Bowser’s office has not responded to multiple requests from WUSA-TV about efforts to assist asylum seekers.


Englewood: Authorities said a Florida woman was found dead after falling in a pond and being grabbed by two alligators. The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office told news outlets the elderly woman was seen falling into the pond along a golf course in Englewood late Friday and struggling to stay afloat. While she was in the water, two alligators were seen grabbing her, authorities said. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene. Two alligators have been removed from the area, but it’s not known whether those were the reptiles involved. The cause of death has not been determined. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says alligators are more active when temperatures rise.


Athens: Law enforcement continued to try and identify the person who bombed the Georgia Guidestones in Elberton, but tips from the public have slowed. “The amount of leads have definitely slowed, but we’re still getting a few through telephone calls,” said Jesse Maddox, an agent for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. “We haven’t been able to put anything new out because there’s nothing new.” The Guidestones, known as America’s Stonehenge and erected in 1980 in Elbert County, were heavily damaged during the predawn hours of July 6. Residents in the area off Georgia Highway 77 heard the loud blast. There have been some discussions in Elbert County of rebuilding the monument, which became a popular tourist destination, but no decisions have been made. Anyone with information is asked to contact the GBI office in Athens at (706) 552-2309. Anonymous tips can be submitted at (800) 597-8477.


Honolulu: A Pittsburgh man who was charged with manslaughter in the strangulation death of a college buddy he was vacationing with in Hawaii was found not guilty by a jury. Jurors reached their verdict last week after a trial on the Big Island, where Benjamin Fleming was vacationing with two friends he knew since attending Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. They were staying at a vacation rental in Kailua-Kona last year when a night out drinking ended in a deadly fight. Fleming was charged with manslaughter after an autopsy showed that Abhishek Gupta of Pittsburgh was strangled. Authorities said an argument between the men turned physical.


Boise: A nuclear waste treatment plant in eastern Idaho designed to treat 900,000 gallons of sodium-bearing, radioactive waste that has had numerous setbacks appears to be making progress, officials said. The U.S. Department of Energy said lastg week the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit at the department’s 890-square-mile site that includes the Idaho National Laboratory recently treated more than 100,000 gallons of simulant over seven weeks. The department plans additional testing and then a shutdown to make sure the plant is ready for radioactive waste. The department said increasing amounts of radioactive waste will be mixed with simulant when the plant is fully operational. The department didn’t give a timeline.


Springfield: About 150 Lutheran High School students will be displaced because of mine subsidence at the facility on the far west side of the city. Subsidence is the sinking of land surface, commonly resulting from underground mining. The problems, including cracking of walls and dropping of floors, were discovered by staff members a little over two weeks ago, said Zack Klug, the interim principal. Students’ families were informed by the school’s board of directors via email Saturday. Klug said he received a report from a Springfield engineering firm recommending the move. Engineers from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Illinois Mine Subsidence Insurance Fund have also done inspections on the school, which was built in 1978, and have recommended the building not be occupied. Klug said engineers told him a newer part of the high school, dating from 2017, is safe. Staff will stay there now until a better plan is developed, Klug said.


Indianapolis: Weeks of heat and scant rainfall have left most of Indiana facing either drought or unusually dry conditions while farmers hope significant precipitation falls soon. The U.S. Drought Monitor showed more than a third of Indiana with abnormally dry conditions and another 44% of the state gripped by a moderate drought centered over central, western and southwestern Indiana. Moderate drought or abnormally dry conditions cover nearly 80% of the state as of Tuesday, according to Thursday’s national drought update.


Des Moines: Police identified the 11-year-old girl who drowned Wednesday in the Raccoon River. At about 5:57 p.m. Wednesday, Des Moines police and fire department rescue personnel responded to the river in a wooded area northeast of the 6000 block of Creston Avenue after a child fell into the water. Diamond Mathis, 11, reportedly got off a raft on which she was floating with two other children, went under the water and did not resurface, Des Moines Police spokesperson Sgt. Paul Parizek said in a news release. Officers from the Metro STAR Unit located Mathis’ body about 12:20 p.m. Friday in the Raccoon River near where she was last seen.


