Montgomery: Scientists are cautioning Alabamians to be on the lookout for yellow jacket super nests. Researchers say milder winters combined with an abundant food supply allow some colonies to survive later in the year and grow to the size of a Volkswagen Beetle. Charles Ray, an entomologist working with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, says the state may see large numbers of the giant nests this year. Two super nests have already been confirmed, a month sooner than when the first nest was spotted in 2006. During that year, the state had 90 of the nests, which can contain more than 15,000 of the stinging insects. Experts say removal of the colonies is a task that should be reserved for licensed commercial pest control operators.
Kenai: A summer baseball squad is being threatened by financial troubles. The Peninsula Clarion reports the Peninsula Oilers summer collegiate baseball team is in jeopardy as it struggles to secure funding. The team has won three National Baseball Congress World Series titles and seen 125 of its top college prospects move to the major leagues after playing at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai, 75 miles southwest of Anchorage. The team is in its 46th consecutive season, but a decline in the Oilers’ major finance sources puts its future in question. The team’s president says the Oilers took in only $55,000 from gambling at its bingo hall and $35,000 from sponsorships in 2018. He says that despite fundraising efforts, the situation “looks bleak right now.”
Kingman: A Mohave County official is calling the overpopulation of burros in the Black Mountain herd management area a crisis. The Kingman Daily Miner reports Chairman Hildy Angius of the Mohave County Board of Supervisors said last week that the conditions of burros is “inhumane,” and many face starvation. Angius said the Black Mountains area can sustain less than 500 burros of 2,000 that call the area home. Officials say the conditions are forcing burros to come down from the mountains to Bullhead City and risk getting hit by cars. Angius said she spoke with Rep. Paul Gosar, a Prescott Republican, and there are congressional hearings promised for this summer and “a large appropriation on the table.”
Mountain Home: The city has approved the state’s first downtown entertainment district where people will be allowed to drink alcohol while wandering around. Mountain Home City Council voted 5-3 on Thursday to open the district July 24. People in the district will be able to walk around the area between 4:30 p.m. and midnight with alcohol in branded plastic cups purchased at restaurants and bars in the district. The cups cannot exceed 16 fluid ounces. It’s still illegal for district patrons to possess an open can, bottle or glass container of alcohol. Also, it’s illegal for entertainment district patrons to drink alcohol inside a parked vehicle. The introduction of the change isn’t expected to cause major problems, police said.
Sacramento: The Legislature voted Monday to tax most people who refuse to buy health insurance, bringing back to the state a key part of former President Barack Obama’s health care law after it was eliminated by Republicans in Congress. The tax now heads to Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, who proposed a similar plan in January. The federal Affordable Care Act required everyone to buy health insurance or pay a penalty. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law, ruling the penalty was a tax. In 2017, Republicans in Congress eliminated the penalty – beginning this year – as part of an overhaul of the federal tax code. The bill passed by Democrats in California would reinstate the tax, effective Jan. 1. No Republicans voted for it. One Democrat in the state Assembly – Rudy Salas Jr. – voted against it.
Rocky Mountain National Park: A high-elevation road that traverses the Rocky Mountains in northern Colorado is closed after a rare summer blizzard left ice and deep snowdrifts. Plows encountered drifts up to 8 feet deep on Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park on Monday. The popular highway reaches 12,183 feet above sea level. Park officials said the road will reopen once conditions improve but didn’t say when that might happen. Wintry weather that lasted through the spring and into summer has kept the road closed longer than normal this year. The highway opened for the first time this season June 5, about a week later than usual. Park officials closed it Friday after another late-season storm brought deep snow, high winds and below-freezing temperatures.
Hartford: State employees will soon have a financial incentive to point out wasteful spending in their agencies. Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont has signed legislation creating a new rewards program for workers who suggest savings exceeding $10,000. In return, an employee will receive a 5% payment of the estimated savings, up to $10,000. The new law takes effect Oct. 1. State agencies have until Nov. 1 to designate a program coordinator. Not all suggestions will result in a payout for workers. The bill identifies things like deferred maintenance, personal grievances or complaints, or an individual employee’s compensation on the list of ineligible savings suggestions. Also, ideas that conflict with state or federal law or duplicate a suggestion from another employee are among the types of suggestions ineligible for the payment.
