Pooch hit by car goes for ride, manatee rescued, unusual toilet paper roller: News from around our 50 states

From USA TODAY Network and wire reports

Published 2: 29 AM EDT Nov 1, 2019


Selma: Selma University is holding an event Saturday to raise money that’s needed to pay off a more than $785,000 debt to the federal government. The school is trying to raise $2 million total. Any proceeds will also go to improve the campus, restore the school’s athletics program and establish an endowment fund. President Alvin Cleveland said the private school wasn’t recertified for the Federal Student Financial Assistance Program because of inadequate paperwork and incomplete files, so it’s being required to pay back financial aid. Selma University is affiliated with the Alabama State Missionary Baptist Convention. Another small, church-affiliated school in Selma, Concordia College, closed last year amid declining enrollment and financial problems.


Fairbanks: An accidental release of a smelly nontoxic chemical commonly added to propane and natural gas to give them a fragrance that can be detected caused multiple people to report a gas leak in downtown Fairbanks. The city said there was no gas leak or fire hazard. The owner of C&R Pipe and Steel Inc., Dennis Wilfer, said the chemical was mixed with water inside an unmarked cylinder that had been dropped off at his business for recycling. As workers sorted the metal, mercaptan leaked out, releasing a foul odor that moved north into downtown Fairbanks. City officials said the Fairbanks Fire Department responded to reports of a possible gas leak. The city confirms there was no gas leak or fire hazard.


Phoenix: The Arizona Republic reported that the new downtown nightclub Track Club has closed less than a month after opening, according to a statement posted to its Facebook page on Wednesday afternoon. The post notified fans of the immediate closure and included instructions for what to do if you bought tickets for an upcoming show at the venue. Track Club was a collaboration between Phoenix developer Charles “Chuckie” Duff, Relentless Beats music promoter Thomas Turner and Rattle and Rum cocktail master Damon Scott. Duff, known for his adaptive reuse projects around Phoenix, oversaw the development and remodeling of DeSoto Central Market, transforming the space into a music venue complete with a full stage and multiple bars. Turner took the reigns for the music, scheduling EDM DJs to perform at the new nightclub. Scott designed cocktails for inside the music venue and more complex craft drinks for the outer bar area. The partners did not respond to request for comment before publication.


Mountain Home: The city will continue to levy 2.0 mills on real estate and personal property, the City Council decided Monday night. Council members on Oct. 17 voted to keep the city’s general millage at 2.0 mills for next year, but then later that meeting expressed an interest in revisiting the topic. The city’s millage rate was one of three topics scheduled to be discussed at Monday night’s meeting. All cities in Baxter County – and most in the state of Arkansas – levy a millage against real estate and personal property. That millage is collected by the county tax collector’s office when residents pay their property taxes and goes toward that city’s General Fund for various city expenses. During Monday night’s meeting, council member Jennifer Baker made the motion to raise the millage. The city is struggling with how to pay for a 23% increase in its health insurance premium. The city will need an additional $400,000 in 2020 to cover the rise in its health insurance.


Lake Elsinore: A small earthquake rattled the Lake Elsinore area on Thursday, the U.S. Geological Survey said. The quake struck at 2: 44 a.m. with a magnitude of 3.0 at a depth of 5.6 miles. Its epicenter was 6.5 miles west-northwest of Lake Elsinore and about 7 miles northwest of Lakeland Village, according to data from the USGS.


Denver: Most school districts in the Denver and Colorado Springs area canceled classes Wednesday, a day after many of them sent home students early because of snow. The weather shut down a stretch of Interstate 70 east of Denver International Airport but it reopened early Wednesday. The snowy weather has been accompanied by cold temperatures. Denver broke a record for the lowest maximum temperature for Tuesday by reaching 18 degrees.


Stonington: A New England aquarium beloved for its beluga whales is hoping to get five more of the marine mammals as part of a research project. Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut is home to the largest outdoor beluga whale habitat in the country. Three of the whales live in the habitat. The aquarium said it’s awaiting approval from the federal government for the transfer of five belugas that were born at a facility in Canada. Stephen Coan, president of Sea Research Foundation, said the whales would become part of a research program designed to increase general knowledge about the species and inform conservation efforts. The foundation operates the aquarium. Belugas are white whales that can weigh up to 3,500 pounds. Some of their populations are considered endangered.


