Montgomery: Two pioneers for voting rights have become the first women represented in the Statuary Hall of notable Alabamians at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. The bronze bust likenesses of Amelia Boynton Robinson, a civil rights pioneer, and Pattie Ruffner Jacobs, the state’s leading suffrage activist in the early twentieth century, were unveiled Monday. Gov. Kay Ivey said the trailblazers worked to bring about “real and lasting change both in Alabama and in the nation. The statues are located at one of the entrances to the state archives and are passed by visitors, researchers and hundreds of students on field trips each year. A longtime civil rights activist, Boynton Robinson is perhaps best known as a leader in the movement in Selma. She was among those beaten during the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma in March 1965 that became known as “Bloody Sunday.” State troopers tear-gased and clubbed marchers. A newspaper photo featuring an unconscious Boynton Robinson drew wide attention to the movement. When the Voting Rights Act was signed into law on Aug. 6, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson invited Robinson to attend the signing as a guest of honor. Ruffner was the founder of the Alabama Equal Suffrage Association and a board member for Susan B. Anthony’s National American Woman Suffrage Association.
Juneau: A federal report aimed at improving aviation safety in Alaska recommended improvements in providing weather information to pilots and continued work to update maps with information on mountain passes, among other steps. The Federal Aviation Administration, which released the report Thursday, said it will establish a team to outline plans for implementing the proposals. Several of the recommendations are underway, the agency said. The report came after the National Transportation Safety Board in early 2020 called for a comprehensive review to improve aviation safety in Alaska, citing a fatal and non-fatal accident rates far higher than the national average. Board Chair Jennifer L. Homendy in a statement called the FAA report “a step forward in addressing Alaska’s unique place in aviation safety. But more needs to be done to ensure air transportation is as safe in Alaska as in the rest of the nation. We look forward to reviewing the recommendations.” Matt Atkinson, president of Alaska Air Carriers Association, said despite progress that has been made, “there’s roughly 100 communities, numerous tour routes, mountain pass routes that lack basic aviation weather reporting, adequate communications infrastructure and other aspects that are necessary for safe operations in Alaska,” Alaska’s News Source reported.
Phoenix: An equipment failure caused a power outage at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on Monday morning, impacting a significant amount of flights. Shortly after 8 a.m., Arizona Public Service notified the airport about a partial power outage that affected systems in several terminals, according to Eric Everts, spokesperson for Sky Harbor. Power was restored to Terminal 3 at 9 a.m. Monday but power was still out in Terminal 4 and a nearby checkpoint was closed, he said. The power was fully restored to the airport about 1:45 p.m., according to Everts. “All systems are quickly returning to regular operation. Passengers should continue to check flight status with their airline before coming to Sky Harbor. Delays are likely into the evening,” Everts said. “Sky Harbor had more than 200 delays, more than 90 cancellations and more than 15 inbound flights diverted to other airports. American and Southwest, our two busiest airlines, were the most severely impacted,” Everts said.
Flippin: A $4.2
million expansion at a northern Arkansas boat manufacturing operation is expected to add 50 jobs, officials said. Vexus Boats said it would add 30% more square footage to its operation in Flippin, about 105 miles north of Little Rock near the Missouri border. The company makes fishing boats. “Arkansans take pride in our state’s stunning scenery and its access to outdoor recreation, and we are excited to have a company like Vexus that exemplifies our passions and values here in the Natural State,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. “These 50 additional jobs will go a long way in improving the quality of life for families in Flippin.”
Los Angeles: Two California couples gave birth to each others’ babies after a mix-up at a fertility clinic and spent months raising children that weren’t theirs before swapping the infants, according to a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles. Daphna Cardinale said she and her husband, Alexander, had immediate suspicions that the girl she gave birth to in late 2019 wasn’t theirs because the child had a darker complexion than they do. They suppressed their doubts because they fell in love with the baby and trusted the in vitro fertilization process and their doctors, Daphna said. Learning months later that she had been pregnant with another couple’s baby, and that another woman had been carrying her child, caused enduring trauma, she said. The Cardinales’ complaint accuses the Los Angeles-based California Center for Reproductive Health and its owner, Dr. Eliran Mor, of medical malpractice, breach of contract, negligence and fraud. It demands a jury trial and seeks unspecified damages. Yvonne Telles, the office administrator for the center, declined to comment on Monday. Mor could not be reached for comment. The two other parents involved in the alleged mix-up wish to remain anonymous and plan a similar lawsuit in the coming days, according to attorney Adam Wolf, who represents all four parents.
Fort Collins: Police tweeted just after 6 a.m. Monday that a mountain lion was sighted in the vicinity of Mathews Street and Tulane Drive in central Fort Collins. An officer spotted the mountain lion crossing a road in the area at 3 a.m., according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife. It is unknown if the mountain lion remains in the area. Mathews and Tulane run parallel to each other a couple blocks east of College Avenue and near Drake Road. O’Dea Elementary School, located at Tulane Drive and Princeton Road, and Morning Glory Preschool at Christ United Methodist Church, between Mathews Street and Tulane Drive south of Drake Road, are located in the area where the mountain lion was seen. Poudre School District schools did not have class Monday because of a teacher work day. Police advised people in the area to keep watch for children and small pets. Anyone who sees the mountain lion is asked to contact the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Northeast Region office at (970) 472-4300.