Rehoboth Beach: Two craft breweries in the state – Dogfish Head and Revelation – have worked “In Tandem” on a brew for Independence Day. The draft-only collaboration will be released July 4 at Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats and at Revelation Taproom. Each brewery put its own stamp on the strawberry-forward, malty base. Dogfish added nutmeg for a slightly sweet, nutty flavor, while Revelation pumped up the floral aroma with locally harvested lavender from Lavender Fields in Milton. The summer-centric Hefeweizen is also a celebration of independence from motorized travel: To create In Tandem, brewery founders rode their bikes to Magee Farms in Lewes to handpick the strawberries. Profits will benefit the Sussex County Land Trust’s planned Route 9 Trailhead, which marks the halfway point between Dogfish’s Milton brewery and Revelation’s Georgetown facility, which is on the Delaware Rails-to-Trails bike path.
District of Columbia
Washington: The Fourth of July on the National Mall and surrounding areas will bring even more road closures than usual to the city, WUSA-TV reports. President Donald Trump is planning an event at the Lincoln Memorial in addition to the traditional festivities of years prior. The National Independence Day Parade will step off at 11:45 a.m. on Constitution Avenue NW from 7th Street NW to 17th Street NW. Trump’s “Salute to America” at the Lincoln Memorial is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. Gates will open at 3:30 p.m. The annual “A Capital Fourth” happens on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building at 8 p.m. Then, the fireworks display is slated to begin at 9:07 p.m. This year, the fireworks are being launched from West Potomac Park and behind the Lincoln Memorial.
Sarasota: An animal sanctuary has begun a unique yoga program amid the enclosures housing some of its 50 big cats. The Sarasota Herald Tribune reports a recent session sold out at Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary. The intent is to provide people with exercise of body and mind through yoga combined with an up-close experience with lions, tigers and other big cats. The event currently is available for 24 people every fourth Saturday. Sanctuary officials say it will be expanded to 50 slots in the near future. The $40 ticket also includes a pass for the entire sanctuary, which houses about 150 animals in total.
Atlanta: Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has unveiled an ambitious affordable housing plan to counter rising costs and the displacement of longtime residents. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the 43-page plan released Monday lays out a number of citywide policy proposals including zoning changes and developer incentives. Bottoms says it will serve as a blueprint for how the city will deploy $1 billion in public and private funding and create or maintain 20,000 affordable housing units by 2026. She says the city will use public money and land as an incentive to attract private investment, while also pledging to find new government funding. Supporters say it’s one of the most comprehensive plans of its kind in the city’s history. But critics say it lacks specifics, especially about costs and funding sources.
Honolulu: The dramatic rescue of a hiker lost for more than two weeks in a remote island forest is showing how emerging technology is helping search teams more efficiently scour the wilderness for missing people. Hundreds of volunteers used a GPS-enabled trail hiking app on their cellphones to track the paths they walked while looking for Amanda Eller. Search organizers put the GPS data on specialized digital maps to see what areas volunteers had already searched and identify new places for them to look. The technology led them to Eller, alongside a waterfall. She stayed alive for 17 days last month by eating plants and drinking stream water. The software is particularly useful when teams are organizing and tracking the work of large numbers of volunteers.
Boise: A new report from the International Rescue Commission finds that the number of refugees resettled in the state has declined by half since 2016. Boise State Public Radio reports in the 2016 fiscal year, Idaho resettled an average of 67 refugees each month. So far this year, the state is averaging about 33 refugees per month. The International Rescue Committee says Idaho is not alone – the number of refugees entering the United States is at a historic low. Zeze Rwasama, director of the Refugee Center at the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls, says the decrease in the number of refugees resettled in Twin Falls is affecting people already living there because it means many of them are waiting longer for refugee friends or family members to arrive.