Slaughter Beach: Officials said three homes near the coast were heavily damaged in an accidental fire. News outlets reported the State Fire Marshal’s Office said an outdoor generator sparked the flames that burned the houses Wednesday afternoon in Slaughter Beach. Delaware Assistant State Fire Marshal Michael Chionchio said the damage is estimated at $800,000. No injuries were reported. The town doesn’t have fire hydrants. Mayor Harry Ward said 11 fire companies responded to help douse the flames. The fire happened on the same street where flames erupted on Christmas night in 2017 and destroyed at least two homes.

District of Columbia

Washington: The U.S. Air Force sent a letter to Balfour-Beatty Communities, one of the private companies that manage military housing, to demand an improvement plan, WUSA-TV reported. The letter follows up on issues WUSA-TV has been reporting on for months. Military families told the station they have been living with mold, lead paint and maintenance issues, which create safety concerns. The Air Force is requiring Balfour-Beatty to submit a comprehensive improvement plan by the end of the year. The letter goes on to detail the consequences if the Air Force does not see “prompt and substantial improvement.” WUSA-TV contacted a spokesperson for Balfour-Beatty Communities, which has its headquarters in Philadelphia, who said, “The company is redoubling its efforts to address the issues raised in the letter. We are committed to ensuring that the housing we provide to all of our residents is of a high standard. We are taking a number of steps to address maintenance concerns, including hiring specialists to provide additional oversight, training our people on best customer service practices, and hiring more maintenance and quality control experts. Balfour Beatty Communities is working directly with Air Force representatives to ensure their expectations are met.”


Tampa: A Bengal tiger has died at Busch Gardens after getting into an “atypical altercation” with its brother. The park announced Bala’s death in a statement Tuesday. Officials said a necropsy was being completed. Siblings Bala and Bhutan had lived in the park since 2007. Park spokeswoman Rebecca Romzek said Bhutan isn’t being treated for injuries, but they are closely checking him. The Tampa Bay Times reported eight tigers live at Busch Gardens and they rotate on and off in the park’s Jungala habitat where visitors can see them. Bala was known as the “redhead” of the park’s tigers. She had a strawberry white/blonde coloration, which is caused by a gene mutation that makes the tiger’s striping paler than usual.


Savannah: Wildlife officials used a bulldozer to help rescue a manatee that got stuck in sand near Savannah. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources said the manatee was navigating a manmade shortcut between rivers near Savannah on Oct. 1 when it got stranded at low tide. That’s because the cut is being filled by the Army Corps of Engineers to create wetlands. The state agency posted a video online that showed wildlife workers keeping the manatee wet until a bulldozer plowed a trench that allowed river water to reach the animal. Workers then rolled the manatee onto a stretcher and guided it to deeper water. Manatees are protected as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. They pass through Georgia waters on their way to Florida for the winter.


Hilo: Federal geologists are examining samples of water from a growing pond in a Hawaii volcano’s crater. Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory used a drone to collect water samples from a growing lake in Kilauea volcano’s crater, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Wednesday. They will test the water’s chemistry to find out more about its origin and how much it is interacting with volcanic gases that come from deep magma. Geologists confirmed the presence of the water in the bottom of Halemaumau crater this summer. It is the first time in recorded history that water has appeared in the crater. Kilauea had a major eruption last year that caused the collapse of the crater to below the water table. Patricia Nadeau, a research geologist with HVO, said there has always been groundwater near the Kilauea summit but it had never reached the surface. Besides confirming that the water is not rain pooling in the crater, its composition can also tell researchers more about what’s happening deep underground where the volcano’s magma is.


Boise: A federal lawsuit challenging Idaho’s ballot initiative process as unconstitutional because it requires signatures from multiple legislative districts has been dismissed. Chief U.S. District Court Judge David C. Nye ruled Tuesday that Ryan Isbelle lacked standing to bring the lawsuit but didn’t rule on the merits of the case. Nye said Isbelle lacked standing because he hadn’t tried to get an initiative on the ballot. Nye didn’t rule on Isbelle’s claim that Idaho’s initiative rules violate the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause. Isbelle argued that an Idaho law passed in 2013 requiring signatures from 6% of registered voters in 18 legislative districts was unconstitutional. Before 2013, ballot initiatives required signatures from 6% of statewide registered voters. Isbelle argued the change unconstitutionally gave more weight to signatures in some districts.


