Montgomery: Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen is asking a federal judge to dismiss former state Chief Justice Roy Moore’s defamation lawsuit over a 2018 television segment of “Who is America?” Lawyers for Baron Cohen, Showtime Networks and CBS wrote last week in a court filing that Moore signed an agreement waiving all legal claims before appearing on the segment. They also said the segment was satire and is protected under the First Amendment. Moore thought he was receiving an award for supporting Israel. Instead, Baron Cohen lampooned him as a possible pedophile after sexual misconduct allegations arose during the 2017 U.S. Senate race he ultimately lost. Moore denied the allegations. Moore argued the waiver was fraudulently obtained because it did not disclose he was dealing with the comic. He is running for Senate again in 2020.
Anchorage: The state is expected to get three new U.S. prosecutors as part of a federal funding increase that will address public safety in rural communities, officials say. The U.S. Justice Department has approved nearly $11 million in funding from federal law enforcement programs, Alaska Public Media reports. The state’s Department of Public Safety will receive $6 million, which officials say will be used to address “domestic violence, sexual assault and other violent crimes” in local communities and tribal entities. The award will also fund the three federal prosecutors, who will be based in Anchorage but focus on rural Alaska, officials say. Another $5 million is earmarked for statewide tribal entities to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars for equipment and 20 new positions, officials say.
Flagstaff: The U.S. Forest Service, faced with the slow pace of forest thinning, is seeking proposals to remove dense stands of trees in a wide swath of the state to help prevent wildfires. The work is part of the Four Forest Restoration Initiative, the largest project of its kind within the Forest Service. It eventually will cover 3,750 square miles along a prominent line of cliffs that divides Arizona’s high country from the desert. The bidding opened Monday for work on up to 1,278 square miles in parts of the Kaibab, Coconino, Apache-Sitgreaves and Tonto national forests. The proposals are due Dec. 16. Contracts would be awarded in April. Those keeping tabs on the project have been frustrated by the pace of the work done so far. The Forest Service set a goal of having 78 square miles mechanically thinned each year, but only about a third of that has been done on average.
Little Rock: The state Senate president is proposing a new tax and regulations on vaping products, and he hopes the governor will call lawmakers back to the Capitol to take up the issue. Republican Sen. Jim Hendren on Monday proposed the legislation in response to concerns about a rise in e-cigarette use among young people. The legislation would subject e-cigarette products to the same taxes as tobacco products. It would also prohibit vaping and the use of e-cigarettes at the same locations where tobacco smoking is banned. Under Hendren’s proposal, the money raised from the vaping taxes would help schools with safety improvements and hiring mental health counselors. The bill would also prohibit billboards advertising e-cigarettes within 1,000 feet of a school or playground.
Los Angeles: For the first time in nearly a century, a California trout species is swimming in a mountain creek that is its native habitat – a milestone that conservationists hope will lead to a thriving population and removal of its threatened status. About 30 Paiute cutthroat trout were plucked Wednesday from Coyote Valley Creek in the eastern Sierra Nevada and hauled in cans strapped to pack mules about 2 miles west into Long Valley. State and federal researchers were on hand as the fish were dumped into a stretch of Silver King Creek at about 8,000 feet elevation, where the shimmering species glided through the cold water for thousands of years before starting to disappear in the 1920s. The homecoming is the culmination of decades of restoration and conservation work.
Aspen: A study has determined a proposed expansion of an opera house in the city is not feasible. The Aspen Daily News reports the study commissioned by the city of Aspen concluded the Wheeler Opera House project would be too costly and cause unacceptable interference with programming. Consultants Theatre Projects and Keen Independent Research prepared the report, which says the financial and operational risks along with the impact on local goodwill outweigh possible benefits to the Aspen arts community. Wheeler Executive Director Gena Buhler told the City Council the projected $30 million development would be in addition to $20 million in upgrade and maintenance expenditures over the next 20 years. The report suggests developing a cheaper, small community venue.