Springfield: Health officials say they’re adding a screening for a rare hereditary disorder that affects the brain, nervous system and adrenal gland test for all newborn babies in the state. Adrenoleukodystrophy affects about 1 in 20,000 births. The Illinois Department of Public Health began rolling out the test last week. Babies with the disorder can have normal brains at birth, but the disorder can become deadly without treatment. Treatments include adrenal steroid replacement and stem cell transplantation and are effective only during a narrow window. Illinois becomes the 14th state to screen for the disorder.
South Bend: A special prosecutor was requested Monday to investigate the fatal shooting of a black man by a white police officer in a case that has inflamed tensions between the black community and law enforcement and roiled the Democratic presidential campaign of Mayor Pete Buttigieg. St. Joseph County Prosecutor Kenneth Cotter filed a petition asking a judge to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the June 16 shooting of Eric Logan, 54, by South Bend police Sgt. Ryan O’Neill. Cotter’s petition also revealed that O’Neill had been accused of making “inappropriate racial remarks” as a patrol officer 11 years ago. Buttigieg, who has surged from obscurity to become a top-tier 2020 candidate, left the campaign trail for several days to deal with fallout from the shooting. He faced criticism Sunday from angry residents at an emotional town hall meeting.
Sioux City: Work on a proposed multimillion-dollar trail connecting Sioux City and Le Mars is expected to begin next year. The PlyWood trail, linking Plymouth and Woodbury counties, will cost an estimated $18 million and span 16 miles, the Sioux City Journal reports. It’s projected for completion in 2025, says Lesley Bartholomew with the PlyWood Trail Committee. Le Mars-based Wells Enterprise, makers of Blue Bunny ice cream company, has pledged $4 million toward the project, and Bartholomew thought more people would be motivated to donate when they saw parts of the trail completed. “It is kind of a wait-and-see attitude for some individuals,” said Bartholomew, who is also the spokeswoman for Wells Enterprise. The committee is also seeking state and federal grants, including one that’s expected to be awarded next month.
Topeka: The state will allow transgender people to change their birth certificates so that the documents reflect their gender identities under a legal settlement ending a federal lawsuit. LGBTQ rights advocates said Monday that Kansas now will have a policy on birth certificates in line with most other states’ policies. U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree signed an order Friday to make the agreement binding on Kansas Department of Health and Environment officials. The department issues birth certificates. Four transgender individuals and the Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project sued last year over the health department’s policy of not allowing transgender residents to change the sex listed on their birth certificates after changing their names legally. Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly applauded the agreement and called the old policy “outdated.”
Lexington: The city’s police department has launched a website to seek the public’s help in identifying suspects in unsolved cases. A statement from the Lexington Police Department says the site has surveillance images of people suspected of criminal activity whom police haven’t been able to identify. Chief Lawrence Weathers says the site allows the public to see some photographic evidence in cases and submit tips directly to detectives. A majority of the cases on the site will be shoplifting and other thefts, which are the most common criminal activity in Lexington. Police say they will update the site frequently and will continue to highlight significant or noteworthy cases on social media.
New Orleans: A po-boy shop featured in “The Simpsons” and a video by Drake is serving up its last sandwiches this summer. The New Orleans Advocate reports late-night eatery Gene’s Po-Boys is closing its doors at the end of July. Eugene “Gene” Raymond Theriot opened the 24-hour shop in 1968, serving the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood. It got its signature bright pink color 20 years later. But much of the regular crowd didn’t return after Hurricane Katrina, and visitors haven’t been as interested in Gene’s in recent years. Theriot said it’ll be tough to see the shop gone from the neighborhood, but he’s sold out, and the building will be converted to condominiums.
Bar Harbor: Gordon and Janice Goodwin are rediscovering their passion for bicycling in their senior years thanks to new electric-assist bikes. The electric motors provide a gentle kick, making it easier for them to pedal up hilly roads around Acadia National Park. They can’t get that experience on Acadia’s bicycle paths, though. The National Park Service classifies their so-called e-bikes as motorized vehicles, relegating them mostly to paved roads clogged with summer traffic. Nationwide, the agency and others that manage public lands keep thousands of miles of trails off-limits to e-bikes. The only exceptions in Acadia are for people who qualify for mobility devices under the Americans With Disabilities Act, says Christie Anastasia, park spokeswoman. The National Park Service may soon loosen its restrictions in the next few weeks.
