Montgomery: Bicyclists are planning a ride from Selma to Montgomery to commemorate a landmark civil rights event. The Montgomery Bicycle Club will stage the ride Feb. 22 along the same 51-mile route that voting rights demonstrators led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. walked in 1965. Riders from around the nation are expected to participate in the event. Nearly 500 riders from more than 30 states have registered. “It’s important to show that we can all come together from diverse backgrounds and diverse geographic places and remember the people who worked so hard 55 years ago to ensure everyone had an equal voice in voting, getting people elected and making people feel they had power in the politicians that would be representing them,” said Robert Traphan, president of the Montgomery Bicycle Club. Alabama state troopers beat marchers attempting the walk March 7, 1965. Two weeks later, after court intervention, thousands of people led by King made the march to the Alabama Capitol, where the bike ride will also end.
Ketchikan: Though the $5.4 million rock blasting project in the Tongass Narrows has ended, it leaves in its wake a more navigable waterway and a memento. As crews dredged rubble from the seafloor following 15 explosions of the rock hump off Berth 2, an old anchor was unearthed. The admiralty-style anchor, commonly used between the time of the Civil War to World War II, is heavily striated – time and oxidation have given it the appearance of driftwood, despite being made of metal. Steve Corporon, Ketchikan’s port and harbors director, says it could have come from a number of ships that have passed by Ketchikan throughout the years. The anchor as it lies is about 9 feet long and spans more than 6 feet from fluke to fluke. Corporon wants to set up a display near Berth 1 to share the anchor’s history.
Tucson: A judge on Monday overturned a key government approval for a proposed copper mine in the Coronado National Forest, ordering federal wildlife officials to redo their analysis of potential effects on jaguars and other endangered species. The ruling by U.S. District Judge James Soto followed an earlier decision in July that halted construction of the giant Rosemont mine in the Santa Rita Mountains. The latest decision appears to add another obstacle for Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals Inc., which is continuing to try to move ahead with plans for the mine. “The Forest Service has to redo their analysis, plus now U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has to redo their analysis,” said Marc Fink, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. The Tucson-based conservation group sued in 2017 to challenge the agency’s biological opinion, which concluded the mine would not jeopardize threatened and endangered species.
Camden: A police officer has been placed on leave as his department investigates him for placing a student in a chokehold Monday morning in a school altercation caught on video. A video circulating on Facebook shows Camden Police Officer Jerry Perry standing behind a student, wrapping his arms around his neck and lifting him up multiple times – seemingly attempting to restrain the boy in what appears to be a school cafeteria. After Perry puts down the student, he keeps one arm around his neck as he walks with the student out of the camera’s view, according to the video, which had garnered more than 18,000 shares as of Monday evening. It was not immediately known what precipitated the altercation. Perry was assigned as a school resource officer in Camden High School. “I will not tolerate misconduct from my officers, and this matter will be dealt with accordingly,” Camden Police Chief Boyd Woody said in a statement.
Los Angeles: The California Department of Justice is reviewing the Los Angeles Police Department’s records and policies regarding use of the state’s gang member database after allegations emerged that officers in an elite crime suppression team falsified records and listed innocent people as gang members, Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Monday. The attorney general could revoke or suspend the department’s access to the database. CalGang is a statewide criminal intelligence compilation of 80,000 gang members and associates statewide used by local, state, federal and tribal law enforcement agencies to share information. It is used by the LAPD more than any other agency, and at least 20 members of the department’s Metropolitan Division are under investigation after authorities found inaccuracies on field interview cards that police officers fill out after stopping and questioning people.
Breckenridge: U.S. emergency management officials have given the state a $10 million grant to fix a dam upstream of this ski resort town that’s listed in unsatisfactory condition and would likely lead to deadly flooding if it were to fail. The Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded the grant last month, The Summit Daily News reports. The Goose Pasture Tarn dam’s failure could potentially flood more than 2,000 homes and businesses, damage roadways and harm the water supply, according to FEMA. The dam about 3 miles south of Breckenridge holds back the Blue River, which flows through the center of town. It’s classified as being in unsatisfactory condition and as a high-hazard dam, meaning its failure would likely result in the death of at least one person. It’s one of 24 high-hazard dams in unsatisfactory condition in Colorado, an Associated Press investigation found.