Hartford: Gov. Ned Lamont said Tuesday that the state tax department “too broadly interpreted” a planned surcharge on prepared foods, and he has directed the agency to revisit which items should be affected. The Democrat said his budget office and legislative Democrats, who crafted the final two-year state budget deal, had only planned on adding an extra 1% tax on items already subjected to the 6.35% sales tax, such as sandwiches and pizza sold at restaurants and many grocery stores. Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers have raised concerns about a recent Department of Revenue Services memo regarding taxable meals. It extended the new 1% surcharge to food items sold in grocery stores that have never been taxed, including containers of lettuce and loose baked goods.
Dover: The state auditor has been told to stop using a new logo because it altered an official state seal to include her own name. Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock, who oversees how the image of the seal can be used, told State Auditor Kathy McGuiness’ office Monday to stop including the auditor’s name with the state coat of arms. For several months, the auditor had been using an altered logo on social media that contained the coat of arms and the words “KATHLEEN K. MCGUINESS AUDITOR OF ACCOUNTS.” In the secretary’s view, that’s not how the seal should be used. “They’re used to refer to an agency, not a person,” Department of State spokesman Doug Denison said. Delaware’s secretary of state has to sign off on any use of or alterations to official Delaware images.
District of Columbia
Washington: After a three-year closure, the Washington Monument is reopening to the public. The 555-foot stone obelisk closed in September 2016 in order to replace the aging elevator and upgrade security systems. The monument will reopen to the public at noon Thursday, and first lady Melania Trump is expected to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The monument has been closed for most of the past eight years. An August 2011 earthquake left cracks in the stones near the top of the obelisk. It reopened in 2014, but National Park Service officials were forced to close it again two years later after a series of elevator breakdowns. The monument, which was completed in 1884 and remains the tallest building in Washington, averages about 500,000 visitors per year.
Miami Gardens: Police in South Florida say thieves stole up to $80,000 in merchandise from a wig warehouse. The owner of Prime Trading Hair and Wigs told detectives in Miami Gardens that he was notified overnight Tuesday that the alarm at the warehouse had been triggered. Owner Rakib Hossain tells Miami television station WFOR that some of the products are worth up to $800 each. Hossain says the thieves appeared to know what they were doing and were in the warehouse for no more than 5 minutes. Video surveillance shows a truck backing up and ramming the warehouse’s front door three times. Hossain says he is insured for his losses.
Forest Park: A preschool program that helps children sell fresh produce to local residents has been shut down by city officials who say the farm stand violates zoning laws. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Little Ones Learning Center in Forest Park has a gardening program aimed at connecting families with healthy food, especially in areas where access to quality produce is limited. But the newspaper says the city recently prohibited it from running the stand, citing safety concerns and lines of cars. Little Ones official Wande Okunoren-Meadows asked the council to amend its decision this month, but officials instead offered to allow the stand on city-owned property. Okunoren-Meadows contends that area isn’t in the community she wants to serve. Another option is to request a special permit each time the stand operates.
Honolulu: The city is updating a pilot program to improve the collection of bulky trash items that have been piling up in neighborhoods since new rules took effect, officials say. The city’s Department of Environmental Services has tweaked the program to allow Waikiki residents to schedule weekly rather than only once-monthly pickup appointments, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports. “Waikiki is, and always has been, the only area on Oahu receiving weekly bulky collection. The rest of the pilot areas are allowed only one appointment per month over a multiday period,” Timothy Houghton, environmental services deputy director, told the Waikiki Neighborhood Board. The city initially shifted about 70,000 single-family homes and multiunit residential buildings from monthly scheduled bulky item collection to an appointment-based program.