Ansonia: Gov. Ned Lamont said he has filed the necessary paperwork to begin the process of possibly running for a second term in the 2022 election. “I’ve got to make up my mind formally in the months to come, but I figure, let’s be prepared. Let’s file the paperwork. Let’s get this thing going,” Lamont said following a news conference about improvements to the Waterbury Branch of the Metro-North Railroad New Haven Line. Although Lamont, 67, said he wasn’t ready to make a formal announcement, the Democrat sounded a lot like a candidate who will be on the 2022 ballot. “Look I love the job, I think we’re making a difference, I think the state is much better off today than it was four years ago,” Lamont said. His running mate, Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, said she also filed the necessary paperwork to form a candidate committee for reelection. Much of Lamont’s time as Connecticut’s 89th governor has been spent dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The state’s first positive case was announced on March 8, 2020, a little more than a year after he had begun his first term on Jan. 9, 2019.
Rehoboth Beach: David Mann, board president of the Rehoboth Beach Museum, said at a city workshop meeting that the board would be willing to mount the iconic Dolle’s Candyland sign on the side of the museum. The future of the sign sparked an emotionally charged debate over the last several months after Dolle’s Candyland owner Tom Ibach moved his business from its original spot to a smaller shop a few doors down. Visitors to Rehoboth Beach would see the sign on the façade of the museum building as they head east into the city on Rehoboth Avenue. The museum ruled out placing the sign on top of its roof, largely because of concerns about the weight of the sign and a desire to have the sign facing west toward incoming traffic, according to Mann. The proposed solution came after Ibach offered to donate the sign to the city in September. Mayor Stan Mills clarified that Ibach was willing to donate the sign either to the city or the Rehoboth Beach Museum, but not to any other organizations or businesses. Before accepting Ibach’s donation though, the city agreed to conduct a feasibility study to determine the logistics and cost of moving the sign.
District of Columbia
Washington: For the first time in 16 years, Smithsonian’s National Zoo is celebrating the birth of golden-headed lion tamarin twins, WUSA-TV reported. Small Mammal House keepers reported for duty Oct. 7 and observed that 4-year-old mother Lola had given birth overnight and was caring for two infants. These babies are the first offspring for Lola and her partner Coco. Zoo visitors can view the golden-headed lion tamarin family at the Small Mammal House. Animal care staff closely monitor the family visually but leave Lola and Coco to bond with and care for their infants without interference. Keepers have observed Lola carrying and nursing the babies, which appear to be healthy and strong as they hold on to Lola as she explores their habitat. Because Lola is cradling the infants close to her body, it might be some time before keepers can determine their sexes. Native to the southern part of the state of Bahia, Brazil, golden-headed lion tamarins live in the tall evergreen broadleaf tropical forests and semi-deciduous forests along the Atlantic coast, the zoo said. The greatest threat facing this species is deforestation; they spend the majority of their time from 10 to 33 feet in the forest canopy. Much of their habitat has been cleared for agricultural use, including cattle ranching and cocoa plantations. Conservation scientists estimated only 6,000 golden-headed lion tamarins are left in the wild.
Pompano Beach: A Brightline commuter train hit a car carrying a woman and her grandchild Monday on the higher-speed line’s first day back in operation since the coronavirus pandemic began. The 71-year-old woman suffered some broken bones and the child did not appear to be seriously injured, Pompano Beach Fire and Rescue spokeswoman Sandra King told news outlets. They were both taken to a hospital. Television stations showed images of the woman’s crushed car at the intersection in Pompano Beach, which is north of Fort Lauderdale. The woman had made a right turn was was trying to cross the train tracks when the crash happened, King said. The train was heading south from West Palm Beach to the Fort Lauderdale station with Brightline officials, including President Patrick Goddard. He was scheduled to appear at an event in Fort Lauderdale marking the train’s return. The train travels at speeds of up to 79 mph through some of Florida’s most densely populated cities. The private company, which began operations in 2017 between West Palm Beach and Miami, suspended service in March 2020 shortly after the pandemic began. During the shutdown, Brightline has continued laying track for its planned expansion from South Florida to Orlando and its theme parks. That route is set to open in late 2022 or early 2023. Brightline then plans to open a line between Orlando and Tampa and one between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
Ringgold: A north Georgia county on Tuesday will recount election votes after a local city council member requested the review because he lost his reelection bid by just three votes. The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported that veteran Ringgold City Council member Randall Franks faced off against incumbent council member Kelly Bomar and former council member Earl Henderson to fill two city council seats in last week’s election. Bomar took the lead with 285 votes, and Henderson beat Franks, 220-217, for the second spot, according to the newspaper. Catoosa County Elections Director Tonya Moore confirmed that a recount will be held Tuesday morning at Franks’ request. Georgia state law said a candidate can request a recount if the margin of the election outcome was decided by less than or equal to 0.5%. That request has to be made within two business days of the results being certified. Moore said the recount will be done by machine and said any other kind of recount, such as a hand recount, would require a court order.
Hilo: A Big Island County Council resolution is asking state lawmakers to restrict the use of Hawaii location names on coffee packaging. The resolution, which passed unanimously last week, called for laws that would require coffee blends be at least 51% Hawaii-grown to use local geographic names such as Kona in their labeling, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Monday. Currently, distributors can use Hawaii names on coffee that has only 10% of beans grown in the named region. Hawaii coffee farmers testified at a meeting on Wednesday that the use of their regional names is limiting profits and damaging their brand. Ten percent “blends take millions of dollars each year from Hawaii family coffee farms, and that money is sent as excess profits to the owners of the … blenders on the mainland,” said Big Island coffee farmer Bruce Corker. “When consumers are misled into believing that ‘Kona’ blends are (genuine) Kona coffee, and they are disappointed by the taste of those blends, our heritage coffees … are permanently damaged,” Corker said. Hundreds of Kona coffee farmers filed a class action lawsuit against major coffee sellers in 2019 for falsely advertising coffee blends. Some of those companies have offered preliminary settlements totaling more than $13
million, the Tribune-Herald reported.