Hartford: A new website has been launched to provide the state’s residents with reliable information about the 2020 U.S. census. Accessible at www.ct.gov/census, the site includes links with information about Census Bureau jobs, facts about the census and the importance of an accurate count to Connecticut, details about census-related events, and various resources, including informational packets for non-English speaking residents. Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont said an accurate census count is critically important to the state because it helps determine the allocation of billions of dollars in federal resources. More than 135 committees have been created throughout the state over the past year to help organize for the once-in-a-decade count.
Dover: Local officials have signed on to a state plan to provide up to $3 million to a struggling, small private college. The City Council voted Monday to forgo any claim to the city’s former public library, which was deeded to Wesley College for $1 in 2017 in exchange for state lawmakers directing more than $1 million in transportation funds to the city. State officials agreed last week to provide up to $3 million to Wesley, subject to certain conditions. The funding is in addition to $2 million already approved and distributed to the college earlier this fiscal year. The school also had previously received permission to use more than $1 million in taxpayer money to renovate the former library for operational purposes. The funding approval comes as Wesley tries to finalize a merger agreement with another unnamed institution to stabilize its finances.
Congress: District of Columbia
Washington: An 11-month-old girl suffered multiple life-threatening injuries before her death, which police in D.C. said was being investigated as a homicide. The cause of death for Makenzie Anderson was blunt force trauma to the head, police said Monday, according to news outlets. The infant was brought to Children’s National Hospital on Thursday afternoon and pronounced dead. The injuries occurred at a hotel that The Washington Post reported is used exclusively as a homeless shelter. Police have not identified any suspects or announced any arrests, news outlets report.
Miami Beach: The mayor wants the last call for alcohol to be a little bit earlier for spring break. Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber wants alcohol sales to end at 2 a.m. in the South Beach entertainment district for 17 days in March. It’s 5 a.m. now across the city. The Miami Herald reports the proposal will come before the city commission Wednesday for a preliminary vote. It could then be finalized at a Feb. 26 commission meeting. The rollback would begin March 6 and continue for 17 days. It would affect the sale of alcohol for on-site consumption, like at bars and restaurants. There is already an 8 p.m. last call for the purchase of beer and wine at supermarkets or convenience stores and spirits at liquor stores near the entertainment district.
Atlanta: The world-renowned organ in Atlanta’s Fox Theatre is undergoing a major restoration project. Built in 1929, the Möller known as Mighty Mo is one of the largest theater organs in the United States. Wear and tear have taken a toll on Mighty Mo, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Switches that trigger the organ’s pistons are plagued with leaky valves and balky contacts. Paint is flaking, and old repairs are coming undone. The year of restoration will cost just over $500,000. The work is being done by the A.E. Schlueter Pipe Organ Co. in the Lithonia area, east of Atlanta.
Honolulu: A panel of state lawmakers on Monday passed a resolution calling for the governor to convene a Native Hawaiian reconciliation commission, a step that comes after protests blocking the construction of one of the world’s largest telescopes. The protests put a spotlight on deep-seated grievances over the treatment of Hawaii’s indigenous people. The House speaker sponsored the resolution after discussions with the governor, said Rep. Ryan Yamane, a Democrat and the chairman of the House Water, Land and Hawaiian Affairs Committee. The goal is to “foster more dialogue, to bring a sense of opportunity for people to talk and maybe address some of the past wrongs,” Yamane said after his committee passed the measure. The resolution next goes to the full House for a vote. Senate President Ron Kouchi has introduced a similar resolution to the Senate.
Boise: With $260 million in federal money at stake, lawmakers on a state Senate panel on Monday voted to create an interim committee to review and recommend new math, science and English standards for Idaho’s 300,000 students in grades kindergarten through 12. The Senate Education Committee voted unanimously to send to the full Senate a concurrent resolution to form the interim committee that would meet over the summer. The House Education Committee last week rejected the current standards, called Idaho Content Standards, that are heavily based on Common Core standards. Those Common Core benchmarks allow states to compare how their students are doing with students in other states. In general, opponents contend they are a federal program with sometimes inappropriate curriculum being forced on states while allowing some companies to profit at the expense of schoolchildren.
Pekin: A mortgage document presented to Abraham Lincoln in 1844 in Tazewell County is on display this week for the late president’s birthday. The Tazewell County Recorder of Deeds announced last week that the newly discovered document was presented to Lincoln, then a lawyer, on Sept. 10, 1844, the Pekin Daily Times reports. The mortgage on 234 acres of farmland located near Tremont was for $284.94 and used as collateral on a debt for legal services Lincoln provided. On Wednesday, Lincoln’s 211th birthday, the document will be on display at the Recorder of Deeds office in the McKenzie Building in Pekin during office hours. Tazewell County Clerk John Ackerman and Tazewell County Genealogical and Historical Society President Susan Rynerson will make a presentation about the document and Lincoln’s legal work in the county at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Erlicher Research Center.