Lewiston: State officials say it’ll take time for the governor’s Salmon Working Group to come up with policies in hopes of helping salmon recover. Pressure on the group created by Gov. Brad Little is increasing, as wildlife managers report low numbers of salmon returning to the Snake River Basin for the third year in a row. Idaho Office of Species Conservation director Scott Pugrud told the Lewiston Tribune the working group can’t flush out policy positions in four or five meetings. Pugrud, one of the working group’s leaders, says that process could take up to two years. Nearly all of the wild runs of salmon and steelhead in the Snake River Basin are protected under the Endangered Species Act. Returns of both wild and hatchery salmon and steelhead have been flagging in recent years. The working group will meet Friday in Lewiston after going on a series of field trips in the Clearwater region Thursday.
Chicago: Organizers of the Lollapalooza music festival have received their largest bill in years to restore Grant Park after damages caused by last month’s event. The Chicago Tribune reports Lollapalooza received a $645,000 bill this year. It’s the highest amount incurred by the festival since 2011, when promoter C3 Presents spent over $1 million to revive Grant Park. The four-day festival was battered by frequent storms that year. The work to restore the park to its condition before this year’s festival includes re-sodding grooves where stages and sponsored tents were installed, as well as mulch installation. Other expenses include aeration, temporary irrigation, and consistent watering of the grounds and replanting of shrubs that were removed for ease of access to the festival.
Indianapolis: Family members of 1930s gangster John Dillinger have submitted a new application to exhume his gravesite. The Indiana State Department of Health said it received the latest application Tuesday. Dillinger’s family first applied to exhume the remains in July as part of a planned History Channel documentary. The deadline to exhume and return the remains was Sept. 16, and the exhumation did not occur. The History Channel last week dropped out of a planned documentary on Dillinger that would have included the exhumation. Family members said they have evidence Dillinger’s body may not be buried in Crown Hill Cemetery. Cemetery officials object to the exhumation, saying it would be disruptive. Dillinger’s nephew, Michael C. Thompson, sued the cemetery last month, seeking a court order to gain access to the grave. A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 1.
Sioux City: The City Council has approved a proposal for removal of a World War II chapel and airmen’s housing project on airport land. The Sioux City Journal reports that the council OK’d a memorandum of agreement Monday among the city, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Iowa State Historic Preservation Office. The chapel anchors the entrance to Sioux Gateway Airport and is one of the last standing remnants of the wartime air base built for B-17 bomber training. City documents say the two parcels containing the chapel and housing were developed with uses not compatible with operations of the airport. Plans say the chapel will be moved off airport property, and a nonprofit group will take ownership and maintain it at a new location as a memorial and make it available for event rentals.
Kansas City: Police in the city will be wearing body-worn cameras from different companies for the next month and will report their experiences as part of a multi-vendor evaluation. The Kansas City Star reports that about 30 officers will try out the cameras after receiving training on how to use them. Police officials then expect to choose a company for purchase of body-worn cameras. The evaluation process began Monday and is expected to go on through Oct. 16. Another Kansas City suburb, Overland Park, Kansas, recently approved the police department’s plan to spend $430,000 on body cameras without a bidding process.
Hodgenville: The National Park Service has named a new superintendent at Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park in central Kentucky. The News-Enterprise reports Catherine Bragaw will start in the position Nov. 10. National Park Service Southeast Regional Director Robert A. Vogel said in a statement that Bragaw’s passion for political science, public history and civic engagement will help her manage how the park interprets the early years of the nation’s 16th president. Bragaw said she looks forward to overseeing the park in Hodgenville and wants to collaborate with workers, volunteers and the community to make improvements and broaden its visitor base.
Baton Rouge: A national credit rating agency is giving the state good marks for its improved financial outlook and its work to stabilize the budget. Moody’s Investors Service changed Louisiana’s credit outlook from “stable” to “positive.” The firm said that’s an indication the state could see a rating upgrade in a year or two. Credit ratings help determine interest rates charged when the state borrows money to finance roadwork and construction projects. Moody’s says Louisiana has improved its financial position by closing budget gaps with ongoing revenue sources, rather than patchwork funds. The rating agency says the state’s economy also has stabilized. The news comes as Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards is running for reelection, touting the seven-year tax deal he and lawmakers reached in 2018 to end years of budget uncertainty.
