Rocket’s last blast, Alaska drought, million-dollar ham: News from around our 50 states

From USA TODAY Network and wire reports


Huntsville: A Japanese automotive supplier plans to build a more than $60 million plant that will hire about 200 people. A statement from the governor’s office said Vuteq USA will produce parts for the Mazda-Toyota assembly plant being built in Limestone County. Construction on the Vuteq is scheduled to begin in October. The plant is expected to reach full employment in 2021. The factory will make plastic-injected parts and assemblies for vehicles. A partnership between Mazda and Toyota is spending about $1.6  billion on the Huntsville car factory, which will have as many as 4,000 workers. It’s supposed to produce as many as 300,000 vehicles when it opens in two years.


Kenai: Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula has gone without rain for more than three weeks, although experts believe some precipitation could arrive this weekend, a report said. Kenai and the central peninsula have not received a measurable amount of rain since July, The Peninsula Clarion reported Tuesday.Rainfall was last measured at 1 inch between July 26 and July 28, officials said. Kodiak Island is also experiencing a drought. Kodiak officials issued a statement Monday asking residents to take steps to help avoid a water supply shortage. Kodiak receives its water from the Pillar Creek Reservoir and the Monashka Reservoir. The Monashka supplies an average of 6.3 million gallons of water per day, officials said. The dry weather has created conditions beneficial to wildland fires. The Swan Lake Fire near Sterling, which grew more than 62 square miles in recent days, was aided by dry, windy conditions, officials said.


Michelle de la Vara gets a break from the heat while walking in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Tuesday. The National Weather Service says Phoenix broke its heat record for Aug. 20 on Tuesday afternoon, reaching a high of 113 degrees.

Phoenix: The National Weather Service tweeted that Phoenix broke its heat record for Aug. 20 on Tuesday afternoon, reaching a high of 113 degrees just after 2 p.m. The previous record was 112 degrees in 1986. Isaac Smith, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, told The Arizona Republic that the unusually high temperatures were the result of a high-pressure system. Smith said this was the second time Phoenix saw record-breaking heat this month, with the previous being on Aug. 5 with a high of 115 degrees, breaking the record of 114 degrees set in 1969. Smith advised people to limit the time they spend outside as much as possible. He also advised people to always check the backseat of their vehicle to avoid leaving children or pets inside.


U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, center, is flanked by, from left, Clint Czeschin, Calvin Czeschin, Lang Zimmerman and Dr. Robin Myers on Tuesday at a business roundtable discussion at Arkansas State University-Mountain Home.

Mountain Home: U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas met with Twin Lakes Area business leaders at a round-table discussion held Tuesday at Arkansas State University-Mountain Home. The Republican began his day by touring the North Arkansas College Technical Center in Harrison and held a lunchtime roundtable with the Boone County Chamber of Commerce before traveling east for the ASU-MH roundtable and a tour of Baxter International. Cotton, who lives in Dardanelle, spent 45 minutes Thursday afternoon at the Vada Sheid Community Development Center meeting with more than 30 representatives from area businesses. Some of the subjects covered at the discussion included the availability of workers, government regulations on smaller banks and partnerships between educational facilities and local manufacturers.


Porterville: Visitors to Sequoia National Forest in the southern Sierra Nevada area are being cautioned about the growth of a native plant that can cause severe irritation similar to poison oak and poison ivy. The U.S. Forest Service said poodle-dog bush appears in areas that have recently been burned by wildfire, which has been occurring more frequently in the forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument. Swelling, rashes and itching appear 12 hours to two days after contact and blisters can last longer than two weeks. The plant is covered in sticky hairs which can be easily passed on to passing hikers. Poodle-dog bush can grow almost 10 feet high and has purple, bell-shaped flowers. It emits an unpleasant, slightly pungent odor. It was recently found in the forest’s Converse Basin area.


Bailey: A mountain lion attacked and injured an 8-year-old boy outside his rural home, prompting state wildlife officials to set traps and use search dogs to find the lion. Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Jason Clay said the boy was bitten on the head at about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in a rural subdivision near Bailey, southwest of Denver. The boy was hospitalized. His identity and the severity of his injuries were not made public. It’s the third attack by a mountain lion on a person in Colorado this year. A mountain lion last week attacked a hunter who fought it off with a pocket knife. And in February, a mountain lion attacked a runner who choked and bludgeoned it to death.