Boise: A first-term Republican representative is the only elected official from the Legislature in a reconfigured district in southwestern Idaho, and has announced he will run for a now-open Senate seat. Rep. Ben Adams of Nampa made the announcement on social media on Sunday. Adams is in District 13 but the legislative map approved last week by the six-person, bipartisan Idaho Commission for Reapportionment puts him in District 12 for the next election. Adams is among the more conservative lawmakers in the House, and if elected to the Senate would likely tilt the chamber to the right. The District 12 Senate seat is held by Republican Sen. Todd Lakey, who is in his fifth term. Lakey, who has been active in getting legislation through the Senate on everything from gun rights to a law shielding Idaho businesses, schools and government entities from lawsuits if someone catches COVID-19, didn’t immediately return a call from the Associated Press on Monday.
Chicago: Federal agents have seized 220 pounds of cocaine in Chicago. Three people were arrested, and a private plane was seized as part of last Wednesday’s operation, the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Northern District of Illinois said Monday in a release. The cocaine was part of a suspected Mexico-to-Chicago drug pipeline. About 176 pounds were found in a vehicle in the city’s River North neighborhood, and another 44 pounds were taken from a hotel room along Chicago’s Gold Coast, according to criminal complaints filed in federal court. The drugs allegedly had been flown into an airport in Gary, Indiana, earlier Wednesday from Houston. The flight originated southwest of Mexico City in Toluca, Mexico. A 30-year-old man from Toluca and a 25-year-old man from Columbus, Indiana, were arrested Wednesday in downtown Chicago. A 39-year-old Indianapolis man was arrested Thursday. A warrant was obtained Monday to seize the plane, a Bombardier Challenger 600 business jet.
Bloomington: Initial testing has shown the presence of lead in debris samples collected following the controlled burn of a house during a firefighter training exercise in southern Indiana. The controlled burn was Friday in Bloomington and area residents noticed and collected what appeared to be pieces of paint debris during and after the burn, the city said Monday in a release. Bloomington fire crews have been going door-to-door surveying residents about the debris. The fire department was coordinating with the state’s Department of Environmental Management to implement remediation recommendations and was working to identify and contract a company to clean up the area. Owners of the house had secured a demolition permit and donated the structure for the firefighter training. It was reviewed and approved by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, according to the city. All utilities were disconnected and potentially toxic contents and components of the house, including furniture, carpeting, asphalt roofing shingles, roofing underlayment, and vinyl siding, were removed prior to the controlled burn, the city said. Children and pets should be kept away from the paint debris, according to local health officials.
Sioux City: A Kansas woman was arrested on felony changes Sunday for allegedly driving over and ramming her former landlord’s downtown Sioux City property with a van. Valerie Marrero, 25, of Liberal, Kansas, is charged with two counts of second-degree criminal mischief, a class D felony, and eluding, a serious misdemeanor. She was held at Woodbury County jail on $7,500 bond. According to a criminal complaint filed in Woodbury County District Court, Marrero was upset with a landlord for not taking care of a property in the 800 block of Nebraska Street, where she had been staying. At 11:19 p.m., Marrero intentionally drove a white 1994 Ford Econoline van through yards in the area and struck fencing belonging to the landlord. Officers located the van traveling westbound in the 500 block of Ninth Street, where the landlord also owns property. Marrero drove over the north curb and struck a dumpster, backed up and drove north through a private drive. She struck a chain-link fence, running it over, and, then, struck a chain-link gate that blocks off the parking lot, according to the complaint. The damage is estimated at $5,000.
Topeka: Shawnee County has 59 bridges in need of repair or corrective action, according to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation. None is designated unsafe. “If we had any bridges that were unsafe, the road would be closed,” Shawnee County Public Works director Curt Niehaus said. Bridges are flagged for needing to be repaired for two primary reasons: It is either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. A bridge is considered structurally deficient when it isn’t recommended to carry federal legal loads like box trucks, school buses, dump trucks and tractor trailers. “It does not mean that it (the bridge) is at risk of collapse or failure,” Niehaus said. “It’s not unsafe. It just means it’s not ideally suited to carry legal loads every day. Most of our bridges don’t carry loads that heavy every day.” Bridges are determined to be functionally obsolete by being too narrow along with having a high traffic count, and as a city’s population grows, more vehicles drive over the bridge each day than for which it was designed.
Russell: A new bridge in northeastern Kentucky is expected to open this month, replacing a 1930s-era viaduct and easing congestion at the approach to an Ohio River bridge, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said. The new Kentucky 244 and “flyover” design bridge into downtown Russell are scheduled to be fully opened the week of Nov. 15. Gov. Andy Beshear ceremonially cut the ribbon last week. The project caps a $110
million Ohio-Kentucky investment that began in 2012 when ground was broken on the $80 million Ironton, Ohio-Russell bridge. That bridge opened five years ago
Baton Rouge: Management of the nearly century-old Louisiana Old Governor’s Mansion in downtown Baton Rouge has been transferred to Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin’s office. The governor’s Division of Administration has entered into an agreement shifting control of the mansion to the secretary of state’s office, which already runs the Old State Capitol down the street, the State Archives and seven other museum facilities. “I am excited about the addition of the Old Governor’s Mansion, which complements and accentuates the mission of the Old State Capitol, providing visitors and event-goers a tangible opportunity to experience our history first hand,” Ardoin said in a statement. The Division of Administration previously had contracted with the Foundation for Historical Louisiana Inc. to manage the Old Governor’s Mansion, which has been rented out for weddings and other large events. The Advocate reported the former home for Louisiana’s governors was built by former Gov. Huey P. Long as a copy of the White House. Using inmate labor, Long tore down and replaced in 1929 the traditional homestead that had existed for the state’s chief executive since 1887. Nine governors and their families lived at the site until 1962, when Gov. Jimmie Davis moved into the current Governor’s Mansion near the state Capitol.
