Pride Pickup, Tony Stark's Cabin: News From Around Our 50 States
A ski resort wants to expand services with night skiing and tubing, new chairlifts and mountain biking trails, and a zip line. The Arizona Snowbowl operates on roughly a square mile of the San Francisco Peaks in northern Arizona. Snowbowl general manager J.R. Murray says the resort will submit a master plan to the U.S. Forest Service this fall. The plan will be subject to environmental review and public comment. Murray says implementing the plan could boost visitation from 3,870 to 4,500 people daily. The resort says the earliest that the new services could start is 2021. Native Americans have challenged the Snowbowl for decades over its existence on a mountain they consider sacred. More recently, they lost a lengthy legal battle to prevent snowmaking at the resort.
Little Rock: The voting system for electing judges to the state’s top courts violates black residents’ rights by diluting the strength of their votes, according to a federal lawsuit filed by civil rights lawyers. The lawsuit filed Monday says that because the state’s seven Supreme Court justices are elected statewide, instead of by district, the white voting bloc overpowers the votes of black Arkansas residents. The suit says that’s why no black judge has ever been elected to the court. The lawsuit points to several cases in which a black candidate was supported by a majority of black voters in an election but was defeated by a white candidate supported by a majority of white voters. Instead, lawyers suggest the state should change the voting system for Supreme Court justices by creating electoral districts, for which black voters “in at least one district would constitute a majority of the voting-age population.”
San Francisco: A $2 billion transit terminal that was shut down six weeks after opening last year will reopen July 1. The Transbay Joint Powers Authority said Tuesday that it has fixed the cracks that led to the San Francisco terminal’s abrupt closure in September. The authority, which operates the Salesforce Transit Center, also said it conducted a thorough review. The terminal will provide local bus service in early July, with regional transportation starting in late summer. The new center replaced the grim and seismically deficient Transbay Terminal nearby. It is meant to be a modern transportation hub with food trucks, pop-up retail shops and a rooftop park. The center is more than 1 million square feet and stretches four blocks, with four stories above ground and two stories below.
Silverton: A 100-mile ultrarun through the state’s southwestern mountains has been canceled because of this year’s heavy snowfall and avalanche debris. In an announcement this week, Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run director Dale Garland said that conditions on much of the San Juan Mountains course are uncertain. While snow looked to be dropping to manageable levels in time for July’s race, Garland said that unprecedented avalanche debris and high levels in waterways helped lead to the decision to cancel what would have been the 26th run. The race was also called off in 2002 because of wildfires and in 1995 because of heavy late-season snow. Runners from around the world participate in the race over 13 mountain passes. They run through the night and finish in an average of about 41 hours.
Storrs: The Connecticut Repertory Theatre at UConn has teamed up with the school’s interpreting services to make its plays more accessible to the deaf community. UConn Interpreting Services will provide interpreters this summer for performances of the musicals “Mamma Mia!” and “Cabaret.” The two interpreters will stand just off stage right signing the dialogue and lyrics to a section of the audience where those with hearing loss will be sitting, while also trying to convey the emotions in the words and music. UConn recently approved American Sign Language studies as a major, beginning in 2020, which will include a concentration in interpreting. Audrey Silva, the director of UConn Interpreting Services, says the school hopes to eventually offer internships with her office.
Dover: Parts of the Murderkill River turned shades of red Wednesday as scientists studied how a wastewater spill upstream might affect shellfish in the Delaware Bay. Starting around midnight Tuesday, experts with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Food and Drug Administration began dyeing the effluent processed at the Kent County Wastewater Treatment Plant a crimson color to track its path. The study, using a red dye called Rhodamine WT, will provide the data needed to make decisions in the case of a wastewater spill from the plant along the Murderkill. Officials said Rhodamine WT is commonly used in water quality tests and will not harm humans or the environment. No one is sure how brightly red the river will turn or whether the dye will be noticeable as the water reaches the Delaware Bay, which officials say is the point of the effort.
District of Columbia
Washington: Independence Day is just over three weeks away, and nobody in town seems to know exactly what the July 4 celebrations in the nation’s capital will look like. President Donald Trump has said he wants to reshape the annual event into a “Salute to America” that would feature Trump himself speaking from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. As the date approaches, the actual plan remains a mystery. Nobody outside the White House or the National Park Service seems to have a firm grasp of the plan, and neither of those entities is talking. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Washington’s representative in Congress, says the lack of advance planning is striking. And she says the introduction of Trump and his personal security concerns into the mix could sow chaos.