Chicago: It was a real dog of a ceremony this week during a swearing-in at the state’s attorney’s office in Chicago. The newly sworn-in worker is a Labrador retriever named Hatty. The 2-year-old will ease the strain of criminal proceedings on young children and those with mental-health issues who have been victims of assault. She will handle up to 200 cases annually. Hatty is the office’s first emotional-support dog and was trained partly by inmates. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx presided over Tuesday’s swearing-in. Hatty stood on her hind legs over a table and placed her paw across a law book as an oath was administered.

See also  Auburn Tigers land 4-star PF JT Thor, while pursuit of two 5-star prospects heats up


Indianapolis: State officials are suspending work requirements for low-income residents who receive their health insurance through Medicaid while a federal lawsuit challenging the plan is sorted out. The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration said it won’t be enforcing rules that require those not qualifying for exemptions to report 20 hours a month of work or related activity or face coverage loss after Dec. 31. The move comes after a lawsuit was filed in September against Indiana’s plan. Federal courts have blocked the Trump administration from allowing similar work requirements for Arkansas and Kentucky. Attorneys for Medicaid recipients said Congress intended medical care as the Medicaid program’s goal, and the Trump administration failed to account for potential coverage losses for thousands of people from work requirements.


Ames: Some Iowa State students are pressuring the university administration to take action against people who have scrawled anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi slogans on campus. Dozens of protesters gathered Wednesday afternoon at university President Wendy Wintersteen’s office to push their goal of a zero-tolerance university policy toward racism and anti-Semitism. Protest organizers said “Heil Hitler,” “no trans rights” and anti-Semitic slogans were written in chalk at various places on the campus last week. The Des Moines Register reported that posters and stickers advocating white nationalist viewpoints have been found on campus since 2016. Wintersteen spoke to a couple of the protest organizers and later emailed a statement that said she was proud of the students “for standing up against bigotry and racism.”


Topeka: Topeka Zoo officials said a 30-year-old Malayan sun bear was euthanized after suffering from several age-related medical conditions. The female bear, called Cup Cake, was euthanized Monday. She and a bear called Ho Ho came to the zoo in 2017 after their exhibit at a previous zoo was closed for construction. Zoo Director Brendan Wiley said both bears were elderly when they arrived in Topeka and zoo officials anticipated they would not live long. He said they were kept in an area with keepers who specialized in working with geriatric animals. Cup Cake began limping on Saturday and her hind legs were useless by Sunday. The Topeka Capital-Journal reported the decision was made to euthanize Cup Cake when she developed head tremors Monday morning.


Frankfort: The Kentucky Distillers’ Association said distilleries filled more than 2.1 million barrels of bourbon in 2018. The state’s inventory of aging spirits reached 9.1 million barrels, mostly bourbon. The group said both figures are modern-era records. It’s the highest inventory in the 52 years that records have been kept. It’s also the only time since 1967 that Kentucky distillers filled more than 2 million barrels. The association said the figures came from Kentucky Department of Revenue data. Despite the continuing surge, the group said trade disputes and tariffs pose an industry threat. The association said Kentucky bourbon exports to European Union countries – the industry’s largest market – have plummeted through August, compared to the same time last year.


New Orleans: A Louisiana appeals court has overruled a judge who said prosecutors could not use the word “rape” during a man’s rape trial. In a ruling filed Wednesday, Judge Ben Willard in New Orleans granted a defense request to bar prosecutors and prosecution witnesses from using the word rape in an ongoing trial. Prosecutors appealed, noting the defendant faces multiple charges, including first-degree rape. A three-judge panel of Louisiana’s 4th Circuit Court of Appeal agreed that Willard was wrong to ban the use of the word rape by prosecutors. It’s unknown why attorneys with the New Orleans Public Defenders office made the request. The office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Willard did not spell out his reasoning in a filing with the appellate court.


Arundel: A report from the Maine Center for Disease Control found PFAS chemical contamination in nearly half the public water supplies tested. The agency had 19 water supplies tested because of their proximity to potential sources of PFAS contamination, such as airports, landfills and paper mills. PFAS chemicals, which are sometimes described as “forever chemicals,” were found in nine of the water supplies. Maine CDC provided its report on Tuesday to a PFAS task force organized by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills. PFAS chemicals were found in towns including Arundel, Georgetown and Topsham. Maine CDC’s summary of the findings said a high percentage of water systems declined to take part. A Maine CDC spokesperson said the data is evidence for mandatory monitoring for the chemicals in community water systems.