West Lafayette: The Air Force Research Laboratory has awarded Purdue University a $5.9 million contract to develop the world’s first Mach 8 quiet wind tunnel – a device capable of operating at eight times the speed of sound. The new Mach 8 wind tunnel will be experimental and designed to collect information at speeds greater than Mach 6 wind tunnels, which operate at a rate six times the speed of sound. Purdue, which is already home to one of only two working Mach 6 quiet wind tunnels in the U.S., will collaborate with the University of Notre Dame to develop the new wind tunnel. The faster speeds of the Mach 8 wind tunnel will allow Purdue and various contractors and private companies to conduct tests in an environment similar to flight. The new tunnel’s hypersonic design could be used on missiles, jet planes, rockets and other aircraft.
Des Moines: Drake University fans will see double this summer. Griff II, a 1-year-old English bulldog, will take over the role of the school’s live mascot July 1, one day after his predecessor retires. Griff, a former champion show dog and Drake’s original live mascot, served in the role for four years. Drake spokesman Jarad Bernstein says Griff is 8 years old. Bulldogs have lifespans of 8 to 10 years, according to the American Kennel Club. Griff II was born in July 2018 in Wisconsin. In November, he moved in with Erin Bell, Drake associate marketing director of marketing and manger of the live mascot program. Bell’s family also houses Griff. “He’s got a big personality that will represent Drake University well,” Bell said in a news release. “He is everything we were looking for in finding the best possible successor.” Griff was named for John L. Griffith, a former Drake athletic director who organized the first running of the Drake Relays in 1910.
Lawrence: City officials are discussing a draft proposal that would limit how police interact with federal immigration agents. The Lawrence Police Department has written a draft policy that says local police will not help hold a person based only on whether that person has a federal immigration detainer. It also says police will not stop, question or arrest someone based only on their suspected citizenship or immigration status. The topic arose last year when a group called Sanctuary Alliance suggested Lawrence become a sanctuary city, meaning police don’t enforce requests from immigration authorities unless it involves a criminal matter. Police department policies don’t generally require commission approval, but the commission is being asked to direct city staff on the issue.
Stanton: Several much-visited spots in the Red River Gorge in the Daniel Boone National Forest have been vandalized with bullets and spray paint, the U.S. Forest Service says. The historic Nada Tunnel and a restroom on Tunnel Ridge Road were spray-painted, and bullet damage was found in the area, according to a Facebook post by the U.S. Forest Service-Daniel Boone National Forest. The Nada Tunnel, constructed more than 100 years ago, is on the National Register of Historic Places. One of the graffiti marks in the tunnel had the date 1-26-20, the names Lochelle and John, and the word Ohio on it. The Forest Service asks that anyone with information concerning these incidents contact the Daniel Boone National Forest via private message on Facebook or call the office headquarters at 859-745-3100.
Baton Rouge: A scientist, a doctor, a philanthropist, a onetime NFL player and a former head of the state police are being named the latest “Louisiana Legends.” The five people will join 144 others who have been honored over 30 years at the Louisiana Legends annual awards gala hosted by Friends of Louisiana Public Broadcasting. This year’s honorees are Carolyn Leach Huntoon, the first woman to serve as director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center; Terry King, a pediatric cardiologist who helped invent a blood clot filtering procedure; Terry Landry, the first African American superintendent of the Louisiana State Police; Johnny Robinson, a 2019 NFL Hall of Fame inductee; and Donna Saurage, philanthropist and businesswoman. This year’s event will be held March 26 at Louisiana’s Old State Capitol. Gov. John Bel Edwards and first lady Donna Edwards are serving as honorary co-chairs.
Orono: More than a third of the deer ticks submitted to the University of Maine Tick Lab last year tested positive for Lyme disease, a surveillance report from the lab said. The lab found that a smaller percentage of ticks tested positive for anaplasmosis and babesiosis, which are other tick-borne diseases. The tick lab’s manager, Griffin Dill, said the information will help authorities learn how fast the ticks are spreading in the state. The study is the first of its kind in Maine, the Bangor Daily news reports. The report found that just shy of 39% of deer ticks tested positive for Lyme. The data also show ticks were more frequently found higher on the bodies of children than adults. Lyme disease can cause symptoms such as neck stiffness, joint pain and irregular heartbeat.
