From staff and wire reports
Published 12:25 AM EDT Apr 30, 2019
Birmingham: The city is considering mobile grocery stores to fill a gap in residential areas where healthy food options aren’t available. WBRC-TV reports that the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama already operates a truck that sells fruit, fresh vegetables and dairy products in so-called food deserts. City leaders are considering a plan to expand such offerings as part of an initiative by Mayor Randall Woodfin. Mobile stores wouldn’t be allowed on vacant lots, and they couldn’t operate within 1,000 feet of stores that sell similar food items. They could set up shop in commercial area and neighborhoods. The city says about 70% of residents live in areas that don’t have stores offering healthy food. The problem is getting worse with store closings in recent years.
Anchorage: A minister is leading an effort to help an impoverished Native village create a new economy with the plentiful supply of reindeer that roam its island home. John Honan sees great potential for establishing a small commercial reindeer processing plant for residents of Saint George, home to 60 people and an estimated 350 reindeer. Honan is a Protestant pastor who runs an emergency housing ministry on another island. He has launched a donation drive for equipment. He’s also set up a relief fund for the tiny Aleut community. Donations so far include a portable band saw, a table saw, two sets of butchering knives and $730 to go toward a refrigerated shipping container to serve as the plant building. Saint George Mayor Pat Pletnikoff envisions creating three or four jobs.
Phoenix: A collection of photos taken in the Four Corners region by a prominent Arizona ranching family during the late 19th and early 20th centuries is being called a snapshot of history. The State of Arizona Research Library says the selection of images from the Wetherill family’s collection can be viewed online as part of the Arizona Memory Project. Curatorial Specialist Jannelle Weakly says the Wetherills were ranchers, traders, explorers, and amateur archaeologists who participated in the discovery, excavation, research and preservation of significant sites in the Four Corners area. The collection holds images from John Wetherill’s travels to Rainbow Bridge, Monument Valley and Mesa Verde, as well as photos Wetherill took of American Indians, including notable Navajo leaders Hosteen Luca and Wolfkiller.
Pine Bluff: A statue topped by a Confederate soldier is to be moved from the grounds of the Jefferson County Courthouse to a nearby Confederate cemetery. County Judge Gerald Robinson told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy has agreed to move the monument to Camp White Sulphur Springs Cemetery. DeeLois Lawrence of the David O. Dodd Chapter of the organization, which owns both the statue and the cemetery, said if the statue is causing controversy because of its location, the group wants it on its private property. The 20-foot tall statue was erected in 1910 on the grounds of Pine Bluff High School and was moved to the courthouse lawn in 1974. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.
Cathedral City: Palm Springs Mayor Robert Moon served in the U.S. Navy for 26 years. He remained silent about his sexual orientation for his entire service, including after he married his husband. When he deployed to sea, Moon recalled, he and husband Bob Hammack had to conceal their relationship in the letters they sent back and forth across the world. “We couldn’t write anything personal, because someone could read those letters,” Moon said. “We could only say, ‘How’s the cat? How’s the dog?’ If someone saw a letter and read it, I could be thrown out.” Moon shared this story Saturday morning, during a ceremony to designate the LGBTQ Veterans Memorial at the Desert Memorial Park cemetery in Cathedral City as an official state memorial. California is now the first state in the nation to have an official memorial honoring gay veterans. Moon called the designation “very personal.”
Aspen: The U.S. Forest Service says the popular Maroon Bells Scenic Area in western Colorado will not open as scheduled May 15 because of avalanche debris that must be removed from the access road. The Aspen Times reports that the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District is tentatively setting the opening for June 15 after consulting last week with Pitkin County public works officials. Maroon Creek Road has been covered by numerous slides in the 7 miles between T-Lazy-7 Ranch and Maroon Lake. The road is covered with snow several feet deep as well as tree trunks. Sixteen couples planning weddings in view of the Maroon Bells between Memorial Day Weekend and June 14 have been notified that they have to change their plans.