Bloomfield: An animal rights organization is putting up advertisements in Connecticut to remember a calf that was slaughtered in public. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are running the ads on buses in Hartford for the next four weeks to honor a calf killed behind a Home Depot in Bloomfield. On July 13, a calf escaped the Saba Live Poultry butcher shop in Bloomfield and workers chased the animal to the back of hardware store parking lot where a worker slit the animal’s throat. The halal method of killing an animal includes cutting the throat. The incident sparked outrage and racist comments online against the halal butcher shop. The worker who killed the animal is expected to appear in court on charges related to animal cruelty.


Rehoboth Beach: Lifeguards drew criticism for placing a 4-foot-long dying shark into a trash can, but a beach official said the guards acted in the interest of public safety. The Delaware News Journal reported an unresponsive shark that washed up on Rehoboth Beach over the weekend drew a crowd of onlookers, some of which were unhappy when guards disposed of it in a lined bin. Beach Patrol Captain Kent Buckson said putting the shark in the can “wasn’t the right thing,” but that it was the only option for limiting beachgoers’ contact with the lesion-covered fish with a possible parasite infection. He added that lifeguards usually would put it into a trash bag until public works could bury it, but the guards didn’t have a bag that day.

District of Columbia

Washington: George Washington University has announced that it plans to phase out fixed tuition for incoming on-campus undergraduate students. WTOP-FM reported the school will start setting tuition rates on an annual basis starting fall 2020. A school statement released Monday said that a review of “the undergraduate experience” led the university to decide the fixed tuition program isn’t realizing “the potential envisioned.” The statement doesn’t provide further detail on what school officials initially envisioned the program would do or how it falls short of that vision. It said the nixed program will lead to an increase in available funds for improving the “student experience.” The school said it will take into account any changes in attendance cost when reviewing need-based financial aid packages.


Cape Canaveral: A rocket that’s the last of its kind delivered the newest, most powerful GPS satellite to orbit for the Air Force on Thursday. United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV medium-class rocket blasted into a hazy morning sky from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. It was a fitting swan song for the rocket. Two hours later, the satellite separated from the upper stage and the company declared success. The Delta IV Medium ended its 17-year run with 29 launches. Denver-based United Launch Alliance said it will be replaced by the still-in-development Vulcan rocket. The Delta IV Heavy, meanwhile, will continue to soar. The newly launched GPS satellite is the second in a series of next-generation navigation spacecraft. It’s nicknamed Magellan after the 16th-century Portuguese explorer. Lockheed Martin, also based in Colorado, built the satellite.


Atlanta: The Georgia secretary of state’s office said Tuesday that it plans to reexamine the state’s new election system as required by law after receiving a request from voters. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced last month that the state plans to buy a $106 million election system from Denver-based Dominion Voting Systems. He certified the new system on Aug. 9 and said it will be in place in time for the March 24 primaries. The new system includes touchscreen voting machines that produce a paper record, including a human-readable summary of the voter’s selections and a machine-readable code used by a scanner to tally the votes. A petition bearing the signatures of more than 1,450 Georgia voters was submitted Monday to Raffensperger’s office. It says the Dominion system doesn’t meet the requirements of Georgia’s voting system certification rules and doesn’t comply with the state election code. Georgia law allows voters to request that the secretary of state “reexamine any such device previously examined and approved by him or her” as long as at least 10 voters sign onto the request.


Honolulu: A woman was taken to a hospital Tuesday after being bitten twice by a shark while swimming, authorities said. The woman, 27, was reported to be in “good health” and was expected to be released after a shark bit her while she was swimming in Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island’s western side, leaving her with injuries to her lower back and right hip, police said. Officials didn’t provide her name. Soon after the woman was taken to a hospital in serious condition, preliminary information provided to firefighters listed her age as 26 and that the shark bit her in one of her legs and her torso, Hawaii Fire Department Battalion Chief William Bergin said. She was about 50 yards from shore, he said. Bergin didn’t know if she’s a tourist or a Hawaii resident. Police said witnesses described the shark as having a gray tip. Bergin said he was told it’s possibly a 6-foot black-tip reef shark.


