Surfboard proposal, Duke dorm opossum, Sky Bar’s back: News from around our 50 states

From USA TODAY Network and wire reports, USA TODAY

Alabama

Gadsden: Hundreds of fish have been added to a creek as part of an ongoing effort to boost tourism. The Gadsden Times reports Black Creek was restocked Tuesday with about 1,100 pounds of trout above Noccalula Falls by the Rainbow Fly Fishing Club. The group also stocked 1,000 coppernose bluegill into the watershed in late March. Republican Rep. Craig Lipscomb, of Rainbow City, is a member of the fishing club and says its members are working with the city to fill a gap for activities at the falls in the winter months. Lipscomb says trout fishing in Georgia brings in tens of millions of dollars for the state, and Gadsden would benefit even from a fraction of that.

Alaska

Anchorage: A new FBI report says the state has the nation’s highest rate of sexual assault, and violent crime has increased. Alaska Public Media reports that the 2018 statistical analysis from the agency’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program says Alaska does not conform to a general national decline in violent crime. The annual report uses statistics from law enforcement agencies to provide an analysis of crime at the national, state and municipal levels. The report says violent crime in Alaska increased by 3% from 2017 to 2018 while falling 3% nationally. It says Alaska saw an 11% increase in the number of sexual assaults reported to law enforcement, while nationally there were 2.7% more assaults. The FBI says Alaskans reported four times more sexual assaults than the national rate.

Arizona

Phoenix: An increase of bald eagle breeding areas this year didn’t result in more nestlings in the state. Game and Fish Department officials say there were 71 eagle nestlings during the 2019 breeding season, down from 87 hatched last year. During the department’s annual bald eagle survey, raptor biologists counted a minimum of 74 occupied breeding areas statewide – up from the 69 counted last year. But the number of eggs laid dipped from 102 last year to 97 this year. The number of birds that made their first flight fell to 63 from the 70 recorded in 2018. Arizona’s bald eagle population has flourished since 1978, when 11 pairs were counted within the state and the species was listed as endangered. There currently are an estimated 74 adult breeding pairs.

Arkansas

Fayetteville: Court records show a former lobbyist who pleaded guilty to bribing three former state lawmakers will be sentenced this month. Rusty Cranford could face up to 10 years in federal prison for bribing Sen. Jon Woods, Rep. Hank Wilkins and Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, the nephew of Gov. Asa Hutchinson and son of former U.S. Sen. Tim Hutchinson. Cranford had hoped to increase revenue for the Missouri-based nonprofit Preferred Family HealthCare. Cranford also confessed to embezzling from the nonprofit where he worked. His attorney declined to comment. The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports court records posted Tuesday show he’ll be sentenced Nov. 25. A federal grand jury in Missouri indicted Cranford on one count of conspiracy and eight counts of accepting bribes.

California

Santa Rosa: A Northern California brewery owner upset with devastating fires sparked by Pacific Gas & Electric power lines is producing a beer he named “F--- PG&E,” and the brew has sparked a backlash. Steve Doty, owner of Shady Oak brewery in Santa Rosa, announced the new beer last week on a Facebook post. Doty tells SFGate he meant to draw attention to the negligence of PG&E executives and was stunned by the onslaught of critical comments by people who said they are related to utility employees. Others have attacked Shady Oak by giving it one-star reviews on Yelp and Google or calling the taproom with violent threats. Doty posted an apology to those upset by the beer name but says he is still standing by the name.

Colorado

Denver: A Muslim civil rights group is protesting after an arena security guard told a woman to remove her hijab before she could enter to see her 8-year-old daughter sing the national anthem with her school choir at a Denver Nuggets basketball game. Gazella Bensreiti said Wednesday that the guard told her to “take that thing off of my head” at the Pepsi Center box office Nov. 5. Bensreiti said she explained the scarf was for religious purposes. She said the guard replied that she didn’t care. After speaking with a supervisor, the guard ushered her inside. The Council on American-Islamic Relations protested the incident. Arena owner Kroenke Sports & Entertainment called the encounter a misunderstanding and said the guard didn’t recognize that Bensreiti was wearing a hijab.