Annapolis: The parents of a black college student who was stabbed to death at the University of Maryland urged lawmakers Tuesday to strengthen the state’s hate crime law. Dawn and Rick Collins, the parents of 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III, spoke at a news conference with Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy in Annapolis before a bill hearing. The measure, which is named after Collins, would clarify that hate does not have to be the sole motivation for a hate crime. Sean Urbanski, who is white, was found guilty in December of first-degree murder in killing Collins in 2017. However, a judge threw out a hate crime charge after ruling prosecutors didn’t meet their legal burden of showing that racial hatred motivated Urbanski.
Boston: The University of Massachusetts board of trustees on Monday unanimously selected Marcelo Suarez-Orozco to serve as the new chancellor for the system’s Boston campus. Suarez-Orozco was the only finalist for the position who had been named. UMass President Marty Meehan had recommended Suarez-Orozco for the post, noting that he was sent to the U.S. by parents seeking to save him from Argentina’s civil strife in the late 1970s and early 1980s. “UMass Boston is a special place that needs and deserves a special leader,” Meehan said. Suarez-Orozco is the Wasserman Dean at the University of California Los Angeles, where he leads a graduate school, 16 research institutes and two academic programs. He previously held positions at Harvard University and New York University. His academic research has focused on immigration, education and globalization. Suarez-Orozco said the opportunity to serve in the post “is an extraordinary honor for me, an immigrant from Latin America.”
Detroit: Household income and employment for the city’s residents are forecast to increase over the next four years, according to economists. Detroit’s unemployment rate will drop to just under 8% by 2023 and 2024, researchers with the University Economic Analysis partnership announced Monday. About 6,700 more city residents are expected to find jobs, with most in service-sector areas. Total resident income is forecast to rise 4% to 4.7% per year through 2024. Fiat Chrysler’s new $2.5 billion assembly plant on Detroit’s east side and the $4.4 billion Gordie Howe International Bridge project between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, Canada, should provide new job opportunities, according to University of Michigan economist Donald Grimes. Detroit’s unemployment rate was more than 18% in 2013 when the city filed for bankruptcy, researchers said. Researchers expect 2019’s rate was about 8.6%.
Minneapolis: No charges will be filed against five police officers who fatally shot a man who livestreamed himself being chased by police, then got out of his car and threatened officers with a knife, a prosecutor announced Monday. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said the officers from the Minneapolis suburbs of Edina and Richfield were justified in using deadly force against Brian Quinones-Rosario in September because the 30-year-old man threatened them with a knife and refused to drop it. His younger brother said at the time that Quinones had been having suicidal thoughts. Quinones’ wife, Ashley Quinones, reacted angrily to the news and posted a series of profanity-laced messages on Facebook. In one, she wrote in all capital letters: “False reports, false statements, and the ultimate cover up.”
Jackson: Another inmate died Monday, the same day the governor extended an emergency order allowing the state to quickly spend money to try to resolve problems in a prison system beset by violence and poor living conditions. The two developments were announced separately, and there was no indication Gov. Tate Reeves’ extension of the emergency order was in response to the latest death. The U.S. Justice Department is investigating Mississippi prisons after a string of inmate deaths. The death Monday brings the total to at least 16 since late December. Most of the inmate deaths have occurred at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman and many of them during violent clashes. Sunflower County Coroner Heather Burton said an autopsy will be done on James Allen Brown, 54, who died Monday.
Jefferson City: The Republican-led state Senate on Monday passed a proposal to once again ask voters to change the state’s redistricting rules. Less than two years after voters approved a new redistricting plan, senators voted 22-9 in favor of another constitutional amendment to change how state House and Senate districts are drawn. Only one Republican, Sen. Lincoln Hough of Springfield, joined Democrats in opposing the measure. If approved by the GOP-led House, the proposal would go before voters this year. At issue is a 2018 constitutional amendment approved by voters that made “partisan fairness” and “competitiveness” the top criteria for drawing state House and Senate districts. The Senate plan would lower those to the least important factors. Republicans pushing the new initiative say the 2018 amendment was deceptively marketed because it was packaged with a series of attractive ethics reforms.
Lincoln: Seeley Lake musher Jessie Royer won the 2020 Race to the Sky sled dog race, giving her five wins since she was the youngest to win the race in 1994, at age 17. Royer and 11 dogs crossed the finish line near Lincoln at 9: 22 p.m. Monday, race officials said. The 300-mile race began Saturday afternoon. Royer’s first Race to the Sky win came on a 500-mile course. Her wins in 2015, 2016 and 2018 were 300-mile races. Royer didn’t compete in the Race to the Sky in 2017 and 2019 because she ran the Yukon Quest. Royer is scheduled to compete in the nearly 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race next month. She finished third last year. Josi Thyr of Seeley Lake, who has been working at Royer’s kennel this winter, won the 100-mile Race to the Sky early Sunday.
