Blue Angels, Surfboards in flames, John Legend: News from around our 50 states – USA TODAY

Blue Angels, Surfboards in flames, John Legend: News from around our 50 states  USA TODAY


Alabama

Montgomery: Katie Boyd Britt has piled up a significant cash advantage over Donald Trump-backed U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks and other candidates in the Alabama race for U.S. Senate. Britt, a former chief of staff to retiring Sen. Richard Shelby, is seeking to fill his seat in the 2022 election. Britt stepped down as head of the Business Council of Alabama to run for Senate and has so far dominated fundraising ahead of the June Republican primary. Britt has raised a total of $3.76 million for her campaign, including $1.5 million in the last quarter, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. She has a $3.3 million campaign balance. Brooks has raised a total of $1.79 million for his campaign, including $663,074 in the last fundraising quarter. He entered the race with $1 million left from his last House of Representatives race, and has $1.8 million on hand. Lynda Blanchard, a businesswoman who was Trump’s ambassador to Slovenia, has the most cash in the race, after taking out $5 million in loans earlier in the campaign season.

Alaska


Juneau: The cost to the state for docking an Alaska ferry that has been idled for nearly two years is close to $900,000 a year, with much of that representing insurance costs that were not previously publicly disclosed, CoastAlaska reported Monday. The Malaspina is one of the original ferries in the state ferry fleet, dating to the early 1960s, and Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration has balked at investing in the overhaul of one of the ship’s original engines. Estimates for getting new engines, steel work and restoring a certificate from the U.S. Coast Guard that lapsed while the ship has been laid up are in the $70 million range. The state has been contracting with a company for just over $400,000 a year to store the vessel at a private dock near Ketchikan. CoastAlaska earlier this year reported that monthly power costs to heat the vessel boost the cost to about $447,000. But that doesn’t include insurance costs. The state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities told CoastAlaska that insurance costs were about $420,000 during the last fiscal year, which ended June 30, and that the figure would go up “slightly” during the current fiscal year that ends in June 2022.

Arizona

Phoenix: Democrat Sarah Liguori will fill a vacant seat in the state House of Representatives, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors decided Monday. Liguori will hold the District 28 seat formerly held by Aaron Lieberman, a Democrat who resigned to focus on his campaign for governor. Liguori, a 38-year-old Tucson native, has worked in financial planning and commercial real estate. She’s running in next year’s election to keep the seat. The 28th District in North Phoenix and Paradise Valley is the most competitive in the state, though the boundaries will change during the ongoing redistricting process. Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates, a Republican, said in a statement that Liguori stood out for her private sector background and “an eye to the future of our state.”

Arkansas

Fort Smith:Police and fire chiefs are proposing a training facility that would house classes for both departments. Police Chief Danny Baker said the center will cost about $10.8 million. Fire Chief Phil Christensen said the space would consist of a lecture hall, classrooms and office space. The pair suggested that the center could be at property available at the landfill. “It just seemed like that was the most feasible place and likely place to put that,” Baker said. The police department shooting range and the fire department burn tower are already located at the landfill. The burn tower is set on fire during hands-on training for the fire department. Baker discussed the training center as a possible location for the combined 911 calling center. The state is requiring Sebastian County to combine its centers that accept 911 calls, meaning that the police and sheriff departments will have to combine locations. It is also possible that the police department could use the facility to house another precinct temporarily. There is a call for an east-side precinct for Chaffee Crossing, and the training facility could be a good space to temporarily place it, Baker said.

California

Redding:School districts in Shasta County reported high numbers of student absences Monday after organizers called for students, staff and teachers to stay away from school to protest staff COVID-19 vaccine mandates that went into effect Friday. The walkout was pronounced at the elementary school level, according to spot checks with area schools. Although all Enterprise Elementary School District schools were in session on Monday, 45% of the student body was absent, District Superintendent Heather Armelino said. Attendance was higher at Cascade Union School District schools, said District Superintendent Jason Provence. Still, the district reported that 305 of the district’s 1,100 students – almost 28% – were absent.

Colorado


Loveland:Thousands of people set up folding chairs and laid out picnic blankets at the Northern Colorado Regional Airport on Saturday to watch the Great Colorado Air Show, headlined by the Blue Angels. The air show, which hasn’t been to Northern Colorado in nearly two decades, sold out thousands of tickets days in advance, according to Jim Havey, who managed the show’s public relations. Eleven air groups performed, and Havey said attendance was about 15,000 on Saturday. The Blue Angels performed in their new aircraft, the F/A-18 Super Hornet, which is faster and about 33% larger than their previous aircraft. The Rocky Mountain Renegades air show team and the Air Force and Navy parachute teams also performed.

Connecticut


Hartford: Shawn Lang, a longtime Connecticut activist for people living with HIV and AIDS, as well as those impacted by opioid addiction and domestic abuse, has died. She was 65. A cause of death has not yet been released. “Shawn Lang’s passion and courage were boundless, and her impact endless, as a leader and advocate for fundamental human rights,” U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said in a statement. “I am proud to have called her my friend, and like so many other public officials, I valued her sage advice.” Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont credited Lang with “giving a voice for the underrepresented and those in marginalized communities.” A resident of Hartford and the former deputy director of AIDS Connecticut, a group she first joined in 1991, Lang worked on state and federal AIDS policy and oversaw the group’s care, treatment and prevention programs. Lang was well-known at the state Capitol for her passionate advocacy as well as her sense of humor.