Connecticut

Hartford: Republicans in the state Senate are unveiling an alternative transportation plan they say doesn’t rely on tolls or tax increases. Thursday’s plan from the minority party in Connecticut’s Senate comes a day after Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont pitched his 10-year, $21.3 billion initiative to Senate Democrats. While the Democrats liked projects in Lamont’s proposal, they didn’t like how it includes 14 tolls on bridges across the state. It’s unclear whether the GOP’s plan will ultimately lay the groundwork for a compromise on an issue that has vexed the state for years. Like Lamont’s plan, the 10-year, nearly $18 billion Senate Republican plan also relies on low-cost borrowing from the federal government. Instead of using toll money to pay off the loans, it banks on money from the state’s dedicated transportation fund.

Delaware

Delaware Ornithological Society Vice President Bill Stewart looks to the sky in Wilmington for peregrine falcons during the eighth annual Falcon Watch.

Wilmington: The state’s birding community is mourning the loss of Wilmington resident William “Bill” Stewart Jr., who died Tuesday after battling cancer, while celebrating his legacy of conservation and determination. Stewart, 67, was a well-known birder, conservationist, educator and former gymnastics coach who helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to permanently preserve nearly 2,000 acres of land for future generations of birders and Delawareans through the Delaware Bird-A-Thon program he started in 2006. He helped put the First State on the birding map by showing visitors and locals the state’s beauty and international role in shorebird migrations. The Bird-A-Thon effort has raised more than $400,000, which has helped protect properties and start a hawk watch program in northern Delaware, as well as a science education grant for researchers. A celebration of life for Stewart will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Friday at the Delaware Nature Society’s Ashland Nature Center in Hockessin.

District of Columbia

Washington: A landlord in the district is being forced to pay $1.1 million in rent payments to former residents who homes were plagued by pests, mold and raw sewage and violated housing and fire codes. The Washington Post reports D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine announced Wednesday that Sanford Capital LLC will pay the settlement to 155 former residents “forced to live in squalor.” Racine’s office had sued the Bethesda, Maryland-based company for violating consumer protection laws. For years, tenants struggled with unsanitary and poor conditions that left many without heat in winter months. Prosecutors said some residents also lacked working toilets, stoves or refrigerators. They say Sanford refused to fix some broken locks and didn’t maintain fire extinguishers, a move made even more dangerous by missing or broken smoke detectors.

Florida

Orlando: It’s light and bright in all the merriest of ways at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom this holiday season. For the first time since the park opened in 1998, there’ll be holiday-themed entertainment and decor throughout the 500-acre park, with twinklers lining rooftops and other new seasonal touches at the park, now Central Florida’s second most popular theme park, behind Magic Kingdom. At DinoLand, Donald’s Dino-Bash, the dance party is complemented by holiday decorations chosen by Donald Duck’s pals, with all kinds of holiday merch available for sale at the gift shop. Diwali, India’s festival of lights, is celebrated over in Asia, while in Africa, African celebrations blend with Western traditions, making a stroll through Harame for food and shopping a colorful mix of tastes and treats.

Georgia

Atlanta: A nonpartisan organization has placed a national debt clock downtown ahead of a Democratic presidential debate coming to the city. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports New York-based Peter G. Peterson Foundation placed the billboard on Ted Turner Drive between Walton and Marietta streets, near Centennial Olympic Park. The clock displays the nation’s nearly $23 trillion debt and pegs each American’s share of the number at about $68,000. CEO Michael A. Peterson says the debt issue affects everyone, not just lawmakers. He says he hopes the billboard sparks conversation on the enormous debt and ways to manage it. The foundation says the clock will remain in the city indefinitely. The Democratic debate will be Wednesday at Tyler Perry Studios in southwest Atlanta.

Hawaii

Honolulu: A man was surfing with his girlfriend when – instead of hanging 10 – he knelt down on one knee on his board and proposed. Hawaii News Now reports Lauren Oiye said yes just before Chris Garth dropped the ring in the ocean. Multiple photographers nearby captured the Sunday moment. Luckily, he had a spare. Garth said he knew it could go wrong, so he used a stand-in while they were out in the water. The real ring was on shore at Queen’s Beach in Waikiki, where the two met years before.