Hartford: Nursing home owners and their employees are keeping a close eye on the General Assembly to see if lawmakers agree to spend more money on Medicaid-related health services. The Appropriations Committee is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a spending plan that will ultimately become part of a two-year budget compromise with Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont. More than 2,400 workers at 20 facilities had planned to walk off the job May 1 if they don’t receive pay raises. But the members of SEIU 1199 New England announced last Thursday that they’ve temporarily rescinded those strike notices for Wednesday. Matthew Barrett, the head of an association that represents nursing homes, says operators had been encouraging all parties to remain at the bargaining table.
Wilmington: A traveling memorial dedicated to the thousands of men and women who died while fighting in the War on Terror launched after 9/11 will be in the state from Sept. 27 to Oct. 2. Organizers are encouraging anyone with loved ones killed in the conflict to submit their names, along with two photos, as soon as possible so they can be listed on one of several “tribute towers” when it visits. “To ensure your loved one is added, do it now,” says Evonne Williams, part of the husband-and-wife duo behind the “Remembering Our Fallen” memorial. Its visit to Delaware coincides with Vet Fest 2019, which will be held in Whitehall on Sept. 28. If you would like your loved one to be included in the memorial, fill out the form online. To find out more, visit patrioticproductions.org.
District of Columbia
Washington: Several self-declared white nationalists interrupted a political book reading, declared listeners would have white people trade their “homeland for handouts” and then peacefully left amid a chorus of boos. The Washington Post reports about 10 men marched into the Politics and Prose bookstore Saturday while Jonathan M. Metzl discussed “Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment is Killing America’s Heartland.” Metzl is the director of the Center for Medicine, Health, and Society at Vanderbilt University. His book discusses how some lower- and middle-class white Americans support politicians whose policies place those classes at greater risk of illness and death. Store co-owner Bradley Graham says the unusual interruption is a sign of the times. Metzl says he had just mentioned Nazis when “the Nazis walked into the talk.”
Prospect Bluff: Two hundred years ago, a post overlooking the Apalachicola River housed what historians say was the largest community of freed slaves in North America at the time. Now Hurricane Michael has given archaeologists an unprecedented opportunity to study its story, a significant tale of black resistance that ended in bloodshed. The Negro Fort site, also known as Fort Gadsden, sits in the Apalachicola National Forest near the hamlet of Sumatra. Managed by the U.S. Forest Service, the site has been preserved as a National Historic Landmark and park and thus was never excavated for artifacts, except in 1963 by Florida State University, mainly to identify structural remains. October’s Category 5 hurricane caused extensive damage to the site, toppling about 100 trees. Under the massive roots, archaeologists began this month to dig and sift through the soil.
Atlanta: Agencies in DeKalb County are collecting new and gently used children’s shoes as donations to raise awareness about child abuse. All styles and sizes are welcome. The donation drive, running through May 10, is organized by the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office in commemoration of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, recognized each April. Any shoes collected will go to the DeKalb County Division of Family and Children Services to help the children the agency serves. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the county prosecutor’s office is partnering with the county’s Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs to use several recreation centers as drop-off locations. Three of the centers are in Decatur, two each in Lithonia and Scottdale, and one in Atlanta.
Kailua-Kona: Officials have found high levels of a chemical that’s found in sunscreen and believed to harm coral reefs in bay waters off Hawaii’s Big Island. West Hawaii Today reports the Kahaluu Bay Education Center last year commissioned testing for oxybenzone at five sites in the bay on the island’s west side. The recently returned results found the chemical’s concentration to be 262 times greater than levels considered high-risk by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Haereticus Environmental Laboratory executive director Craig Downs says one of the samples had the highest concentration “ever measured in the world.” The Legislature last year enacted a law banning sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate, aiming to protect the state’s reefs. The ban takes effect in 2021.