Lansing: The state prison in Lansing was placed on lockdown Friday night after a fight among inmates sent one prisoner to a hospital and left at least three corrections employees injured. The incident happened about 7 p.m. in a section of the facility that houses violent offenders, said Sarah LaFrenz, a spokeswoman for state Department of Corrections officials. She added the event led to the “loss of control” over one part of the prison. Corrections spokesman Randall Bowman confirmed in a text message the hospitalized inmate was stabbed. He said the rest of the facility had been placed on lockdown as a precautionary measure. A tactical unit was deployed during the altercation and additional staffing brought in from other facilities. All men had returned to their cells “with minimal resistance” by about 10:30 p.m., corrections officials said.


Frankfort: Leak detection and repair crews have identified and fixed waterlines in the western Kentucky town of Marion – work that’s estimated to be saving more than 100,000 gallons of water a day, Gov. Andy Beshear’s office said. An engineering report will lay out the scope of work needed to complete a water connection from Marion to Sturgis Water Co., the governor said. The Kentucky National Guard continues to distribute bottled water. More than 398,000 bottles of water provided by the state and from donations have been handed out, he said. Beshear declared a state of emergency in Marion after the town of nearly 3,000 people began running out of water when a levee was breached on Lake George – the town’s main water supply.


Shreveport: The ramp on Interstate 20 eastbound to I-220 westbound (Exit 26 near Louisiana Downs) will be closed Monday as part of the ongoing I-20/I-220 Barksdale Air Force Base Interchange Project, which began in May 2019. The closure is expected to take approximately two months. During that time, construction on a new segment of roadway will be built extending southward leading to a new access point to the base. The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development will have detour signs in place for an alternate route.


Portland: The U.S. House approved a bill that would allow Native American tribes bound by a state land claims settlement in Maine to get the benefit from federal laws going forward. The proposal, attached to a defense bill approved Thursday, won’t change how the tribes are treated under state law but would update federal law to allow future laws passed by Congress to apply to the tribes. U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, who introduced the bill, said tribes in Maine deserve the same benefits as other federally recognized tribes under federal law. The proposal faces an uncertain future in the Senate. Chief Kirk Francis of the Penobscot Nation said in a statement Friday that tribal members “look forward to working with our senators on getting final passage through Congress this year.” Wabanaki tribes in Maine are governed by the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980, which stipulates they’re bound by state law. That sets them apart from the other 570 federally recognized tribes. Both chambers of the Maine Legislature advanced a bill to amend the land claims settlement to restore rights that tribes forfeited, but it stalled under a threat of veto from Democratic Gov. Janet Mills.


Annapolis: Demand is surging for concealed carry permits in Maryland in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Americans have a right to carry firearms in public for self-defense. The Washington Post reported Friday that Maryland State Police said they have received 11 times the usual number of permit applications to carry a gun. The surge came after Gov. Larry Hogan’s order to bring the state in line with the high court’s ruling on June 23. Hogan directed state police on July 5 to suspend the state’s “good and substantial reason” standard for permits to carry handguns. The threshold for that standard included showing a person’s life is in danger from threats or working in a job that could put them in contact with people who are dangerous.


Boston: The city and the union representing about 10,000 teachers and other employees of the city’s public school system have reached a tentative contract agreement that provides for pay raises and an overhaul of the way the district approaches special education, both sides said in a statement. The contract came at a time of transition for the troubled system, which recently hired a new superintendent and staved off a state takeover by pledging to implement immediate improvement efforts in several key areas. The agreement announced Thursday includes additional investments to support the changes needed for special education, including funding for additional support for students with individualized education programs and English learners. The three-year agreement also includes annual wage increases of 2.5%, plus an additional 2% over the length of the contract. The deal now requires ratification by union membership and approval by the Boston School Committee.


Detroit: About 200 people attended the Detroit Police 2nd Precinct’s vigil Friday afternoon in honor of Officer Loren Courts, 40, who was killed in the line of duty July 6. Courts was fatally shot when he and his partner, Amanda Hudgens, 29, responded to a call about shots fired in the Fiskhorn neighborhood on Detroit’s west side. The shooter, later identified as Ehmani Davis, 19, died when other officers on the scene returned fire. Neighborhood resident Shawna Lancaster, who witnessed the incident, attended the vigil in a homemade T-shirt featuring Courts leaning against his vehicle. “I am one of the people he saved,” she said tearfully. “Showing up – this is the least I can do.” Detroit Police Chief James White led the vigil, which was attended by members of Courts’ extended family. “We’re rocked and we are hurt,” he said, speaking on behalf of the police department, “we are rocked, but we are not defeated.”


