Montgomery: A new monument in Montgomery pays tribute to three enslaved Black women who were subjected to experimental surgery by a 19th century physician celebrated for advancing women’s health. The statues of Anarcha, Lucy and Betsey – three of numerous Black women Dr. J. Marion Sims operated on while in Montgomery – were unveiled Friday, al.com reported. Entitled “Mothers of Gynecology,” the three statues stand almost 15 feet high and were welded from common metal items donated for the project, including tools, bicycle parts, and surgical and gynecological instruments, according to the news site. “The endeavor is to change the narrative as it relates to the history and how it’s portrayed regarding Sims and the women that were used as experiments,” said Michelle Browder, the artist who created the monument. “They’re not mentioned in any of the iconography or the information, the markers.” Sims is held up as a pioneer in the field of gynecology, credited with developing new medical devices and a surgical technique to treat a complication of childbirth. But he also conducted experimental surgery without anesthesia on enslaved African-American women between 1845 and 1849. Anesthesia was still new at the time – the first public demonstration, using ether was in Boston in 1846. A statue of Sims still stands at the State House in Montgomery.
Anchorage: Residents of Alaska’s largest city often contend with bears and moose, but state officials are warning of another wild animal that has been causing problems: river otters. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game said river otters have attacked people and pets in some of the city’s most popular outdoor areas, the Anchorage Daily News reported. Officials are asking people to be extra careful when they are around rivers, creeks and lakes along the city’s greenbelt. Earlier this month, a 9-year-old boy was taken to an emergency room for a rabies shot after being bitten several times near a duck pond. River otter attacks do happen, but are not considered commonplace, Fish and Game said. It’s not known if the attacks came from the same group of otters, which can range over large swaths of land. “Because of the risk to public safety, efforts will be made to locate this group of river otters and remove them,” Fish and Game said. “Care will be taken to only remove the animals exhibiting these unusual behaviors.”
Tempe: A man who refused to wear a mask and was asked to leave during a performance at Arizona State University’s Gammage Auditorium has been arrested after he allegedly assaulted two staff members, according to campus police. Police said the man was asked to leave the venue during a performance of “Hamilton.” Witnesses said those who were attending Saturday’s show began cheering when the man was removed. Campus police said the man was being held on suspicion of assault, trespassing and disorderly conduct. Police said there were no reported injuries.
Little Rock: A Democrat running for attorney general in Arkansas, where health officials have struggled with resistance to the coronavirus vaccine, on Monday vowed if elected to take social media companies to court for spreading COVID-19 misinformation. Jesse Gibson focused on COVID-19 misinformation in his first 30-second ad, which he said began airing online and on cable stations over the weekend. “Big corporations and big tech are profiting off the very spread of misinformation that puts Arkansas families and communities at risk, hurts our small businesses, and costs our economy,” Gibson said in the ad. Gibson said he was concerned about misinformation about the vaccine’s effectiveness as well as ivermectin, an anti-parasitic drug that health officials have warned against using as a COVID-19 treatment. He said he believed the social media companies could be targeted under the state’s deceptive trade practices and false advertising laws. Gibson’s proposal follows concerns raised by health officials about the spread of false information about the virus and vaccines. U.S. Surgeon General General Vivek Murthy earlier this year declared misinformation about vaccines a threat to public health.
Los Angeles: Thousands of families sickened and forced from their Los Angeles homes after the nation’s largest-known natural gas leak have reached a settlement of up to $1.8 billion with a utility, attorneys said Monday. The settlement with Southern California Gas Co. and its parent company, Sempra Energy, will compensate 35,000 plaintiffs from the 2015 blowout that took nearly four months to control. The Aliso Canyon blowout led to the largest-known release of methane in U.S. history and was blamed for sickening thousands of residents who moved out of homes near the San Fernando Valley to escape a sulfurous stench and maladies including headaches, nausea and nose bleeds. The plaintiffs alleged personal injury for their illnesses and property damage to their homes. SoCalGas spent more than $1 billion on the blowout – with most going to temporarily relocate 8,000 families. The utility has faced more than 385 lawsuits on behalf of 48,000 people.
Fort Collins: Kechter Road, which crosses Interstate 25 south of Harmony Road and connects Larimer County Road 5 to the west frontage road and into Fort Collins, will be fully closed starting Friday. The closure is part of the North I-25 Express Lanes project. Reopening is expected in May. Initially, the road was expected to close in September and reopen in April. Local traffic will be able to access Island Lake Marine & Sports on the west and Colorado Youth Outdoors on the east. Detours will be in place during the closure. Work includes the addition of a roundabout on the west side of I-25 at the intersection of Kechter Road and the west frontage road. In addition, the Kechter Bridge will be lengthened to accommodate the additional toll lanes below it for each direction of I-25. Kechter Road will remain as a single lane in both directions and include sidewalks, pedestrian crossings and bike lanes in both directions across the new bridge, which also will have its barriers on both sides heightened for safety purposes. I-25 will be raised in this area, and culverts will be added under the interstate to prevent flooding during a 100-year event. Upgrading this bridge was not in the original North I-25 Express Lanes project that started in 2018 but it was added last year when an additional $250 million was secured. That funding also allowed CDOT to completely reconfigure the U.S. Highway 34 and I-25 interchange.