Frederick: A community service agency has come to the rescue of a deaf Maryland woman who faced a nearly $5,000 water bill because she couldn’t hear her toilet running. The Frederick News-Post reported the Frederick Community Action Agency stepped in Tuesday to help cover Denise Sansonese’s bill. Agency Assistant Director of Community Services Brad Peterson said it wants the city to reduce the bill by any amount and will do what’s necessary to take the balance down to zero if that doesn’t happen. Blake Sansonese said his mother went to the city to address the bill but was told there wasn’t an interpreter available to help her. Denise Sansonese said she never saw a letter city left on her door about the bill.


Springfield: An MGM dealer said the casino has been paying him less than minimum wage and shorting overtime pay. Shawn Connors, of Uncasville, Connecticut, filed a complaint Monday in U.S. District Court for Massachusetts, alleging that he is entitled to more than the wage MGM Springfield has been paying. The Boston Globe reported Connors began working at the casino last summer, shortly before it opened. Connors said he should be paid more than the approximately $5 per hour rate he has been paid because he also receives tips. He added MGM never notified him that he would earn such a low basic wage, as is required by law. The lawsuit also claimed the casino underpaid tipped employees who worked overtime. An MGM spokesman said they have received the filing and will “respond accordingly.”


Traverse City: State environmental regulators are promising faster reviews of applications to protect homes or structures threatened by rising Great Lakes levels. The Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy said Wednesday it will expedite permits for actions such as placing rocks or building seawalls to prevent erosion. Director Liesl Clark said permit consideration requires a balance between protecting property and safeguarding environmental features such as dunes, shorelines and bluffs. She said excessive or poorly designed shoreline protection structures can disrupt natural processes and damage neighboring properties. It usually takes 60 to 90 days to process shoreline permits. EGLE said it will act much faster where homes or infrastructure are at risk. The number of shoreline protection permits granted has risen sharply in recent years. In many cases, permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also are required for placing materials along the water.


Bemidji: A plan to dispose of deer carcasses during Minnesota’s upcoming rifle hunting season is unraveling over a waste hauler’s fears of spreading chronic wasting disease. The state placed special dumpsters in parts of central and southeastern Minnesota where the fatal deer brain disease has been found. The plan was to use the containers to safely dispose of potentially infected deer carcasses. But Waste Management will not accept deer carcasses infected with chronic wasting or that have the potential of being infected. With Minnesota’s rifle season about to start, officials are worried hunters will toss bones onto the land where the disease can spread to other deer. Officials of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources told state lawmakers Tuesday that Waste Management does not want to be held liable if the infectious material that causes chronic wasting spreads into the wild, Minnesota Public Radio News reported. Waste Management spokeswoman Julie Ketchum told the Associated Press that the waste disposal company will handle any deer carcasses already in the dumpsters. But Waste Management is concerned about the prions, a misshaped protein that causes the disease in deer and elk and remains infectious in the environment for years, Ketchum said. The DNR has had difficulty convincing landfills to take potentially infected deer, MPR reported. Chronic wasting is still rare in Minnesota, but its potential spread is a worry for state conservation officials who oversee Minnesota’s $1 billion annual deer-hunting industry.


Gulfport: Construction will begin next year for a veterans’ nursing home near the Gulf Coast. The 100-bed facility will be in the Tradition development north of Gulfport. News outlets reported that the executive director of the Mississippi Veterans Affairs Board, Stacey Pickering, spoke at a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday. He said the state has 189,000 veterans and 26% of them live in the three coastal counties. The closest veterans’ home to the coast is in Collins, about 2 hours away. Pickering said the state Legislature agreed to provide $16 million to go with a federal grant of $29.3 million to build the center.


Kansas City: The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced it has signed a lease for permanent office space at a building in downtown Kansas City for two of its research agencies. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a news release Thursday that signing the lease is an important next step for the agencies’ efficiency, effectiveness and service to customers. The USDA announced plans in June to move roughly 550 employees of the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture by the end of September to the Kansas City area. The announcement of the new office space comes amid charges from a federal employees union that the move has left them critically understaffed, saying it will take years to hire replacements for the highly specialized positions.