Gainesville: A California real estate agent and self-proclaimed “super fan” says he’s extended an offer to buy the Florida home of rock legend Tom Petty. Kevin Beauchamp tells The Gainesville Sun he quickly made an offer of $175,000 for the nearly 1,200-square-foot home after seeing the home’s current owner, Brandy Clark, mention on a Petty Facebook fan club that she might sell it. He says he has a contract for the home. Petty grew up in Gainesville. He died of an accidental overdose in October 2017 at age 66. Beauchamp says he is working with Petty fan Joanne Davis and Jeff Goldstein, president of the Gainesville Music History Foundation, to have the property labeled a historic landmark. Clark says the home still has the original pink tile in the bathroom.
Fairburn: Marvel fans can now live out a fantasy in the Peach State if they’re willing to shell out almost $1,000 a night. WSB-TV reports the cabin where Tony Stark, better known as Iron Man, lived during the “Avengers: Endgame” film was listed for rent on Airbnb. The three-bedroom cabin is located on a lake in Fairburn, about 30 minutes southwest of Atlanta. It’s listed at about $800 per night. Marvel has not confirmed whether the property listed is the same as the one where Robert Downey Jr.’s character stayed.
Honolulu: The state has experienced record-high temperatures since the start of June. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports temperatures reached above 90 degrees Fahrenheit seven times between June 4 and June 9. Officials say the temperatures have either tied or surpassed previous records in Honolulu on Oahu and Kahului on Maui. A National Weather Service forecaster says the temperatures are likely due to higher-than-normal water temperatures combined with lighter trade winds. Honolulu was up to 90 degrees Saturday, tying a 1997 record, and 92 degrees Monday. Officials report a streak of high temperatures for Kahului, which on May 22 reached 96 degrees, a record for that month. Officials say temperatures in Kahului reached 95 degrees twice in the days afterward.
Caldwell: Workers at a county jail are notifying federal immigration officials when they are holding foreign-born inmates, including those who are United States citizens. The Idaho Press reports that emails obtained for the month of March through a public records request provided details of how Canyon County jail employees contact Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials about inmates. Jail workers are instructed to notify immigration officials for “all foreign born inmates,” and inmates are held longer than they normally would be at the request of federal immigration enforcement officials, the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office said. “Have just booked in a foreign born,” said one email from a county worker to immigration officials. “(S)tates she is a citizen, she is currently being held on a zero bond until court Monday.”
Champaign: The National Weather Service and an outdoor advertising company are teaming up to equip nine digital billboards in central Illinois with the ability to display tornado warnings. Adams Outdoor Advertising says the billboards in Champaign will alert drivers to any tornado warning in effect within 20 miles of each billboard. General manager Reid Reker says the company is providing the warnings as a donation to the community in the interest of public safety. When an alert is activated, each billboard will show only the tornado warning until it has been lifted. John Dwyer of the Champaign County Emergency Management Agency is cautioning people still will need weather radios and phone apps to stay alert to the kind of weather that can rapidly develop into tornadoes even before warnings are issued.
Rockport: The former drummer of the heavy metal band Five Finger Death Punch has a new gig as a police officer. Jeremy Spencer was sworn in Sunday with the Rockport Police Department. He grew up near that Ohio River community in the city of Boonville, which he left at 19. Spencer joined Five Finger Death Punch in 2005. He was the band’s drummer until late 2018. He tells WFIE-TV he’s always admired police officers’ work, saying, “You just see the impact they have on everyone’s life. It’s so important.” Spencer’s police duties are part-time. He’s splitting his time between Rockport and Las Vegas. He says he hasn’t retired from the music business. Loudwire, an online magazine that covers hard rock and heavy metal music, voted him “Best Drummer of 2015.”
Des Moines: The U.S. Department of Agriculture has lowered its estimate of this year’s corn crop to the lowest in four years, saying wet weather has delayed planting and reduced acres planted and the expected per-acre yield. The expected production was cut in a monthly report released Tuesday by 1.4 billion bushels to 13.7 billion bushels, the lowest since 2015. While weather problems also have slowed soybean planting, the USDA didn’t change estimates because farmers have several more weeks to plant. The USDA will release a report June 28 to provide updated farmer surveys more accurately reflecting the number of acres farmers planted. The USDA report also says disputes with China and other nations have reduced corn exports for the current-year crop by 100 million bushels and soybean exports by 75 million bushels.