Portland: M.J. “Sunny” Eberhart, 83, of Alabama strode into the record books Sunday as the oldest hiker to complete the 2,193-mile Appalachian Trail. Eberhart, known by the trail name Nimblewill Nomad, acknowledged that despite having tens of thousands of miles under his belt, the trail was tough going at his age, leading to quite a few spills on slippery rocks. “I’ve a got a couple of skid marks on me, but I’m OK,” he said in a recent interview. “You’ve got to have an incredible resolve to do this.” He hiked the trail out of order, in sections, to take advantage of optimal weather, and had completed northern sections, including Maine’s Mount Katahdin. He completed his final section in western Massachusetts, in the town of Dalton, in the same year in which a 5-year-old became among the youngest to complete the feat. Joining Eberhart for the finish was the former record-holder, Dale “Greybeard” Sanders, who lives outside Memphis, Tennessee. He completed the hike at age 82 in 2017. Jordan Bowman, of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, confirmed that Eberhart is the oldest to finish the trail, surpassing Sanders.
Baltimore: Baltimore County officials said hey expect their only active landfill will become inoperable within the decade – sooner than previously estimated – and the only way to expand the facility without wiping out scores of homes is to build upward. A work group has been meeting since last year to recommend changes to the county’s long-term solid waste strategy. Several options were laid out in the group’s September report, including a vertical expansion of the Eastern Sanitary Landfill in White Marsh. Expanding vertically could extend the life of the landfill by 11 to 48 years, but it comes with drawbacks. The work group recommends the county consider spending $750,000 in the coming years to study and plan the expansion, estimated to cost between $63
million and $162 million to build. Fourteen out of 17 work group members agreed the option should be a priority for the county. The site has grown “a couple of hundred feet in height” in the last four decades, said Stephen Simmons with the Virginia-based solid waste consulting firm Gershman, Brickner & Bratton. The work group did not recommend building a new landfill site elsewhere. The 375-acre landfill was built in the 1980s and includes two transfer stations and recycling drop-off. It has been penalized in the past been for long-standing water pollution and solid waste violations but is now up to code. When it was built, the expected life span of a landfill was around 30 years.
Winchendon: A veterans organization sold an original 1945 Norman Rockwell painting for $3.6 million at auction over the weekend in order to raise funds after years of dwindling revenue made worse by the pandemic. American Legion Post 193, located in Winchendon, acquired the painting through a donation in 1959 from a local priest’s art collection. Coral May Grout, a former Post president, said that after weighing whether to sell for nearly two decades, it was time, The Telegram & Gazette reported. “Home for Thanksgiving” depicts a soldier seated beside his mother, who looks at him lovingly while he peels potatoes. It was commissioned for the November 24, 1945, issue of The Saturday Evening Post. The auction listing described the painting as “the tale of the first Thanksgiving after the Allies’ victory.” The artwork hung near the Legion’s main door for years, with most members assuming it was a reproduction. They got the painting appraised in the early 1980s after someone offered to buy it for $500, the newspaper said. The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge has since kept it safe, occasionally displaying it in special exhibits.
Detroit: The annual observance of the Edmund Fitzgerald shipwreck will be held in-person and livestreamed from Mariners’ Church in downtown Detroit. The Great Lakes Memorial service starts at 3 p.m. Sunday and remembers the lives lost in the roughly 6,000 shipwrecks on record in lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario. It will be broadcast over YouTube for people unable to attend. Last year was the first time the service was livestreamed, and it attracted more than 1,200 viewers, organizers said. One of the most notable and tragic wrecks occurred on Nov. 10, 1975 when the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald sank during a storm on Lake Superior. The vessel was carrying a load of iron ore pellets to a Detroit steel mill when it plunged to the bottom, 17 miles from Whitefish Point in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. All 29 crewmen were lost. Singer and songwriter Gordon Lightfoot’s “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” tells the tale of the sinking and the power of the massive inland lake.
Minneapolis: State pollution officials on Monday released a proposed impaired waters list for 2022, an update that included the addition of 15 northeastern and central Minnesota water bodies where fish have been contaminated with long-lasting chemicals. The 15 were added because of contamination with a family of widely used chemicals known as PFAS, sometimes called “forever chemicals” because of their inability to break down. It’s the first time water bodies outside the Minneapolis-St. Paul area have made the list because of PFAS contamination. A PFAS compound known as perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, or PFOS, can accumulate in fish and potentially cause adverse health effects in people who consume them. The waters include several bodies east of the Twin Cities metro area where the chemicals – used by Maplewood-based 3M to make products resistant to heat, oil, stains, grease and water – entered the area’s groundwater after decades of dumping into landfills. Three lakes downstream from an active cleanup site at the Duluth International Airport were also found to have high levels of PFOS, which has been used in firefighting foam.
Hattiesburg: WDAM reported a mural commissioned by the Hattiesburg Alliance for Public Art has been unveiled in the city’s downtown. The mural, titled “Spread Your Wings,” features a green-and-blue hummingbird beating its wings. The bird was painted by Avery Orendorf of Austin, Texas, and was painted on the side of a building that houses the Fairley’s Wings restaurant. The owner of the restaurant, Nick Fairley, said the mural was a great addition to the downtown. The television station reported the hummingbird mural is the 30th to go up in the city and is one of 45 stops on the city’s public art trail. Orendorf it took three days to paint the mural.
Columbia: The city’s Board of Education voted to approve a continuation of the mask requirement by a unanimous vote. With child vaccines scheduled to start, the mandate might end in January.” Good news is coming,” said Superintendent Brian Yearwood, who added he hopes the district will receive guidance to remove masking requirements after elementary students have an opportunity to receive the vaccine. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt is suing the school district over its mask mandate, though he didn’t succeed in making it a class-action lawsuit with a ruling applying to all Missouri school districts.