Idaho

Rexburg: Brigham Young University-Idaho has stopped accepting Medicaid as health insurance coverage, forcing full-time students to buy a university-backed plan. University officials say health plans could be purchased for at least $81 a month for single students and up to $678 a month for a family. Officials say a student form used to opt out of the school health plan was updated this month reflecting the change in policy. Open enrollment for Medicaid expansion began Nov. 1. State health officials say Madison County has the highest concentration of potential Medicaid expansion enrollees in the state. Students say a reason for the change has not been disclosed. Some students argue the plan is expensive and has limited coverage. The university declined multiple requests for comment.

Illinois

Springfield: A copy of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address that was handwritten by the 16th president himself is going on display at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum for two weeks. In a news release, the museum says it will display the copy – one of only five surviving copies written by Lincoln – from Thursday through Dec. 2. The display coincides with the anniversary of Lincoln’s delivery of the brief speech Nov. 19, 1863, at the height of the Civil War. The document that stays in a climate-controlled space most of the time to protect it from light and humidity will be housed in the museum’s Treasures Gallery. The address that begins famously with the words: “Four score and seven years ago ” is handwritten on plain white paper.

Indiana

Indianapolis: Gov. Eric Holcomb isn’t promising any quick action on the call for further boosting teacher pay that thousands of educators will be making at the Statehouse next week. Teacher unions say at least 107 school districts with more than 40% of Indiana’s students will be closed Tuesday while their teachers attend the rally. Holcomb didn’t criticize school districts for closing the day of the union-organized rally, saying it was a local decision. The Republican governor said Thursday that he applauds teachers for expressing their concerns, but he’s waiting for a teacher pay commission he appointed to make recommendations by the end of next year. The rally dubbed “Red for Ed Action Day” will happen on the day legislators are gathering for organization meetings ahead of their 2020 session.

Iowa

The Slaughterhouse in Des Moines is moving to a new location, the old Bank of America building, but won't be fully settled until next fall.

Des Moines: The Slaughterhouse has a new home downtown. The haunted attraction, which has become a staple in Iowa, has begun moving to the old Bank of America building. To break in the new digs, set to open fully next September, Slaughterhouse will host a Krampus Krawl. The event will begin Dec. 7 with an all-age photo op before the crawl to four Full Court Press establishments. Krampus is a horned, anthropomorphic figure described as “half-goat, half-demon” in Austro-Bavarian Alpine folklore. During the Christmas season, Krampus punishes children who have misbehaved, as opposed to Santa Claus or Saint Nicholas, who rewards well-behaved children with gifts. Tickets are available online. General admission tickets include a Glow Stein for one free pour at each of the four Full Court Press stops.

Kansas

Wichita: The City Council has approved a public financing package worth about $35.5 million to subsidize the creation of a medical school. The Wichita Eagle reports the package approved Tuesday will help create a campus for training osteopathic physicians. Called the Kansas Health Science Center, the new school will be built in the former Finney State Office Building. Once the center of state government in Wichita, the building was abandoned in favor of leasing privately owned office space across the city. Plans also call for three other buildings to be transformed – one into student housing, another into a dining hall and culinary center, and the third into a boutique hotel. The bulk of the money for the development will come from tax abatements.

Kentucky

Frankfort: A federal court is allowing a man to personalize a license plate with the phrase “IM GOD” after a three-year legal battle over the custom engraving. Court documents show Ben Hart, a self-identified atheist, set out to get the Kentucky plate in 2016. But Hart’s request was denied by the state transportation department on the basis it violated antidiscrimination guidelines. News outlets report similar plates had been approved before, including “TRYGOD” and “NOGOD.” Kentucky’s American Civil Liberties Union and the Freedom From Religion Foundation got involved to help Hart challenge the decision. In an opinion Wednesday by a U.S. District Court in Frankfort, the judge ruled that “vanity plates” are private speech protected by the First Amendment and that the state had violated Hart’s rights by denying him the plate.

Louisiana

Baton Rouge: A legislative auditor says 18 cities, towns and villages may be close to reaching bankruptcy or may have the inability to provide basic services to residents in the future based on the municipalities’ most recent financial information. The Monroe News Star reports Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera compiled a list of “fiscally distressed municipalities” and added it the auditor’s website. The municipalities range from small villages like Epps in northeastern Louisiana to larger towns like Winnsboro in central Louisiana. Purpera says the list is a way to alert the public and officials of the problems so they can be easily addressed. The list includes concerns for each municipality, including incomplete or inaccurate financial information, insufficient utility rates, debt and rural water infrastructure problems.