Billings: With snow on the ground in Montana, fire agencies from across the state are sending 20 engines and 72 firefighters to California to help battle wildfires there. Gov. Steve Bullock approved sending crews as part of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact. About 18 agencies are sending personnel and equipment for 14-day deployments. Flathead County Fire Services Manager Lincoln Chute and Helena firefighter Owen Koeppen said the work will allow Montana firefighters to gain experience, knowledge and skills they can use at home. Helena Assistant Fire Chief Mike Chambers said six firefighters are going to California and the rest of the department will fill in and maybe work some overtime to cover shifts. Blazes fanned by strong winds are burning in northern and southern California, destroying homes and threatening others, forcing thousands of people to evacuate

See also  BJ Armstrong on '92 Bulls: 'That was the best team I ever played on'


Maxwell: The Nebraska State Patrol said troopers have seized 91 pounds of marijuana found in a sport utility vehicle during a traffic stop on Interstate 80 near Maxwell. The patrol said the stop happened Tuesday night when the driver of the SUV was pulled over on suspicion of having an obscured license plate. During the stop, a police drug dog indicated the presence of drugs in the vehicle, and a search turned up the marijuana, which was concealed in bags in the SUV’s cargo area. The 36-year-old driver and 61-year-old passenger, both from Kansas City, Missouri, were arrested, as was a 34-year-old passenger from Mexico, on suspicion of various drug violations.


Reno: Conservationists are suing the Trump administration to try to block mining exploration in Nevada they said would wipe out the only known population of a desert wildflower. The Center for Biological Diversity filed an emergency petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service earlier this month to list Tiehm’s buckwheat as an endangered species. The new lawsuit accuses the Bureau of Land Management of illegally dividing the mining operations into two separate projects so as to bypass its own regulations requiring a formal environmental review and public comment on any land disturbances larger than 5 acres. BLM lists one of the exploration projects as 4.98 acres and the other as 4.04 acres in the Silver Peak Range in Esmeralda County about 120 miles southeast of Reno, where a lithium and boron mine is planned. Bureau spokesman Rudy Evenson said the agency doesn’t comment on pending litigation. But he said it “takes the protection of this species seriously and is committed to the deliberate process to ensure it is protected.” The delicate wildflower – typically about 2 feet tall with white to cream to yellow blooms – plays an integral role in the desert ecosystem by stabilizing soils and dispersing seeds, the lawsuit said. The estimated 20,000 to 43,000 individual plants that remain are found only in specific soil conditions on 21 acres spread across 3 square miles of Nevada in a narrow elevation band between 5,960 and 6,200 feet, according to the petition filed Oct. 7 seeking protection under the Endangered Species Act.

New Hampshire

Concord: A watchdog report based on a review of child fatalities called on New Hampshire’s child protection agency to address systemic problems, including an outdated filing system, strained relationships with other agencies and internal biases among staff members. The Office of the Child Advocate was created in 2017 as part of a larger effort to reform the state’s Division of Children, Youth and Families. It released a report this week based on a monthslong review of six cases that focused not on the actions of particular individuals, but rather the environment in which they occurred. Child Advocate Moira O’Neill said the goal is to shift from “blame and shame” to system accountability. DCYF officials noted the report raises several long-standing issues that are already are being addressed.

New Jersey

Newark: Transportation Security Administration agents at Newark Liberty Airport uncovered a more decorative than deadly item when they checked a passenger’s carry-on. Agents on Tuesday thought there was a gun in the bag when they put it through the X-ray machine. However, a closer inspection revealed a gun-shaped toilet paper roller. The realistic replica gun was designed to spin paper instead of bullets. Travelers are not permitted to bring real or replica firearms through security checkpoints. TSA said it gave the man the option to place it in a checked bag, hand it off to a companion or surrender it. He decided to give it to the TSA.

New Mexico

Holloman Air Force Base: The Air Force said a pilot successfully ejected from an F-16 before the fighter crashed in southern New Mexico during a training flight. Holloman Air Force Base officials said the F-16 assigned to the 49th Wing at the base crashed Tuesday night about 80 miles southeast of the base. Officials said in a statement that the pilot was taken to a hospital for treatment, but it did not provide information on any injuries to the pilot, whose identity was not released. The statement said a board of officers will investigate the crash and that its cause wasn’t determined immediately.

New York

Rotterdam: A dog hit by a car in upstate New York rode for 45 minutes wedged between the broken bumper and the grille before the driver realized she was carrying an injured passenger. Coco the Shiba inu was being treated for a fractured elbow after being struck Monday morning in Albany. Rotterdam Police Lt. Jeffrey Collins said the driver knew she hit something and noticed the car’s damage but didn’t see the dog at first. She drove about 15 miles to Rotterdam before hearing noises and stopping to recheck her car’s front end. She called 911 after she saw the dog gazing from below the license plate. A Schenectady veterinary clinic worker told WNYT-TV that 16-pound Coco “fit perfectly” in the space behind the bumper and was lucky to be alive.