Fort Harrison: A Montana soldier is the first woman to graduate from the U.S. Army’s sniper course, the Montana National Guard announced. “We are extremely proud of this soldier’s achievement and recognize that this is a milestone for not only Montana, but the entire National Guard and Army,” Maj. Gen. J. Peter Hronek, the adjutant general for Montana, said in a statement Monday. The military is not identifying her at this time. The soldier enlisted in the Montana Army National Guard in December 2020 and underwent a 22-week training course at Fort Benning in Georgia that combines Army basic training with advanced individual training in infantry skills. Her training staff recommended she be given the opportunity to attend the sniper course after she qualified as an expert shooter, Hronek said. She began the U.S. Army sniper course in September and graduated on Nov. 5. The course trains soldiers to deliver long-range precision fire and to collect battlefield information. Now that her sniper training is completed, she will rejoin her Montana National Guard unit.
Omaha: Five teenagers were arrested early Monday after shots were fired from their car at police during a chase from Omaha, east into Iowa and back into Omaha. Omaha police said that five people arrested were a woman who turned 19 on Monday, an 18-year-old man, two 17-year-old boys and a 15-year-old boy. One of the juvenile offenders was treated for a minor injury and released. No officers were injured, police said. Police said they were called to an area in north Omaha just after midnight by a report of shots being fired. An officer driving an unmarked car saw a vehicle driving erratically and attempted to follow it when someone in the vehicle fired at the officer, police said. A chase ensued, police said, with the Omaha police’s air unit and other area law enforcement agencies involved.
Carson City: The Carson Ranger District and the Carson Valley Trails Association are planning just over 8 miles of new, nonmotorized trails for the Jacks Valley area. The trails will connect the Jacks Valley North Trailhead to James Lee County Park in the Indian Hills community in south Carson City. The trails will also include an optional loop through the southern part of the Jacks Valley Wildlife Management Area. Construction is set to start this year and wrap up in 2022. Plans for an expansion to the trail system in the Jacks Valley area – part of the Clear Creek Trail system – has been in the works for more than a decade. The 15-mile-long Clear Creek Trail connects Jacks Valley Trailhead to the Spooner South Trailhead. Opened in 2014, it traverses through Forest Service and private land and Douglas County and Nature Conservation easements.
Concord: State officials warned residents about reports of scammers sending out a fraudulent letter that appears to be from the attorney general’s office and claims that the recipient’s identity has been used by someone to buy products online. The letter also claimed the attorney general’s office is investigating the “unsanctioned transaction” and warned the recipient that accounts linked with their Social Security number will be shut down unless the recipient buys gift cards and sends cash, the attorney general’s office said. Attorney General John Formella said in a statement that his office will never send correspondence to identity fraud victims, or any other crime victims, threatening to shut down the victim’s accounts or demanding gift card purchases. The matter is being investigated by the office’s Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau.
Trenton: Republican Jack Ciattarelli’s campaign denied there was fraud in this year’s governor’s election but his campaign’s attorney said the margin could shrink enough to warrant a recount. The statement from Ciattarelli’s campaign came after the Associated Press declared Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy the winner last week. Murphy’s lead has grown from less than a percentage point last week to about 2.6 points by Monday, as votes continue to be counted. The difference amounts to more than 65,000 votes. “Let me be clear, no one on this team is alleging fraud or malfeasance, as we have not seen any credible evidence of that,” said Ciattarelli’s legal counsel Mark Sheridan in a statement. But Sheridan added that this year’s new election law, which in part allowed early in-person voting for the first time, is also contributing to what he called “excruciatingly slow vote counting.” The campaign estimated there are about 70,000 provisional ballots – which only count after officials determine that the voter has not already cast another ballot – left to count, along with an unknown number of mail-in ballots. Each of New Jersey’s 21 counties are conducting their own count of any mail-in and provisional ballots left to be counted. The state Board of Canvassers doesn’t meet until Dec. 2 to certify the results.
Las Cruces: New Mexico State University and Bosque Brewing Company collaborated again to produce another university licensed alcoholic beverage. The 1888 Hard Seltzer is available in Bosque locations across the state. NMSU previously collaborated with Bosque Brewing Company on the popular Pistol Pete’s 1888 Ale, which was released in 2017. The beer is available at more than 300 locations statewide and won a bronze medal at the 2018 Great American Beer Festival. Following the ale, Aggie Athletics has licensed its wine, liquor and coffee, earning $36,000 from selling the products in the past fiscal year. NMSU is now the second university in the nation to feature a collegiately licensed hard seltzer, according to a news release. The 1888 Hard Seltzer is a cranberry tea-flavored hard seltzer which compliments Bosque Brewing Company’s line of New Leaf hard seltzers, according to the release.
Upper Nyack: A leading art historian diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease was found dead by police in the woods of Nyack Beach State park on Monday after having gone missing on Nov. 3. Neighbors, residents and police had been searching for Richard Kendall, 75, after he went missing from his home in Nyack, the Journal News reported. Orangetown Captain James Brown said Kendall’s body was found about 4:30 p.m. Monday. He thanked everyone who participated in the search. A statewide Silver Alert had been issued for him. Police said they were investigating the death but did not consider it suspicious. Kendall was a specialist in the impressionist movement and an expert on French artist Edgar Degas, most famous for his paintings of ballet dancers. He published multiple books on the movement with Yale University Press, according to its website. He had served as curator-at-large at Clark Art Institute in Massachusetts, and had worked on exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as the Tate Gallery and the National Gallery in England, the newspaper reported. Multiple other local, county and state agencies had participated in the search for Kendall.