Lincoln: A statue of renowned novelist Willa Cather is slated to replace a statue of the politician and Arbor Day founder J. Sterling Morton at the U.S. Capitol. The 9-foot, 5,500-pound Morton statue will get a new home in Nebraska City as early as this fall after sitting on display in D.C. for more than 80 years, according to the Lincoln Journal Star. Two years ago, state senators voted to replace Morton and William Jennings Bryan as Nebraska’s longtime representatives at the Capitol’s National Statutory Hall, selecting Cather and Ponca Indian Chief Standing Bear to fill those spots. Morton, an Illinois native, moved to Nebraska City in 1854 and became a farmer, editor and member of the territorial legislature. He served as territorial secretary and, later, secretary of agriculture for President Grover Cleveland. He became a household name in the state for launching Arbor Day in 1872. Nebraskans planted an estimated 1 million trees that first year. The Cather statue should be done this summer. It could be next year before her statue replaces Morton’s.
Las Vegas: The state Democratic Party has announced new paper-based balloting for its early vote starting Saturday as it scrambles to reconfigure plans and avoid tech problems and reporting delays that mired Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses. The party, which dumped its original plan to have people cast early caucus votes with an app downloaded on iPads, is working to simplify the process and build in “additional redundancies” that minimize errors, according to a memo from executive director Alana Mounce released Tuesday. Volunteers will use iPads loaded with a PDF of the Nevada voter roll to check in voters who show up to participate in four days of early voting, according to Mounce’s memo. Each voter will be given a card with the voter registration ID number and a PIN, both of which the voter will enter when checking in online via a Google form. Voters will then fill out paper ballots ranking their top choices for the Democratic presidential nominee.
Congress: New Hampshire
Concord: Amanda Whitworth has been named the state’s artist laureate. Whitworth, of Ashland, is the first dancer to receive the award. She is director of dance at Plymouth State University, where she has expanded the dance curriculum focus toward interdisciplinary thinking and collaborative performances. Whitworth, a co-founder of the new Hampshire Dance Alliance, assisted with revision of the state Department of Education’s State Curricular Standards for Dance Education. She also created a website that provides free resources for dance educators, performers and enthusiasts. She is a co-founder of Articine, which helps artists and medical professionals collaborate to incorporate the arts into diagnosis and treatment. Gov. Chris Sununu had nominated Whitworth to the position. She was confirmed by the Executive Council.
Congress: New Jersey
Middle Township: A manatee that washed up dead on the Delaware Bay shoreline in Cape May County is puzzling marine experts who are curious why the mammal was this far north in winter. The warm-water mammal known more for grazing the shallow, marshy water around Florida was deceased for possibly two weeks when it was found Sunday at a bay beach in Middle Township. The animal was 11 feet long, and experts estimate it weighed 900 pounds. Staff from the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine investigated its death. The center’s executive director, Robert Shoelkopf, said the manatee most likely starved to death in the colder water. “It’s not uncommon for them to venture up here, but it’s rare to see one in February,” he said. “Once it got up here, it probably could not find enough food to keep its body warm.”
Congress: New Mexico
Albuquerque: A legislative proposal seeks to draw tourists to a historic Hispanic and Native American trail that once linked early Spanish settlers from Mexico City to an area just north of Santa Fe. A bill sponsored by state Rep. Andres Romero would erect landmarks from Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo in northern New Mexico to southern New Mexico related to a route that connected the regions for hundreds of years. It also calls for the state to spend $5 million to create a commission to study ways to bring visitors to the trail, also called the Jornada del Muerto (the Journey of the Dead Man). “The El Camino Real is really a story of New Mexico and our rich and cultural diversity of the state,” Romero said. Some of the money would be used to help towns and tribes promote areas of the trail that go through their territories. The El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro is part of the U.S. National Park Service’s National Trails system. Still, it lacks many markers and infrastructure to make it a tourist attraction in New Mexico.