Annapolis: The state Democratic Party is asking the board of elections to investigate possible campaign finance violations by Gov. Larry Hogan. An attorney for Hogan’s campaign is calling it a “shoddy political hit job.” Democrats say the Republican took donations from 100 benefactors that were over the legal limit. But Chris Ashby, Hogan’s attorney, says the complaint is “demonstrably false.” The Democrats’ executive director Ben Smith said Hogan’s 2018 campaign raked in more than $200,000 in violation of the $6,000 limit per donor. The Washington Post reports Maryland Sen. Clarence Lam noticed the possible violations after Hogan vetoed a bill to strengthen transparency in the governor’s appointments office. Lam told the Democratic Party, which then found the other possible violations.
Boston: A bill under consideration at the Statehouse is aimed at testing the idea of a universal basic income. The long-shot bill would create a pilot program that would include 100 residents in each of three economically diverse cities or towns. At least one of the communities would be located in a rural part of the state. Everyone participating in the program would receive $1,000 a month for three years and agree to participate in a study. After the three years are complete, the bill calls on the Department of Housing and Community Development to submit a report looking at the effects of the program, including whether a universal basic income could be used to address historic inequalities, including institutional racism.
Lansing: The state is launching a $2 million educational campaign to boost the state’s low recycling rate. The “Know It Before You Throw It” initiative was announced Monday at a recycling transfer station in Lansing. Officials say the goal is to let residents know that they should rinse and dry all plastics, glass and metal before recycling it. People also should not try to recycle plastic bags, as the practice is prohibited by most municipalities. Not recycling properly can contaminate the supply, meaning it goes to landfills or adds costs for communities. The educational campaign includes TV ads, billboards and a website. Michigan’s 15% recycling rate is the lowest in the Great Lakes region, despite the 10-cent bottle-return law.
Maplewood: A cat was left sick, concussed and temporarily blind after a trip in a washing machine spin cycle, needing the help of an oxygen machine to breathe. Stefani Carroll-Kirchoff was doing an extra-large load of laundry and forgot to close the door to the washing machine while folding clothes. Immediately after running another wash, she noticed a little paw sticking out of the washing machine drum – that of her 1-year-old tabby kitty, Felix. “He’s lovable, but he does get himself into trouble,” Carroll-Kirchoff told the Pioneer Press. Felix was found with bruises on his body, Carroll-Kirchoff’s daughter wrote in a GoFundMe page for Felix’s recovery after his trip to the emergency veterinarian. Fortunately, Carroll-Kirchoff chose the express wash, she told the Pioneer Press. It takes less time and might have saved Felix’s life.
Jackson: A new exhibit barn has opened at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum, years after a fire damaged some buildings. The state agriculture commissioner, Andy Gipson, opened the barn and a maintenance shop Friday at the museum in Jackson. The barn has more than 5,000 square feet of heavy timber construction exhibit space. Ten antique tractors and 15 pieces of historical farm equipment are on display. The maintenance shop has three bays and space for woodworking restoration, automotive repair and restoration, and landscaping needs. Fire swept through the museum in November 2014. An agriculture department news release says the $1.3 million rebuilding project is being paid through insurance claim funds.
Kansas City: The U.S. Department of Agriculture is relocating two research agencies to the area, but some researchers are reluctant to move cross-country. The USDA announced plans this month to move the Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture closer to farmers and agribusinesses they serve, and many employees have objected to the move from the Washington, D.C., area. Critics say the research agencies have lost veteran employees and been unable to fill vacancies since the USDA announced last year that it was considering moving their headquarters. Opponents also argued that moving them will make it harder for federal policymakers to get objective research that might raise questions about President Donald Trump’s policies. USDA officials say the move will save about $20 million a year, providing more money for research.