Kinston: Two juveniles are facing criminal charges after one tried to back a vehicle over a police officer and led others on a chase before they were captured. The Kinston Police Department said in a news release that officers checked out what was described as a suspicious vehicle early Monday. When the officers tried to find out why they were there, the driver tried to back over one of the officers, who was able to get out of the way and avoid injury, police said. Officers attempted to the stop the vehicle as it went through several parking lots and headed east on U.S. Highway 70, police said, After the chase reached speeds of 120 mph, the supervisor called it off. Deputies from Lenoir and Jones counties spotted the vehicle but couldn’t stop it. Craven County sheriff’s deputies located the vehicle and stopped it approximately 35 miles away in New Bern when the driver lost control, the news release said. The juveniles were returned to Kinston, and the police department said they face charges including assault with a deadly weapon, felony flee to elude and a number of motor vehicle violations.
Bismarck: A $500,000 federal grant will help farmers in North Dakota cope with stress brought on by drought conditions, reduced commodity prices and other difficulties. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture is providing the grant money for North Dakota’s effort through the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network. “Creating and expanding a network to assist farmers and ranchers in times of stress can increase behavioral health awareness, literacy, and positive outcomes for agricultural producers, workers and their families,” institute Director Carrie Castille said in a statement. The state Agriculture Department plans to partner with North Dakota State University and the North Dakota Department of Career and Technical Education on programs dealing with behavioral health counseling and referral for other forms of assistance, the Bismarck Tribune reported. The USDA is providing nearly $25
million nationwide in 50 grants supporting network projects.
Columbus: The Ohio Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to decide whether Gov. Mike DeWine had the legal ability to end the state’s participation in a federal pandemic unemployment aid program ahead of a government deadline for stopping the payments. At issue before the court is a weekly $300 federal payment for Ohioans to offset the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The federal government ended that program Sept. 6, but DeWine stopped the payments June 26, saying the need for the payments had ended. DeWine, a Republican, followed the position of business groups that said the weekly payment was making it difficult to recruit employees. Critics of ending the payments said workers had multiple reasons why they might not be returning to jobs. A county judge rejected a lawsuit’s claimed DeWine didn’t have the authority to stop the payments, but the 10th Ohio District Court of Appeals reversed that ruling. Ending the program early stopped about $900
million in Ohio payments. The two parties disagree on whether that money could still be paid, should the court rule against DeWine. The Ohio Supreme Court voted 4-2 to take the case, with Justice Patrick DeWine, the governor’s son, recusing himself to avoid the appearance of impropriety “that might result from my father’s public involvement in this case.”
Oklahoma City: Oklahoma County Commissioner Kevin Calvey said he is running for district attorney. Calvey, 55, is the fourth Republican to announce for the 2022 race to become the county’s top prosecutor. He vowed, if elected, to drop “bogus” criminal cases against police officers involved in fatal incidents. He directly criticized retiring DA David Prater . “Unlike our current DA leadership, I will support the police, not persecute them,” Calvey said. Calvey also addressed a pending first-degree manslaughter charge against five Oklahoma City police officers. The officers are charged in the fatal shooting of a 15-year-old robbery suspect last year. The suspect, Stavian Rodriguez, was shot about 7 p.m. Nov. 23 after he had dropped a gun outside Okie Gas Express in south Oklahoma City. An autopsy found he had been hit by gunfire 13 times, according to affidavits filed with the charge. “That case ... is a wrongful and malicious prosecution of police officers who defended each other and the public from a violent thug,” Calvey said. “My first day in office, I will dismiss those charges and other wrongful charges against law enforcement, and open an investigation as to how such bogus charges could have happened. The current DA’s hand-picked successor, Gayland Gieger, lacks the moral courage to stand up to his boss on this malicious prosecution of police officers.”
Monmouth: Three gravestones were placed near Bellamy Hall on Western Oregon University’s main campus over the weekend to memorialize the termination of three traditional majors – anthropology, geography and philosophy. This time last year, the university’s board of trustees approved an adjusted 2021 budget, which required an update on fall 2020 enrollment numbers. Several positions and programs at Western were to be reduced and eliminated to curb a growing concern for the institution’s financial stability. Western is the state’s oldest public university and serves nearly 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The university opened its new Salem campus in September. The institution’s original budget for this academic year, initially adopted at the board’s June 2020 meeting, was based on a projected enrollment decrease of 2.5%, officials said. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic and “many other factors,” officials reported enrollment was actually down by 7.9%, resulting in a decrease in revenue. School leaders decided cuts in spending, salaries and other expenses would be used to cover the deficit. The university planned to reduce or eliminate nearly three dozen full-time equivalent positions and programs, including the elimination of a major or minor in anthropology, a major in philosophy and the entire master’s in music and master’s in information technology programs.
McCandless: When the monks of the Pittsburgh Buddhist Center needed a major restoration of its outdoor statue of the Buddha, they turned to an auto restoration shop specializing in classic cars. This partnership of ancient Asian spirituality and modern American craftsmanship came to fruition recently with the reinstallation of the newly refurbished, gleaming white statue at the center’s temple. Eyes closed and sitting in the lotus position, the Buddha underwent weeks of painstaking work at Exoticars in the town of McCandless, north of Pittsburgh. The statue sat amid an array of vintage vehicles from Bentleys and Corvettes to Porsches and a 1951 Ford pickup. Workers stripped multiple coats of deteriorating paint and primer – a task that required precision tools as they worked on the Buddha’s hair, depicted in detailed curls. They also repaired cracks in the fiberglass, added a metal strip to strengthen the statue’s base and put on a new coat of white auto body paint, giving it a glasslike sparkle in the sunshine. The repair job fascinated customers and also the classic car enthusiasts who bring old hot rods and sports cars of their own to Friday evening happy hours hosted by the shop, according to Exoticars co-owner Dave Ley.