Congress: New York
Beacon: The annual music festival launched by Pete Seeger more than four decades ago will be scaled back this year as the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater struggles with financial losses, the environmental organization announced Tuesday. Instead of a two-day music festival, Clearwater will hold a weekend of environmental activism June 20-21 at Croton Point Park along the Hudson River north of New York City, said Greg Williams, Clearwater’s executive director. Attendance will be limited to about 500 people. The annual Great Hudson River Revival, billed as the country’s oldest and largest music and environmental festival, has served as a fundraiser for the Sloop Clearwater, a 106-foot-long replica of a Dutch sailing vessel that Seeger, the late folk music artist, launched in 1969. The sloop has had a prominent role in the cleanup of the Hudson River, as well as educational programs and advocacy of environmental and social justice campaigns. The festival, held every year on Father’s Day weekend, was founded in 1966 and has featured artists such as Janis Ian, Arlo Guthrie, Dizzy Gillespie and Indigo Girls.
Congress: North Carolina
Farmville: A Republican congressman who died last year could soon be remembered with a local post office named in his memory. Members of the state’s congressional delegation have filed legislation designating the Walter B. Jones Jr. Post Office in the Pitt County town of Farmville, where Jones lived until his death at age 76. U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis introduced a measure Monday – the one-year anniversary of his death – to rename the North Main Street locale for Jones. A similar House resolution sponsored by Jones’ successor, Rep. Greg Murphy, and other North Carolina representatives was approved unanimously last week by the chamber. Jones is a former state legislator who served in Congress from 1995 until he died in office. Either Jones or his father, Walter Jones Sr., represented eastern North Carolina in Congress for five decades.
Congress: North Dakota
Bismarck: A federal judge has rejected a request by the state to dismiss a tribal lawsuit challenging North Dakota’s voter ID law. U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland ruled Monday that the Spirit Lake Nation and the Standing Rock Sioux, as well as six individual Native American plaintiffs, have a right to challenge the state’s requirement that voters have ID with a provable street address. The lawsuit filed in October 2018 by the Spirit Lake Sioux on behalf of itself and six tribal members came in the days leading up to the Nov. 6 general election that year. The lawsuit that was later joined by the Standing Rock Sioux was part of a larger effort to ensure that members of all North Dakota tribes could vote following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that month in a similar but separate lawsuit filed by the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. A provable street address can be hard to come by on reservations.
Cincinnati: Naloxone dispensing increased more than 2,000% in the state since it was made available without a prescription in 2015, research shows. A new study by the University of Cincinnati shows obtaining naloxone without a prescription made a huge impact in the state, WCPO reports. The drug, which reverses the effects of an opioid overdose by helping the person breathe again, was made available to purchase from a pharmacy without a prescription in July 2015. Before the law passed, residents had to go through an order process to get naloxone, which some said created barriers. “In the past a person would have had to go to a physician’s office, see the physician, get a prescription, go to the pharmacy to get the medication, so those are a lot of steps,” said Pam Heaton, a professor of pharmacy practice at UC’s Winkle College. Ohio had the second-highest rate of opioid overdose deaths in 2017, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Oklahoma City: A federal judge has ordered Gov. Kevin Stitt and Native American tribes to mediate their monthslong dispute over the gambling compacts that give tribes the exclusive right to operate casinos in the the state. U.S. District Court Chief Judge Timothy D. DeGiusti ordered the tribes and the Republican governor to submit a list of three proposed mediators. The court will quickly appoint one mediator to facilitate discussions. Monday’s decision is in response to a December lawsuit filed by three of the state’s most powerful Native American tribes – the Chickasaw, Cherokee and Choctaw nations – seeking clarity over the gambling dispute with the governor. The two parties have been locked in a disagreement for months over whether gambling exclusively at tribal casinos automatically renewed Jan. 1 for another 15-year term. Both parties welcomed the judge’s decision.
Salem: Environmental groups and timber companies in the state, which have clashed for decades, on Monday unveiled a road map for overhauling forest practice regulations, a step that Gov. Kate Brown called “historic.” The agreement came after the two sides quietly held meetings, facilitated by the governor’s office, in Salem and Portland over the past month to try to find common ground, instead of filing competing initiative petitions and lawsuits. “I walked in on the first meeting, and I knew folks were serious when the timber industry folks had their shirt sleeves rolled up, and enviros were in suits and ties,” Brown said at a news conference. The meetings resulted in leaders of about a dozen environmental groups, including Oregon Wild, the Audubon Society of Portland and Cascadia Wildlands, and of a dozen timber companies, including Weyerhaeuser, one of the largest forest products companies in the world, and Lone Rock of Roseburg, Oregon, signing a memorandum of understanding. Oregon leads the nation in wood-products manufacturing, according to industry experts.