Delaware


Greenville:Construction of Delaware’s first Wegmans, which was years in the making, began Monday in Greenville. The grocery store is being built at Route 141 and Lancaster Pike and is expected to open in the second half of 2022, according to a company spokesperson. Wegmans is anchoring a redevelopment of Barley Mill Plaza, which was formerly home to a DuPont office complex. Construction workers were seen Monday digging the open land next to brick buildings that were constructed at the site earlier this year for retail tenants. The development when completed will include upscale residences, shops and office space. The project’s developer Greg Pettinaro hasn’t announced any tenants other than Wegmans. The grocery store will be about 110,000 square feet, making it comparable in size to the Target in Prices Corner that opened in April. Capped by Wegmans’ signature clock tower, it is expected to follow the design of the company’s newer suburban stores.

District of Columbia

Washington:D.C. Police are investigating a shooting that involved officers Monday afternoon, WUSA-TV reported. Not much is known about the shooting but police said it started just before 4:30 p.m. in the 1300 block of Congress Street Southeast. Police Chief Robert Contee said in a video released on Twitter that officers were in the area to serve someone with a temporary protection order. Contee confirmed one person died in the shooting. Officers have not released any information regarding the person killed. Sources told WUSA-TV that no officers were injured in the shooting.

Florida

Orlando: A federal judge on Monday agreed to push back until next year the sentencing for U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz’s friend who pleaded guilty earlier this year to sex trafficking and other charges. U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell said sentencing for Joel Greenberg could be postponed from next month to March during a hearing in federal court in Orlando. Greenberg’s attorney had asked for the delay so the former local tax collector can continue cooperating with federal authorities. Prosecutors agreed to the postponement. Greenberg wasn’t present during the 20-minute hearing. The judge said he would set a new sentencing date in the future. Greenberg is facing up to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty in May to six federal crimes, including sex trafficking of a child, identity theft, stalking, wire fraud and conspiracy to bribe a public official. Greenberg’s plea agreement with prosecutors requires continued cooperation with an ongoing probe into sex trafficking.

Georgia

Brunswick: An insurer is suing the operator of a coastal Georgia warehouse where 50,000 tons of biofuel wood pellets went up in smoke this year, claiming “grossly negligent acts” caused $4.5 million in losses. The Brunswick News reported Tokio Marine American Insurance Co. filed the suit last month against Logistec, a Canadian stevedoring firm that leases the Georgia Ports Authority warehouse. Investigators believe some of the pellets decomposed and spontaneously combusted, starting a multiday fire that devoured the warehouse and threatened nearby homes in Brunswick. Tokio Marine was insuring the wood pellets, which were owned by Fram Renewable Fuels of Hazlehurst and awaiting shipment. Tokio said it wouldn’t have had to pay losses to Fram but for Logistec’s “gross negligence.” The lawsuit claims Logistec improperly stored pellets in tall cones and loaded wet pellets into the warehouse; scooped pellets from the top of the pile, leaving a bottom layer to degrade and overheat; and let flammable wood dust accumulate, all contributing to spontaneous combustion. It also alleges that Logistec had flawed sprinklers.

Hawaii

Honolulu: Surfboards stored next to a historic Waikiki hotel went up in flames Sunday for the second time in less than two years. Firefighters called to the scene found several storage racks of surfboards at a beach alleyway in flames and evacuated the adjacent buildings: the Moana Surfrider Hotel and the Honolulu Police Department’s Waikiki substation. The blaze scorched the exterior of the hotel, which first opened in 1901, and spread to the substation’s walls, roof and eaves, the Honolulu Fire Department said. An investigation is underway. Police arrested a 43-year-old man on suspicion of arson. Surfer Theresa Strange told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser she lost two boards worth about $2,000 each. She also lost boards during similar fire there in February 2020. She said the emotional attachment is the biggest loss. Acting Battalion Chief Elden Tanaka told KHON-TV firefighters said the recent fire was bigger than the 2020 one. The first fire damaged more than 500 surfboards. Black smoke could be seen from miles away Sunday.

Idaho

Boise: The Payette County Sheriff’s Office said its investigating allegations that three young athletes were hazed by fellow football players at a southwestern Idaho high school. In a prepared statement released Monday, Payette Sheriff Andy Creech said his office is investigating a complaint alleging 11 members of the Fruitland varsity football team hazed three junior varsity players by taking them to an island, tying them to a fence and shocking one with a dog collar before releasing them. Neither Fruitland High School Principal Marci Haro nor the school’s athletic director and vice principal Scott Hammond could be immediately reached for comment. The sheriff’s office said the alleged hazing happened after the junior varsity team’s football game on Thursday. The varsity athletes first reportedly took the three junior varsity players, who were 14 and 15 years old, to McDonald’s. After they ate, the varsity athletes allegedly restrained the victims in some way before taking them to an island on the Payette River, where they were tied to a fence. One of the victims was then shocked with a dog collar before the group was untied and returned to Fruitland High School, according to the sheriff’s office. The investigation is ongoing and no charges have been filed at this point, Creech said in the press release.