Hartford: A retired judge who also has served as a prosecutor and public defender was picked Monday to become Connecticut’s first inspector general, a position created to investigate any use of deadly force by police. Robert Devlin, 71, was chosen from among four finalists after interviews before the Connecticut Criminal Justice Commission. The commission voted 5-0 to appoint Devlin to the $180,000-a year position. Devlin told the commission that because of his age and experience, he would not be using the job as a steppingstone and plans to give everyone involved in each investigation “a fair shake.” “There are people in our society who think the police can do no wrong and there are people in our society who think the police can do no right,” Devlin told the commission. “It’s in that space in between that the inspector general has to work, and let the results speak for themselves.” Devlin, who was appointed as a Superior Court judge in 1992, served as the state’s chief administrative judge for that court from 2010 to 2017. He is the chairman of the Connecticut Sentencing Commission.
Newark: ChristianaCare has fired 150 employees for not complying with its COVID-19 vaccine requirement, the health system announced Monday. Dr. Janice Nevin, CEO of ChristianaCare, wrote in a blog post for the hospital’s website that the 150 people equated to roughly 90 full-time positions. Many of the terminated workers were “part-time or casual employees,” according to a hospital spokeswoman. Of the 90 full-time equivalents, 48 were jobs involving patient care and less than a dozen related to nursing. ChristianaCare, which is the largest private employer in Delaware, employs more than 14,000 people. In July, it announced that all employees would be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or be fired if they did not meet the requirements for an exemption. About 200 employees were given religious or medical accommodations, Nevin said. Those people will be required to undergo regular COVID-19 testing in addition to wearing a mask at work.
District of Columbia
Washington: An entire middle school at the Leckie Education Campus is in quarantine, WUSA-TV reported. Leckie, located on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SW in Ward 8, is a school that holds classes from kindergarten through eighth grade. The elementary classes are in the main building, but the middle school students attend classes in trailers behind the school. D.C. Public Schools reported an individual, who was last in the building on Sept. 16, tested positive for the coronavirus. A DCPS spokesperson said contact tracers deemed all 95 students in grades six through eight as close contacts of the individual. After students were sent home, a second person tested positive, so the quarantine was extended until Friday. DCPS said the students are home learning virtually.
Miami: City of Miami commissioners held a special meeting in which they attacked the chief of police less than six months into his post, and voted to further investigate him and his appointment. Police chief Art Acevedo had been criticized after firing two high-level police officials and relieving of duty a sergeant-at-arms. Acevedo also angered Cuban exiles earlier this month when reports emerged of remarks made by him saying the “Cuban mafia” ran Miami. The Cuban-born chief apologized for the comments made to officers and said he didn’t know that was a term former Cuban leader Fidel Castro used to refer to exiles, arguing he was raised in California. Three of the five city commissioners are Cuban-American. On Friday, Acevedo sent an accusatory eight-page memo to the mayor and city manager saying those commissioners were hampering his efforts to reform the police department by eliminating positions and interfering with internal affairs investigations. Commissioners on Monday said these allegations would also be investigated by the committee they were forming. Acevedo, 57, came to Miami after serving more than four years as police chief in Houston, where he gained national prominence by calling for gun control, marching with protesters after George Floyd’s death and criticizing former President Donald Trump.
Atlanta: A herd of goats brought in to clear weeds got loose Monday, briefly becoming a thorn in the side of Atlanta’s tony Buckhead neighborhood. Atlanta police responded after a driver called to report the goats were wandering in the road, news outlets reported. They had been brought in to eat weeds at a nearby Kroger supermarket but got free, according to police. Television news footage showed them grazing outside a furniture store along a busy thoroughfare. They were caught and removed. Police said no one was injured.
Honolulu: Health officials said 23 Native Hawaiians died from COVID-19 last week, accounting for 20% of all fatalities among Hawaii’s Indigenous people since the start of the pandemic 18 months ago. Native Hawaiians made up 40% of all deaths in the state during the seven days through Friday, KITV reported. Hawaiians are one-fifth of the state’s population. “We’ve also seen a number of really, really tragic stories move very quickly throughout our community,” said Nā’ālehu Anthony, the director of COVID Pau, a collaborative of businesses and nonprofit organizations delivering public health messages during the pandemic. “And, you know, one death is too much. One person dying is too much when it’s preventable when you have the vaccine.” COVID-19 vaccination rates among Native Hawaiians have lagged in comparison to the rest of the state. To counter this, Anthony has started a series of public service announcements on the importance of inoculating Native Hawaiians. The advertisements also focus on the importance of testing, mask wearing and social distancing. Some of the ads that have resonated refer to past diseases that wiped out much of Hawaii’s native population in the 1800s.
Idaho Falls: Cadaver dogs have found what are probably seven graves of mid-1880s migrants who died in south-central Idaho on the California Trail while crossing what is now the City of Rocks National Reserve. Experts with the Oregon-California Historic Trails and City of Rocks National Reserve identified two possible graves. The Post Register reported in a story last week that the cadaver dogs earlier this month confirmed the two sites as containing human remains and then found five more possible burial sites. “It wasn’t a surprise,” said Tara McClure-Cannon, assistant park manager at City of Rocks. “We had suspected some of these areas in the past based on what they looked like. The dogs were partly confirming our suspicions.” McClure-Cannon said the park has several options on how to handle the grave sites. It could bring in ground-penetrating radar to confirm they are graves containing bodies. In rare cases, potential graves are excavated. The locations of the potential grave sites will be marked with a GPS location, but not made public so they won’t be disturbed. About 200,000 migrants passed through the national reserve mainly heading to California on the California Trail that splits off of the nearby Oregon Trail, experts have said, adding that there are probably thousands of migrants buried along the California and Oregon trails.