Boise: A conservation group and hunting technology group said 110 square miles of state-owned land isn’t accessible because there’s no public access. The Idaho Statesman reported Tuesday that the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and onX published the report after examining data. Idaho manages about 3,750 square miles of endowment lands it received in 1890 when it became a state. The groups also said Idaho has about 305 square miles of federal public land that’s inaccessible. Idaho contains about 54,000 square miles of federal public land. The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and onX said some access to public land with easements that aren’t documented might exist.


Chicago: A lawyer said he city has benefited from 22,000 uncashed checks worth $11 million, some going back to the 1980s. The Chicago Sun-Times reported attorney Clint Krislov made the discovery through a public-records request during a legal dispute between the city and retirees. He said Chicago is supposed to notify the state of Illinois if a check from the city is uncashed after three years. The state has a website for people to look for unclaimed property. The checks include a $44,000 payment in 1991 to Commonwealth Edison. The Sun-Times apparently didn’t cash five small checks from the city. Law department spokesman Bill McCaffrey said Chicago is not bound by the state’s unclaimed property law and has its own procedures for uncashed checks. He didn’t elaborate.


Fort Wayne: Some jobs are melting at an ice cream distribution center in Fort Wayne. Nestle Dreyer’s Ice Cream said 40 jobs are being cut, but a large workforce will remain in place. A spokeswoman, Laura Davenport, said the state had been mistakenly told that an ice cream plant and distribution center would close. Nestle said it’s switching to a warehouse model of delivery. The Journal Gazette reported that Nestle acquired a majority stake in Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream in 2002. Dreyer’s ice cream is sold under the Dreyer’s brand in the western United States and as Edy’s in the east.


The remnants of a tree are removed following storm damage at Jared Neer's home on the western edge of Lacona, Iowa. An early morning storm Tuesday damaged buildings and trees in and around Lacona.

Des Moines: The National Weather Service said a tornado that damaged or destroyed several buildings in rural Warren County on Tuesday morning was rated an EF3, with peak winds of 150 mph. It touched down near Lacona and ran for nearly 6 miles. It damaged the Iowa Operator and Engineers training facility. No deaths or injuries have been reported. The Des Moines Register reported that another tornado spotted Tuesday touched down a little before 6:25 a.m. near Tracy. It was rated an EF1, with peak winds of 110 mph. It damaged several roofs and trees but didn’t injure anyone.


Wichita: Large-scale wind power developments would not be allowed and commercial solar installations would be restricted in Sedgwick County under a proposal approved Wednesday by the county commission. The Sedgwick County Commission made the decision to protect aviation interests after planner Dave Yearout told commissioners that large windmills can affect airport and flight operations within a 5-mile radius, The Wichita Eagle reported. A map showing a 10-mile radius drawn around every airport and private landing strip in the county left only four small areas that would not be affected by a wind farm: in the extreme southwest, northwest and northeast corners of the county, and a small strip of land south of Clearwater. Yearout told the Associated Press that the large number of aviation facilities in the county, coupled with increasing nonagricultural development in rural areas and training activities at McConnell Air Force Base, makes large scale wind farms incompatible with the county’s needs.


Miss Kentucky 2019, Alex Francke, presents the Grand Champion Ham of the 2019 Kentucky State Fair, produced by Blake Penn, of Penn's Country Hams. It was auctioned at the 56th Annual Kentucky Country Ham Breakfast on Thursday. Central Bank won the bidding for the ham with a $1 million bid.

Louisville: Attendees of an annual breakfast and charity auction hosted by the Kentucky Farm Bureau were hamming it up with their bids for a prized meat Thursday morning. And with a winning bid of $1 million, a Central Bank representative walked away with the Grand Champion Ham of the 2019 Kentucky State Fair. For comparison: you can buy about four 2019 Ferrari Portofinos for that, according to (The car is priced at about $215,000). Luther Deaton, the chairman, president and CEO of Central Bank, purchased the winning ham. Central Bank has branch locations across Kentucky. This is not Central Bank's first time betting big on the prized ham. Central Bank and Dr. Mark Lynn won the auction in 2018, each putting $1.4 million toward the ham for a record $2.8 million purchase. Since the start of the auction in 1964, the Kentucky Farm Bureau has raised about $13 million for charity. Blake Penn, of Penn's Country Hams, produced this year's winning ham.