Illinois

Chicago: Police Superintendent David Brown has put into writing a threat that officers could be fired if they don’t comply with the city’s COVID-19 vaccination policy, adding that those who choose to retire rather than adhere to the policy might be putting their retirement benefits at risk. In a memo sent Sunday night, Brown said those officers who do choose to retire rather than comply “may be denied retirement credentials,” the Chicago Tribune reported. As it has done throughout this dispute, the Fraternal Order of Police posted instructions on its website about what officers should do if given a direct order to report on the city portal their vaccination status. This time, it posted a letter that officers can sign and present to their superiors. This follows instructions that FOP President John Catanzara posted on the website with advice that includes using body cameras to record orders to report their vaccination status.

Indiana

Nashville: One of Indiana’s most popular state parks now has a new section of mountain bike trail as it continues expanding that network. A ceremony opening the 1.6-mile Limekiln East trail in Brown County State Park was held earlier this month for the beginner-level mountain bike trail. The trail is the second of three new routes being completed in the park with a $200,000 state grant to the Hoosier Mountain Bike Association for developing 7.5 miles of new mountain bike trails, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. The projects will give the southern Indiana park 43.5 miles of mountain bike trails that are also open to hikers and trail runners. DNR Director Dan Bortner said the additional trails in the heavily wooded, hilly park will give visitors more options and add to its reputation as a top mountain biking destination. The project’s funding is part of the state’s Next Level Trails grant program, which the DNR said has awarded $54.3 million since 2019 for 35 projects developing more than 112 miles of trails.

Iowa


Des Moines:Five days into a strike impacting about 10,100 workers, Deere & Co. and United Auto Workers officials began negotiating again Monday. UAW International spokesman Brian Rothenberg said the union’s negotiating team returned to Moline, Illinois, home to the agriculture and construction machine maker. The union representatives left the bargaining table Wednesday, setting off strikes in Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa and Kansas. Deere spokesperson Jen Hartmann confirmed that the two sides began negotiating Monday. The company previously said that “employees and others” would build Deere machines during the strike. The company has a long backlog of orders, executives previously told investors, with customers booking orders for some machines through the end of next year. Deere projected in August that it was on pace for a record profit of $5.7 billion to $5.9 billion this year. The UAW and Deere officials reached a tentative agreement on Oct. 1, with the company offering 5% or 6% raises. The company would have also increased monthly payments for retired workers while cutting the pension plan for future employees. About 90% of workers rejected the contract in an Oct. 10 ratification vote, setting up the first strike of Deere in 35 years.

Kansas

Lawrence: A suspect in a shooting death in Lawrence has been transferred back to Kansas after being arrested in Tennessee. Andrel Darnell Spats Jr., 19, was arrested Oct. 6 in Three Way, Tennessee. He was booked into the Douglas County Jail on Sunday night and is being held on $1 million bond while awaiting formal charges, the Lawrence Journal World reported. He is the second suspect in the death of 21-year-old Christian Willis in central Lawrence on Sept. 8. Javier Romero, 18, has been charged with first-degree murder and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

Kentucky

Louisville: The University of Kentucky will purchase 44% of the output of a new 125-megawatt solar power facility, through an agreement with its electricity provider, Kentucky Utilities Company, the university said. The McCracken County facility is expected to be online in 2025. The solar facility is expected to provide roughly one-third of the electricity consumed by the campus. Four other organizations, including the University of Louisville, also plan to buy power from the project. “We are well are on the way to achieving our greenhouse gas emissions target of a 25% reduction by 2025,” said Shane Tedder, UK’s sustainability officer.

Louisiana

Doyline: Authorities have condemned and will remove a section of a Louisiana bridge used for nearly two decades as a fishing pier, officials said. Work at the Lake Bistineau spillway fishing pier will begin Oct. 25 and is expected to take 90 days, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said in a news release. When the Louisiana Highway 154 bridge over Lake Bistineau was built in 2001, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development left a section of the old one for use as a fishing pier owned and managed by Wildlife and Fisheries. It’s in Bossier Parish, about 23 miles southeast of Shreveport. The pier has become so unstable that it’s a safety hazard for people who might use it and for the spillway itself, the news release said. The road to the spillway and fishing pier may be closed during demolition, the statement said.

Maine


Presque Isle: Maine’s potato harvesters are having a good year growing one of the state’s most important agriculture crops. The state is usually about the ninth-largest potato producer in the country, with a crop of close to 2 billion pounds. The Maine Potato Board said this year’s harvest season is ending and farmers saw a larger-than-average crop. The productive year is good news for the state’s industry, which suffered a below-average potato yield in 2020. Don Flannery, executive director of the Maine Potato Board, said the 2021 harvest has about 8,000 new acres of production, which it needs to meet demand. Maine potatoes are sold in stores and farmers markets, as well as used in frozen and processed products.