West Mineral: A historic coal mining shovel that was hidden under bramble for more than 70 years has gone on display in southeast Kansas alongside its more well-known successor, an 11 million-pound orange giant known as Big Brutus. The Joplin Globe reports a ceremony to dedicate the Markley shovel is slated for 1 p.m. Saturday at the Big Brutus Visitors Center, a nonprofit museum in West Mineral. Coal mine operator Perry Markley designed and built the shovel in the early 1900s using junkyard parts. The machine was one of the first mining shovels to be equipped with a round dipper stick that allowed the bucket to swivel. It later was used as a prototype to construct other machines like Big Brutus.\
Louisville: Sometimes you have to wait over a century for a good bottle of bourbon. Kentucky Peerless Distilling Company announced Tuesday that it will be releasing its first bourbon in 102 years to the public June 22. The bourbon will be released in limited quantities. Started in 1889 by current CEO Corky Taylor’s great-grandfather, Henry Karver, the Peerless brand was once the state’s second-largest bourbon distillery, producing about 200 barrels of rye whiskey and bourbon per day until 1917, when Karver closed the facility at the onset of World War I. The Taylor family resurrected the brand in 2015 with the opening of a new distiller in downtown Louisville. According to a press release, the company used “sweet mash instead of sour, non-chilled filtration, barreling product at 107 proof and bottling it as barrel strength whiskey.”
Mooringsport: Sheriff’s deputies say an alligator took a bite out of one of their patrol cars. WBRZ-TV reports deputies were called Monday to Louisiana Highway 1 in Caddo Parish after someone spotted the gator in the middle of the road. The sheriff’s office says deputies were waiting for wildlife removal experts to arrive when the alligator chomped off a piece of the front bumper. Deputies estimate the alligator was 8 feet long. A photo from the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office Facebook page shows the reptile in grass next to what appears to be the black rectangular grill of the car. Authorities say the gator escaped before the wildlife removal experts arrived.
York: A California woman who was trying to document her first-ever lobster roll literally got a bird’s eye view of the sandwich. Alicia Jessop wanted to snap the perfect picture Friday of her lobster roll from Fox’s Lobster House in York before she took a bite. She says she was focused on framing the sandwich with the Nubble Lighthouse in the background when she felt something rustle her hand. She quickly realized a seagull had knocked the sandwich out of her hand and was already eating it. As she was walking back to the stand to buy another $21.50 lobster roll, she realized she snapped a photo of the exact moment the seagull snatched her food. She posted the picture on Twitter, saying, “This is why we can’t have nice things.” Jessop says the experience and response to her mishap has taught her that “people just need a laugh.”
Baltimore: The state’s health department says fatal drug overdoses are down for the first three months of the year, compared to the same time last year. In preliminary data released Tuesday, the department says there were 577 total unintentional intoxication deaths. That’s a 15% decrease compared to the first three months of last year. Of the total, 89% were opioid-related deaths, primarily attributable to fentanyl. Steve Schuh, director of the state’s Opioid Operational Command Center, says 16 of 24 local jurisdictions saw declines in the number of opioid-related fatalities in the first quarter of this year. He says the state has never seen that many counties report declines in opioid-related deaths. Still, Schuh says the heroin and opioid crisis in Maryland is by no means over.
Yarmouth: A Massachusetts man who struck a friendship with Anne Frank’s father has donated a trove of letters and mementos he received from Otto Frank to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum ahead of the 90th anniversary of the young Holocaust victim’s birth. Museum historian Edna Friedberg says the pen pal letters exchanged between Ryan Cooper and Otto Frank from 1972 until Frank’s death in 1980 show how Frank worked tirelessly to spread his late daughter’s legacy. Otto Frank was the only person in his family to survive the Holocaust. He had his daughter’s now-famous diary published after the war. The Washington museum says the letters will be made available online and the artifacts possibly displayed later. They include Otto Frank’s coin purse and a family photo of Anne.