Springfield: State officials are celebrating attendance at this year’s Illinois State Fair after it was canceled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The state Department of Agriculture reported Tuesday that the Springfield-based festival in August attracted 472,390. Since 2014, when the agency started formally tracking attendance, that’s second only to the 508,900 who attended in 2019. Given the the turnstile count in 2019, State Fair Manager Kevin Gordon said “the bar was set pretty high” for attendance after a year’s layoff. “Being able to overcome the challenges brought on by the pandemic and safely bring back so many families to the fairgrounds is a great accomplishment,” Gordon said. Final numbers are not yet available, but officials are estimating revenue at $5 million, the ninth-highest in the past two decades. The 2022 Illinois State Fair is scheduled for Aug. 11-21.
Portage: U.S. Steel temporarily shuttered operations at a northwest Indiana plant Monday after it leaked an orange substance into a Lake Michigan tributary, prompting the closure of a water treatment facility and several nearby beaches. The U.S. Steel Midwest plant in Portage was idled as a precaution “after experiencing an upset condition with the finishing line wastewater treatment plant,” U.S. Steel spokeswoman Amanda Malkowski said in a statement. “The plant operations will remain down until the condition is stabilized. This upset is currently believed to be the cause of the discolored water seen coming from one of our outfalls,” she said. Initial indications “show higher than normal suspended solids in the water” Malkowski said, adding that the the company is conducting additional sampling and working to determine the cause of the problem at the wastewater treatment facility. She did not describe the contents of the leaked substance. Portage Mayor Sue Lynch said she began receiving calls about 5:50 p.m. Sunday concerning an unknown substance pouring from a U.S. Steel Midwest plant outfall into the Burns Waterway that feeds into Lake Michigan. The plant is about 30 miles east of Chicago. Lynch told The (Northwest Indiana) Times she wasn’t sure what the substance could be, but that an employee from the Portage Marina had collected a sample for analysis. An Indiana Department of Environmental Management spokesman said Monday that the agency was investigating and would provide an update after it receives and analyzes sampling test results.
Des Moines: A federal judge on Monday extended a restraining order for 14 days that prohibits Iowa officials from enforcing a law that bans school districts from enacting mask mandates. The order issued by Judge Robert Pratt extends his initial order from Sept. 13 until Oct. 11, which means school districts might impose mask mandates and the state cannot stop them. Pratt concluded that enforcement of the law continues to pose a threat to the health of children. Documents filed in the case Monday claim that nearly a quarter of Iowa public school students are in districts that have experienced significant COVID-19 outbreaks this year. The information indicates 11 school districts, including Waterloo, Sioux City and Muscatine, reported more positive cases in the first month of the school year than during the entire previous year. The data was included in court documents made public Monday by attorneys for 11 parents and the disability rights group The Arc of Iowa who are suing the state. The documents said 16 other school districts, including Marshalltown, Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, have already recorded coronavirus cases equivalent to 50% of the tally for the last school year. The 27 school districts represent 24.5% of all Iowa public school students.
Topeka: The pastor of a Catholic parish in Topeka has been suspended from his public duties after being accused of sexually abusing a minor, the archdiocese for northeast Kansas announced Monday. The Rev. John Pilcher of Mater Dei parish denied the allegation and is fully cooperating, the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas said. He will remain on leave until an investigation is complete and an independent review board has made a recommendation to Archbishop Joseph Naumann, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported. The archdiocese said that law enforcement was notified and announcement about the allegation made at all weekend Masses. The parish includes two churches, Assumption across the street north of the Statehouse and Holy Name in central Topeka. They once were in separate parishes that merged in 2006. The archdiocese said anyone with knowledge about the case regarding Pilcher or about any other misconduct should contact civil authorities first, then make a report to its confidential report line.
Frankfort: A Kentucky safety and personal protective equipment developer is manufacturing a new respirator to help front-line health care workers during the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Andy Beshear said. Demand for respirators skyrocketed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The machines provide clean, breathable air to workers treating patients with the virus. Cynthiana-based Bullard said the new respirator is designed to be more comfortable and make it easier for the workers to better communicate. The respirators were built with “all day use” in mind, to be worn around the shoulders instead of the waist, said Landon Borders, Bullard’s director of product development.
New Orleans: Deer hunters across Louisiana can qualify for a $1,000 drawing by having the head of a mature white-tailed buck tested for a slow but always fatal illness called chronic wasting disease. Taxidermists in the state can do the same for a chance in a $500 drawing – with permission from the hunter who harvested the buck, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said in a news release. Chronic wasting disease is always fatal in deer, elk or moose, but it can take 16 months to four years for the first symptoms to show up. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said scientists don’t know whether it can infect people, but the agency recommended against eating venison from infected animals. The disease has not yet been found in Louisiana. But all three neighboring states – Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi – are among at least 26 where it has been found. The department wants to test deer taken statewide during Louisiana’s 2021-22 hunting seasons. The tests are free until a region meets its testing quota, said Dr. James LaCour, the state veterinarian. Heads – with or without antlers and skull cap, but with at least 5 inches of neck – can be brought to regional department offices in Hammond, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Minden, Monroe and Pineville, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Frenchboro: Regulators in Maine said they found no permit violations stemming from thousands of fish deaths at an aquaculture operation off the state’s coast. Cooke Aquaculture, a Canada-based fish farming giant, operates salmon farms that include ocean-based pens in Maine. The firm found thousands of fish deaths in August at sites it operates at Black Island and Black Island South. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection said the company reported more than 100,000 fish deaths between the sites. The company also told the state that it removed and disposed of the fish and cleaned equipment at the sites. The Maine DEP said on Monday that it inspected the sites in late August. The agency said it did not “identify any permit violations or violations of the Clean Water Act in relation to the reported fish kill.” Maine DEP said its investigation into the fish deaths is closed.