Maryland

Annapolis: State Treasurer Nancy Kopp said she will step down by the end of the year. Kopp, a Democrat, has been treasurer since 2002. She has been re-elected by the General Assembly to five four-year terms. The treasurer holds one of three seats on the state’s powerful Board of Public Works, which oversees a large portion of state procurement contracts. The other two board members are the governor and comptroller. As treasurer, Kopp has served as the state’s chief representative dealing with bond rating agencies and banking firms, responsible for receiving, depositing, investing, and distributing state funds. The treasurer also leads several key state boards and financial planning committees, including the Maryland State Retirement and Pension Systems. State law requires the General Assembly’s Senate president and House speaker to appoint a committee to review candidates for the opening when Kopp steps down. That process will begin in the coming weeks. Before Kopp became treasurer, she represented the Bethesda area in the House of Delegates for 27 years.

Massachusetts

Boston: A street musician who performed a rendition of John Legend’s hit “All of Me” in Boston over the weekend had one particularly appreciative audience member – John Legend. The Grammy Award-winning singer was visiting Faneuil Hall with his family before his show Sunday night in Boston when he came across Radha Rao performing the hit song, The Boston Globe reported. Legend was impressed. He gave Rao a hug and a tip. Rao, 22, didn’t recognize him at first. He was wearing a mask and she didn’t even know he was in town. Then he took it off. “What are the odds that John Legend is in town, in the area you’re performing, as you’re singing his song? Beyond believable,” she said. She admitted to being nervous, but finished the song, a regular part of her two-hour set at Faneuil Hall, where she has been performing since August. “A lot of people tend to ask, ‘Did you play it because he was there?’ And the answer is no,” Rao said. “I was playing it, and then he happened to appear after I started the song, so it was quite a shocking experience.”

Michigan

Hancock: A college founded by Finnish immigrants in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula will be looking for a new leader. Philip Johnson said he’s resigning as president of Finlandia University in Hancock at the end of the 2021-22 school year. He didn’t give a reason. “His leadership, into and through these most difficult recent years, has Finlandia emerging stronger,” said Julie Badel, a member of Finlandia’s governing board. Finlandia was known as Suomi College when it opened in 1896. It is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. The liberal arts school, which is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, said it had 430 students in September. Johnson has been criticized by faculty members, who approved a no-confidence vote in June. In response, trustees said attracting more students was a “top priority.”

Minnesota

St. Paul: The first woman to lead the Minnesota Air National Guard officially assumed her duties after a change of command ceremony over the weekend. Command Chief Master Sgt. Lisa Erikson is the most senior enlisted member of the Minnesota Air Guard. She’s in charge of about 2,000 airmen located at two separate wings and the command headquarters. “My priorities are to build relationships to improve the resiliency of the force so we may provide this state and nation a ready force,” Erikson said. “I will also provide opportunities for development and growth.” Erikson has 32 years of service in the Air Force and has held six different duty positions. She began her career as a jet engine mechanic on the C-141 cargo aircraft. At one point, she was in charge of the 148th Medical Group that deployed to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Erikson holds three Community College of the Air Force associate’s degrees, in aircraft maintenance technology, human resources and personnel administration, and health care management.

Mississippi

McComb: A dentist’s office has provided more than $4,500 in free cleanings, teeth whitening and other care to veterans and first responders, to express gratitude for their service. The Enterprise-Journal reported that Dr. Stephanie Ricks and her staff donated their time and services Thursday as part of Freedom Day USA, which encourages businesses to offer free goods and services to veterans. “Wow. I really do appreciate that,” veteran David Knox said after he received dental work. Ricks and her staff first participated in Freedom Day USA in 2020 after she heard about it through her business coach with Fortune Management. “Last year when we did it, we didn’t advertise quickly enough,” Ricks said. “It was kind of last-minute and we didn’t have as good of a turnout.” This year’s turnout was much better, she said. She said the hygienist in her office was completely booked. Free services were for same-day dental care only.

Missouri

St. Louis: The St. Louis Art Museum is receiving a donation of 22 pieces of art, including two by Pablo Picasso. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported the museum announced the multimillion-dollar gift from Emily Rauh Pulitzer on Monday, calling the works “masterpieces” that are like a primer of art history in the 20th century. The donation also includes works by another famous Spaniard, Joan Miró; a self-portrait by American Andy Warhol; and one of his iconic Marilyn Monroe prints. “It’s really an extraordinary time to be part of this great institution,” said Min Jung Kim, who started as museum director less than two months ago. Neither Kim nor Pulitzer would estimate the monetary worth of the pieces, but just a few of the most valuable might have brought about $200 million at auction.

Montana

Columbia Falls: Columbia Falls in the northwestern part of the state is the 11th Montana community to enact a resort tax. Although voters approved the 3% tax in June 2020, the city delayed implementation because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The tax took effect on Oct. 1, the Flathead Beacon reported. It applies to nonessential goods and services sold in the city limits and exempts necessities such as medication, groceries, appliances, tools, hardware and vehicles. Also exempted are daily necessities such as diapers, cleaning supplies, soap, toilet paper, vitamins, gasoline and utilities. State law allows cities with fewer than 5,500 residents, where a majority of the economy is based on tourism, to implement such taxes. Unincorporated areas with fewer than 2,500 residents can also implement a resort tax. City officials estimated the tax will raise $450,000 a year, with 55% used for public safety funding, 25% for property tax relief and 14% for public infrastructure. The remaining 6% will pay for business and city administration costs.