Detroit: Michiganders have a superhuman love for ice cream. The state’s favorite flavor of the sweet summer treat is Superman, according to a WorkWise pollpublished in May. Superman ice cream is a swirl of red, blue and yellow, the colors on the famous superhero’s suit. The flavors of each color vary. The study is based on which ice cream flavors each state searched on Google most often. Michigan is the only state that prefers Superman ice cream over all others, according to the poll. Cookies and cream is the top-searched ice cream in the county, followed by vanilla and then chocolate. Chocolate is more popular than vanilla ice cream in Michigan, the poll shows.
St. Cloud: The state saw the second-lowest number of fire deaths on record last year, though careless smoking and the lack of working alarms continue to take lives. Thirty-seven people died in fires in Minnesota in 2018, according to the Department of Public Safety State Fire Marshal Division, which released 2018 fire death statistics Tuesday. Last year saw the lowest number of fire deaths since 2009, when 35 people were killed. It’s also a vast improvement since the mid-1970s, when the number of deaths in the state soared to more than 130 each year. The leading cause of fires last year, where a cause could be determined, was careless smoking. Other common causes were cooking and portable heaters. State Fire Marshal Bruce West also notes that this time of year, people should respect their grill and recreational burning materials.
Bay St. Louis: A California rocket company says it will build and test rockets at a NASA facility here. Los Angeles-based Relativity announced Tuesday that it would invest $59 million, with a plan to increase to 200 workers from 90 current employees. The company will lease space from NASA at Stennis Space Center on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The facility has long hosted rocket tests. State and local governments are likely to give Relativity more than $4.7 million in aid and tax breaks over the next 10 years as part of the deal. Relativity plans to build rockets through three-dimensional metal printing, completing development by next year. Relativity hopes for an orbital test launch in 2020 and to begin commercial service in 2021.
This rare bristly cave crayfish was found with a chunk missing from its body at Smallin Cave. (Photo: Kevin Bright)
Ozark: Bristly cave crayfish are so rare they’ve only been found in caves in nine counties in Missouri and Arkansas. At Smallin Civil War Cave in Ozark, a tour group recently got to see some of the clawed critters, though one of them clearly had a chunk taken out of its back. It’s a creature rare enough that the cave owner decided to rescue it. “I captured it and stuck it in a tub,” said Kevin Bright, co-owner of Smallin Cave. “It had a bite mark on its side, most likely from a raccoon that probably got it. Maybe it got one of its pincer claws on the raccoon’s nose and got away.” The wounded crayfish managed to survive and appears well on its way to eventually shedding its exoskeleton and becoming whole again. The crayfish was released this week into the chilly creek inside Smallin Cave.
Helena: A new task force is beginning its work to identify jurisdictional barriers that limit cooperation among local, state, federal and tribal agencies in reporting and searching for missing Native Americans. The Missing Indigenous Persons Task Force also will award a grant to a tribal college to create a database of missing Native Americans. Hollie Mackey, a Northern Cheyenne who is an associate professor at the University of Oklahoma, led the discussion during Tuesday’s meeting in Helena, saying such a coordinated effort is a new undertaking. The task force will study the disproportionate rate at which Native American women and children go missing and ways various law enforcement agencies can work together to find them. The group will report back to lawmakers in September 2020 with policy suggestions.
Lincoln: State Game and Parks Commission officials are urging the public to leave baby wild animals alone even if they appear to be abandoned. Commission officials say lone fawns, birds or mammals may appear to be abandoned or injured, but in many cases the mother is off feeding or drinking and will return. In some cases, other deer will adopt an orphaned fawn. They say it’s also normal for a doe to leave its fawn to keep it from being detected by predators. Predators can see the doe as it feeds, so she often hides the fawn and leaves the area to draw attention away. Additionally, they say wild animals shouldn’t be treated as pets.
Las Vegas: The coming of the machines is inevitable. And this city knows it. MGM Resorts International this year plans to install at Sin City resorts an unknown number of automated beverage systems programmed to mix hundreds of different drinks – all at the touch of a button. It’s a job that for many years depended on the hands of living, breathing service workers. But as the incoming technology moves closer to Nevada casinos, rank-and-file union workers can’t say for certain whether machines will force them to abandon jobs they’ve held for years to develop new skills far from the threat of automation. In the offices of MGM, leaders have been reluctant to reveal how many of these systems are coming or how many workers might be displaced. “We are focused on supporting employees,” Brian Ahern, MGM’s director of corporate media relations, said in a statement.