Portland: A new project to explore the wreck of the ship dubbed as New England’s Titanic is underway. The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has partnered with NOAA’s Office of Marine Sanctuaries and Marine Imaging Technologies as a part of a three-year project to explore shipwrecks. The Portland Press Herald reports researchers reached the SS Portland shipwreck Monday and over the course of the following few days are live-streaming their work to schools and museums around the country. The luxury steamship carried passengers between Portland and Boston before it sank in 1898, killing about 200 people on board. The team of researchers plans to assemble 3-D models to measure and assess the condition of the wreck as well as capture a 360-degree video to create virtual and underwater tours.
Baltimore: The mayor has signed an executive order that bars the city in some instances from prohibiting alleged victims of police brutality from disparaging police after they receive cash settlements. Mayor Bernard “Jack” Young on Monday announced the order, which the city says applies retroactively. The order comes two months after an appeals court ruled that Baltimore’s practice of reducing financial settlements to alleged victims of police misconduct when they speak out about their experience is unconstitutional. The court in the 2-1 ruling likened the practice to “hush money.” The ACLU of Maryland says the executive order “does nothing to nullify” nondisclosure provisions in past settlements and leaves future decisions up to the city solicitor.
Boston: Members of the state’s all-Democratic congressional delegation are pressing federal officials to find new export markets for the American lobster industry. The group led by U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey says the Trump administration’s trade war with China is hurting local lobster companies, leaving them vulnerable to competition from Canada. The lawmakers said at least two businesses in the state have been forced to cease operations, leaving 250 workers unemployed. In a letter sent Monday to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the lawmakers said the federal government needs to boost efforts to help Massachusetts lobstermen whose livelihoods heavily relied on exports to China. Also Tuesday, state lawmakers held a Statehouse hearing on the plight of the lobster industry.
Royal Oak: A new exhibit featuring Amur tigers has opened at the Detroit Zoo. The Detroit Zoological Society says the Devereaux Tiger Forest is home to 2-year-old males Nikolai and Aleksei and 16-year-old female Kisa. The $3.5 million habitat at the zoo in the Detroit suburb of Royal Oak mirrors the tigers’ native landscape of far eastern Russia and includes wooded areas, pools and a waterfall. The Richard C. Devereaux Foundation gave a $1 million gift for the exhibit’s renovations and expansion. Once known as the Siberian tiger, the Amur tiger is listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. An estimated 500 remain in the wild. Threats include poaching, habitat loss and disease.
St. Paul: Wildlife managers say duck hunting is expected to be good when the state’s regular waterfowl season opens Saturday morning. Waterfowl specialist Steve Cordts of the Department of Natural Resources says biologists continue to see favorable counts of breeding ducks in Minnesota and other parts of North America. This past spring, biologists estimated the total breeding duck population in Minnesota at 14% above the long-term average and nearly identical to last year’s estimate of 693,000 ducks. The estimated number of wetlands was 19% higher than last year and 23% above the long-term average, reflecting the wet year. The spring estimate for Canada geese was down 32% from last year, but reproduction this spring and summer were good, so there are still plenty of geese around for hunters.
Jackson: The state auditor says accounting and contracting problems at the state’s Blues Commission are so severe that the commission should be abolished and its responsibilities handed to a nonprofit. State Auditor Shad White says in a report that the commission has spent $1.9 million without filed contracts and didn’t retain documents for $965,000 in spending. The Legislature created the commission in 2006. Its main function has been erecting more than 200 markers on the Mississippi Blues Trail. The auditor says that Delta State University should repay $12,450 used to pay a former employee and that Delta State and the commission improperly spent Mississippi Department of Transportation money on country music trail markers.