Maine

Harpswell: The town wants the Navy to protect the clam flats as part of its remediation plan for the former Brunswick Naval Air Station. The Harpswell Conservation Commission has argued the stormwater system that brings water from ponds at the former Navy base to Mare Brook and Harpswell Cove should be extended. The commission told the environmental coordinator for the closure process that the Navy has an obligation to investigate the impact of the stormwater system. The Times Record reports that an investigation of the pond system had found several heavy metals including lead, arsenic and cadmium that could potentially reach nearby clam flats. Paul Plummer, Harpswell’s harbormaster, says the Harpswell side of the Harpswell Cove alone holds $100,000 worth of shellfish.

Maryland

Baltimore: The city has reached 300 homicides in a year for the fifth year in a row. Detective Donny Moses told WBAL-AM the total reached 300 Thursday morning with the shooting deaths of a man and a woman. The Baltimore Sun reports the city is on track to see one of its most violent years on record. The city recorded 309 homicides last year and 342 the year before. Democratic Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young addressed the homicide rate at a news conference Wednesday. He said the city is working to reduce the crime rate, and leaders aren’t to blame. Young took over as mayor this spring after Democrat Catherine Pugh resigned amid investigations into her business dealings. He’s running for reelection in 2020 against a dozen challengers, some of whom criticized his comments Wednesday.

Massachusetts

This iconic candy bar that many fans thought was gone forever when the New England Confectionary Co. closed its doors last year is coming back, produced and sold out of Duck Soup in Sudbury, Mass.

Sudbury: The Sky Bar, the multiflavored chocolate bar divided into four sections, is back on the market after a yearlong hiatus. The Boston Globe reports that production of the confection has resumed at a suburban gourmet shop less than a year after the owner bought rights to the brand in an online auction. The Sky Bar made its debut in 1938 but was discontinued last year when the New England Confectionery Co., also known as Necco, went out of business. Louise Mawhinney, owner of Duck Soup in Sudbury, bought the rights to the Sky Bar in January. The candy bar, divided into caramel, vanilla, peanut and fudge sections, is available in the store and online for $1.98. After the holidays, Mawhinney plans to get a wholesale license and ramp up operations.

Michigan

People walk by cells at the Cell Block 7 Prison Museum at the State Prison of Southern Michigan in Jackson, Mich., Saturday, June 28, 2014.

Jackson: A museum at a former southern Michigan prison is closing at the end of December. Cell Block 7 in Jackson allows visitors to step into the cells and walk the corridors of what was once the largest walled institution in the world. The museum’s website invites people to “spend some time on the inside” during a self-guided tour. The museum opened five years ago under an agreement between the state of Michigan and the Ella Sharp Museum, also in Jackson. Ella Sharp director Diane Gutenkauf says the costs are too high. Gutenkauf says some artifacts from the prison museum will be available at the Sharp museum, including oral histories of people who worked there or were inmates. The last day at the prison museum will be Dec. 29.

Minnesota

St. Paul: The battle over the name of a popular Minneapolis lake has landed before the Minnesota Supreme Court. Justices heard arguments Wednesday on whether the state Department of Natural Resources has the authority to change the name of Lake Calhoun to its original Dakota name, Bde Maka Ska. The state Court of Appeals ruled in April that the agency overstepped its authority in January 2018 when it changed the name. It said authority to change the name rested with the Legislature under statutes governing lake and other place names. KARE-TV reports Save Lake Calhoun attorney Erick Kaardal argued the legislature enacted a policy that says lake names that have been used more than 40 years cannot be changed without lawmakers granting additional authority. It could take the court months to make a decision.

Mississippi

Rolling Fork: The state is naming a stretch of land in the south Delta in honor of the two-term governor who is leaving office in January. Officials gathered Wednesday to dedicate the Phil Bryant Wildlife Management Area. The 18,000-acre site in Warren and Issaquena counties is made up of bayous, cypress sloughs and bottomland hardwoods. Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Director Sam Polles says the area is divided into four tracts that will offer different types of hunting, including group hunts in a primitive setting. The department worked with the Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to buy the land in 2018 from Anderson-Tully Company. Republican Bryant said during the dedication ceremony that he looks forward to bringing his grandchildren hunting on the land.