Manchester: More than 1,000 graduating high school seniors have participated in alcohol-awareness training on the dangers of underage drinking and impaired driving. Students on Wednesday participated in a virtual impaired driving simulator, programmed for delayed reaction times as the driver navigates different driving conditions, distractions and getting pulled over by an officer. They wore goggles that simulated different blood-concentration levels, allowing students to experience the dangers and consequences of operating a motor vehicle under the influence. They also toured a law enforcement mobile command unit with a drug recognition expert exam area and booking stations. The event was held by the New Hampshire Liquor Commission’s Division of Enforcement and Licensing.
Long Branch: Most surfers know it’s best to avoid surfing near pipes that dump storm water into the ocean soon after a storm because of the increased chance of getting sick from bacteria that enter the surf. Many do it anyway because the periods just after storms often bring bigger waves, prompting them to hold their nose and brave the “chocolate tube” or “root beer float.” A study of the relationship between heavy rain, outfall pipes and water-borne bacteria is underway at New Jersey’s Monmouth University, where researchers are evaluating water quality at popular surfing beaches along the Jersey shore with an eye toward documenting higher levels of harmful bacteria in the water after storms. The idea is to give surfers and others who use the water more information to make more informed decisions about when to surf and what might be in the water around them.
Roswell: This city known for its proximity to arguably the most famous UFO event in the United States now has trademark protection for its alien-inspired logo. The city of Roswell said Tuesday that it received its requested trademark certification from the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office. The new bright green logo includes the silhouette of a flying saucer within the letter “R.” The trademark will be in effect for 10 years and can be renewed when it nears expiration. Officials say the logo is protected from unauthorized use by other entities or individuals. That will ensure it remains unique to Roswell, providing an identifiable graphic that people will associate with the city. The site of a supposed UFO crash in 1947, Roswell has an annual extraterrestrial festival that draws thousands.
Watkins Glen: The host of the Woodstock 50 festival pulled out Monday, but organizers say they’re in talks with another venue. The festival has faced a series of setbacks, the latest when Watkins Glen International announced it won’t be the site of the anniversary event in August. Watkins Glen issued a two-sentence statement saying it had terminated the license for the upstate New York festival “pursuant to provisions of the contract.” But later in the day, a principal organizer indicated the show would go on. “We are in discussions with another venue to host Woodstock 50 on Aug. 16-18 and look forward to sharing the new location when tickets go on sale in the coming weeks,” said Gregory Peck, a managing member of organizers of Woodstock 50 LLC.
Boiling Springs Lake: Homeowners in Brunswick County are upset that the value of their property is slated to increase even though their homes no longer have a waterfront view, thanks to Hurricane Florence. WWAY-TV reports the value of homes in Boiling Spring Lakes is expected to increase. County officials say base property rates have increased 10%. Arvil Stephens’ home sits on a peninsula along Patricia Lake, which was drained after Florence’s floodwaters caused dams to breach last year. The county says the home is valued at $501,000 now, compared to $423,000 a few years ago when the lake was full. The county tax office says the appraisals were conducted with the understanding that the lakes would be restored.
Bismarck: Two companies are proposing a $1.6 billion pipeline to move North Dakota crude oil, making it the biggest such project to move oil out of the state since the Dakota Access pipeline that sparked violent clashes between protesters and law enforcement in 2016 and 2017. Houston-based Phillips 66 and Casper, Wyoming-based Bridger Pipeline announced the joint venture called Liberty Pipeline on Monday. It’s designed to move 350,000 barrels of oil daily to the nation’s biggest storage terminal in Cushing, Oklahoma. The exact route of the 24-inch pipeline has not been disclosed, though the companies said the project “will utilize existing pipeline and utility corridors and advanced construction techniques to limit environmental and community impact.” An official also said it wouldn’t cross tribal lands.
Columbus: The State Medical Board has postponed a vote on adding anxiety and autism spectrum disorder to the list of qualifying conditions for purchasing medical marijuana. Board President Dr. Michael Schottenstein said Wednesday the vote would be delayed to give two new board members time to consider expert reports. A physician panel last month recommended that anxiety and autism be added to the list of 21 conditions for which registered physicians can make a patient recommendation for medical marijuana. The board voted against adding opioid use disorder, depression and insomnia as qualifying conditions, which the physician panel did not recommend after hearing from experts. More than 30,000 people with physician recommendations have registered to buy cannabis, with about half making purchases since some licensed dispensaries opened in January.