Boise: Land management officials have put together a new online map so hikers, campers and other outdoor enthusiasts can know when and where to expect prescribed burns. Boise State Public Radio reports national forests in the state along with the Bureau of Land Management and the Idaho Department of Lands put together the maps for prescribed burns happening through July on the Southwest Idaho Interagency Prescribed Fire website. The goal of prescribed burns is to reduce fuels on the ground, create fire-resilient trees, and help protect people and timber from severe wildland fires. Agencies typically post caution signs with closures and a map of where they plan to burn along trailheads and roads leading to the locations. But the interactive website will allow recreationists to check for prescribed burns before they head out to the wilderness.
Chicago: Nat King Cole’s brother will be part of a tribute to the late singer at this year’s Chicago Jazz Festival. The free fest is planned for Aug. 23 to Sept. 1 at the lakefront Millennium Park, the Chicago Cultural Center and other venues throughout the city. Freddy Cole is scheduled to honor his older brother’s legacy Aug. 29 at Millennium Park’s Pritzker Pavilion. The famed baritone would have celebrated his 100th birthday this year. Cole is known for songs like “Unforgettable” and “Mona Lisa.” This year’s festival also will include performances from Roscoe Mitchell, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Eddie Palmieri, and George Freeman and Billy Branch. The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events hosts the event.
Goshen: A 17-year-old who passed his college admissions test at age 11 has become the youngest known graduate of Goshen College. Mikol Aspinwall graduated Sunday from the Christian liberal arts college with a computer science degree. The Phoenix native lived with his mother in Goshen during his four years at college, but some of his college friends didn’t know how young he was. The South Bend Tribune reports that Aspinwall began high school at age 9 at an Arizona State University academy for gifted and talented students. Goshen College communications professor Duane Stoltzfus says Aspinwall is memorable for his eloquence and modesty, calling him “somebody who is just very humble about his accomplishments.” Aspinwall is now chasing his dream of attending graduate school at the University of Notre Dame.
Bellevue: Officials are trying to stop the spread of gypsy moths in eastern Iowa’s Jackson County. The Telegraph Herald reports that the state conducted aerial treatments of land west of Bellevue earlier this month. The gypsy moth has spread slowly west from Massachusetts since the 1870s. It’s an invasive species that can cause extensive deforestation as its larvae eat leaves, particularly oak leaves. Mike Kintner, gypsy moth outreach and regulatory coordinator for Iowa, says last year’s treatment reduced the number of gypsy moths, “but we noted that there was movement northward. This year we’re trying to stop that spread.”
Pittsburg: Pittsburg State University students are experimenting with developing a sustainable food production system that can grow plants without soil while also raising fish. The Joplin Globe reports that the group is working with the university’s biology department and Enactus, a nonprofit that encourages entrepreneurship. Hydroponics is growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions in water. The students say they’re growing arugula, red kale, romaine, collard greens and butter lettuce in a garden built from PVC pipes. The rooftop greenhouse plants are covered with mosquito netting to diffuse sunlight. Enactus donated to the project a hydroponic prototype that was also used to establish a hydroponics operation at a Haitian orphanage. Fish will soon arrive, and their waste will provide nutrients for the plants.
Frankfort: A postsecondary education council says the state is on track to reach its educational attainment goal of 60% of the working-age population having a certificate or degree by 2030. The update comes from the release of Kentucky’s Council on Postsecondary Education’s annual progress report on educational achievement rates, which says the total number of undergraduate degrees and credentials conferred increased 2.9% in 2017-18 over the prior year. That beats the 1.7% average annual increase needed to stay on track toward the long-range goal. The increase includes public and independent institutions. The report shows undergraduate degrees and credentials increased 2.6% at public universities and at the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.
New Orleans: Veteran actress Regina Hall has been tapped to address graduates of Dillard University next month. Hall will be the 2019 speaker for commencement ceremonies scheduled at 8 a.m. May 11 on the campus’ historic Avenue of the Oaks. Hall holds an English degree from Fordham University and a master’s degree in journalism from New York University’s Arthur L. Cater Journalism Institute. But after her father died, she decided to pursue goals that “aligned with her spirit” and began landing acting roles for commercials and on prime-time television. Her work includes “The Best Man,” “Girls Trip” and a comedy out now, “Little,” which also stars Issa Rae (“Insecure”) and Marsai Martin (“Black-ish”). Dillard President Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough says Hall “definitely has a message for our graduates.”