Missoula: A vintage airplane restored by volunteers is back home after participating in events commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day. The Missoulian reports about 50 people were waiting to greet Miss Montana when it landed Monday in Missoula after traveling 16,000 miles to six countries. It dropped 19 parachutists over Normandy in two passes and landed in the French countryside as part of the commemoration of the invasion. A few days later, the plane participated in events in Germany marking the 70th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift. The plane was a smokejumper and transport plane and dropped the smokejumpers who died fighting the Mann Gulch Fire near Helena in 1949. It will return to Mann Gulch for the fire’s 70th anniversary Aug. 5.
Malcolm: People interested in learning about carp fishing are invited to attend Carp-O-Rama, scheduled for Saturday at Branched Oak State Recreation Area. This free event will run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Liebers Point. Carp will be used in demonstrations on cleaning, preparing and cooking the fish. The fish then will be served as a free lunch. Other activities include fish printing and Dutch oven cooking demonstrations. Loaner fishing poles will be available. A park entry permit is required of each vehicle entering the recreation area, which sits 4 miles north of Malcolm in Lancaster County. A Carp-O-Rama also has been scheduled for July 20 at Lake Maloney Reservoir State Recreation Area south of North Platte.
Las Vegas: “Jeopardy!” champion and professional sports gambler James Holzhauer lost a bid to win cash for a local charity in two World Series of Poker events. Tournament spokesman Seth Palansky said Tuesday that Holzhauer and Poker Hall of Famer Mike Sexton played about five hours Monday before finishing out of the money in a tag-team tournament. That was Holzhauer’s second event of the day. Earlier, the 32-time “Jeopardy!” winner finished short of the prize pool in 454th place among some 1,800 entrants in a No-Limit Hold’em tournament. Holzhauer had planned to donate half of any winnings to a Las Vegas nonprofit for homeless high school students. Holzhauer became a TV celebrity by winning more than $2.4 million on the game show “Jeopardy!” and has made several charitable donations in recent weeks.
Bow: A food bank in the Granite State is once again trying to collect enough peanut butter jars to fill up a pickup truck – as many times as possible. The New Hampshire Food Bank is collecting donations of peanut butter and substitutes such as almond butter from now until Aug. 2. The public can donate the spreads at certain car dealerships around the state. Last year, the inaugural drive collected more than 4,495 pounds of peanut butter, filling four Ford F-150 pickup trucks. The New Hampshire Food Bank is a program of Catholic Charities New Hampshire and receives no state or federal funding for food distribution. The food bank’s executive director, Eileen Liponis, says summer is a tough time for children who usually rely on free and reduced school meals.
Trenton: The state’s environmental regulators have failed for nearly a decade to meet a legal requirement that they provide a detailed written accounting each year of enforcement actions against polluters of state waterways. The Clean Water Enforcement Act requires the Department of Environmental Protection to issue an annual enforcement report to the Legislature and governor. But the Associated Press found through an open records request that none has been submitted since 2010. The annual reports give officials and the public an easy way to know which companies have been deemed “significant non-compliers,” how many violations were committed, how much in fines was collected and how many criminal cases were pursued. Informed of the findings, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s office says the governor will work to resume the reports.
Albuquerque: The state’s largest city is joining a growing number of communities asking residents to use an app to report illegal fireworks on July 4th instead of calling 911. KOB-TV reports city officials are directing residents to the “OneABQ” app so authorities can streamline complaints instead of dispatching first responders. Albuquerque Fire Rescue spokesman Tom Ruiz says the app sends notices to fire enforcement units when a complaint is made instead of sending first responders going to 911 calls. Officials say last year, when the app was used for the first time, 911 calls reporting illegal fireworks fell by 80% from the year before. “What the main point we want to talk about is – our front line units – we want to keep them as available as possible for the most critical of calls. Life-saving emergencies,” Ruiz said.
Vernon: A smaller Woodstock 50 festival could possibly be held at an upstate harness track and casino. Town of Vernon Supervisor Randy Watson tells the Poughkeepsie Journal that Woodstock 50 has applied for a permit to hold its concert Aug. 16-18 at Vernon Downs, about 35 miles east of Syracuse. Watson says the proposed capacity was 45,000-50,000 people – far smaller than the 150,000 planned for at the initial venue, Watkins Glen International. Woodstock concert promoters had no comment Monday. Vernon Downs owner Jeffrey Gural said in an email Monday that officials are close to signing a letter of intent and could host up to 65,000 people, but without camping. The festival has faced a series of setbacks, including Watkins Glen pulling out earlier this month.