Harrisburg: The state is launching a website where voters for the first time can request the newly legalized mail-in ballots ahead of the state’s April 28 primary election, officials said Tuesday. The mail-in ballots, part of an election reform law signed in October by Gov. Tom Wolf, now allow all voters to vote by mail for any reason. The website was live as of Tuesday. Online applicants must supply a driver’s license number or an identification card number issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, as well as their name, address, phone number and email address. Prospective voters can also use the site to apply for an absentee ballot, and they will be asked questions to determine whether they qualify for one. The deadline for county election offices to receive applications is 5 p.m. April 21.
Congress: Rhode Island
Providence: The state Senate is considering a package of bills aimed at addressing the rising cost of prescription drugs. Eight bills were introduced this month that aim to provide a way to import cheaper drugs from Canada, ensure more market transparency, raise consumer awareness about price changes and limit patients’ share of the costs. Democratic Senate President Dominick Ruggerio has said that addressing the rising costs of prescription drugs is among his top priorities for this legislative session. He sponsored a prescription drug transparency act to require pharmaceutical drug manufacturers to provide wholesale drug acquisition cost information. “Rhode Island’s population is one of the oldest in the nation and the high prices consumers pay for prescriptions have a significant impact on us,” he said in a statement Wednesday. AARP Rhode Island is advocating for several of the bills.
Congress: South Carolina
Aiken: The installation of cameras in the city’s downtown area to help increase safety is scheduled for April. The cameras are meant to “deter crime and assist with the investigation of any crimes that do occur in the downtown area,” Aiken Public Safety Capt. Bryan Mills says. The Aiken Department of Public Safety will have the ability to access live or recorded footage from any of the cameras from its headquarters, the Aiken Standard reports. The city will be partnering with downtown businesses to implement the project, which will initially focus on the portion of the downtown around the Alley Plaza area. “The downtown area is just phase one,” Mills says. Operated by Netplanner Systems, the system is being built from the Transportation and Public Safety Improvement fund with $450,000 being used for the cost of equipment, construction and future annual costs to maintain the system.
Congress: South Dakota
Pierre: The state Senate has approved a bill that would allow the state to offer a written driver’s license test in Spanish. The legislation passed Monday now goes to the House for its consideration. The driving skills portion of the test would still be completed in English. The bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. V.J. Smith, said the main argument from opponents is that test-takers should know English. But Smith said they can already use an interpreter at the exam, so they already don’t need to know English. Sen. Maggie Sutton opposed the bill. “Driving is a privilege, not a right,” the Sioux Falls Republican said. Sutton said her grandmother spoke only Spanish when she arrived in the United States, learned English and became a U.S. citizen.
Nashville: State lawmakers on Monday approved a resolution officially designating Tennessee “The Volunteer State.” The resolution received unanimous approval from the GOP-controlled House after receiving the same approval in the GOP-controlled Senate the week before. Tennessee first became known as the Volunteer State during the War of 1812 due to its prominent role of sending 1,500 volunteer soldiers. However, despite the popularity of the nickname, the resolution’s sponsors say it was never officially adopted into Tennessee’s statutes. According to the secretary of state’s website, the War of 1812 thrust Tennessee into the national spotlight by showcasing its “military and political prowess.”
Austin: The cancer charity whose yellow wristbands became a global brand under founder Lance Armstrong is seeking to reinvent itself, years after donations and revenues crashed along with the disgraced cyclist’s career. Armstrong was nowhere to be seen earlier this month during Livestrong’s “relaunch” ceremony in Austin. The charity announced plans to end its one-on-one cancer support services, where a patient could call for help dealing with insurance, counseling and medical trials. Instead, it will pivot to spending $5 million to 6 million annually to support entrepreneurs developing products to improve treatment and patient care. Livestrong will maintain its partnership with the Livestrong Cancer Institutes at the University of Texas Dell Medical School, which focuses on cancer research, patient care and treatment. “We’re more than a wristband,” Livestrong President and CEO Greg Lee told a crowd of about 200 gathered for the event.
Moab: Local tourism officials have launched a marketing campaign that aims to blunt the negative effects of the millions of visitors who visit the southeastern Utah town each year. Moab Area Travel Council officials say the “Do It Like a Local” campaign is meant to educate visitors on ways to practice sustainable tourism that is kinder to the environment and to the year-round residents, according to The Deseret News. A recent survey of 405 people in the community revealed that locals largely responded negatively to the effects of tourism on the town, while dismissing or understating the benefit tourism dollars bring, said Elaine Gizler, executive director of the Moab Area Travel Council. Moab has a population of 5,000 and draws about 3 million visitors a year to the area because of its proximity to Arches and Canyonlands national parks. The area known for its stunning red rocks is a mecca for hiking, rock crawling, mountain biking and river running. The marketing campaign will have themes such as “Pack It In, Pack It Out,” and “Don’t Bust the Crust,” telling people to stay on trails to protect the fragile soil crust that protects against erosion.