Augusta: The administration of Gov. Janet Mills is ending the use of photos on food benefits cards, saying there is no evidence such efforts cut down on fraud. The Democrat’s administration said Friday that the state is ending the policy immediately. Republican former Gov. Paul LePage’s administration in 2014 began allowing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients to have photos placed on electronic benefits cards. Mills’ administration says federal officials have warned Maine that it doesn’t adequately inform participants that the program is voluntary. The administration says some households have been wrongly denied grocery purchases because they weren’t pictured on EBT cards. Participants who currently have photo EBT cards may continue to use them.
Baltimore: About 300,000 people a year are infected with Lyme disease through tick bites, and for up to 20% of them the condition persists after a course of antibiotics. But just in time for tick season, Johns Hopkins University researchers are now onto a promising treatment for those sufferers, The Baltimore Sun reports. It would be the first specific treatment for those who contend with such symptoms as fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and brain fog, sometimes severe. Researchers from the Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have had success in mice with a three-drug combination – daptomycin, doxycycline and ceftriaxone – to treat what is now called post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. The new study was published in the March 28 journal Discovery Medicine.
Boston: Roman Catholics in the area will have a rare chance to worship before the literal heart of a saint. The 150-year-old “incorruptible heart” of Saint Jean Vianney will be displayed starting Tuesday at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, the Boston Archdiocese’s mother church. It also will be on view this week in Braintree, Walpole and Salem. The relic is passing through New England as part of a nationwide tour sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternity. It’s been displayed at churches in New York, Rhode Island and Maine and will also visit Connecticut and other states. Vianney was a French priest in the 1800s famous for spending hours hearing people’s confessions. He was canonized in 1925 and is considered the patron saint of parish priests.
Detroit: Science Gallery Detroit is getting ready to open a new exhibition in partnership with the Michigan Science Center. The gallery’s second exhibition is titled “DEPTH” and runs June 8-Aug. 17 at the science center. “DEPTH” will explore water’s intense power while also showcasing the beauty and life it brings. It invites visitors to contemplate the future of mankind in relation to water. Last year, a multimedia exhibition titled “HUSTLE “ that explored struggle, survival and success attracted more than 10,000 visitors. It was the gallery’s inaugural exhibition. Science Gallery Detroit, developed with Michigan State University and Science Gallery International, was billed the first venue of its kind in the Americas.
Belle Plaine: The Satanic Temple is suing the city for withdrawing permission for a satanic monument two years ago. Satanic Temple co-founder Malcolm Jarry told the Star Tribune that people have a right to protest the proposed monument but not at the expense of the group’s civil rights. The predicament in which the city of Belle Plaine finds itself began in 2017 when officials decided to allow a steel silhouette of a soldier praying over a grave marked with a cross at a veterans’ memorial park. The Satanic Temple wanted its own monument in the park in an area the city designated as a “public forum” after complaints that the soldiers’ monument violated the separation of church and state. Officials shut down the public forum area altogether when complaints followed over the proposed satanic monument.
Tupelo: A car museum’s four-wheeled stock was auctioned off for $8.6 million over the weekend, with a 1948 Tucker bringing $1.8 million. The Tupelo Automobile Museum’s signs and other “automobilia” brought in $428,000 a day earlier. The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports that designer Preston Tucker’s grandsons were present as Tucker No. 1028 was gaveled down Saturday. Mike Tucker says it was an original Indianapolis test car. It went to Tim Stentiford, representing the Maine Classic Car Museum in Arundel. He says that museum is set to open in June and has set aside a room for the Tucker – one of 51 ever made. The Tupelo museum’s owner, Jane Spain, has said she’ll use auction proceeds to pay off a loan used to build the museum and to start an education foundation.