Charlotte: The Postal Service Creed covers rain, snow, heat and gloom of night, but it says nothing about snakes on a mailbox. One postal worker who encountered that very thing said the mail delivery could wait until the snake was delivered elsewhere. The Charlotte Observer reports the worker found the snake Friday at a home in Mint Hill near Charlotte. Jennifer Gordon of Carolina Waterfowl Rescue said the nonvenomous Dekay’s brown snake was living in some ivy below the mailbox and climbed up to get some sun. The postal worker wanted it gone before the mail was delivered. Neither the worker nor the family was identified. Rescue workers released the snake in some nearby woods. The owners removed the ivy from the mailbox to prevent a return to sender.
Bismarck: A federal judge is ordering the Army Corps of Engineers to turn over more documents that several Native American tribes claim could bolster their lawsuit seeking to shut down the Dakota Access pipeline. The Bismarck Tribune reports that the federal agency was directed to give up the documents by Wednesday. Four Dakota Sioux tribes accused the Corps of withholding dozens of documents that they say could show how the pipeline may threaten a Missouri River reservoir, which serves as their water source. Fears of an oil spill into the river sparked massive protests in North Dakota in 2016 and 2017. Federal officials had turned over some documents but said requests for dozens more were vague or too broad.
Cincinnati: Taxpayers in Hamilton County next year will buy $75,000 worth of crickets, grubs, worms, nightcrawlers and minnows. But unlike stadiums and streetcars, tax money for bugs doesn’t generate much controversy. The insects and worms feed the lizards, amphibians and some of the other 500 species of animals at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. The money comes from the zoo levy property tax approved by Hamilton County property owners in 2018. For a homeowner with a $100,000 home, that’s $10.23 a year. The Hamilton County Board of Commissioners in May approved the agreement for how the zoo will spend the $7 million in annual expected proceeds from the property tax through 2022 when the levy expires. Voters in Hamilton County see the zoo as a worthy cause, approving it eight out of nine times since the first Cincinnati Zoo levy in 1982.
Norman: A judge has signed off on the state’s $85 million settlement with Israeli-based Teva Pharmaceuticals following a squabble between the attorney general and the Legislature and governor over how the deal was structured. Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman said Monday that he signed the agreement calling for the funds to be used to help abate the state’s opioid crisis. Gov. Kevin Stitt and legislative leaders had sought to intervene in the case, arguing the deal didn’t comply with a new state law directing any settlement proceeds into the state treasury. The law was passed last month after lawmakers openly grumbled about how Attorney General Mike Hunter structured the state’s $270 million settlement with Purdue Pharmaceuticals. Oklahoma’s public nuisance lawsuit against consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson is continuing.
Salem: The Legislature has repealed a nearly 25-year-old law prohibiting new schools, hospitals, jails, and police and fire stations from being built in the state’s tsunami inundation zone. Coastal legislators, who pushed the bill, say the risks of a natural disaster must be weighed against an actual economic disaster already unfolding because of the statute. Rep. David Gomberg, a Democrat from Otis, said without new emergency services buildings, coastal residents and businesses will not be able to get property insurance, and without new schools, property values will fall. Oregon has a 30% chance of experiencing a 9.0-plus magnitude Cascadia subduction zone earthquake in the next 50 years. The quake would be followed by a tsunami similar to the one that devastated eastern Japan in 2011.
Philadelphia: City police must use a person’s chosen name and pronoun when interacting with transgender people, regardless of what is listed on their government-issued identification card. The change is part of a new police department policy announced Tuesday that addresses how police should interact with transgender and nonbinary people. Officials say the policy is meant to serve as a guide for unbiased day-to-day interactions with transgender and nonbinary people, as well as those who are being detained or transported. Deputy Police Commissioner Joseph Sullivan says it’s intended “to ensure safe, supportive and respectful interactions” with city’s LGBTQ community. Other guidelines include ensuring transgender people can express a preference for the gender of the officer who searches them.