North Carolina

Raleigh: A gleaming abstract sculpture that’s lit from within will be the centerpiece of a new park honoring the contributions of African Americans to North Carolina that has been in the planning stages for more than a decade. The state Historical Commission approved the new design for Freedom Park on Wednesday. The park will be located on a 1-acre site between the state legislature and the Governor’s Mansion in Raleigh. Inspirational quotes from African Americans from North Carolina will be engraved on walls along walkways that lead to the 48-foot-tall Beacon of Freedom sculpture. Plans for the park began in 2002, and an architect was chosen in 2004. But the Great Recession dampened fundraising, and supporters learned that potential donors found the design’s focus on slavery too depressing, board member Reginald Hodges said Wednesday. The design includes no monuments; the walls carry no quotes from people outside North Carolina. The walls will be made of precast concrete and tinted to resemble the red clay of North Carolina, said architect Michael Stevenson of Perkins and Will. One quote located in a prominent place comes from John H. Wheeler, president of Mechanics & Farmers Bank from 1952 to 1978 and a founder of the Durham Committee on Negro Affairs: “The battle for freedom begins every morning.” A groundbreaking for the park is planned for December. Stevenson estimated that completing it will take about a year.

North Dakota

Bismarck: The state Water Commission has unveiled a new interactive mapping tool that provides information on potential flooding in the state. State risk map coordinator Laura Horner said the map shows where flooding might occur and to what extent it could happen in various scenarios. The Bismarck Tribune reported that the North Dakota Risk Assessment Mapservice was on display Wednesday at the Bismarck Event Center. The tool is intended to help people make informed decisions about flood protection and provide resources to community leaders who want to keep citizens safe. It uses base-level engineering that combines elevation data with advancements in modeling technology. The state partnered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the project.


Springfield: The 178th Wing of the Ohio Air National Guard is set to get its first female commander. Col. Kimberly Fitzgerald is scheduled to assume duties as commander of the 178th Wing from Col. Gregg Hesterman during a ceremony Sunday at the Springfield Air National Guard Base. Fitzgerald is currently the vice commander of the 178th Wing. She has 26 years of service including a total of more than 4,000 flight hours as a KC-135 navigator, a KC-135 pilot, MQ-1 Predator pilot, and MQ-9 Reaper pilot. She transferred to the 178th Wing in 2011 and served as the 162nd Flying Squadron commander and Mission Support Group commander before taking on the role of vice commander. Hesterman will serve as the director of staff for the Ohio National Guard.


Oklahoma City: An Oklahoma judge on Wednesday rejected an attempt by a Democratic state lawmaker and gun safety advocates to block a new law that will allow most people in the state to carry a firearm in public without a background check or training. Oklahoma County District Judge Don Andrews rejected a request by Oklahoma City Democratic Rep. Jason Lowe for a preliminary injunction that would have stopped the “permitless carry” law from taking effect on Friday. Lowe’s attorney, Melanie Rughani, argued that the bill violated the state’s constitutional single-subject rule that requires bills to deal with only one topic. But the judge said Rughani failed to prove that the law taking effect would cause irreparable harm to the plaintiffs. Lowe promised to appeal the judge’s ruling to the Oklahoma Supreme Court. According to the National Rifle Association, at least 14 states have approved some version of permitless carry.


Coos Bay: Wildland firefighters worked to contain blazes across Western Oregon as windy conditions and low humidity gripped the state. KVAL reported strong east winds caused wildfire danger levels to climb, the Coos Forest Protective Association said Wednesday. The agency said southwestern Oregon is experiencing a similar weather pattern as California, where multiple fires have destroyed homes and forced thousands to evacuate. The Coos Forest Protective Association responded to four fires since Sunday, one of which the agency said was power-line related. Firefighters in Lane County have brought two fires that started Tuesday under control. Firefighters also contained a small blaze near Eagle Point on Tuesday. Firefighters continue to work a small fire in Josephine County that started Saturday. Fire crews are also working to control two somewhat larger fires in northwest Oregon east of Molalla and near Detroit. No injuries have been reported and no structures have been reported destroyed.


Harrisburg: A proposal to allow hunting on three Sundays a year in Pennsylvania is on its way to the state Senate for a final vote. The House voted 144-54 on Wednesday for the bill that would also require a landowner’s written permission. The bill would permit Sunday hunting one day during rifle deer season, one during statewide archery deer season and a third day the Game Commission would select. It also would make it easier for wardens to enforce the anti-trespassing law.