New Orleans: A summer filled with train disruptions has reached its end as Amtrak will restore full service on its Chicago-to-New Orleans line. The McComb Enterprise-Journal reported the line was restored Wednesday after months of terminating in Jackson, Mississippi. Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said the opening of the Bonnet Carre spillway near New Orleans cut off service to the city because the tracks are on the flood plain. He said riders were put on buses in Jackson to complete the route to New Orleans. Magliari said track maintenance in parts of Mississippi also lead to ride disruptions going south from Memphis, Tennessee. Amtrak is offering buy-one, get-one fares to celebrate the restoration of full service. Magliari said he’s glad passengers are off the buses and can now experience a real train ride.


Hartland: Officials said they are trying to stop a rat infestation that has hampered their community for more than six months. Hartland residents said garbage and manure left at one home attracted dozens of rats. Resident Michelle Cole told WGME that rats have bitten her dog three times. The rats have also bitten several neighbors. Neighbors voiced their concerns at a town council meeting on Monday. WABI reported that the home is located next to Somerset Elementary School, so the town is aiming to solve the problem before the school year begins next Tuesday. The town manager and attorney said they are working to find a solution, but they are still not sure if the property has been abandoned.


Kristy Frashure poses with a Maryland record-breaking 74.5-pound mahi-mahi caught on Aug. 16 at the Poor Girls Open in Ocean City.

Ocean City: On July 28, Jeff Wright did something no other angler had done in nearly 35 years. He broke the state record for heaviest mahi-mahi, reeling in a 72.8-pounder. But less than a month later, another massive dolphinfish was caught, and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources declared a new record had been set in the mahi-mahi division. Kristy Frashure of Pasadena caught a 74.5-pounder on board the Haulin N’ Ballin as a participant in the Poor Girls Open fishing tournament. The catch gave Frashure first place in the dolphin category, weighing nearly 35 pounds more than the runner-up. “It took nearly 20-30 minutes to reel in … it felt like an eternity,” Frashure said in a news release. “We were taking bets on how much it weighed.” The department maintains state records for sport fish in four divisions – Atlantic, Chesapeake, Nontidal and Invasive – and awards plaques to anglers who achieve record catches, according to a release. Fish caught from privately owned, fee-fishing waters are ineligible for consideration.


Boston: Gambling regulators said Massachusetts took in more than $23 million in taxes during the first full month in which all three of the state’s licensed casinos were open. The July revenue report released Thursday by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission sid the Wynn Resorts-owned Encore Boston Harbor casino, which opened in late June, took in about $48.6 million in revenue from table games and slots. MGM Springfield, open since last August, reported about $20.4 million from table games and slots and the Plainridge casino, which does not have table games, reported $12.5 million in revenue. Gambling revenues at Encore and MGM are taxed at 25%, and the Plainridge slots parlor is taxed at 49%. State officials expect to take in nearly $300 million in casino taxes during the current fiscal year.


Howell: Authorities have released the names of two men who were killed in a small plane crash in southeastern Michigan. The Livingston County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday that the men who were killed were 68-year-old James Tafralian, of Webberville and 64-year-old Philip Henry Colmer of Chelsea. The Federal Aviation Administration said the single-engine Aero Commander M200 aircraft was taking off at Spencer J. Hardy Airport near Howell when it crashed Tuesday morning. Livingston County Sheriff Mike Murphy said the plane was landing when it crashed. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.


Minneapolis: Minnesota Department of Public Safety officials said officers cited 678 drivers across the state during the first week of a hands-free cellphone law. The Star Tribune reported that officers handed out 286 citations in Hennepin County, or about 40% of the total tickets issued. State Patrol Lt. Gordon Shank said he hopes to see the number of citations decline as people realize police are pulling over drivers who fail to put down their devices while behind the wheel. He said he issued a warning to a driver from out of state who didn’t know about the law. Minnesota became the 19th state with a hands-free law when it took effect Aug. 1. Fines are $50 for the first offense and $275 for each subsequent violation, plus court costs.


Amory: A new company has begun making boats in northeast Mississippi and hired 75 people. Avid Boats in Amory said it’s investing $1.6 million to make aluminum bass boats and center console bay boats. Avid plans to make 750 boats next year and 1,500 annually by 2022. President Phillip Faulkner previously founded Amory boat maker NauticStar. Mississippi Development Authority spokeswoman Tammy Craft said the state is giving Avid $218,000 for building improvements and $75,000 for worker training. Amory and Monroe County are giving property tax breaks estimated at $400,000 over 10 years. Avid will be eligible for a state worker income tax rebate because average workers will earn more than $43,300 a year. Avid could collect $1.3 million over 10 years.