Providence: Rhode Island is getting a $10.6 million boost from the federal government to help the state’s tourism and hospitality industry recover from the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Daniel McKee said. The grant from the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration will be used to support projects, businesses and jobs in the travel, tourism, and outdoor recreation sectors, he said in a statement. “This sector has been severely impacted by the pandemic, and these funds will go a long way in ensuring this sector not only bounces back but is even stronger going forward,” McKee said. More than 26
million people visited the state in 2019, pumping $7 billion into the economy and generating $843 million in state and local tax revenue. That fell to 21.6 million visitors in 2020, spending $4.9 billion and generating $597 million in state and local taxes, according to the state’s tourism agency. The state’s grant proposal included boosting advertising and marketing to attract new overnight visitors, and development of new attractions and events to boost visitation.
Myrtle Beach: The city said a city-owned waste barrel had made a 3,500-mile trek across the Atlantic Ocean and washed up in County Mayo on Ireland’s northwestern coast. According to the city, Keith McGreal of Ireland wrote them and shared pictures of the bright blue barrel with city stickers on it. “I wanted to share some images of a Blue Trash barrel that has been washed up on our local beach on the West Coast of Ireland, Mulranny, County Mayo,” McGreal wrote, according to an exchange the city posted online. “We spotted the stickers and thought it would make a good news story.” The city posted the photos online, showing that the barrel’s Atlantic crossing took enough time for it to be encrusted with shells. City officials also wrote McGreal, saying the barrel must have been carried away in the Gulf Stream during a major wind or storm event.“We typically remove trash containers from the beach before a hurricane, but this one apparently had a mind of its own,” they said, adding that they “already had a city employee volunteer to come fetch it.”
Pierre: The state House launched an investigation Tuesday into whether the state’s attorney general should be impeached for his conduct surrounding a car crash last year that killed a pedestrian. A sizable majority of the Republican-dominated House voted to have a committee prepare a report and recommend whether Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg should be impeached. It could take weeks for the committee of seven Republicans and two Democrats to delve into the crash investigation. The committee is a mix of Ravnsborg’s political allies and those who have called for his ouster. Ravnsborg, a Republican who was elected to his first term in 2018, pleaded no contest in August to two misdemeanors in the crash that killed 55-year-old Joseph Boever, who was walking along a rural stretch of highway when Ravnsborg struck him with his car. Ravnsborg has insisted that he did not realize he killed a man until he returned to the scene the next day and discovered his body. House lawmakers said they first wanted to know whether Ravnsborg could be impeached for his misdemeanor convictions, the fact that he killed a man, or that law enforcement associations have said they no longer have confidence in his office.The state constitution stipulates that officials such as the attorney general can be impeached for “corrupt conduct, malfeasance or misdemeanor in office.” But a state official has never been impeached in South Dakota. Gov. Kristi Noem, who has called for Ravnsborg to resign, has delivered a hard drive containing the crash investigation to Gosch, but he said the committee would subpoena the crash investigation from the Department of Public Safety “just to ensure accuracy.” Ravnsborg’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the House’s move.
Nashville: A judge on Tuesday resentenced a death row inmate to life in prison for the second time in two years, after finding the man’s trial was marred by racism during jury selection. In his order, Judge Monte Watkins vacated the conviction of Abu-Ali Abdur’Rahman after finding his Constitutional right to a fair trial had been violated. Then the trial court judge accepted a plea agreement in which Abdur’Rahman pleaded guilty to charges of murder, attempted murder and armed robbery for which he received three consecutive life sentences, according to the court order. If the resentencing is not challenged, Abdur’Rahman will spend the rest of his life in prison but without the threat of execution. Abdur’Rahman was originally sentenced to die in 1987 for the murder of Patrick Daniels, who was stabbed to death. Norma Jean Norman was also stabbed but survived. The stabbing took place in Norman’s house while her two young daughters, Katrina and Shawanna, huddled in a back bedroom. The state Attorney General’s Office could still appeal Abdur’Rahman’s resentencing. That’s what happened in 2019, the first time Watkins threw out Abdur’Rahman’s death sentence. The 2019 resentencing came after Abdur’Rahman, who is Black, petitioned to reopen his case, presenting evidence that prosecutors at his trial treated Black potential jurors differently from white potential jurors.
El Paso: Project Bravo is providing funding for people who are behind on natural gas and energy bills, but the deadline to apply is Friday. The funds are available through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, a federally funded program that helps households pay a portion of their home energy costs, according to a Project Bravo news release. “The funding can pay more than just your natural gas bill, and it is not a loan, rather money dedicated for utility assistance,” said Elizabeth O’Hara, Texas Gas Service community relations manager. Texas Gas Service is promoting the program. The funds can be used to pay energy bills for up to 12 months, up to a maximum household benefit of $1,600. The level of benefit varies according to household income, the number of people living in the home, the type of residence, the type of heating fuel and utility rates. To apply, visit projectbravo.org and for more information, call (915) 562-4100.
Salt Lake City: Republican lawmakers gave an early nod of approval to redistricting maps that further carve up Democratic-leaning Salt Lake County, despite urging from a crowd to choose districts drawn by a voter-approved independent body. Many speakers argued the lawmaker-drawn maps were aimed at further diluting the political voice of those who live in and around the state capital, a process known broadly as gerrymandering. Lawmakers, though, said their districts are aimed at reflecting the state as a whole by including urban and rural voters. Many people speaking at a legislative hearing, though, said putting Salt Lake County into four districts rather than the three it’s currently in would further drown out dissenting voices. Utah is overall a reliably Republican state, but its 4th Congressional district has flipped between Republicans and Democrats. The lawmaker-drawn maps are generally considered to make that district more reliably conservative.