Kansas City: When Kansas City officials voted in January to rename a major boulevard after Martin Luther King Jr., it appeared the city had finally joined more than 950 across the U.S. with streets or public buildings honoring the civil rights icon. Then a grassroots group of volunteers started collecting signatures asking that the renaming of the boulevard known as The Paseo be placed on the ballot this year. On Friday, they turned in petitions with 2,857 signatures. The group wants to retain the 10-mile street’s historic name and find some other way to honor King. The mostly black leaders of the effort to rename The Paseo say it would be embarrassing for Kansas City to remove King’s name, especially after waiting more than 50 years to honor him.
Great Falls: Native American students graduating from Great Falls College MSU will be honored at an eagle feather ceremony Saturday morning, when they will be presented with an eagle feather. This will be the first time GFC MSU has held this ceremony for Native American students. The students will carry their eagle feather with them at commencement later that day and keep it as a reminder of their scholarly accomplishment. The feathers, which will be blessed and beaded, will be handed out by an elder. The meaning of the feather will be shared, and stories from the ceremony will be told. “The significance of receiving an eagle feather is one of the most powerful honors that an indigenous person can receive,” says Dugan Coburn, College Pathways Advisor.
Omaha: Doctors, nurses and other health care workers connected with a medical school in Omaha may have found making music with their orchestra to be the best medicine for easing their stress and meeting work challenges. The Nebraska Medical Orchestra was formed last year and rehearses for a couple of hours each week under the direction of Matthew Brooks, director of orchestras at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. The 55-member ensemble already has given concerts, performing works by such composers as Mozart and Bach. Dr. Steven Wengel, a psychiatrist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and assistant vice chancellor of campus wellness for both universities, told the Omaha World-Herald a study shows that medical students exposed to the humanities have much lower burnout rates and score higher on measures of empathy and wisdom.
Reno: People will soon be able to track aerial drones flying within about 5 miles of downtown, as the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Safety, a state-funded group seeking to upgrade drone infrastructure, has landed an agreement to test drone-tracking hardware and software in the urban environment. The program, which includes the city, state and federal governments and drone manufacturer DJI, is part of a broader, Nevada-based effort to serve as a testing ground for drone technology. “This is going to be the foundation of what the future of unmanned traffic management looks like,” says David Hansell, public policy manager for DJI.
Concord: Hike Safe cards are available for hikers, climbers, kayakers, mountain bikers and other outdoor enthusiasts in the Granite State. The card sales help ensure that New Hampshire Fish and Game conservation officers, trained in wilderness rescue, are ready to come to a person’s aid if the unexpected happens. Last year, they conducted 148 search-and-rescue missions. The card exempts holders from certain liability for repaying search-and-rescue costs. Hike Safe cards for 2019 cost $25 for an individual or $35 for a family. They are valid for the calendar year ending Dec. 31, 2019. The price is the same for residents and nonresidents. Revenue goes to the Search and Rescue Fund. Last year, 5,311 cards were sold, generating $134,349.
Red Bank: Early civil rights leader T. Thomas Fortune’s house has been saved from the ravages of time and neglect. The home will now “stand and educate people” as a cultural center, builder Roger Mumford says. Mumford, of Roger Mumford Homes, restored the property that Fortune called home from 1901 to 1911. The center will make its public debut this Thursday and Friday as a new addition, destination and stop along the Weekend in Old Monmouth historic tour. Fortune was born into slavery in 1856 in Florida. He moved to New York City in the late 1870s and became co-founder and editor of The New York Age, the nation’s leading African American newspaper. At Maple Hall, his Red Bank home, Fortune and wife Carrie entertained many of the most influential African American leaders of the day, including Booker T. Washington.
Albuquerque: The move to legalize the production of hemp has investors in the state racing to get a piece of what could be a multibillion-dollar industry. Business leaders are hurrying to capture part of what cannabis market research firm New Frontier Data estimates will become a $2.6 billion industry nationwide by 2022, the Albuquerque Journal reports. Former Democratic gubernatorial candidate and businessman Jeff Apodaca is among those looking into getting involved in the hemp industry. “Pretty soon, when you talk about New Mexico, you’ll be talking about green chile, pecans and hemp,” Apodaca says. He and others describe the state’s burgeoning hemp sector as a “gold rush,” one that is attracting investors with varying degrees of sophistication.