Hagerstown: Renovation of the Nicodemus Building, which is being turned into housing for students attending classes at the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown, is progressing, according to Patrick Grace, owner of Trademark Investments, which purchased the former house and motel for $1,000 through the city’s competitive negotiated sale program. The program helps put city-owned properties into the private sector for redevelopment. The city council approved the sale in November. “We’re excited now,” Grace said. “There’s a lot of preplanning at the beginning, where things don’t move quickly. Now we’re in that phase where we’re moving really quickly, and it’s exciting to see how the units are going to shape up.” Grace said he hopes the work will be finished by January. Construction is happening from top to bottom at the building, which has a basement under three stories. The largest apartment is in the basement. The smallest is on the top floor. Historic features, such as a stairway, fireplaces and ornate trim work, are being preserved throughout.
Boston: The guitar played by Johnny Ramone on all 15 Ramones albums and at nearly 2,000 live performances by the rock band sold at auction over the weekend for more than $900,000, the auctioneer said Monday. The 1965 Mosrite Ventures II electric guitar was bought by a collector in the U.S. who wished to remain anonymous, Boston-based RR Auction said in a statement. Ramone, whose real name was John Cummings, bought the guitar to replace his original blue Ventures II, which was stolen, according to RR Auction. It was played at every Ramones performance from November 1977 until his retirement in August 1996, RR said. He died in 2004. The guitar, along with other Ramones memorabilia, came from the collection of Daniel Rey, a musician and producer who was also a longtime Ramones collaborator. Some of the other items sold included Johnny Ramone’s Mark-2 signature guitar for almost $50,000, and Joey Ramone’s Shure microphones from the final Ramones concert for more than $13,000. The auction began Aug. 24 and concluded Saturday.
Detroit: The Detroit Institute of Arts soon will be welcoming school field trips for the first time since the pandemic began in March 2020. Admission and bus transportation is free for all K-12 schools in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. The Institute of Arts is supported by a property tax in the counties. School groups can sign up starting Oct. 12. Before the pandemic, more than 90,000 students a year visited the art museum on field trips. “It is hard to imagine that it has been 19 months since we’ve last heard the sounds of students and teachers exploring the galleries,” said Jason Gillespie, director of education programs. Masks are required. Lunch or snack space cannot be provided.
St. Paul: The state is on the verge of selling a refrigerated warehouse that it bought in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in case it was needed as backup morgue. When the administration of Gov. Tim Walz announced the purchase of the former Bix produce building in St. Paul, it expressed worries, based on the experiences of New York City, that the state’s mortuaries could be swamped with pandemic victims. The state paid nearly $5.48 million for the facility, which could have held 5,100 bodies, but never stored corpses there, just personal protective equipment. Now, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported, the St. Paul Port Authority board is preparing to vote Tuesday on whether to take the warehouse off the state’s hands for $5.65 million, the property’s current appraised value, giving the state a slight profit. The Port Authority’s goal, according to board documents, is to flip the building as quickly as possible, with a goal of selling it by Dec. 1. “The idea is to find a buyer who will bring jobs to the city of St. Paul,” Andrea Novak, a Port Authority marketing manager, told the newspaper. “There is no specific buyer in the wings. We will market this aggressively.” The Democratic governor had come under criticism for the buying the facility from Republicans who saw it as wasteful spending.
Jackson: The state intends to appeal a federal judge’s ruling that it come up with a plan detailing how it will work to prevent unnecessary institutionalization of people with mental illness. Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves told the state it had 120 days to submit a plan to the U.S. Justice Department and a mental health expert. He ordered that the final plan, incorporating their feedback, be completed in 180 days. Attorneys for the state asked in court documents filed Monday if the deadline could be postponed because the state intends to appeal Reeves’ ruling. James Shelson, the state’s attorney, wrote that if the Department of Mental Health were required to complete its plan and other requirements of Reeves’ order in the allocated time frame, “Mississippi will suffer irreparable injuries from undue interference with its mental health system and a fundamental alteration of that system both in costs and structure.”
Columbia: The Missouri Department of Conservation plans to test hundreds of deer for COVID-19 this hunting season following a recent federal report. The U.S Department of Agriculture reported the results of a federal study testing white-tailed deer in Illinois, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania. Samples showed at least 7% of the population having antibodies for the virus that causes COVID-19. The highest population showed a whopping 67% in Michigan. The USDA report showed that although deer were carrying the antibodies, none actually fell ill. There is no evidence of deer dying or humans contracting the coronavirus from eating venison. “We want to be proactive,” said Jasmine Batten, wildlife health program supervisor for the Missouri Department of Conservation. “We’re paying attention to other states, and this is the first step to see what’s going on in our state.” Batten emphasized that the testing plan is still in the preliminary stage, the Columbia Missourian reported. As of now, the plan is to test the deer that will be killed this hunting season. Deer hunting season has begun for archery, and begins Oct. 30 for youth hunters and Nov. 13 for adult hunters with firearms.