Providence: Sorry, Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, and other fictional characters and celebrities who have received write-in votes in an election. Some state lawmakers don’t want those ballots to count. The Providence Journal reports that the House Judiciary Committee approved legislation Monday requiring people who want to be write-in candidates to file a notice of their intent no later than the Friday before an election. Write-ins are a way for voters to express their displeasure with the official candidates. Mickey Mouse got 309 write-in votes in state elections in 2018. But Miguel Nunes, deputy director of state Board of Elections, told lawmakers tallying write-ins is a “monumental responsibility.” The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island opposes the measure, saying if passed it “would literally mean that every vote does not count.”
Greenville: Amid a shortage of EMS workers, training programs around the state aren’t turning out the number of graduates needed to fill the gap, new research shows. What’s more, factors such as low pay, long hours and poor working conditions contribute to many leaving the field after just eight years. The research from the South Carolina EMS Association and the South Carolina Office of Healthcare Workforce reveals a troubling trend without some action, says Henry Lewis, president of the EMS Association. On the recruitment side, the main problem is not having enough students enrolled in training programs, he says. There are 15 training programs around the state – nine at technical colleges and six at training centers, according to the study. And the number of students enrolling in entry-level EMT training was substantially lower in the 2017-18 school year than in previous years.
Pierre: Oglala Sioux tribal leaders say the federal government is providing $10 million in emergency relief to help with damage from springtime flooding on the Pine Ridge Reservation. President Julian Bear Runner said in a statement that federal officials accepted the reservation’s emergency request weeks after it was made. The tribe’s request for an emergency declaration is separate from the state, whose $46 million request was accepted earlier this month. Rapid snow melt and severe weather in March and April caused widespread flooding. Residents were stranded in homes surrounded by water with emergency rescues and supply drop-offs done by boat. Eight thousand residents were left without clean drinking water after floodwaters washed out the rural water system. Gov. Kristi Noem deployed National Guard soldiers to deliver water.
Memphis: Elvis is coming back to town – Costello, that is. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer will make his way to the Bluff City to play his namesake Elvis Presley’s Graceland Soundstage on Nov. 15. The show is part of a fall headlining tour for the veteran singer-songwriter and his backing band that is being dubbed “Just Trust Elvis Costello and the Imposters.” The lineup will feature Costello’s longtime backers the Imposters, featuring Steve Nieve on keyboards, Pete Thomas on drums and Davey Faragher on bass, as well as vocalists Kitten Kuroi and Briana Lee, all of whom appeared on his most recent release, 2018’s “Look Now.” Costello’s show at the Graceland Soundstage follows a couple other alternative music bookings at the venue this year, including L.A. punk band X and Midwest anti-folkers Violent Femmes. Tickets for the Elvis Costello show go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday online or by calling (877) 777-0606.
El Paso: Auto thefts are up 6% in the city as the state launches a new ad campaign urging drivers to lock their vehicles, authorities say. The new statewide “If you like it, lock it” campaign, featuring Texas country singer-songwriter Gary P. Nunn, visited El Paso on Monday. Auto thefts and car burglaries spike in the summer and during the holidays, says Stephen Plummer, public awareness manager for the El Paso Auto Theft Task Force. About 320 vehicles have been stolen this year, Plummer says. The current auto theft rate is far smaller than the more than 100 cars stolen per week that El Paso experienced in the 1980s, he says. “Since then, our numbers have come down drastically,” Plummer says. “But that is no comfort for somebody who has had their vehicle stolen.” Full-size pickups are the most stolen vehicles in town, he says.
Provo: Data shows the number of students home-schooled in the state has more than doubled. The Daily Herald reports the Utah State Board of Education recorded more than 16,000 home-school students during the 2015-16 school year, the most recent year with available data. Nearly 17% of the students were in the boundaries of the Alpine School District, about 6% were in the Nebo School District, and nearly 3% were in the Provo School District. The state recorded more than 7,000 home-school students in 2003. The state requires families to submit an affidavit to their school district if they’re home schooling. The families are not required to provide a reason for home schooling or maintain attendance or instruction records.