Nebraska

Omaha: An 11-year-old driver and two 14-year-old passengers were arrested Saturday after a police chase that topped 100 mph. The Nebraska State Patrol said the chase involving a Jeep Gladiator that had been stolen in Lincoln took place on Interstate 80 in Omaha about 1 a.m. Saturday. A trooper who spotted the stolen Jeep tried to stop the three boys, but the vehicle stopped only briefly before the boys fled, according to the Omaha World-Herald. The State Patrol said a handgun was thrown from the window of the Jeep as the vehicle reached speeds of 110 mph. Then the Jeep stopped voluntarily and all three boys were taken into custody after a second handgun was found. Investigators determined both handguns had been stolen. The 11-year-old was arrested on suspicion of theft, possession of a stolen firearm, fleeing to avoid arrest and several other charges. He was released to his mother. The two 14-year-olds were both arrested on suspicion of possession of a stolen firearm and booked into the Douglas County Youth Center.

Nevada


Lake Mead: Vice President Kamala Harris stood before the record-low water levels of Lake Mead and made the case for the Biden administration’s climate change agenda by warning that “this is where we’re headed.” “Look at where the water has receded over just the last 20 years,” she said, referring to the “bathtub ring” of minerals that marks where the reservoir’s water line previously stood. “That space is larger than the height of the Statue of Liberty.” The vice president pitched the administration’s infrastructure and social safety net agenda as crucial to tackling the effects of climate change – which scientists said intensify extreme weather events such as heatwaves and droughts. Democrats have struggled to win support for that plan from some members of their party, who want to winnow down its $3.5 trillion price tag. Harris made the case for the package by connecting human-caused climate change to the scene she stood near, saying emissions are “part of what is contributing to these drought conditions.” Water levels at Lake Mead – created in the 1930s by the damming of the Colorado River – have fallen to record lows. Federal officials in August declared the first-ever water shortage in the Colorado River, which means Arizona, Nevada and Mexico will receive less water than usual next year amid a gripping Western drought.

New Hampshire


Exeter: More than 30 tree decorators have signed up for he 23rd annual Festival of Trees celebration Dec. 1-2 at Town Hall. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, attendees must wear masks inside the hall, and a limited number of people will be allowed entry at a time. Hand sanitizer will be made available. All proceeds from the event benefit the Community Children’s Fund by providing local families in need with vouchers for winter clothing and bedding. Last year, the fund, under the auspices of the Exeter Area Charitable Foundation, distributed $93,000 in clothing vouchers. More than $35,000 of that was raised through the Festival of Trees. Festival organizers recommend that decorators sign up as soon as possible for the remaining available trees. Registration forms can be accessed here..

New Jersey

Trenton:Residents can trade their guns for cash at one of 10 sites throughout New Jersey on Saturday during the largest single-day gun buyback ever held in the state. The event will let residents turn firearms in with no questions asked, according to a statement from acting Attorney General Andrew Bruck. They will receive as much as $250 per weapon for up to three guns. State officials said the buybacks will help cut gun violence by pulling firearms off the streets. “Fewer firearms in the wrong hands will lead to less violence in our neighborhoods,” said Col. Patrick Callahan, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “This program will play a huge role in protecting our cities and saving lives.” State officials said nearly 1,000 guns were obtained during the summer buyback held in Atlantic City, East Orange, Newark and Paterson. But it’s still not yet known how such programs have an effect on lowering crime, experts said.

New Mexico

Clovis: State environmental protection officials have wrapped up testing of nearly five dozen private wells near a U.S. Air Force base on the eastern side of the state for “forever chemicals” known as PFAS, which can be toxic to humans and animals. The state Environment Department said Monday that neither of two PFAS contaminants the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has established health advisories for were detected in the samples collected during the study. However, other types of PFAS compounds were found at very low levels in nine wells. Contamination with PFAS chemicals has been documented at and around Cannon Air Force Base near Clovis, as well as at Holloman air base near Alamogordo and other locations in New Mexico. The state sued the U.S. Air Force in 2019, saying the federal government has a responsibility to clean up plumes of toxic chemicals left behind by past military firefighting activities. Efforts are underway to determine the extent of the contamination.

New York


New York City: An 1833 statue of Thomas Jefferson will be removed from the City Council chamber by the end of the year, a city commission voted Monday, but it’s unknown where it will go. Some of the 51-member City Council have called for years for the statue to be removed from the room where they conduct business because Jefferson was a slaveholder. The Public Design Commission held off on approving a plan to send the statue to the New-York Historical Society as a long-term loan after some participants at a virtual public hearing said it should be moved to a different room in City Hall instead. The statue is a plaster model of the statue by French sculptor Pierre-Jean David d’Angers that stands in the Capitol rotunda of Congress. The plan to loan the statue to the New-York Historical Society for safekeeping and future display had seemed to be a done deal, but some members of the commission said sending a piece of public art to a private museum that charges admission would set a bad precedent. A group of historians including Sean Wilentz, author of books including “No Property in Man: Slavery and Antislavery at the Nation’s Founding,” argued in a letter to the Public Design Commission that the statue should be moved to the Governor’s Room in City Hall, its original home. The statue has been in the City Council chamber since 1915.