Billings: Three gray wolves from a large pack in Yellowstone National Park that’s popular among tourists have been killed by Montana hunters, park officials said Monday. The two female pups and a female yearling from the Junction Butte pack were killed outside the park’s northern boundary in the first week after wolf season opened earlier this month, park officials said. The deaths follow the recent end to longstanding restrictions on how many wolves can be killed in areas of Montana bordering the park. That came after Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte signed laws intended to make it easier to kill wolves as a way to reduce their attacks on livestock and big game herds. Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly said the park is trying to convince Montana officials to reinstate wolf hunting and trapping quotas across the park to protect its wolves. Idaho, which borders Yellowstone to the west, also has lifted wolf hunting restrictions.
Omaha: An Omaha woman has been charged with felony counts after dozens of dead animals were found in her home rendered uninhabitable by filth, waste and rotting animal carcasses. The Nebraska Humane Society said in a court affidavit that the discovery was made last month in the home of 47-year-old Jaime Kimbrough. In a seven-page affidavit, a Humane Society officer detailed visits to Kimbrough’s home over several days in August following a complaint about rabbit hording. Various officers described speaking with Kimbrough, whom they described as physically disabled and said she crawled out of the house on her belly and appeared to have feces smeared on her clothing and bare feet. She denied having any rabbits and falsely told officers that her two dogs had been vaccinated, according to the affidavit. On Aug. 19, a Humane Society team executed a search warrant at the home and found the carcasses of at least 43 dead rabbits – most of them in Kimbrough’s garage – and two bird skeletons in cages in a bedroom. Two dogs and eight rabbits were found alive but suffering from neglect. Two of the rabbits had to be euthanized. Kimbrough’s attorney, Kaz Long, questioned why the situation was being handled as a criminal rather than civil matter. “My client was doing her best with her limited ability,” Long said. “This is a woman who needs help.”
Las Vegas: Mayor Carolyn Goodman and the head of the Nevada state Republican party are pitching the idea of the city playing host to the GOP National Convention ahead of the November 2024 presidential election. Goodman on Monday issued a statement saying she told the Republican National Committee in response to an inquiry that Las Vegas would be the best place for the three-day event in the summer of 2024. State Republican party Chairman Michael McDonald followed with a statement of support, calling the convention “a huge opportunity for our city and state to bring business back to the convention capital of the world.” The Republican National Committee did not immediately respond to an email asking how many cities were invited to bid to host the convention. Goodman, now in her third term as mayor, succeeded her husband, Oscar, after he served three terms in the nonpartisan office. She also is a member of the powerful regional tourism board, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. The mayor said formal bids to host the convention are due to the Republican National Committee by Dec. 1.
Concord: The newest addition to the New Hampshire Fallen Firefighters Memorial marks the first time the state is recognizing a death caused by occupational cancer. Newington Fire Chief Darin Sabine died of cancer in 2019. His name was one of four added to the state’s memorial to fallen firefighters in Concord on Saturday. Sabine’s wife, Jennifer, told WMUR-TV that the honor was a step in the right direction. Also honored were Dover Chief James Smith, who died in 1925 while investigating a gas leak; Dover Lt. Earnest Leblanc, who died while fighting a fire in 1959; and Goffstown Cpt. Steve Tower, who died in 2020 during a training test. With the new additions, the memorial now includes 95 names.
Deal: A Jersey Shore town with a long history of trying to discourage outsiders from using its beaches is about to get millions of dollars worth of new sand, paid for by federal and New Jersey taxpayers. U.S. Rep Frank Pallone Jr., a Democrat, said Monday the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will conduct beach replenishment in three towns in November, including Deal. The federal government is paying 65%, or $17 million, of the $26 million project. Beach access advocates said Deal has one of the worst records of any Jersey Shore town when it comes to requirements that the state’s beaches be open and accessible to all. And there is an explicit requirement that towns that accept publicly paid-for sand as part of beach replenishment comply with public beach access rules, including providing adequate public parking within a reasonable distance. Deal has tried numerous times to enact laws that would allow only residents of some streets closest to the beach to park there during the summer, and it is being sued by a coastal advocacy group fighting its sale to a neighboring homeowner of a street end used by surfers and others to get onto the beach. As recently as June, Deal, located just north of Asbury Park, tried to enact an ordinance that would limit parking on several streets nearest the beach to residents only, but then backed off. That is one of several times it has proposed such a law only to abandon the effort.
Albuquerque: The city’s struggle with violent crime and escalating homelessness took center stage Monday as the three candidates running for mayor in New Mexico’s largest city faced off during a forum sponsored by the New Mexico Black Voters Collaborative. Crime has been among the top issues for voters as the city deals with record homicides this year. Incumbent Tim Keller, a Democrat, has been facing heat for not being able to contain the problem during his tenure. Keller tried to defend his record during the forum, saying his administration is addressing the root causes – addiction and poverty – through community policing efforts, a new public safety office and other initiatives. He said the Albuquerque police force is adequately funded and that more money needs to be spent on social workers and support programs. He also took swipes at Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales, saying that crime was his problem too. Gonzales, a Democrat, accused Keller of politicizing law enforcement and not supporting the city’s officers. He described the city at “a crossroads of total anarchy,” where people no longer feel safe and families are choosing to move away. Republican candidate Eddy Aragon, a radio station owner and talk show host, said the city is in crisis. “We need to do what we can to go ahead and turn this city around,” he said, pointing to growing economic insecurity, drug addiction and mental health issues.