Watkins Glen: Woodstock 50 is proving to be as chaotic as the original festival in 1969. A financial investor announced Monday that it was pulling its funding from the anniversary event, set to take place Aug. 16-18 in Watkins Glen. “Despite our tremendous investment of time, effort and commitment, we don’t believe the production of the festival can be executed as an event worthy of the Woodstock Brand name while also ensuring the health and safety of the artists, partners and attendees,” Dentsu Aegis Network’s Amplifi Live said in a statement. Representatives for Woodstock 50 or Michael Lang, who co-founded the festival, didn’t immediately reply to emails seeking comment. Tickets were originally supposed to go on sale last week but were postponed, and a sale date still has not been announced.
Marion: More than 50 firefighters, including a hot shot crew, were battling a wildfire Monday that started Saturday in the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area on the U.S. Forest Service Grandfather Ranger District in Burke County, forcing closure of popular hiking trails in the area. The 5-acre Brushy Ridge fire is in a remote area near the Linville River at the end of the Brushy Ridge Trail on the northeast side of the Linville Gorge. The suspected cause of the fire is an abandoned campfire, says U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Lisa Jennings. She says firefighters hiked in Saturday night to assess the fire, in a remote, hard-to-reach location, 2.5 miles down into the gorge.
Minot: Minot State University is facing some challenges maintaining the air dome over its stadium as the facility wraps up its second season. The Minot Daily News reports that operators are struggling with the winter upkeep of the nearly $2 million bubble. Minot State Athletics Director Andy Carter says any substantial snowfall creates issues for the 86,000-square-foot bubble over Herb Parker Stadium. He says if the snow melts and hardens, it could tear the fabric and collapse the inflatable dome. Carter says crews need to monitor the dome around the clock and clear snow from its base to ensure the bubble remains operational. The university is also figuring out how to create a concession area or accommodate those who want to bring their dogs to the space.
Columbus: Two orphan manatees rescued in Florida have been moved to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium for rehabilitation. The zoo says the male calves began their rehabilitation at the Miami Seaquarium, arrived in Ohio last week and eventually will be returned to Florida waters. The larger of the two, named Bananatee, is 225 pounds. He was found in the Indian Creek waterway near Miami last July. The zoo says the other calf, 185-pound Tostone, was rescued in February from the Lake Worth Lagoon in Riviera Beach and showed signs of cold stress. The Columbus Zoo has been part of a manatee rehabilitation partnership for 20 years. It currently has three other manatees in its care.
Tishomingo: Country music star Blake Shelton’s restaurant and bar in southern Oklahoma has planned some star-studded benefit performances for the grand opening of a new music hall and events venue next month. The Doghouse at Ole Red Tishomingo will open over the Memorial Day weekend with performances by Shelton, an Oklahoma native, and fellow country music artist Luke Bryan. Ticket sales will benefit the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Foundation. The Doghouse will be an expansion of the downtown Tishomingo venue that was inspired by Shelton’s irreverent chart hit “Ol’ Red.” Shelton acquired the property in 2016 following his divorce from his ex-wife, country-music star Miranda Lambert, who had operated retail and bed-and-breakfast establishments in Tishomingo.
Salem: The state Senate is moving forward with a plan to limit the supply of recreational, legal marijuana. Lawmakers voted 18-10 Monday to freeze marijuana productions at current levels for the next two years. The state will not issue new production licenses to marijuana growers, but current growers will be able to renew their licenses. Democrat Sen. Michael Dembrow from Portland said the state produces so much marijuana that Oregon has enough of the drug to last it for the next six and a half years. That surplus has caused prices to plummet. Lawmakers shot down another version of this bill earlier this month. Republicans said at the time that the marijuana industry should be regulated by the free market, not the state. The measure now goes to the House for consideration.