Sisters Zambezi and Kasai will soon be leaving the Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, Mo. They are returning to their home at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado to a new multimillion-dollar hippo habitat.

Springfield: Two hippo sisters are getting ready to return to their newly remodeled home in Colorado after spending nearly two years at a Missouri zoo. The Springfield News-Leader reported that the hippos came to the Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield in October 2017 because the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs needed a place to put them while it created a new habitat. The Springfield zoo had space for the sisters, named Zambezi and Kasai, because its beloved Henry the hippo was moved in 2016 to a new $8 million enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo. The Springfield zoo’s spokeswoman, Joey Powell, said the sisters were originally just supposed to spend a year in Missouri but construction delays made the stay last longer. She said they’ve been on “an extended vacation.”


Klaispell: Glacier National Park has reopened three trails days after they were closed because of grizzly bear activity. The Flathead Beacon reported that officials have reopened the Highline, Loop and Swiftcurrent Pass trails in the Granite Park area. Officials said the Granite Park Campground area remains closed. Park staff received several reports from visitors of encounters with a bear or bears Sunday. The park said the behavior was consistent with bears being disturbed and frustrated by humans. Officials at the park said visitors should remain aware and watch for signs indicating bear activity and take precautions, including carrying bear spray.


Omaha: Officials at Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium said Tuesday that a 21-year-old rhino, Marina, was euthanized Monday after surgeons discovered an inoperable colonic obstruction. She was being treated for symptoms similar to colic when staffers noticed that she appeared lethargic. The 4,000-pound rhino arrived at the zoo in 1999. Her death leaves the zoo with another female and a male. White rhinos are listed as near-threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List. In the wild, most white rhinos live in South Africa.


Reno: A team of researchers from the Desert Research Institute detected microplastics at several locations around Lake Tahoe earlier this year. Microplastics, a term for tiny pieces of plastic that come from everything from water bottles to synthetic fleece sweaters, are ubiquitous around the world, so it’s not surprising to find them in Lake Tahoe. Still, researchers are digging deeper into the issue to learn more about potential ramifications for Nevada. The study of microplastics is relatively new but their ubiquity is alarming to scientists. They have been found in fish in the oceans and raining down from the sky in the Pyrenees. The work at Lake Tahoe is part of an effort the DRI Foundation funded to learn more about microplastics in Nevada. In addition to lakes and streams in the Tahoe Basin, the Las Vegas wash in southern Nevada, which drains into Lake Mead, is being studied.

New Hampshire

Sunapee: A woman has celebrated her 111th birthday in New Hampshire with a bunch of cupcakes and a tribute from singers. Hazel Nilson was born Aug. 21, 1908, in Chicago. A lifelong Chicago Cubs fan, she liked to say she was born the last time the team won the World Series before their big comeback in 2016. Nilson, a former physical education teacher, has been a resident of Sunapee Cove since October 2014. Before that, she lived in Stone Lake, Wisconsin. Wearing a cake-shaped hat, Nilson sampled a peach cupcake at her party Wednesday. The Sunapee Singers sang “Take Me out to the Ball Game” in her honor. When asked if she has any secret to her longevity, she said smile, enjoy life and don’t fret.

New Jersey 

Pemberton Township: Officials believe off-road vehicle riders in New Jersey’s Pinelands ripped up 400 trees days after they were planted by teenagers. Jason Howell of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance told he returned to the site to install barriers at the Bucks Cove Run Preserve in Pemberton Township and found the site “completely torn up” and a trash fire still smoldering. Off-road vehicle tracks were on the ground. The state Environmental Protection Department said it is aware of the vandalism and park police at nearby Brendan T. Byrne State Forest are increasing enforcement. Off-road vehicles are prohibited on Pinelands land managed by nonprofits and the state. However, licensed and registered vehicles can be driven on roadways.