Montpelier: A bounty of late autumn foods and warm temperatures are keeping some of the state’s bears awake during the winter months they would normally be hibernating, biologists say. So Vermont bear biologist Forrest Hammond is urging people to avoid disturbing bears or providing them any food. During years when food is short, bears will sometimes go into their winter dens as early as October. Hibernating allows bears to conserve energy and fat reserves. “But in years like 2019 when late autumn foods such as acorns, beech nuts, apples, mountain ash berries and winter berries are plentiful, many bears will remain active as long as they can find food,” Hammond says. There is not much insulating snow this winter, and bears feel less secure, so they spend less time hibernating. He urged people to remove potential sources of food and to bring in their bird feeders if bears appear.
Richmond: Local governments may soon have the power to remove Confederate monuments in their public spaces under legislation approved Tuesday by state lawmakers. Since a violent 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Republican lawmakers had rejected renewed calls to amend a war memorials law to allow the controversial statues to come down. But the GOP in November lost full control of the General Assembly, giving Democrats an opportunity to target the statues that critics say distastefully glorify Virginia’s history as a slaveholding state. On Tuesday, largely along party lines, the Democrat-led House and Senate passed measures that would give cities and counties the autonomy to “remove, relocate, contextualize, cover or alter” the monuments in their public spaces.
Seattle: The City Council voted Monday to approve legislation meant to halt residential evictions during the coldest, wettest months of the year. Before voting 7-0, the council trimmed the period covered by Councilmember Kshama Sawant’s legislation from five months to three months, limited the rule to low- and moderate-income tenants, and exempted landlords with four or fewer housing units, The Seattle Times reports. Mayor Jenny Durkan warned the council against enacting the legislation. Durkan spokesman Ernesto Apreza said before the vote that a legal fight is almost certain and could be costly to taxpayers. Supporters say the ban is needed to combat homelessness and to keep people who are down on their luck from being forced outside during bad weather. They note evictions disproportionately affect women and people of color, and people can die without shelter. Seattle is the first U.S. city to adopt such a broad ban.
Congress: West Virginia
Charleston: State residents who participate in a nutrition program for women and children will be able to use a smartphone app that provides around-the-clock lactation support. The app, called Pacify, will be offered free to women participating in West Virginia’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. West Virginia is the seventh public partner to offer access to Pacify’s services at no cost, Advantia Health said in a news release. The company said a case study in Mississippi showed mothers there were more likely to exclusively breastfeed if they were using Pacify. West Virginia WIC serves nearly 35,000 mothers and young children monthly, West Virginia Public Health Commissioner Dr. Catherine Slemp said in the release. The app connects mothers via video with clinicians including nurses and lactation consultants, the release said.
Madison: Republican lawmakers continued their drive Tuesday to punish students who disrupt conservative speakers on college campuses, pushing a bill that calls for suspensions and expulsions after multiple incidents through the state Assembly. Under the bill, students who disrupt another’s free speech on University of Wisconsin System and Wisconsin Technical College Sytem campuses twice would be suspended. Three-time offenders would be expelled. The Assembly approved the proposal 62-37, sending it to the Senate. The GOP introduced a similar bill last session after protests disrupted conservative speakers on college campuses around the country, including conservative commentator Ben Shapiro’s appearance at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in November 2016. That bill died in the Senate, but UW System regents adopted an identical punishment policy in 2017. It hasn’t gone into effect yet.
Cheyenne: The state has enough savings to take time and be thoughtful about future spending cuts, particularly for education, amid declining revenue from fossil fuels, Gov. Mark Gordon said Monday in his second annual State of the State address. Yet Gordon promised not to dither amid what he described as efforts by other states to boost renewable energy sources at the expense of the coal, oil and natural gas industries. Wyoming produces energy more safely and with more concern for the environment than anywhere else in the world, said Gordon, a Republican. “And yet our industries are still discriminated against, maligned and decried as dead. Well, not on my watch,” Gordon said to applause and cheers from a joint session of the overwhelmingly Republican Legislature.
From USA TODAY Network and wire reports
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