Harrisburg: The Philadelphia Museum of Art will be loaning works to eight museums across the state under a new program designed to broaden public access to art. The museum announced the program Monday in the state Capitol, saying the eight participating museums have selected works they’ll be loaned during the project’s first phase. The participants are the Allentown Art Museum, the Demuth Foundation in Lancaster, the Erie Art Museum, the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, the Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State, the Reading Public Museum, the Trout Gallery in Carlisle and the Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is undertaking the art-collection sharing partnership with Art Bridges and the Terra Foundation of American Art.
Burrillville: Gov. Gina Raimondo calls a resolution passed by the town in response to her gun control proposals inappropriate. Burrillville declared itself a “Second Amendment sanctuary” last week and passed a resolution stating it supports the police department’s right to exercise sound discretion when enforcing Second Amendment-related laws. Raimondo told WPRO-AM on Monday that if new gun laws pass, she expects Burrillville to follow them. The Democrat says if town officials disagree with her, they should lobby lawmakers – but “to secede from … our laws is not an appropriate response.” Councilman Jeremy Bailey said the town doesn’t intend to enforce new laws it deems unconstitutional. Burrillville’s neighbor Glocester will consider a similar measure at a May 16 town council meeting.
Hilton Head Island: Biologists say the sea turtle season in the state has gotten an early start and a visit from a type of turtle seen less than once a decade. The Department of Natural Resources says the first loggerhead turtle nest of the season was found Friday by volunteers on Kiawah Island. Agency biologist Michelle Pate says that is the earliest she can remember a turtle sighting. Sea turtle season starts May 1. But Pate says the warm winter has turtles active sooner than normal. Also on Friday, the wildlife agency says an endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtle was found nesting on Hilton Head Island. That species of turtle has been found on a South Carolina beach just four times since the 1970s.
Buffalo: Environmental regulators are trying to figure out how to plug portions of 40 orphaned natural gas wells belonging to a company the state has already fined $15.5 million for abandoning them. Houston-based Spyglass Cedar Creek drilled the wells in 2006 near Buffalo, but the work fell idle as the company’s prospects disintegrated amid lawsuits, a lender’s bankruptcy and falling natural gas prices. The South Dakota Board of Minerals and Environment revoked the company’s permits in January, and state officials estimate it will cost $887,700 to plug the wells. The Rapid City Journal reports getting money from the Houston company could prove challenging because Spyglass was unable to post $200,000 earlier this year to keep its permits.
Memphis: A baby giraffe at the Memphis Zoo has undergone surgery for a fractured leg and is now recovering at home. Zoo officials say zookeepers noticed the female giraffe named Ali limping early this month. Keepers then noticed that Ali’s mother wasn’t providing an appropriate amount of care. Ali was separated from her mother, and veterinarians diagnosed her with a fractured right leg. She underwent a two-hour surgery in Lexington to outfit her leg with stainless steel plates and 21 bone screws. She made her way back to the zoo last week. The zoo’s curator of large animals, Courtney Janney, says Ali still is considered to be in critical condition and is being monitored for signs of infection.
Houston: Critics of a plan to build three liquefied natural gas export terminals in South Texas say the proposed facilities could devastate efforts to boost the population of endangered ocelots in the state. The Houston Chronicle reports that the wild cats have not been seen in the Port of Brownsville since the 1990s. A Washington-based advocacy group estimates fewer than 60 ocelots remain in Texas. Defenders of Wildlife says the LNG plants would effectively cut off a wildlife corridor intended to promote the migration of ocelots and other wildlife from Mexico to Texas. The corridor has taken decades and more than $90 million dollars to develop. Federal regulators have given final environmental approval for the LNG terminal, but no permits have been issued for the energy projects.