New Mexico

Santa Fe: New restrictions on wildlife foot traps and wire snares are being proposed by New Mexico Game and Fish officials amid conflicts arising from trapping traditions, evolving attitudes about animal suffering and outdoor enthusiasts with dogs. The agency that oversees trapping rules and regulations on Thursday suggested a prohibition on traps and snares for public lands on the outskirts of Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces and Taos. It also suggested a half-mile no-trapping buffer at certain hiking trailheads, as well as training requirements for trappers. The proposal initiates a monthslong rulemaking process with opportunities for public comment. Rule changes are decided by the New Mexico State Game Commission, appointed by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. Trapping regulations hold implications for wildlife and recreation across an estimated 30 percent of New Mexico.

New York

New York: A top-rated New York City pizza restaurant has reopened two days after it was shuttered by state officials over unpaid taxes. The New York Post reported that Brooklyn’s Di Fara Pizza reopened Thursday after its owners worked out a payment plan to settle a $167,000 tax bill. Di Fara opened in 1965 and has long been a favorite with New Yorkers and out-of-town visitors. Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted Thursday that he was glad “the best slice in town” would be around “for years to come.” The Democratic mayor had tweeted Wednesday that he wanted to help resolve Di Fara’s tax situation. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on TV station NY1 that the resolution of the restaurant’s tax dispute is “the perfect outcome from everyone’s point of view.”

North Carolina

Raleigh: A judicial panel ruled Thursday that a mentally ill man who wore a Superman-like cape in police interviews and compared himself to Dracula did not kill a North Carolina college student in a dorm 40 years ago. Three judges declared James Blackmon, 66, innocent in the death of Helena Payton, who was stabbed in the neck in a dormitory bathroom of what is now St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh in September 1979. The ruling, which is final, came as part of the unique process under which the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission rules on innocence claims from convicted people and sends the cases it finds credible to a three-judge panel. Prison officials said, following the exoneration, that they were working Thursday afternoon to release Blackmon, who was serving a life sentence for second-degree murder.

North Dakota

Bismarck: The state’s Health Department disregarded its own policy in updating the volume of pipeline spill at a natural gas processing plant. In July 2015, Oneok Partners reported a 10-gallon spill of natural gas condensate from a pipeline at a plant near Watford City. The estimated size of the spill was never updated, even as Oneok updated the state on cleanup. In October, Oneok told the state it had recovered 240,000 gallons of the liquid gas. State Environmental Quality Chief Dave Glatt said Thursday that a spill report should have been made public to reflect the severity of the spill. It’s also unclear whether promised quarterly inspections of the site have been done in the past two years. Glatt said he is investigating whether the inspections occurred.


Lordstown: An Ohio electricity company said it is canceling plans to build a gas-fired power plant because of the state’s recent nuclear bailout. The Vindicator reported that the plant would have been Clean Energy Future’s third in Lordstown in northeastern Ohio. The company had spent more than $1 million in development and permitting costs. The company’s president, Bill Siderewicz, said the gas-fired plant would have produced $29 billion of economic benefit over its 50-year lifespan, as well as full-time jobs, local supplies and services. Siderewicz said plans were canceled because of the recent passage of a bill that gives $150 million a year to nuclear power plants near Cleveland and Toledo. State Rep. Gil Blair called Siderewicz’s announcement “certainly not good news.” Lordstown is in Blair’s district.


Tahlequah: The Cherokee Nation’s newly elected chief formally announced his plan to send a delegate to the U.S. House, but acknowledged the first such attempt by a tribal nation will take time, as well as cooperation from Congress. Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. on Thursday called on Congress to recognize the tribe’s right to a delegate outlined in two treaties with the U.S. government and the tribe’s constitution. Hoskin sent a letter last week to the tribe’s governing council announcing his plan to nominate Kimberly Teehee, a former adviser to President Barack Obama. Republican U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin, a Cherokee Nation citizen, said in a statement the Cherokee’s plan was “unprecedented,” but said he supports tribal sovereignty and that treaties must be honored.


Portland: Cremated remains found in a mortuary box on a Portland street belong to a World War II veteran who lived in a house that hs been demolished and who worked at a concrete and steel company that no longer exists. The Oregonian/OregonLive said Thursday it tracked down the details of Floyd Leslie Hill’s life and found some estranged family members in the Midwest. Those family members said they don’t want his ashes. Hill died in 2000 at age 80. For now, Hill’s remains have been returned to the mortuary where they originated. Chris Hawes, a volunteer with the Missing in America Project, said that when no one claims the remains of veterans, his organization can coordinate interment at a national cemetery.