St. Paul: The number of people who died of drug overdoses in Minnesota climbed by more than 20% last year. State Department of Health records showed at least 1,286 people in Minnesota died of overdoses in 2021. And, most of the deaths were caused by synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, which saw a 32% increase in fatal overdoses compared to 2020. About 450 other deaths were caused by methamphetamine overdoses and 151 were caused by cocaine. Minnesota’s numbers mirror increased drug overdose deaths across the country as fentanyl has been mixed with other drugs such as cocaine.


Jackson: A $1.6 million lawsuit is the latest development in the ongoing garbage contract dispute in Jackson. WAPT-TV reported Friday that Richard’s Disposal filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi and is seeking more than $1.6 million in restitution. The New Orleans-based company has been collecting trash in Jackson since April 1 but has yet to be paid because the Jackson City Council said the company does not have an approved contract. Earlier this week a judge ruled Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba did not have the power veto a contract the city council had not approved. Judge Larry Roberts issued his ruling Friday in a dispute among Jackson officials over who will be paid to collect garbage, news outlets reported.


Grain Valley: An intoxicated pilot was arrested after landing a small aircraft early Friday on Interstate 70 southeast of Kansas City after radioing that he had run out of fuel, authorities said. The landing at about 2:30 a.m. east of Grain Valley, roughly 20 miles southeast of Kansas City, closed westbound lanes of the highway for more than 21/2 hours, KCTV reported. The plane had a “minor collision” with a guardrail but otherwise didn’t hit anything, the Missouri State Highway Patrol tweeted. The pilot was the only person on board. He suffered minor injuries and was taken to an area hospital for treatment after his arrest, the patrol said. Online records showed the single-engine plane was 19 minutes into its flight from Warrensburg, Missouri, which is located about 20 miles southeast of the landing site. The patrol said the pilot radioed that he had run out of fuel and had to make an emergency landing on the highway.


Denton: A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the site of the Wolf Creek Bridge, which was rebuilt after a wildfire in December. The Montana Department of Transportation, Frontier West, and Morrison Maierle worked in a short time frame to reopen the bridge. The west entrance road to Denton was burned down by a fire in December. The outdated bridge has since been rebuilt to withstand various weather conditions and meet current codes. Kyle Dubbs of the Montana Department of Transportation said the old structure was a wooden bridge. The recent construction has allowed for safety slopes to be added, the road to be widened, with better drainage and a steel structure.


Omaha: Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway now controls nearly 20% of Occidental Petroleum’s stock after picking up another $250 million worth of shares of the oil producer last week. Berkshire has been investing heavily in Occidental this year, including buying up more than $1.2 billion of the Houston-based company’s stock this month. After the latest purchases that Berkshire disclosed Wednesday, Buffett’s Omaha-based conglomerate now owns nearly 180 million Occidental shares worth more than $10 billion. That gives Berkshire control of 19.2% of the company.


Las Vegas: The corporate owner of several Las Vegas-area casinos said Friday it plans to demolish three shuttered hotel towers and sell the properties that have been closed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020. Red Rock Resorts said its Texas Station in North Las Vegas, neighboring Fiesta Rancho in Las Vegas and the Fiesta Henderson property will be razed “to reposition the land for sale,” although an ice rink at Fiesta Rancho will remain open.

New Hampshire

Seabrook: U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., is requesting a full review of what caused an emergency alarm to be falsely activated at the Seabrook Nuclear Power Station early last week after what she called “a breakdown in communications” transpired between the plant, state and local officials. The emergency alarm went off Tuesday morning, warning many in the area that there was a problem at the plant and advising them to evacuate the vicinity. The state Homeland Security and Emergency Management agency and NextEra Energy put out statements Tuesday saying the alarm was false more than 30 minutes after beachgoers in nearby Hampton and Rye said they heard announcements at about 11 a.m. about the beaches being closed because of a problem at the plant. Brian Booth, the plant’s site vice president, sent a letter to Gov. Chris Sununu on Friday, saying the siren system was inadvertently activated during routine testing. He wrote the company is investigating and will take steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again, WMUR-TV reported. The plant is about 40 miles north of Boston and 10 miles south of Portsmouth. It has operated since 1990.