Salt Lake City: A gay student who came out during a valedictorian speech at Mormon-owned Brigham Young University is earning applause and admiration from students and notable figures like actress Kristin Chenoweth. Matt Easton said Monday that he hopes the speech helps ease loneliness felt by other LGBTQ students at the institution where an honor code forbids dating between members of the same sex. The speech was preapproved by the college. The 24-year-old political science major says only a few people knew about his sexuality before Friday, when he spoke the words “I am proud to be a gay son of God.” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a doctrinal opposition to same-sex marriage and intimacy but has been trying to stake out a compassionate stance toward LGBTQ members.
Orleans: The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department says the annual spring migration of steelhead rainbow trout has started, with the fish soon leaping up waterfalls on their way to spawning grounds. The department says the trout can be spotted moving up the falls on warmer days from mid-April to early May. Officials say the best viewing times are in the late morning and early afternoon. The department says Willoughby Falls in Orleans is the best place to see the leaping fish. It also recommends Coventry Falls on the Black River in Coventry and Lewis Creek Falls in North Ferrisburgh. A fisheries biologist will be available at Willoughby Falls from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday to answer questions from the public about fish and the river.
Williamsburg: The College of William & Mary plans to erect a memorial to people who were enslaved at the centuries-old school. The Washington Post reports that the memorial is designed to evoke a hearth and serve as a meeting place to reflect on the past. The design announced Friday is the latest endeavor by the university in Williamsburg to research and publicize the role slavery had played there. School officials launched an international design contest last year for the memorial and received more than 80 entries. The winning entry, called “Hearth,” was designed by 2011 William & Mary graduate William Sendor. He now works at an architecture firm in North Carolina and says he was struck by the role of fire in the enslaved community.
Olympia: Opponents of the state’s affirmative action initiative have filed a referendum to force a popular vote on the measure, the day after it passed the Legislature. Opponents will have 90 days to gather 129,811 valid signatures. If they can, it will override the legislative approval and force the initiative to a popular vote this November. The affirmative action measure, Initiative 1000, is set to allow state agencies and schools to consider factors like race in hiring and to engage in targeted outreach and recruitment. Because it’s technically an initiative to the Legislature, lawmakers were able to approve it themselves without sending it to a vote. It passed the House and Senate late Sunday night, the final night of the 105-day legislative session. Affirmative action has been illegal in Washington since a 1998 initiative overturned an earlier version of the policy.
Bridgeport: Teens who want to be a part of a zombie movie with an anti-bullying theme will have their chance at a casting call next month. Auditions for “Zombie High School” starring Dean Cain, of “Lois & Clark” fame, are being held May 11 at Bridgeport Middle School, where the film will be shot in mid-July. The film’s website says there will be roles for about 50 people ages 13 to 20 and for about 20 adults ages 35 to 55. Cain says that “anything we can do as parents to get more involved in the anti-bullying efforts in our own children’s schools is a good thing.” A release says the film is expected to be available free of charge for use in schools, homes and organizations. Jason Campbell of Morgantown is the film’s executive director.
Madison: A statewide victims organization says 20% of teens have experienced some form of violence in romantic relationships. Cody Warner, the LGBTQ and youth program director at End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin, tells Wisconsin Public Radio that dating violence and abuse is more prevalent than many realize. The group says 30 teens in the state have been the victim of intimate partner homicide since 2000. The University of Washington released a study this month that found 7% of teenage homicide victims across the country were killed by a former or current intimate partner. The Wisconsin group’s director of prevention and outreach, Stephanie Ortiz, says the majority of teens never tell an adult when they experience dating violence. She encourages young people to recognize and respond to dating violence in their friends’ lives.
Laramie: Gov. Mark Gordon says he will convene a task force to address ways to combat the high rates of murdered and missing American Indian women in the state. The Laramie Boomerang reports that Gordon made the announcement Friday at the University of Wyoming during the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls March. The event was held to raise awareness of the high rates of homicide and disappearances faced by American Indian women, including on Wyoming’s Wind River Indian Reservation. Many Fremont County residents drove down to Laramie to participate in the march, including councilwomen of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho business councils. On some reservations, Indian women are murdered at more than 10 times the national average.
From staff and wire reports
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