Missouri

Jackson: A rescued puppy is attracting a lot of attention because of his resemblance to a unicorn. The nearly 10-week-old puppy, named Narwhal, has a tail-like appendage growing from his forehead. Narwhal was rescued over the weekend and sent to Mac’s Mission in Jackson, which specializes in fostering animals with special needs. Mac’s Mission founder Rochelle Steffen says Narwhal doesn’t notice the extra tail and is otherwise a happy, healthy puppy. Although it looks like a tail, Narwhal cannot wag it. Steffen says the rescue group has been flooded with requests from people wanting to adopt Narwhal since his picture hit social media. But he’ll remain at Mac’s Mission so his caretakers can be sure the tail doesn’t grow out of proportion to his face and cause him problems.

Montana

Butte: A fish hatchery will be locked at night and begin using security cameras after vandals mutilated several fish. The Montana Standard reports the perpetrators killed about 20 rainbow trout, broke windows and tossed items into water channels at the Ennis National Fish Hatchery. The Madison County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the Oct. 27 vandalism at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service facility about 88 miles southeast of Butte. Sheriff Phil Fortner says a witness saw a yellow ATV near the hatchery, but no suspects have been identified. Hatchery Manager Ron Hopper says the fish were cut with garden hoes, ice choppers or other tools. Hopper says that for the previous 80 years, the hatchery was left unlocked for after-hours visitors.

Nebraska

Lincoln: The state Transportation Department is offering to produce and emplace roadside memorials as a way to keep highways free of roadside safety hazards. The new departmental policy announced Wednesday says each sign will display the name of the person being memorialized and include one of five safety messages: “Please Drive Safely,” “Seat Belts Save Lives,” “Don’t Drink and Drive,” “Don’t Text and Drive” or “Don’t Drive Impaired.” The sign will be placed as near to the accident site as possible. Family members who have placed private memorials alongside state highways are encouraged to contact their local department offices to discuss disposition of the memorials and get information on the state installing new signs. The department’s Jeni Campana says the state-produced signs would be of a familiar design and would pose less of a safety hazard than the irregular appearance of private memorials.

Nevada

A conceptual rendering shows the Boring Co.'s Boring Machine, being used at the Las Vegas Convention Center to dig an underground tunnel starting Friday.

Las Vegas: Elon Musk’s Boring Co. will begin drilling an underground tunnel Friday for the Las Vegas Convention Center’s forthcoming people mover. To officially kick off the tunneling phase of the company’s first commercial project, the boring machine will be turned on 40 feet below ground. The $52.5 million underground people mover will allow convention attendees to travel the expanse of the Las Vegas Convention Center’s 200-acre campus in approximately one minute, according to officials. The transportation system will include three passenger stations that connect the convention center’s 3.2 million-square-foot space with the 1.4 million-square-foot West hall that is now under construction. Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority officials say plans call for the expansion project to be completed by January 2021.

New Hampshire

Durham: After facing criticism over its prior annual holiday celebrations, the town is making some tweaks, planning a “Frost Fest” without a tree-lighting ceremony or grand entrance from Santa. WMUR-TV reports in past years Durham’s held a tree-lighting ceremony. But after some concerns that the event was too focused on Christmas, a working group was formed to make changes, such as not hanging wreaths on light posts. The Frost Fest is billed as a “winter celebration” with a bonfire, cookie decorating, ice sculpting, crafts and activities. Last year, town officials were under fire for denying a menorah to be displayed next to the tree decorated annually at a local park. The officials cited vandalism concerns.

New Jersey

Toms River: The state has drumsticked up a plan to deal with flocks of wild turkeys that are ruffling some feathers in a Jersey Shore neighborhood. And it doesn’t involve them winding up on dinner plates in two weeks. The state Department of Environmental Protection will trap scores of turkeys that have descended on a retirement community in Toms River and relocate them. The move comes as some residents say large flocks of turkeys have invaded the area, pecking at cars – and at some people who venture too close. Others say they give the birds a wide berth and haven’t experienced any problems. Toms River residents who have run a-fowl of the birds include former New York Yankees and Mets baseball player Todd Frazier, whose SUV was covered by turkeys recently.