Cape Girardeau: A massive collection of classic cars, vintage service station pumps, spark plugs and signage is headed to the auction block. The Southeast Missourian reports that 80-year-old Joan McPherson, of Cape Girardeau, says it’s time to let somebody else enjoy the collection she amassed with her late husband, Wayne. But she says she has “mixed emotions” about Saturday’s sale. During 56 years of adventures trailing Southeast Missouri State University baseball – 70 games per season – the couple filled three garages and a house with auto, taxidermy, memorabilia and paintings. She says they “didn’t pass too many antique stores or junk yards.” Their kitchen was the only room without spark plugs. Both taught at Southeast before retiring in the 1990s. Her husband died last year after a yearslong battle with leukemia.
Kalispell: The number of visitors to Glacier National Park has risen after a busy August that followed seven months of decreased visitation. The Flathead Beacon reports the park had 771,874 visitors in August, an increase of more than 15% from the same month last year, when 667,688 people visited. Officials say a likely reason for the August increase is the absence of a major wildfire for the first time in three years. Records released this week indicate more than 2.45 million people have visited the park in 2019. The figure is a nearly 2% increase over the number of visitors during the same period in 2018. The park’s year-to-date visitation figures were down more than 3% a month ago, with 1.6 million people visiting between January and July.
Lincoln: It seems this love was too hot to handle. Police in Lincoln say a 19-year-old woman sparked an apartment fire Monday by burning love letters from her ex in her bedroom. Police say the woman used a butane torch to burn the letters and left some of them of the floor. She then went to another room to take a nap. Police say she awoke a short time later to find the carpet on fire. Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire within minutes. Officials say the blaze caused an estimated $4,000 in damage to the building. No one was injured. The woman was cited for negligent burning.
Reno: A wilderness protection group has filed a lawsuit to try to block construction of a 2.2-mile-long gondola that would pass through a national forest to connect the ski resort that hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics with a neighboring Lake Tahoe ski resort. The conservationists want a California judge to set aside Placer County’s approval of the project they say would destroy critical habitat for a rare, federally protected frog and lead to irreversible loss of natural landscape on the edge of a high Sierra wilderness area. The lawsuit said the county’s approval in July was based on an environmental review that hid the cumulative impacts anticipated in conjunction with an associated housing development in the works. The gondola with eight-passenger cars and 33 towers – some as high as 50 feet tall – would transport up to 1,400 people an hour. About 20% of the project would be in the Tahoe National Forest.
Claremont: Law enforcement officials in the state can now criminally charge someone for the sale and possession of the synthetic drug known as “bath salts.” Police say certain types of drugs containing the substance alpha-PHP are now controlled substances in New Hampshire. Claremont Police Chief Mark Chase said Monday that he started noticing an increase in the number of people suffering from certain types of illnesses in 2016. He said investigators traced it back to the use of bath salts. Police say ingesting bath salts can lead to bizarre behavior, such as paranoia and extreme strength. They say the highs are similar to using meth, cocaine and ecstasy.
Wildwood: Boardwalks at the Jersey shore could be reclassified as roadways to divert much-needed funds to repair them under a plan being pushed by some state lawmakers. The measure is aimed primarily at the famous Wildwood boardwalk, which is badly in need of repairs. But it also would apply to similar structures throughout a state known in popular culture for them. Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy vetoed funding to fix the Wildwood boardwalk earlier this year. The bill would include boardwalks as eligible for funding from the state’s Transportation Trust Fund, which is used to fix roads, allocating $40 million over 10 years. Wildwood and state officials inspected the underside of the boardwalk Tuesday and saw pieces of its concrete support deck crumble to the touch.
Albuquerque: Independent federal investigators say there’s a need for mental health services in New Mexico, but many counties in the sparsely populated state lack licensed providers who can serve patients who rely on government assistance. A report released Monday by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department’s inspector general details the challenges for Medicaid patients when it comes to accessing behavioral health care. The report says improving access is essential in New Mexico, where more than half of adults with mental illness do not receive treatment. The report notes that the state has among the highest rates in the nation for suicide and overdose deaths. It also ranks as one of the poorest states, with more than half of the population either uninsured or covered by public health insurance.