New York City: The nation’s largest school district can immediately impose a vaccine mandate on its teachers and other workers, a federal appeals panel decided Monday, leading attorneys for teachers to say they will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene. The city’s Department of Education said the mandate would now go into effect at the end of Friday, so that all teachers and staff would be vaccinated by Oct. 4, the following Monday. The three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan issued a brief order late in the day that lifted a block of the mandate that a single appeals judge had put in place on Friday. After an adverse ruling from a Brooklyn judge, a group of teachers had brought the case to the appeals court, which assigned a three-judge panel to hear oral arguments Wednesday. But the appeals panel issued its order Monday after written arguments were submitted by both sides. Attorney Mark Fonte, who brought the lawsuit on behalf of teachers and others, said in a statement that he and attorney Louis Gelormino were immediately petitioning the Supreme Court to intervene.
Winston-Salem: Novant Health said Monday that more than 175 of its workers have been fired for failing to comply with its COVID-19 vaccination requirement. Last week, Novant Health announced 375 employees had been suspended and given five days to comply with the mandate. The deadline was Friday. Nearly 200 of those employees came into compliance, Spokesperson Megan Rivers said in an email Monday. Rivers didn’t provide specific numbers on how many out of the 375 were in compliance and how many lost their jobs. More than 99% of Novant Health’s 35,000-plus employees are now compliant with the vaccine mandate, including employees who have submitted an approved religious or medical vaccine exemption, according to a statement. The Winston-Salem-based system includes 15 hospitals, 800 clinics and hundreds of outpatient facilities.
Minot: An explosion and fire has caused significant damage to a house in Minot, but no one has been injured, according to fire officials. Firefighters were dispatched to a home in southwest Minot about 1:30 a.m. Monday. Fire engulfed the rear of the house with flames spreading toward adjacent structures. Crews began search and rescue operations on all three floors of the house until they could account for all occupants. No one was injured. The cause of the explosion and fire is under investigation.
Columbus: The newly drawn legislative district maps in Ohio were contested for the third time Monday, when state and national civic groups filed suit alleging the Republican-controlled redistricting process violated voters’ rights. The newest lawsuit, filed in the Ohio Supreme Court by three advocacy organizations and six individual Ohioans, seeks to block the maps of Ohio House and Senate districts passed Sept. 16 along party lines by the GOP-dominated Ohio Redistricting Commission and require the commission to draw new districts. The litigation follows in line with legal action taken by the National Democratic Redistricting Committee’s legal arm and the ACLU on behalf of the League of Women Voters, A. Philip Randolph Institute and individual voters, each alleging the maps violate Ohio’s constitution. In addition to Talley, the plaintiffs in the lawsuit include five individual voters, as well as the Council on American-Islamic Relations of Ohio, Ohio Organizing Collaborative and the Ohio Environmental Council. The plaintiffs are represented by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s School of Law and law firm Reed Smith. Republican Senate President Matt Huffman, who led the map-making effort, has defended the maps as fair and constitutionally compliant – criticizing Democrats and special interest groups for thwarting a bipartisan deal. John Fortney, a spokesman for Huffman, called the latest legal challenge an example of “another elitist D.C. think tank representing more far left groups attempts to lecture Ohioans about the liberal definition of fairness.”
Oklahoma City: The Goodholm Mansion, moved twice since it was constructed in 1901, was torn down over the weekend after sitting unoccupied for a dozen years in a field in eastern Oklahoma County. The mansion was one of the oldest surviving homes originally built in Oklahoma City and predated construction of the Harn home at the Harn Homestead and the Overholser Mansion in Heritage Hills. The owner, Christina Puckett, said her family tried for years to sell the home after her father, Richard Harris, bought it and moved it to Nicoma Park and died soon after. The home was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places and was historic for its architecture, age and original owner. The home marked the rise of Andrew Goodholm into the ranks of city fathers who shaped the prairie town into a city. Goodholm was born in Filipstad, Sweden, in 1861 and immigrated to Kansas in the 1880s. He moved to Oklahoma City in 1894 and opened Acme Milling Co., which quickly became the city’s largest flour mill. Construction on the home began in 1899 and was completed in 1901. The home was unique for central Oklahoma, featuring a Queen Anne Victorian styling topped with a round turret with a conical roof. The top floor included a ballroom. Around the outside a veranda, which included a “courting swing,” circled half the house.
Salem: State Treasurer Tobias Read on Monday launched his campaign for governor. The Beaverton Democrat said he would focus on Oregon’s children as governor, making Pre-K more accessible, extending the school year, expanding career and technical training and investing in clean energy to fight climate change. The Statesman Journal reports Read was elected as Oregon’s treasurer in 2016 and re-elected to a second term in November 2020. Before that, he represented Beaverton in the Oregon House of Representatives for a decade. Read joins an expanding Democratic primary field. Five candidates have officially filed to run for governor, not including House Speaker Tina Kotek of Portland, who has also announced her intention to run. The Democratic field is crowded in part because Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, is unable to run again because of term limits.Four Republicans are also officially running for the office. A Republican hasn’t served as governor of Oregon since Vic Atiyeh left in 1987.The deadline to file with the secretary of state is March 8.