New Mexico

Santa Fe: Federal and state officials have reached an agreement they say will strengthen their relationship as they work to improve forest conditions in the state. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and U.S. Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen signed the so-called shared stewardship agreement during a gathering Thursday in Santa Fe. The agreement has been a work in progress over years and will address issues such as wildfires, drought and invasive species. Officials say the challenges faced by land managers transcend boundaries and affect people beyond the jurisdiction of any single organization, so they have to find new ways of working together and doing business at a greater pace and scale. Under the agreement, the state and national forests plan to evaluate opportunities, threats and alternatives for risk management.

New York

New York: Until recently, New York City police secretly kept fingerprints of children arrested as juveniles on file permanently in a department database. It’s an illegal practice that raised alarms about the lengths the nation’s largest police force has taken to keep tabs on the city’s youth. The Legal Aid Society uncovered the years­long practice. The public defender organization pressured the police department to acknowledge it and threatened legal action to make it stop, citing a state law barring local police from stockpiling juveniles’ fingerprints. Now, after years of wrangling and resistance, the NYPD said Wednesday that it has purged all juvenile fingerprints records from the database and will no longer keep them indefinitely. The Legal Aid Society said the database contained the fingerprints of tens of thousands of New York City youths.

North Carolina

Durham: An opossum has illegally taken up residence in the ceiling of a Duke University dorm, where students have been complaining about being bitten by fleas. The school’s assistant vice president of student affairs, Joe Gonzalez, told reporters Wednesday that the school has yet to catch the elusive opossum about which students first complained in October. He says the creature has escaped custody partly because it appears to be splitting its time between the Few Quad dorm and somewhere else. Reports of fleas also began to surface last month, prompting the school to put students up in another dorm while they fumigated the place. Gonzalez says the opossum may have brought the fleas, but that’s unconfirmed. Irritated students are questioning why they’re dealing with such conditions at a $78,608-per-year school.

North Dakota

Bismarck: State officials have given an estimate on how much oil was spilled from a pipeline leak in Williams County last month. The North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality says an estimated 12,432 gallons of oil leaked from a pipeline operated by Hiland Crude about a mile northeast of McGregor on Oct. 17. The department says the oil leaked onto cropland. Department staff have inspected the site and say they will continue to monitor remediation.

Ohio

Dayton: A traveling exhibit celebrating the service and heroism of military working dogs and the sacrifices they make during battle is being displayed at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. The exhibit titled “Canine Warriors – Courage and Sacrifice, Always Beside You” features wooden sculptures of eight Wounded Warrior Dogs and four Canine War Dogs and is now on display at the museum in Dayton. Ohio craftsman James Mellick designed the exhibit to be symbolic of the wounds suffered by military dogs in battle and to raise awareness of their needs. The exhibit also features art depicting working military dogs from the Air Force Art Program. It will remain at the museum through Jan. 31.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma City: District attorneys are raising concerns about a proposed new ballot measure aimed at further reducing the state’s prison population. In a statement late Tuesday, Oklahoma District Attorneys Association President Jason Hicks says one problem is that crimes like child trafficking, aggravated assault and battery, and domestic abuse aren’t technically violent crimes under state law. The proposed state question filed Tuesday would prohibit prosecutors from using previous nonviolent felony convictions to enhance prison sentences. Hicks says state prosecutors are still examining the proposal, but there are already elements that would be “detrimental, if not catastrophic, for public safety.” District Attorney Angela Marsee says ignoring past convictions of repeat offenders is “detrimental to our mission.”

Oregon

Dungeness crab wait for packing and shipping at Hallmark Fisheries in Charleston, Ore., in 2011.

Medford: Traditional Christmas feasts featuring Dungeness crab may not be in the cards this year, as officials have delayed the commercial crabbing season due to the small size of the crustaceans. The Mail Tribune reports the season had been set to start Dec. 1 for Oregon’s most lucrative commercial fishery, but now crabbing has been postponed until at least Dec. 16. It’s the sixth straight year the season has been delayed to allow the crabs a chance to fatten up to meet industry standards. Dungeness crabs off the coasts of Washington and California also have low meat levels in their shells, prompting similar delays in those states. Tests planned for late November or early December will determine whether commercial crabbers can start plying the Pacific beginning Dec. 16.

Pennsylvania

A sign is posted at a construction site on the Mariner East pipeline in a residential neighborhood in Exton, Pa.