New Jersey

Blairstown: A girl who was dubbed Princess Doe after her remains were found 40 years ago in a New Jersey cemetery has been identified as Dawn Olanick, 17, of West Babylon, New York, authorities announced Friday. Charges have been filed against the man they believe killed Olanick, the Warren County, New Jersey, prosecutor’s office announced. The suspect, Arthur Kinlaw, 68, is currently serving 20 years to life in Sullivan County, New York, on two first-degree murder convictions. Kinlaw tried to lure Olanick into prostitution and killed her after she refused, authorities said, according to Lehigh Valley Live. Her remains were found July 25, 1982, in Cedar Ridge Cemetery in Blairstown, in northwestern New Jersey near the Pennsylvania border. Authorities have said she was beaten beyond recognition.

New Mexico

Santa Fe: County boards led by Republicans are urging New Mexico legislators to require photo identification at polling locations, approve new procedures for purging voter registration rolls and prohibit the use of ballot drop boxes that aren’t supervised directly by people. The Otero County commission in southern New Mexico on Thursday endorsed a resolution on a 3-0 vote that advocates for changes to the state election code. Sandoval County commissioners approved a nearly identical resolution in June after an outpouring of public anger over election procedures in the state’s June 7 primary. Residents of both counties have questioned the accuracy of election results and given voice to conspiracy theories about voting systems that have rippled across the country since former President Donald Trump lost re-election in 2020.

New York

Albany: Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul has a campaign war chest seven times the size of Republican challenger Lee Zeldin ahead of the November election. State campaign finance reports due Friday showed Hochul has $11.7 million in the bank, compared with $1.6 million reported by Zeldin, a U.S. representative from Long Island. The fundraising gap between the candidates is steep in a state where Democrats already have the voter registration edge and legislative super majorities.

North Carolina

Chapel Hill: The flagship school of North Carolina’s university system said it has reached a settlement with the journalist who shunned the school in an extended dispute over tenure and joined a historically Black university. David Boliek, chairman of the Board of Trustees at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said the settlement with Nikole Hannah-Jones was for less than $75,000 and was approved by school Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz, news outlets reported. Attorneys representing Hannah-Jones, including the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc., last year threatened to take legal action, including filing a federal discrimination lawsuit, against UNC-Chapel Hill and its board of trustees over the failure to give her tenure, news outlets reported at the time. Boliek said the settlement reached by the university was to resolve that “potential legal action,” and that a formal lawsuit was never filed by Hannah-Jones’ attorneys.

North Dakota

Bismarck: President Joe Biden has issued a major disaster declaration for many of North Dakota’s 53 counties which sustained damage caused during a series of snow storms in April. The declaration was approved for 40 of the state’s 53 counties, and allows for FEMA assistance to help recover from the storms’ damages. The spring storms knocked out power to more than 10,000 residents, caused more than $57 million in damage and later led to spring flooding.


The Diamondback roller coaster at Kings Island in Mason, Ohio, recently honored its 20 millionth rider.
The Diamondback roller coaster at Kings Island in Mason, Ohio, recently honored its 20 millionth rider.

Mason: Kings Island’s Diamondback roller coaster celebrated a milestone recently, giving its 20 millionth ride, as 23-year-old Grace Timmons from Seymour, Indiana, became the coaster’s lucky rider according to a release from park officials. Timmons said she thought she was being pranked when she was informed of her lucky ride. “I was looking for the cameras,” she told park officials, after being assured it was not a prank. The Diamondback opened in 2009 and features a 230-foot first drop and 5,282 feet of track at speeds of up to 80 mph. Timmons received Diamondback-themed gifts to commemorate the event. Kings Island’s 50th Anniversary continues at the park until Labor Day weekend.


Davenport: The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority is planning to add new connections for Davenport and 13 other towns along Route 66, communities that hope the access will bring them new businesses and residents. The turnpike authority has been embroiled in conflict since it announced plans for Access Oklahoma, a 15-year, $5 billion plan to expand the state’s toll road network. The authority is being sued over plans to build toll roads between Oklahoma City and Norman that opponents said will uproot more than 600 homes and businesses. But in towns like Davenport, which once considered themselves economic victims of past turnpike expansions, the new plans are receiving much warmer responses. The new Davenport interchange is one of 14 planned along the Turner, Indian Nation, H.E. Bailey, Kilpatrick and Cimarron turnpikes as part of Access Oklahoma.