Buffalo: An elevated highway will be removed and a section repurposed as a waterfront overlook under the winning design in a redevelopment competition. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a Rochester team’s “City of Lights” proposal as the $100,000 winner of the Skyway redesign contest Tuesday. Democrats Cuomo and Congressman Brian Higgins say the project will receive up to $600 million in state and federal resources. Buffalo has long considered removing the 1950s-era Skyway because it hinders access to Lake Erie and the Buffalo River. The competition announced by Cuomo in February challenged teams to reimagine a 4-mile corridor between downtown and the city of Lackawanna. The winning proposal, submitted by SWBR, Fisher Associates and MRB Group, is expected to be completed in five years.
Raleigh: A Republican framework for Medicaid expansion is advancing again with bipartisan support in the state House. But it’s unclear whether that will change feelings about the concept in the GOP-controlled Senate. The House Health Committee voted Wednesday for an expansion measure that is similar to the bill the panel heard and approved in July but then was idled during the state budget impasse. Speaker Tim Moore said last week that his chamber would consider it again. Committee Democrats supported the plan even though many oppose GOP demands that it direct low-income adults who would qualify to pay small premiums and meet work requirements. The bill could come to the House floor in early October. Senate Republicans have said there aren’t the votes in their chamber to approve expansion.
Bismarck: A lawmaker says he will aim to ensure firearms are legal on the state Capitol grounds after a pro-gun rally he hosted there drew some supporters who were probably packing heat. Bismarck Republican Rep. Rick Becker says he will introduce legislation to change the policy when the Legislature reconvenes in 2021. Dozens attended the “Shall Not Be Infringed Rally” Sunday on the steps of the Capitol to support gun rights. Becker says he learned a day prior to the rally of a no-gun policy at the Capitol grounds and warned followers on Facebook of it. Still, Becker believed some supporters at the rally were armed. North Dakota has had a policy against carrying firearms on the state Capitol grounds since 1989.
Columbus: Ghostly apparitions will again descend on the Statehouse during this year’s Haunted Statehouse tours. Ticket sales are underway for the celebration of state history and legend, which features staff members and costumed volunteers leading visitors on a family-friendly excursion through the seat of state government. The Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board says visitors this year can arrive early and enjoy art activities or write a “Ghost Post” to one of the Statehouse’s resident spirits. Tours take place on Fridays and Saturdays the last two weekends of October. They depart every half hour between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children under age 12 and must be preordered. The event is considered appropriate for ages 9 and older.
Oklahoma City: Parole officials say new state criminal justice guidelines will likely increase the number of inmates eligible for accelerated commutations. A statewide referendum adopted in 2016 made simple drug possession a misdemeanor and increased the threshold for felony property crimes from $500 to $1,000. Legislation signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt this year makes its provisions retroactive. The Pardon and Parole Board says the new law could make hundreds of inmates eligible for an accelerated commutation process when it takes effect Nov. 1. The board voted Monday to authorize its staff to schedule an accelerated single-stage docket when it receives a list of potentially eligible inmates from the Department of Corrections.
Salem: Car owners could have the option of a new license plate if an Oregon Wildlife Foundation design is approved. The foundation began a voucher sale earlier this summer for the plate featuring a mule deer with Mount Hood in the background. Officials say the foundation must sell 3,000 vouchers to verify interest before the Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicles division will approve the new design. The $40 vouchers are available for purchase on the foundation’s website. Officials say a $40 surcharge will be due when vehicle owners order the license plate from the state and again when a registration is renewed. The wildlife foundation says the mule deer species is already declining and vulnerable to collisions with vehicles on Oregon’s Highway 97 during seasonal migrations.
Gettysburg: A veteran Civil War reenactor says he will take over planning a 2020 reenactment of the Battle of Gettysburg after the organization behind the annual event said it didn’t intend to host one next summer. Dustin Heisey of Manheim, who said he has been taking part in reenactments since he was 14, said he wants to keep the tradition of honoring the soldiers alive. The Gettysburg Anniversary Committee said it “does not anticipate organizing or hosting a 157th reenactment.” Operations Manager Randy Phiel suggested that holding reenactments less often might help build anticipation and visitor interest. Heisey said he plans some changes aimed at creating an 1860s atmosphere and might use a T-shirt campaign and sponsorships to raise money.