Philadelphia: William Hite Jr., the superintendent of the Philadelphia School District, said he will be leaving the post next summer. Hite said in a video released to staff that “after much reflection” he had decided not to seek renewal of his contract when it expires in August 2022. He said leading the district of 120,000 students in more than 200 schools had been a “tremendous honor and privilege” and vowed to support the board in its search for a new superintendent. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Hite said in an email to staff Monday night that he wanted to share the news now to allow “a full and complete search process for the next leader of the district, but I want to assure you all that I’m not going anywhere before August 2022.” The next year, he said, would see several critical initiatives focusing on equity, facilities planning, and environmental improvements. Hite was hired in June 2012 to take over a district in financial trouble and the following year recommended closing 37 schools, 23 of which were shut. He presided over the end of the 17-year state takeover and his contract was renewed in 2015.
Providence: A judge on Tuesday dismissed a legal challenge by firefighters to block a state requirement for health care workers to get a coronavirus vaccine by Oct. 1 or risk losing their licenses. The Rhode Island Association of Firefighters argued that the state Department of Health’s mandate violated state law that requires the negotiation of terms and conditions of employment, and violated the firefighters’ collective bargaining rights, The Providence Journal reported. They sought an injunction barring enforcement of the rule. The health care worker vaccine mandate applies to emergency medical technicians, and many firefighters are EMTs licensed through the health department. “In short, the court does not believe this regulation imposes a new working condition,” Judge Melissa Darigan wrote in her decision. An email seeking comment was left with the union.
Charleston: Dylann Roof has lost the next phase of his appeal, with a federal court turning down his request for a new hearing to challenge his death sentence and conviction in the 2015 slayings of nine members of a Black congregation. In an order issued Monday, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote that it was denying Roof’s request for a hearing before a full appellate court, as well as his petition that a court of substitute judges from other circuits be designated to consider his case. All of the judges from the 4th Circuit, which covers South Carolina, have recused themselves from hearing Roof’s case, thus adding an uncommon wrinkle to the flow his appeals process. One of their own, Judge Jay Richardson, prosecuted Roof’s case as an assistant U.S. attorney. Richardson led the case against Roof in 2017, when he became the first person in the U.S. sentenced to death for a federal hate crime. Authorities have said Roof opened fire during the closing prayer of a Bible study at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. He was 21 at the time.
Sioux City: Sioux Area Metro continues to face a driver shortage affecting the city's bus service, officials said at a meeting of the Public Transit Advisory Board. All fixed routes have been moved to hourly service from the downtown bus depot since Aug. 16, except for Route 11, which continues half-hour service from the Southwest Transfer Facility. Night service remains unchanged, and Saturday service is operating through SAM On Demand. Robert Speeks, Sioux Area Metro's general manager, said they're at 32 fixed-route drivers, although three of them are out on medical leave. Another three drivers have been newly hired, bringing them to a total of 35. However, Speeks said, they will need between 36 and 38 drivers for full service, and although they have applicants, it takes time to train them and get them driving full shifts. Speeks said that when the service reduction began, they saw a slight drop in ridership that has slowly increased toward normal levels.
Jamestown: A nonprofit organization and two state agencies have expanded protection of conserved property in the Cumberland Plateau by more than 11,700 acres. The Conservation Fund, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency announced the expansion, completing an effort to conserve more than 14,700 acres in the plateau. The new property is adjacent to the state’s Skinner Mountain Wildlife Management Area and will remain privately owned, the parties said in a news release. The addition will expand recreational access at Skinner Mountain WMA, protect vulnerable wildlife habitat and support local timber jobs, the release said. The area contains gorges, cliffs and waterfalls near the East Fork Obey River and provides habitat for endangered and threatened species of mussels, migratory songbirds and plants, the release said. The expansion fully conserves more than 50 caves, including the state’s fifth longest. The caves provide winter habitat for Tennessee’s most endangered mammal, the Indiana bat, and six additional species of concern, the release said.
Smithville: A Union Pacific train with hazardous cargo derailed at Texas 95 and Martin Luther King Boulevard in Smithville at 5 a.m. Sunday, leading to road closures and the evacuation of 20 to 25 nearby homes. No injuries were reported and the city posted updates throughout the day on its Facebook page. The city said just before 2 p.m. that residents were allowed to return to their homes. The tanker cars were empty but some contained residual hydrochloric acid that leaked, according to the city. The Union Pacific HazMat team decontaminated the scene and air samples were taken of the evacuation zone to confirm that it was safe for people to return to their homes. Sgt. Matthew Henderson with the Smithville Police Department said that the leaking tank was patched and treated with a neutralizing chemical that was then vacuumed out of the tank and transported off site. The cause of the derailment has not yet been made public, Henderson said, but federal investigators, as well as investigators from Union Pacific, were on the scene Sunday.