Tinicum Township: A small community near Philadelphia that managed to save the oldest surviving quarantine station in the Western Hemisphere from the wrecking ball is now transforming the 18th-century structure into township offices. For Tinicum Township, renovating the Lazaretto Quarantine Station was part of a broader plan to draw visitors to the community. For historians, saving the Lazaretto offers a chance to tell stories of immigration and public health in America’s early days. Built in 1799, the quarantine station protected the Port of Philadelphia against the introduction of diseases that could lead to epidemics for nearly a century. Township officials stopped a developer from tearing it down to build a parking lot. Now, they’ve restored it and will move offices into the stately building in September.

Rhode Island

Westerly: The Rhode Island fire marshal is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for blowing up two portable toilets last weekend. The first explosion happened at about 12:30 a.m. Saturday at a residential construction site in the coastal town of Westerly. The second incident occurred in a private parking lot in Charlestown. Police said a fisherman heard an explosion at about 11 p.m. Saturday, but the damage was not reported until Sunday morning. There were no reports of injuries in either explosion. The state bomb squad, which is overseen by Office of the State Fire Marshal, is investigating. The office said there’s no indication of any terrorist links to the explosions.

South Carolina

Walhalla: WSPA-TV reported the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office announced a new deputy to their staff on Wednesday: K-9 Thor. Thor, who will be a tracking and explosives canine for the sheriff’s office, is a yellow lab and was accompanied by his handler, Deputy Justin Stokes, at a swearing-in ceremony Wednesday. According to a sheriff’s office news release, Stokes and Thor have completed their required training and are ready to serve the county. Officials said Thor received his badge at the ceremony and then retired K-9 handlers received plaques commemorating their dogs’ service to Oconee County.

South Dakota

55 homes in the Rose-Lotta neighborhood are being targeted for removal to create more green space and improve drainage issues in the southern Sioux Falls neighborhood.

Sioux Falls: The first round of homes in the flood-prone Rose-Lotta neighborhood near the Big Sioux River and Tomar Park could be demolished or relocated as early as this fall. Spring flooding put dozens of homes in the area southeast of Interstate 229 and Minnesota Avenue underwater – again. And because flooding there has grown increasingly frequent during large rain events and spring thaws, Mayor Paul TenHaken and the City Council set aside $1 million in leftover money from the prior year's budget to create a voluntary buy-out program in hopes of creating more green space. The idea is fewer homes, and more permeable surface area near Tomar Park could alleviate yearly flooding and improve drainage for other nearby properties. Those eight homes ranged in price from $72,000 to $186,000, with the average sale price to the city of $119,500.


Cleveland: State officials have broken ground on a $47 million state veterans nursing home. Gov. Bill Lee was among the ceremony’s attendees Wednesday. The single-story, 108-bed intermediate and skilled care nursing facility will span 110,000 square feet. It will include six 18-bedroom residential houses connected by interior shared support spaces. In 2003, the Bradley County Commission and Cleveland City Council passed resolutions to support a nursing facility for long-term veteran care. A $3 million anonymous donation was pledged in 2006, and the city and county have contributed $2 million each since. The state has added $10 million. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is contributing a $30.5 million grant. The families of Steve Williams, Thomas Williams, and Robert Wright donated 28 acres in Cleveland in 2010.


Galveston: The city has a new main fire station as recovery continues since Hurricane Ike swamped parts of the city in 2008. The Galveston County Daily News reported the $9.6 million Fire Station No. 1 was one of the last large projects funded by Ike disaster relief money. Construction continues on a public works building and a wastewater treatment plant. Visitors on Wednesday toured the nearly 28,000-square-foot fire station. The base is 11 feet above ground level. Fire Chief Mike Wisko said the station was reinforced to withstand a Category 5 hurricane. Forecasters said such storms include winds of at least 157 mph. All six Galveston fire stations were damaged by Ike, which had top winds of 110 mph and a 15-foot storm surge.


Salt Lake City: Legislators are drafting a proposal to scrap a planned state-run medical marijuana dispensary system after facing pressure from county attorneys who said the system put public employees at risk of being prosecuted under federal drug laws. Republican Senate Majority Leader Evan Vickers said medical cannabis would instead be distributed through up to 12 private dispensaries. Gov. Gary Herbert has hinted about calling a special session where those changes could be approved, though no date has been announced. The law now calls for seven private dispensaries with a state-run “central fill pharmacy” distributing the remainder of medical marijuana orders through Utah’s 13 local health departments. But some county attorneys argued using health departments as pickup points would make the employees de facto drug dealers. Some cannabis advocates applauded the proposed change for increasing patient access. Others worry 12 dispensaries still won’t meet demand.