North Carolina


Raleigh: Democratic U.S. Rep. David Price, 81, the longest-serving member of North Carolina’s congressional delegation, said he won’t seek reelection in 2022. Price has represented the 4th District seat in the Raleigh-Durham area for all but one term since first joining Congress in 1987. Price made the announcement as state lawmakers are starting to redraw North Carolina’s U.S. House district boundaries based on 2020 census figures. Even with Republican control of the General Assembly, most any reconfigured district drawn in the heavily Democratic region of the state would have made Price a heavy favorite to win next year. He has won re-election with at least two-thirds of the vote during every general election since 2012.

North Dakota

Bismarck: North Dakota’s oil industry might soon have more options for disposing of radioactive waste. About 100,000 tons of radioactive oil field waste is produced in the state each year. Before a slurry well started operating near Watford City in April, all of that waste was trucked to other states for disposal in landfills, or in rare cases, disposed of illegally. But the North Dakota Industrial Commission recently permitted another well in McKenzie County, and officials see potential for additional wells in the Bakken region. The newly approved well still needs to get a radioactive material license from the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality. It will be built north of Alexander by GMJS Services, the Bismarck Tribune reported. The radioactive waste comes from soil, water and rocks that naturally contain low levels of radiation underground. When those materials are brought to the earth’s surface during oil production, radiation can concentrate in filter socks used to strain oil field fluids, in sludge in storage tanks and in scale that forms in well pipes.

Ohio

Columbus:Two men on death row lost their appeal before the Ohio Supreme Court that the state’s execution protocol needs a more formal approval. In a unanimous ruling issued Tuesday, the court said the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction doesn’t have to submit its execution protocol through the state’s formal rule-making procedures, which involve filing a proposed rule with the secretary of state and the Legislative Services Commission. The protocol is a 21-page, step-by-step manual on how to carry out a lethal injection. The policy sets out what prison staff need to do 30 days, 14 days, 24 hours, and 15 minutes before a scheduled execution. The state has had a written protocol since 1994 and revised it 20 times. Ohio has not carried out an execution during the DeWine administration. Robert Van Hook was the last to be executed by lethal injection on July 18, 2018. The state has had difficulty obtaining the drugs required for lethal injection under the protocol. Pharmaceutical companies started banning the sale of their products for lethal injections in 2011. Pfizer, the last seller of execution drugs, ended its sales in 2016.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma City: The first Republican candidate to challenge Gov. Kevin Stitt said he’s leaving the party and will run against Stitt as an independent. Former state Sen. Ervin Yen, an Oklahoma City physician, said in a statement he disagrees with the state party’s opposition to mask and vaccine mandates, and the insistence of some party officials that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump. “I vehemently disagree with these views and that is why I have withdrawn my Republican voter registration,” Yen said. “I have not changed, the party has.” A Chinese-American, Yen was the first Asian American elected to the Oklahoma Legislature and had a reputation as a moderate. He has been particularly critical of Stitt’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, especially the governor’s opposition to mask mandates. Earlier this month, Republican State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister said she was leaving the party and planned to run against Stitt as a Democrat.

Oregon

Salem:Northwest Oregon is expected to see rain almost every day beginning Wednesday and lasting for the next week, offering a possible preview of what’s forecast to be a wetter and cooler autumn and winter than usual, according to long-term forecasts. That would be good news for a state coming off one of the hottest and driest periods on record and with 96% of the state still experiencing severe drought. What’s fueling the optimism is a La Nina pattern in the ocean that often but doesn’t always fuel wetter and cooler conditions. It can also lead to a snowier winter, particularly in the Cascade Range. Every long-term forecast from the National Weather Service’s Climate Predication Center gives the Pacific Northwest a good shot at wetter-than-usual winter, and temperature forecasts trend closer toward normal or slightly cooler than normal winter.

Pennsylvania

Philadelphia: Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel campaigned in Bucks County on Tuesday, framing next month’s judicial elections in Pennsylvania as a prelude to a possible GOP takeover of Congress in next year’s midterm races. “Pennsylvania is the state on Nov. 2 where we are going to say to the Democrats: Freedom does matter. And freedom will win,” McDaniel told a crowd of party activists inside the Bucks County Republican Committee’s offices in Doylestown. “And we’re gonna shoot a shot across their bow, and we’re gonna say we’re coming for you in 2022, because we’re going to take back the House and the Senate – and it starts right here.” The top prize in the Nov. 2 election on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River is a seat on the state Supreme Court. It’s being vacated by Justice Thomas Saylor, a Republican who will reach the mandatory retirement age of 75 in December. He served as chief justice until April. Democrats hold a 5-2 advantage on the court, so the balance of power isn’t at stake. Republican nominee Kevin Brobson, president judge of the statewide Commonwealth Court, is running against Democrat Maria McLaughlin, a Superior Court judge. Democrats have controlled the court since they swept three open seats in 2015. Also on the ballot are elections for lower appeals courts, county and municipal office, and school board.