See also  FDA accuses Jimmy John's of serving vegetables linked to E. Coli and salmonella outbreaks

Rhode Island

Newport: Public utilities regulators said a natural gas outage that affected more than 7,000 customers during a particularly cold spell last winter was caused by low pressure in a pipeline. The 74-page Division of Public Utilities and Carriers report released Wednesday blamed the low pressure on high demand for gas driven by low temperatures; failure of a power system at a liquefied natural gas storage and vaporization facility in Providence; and a malfunctioning valve at a meter station in Weymouth, Massachusetts. The agency said it will oppose any efforts by National Grid to recover the $25 million in costs related to the outage from ratepayers. Thousands of residents of Newport and Middletown went without gas or heat for nearly a week last January.

South Carolina

Joint Base Charleston: Melania Trump and Karen Pence traveled to South Carolina on Wednesday to get briefings about some of the military’s emergency preparedness and humanitarian efforts in a state where both are often needed because of active hurricane seasons. During a few hours in and around Joint Base Charleston, where several branches of the military have operations, Mrs. Trump and Mrs. Pence were updated by a handful of agencies, whose officials described how they mobilize federal resources before and after natural disasters. That often means natural disasters in South Carolina, where the coast was evacuated earlier this year as Hurricane Dorian swirled in the Atlantic Ocean. Skirting the Carolina coast just after Labor Day, Dorian’s high winds and rain spun off tornadoes that peeled away roofs and flipped recreational vehicles. Earlier, at an elementary school just off the base, Mrs. Trump and Mrs. Pence also met with fifth-grade students participating in the Red Cross Pillowcase Project, which helps children mentally and physically prepare for natural disasters. Mrs. Trump and Mrs. Pence have previously toured military installations together, including North Carolina’s Fort Bragg earlier this year. To close out their South Carolina trip, both women made remarks to several hundred service members and their families on the base, thanking them for serving the country. Mrs. Pence reminded the crowd of the importance of military spouses and families, and Mrs. Trump focused on heralding the strength of the U.S. military.

South Dakota

Sioux Falls: Authorities have been staking out a cornfield in northern Sioux Falls for more than 24 hours, waiting out a loose, recluse moose that has taken shelter in the field near 60th Street North and Marion Road. “He kind of disappeared on us. We think he’s napping,” said Julie DeJong, the animal control supervisor. Animal Control responded to the report around 9: 30 a.m. on Tuesday. Game, Fish and Parks and South Dakota Highway Patrol also are involved in the situation. There were also reports of a moose in Hartford over the weekend, DeJong said, though she didn’t know if this was the same moose. Authorities will continue to monitor the cornfield until the moose comes out, DeJong said. When he does come out, the moose will either wander out of town and authorities will leave it alone or, if it moves closer to Sioux Falls, authorities will try to contain him, sedate him and move him outside of the city. There have been two other instances of a moose on the loose in the Sioux Falls area within recent years. The two were weeks apart in fall 2016 when a female and then a male wandered into Brandon and the Sioux Falls area. October and November are part of the mating season for moose. The moose could have come from northern Minnesota or from North Dakota, DeJong said. For now, the moose is taking its time, likely eating corn in the field, as authorities wait it out, DeJong said.


Nashville: Country star and Grammy winner Marty Stuart will be the celebrity guest on the annual CSX Santa Train, which visits towns in Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia in November to hand out gifts for families. The holiday train, which has run every year since 1942, makes a dozen stops in three states, starting in Shelby, Kentucky, and ending in Kingsport, Tennessee, on Nov. 23. The train delivers food, toys and winter clothing on the 110-mile trip. Stuart, who was recently prominently featured in Ken Burns’ “Country Music” PBS documentary, has released 18 studio albums. Born in Mississippi, Stuart started his career playing bluegrass with legend Lester Flatt and later in Johnny Cash’s band. He’s also a photographer and is planning to open a music museum in Mississippi.


Austin: A woman is accused of spraying blood and urine on security guards and paintings of governors at the state Capitol. According to an affidavit, Amber Lynette Green was arrested Monday after spraying a Texas Department of Public Safety corporal and another employee with “an unknown liquid in a bottle.” Green sprayed the liquid on paintings of governors in the Capitol rotunda before telling the corporal “there was blood and urine in the bottle.” The officer said he could smell urine. The officer tried to arrest Green, but she ran from the Capitol grounds. Department of Public Safety officers arrested her. Green was charged with harassment of a public servant, evading arrest and other counts. She was booked into Travis County Jail. Bail was set at $25,000.