Swanton: Biologists are trying to figure out why American eels are washing up dead on the shores of northern Lake Champlain. Vermont Public Radio reported at least 15 dead eels have appeared from Swanton south to Milton in the past few weeks. State Fish and Wildlife Department fisheries biologist Bernie Pientka said it’s not clear what’s causing the die-off. He said an invasive nematode, or roundworm, has harmed eel populations in the U.S. Southeast, so that might be a cause. Pientka said other fish species in the lake do not seem to be affected. Lake Champlain once supported a commercial eel fishery. The population declined in the 1980s and 1990s, but rebounded after eel ladders were upgraded on the Richelieu River, which flows north from Champlain to the St. Lawrence River.


Newport News: All students in Newport News Public Schools will receive free breakfast and lunch under a federal program. News outlets reported the district received approval from the state’s Education Department to use a federal program that reimburses meals at schools with a certain proportion of low-income students. District child nutrition official Cathy Alexander announced the news Tuesday. The Virginian-Pilot reported it’s the largest public system in the state to give all meals to students for free.Federal funding eligibility depends on the percentage of students who participate in public benefit programs that make them eligible for free meals. If at least 40% of students fall into that category, the schools are eligible for funding. The newspaper said about 47% of students in the district met the criteria.


Seattle: What authorities described as a homeless camp on the water in Seattle has sunk. KOMO-TV reported the floating camp was made up of three boats rafted together and tied up illegally to a fishing net piling belonging to the Duwamish Tribe. Two of the boats sank last week in the Duwamish Waterway and a third boat remained afloat. The Port of Seattle is investigating after it was asked to by the City of Tukwila last month. Mike DeSota, environmental compliance manager for the Marine Division for the Port, said there was a “homeless concentration” of people going back and forth from the vessels. Officials said the Coast Guard pumped out fuel and removed hazardous chemicals on board. On Wednesday, a salvage crew removed both boats.

West Virginia

Mineral Wells: Japanese truck maker Hino Motors Manufacturing has marked the opening of its new West Virginia assembly plant. Hino Motors held a ceremony Wednesday in Mineral Wells at a former retail distribution center. U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin said on Twitter before the ceremony that one of his first trade trips as governor in 2005 was to Japan to recruit Hino Motors to North America. Manchin said “it’s been a wonderful, wonderful success story.” Company President Takashi Ono has said the $100 million investment could create up to 250 new jobs. For 12 years, Hino Motors had assembled medium-duty trucks at a smaller facility 20 miles away in the Wood County community of Williamstown. Hino Motors is owned by the Toyota Group and its American headquarters are in Novi, Michigan.


Madison: The state Department of Natural Resources board is considering an emergency rule to shorten Wisconsin’s ruffed grouse season to protect the population. Drumming activity declined 34% statewide from 2017 to 2018. Hunters took only 173,347 grouse last year, the lowest total in the 35 years the DNR has been surveying small-game hunters about their success. The department said the decline’s cause is unknown. The season runs from mid-October through Dec. 8 in southeastern Wisconsin and from mid-September through Jan. 31 in the rest of the state. The rule’s description doesn’t lay out new season end dates. DNR spokeswoman Sarah Hoye said the rule would affect only the out-state season, ending it Jan. 5 instead of Jan. 31. The board is scheduled to vote on the rule description Tuesday. Approval would authorize the DNR to develop the rule language.


Yellowstone National Park: A video shows employees at a rental car agency all they need to know about how a car got damaged in Yellowstone National Park. The footage shows one of the dozens of bison stampeding through the park as it rams the rental and cracks the windshield. No injuries were reported. The Casper Star-Tribune reported that a family member caught the scene on video on Aug. 13 after the animals brought traffic to a standstill. Bison weigh up to 2,000 pounds and run up to 30 mph. A video shot earlier this summer showed a man petting a bison’s head in Yellowstone. No one was injured, but park officials warned visitors to keep their distance. In July, a bison threw a 9-year-old girl into the air in Yellowstone. She wasn’t seriously injured.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 50 states