Rhode Island


Providence:Police are pushing to permanently close Revel Lounge after the latest shooting there injured three people. Cmdr. Thomas A. Verdi said police are asking the city’s Board of Licenses to revoke the South Providence bar’s license. Verdi said the Police Department will make its case for a shutdown at the board’s Wednesday meeting. “We’re very concerned, as we should be, as everyone should be,” Verdi said, adding that there have “been too many instances of violence associated with Revel.” Early Sunday, a 28-year-old woman and two men ages 29 and 33 were shot at the location and were taken to Rhode Island Hospital, where they were listed in stable condition. A fourth person – a 21-year-old woman – had a large cut to her back, police said, and believes she was either stabbed or trampled while trying to leave the bar. In late August, a 24-year-old man was shot outside Revel in what appeared to be a targeted act of violence, according to police. He was later pronounced dead at a hospital. At that time, the board closed the bar on an emergency basis. However, according to the board’s chairman, Dylan Conley, the closing was temporary as the board searched for video “to confirm that the issue wasn’t related to the operations of the bar.” The bar is once again closed on an emergency basis as a result of Sunday’s chaos, though whether it will become permanent remains to be seen. Among the crucial factors in the decision to close a venue is whether it has a pattern of trouble.

South Carolina

Charleston: South Carolina Ports CEO Jim Newsome is retiring next year, handing over the running of the docks in Charleston to the first woman to lead a top-10 container port in the United States. Chief Operating Officer Barbara Melvin will take over July 1 when Newsome retires. Newsome has run the state ports for 12 years. He oversees the huge port in Charleston as well as a smaller terminal in Georgetown and inland facilities to help transport containers and other freight in Dillon and Greer. The Charleston port is about to finish a project to deepen the harbor to 52 feet, allowing even the largest ships to get through at low tide. The board that runs South Carolina Ports unanimously selected Melvin to replace Newsome at Monday’s meeting. Melvin has worked for the agency since 1998, rising to chief operating officer three years ago.

South Dakota

Sioux Falls:The Siouxland Libraries system is using a $5,000 grant to expand outreach and services to new adult English language learners in need of free books to improve their English. The grant was awarded by the American Library Association and Dollar General Literacy Association in February to introduce adult newcomers with limited English proficiency to community resources that are low-cost and/or free for learning and greater access to books through Siouxland Libraries. The funds are part of a larger initiative called “Here For You” to increase services with a focus on basic education and workforce development, and answers rising needs of Sioux Falls’ growing immigrant population. Siouxland Libraries is partnering with Lutheran Social Services’ Center for New Americans and Caminando Junto to work directly with newly settled communities taking ELL classes at these local immigrant service centers, as well as provide translation of materials that explain library services in Spanish, Nepali and Amharic.

Tennessee


Nashville:Travis Tritt has canceled shows at venues requiring masks, proof of COVID-19 vaccinations or a negative test. The country singer and songwriter announced the move Monday, which triggered the cancellation of shows in Muncie, Indiana; Philadelphia, Mississippi; Peoria, Illinois; and Louisville, Kentucky. “I’m putting my money where my mouth is and announcing that any venue or promoter mandating masks, requiring vaccinations, or pushing COVID testing protocols on my fans will not be tolerated,” Tritt said in a written statement. An increasing number of venues and artists nationwide have added the safeguards as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. In Nashville, venues such as 3rd and Lindsley, The 5 Spot, The Basement and Exit/In require vaccination proof or a negative test to enter. Jason Isbell is also requiring the same for his current run of shows at Ryman Auditorium and upcoming concerts. Tritt said he has been vocal against mandates from the beginning and supports those who are “taking a firm stand” against them.

Texas


Houston: Ruth Steinfeld, an 88-year-old Holocaust survivor from Houston who spent decades educating people on the genocide of Jews during World War II, has been honored by France. The Houston Chronicle reported Steinfeld was awarded the Legion of Honor, France’s highest prize, in a ceremony Sunday at Holocaust Museum Houston. As children during the war, Steinfeld and her sister, Lea, were saved by a French humanitarian organization. French Consul General Valérie Baraban praised Steinfeld as an “invaluable witness” to the horrors of genocide, saying Steinfeld is “committed to speaking for the 1.5 million children who never had a chance to survive.” Steinfeld’s family was forced from their home in Germany to an internment camp in France. She and her sister and mother were sent to the women’s barracks. Their mother released her daughters – ages 7 and 8 – to the care of humanitarian rescuers who got into the camp by posing as the Red Cross. The girls at first lived in an orphanage and later went into hiding in a private home. Her parents died at Auschwitz. She and her sister eventually settled in Houston. Her sister died in 2008.