Ogden: Lawmakers are considering a crackdown on catalytic converter theft, in which criminals saw the emission control devices from cars and sell the precious metals found inside to a booming worldwide black market. State Rep. Ryan Wilcox, a Republican who represents House District 7, covering North Ogden, Pleasant View and a part of Ogden, is sponsoring a bill to create a statewide database of catalytic converter sales, the Standard-Examiner reported. “We want to force the (illegal) sales out of the legitimate areas, to lock down the legitimate ways to dispose of them,” Wilcox said. The usual proper channel is through metal recycling yards.” Candace Daly, a Utah recycling industry representative who testified last week at a hearing on the bill before the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Interim Committee, said the going rate per ounce for rhodium this week was $9,950. Palladium is worth $1,967 per ounce, and platinum is $928, she said, listing three metals commonly found in catalytic converters. Thieves might try to sell stolen converters to recyclers and sometimes are successful because tracking and enforcement is lacking, hence the need for a database, said Chris Walden, a Utah Attorney General’s Office supervisory special agent.
Middlebury: Middlebury College removed the name of former Vermont governor John Mead from the campus chapel on Monday because of his “instigating role” in eugenics policies of the early 1900s that “sought to isolate and prevent the procreation of so-called ‘delinquents, dependents, and defectives,’ ” the school announced. The move follows the Legislature’s apology last spring to all Vermonters and their families and descendants who were harmed by state-sanctioned eugenics policies and practices that led to sterilizations. Some Vermonters of mixed French Canadian and Native American heritage, as well as poor, rural white people, were placed on a state-sanctioned list of “mental defectives” and degenerates and sent to state institutions. Mead, a physician and industrialist who graduated from Middlebury in 1864, served as Vermont governor from 1910 to 1912, the school said. The college’s Mead Memorial Chapel was named after him and his wife when they gave $74,000 to the school in 1914 to create a new, prominent chapel on the highest point on campus, Middlebury President Laurie Patton and Trustees Chair George Lee said in email to the school community. Two years before that, Mead had strongly urged the legislature to adopt policies and create legislation premised on eugenics theory, they said.
Falls Church: Some Democrats on a bipartisan redistricting commission said that new legislative districts will be fair only if they reflect the partisan success Democrats have had in the state for the past decade. The remarks came after Democratic and Republican map drawers for the first time submitted a joint map with proposed new boundaries for the 40-member state Senate, where Democrats hold a narrow 21-19 majority. The newly proposed map provides an even 20-20 split in terms of which party holds an advantage, using the vote in the 2016 presidential election as a guide. Although an even split sounds fair on the surface, Democrats on the commission said that would dilute Democratic influence, given that Democrats have won every statewide election since 2009. Sen. George Barker, D-Fairfax, said Democrats should hold an advantage in at least 22 districts, maybe more, to fairly respect the state’s Democratic tilt.
Seattle: Landlords must soon provide six months’ notice of rent hikes and, in some cases, pay tenants who move following a large rent increase. The Seattle City Council approved two bills on Monday. They are the latest of new landlord-tenant regulations including bans on some evictions and the right to a lawyer for low-income tenants facing eviction, The Seattle Times reported. Councilmember Kshama Sawant sponsored the proposals, saying they will help “to mitigate the harm that is going to be experienced by renters because of skyrocketing rents.” Property owners argued the measures could push small-scale operators to sell their rentals. The council approved a bill requiring 180 days’ notice of rent increases with a 7-1 vote. Landlords are currently required to give 60 days’ notice for rent increases. Councilmember Alex Pedersen voted no, saying the bill should exempt landlords with a small number of properties. Councilmember Debora Juarez was absent.
Charleston: Fall fire season gets underway this week in West Virginia, with limits set on outdoor burning through the end of the year. Starting Friday, burning vegetation and other naturally occurring material is limited to the hours of 5 p.m. to 7 a.m., the Division of Forestry said. A 10-foot safety area around the fire must be cleared to dirt level. Fires must be attended at all times, and open fires must be 50 feet away from structures, the division said. Violation of burning laws can result in a fine of up to $1,000. Commercial burning permits from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. are available from local Division of Forestry offices.
Madison: State Senate Republicans confirmed four of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ Cabinet appointments Tuesday after letting them languish for months but took no action on a key pick that would give the governor control of wildlife and pollution policies. The Senate voted overwhelmingly to confirm Craig Thompson and Randy Romanski as transportation and agriculture secretaries; Missy Hughes as secretary of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.; and Dawn Crim as secretary of the Department of Safety and Professional Services. The Senate also confirmed about 30 other appointments to various boards, commissions and committees, including Daniel Carlton Jr. as administrator of the Wisconsin Ethics Commission and Joaquin Altoro as executive director of the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority. Not on Tuesday’s docket was Sandra Naas, Evers’ choice to replace Natural Resources Board Chairman Fred Prehn. His term expired in May, prompting Evers to appoint Naas to fill his slot. The move would give Evers appointees majority control of the body that regulates hunting, pollution and other environmental policies. But Prehn, who was appointed by then-Republican Gov. Scott Walker, has refused to step down. He points to a 1964 state Supreme Court ruling that gubernatorial appointees don’t have to leave their posts until their replacements are confirmed.
Wilson: Republican U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, Wyoming’s lone House member, will be the featured speaker at a New Hampshire fundraising event celebrating the First Amendment. Cheney, a fierce critic of fellow Republican Donald Trump, will speak at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications’ First Amendment Awards on Nov. 9 at St. Anselm College’s Institute of Politics in Manchester.Cheney, a daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, was an ascendant Republican leader before the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol but has become increasingly defined by her public opposition to Trump and his hold on the GOP. She is serving as vice chair of the nine-person committee investigating the riot.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 50 States
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