Hulbert: Self-described “straight country boy” Cody Barlow believes duct tape really can fix anything, including bigots. The 28-year-old college student from Hulbert recently decorated the tailgate of his pickup truck like a pride flag with a bold message: “NOT ALL COUNTRY BOYS ARE BIGOTS.” Barlow’s Facebook post about his truck had been shared more than 135,000 times by Tuesday with comments praising him for being an LGBTQ ally. He says he thinks he can change closed minds and encourage loved ones who feel alone. Now, the “jacked-up” 1991 Chevrolet Silverado he uses to off-road through the woods is plastered with rainbow-colored duct tape. “It fixes everything, even bigots,” he said. Barlow plans to drive his truck in pride parades later this month in Oklahoma City and Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Salem: The state could become the latest in the nation to prohibit single-use plastic shopping bags. The Senate voted 17-12 to prohibit grocery stores and restaurants from providing plastic checkout bags. Stores will still able to offer recyclable plastic and paper bags for a minimum 5-cent fee. The bill now goes to the governor. Plastic bags are one of the most common types of beach litter. The World Economic Forum reports 8 million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean each year. Republicans took issue with the fee, saying it punished consumers. Some also said single-use bags are more sanitary. California was the first state to prohibit plastic bags, with New York state following suit earlier this year. Hawaii bans all types of single-use bags, both paper and plastic.
Philadelphia: How do you move a priceless, 25,000-pound sphinx? Very carefully. The largest sphinx in the Western Hemisphere is on the move for the first time in nearly 100 years. The Penn Museum in Philadelphia is relocating its 3,000-year-old sphinx of Pharaoh Ramses II from the Egypt Gallery where it’s resided since 1926. The sphinx’s slow, painstaking journey began Wednesday morning. It’s moving about 250 feet to a featured location in the museum’s new entrance hall. Museum officials are using air dollies to move the statue through a series of doorways, windows, hairpin turns and tight squeezes. Museum director Julian Siggers says the sphinx has been the museum’s unofficial mascot for a long time, and its new location will put it “front and center.”
Newport: The Navy’s top admiral says an investigation into allegations of mismanagement at the U.S. Naval War College is continuing, and he’s confident the college will be stronger in the end. Adm. John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, says the college in Newport will continue to be a strong, vibrant institution. The college president, Rear Adm. Jeffrey Harley, is under investigation for allegedly spending excessively, abusing his hiring authority and otherwise behaving inappropriately, including keeping a margarita machine in his office. Harley was removed from his post Monday. Richardson says he felt there was “enough actionable information” to reassign Harley.
Columbia: The state is transitioning to a paper-based voting system that is meant to be more secure than the paperless system that’s raised concerns from some in the past. Under the new system, voters will make their selections on a touchscreen. Paper ballots will be printed off, and voters will then feed the paper ballot into a scanner that counts and records the votes. The paper ballots are saved for auditing and verification, according to the South Carolina Election Commission. The Election Commission says the new system is intended to be more secure and provide a paper trail for votes.
Rapid City: A health board that advocates for Native Americans in the Great Plains will soon operate most of Sioux San Hospital. The Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board, on behalf of the Oglala and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes, will take over most of the hospital’s management from federal Indian Health Service, according to a news release from the agency. The transfer is scheduled for July 21. The Indian Health Service will continue to provide health care at the hospital, which serves Native Americans, the Rapid City Journal reports. Charmaine White Face opposes the pending transfer. White Face – a Lakota elder, former Oglala Sioux Tribe treasurer and spokeswoman for the Sioux Nation Treaty Council – says she is concerned that not everyone will receive quality health care. “They’re not a health care management system. They are an advocacy organization,” White Face said of the board.
Memphis: The University of Memphis says it plans to start a culinary institute. A news release says the university’s Board of Trustees approved the Culinary Arts and Foodservice Enterprise at a meeting last week. The university says the culinary school will be an expansion of the Kemmons Wilson School of Hospitality & Resort Management. The institute is expected to be located at the former L’Ecole Culinaire facility in the Memphis suburb of Cordova. The lease requires State Building Commission approval. At the meeting, trustees also approved doctorate programs in applied physics and health sciences, a master’s program in data science, and a bachelor’s degree in public health.