Harrisburg: The FBI has begun a corruption investigation into how Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration came to issue permits for construction on a multibillion-dollar pipeline project to carry highly volatile natural gas liquids across the state. FBI agents have interviewed current or former state employees in recent weeks about the Mariner East project and the construction permits, according to three people who have direct knowledge of the agents’ line of questioning. All three spoke on condition of anonymity. The focus of the agents’ questions involves the permitting of the pipeline, whether Wolf and his administration forced environmental protection staff to approve construction permits, and whether Wolf or his administration received anything in return, those people say.

Rhode Island

Providence: A federal judge has sided with the cities of Providence and Central Falls after they challenged the conditions of U.S. Department of Justice public safety grants they said in a lawsuit would turn local police into federal immigration agents. District Court Judge John McConnell Jr. said in a ruling Thursday that “Congress has not granted the power to impose the conditions the DOJ imposed.” The federal government, among other things, wanted cities receiving public safety grants to notify federal agents when immigrants in the country illegally are about to be released. Attorneys for the cities said in a statement that they are pleased the court “found DOJ’s attempts requiring our police departments to be agents of a federal immigration system to be unlawful.”

South Carolina

Angel Shot posters are displayed in all women's restrooms in downtown Clemson, S.C., bars and restaurants. If a customer feels unsafe, they can order an "Angel Shot," and the bar's staff will get them home safely.

Clemson: Bars throughout downtown in this college town are now signed on to the Angel Shot program, offering patrons a way to request help when they don’t feel safe. The simple order – “one Angel Shot, please” – is meant to be a simple solution to combat sexual violence and assault in the university’s entertainment district. An “Angel Shot” is not an actual drink. It is a code word that signals to a bartender or barback that a customer feels unsafe, typically from a potential perpetrator of sexual violence. From there, the bar’s staff will find that customer safe passage out of the bar and home. The Angel Shot program was implemented in every bar downtown this fall semester by Clemson University Student Government, which partnered with Pickens County Advocacy Center, Clemson City Police Department and Clemson’s Healthy Campus for the initiative.

South Dakota

Sioux Falls: A man sentenced to 90 years in prison for killing his stepfather has petitioned the court in Minnehaha County to change his name because he wants a fresh start. Thirty-five-year-old Daniel Charles was 14 when he was sent to prison in 2000 for first-degree murder in Meade County. He was accused of putting a rifle to his stepfather’s head and pulling the trigger at a ranch near Opal. He told law enforcement at the time that he didn’t know the gun was loaded. Charles’ petition says he wants to change his name to Rameus Tiberius Aryada to start a new life with an adult identity. The South Dakota Department of Corrections lists Charles’ earliest parole eligibility as March 2045.

Tennessee

Nashville: The Tennessee State Museum is collecting stories of cultural identity, immigration and migration from the public. The project called Your Story, Our Story uses everyday objects as an entry point for these personal stories. Members of the public can add their own stories and read the stories of others on the Tennessee State Museum’s website. Because the museum is currently showcasing an exhibit on Tennessee food, it is especially encouraging visitors to add images and stories of recipes, cookware, dinnerware and ingredients that carry meaning in their families. Your Story, Our Story is an initiative of the Tenement Museum in New York City and partners across the U.S. that include museums, colleges, schools, libraries and community groups.

Texas

Nueces Judge Barbara Canales walks with children Wednesday through the StoryWalk at Oscar O. Ortiz Park in Robstown, Texas. Canales read the story "We're Going on a Bear Hunt" by Michael Rosen while walking with kids.

Robstown: With help from Nueces County Public Libraries, county Judge Barbara Canales led local students on a “bear hunt” at Oscar O. Ortiz Park on Wednesday evening. Despite the biting cold, Canales gamely led the students down a path to read from “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” by Michael Rosen. The county unveiled StoryWalk, a new feature at the park in which pages of picture books are displayed in wooden stands along paths so residents can read while they walk. It’s an effort to promote literacy and physical activity, and the county plans to implement StoryWalk at more parks. Canales and the kids read aloud together as the characters braved tall grass, a deep river, a forest and mud along their search for a bear. Canales called out to the students to stomp in big strides, run and tip-toe like the characters to bring the story to life.