South Kingstown: The University of Rhode Island is getting a $35 million gift from former CVS president and CEO Thomas Ryan and his wife, Cathy, the largest private contribution in the school’s history. The gift announced Monday includes $24 million for the George & Anne Ryan Institute for Neuroscience to expand research and teaching capacity in neuroscience; $10 million to establish the Thomas M. Ryan Scholars program to attract more high-performing students; and $1 million to the men’s and women’s basketball programs. The latest contribution brings the Ryans’ cumulative giving total to URI to more than $56 million. URI President David Dooley called it an “extraordinary gift.”
Greenville: Roger Daltrey, lead singer of the storied rock band The Who, visited the city Tuesday for the dedication of a cancer center designed especially for young people. Daltrey, co-founder of Teen Cancer America along with bandmate Pete Townshend, was en route to Atlanta with his band when he diverted the plane to Greenville to stop by Bon Secours St. Francis Health System to help dedicate its Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Center, officials said. Daltrey met with patients and celebrated their victories over cancer. Hudson Bethea, who is battling leukemia, and Nichole Dorontich, who beat Hodgkin’s lymphoma, say they were thrilled to spend time with the rock legend. Before he left, Daltrey posed with a gleaming white electric guitar he’d signed that was on display and will forever mark his part in the effort to establish the unit, billed as the first Teen Cancer America center in the Carolinas.
Deadwood: The end of an era came to town the morning of May 21, 1980, when federal authorities raided four buildings that housed the worst-kept secret in the Black Hills. Sixteen women were arrested, charged with practicing the world’s oldest profession in four brothels. Prostitution wasn’t legal in Deadwood, but since the city’s founding 100 years earlier, it had been tolerated – even embraced. Now the Gold Rush town is moving to acknowledge its past. Deadwood History Inc., the local nonprofit that oversees two museums, the Historic Adams House and the Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center, is preparing to add a brothel museum to its portfolio. The group is working with a local property owner to refurbish one of the brothels, which was known as the Shasta Room. The group hopes to open next spring.
Nashville: A local bodybuilder has won the 2019 Mr. Olympia competition and the title’s $400,000 prize. Brandon Curry, 36, is the first bodybuilder from Tennessee to win the premier bodybuilding competition, which started in 1965, and only the 10th American to claim the title of Mr. Olympia. He said just before the competition this past weekend that he weighed about 217 pounds, sometimes up to 265 pounds in the offseason. The 5-foot-8 former high school and Middle Tennessee State football player won The Arnold Classic earlier this year. The Arnold Sports Festival’s website says Curry, also known as “The Prodigy,” earned $130,000 in that competition. Curry’s bodybuilding career started after he graduated from MTSU in 2005.
San Antonio: The University of Texas at San Antonio has introduced a new policy this semester prohibiting students with a confirmed history of violence or sexual abuse from joining athletic programs. The university said Tuesday that the Tracy Rule prevents those students from receiving sports scholarships and participating in games and practices. San Antonio Express-News reports the policy is named after Brenda Tracy, an advocate for sexual assault victims, who reported being gang-raped in 1998 by four men, including two student-athletes. UTSA has adopted the rule following a recent outcry over what some students call a prevalent rape culture. Current student-athletes and UTSA transfers must fill out a questionnaire noting any history of violence or sexual misconduct. Tracy says she hopes other schools will follow in UTSA’s steps.