Brigham City: Officials in a Utah community say they have received “more than a few” complaints about a family’s Halloween display that includes a guillotine chopping off the heads of baby dolls. However, the city attorney for Brigham City, Michael Christiansen, said the display isn’t a public nuisance under the city code even though “it’s distasteful to some.” KUTV-TV reported that In addition to the guillotine, the lawn display also includes a bloody nurse standing over a baby incubator containing angry-looking babies and baby parts. Julie Bawden said her family’s annual Halloween displays are just intended “to be spooky and fun.” Neighbor Claudia Perry said she objects to the display, saying it’s too much. In Perry’s words, “how far are they going to go? And where are we going to stop?”


Rutland: Officials said a dam previously deemed a public safety hazard has been demolished. The Dunklee Pond Dam in Rutland came down Wednesday. The Rutland Herald reported that the city and state have been looking at removing the dam since at least 2016. In August, city officials said the structure was one bad rainstorm away from complete failure, which would be compounded by the dam’s massive sediment buildup. Houses downstream were evacuated in early 2017 when erosion from a sudden rainstorm triggered fears it might fail. The Board of Alderman declared it a public safety hazard last year. A no-bid contract for emergency measures was approved last week after a dam retaining wall shifted 3 ½ inches following an Oct. 17 storm.


Virginia Beach: The Virginian-Pilot reported Thursday that a juvenile humpback whale washed up dead on the north end of Virginia Beach. The spot is along the Atlantic Ocean and just south of the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. The whale might have been the same animal that someone spotted floating near the bay’s mouth earlier in the week. Alexander Costidis of the Virginia Aquarium said the whale was “pretty decomposed.” He said the whale was tossed around in the waves so much that there wasn’t much left inside the animal to test for a cause of death. But he said that a ship strike was unlikely. The mammal was 26 feet long and was probably between 1 and 3 years old.


Olympia: The state Supreme Court said in a split decision that the state cannot be held at fault for an accident that caused the Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River to collapse in 2013. A truck carrying an oversized load struck the overhead support beams of the bridge, causing the structure to fall into the water. No one was killed, but three people in two vehicles plunged into the water. The state sued the Canadian trucking company, Mullen Trucking 2005 Ltd. The company countersued, saying the state was partially at fault and should have to pay some of the damages. Mullen Trucking said the state was negligent in issuing a permit for the load and in maintaining the bridge. In a 5-4 decision, the court Thursday pointed to a state law that said vehicle owners or operators must exercise due care in making sure their vehicles can pass under a structure, and that the state can’t be held liable for damages caused by an overheight vehicle. The dissenting justices said the state could not be found liable under that law, but that it still could be at fault if it failed to properly maintain the bridge.

West Virginia

South Charleston: Regulators said a state-record chain pickerel was caught in Preston County. The Division of Natural Resources said in a news release that Matt Born of Reedsville used an in-line spinner to catch the fish Oct. 13 at Upper Deckers Lake. The fish measured a record 27.87 inches, besting the record of 27.75-inches caught by Steven Demma at Tuckahoe Lake in 2001. The chain pickerel is a member of the pike family.


Milwaukee: A large storm system moving through the Midwest delivered some early season snow to much of Wisconsin. As much as 6 inches of snow was expected in the southern part of the state. Forecasters expected lesser amounts elsewhere, including near Lake Michigan. The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory Thursday from northeastern Wisconsin to southern counties. Falling snow slowed the morning commute. In Milwaukee County, the interstate system was slick. Temperatures Thursday night were expected to drop to the 20s.


Moose: Wildlife managers have authorized 375 permits for this year’s elk hunt at Grand Teton National Park, which begins Saturday. They will allow hunting in an area mainly east of U.S. Highway 89 in the southeast part of Grand Teton in western Wyoming. Hunting in two different portions of the hunt area will end on Nov. 25 and Dec. 8. Hunting typically isn’t allowed in national parks but the 1950 law authorizing Grand Teton allows elk hunting in the park. Park officials call the hunt an “elk reduction program” intended to cull animals in the Jackson elk herd. Hunters must abide by several rules that often don’t apply outside the park. They include requirements to carry bear spray and use nonlead ammunition

Read More

Leave a Reply