Utah

Salt Lake City: Former Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. on Thursday announced his 2020 candidacy for the Republican nomination for the office that he held from 2005 to 2009 before leaving to serve as a U.S. ambassador. Huntsman announced his candidacy in a statement before a scheduled kickoff swing Thursday and Friday to Cedar City and St. George in southern Utah. Incumbent Republican Gov. Gary Herbert is not running for reelection, and Huntsman has said he was considering a run for governor. Huntsman served as U.S. ambassador to China in the Obama administration and as U.S. ambassador to Russia in the Trump administration. Other Republicans in the 2020 race include Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, Utah County businessman Jeff Burningham and Salt Lake County Councilwoman Aimee Winder Newton.

Vermont

Montpelier: Five groups are sharing more than $1 million to use phosphorus recovery technologies as the state works to reduce algae-causing phosphorus runoff into Lake Champlain and other waterways. It’s part of the Vermont Phosphorus Innovation Challenge announced last year to generate creative solutions to the phosphorus pollution in the state. Officials estimate about 38% of the phosphorus load in the lake comes from agricultural land. Gov. Phil Scott said Thursday that the state received 21 applicants for the funds. The finalists include Agrilab Technologies of Enosburg Falls. The governor’s office says the group will use existing phosphorus recovery technologies, composting and drying equipment to create a series of sites for phosphorus processing in Franklin, Addison, Lamoille and Caledonia counties.

Virginia

Richmond: A task force has been created to come up with ways to help mitigate and prevent evictions in the city. The group will include affordable housing and social justice advocates, youth and family homelessness specialists, public housing residents and property management professionals. Mayor Levar Stoney said in a news release that the group will work with the city’s Eviction Diversion Program, which began last month to provide rental assistance, free legal help, financial counseling and supportive service referrals to residents who are facing eviction. Stoney said the task force will explore steps the city can take to better understand the root causes of evictions. A research group at Princeton University found that Richmond and four other Virginia cities have some of the highest eviction rates in the country.

Washington

Seattle: A weeklong hearing will help determine whether a small American Indian tribe from the northwest corner of Washington state can once again hunt whales. The Makah Tribe conducted its last legal hunt in 1999, when its crew harpooned a gray whale from a cedar canoe. A U.S. appeals court later revoked permission for the hunts, saying the tribe needed to obtain a waiver under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The tribe has been trying to obtain the waiver since 2005, a process that has been repeatedly stalled by scientific reviews. The hearing beginning Thursday will focus on whether the tribe meets the requirements for the waiver. Animal rights groups oppose the effort. Whatever the outcome, the matter is likely to end up in federal court.

West Virginia

Charleston: The West Virginia Board of Education will give the public 60 days to comment on a proposal on charter schools, double the normal allotted time. The board put the policy proposal up for comment Thursday. Legislation signed by Gov. Jim Justice authorizes a staggered implementation of public charter schools, limiting the state to three charters until 2023, then three more every three years after that. The legislation was part of a broader education bill that included teacher pay raises. The West Virginia Education Association and the West Virginia chapter of the American Federation of Teachers have lambasted the bill, saying it shut out teachers’ voices and violates the state Constitution.

Wisconsin

Madison: Gov. Tony Evers is asking the Republican leaders of the Legislature’s budget committee to release $3.7 million a year in funding to pay for programs designed to help homeless people. Evers sent a letter Thursday to the committee cochairs, urging them to make available the funding that has been pending for four months. Evers is seeking action now before winter sets in. He says with cold temperatures and snow across the state already, “my concern has only grown.” The funding would go toward such things as grants to help low-income people with housing costs, help fund emergency shelters and pay for support to help homeless people get into permanent housing. The Assembly passed bills to approve the funding, but they’ve stalled in the Senate.

Wyoming

Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel in Mammoth, Wyo., on a snowy day.

Yellowstone National Park: The National Park Service says snowy weather last month likely cut down on visitors to Yellowstone during October. The agency recorded just over 170,000 visitors during the month, a 22% decrease from October 2018. So far in 2019, the park has hosted over 3.9 million visitors, which is down 2.5% from the same period last year. Yellowstone is entering its winter season, when visits to the park are typically the lowest of the year.

From USA TODAY Network and wire reports

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Surfboard proposal, Duke dorm opossum: News from around our 50 states