Salt Lake City: Legislators have approved changes to the state’s medical marijuana law, an issue that has faced fierce criticism from people on both sides of the debate. The Utah Senate and House of Representatives voted unanimously Monday evening during a special session to send the proposal to Gov. Gary Herbert’s desk. The measure would replace plans for an unusual state-run dispensary system with 14 privately run pharmacies and adopt protections for patients who are concerned they could be prosecuted for drug crimes, among other changes. Utah backtracked from the state-run dispensary after county attorneys expressed concern that such a system would put public employees at risk of being prosecuted under federal drug laws. Republican Senate Majority Leader Evan Vickers, who drafted the law, said his team is “doing everything we can” to improve patient access and have product ready by next March.
Montpelier: A report from legislators shows that low- and moderate-income taxpayers are leaving the state. The report used Internal Revenue Service data between 2011 and 2016 to look at Vermonters moving in and out of the state, according to The Times Argus. It found there’s been a net loss of more than 4,100 taxpayers, most of whom were earning less than $100,000. Many are between 45 and 64 and making between $25,000 and $75,000. One tax official said there’s been a net outflow of $97.7 million but disagreed that more people have left the state, as there’s been an increase of more than 7,000 tax filers. Legislators say they believe lower-income residents are leaving to seek higher wages, lower taxes, a lower cost of living and cheaper housing.
Fredericksburg: The University of Mary Washington is inviting members of the Fredericksburg community to join students on a trip tracing the route of history-changing bus rides across the American South in the 1960s. The “Freedom Rides Tour” will run Oct. 12-15. The social justice experience will celebrate Dr. James L. Farmer Jr., the late civil rights icon and Mary Washington history professor. A community bus and a student bus will stop at some of the same places the Freedom Riders stopped as they spoke with other activists at North Carolina’s Bennett College, strategized next steps in Georgia or sought a safe place to sleep. The tour includes visits to the International Civil Rights Center & Museum in North Carolina and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Alabama.
Seattle: With classes back in session, thousands of students across the state who claim personal vaccine exemptions must receive the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, or they could be forced from school. KING-TV reports a law that went into effect in July removes the personal and philosophical exemption for the MMR vaccine. Those students must get vaccinated or claim a religious or medical exemption for the vaccine in order to attend public schools and day cares. In the 2018-19 school year, about 41,871 kids claimed a personal exemption. In Seattle, the district sent letters to families of 300 students who claimed a personal exemption. If those students still aren’t in compliance by early October, the district will send letters giving students 30 days to show they are either vaccinated or in the process of getting vaccinated.
Morgantown: West Virginia University says it’s seen an increase in retention over last year. Provost Maryanne Reed says preliminary figures indicate first-time freshmen retention is at least 3 percentage points higher than fall 2018. The retention rate is currently better than 79%. Reed says that works out to the equivalent of about 161 more students returning and paying tuition. Reed told the Board of Governors last week that the increased retention rate keeps students on track for degrees and resulted in about $2.8 million more revenue for the university. A university statement says Reed told the board there have been efforts to improve retention, including more intensive outreach to freshmen who failed to register or indicated they planned to transfer.
Madison: The state Department of Natural Resources wants to rename a state forest after a former Democratic governor. DNR officials have proposed renaming the Peshtigo River State Forest to the Governor Earl Peshtigo State Forest after former Gov. Tony Earl, who was the state’s top executive from 1983 through 1986. He also served in the state Assembly and worked as secretary of the state Department of Administration and DNR secretary in the 1970s. The Peshtigo River State Forest was established in 2001 in Marinette and Oconto counties. It features more than 25 miles of river, 3,200 acres of water and 9,200 acres of forest. The DNR’s board is expected to vote on the request at a meeting Sept. 25 in Mishicot.
Cheyenne: The state Department of Education reports that more schools are exceeding expectations under a new comprehensive accountability system. The agency on Monday released school accountability results for the 2018-19 school year showing that 56.1% of Wyoming traditional schools are meeting or exceeding expectations, and 70.6% of Wyoming alternative schools are meeting or exceeding alternative school expectations. For the first time, alternative schools also received a rating this year based on their performance on a different scoring model. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow says state and local support is proving effective in helping schools improve student outcomes.
From USA TODAY Network and wire reports
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