Salem: The central section of the State Capitol building has closed for extensive renovations as part of the yearslong Capitol Accessibility, Maintenance and Safety project. Colloquially known as the ’38 building (because it was constructed in 1938), this part of the Capitol includes the visitor’s area, gift shop, both House and Senate chambers, offices for the Secretary of State and State Treasurer and the iconic rotunda. It also houses many of the nonpolitical legislative agencies, as well as working areas for journalists and lobbyists. The ‘38 building is scheduled to reopen in January 2025, in time for the start of the legislative session that year. The Capitol wings will remain open throughout the project to lawmakers, staff and the public. The wings were constructed in 1977 and contain the offices for each representative and senator, as well as legislative leadership office suites.


Jennerstown: Six of the nine men trapped in a flooded mine in southwestern Pennsylvania two decades ago gathered at a raceway over the weekend to kick off 20th anniversary celebrations of the dramatic rescue that ended their 77-hour ordeal. The six took in the races at Jennerstown Speedway in Somerset County, only miles from the Quecreek Mine, sitting with former Pennsylvania Gov. Mark Schweiker, news outlets reported. Blaine Mayhugh, John Phillippi, John Unger, Robert Pugh, Ronald Hileman, and Thomas “Tucker” Foy came to the track at intermission to applause from the crowd. Miners broke through stone into the uncharted mine shaft on the night of July 24, 2002, releasing millions of gallons of water and trapping them more than 200 feet below the surface. Crews drilled a small shaft and lowered a small metal capsule, bringing them up one by one until the last was lifted to safety early on the morning of July 28.

Rhode Island

Warwick: A woman sitting in the outdoor eating area of a restaurant died after she was struck by a vehicle, police said. The driver was traveling through the parking lot of Tommy’s Clam Shack on Friday afternoon and inadvertently hit the accelerator, striking a couple who were sitting at a table, police said. The woman, identified as Susan Hjerpe, 66, suffered life-threatening injuries and was taken to a hospital, where she later died, police said. Her husband, Carl, also was hospitalized and is in stable condition. Police said Saturday an accident reconstruction team is still investigating the incident.

South Carolina

Columbia: Some scientists said water seeping deep into the ground might be causing a swarm of earthquakes in the midlands region of South Carolina. More than 60 earthquakes have been recorded since December in an area near the towns of Lugoff and Eglin, about 20 miles northeast of Columbia. Now, some geologists suggested an initial December quake might have allowed water from the Wateree River to seep into new cracks opened by the quake, setting off additional temblors. The idea is that water moving above ground can increase pressure on water below ground. That downward pressure, in turn, can cause the earth to move. “We think it probably ought to be looked into,’’ said Scott Howard, the state’s chief geologist with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Five earthquakes with a magnitude of more than 3 have been recorded in the area. The largest quake was 3.6 in magnitude last month, an event that was felt across the region.

South Dakota

Lead: In a former gold mine a mile underground, inside a titanium tank filled with a rare liquified gas, scientists have begun the search for what has been unfindable: dark matter. Scientists are pretty sure the invisible stuff makes up most of the universe’s mass and said we wouldn’t be here without it – but they don’t know what it is. The race to solve this enormous mystery has brought one team to the depths under Lead. The idea is that a mile of dirt and rock, a giant tank, a second tank and the purest titanium in the world will block nearly all the cosmic rays and particles that zip around – and through – all of us every day. But dark matter particles, scientists believe, can avoid all of those obstacles. They hope one will fly into the vat of liquid xenon in the inner tank and smash into a xenon nucleus like two balls in a game of pool, revealing its existence in a flash of light seen by a device called “the time projection chamber.” By the time the experiment finishes, the chance of finding dark matter with this device is “probably less than 50% but more than 10%,” said Hugh Lippincott, a physicist and spokesman for the experiment in a Thursday news conference.


Nashville: The city of Madisonville has been given Main Street accreditation, the state said. Madisonville joins 42 other Tennessee communities that are accredited through the state program and Main Street America, part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the state Economic and Community Development Department said. Madisonville is the county seat of Monroe County in southeast Tennessee. The program offers training, support and grant opportunities to help with downtown revitalization projects.