Waterbury: The explosives license for the owner of a Castleton quarry has been revoked after blasting this summer ejected rocks onto adjacent properties, risking public safety, the Vermont Department of Public Safety said. An investigation by the department, police and the State Fire Marshal’s Office, found that nearby residents were not given adequate advance notice about the July 16 blasting and no blasting mat was used, the department said. Public Safety Commissioner Michael Schirling sent a letter to the quarry owner on Oct. 29, revoking his explosives license. The quarry owner could pursue a future license if he undergoes agreed-upon training and an examination demonstrating his competency to safely handle and use explosives, Schirling wrote. The quarry owner has 15 days to appeal the decision, the department said. He could not be reached for comment.
Richmond: Days after Democrats conceded control of the Virginia House of Delegates to Republicans, they walked back that concession as two key races in which the GOP holds razor-thin leads appeared headed for recounts. As of Tuesday, vote counts showed Republicans with 50 seats and holding slight leads in two additional seats that have still not been called by the Associated Press. Democrats have 47 seats and are leading in one other district that has not been called. In both districts where Republicans are leading, the margins are below 0.5%, which allows candidates to request state-funded recounts. In District 91, Democrat incumbent Del. Martha Mugler conceded to Republican challenger A.C. Cordoza on Friday. Mugler’s concession was quickly followed by a statement from Democratic House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, who acknowledged that with Mugler’s concession, the Republicans had control of the House, with 51 seats. But Mugler walked back her concession over the weekend after final absentee and provisional ballots were totaled and Cordoza’s lead shrunk to just 94 votes out of 27,388 counted. In House District 85, Republican challenger Karen Greenhalgh’s lead over Democratic incumbent Del. Alex Askew narrowed to just 127 votes out of 28,413 counted after final absentee and provisional ballots were totaled.
Seattle: A metallurgist pleaded guilty to fraud Monday after she spent decades faking the results of strength tests on steel that was being used to make U.S. Navy submarines. Elaine Marie Thomas, 67, of Auburn, Washington, was the director of metallurgy at a foundry in Tacoma that supplied steel castings used by Navy contractors Electric Boat and Newport News Shipbuilding to make submarine hulls. From 1985 through 2017, Thomas falsified the results of strength and toughness tests for at least 240 productions of steel – about half the steel the foundry produced for the Navy, according to her plea agreement, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma. The tests were intended to show that the steel would not fail in a collision or in certain “wartime scenarios,” the Justice Department said. There was no allegation that any submarine hulls failed, but authorities said the Navy had incurred increased costs and maintenance to ensure they remain seaworthy. The government did not disclose which subs were affected. Thomas faces up to 10 years in prison and a $1
million fine when she is sentenced in February. However, the Justice Department said it would recommend a prison term at the low end of whatever the court determines is the standard sentencing range in her case.
Charleston: Republican Delegate Josh Higginbotham has resigned from his seat after moving to Kanawha County. Higginbotham, 25, submitted a resignation letter Friday to House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, saying he no longer lives in the district he was elected to represent, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported. He represented House District 13, which includes portions of Putnam, Mason and Jackson counties. First elected in 2016, Higginbotham said in September that he would run for a Senate seat. Under the district map adopted last month by the Legislature, his new residence would put him in Senate District 8. “From Day One, my goal has been to make West Virginia a place where young adults can find jobs that affords them a chance to stay in West Virginia and raise their families,” Higginbotham said in the letter. “While there is still more work to be done, I truly believe over the last six years West Virginia has made great progress toward that goal.” Gov. Jim Justice will appoint a delegate from a list of recommendations to fill the rest of Higginbotham’s term, which ends next year.
Camp Douglas: Col. Leslie Zyzda-Martin has been relieved of her duties as commander of Volk Field Air National Guard Base at Camp Douglas. The National Guard said in a statement that Brig. Gen. David W. May ended Zyzda-Martin’s command Monday because of “lost confidence in her ability to lead.” “This is a very difficult decision, but it is the right thing to do in the best interest of Volk Field,” May said. “The men and women that make up Volk Field are extraordinary at what they do. It is my obligation to ensure they have the type of leadership that will meet the unique needs and challenges of our state and federal missions.” The guard’s statement said the decision was made following investigations that revealed issues concerning command climate and alleged misconduct. Additional investigations are ongoing. The move is in sharp contrast to the welcoming speech May gave for the commander in September 2020 when he said Zyzda-Martin had “the passion, the drive, and the heart to get the job done with integrity and decisiveness. In other words, you’re the right officer for the right command at the right time.” Lt. Col. Tom Bauer, who serves as the vice commander at Volk Field, will act as interim commander until a new commander is selected. A phone number for Zyza-Martin was not immediately available.
Jackson: Longtime Jackson resident Paul Bruun was among the latest inductees into the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame, joining a 2021 class that also features baseball Hall of Famer Ted Williams, Dave Brandt, a longtime fly-fishing instructor and Trout Unlimited leader, and William Taylor, a bamboo rod maker and legendary caster. Bruun is the only living inductee this year; the others will receive the honor posthumously. Bruun, 77, started the Snake River Fund, which works to protect and preserve the Snake River watershed in Wyoming. He also launched the Jackson Hole Daily, and has written outdoors columns for various Jackson newspapers for a half-century. He’s a lifetime member of Trout Unlimited and the Coastal Conservation Association. Bruun, who has guided anglers for more than 35 years, is also a master of gear. He has consulted Patagonia on its fly-fishing line dating to the 1980s. He co-created the South Fork Skiff, the first fiberglass, low-profile drift boat. The expertise became well-recognized within the fly-fishing industry, and Bruun went on to consult for rod manufacturers such as Sage, Winston, Orvis and Scott and for fly-line makers, including Rio and the Cortland Line Company.
This article originally appeared on Salem Statesman Journal: 50 States