Austin: Gov. Greg Abbott has signed into law a measure that’s meant to allow children to run lemonade stands without fear of being shut down by police. The bill signed by the Republican governor Monday was passed this year after Texas police shut down a lemonade stand run by two girls in 2015. Abbott called the measure “a commonsense law” in a video of him signing the bill posted on Twitter. The new Texas law legalizes temporary lemonade stands or other stands selling nonalcoholic beverages operated by minors on private property or public parks. Lemonade stands were previously illegal in Texas because homemade drinks are banned due to health concerns. The new law takes effect Sept. 1.
Salt Lake City: The largest DNA mapping study in U.S. history is about to launch from Utah with the stated goal of changing the way health care providers approach diseases. In a press conference Wednesday, officials with Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare announced a “groundbreaking” DNA initiative and project it will undertake with deCODE genetics, a biopharmaceutical company based in Iceland. The five-year study will involve the collection of DNA samples from more than 500,000 participants – most of whom will be Utahns. Individuals will be invited to participate in the study for free, and enrollment is already open. The results of the DNA mapping will be returned to patients if researchers find a gene they know puts their family at risk for cancer or other genetic diseases.
Montpelier: Republican Gov. Phil Scott has signed a bill into law that protects a woman’s access to abortion services. In signing the legislation Monday, Scott said that he has consistently supported a woman’s right to choose and that “the legislation affirms what is already allowable in Vermont – protecting reproductive rights and ensuring those decisions remain between a woman and her health care provider.” The measure is separate from a proposal to amend the state constitution to guarantee a woman’s right to an abortion. Proponents say the two measures are needed in case the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
Alexandria: Virginia Tech says it plans to build a new northern Virginia campus that was instrumental in luring a new Amazon headquarters a few blocks north of the originally planned spot. The Innovation Campus at Virginia Tech will now be located at the current location of the Potomac Yard shopping center in Alexandria. School officials say the original location was not going to be big enough to support both the campus and expected ancillary development. The new location puts the campus just steps away from a planned Metrorail station and closer to the Amazon campus in Arlington County that expects to house as many as 38,000 workers over the next 20 years. Virginia Tech said the 15-acre campus will enroll its first students in 2020.
Seattle: Tech companies, hospitals and others have pledged nearly $49 million to help construct eight buildings to house the area’s chronically homeless. The Seattle Times reports Swedish Health Services, Premera Blue Cross and Providence St. Joseph Health announced $15 million in donations last month to support a Seattle nonprofit developer. Plymouth Housing has launched a $75 million campaign to double its units in Seattle. It operates facilities for chronically homeless people where they have access to health care, social services and treatment. Amazon and Microsoft have each pledged $5 million for the campaign. Plymouth says the donations will help it leverage up to $250 million in public funds for the project.
Parkersburg: A principal accused of plagiarizing Ashton Kutcher in an address to his school’s graduating class has been suspended without pay for five days. The News and Sentinel reports Parkersburg High School Principal Kenny DeMoss was suspended Tuesday at a Wood County Board of Education meeting. DeMoss apologized for heavily basing his May address on Kutcher’s 2013 Nickelodeon Teen Choice Awards speech. He has said he should’ve cited his sources, but the ideas were his own. A Facebook video highlighting the plagiarism spliced the speeches together. DeMoss said the video excluded a disclaimer that multiple sources informed his speech. Kutcher tweeted Saturday that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and cited Oscar Wilde for the quote. He then quipped that “kids and faculty” should cite their sources.
Madison: Voters who appear to have moved within the state will have up to two years to update their voter registration, rather than be deactivated within a month. The Wisconsin Elections Commission voted Tuesday to make the change. Voters who appear to have moved will still receive a postcard, likely in late August, saying that state records indicate they have moved. In 2018, when the mailings were first sent, about 308,000 voters had their registrations deactivated within a month. Many of them showed up to vote only to be told they had to register again. To avoid that, the commission is giving voters much longer to affirm their registration or reregister at their new address. Voters who may have moved will be flagged at the polling booth, giving them a chance to fix the problem there.
Cheyenne: Gov. Mark Gordon has appointed eight members of a new advisory group that will develop recommendations to improve state policies related to big game migration on lands that are also suitable for mineral development. The Migration Corridor Advisory Group includes representatives from the oil and gas, mining and agriculture sectors, as well as conservation, recreation and sportsmen groups and a county commissioner. The goal is for the group members to collaboratively develop recommendations in the next three months. Its first meeting is later this month in Rock Springs. Wyoming’s major migration corridors are among the longest in North America and are essential to the health of mule deer.