Austin: Some hospitals in Texas have reportedly refused to treat patients with major pregnancy complications for fear of violating the state’s abortion ban, the Texas Medical Association said in a letter last week. The association did not name the hospitals but said it has received complaints that hospitals, administrators and their attorneys might be prohibiting doctors from providing medically appropriate care in some situations, The Dallas Morning News reported. Texas law bans most abortions after about six weeks of a pregnancy. A total ban – that includes an exemptions if a woman’s life or health is danger – will take effect in the coming weeks following last month’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.


St. George: A recount will be required in the Republican primary race for Utah House District 72 after Toquerville businessman Joe Elison beat Hurricane businessman Willie Billings by just seven votes. In the final results canvassed Tuesday by the Washington County Commission, Elison had 4,131 votes to 4,124 for Billings, giving him the inside track to represent the eastern part of Washington County in the state Legislature. State law allows for a recount if the race is within .25% once all the counting is done, but the losing candidate needs to request it. Billings submitted a letter to the county clerk’s office officially making that request.


Middlebury: A sheriff arrested on June 28 by the state police on multiple charges related to sexual and domestic assault pleaded not guilty and was then expected to be released on unsecured $100,000 bail. Peter Newton, 50, of Middlebury entered the pleas during an afternoon court appearance in Burlington, outside Addison County where the sheriff was arrested while he was conducting contractor work at a construction job site in his hometown. During the arraignment, Newton was served with what in Vermont is called an extreme risk protection order – known more generically in other states as a red-flag law – that prevents him from possessing firearms.


Richmond: Quarantining after exposure to COVID-19 is no longer recommended for unvaccinated, asymptomatic children in child care, K-12 schools and camp settings, Gov. Glenn Youngkin said. The guidance announced Thursday night by the Republican governor’s office also said masking is no longer routinely recommended in those settings, except in limited circumstances. The latest guidance said people who test positive still should isolate at home, regardless of vaccination status, and those who have symptoms should begin isolation and undergo testing. Youngkin said the guidance, which is a departure from federal recommendations, is aimed at easing the strain on work and family life many parents of young children have experienced as care and school settings have closed for quarantine periods in response to a small numbers of cases.


Seattle: Two voting change options will be on the November ballot after the Seattle City Council approved an alternative to a signature-driven effort – and either would change the city’s primary election process. In a special meeting Thursday, the council OK’d asking voters to consider ranked-choice voting alongside approval voting, The Seattle Times reported. Voters currently choose one candidate in a primary election and the top two proceed to the general election. The move away from more traditional voting has gained momentum across the country as advocates seek more equitable elections.

West Virginia

Charleston: Eligible West Virginia households will receive a one-time summer feeding benefit for children, the state Department of Education said. The program will provide $391 per eligible child to be deposited onto the child’s West Virginia-Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer card, the department said. The funds can be expected during August. The state estimated the funding will go to approximately 255,000 children, representing nearly $100 million in additional federal funding, the department said in a news release. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered by the state Education Department and the state Health and Human Resources Department.


Madison: A judge ruled against the state prison system Thursday, saying its COVID-19 visitor policy that barred Catholic clergy from meeting with inmates for more than a year violated state law and the state constitution’s guarantee of religious freedom. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee filed a lawsuit in 2021 demanding state corrections officials relax their COVID-19 protocols and allow ministers to visit inmates. The policy was in place from March 13, 2020, until June 21, 2021. The archdiocese alleged that the Department of Corrections’ policy prevented clergy from the archdiocese from meeting in-person with inmates to provide spiritual guidance, communion and penance, violating a state law that grants clergy of all faiths weekly visits with prisoners and inmates’ constitutional right to freedom of religion. Attorneys and DOC employees such as psychologists and social workers were allowed to see inmates under the policy if the visitors followed health and safety protocols such as temperature checks, coronavirus tests and wearing masks.


Casper: Harriet Hageman, former President Donald Trump’s pick to unseat Republican U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney in the race for Wyoming’s lone House seat, holds 52%-30% lead in a new poll, the Casper Star-Tribune reported. No other challenger received more than 5% support. Only 11% of voters were undecided.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 50 States