Burlington: The outgoing president of the University of Vermont is apologizing for the school’s involvement in eugenics research in the 1920s and 1930s that helped lead to sterilizations. President Thomas Sullivan released a statement Friday calling it “unethical and regrettable.” Last year the university decided to remove a former school president’s name from the library because of his support of the Eugenics Survey of Vermont and its leader, a UVM professor. As part of the eugenics movement, some Vermonters of mixed French Canadian and Native American heritage, as well as poor, rural whites, were placed on a state-sanctioned list of “mental defectives” and degenerates and sent to state institutions. Some had surgery after Vermont in 1931 became one of more than two dozen states to pass a law allowing involuntary sterilizations for “human betterment.”
Lexington: Tourism in this small town has suffered little in the year since The Red Hen restaurant famously refused to serve President Donald Trump’s spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. The Roanoke Times reports that Lexington’s meals and lodging tax revenues are steady, and a survey commissioned by a regional tourism office found the incident didn’t dissuade people from visiting the area. The small restaurant’s co-owner has said she asked Sanders to leave the restaurant in June 2018 at the request of gay employees who objected to how Sanders defended Trump’s desire to bar transgender people from the military. That triggered debate about whether politics should play a role in how administration officials are treated in public. Trump recently announced that Sanders will depart as White House press secretary this month.
Seattle: All nine Seattle City Council members have vowed to pursue a “Green New Deal” that a community and environmental groups are pushing for. The Seattle Times reports the council members signed a support letter Monday but haven’t worked out particular policies. The local Green New Deal campaign is calling on City Hall to eliminate Seattle’s climate pollution by 2030, “address historical and current injustices” and create thousands of green, unionized jobs. Activists gathered outside Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office last week to launch the campaign and again Monday. To pay for sweeping changes, the campaign says City Hall should consider adopting a climate-emergency tax on large businesses, tolling downtown streets, putting a climate-emergency levy on the ballot and redirecting money now spent on other initiatives.
Beckley: A new study says a Boy Scouts reserve funnels millions of dollars in revenue into the state each year. The West Virginia University Bureau of Business Economic Research study says the Boy Scouts of America’s Summit Bechtel Reserve in Fayette and Raleigh counties brings in some $28 million in years without a national jamboree. The report says in those years, the reserve supports 280 jobs and injects $1 million into state and local tax coffers. The Register-Herald reports the study says the reserve provides $76 million in economic output, 350 jobs and $1.2 million in tax revenue when the national jamboree is in town every four years. This summer’s World Scout Jamboree isn’t included in the study. Some 50,000 Scouts from more than 150 countries are expected.
Viroqua: Farmers are questioning whether growing hemp for grain will ever be profitable in the Badger State but say there could be a future in hemp fiber and CBD products. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has issued more than 1,300 licenses to grow industrial hemp in 2019. Wisconsin Public Radio reports that summer rains last year ruined about 20 Wisconsin farmers’ chances of producing salable hemp grain. Viroqua farmer LaVon Felton says he didn’t sell any of the grain he harvested in 2018, and the endeavor cost him at least $20,000. Agronomist Bryan Parr says Wisconsin’s climate might work better for farmers producing hemp fiber – once that market grows. Parr says hemp for CBD products could also prove lucrative, although farmers say this market is limited, too.
Jackson: Commercial mushroom pickers in the state will get another month to hunt for tasty treasures in an area that burned in a forest fire. Areas in the Rocky Mountains that have burned recently and received abundant rain and snow are good places to look for morel mushrooms. Bridger-Teton National Forest officials recently instituted a $300 permit for commercial mushroom hunters in a burn area near Bondurant in western Wyoming. The permits were valid through July 3. The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports forest managers have extended the season, allowing commercial picking to continue until Aug. 1. People picking for personal use don’t need a permit but can’t collect more than 3 gallons per day.
From USA TODAY Network and wire reports