Utah

Salt Lake City: A Utah laboratory will examine DNA evidence from a string of killings committed in Atlanta during the 1970s and 1980s, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said. Bottoms wrote in a tweet on Monday that city investigators were traveling to Salt Lake City to provide “old DNA evidence” to a private lab. “It is my sincere hope that there will be concrete answers for the families,” she said. The mayor did not identify the laboratory involved. Between 1979-1981, at least 29 Black children and young adults – mostly boys – were killed in the city. Wayne Williams has long been considered the main suspect, but he has never been charged in connection with the children’s deaths. He was sentenced in 1982 to serve two life prison sentences for the murders of two adults. In March 2019, Bottoms and then-Police Chief Erika Shields announced that evidence from the “Atlanta Child Murders” cases would be reviewed to see if it could be tested further. Lance Bottoms said at the time that she was hopeful that technological advancements and newly available genetic databases could turn up new information. Bottoms also said in July that investigators extended the timeline to 1970-1985 to see whether additional victims were overlooked, news outlets reported.

Vermont

Bennington: An $11 million pilot project to dig up, remove and replace old lead water pipes from more than 1,500 homes has begun. The state said the federally funded project will begin in Bennington, although it’s likely that there are lead water fixtures in communities across Vermont. If the project is successful, it will be replicated in other towns and cities across the state, Vermont Public Radio reported. The state’s public drinking water program manager, Eric Montross, said the project has been moving along well. He said the state will be reaching out to other towns to figure out where lead water lines are buried.

Virginia

Virginia Beach: After more than 100 dogs were found living inside an Eastern Shore home, the Virginia Beach SPCA said it has received 45 of those dogs. The group said in a social media post that it will keep most of the dogs it received Saturday, but some will go to other rescue organizations, news outlets reported. “They are scared, dirty, and covered in fleas,” the Facebook post said. “These dogs have never been outside of that house before now.” The dogs will be seen by a veterinarian. The group didn’t know when the dogs would be available for adoption.

Washington

Olympia: The Washington State Patrol said 127 employees, including 67 troopers, have left the agency because of a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for state employees. Monday was the deadline for thousands of workers in Washington to prove they’ve been fully vaccinated in order to keep their jobs. The mandate, issued by Gov. Jay Inslee in August, applies to most state workers, long-term care employees, and teachers and staff at the state’s schools, including the state’s colleges and universities. The only opt-out was a medical or religious exemption, though the exemption only ensured continued employment if a job accommodation was made. Patrol officials said that 74 commissioned officers – 67 troopers, six sergeants and one captain – and 53 civil servants have “separated from employment.” It was not immediately known how many were fired and how many resigned. The agency employs approximately 2,200 people across the state.

West Virginia

Pineville: Several police and sheriff’s departments in West Virginia are among those benefiting from the state treasurer’s recent unclaimed property firearms auction. Last week, state Treasurer Riley Moore presented a check for $19,098 to the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Department for proceeds from the auction, his office said in a news release. State and local law enforcement agencies are allowed to turn over unclaimed, seized or outdated firearms to the treasurer’s office for auction. The proceeds can be given back to the agency for its use. After law enforcement determines lawful owners of the firearms can’t be found, the weapons can be turned over to the treasurer’s office for auction. People who want to bid must be a valid, licensed federal firearms dealer. More than 60 licensed dealers attended this year’s auction in July. The auction raised a record of nearly $140,000 in proceeds, the release said.

Wisconsin

Rhinelander: Longtime professional loggers in Wisconsin said they are dealing with the most challenging times their industry has faced. Paper mills that buy pulp wood have closed creating an oversupply in timber markets that has sent prices plummeting. The logging bust in northern Wisconsin has forced some loggers to pick up side jobs in construction or related fields. Some have left the industry. “There’s no profit anymore. The profit is gone,” said Dennis Schoeneck, who founded Rhinelander’s Enterprise Forest Products in 1978. “Like always, we keep getting kicked down the road, and we keep trying to survive.” A huge timber buyer, Verso paper mill in Wisconsin Rapids, closed last year. More recently, the mill in Rhinelander announced it would idle one of its machines, scaling back its production. And a century-old mill in Park Falls that closed in 2019, reopened in 2020 and closed again this spring, was bought last month by a company that might seek to liquidate it, Wisconsin Public Radio reported. The Verso mill in Wisconsin Rapids was the largest buyer of timber in the Upper Midwest and its closure was a blow not only to Wisconsin Rapids, but its effects were felt hundreds of miles away. The 1,000-acre mill employed about 900 people.

Wyoming


Cheyenne: Harriet Hageman, a Wyoming attorney who won former President Donald Trump’s endorsement to take on U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney in next year’s midterm elections, has raised $301,921 in her first three weeks as a candidate, receiving maximum $2,900 donations from GOP mega donor Timothy Mellon, Lynn Friess, the widow of major Republican donor Foster Friess, and billionaire Peter Thiel. Although Hageman has just launched her campaign, she will need to raise money faster to match Cheney, who has topped $1.5 million each quarter, taking in $1.7 million in the most recent. She ended September with $3.7 million in the bank. Cheney got $2,900 donations from billionaires Trevor Rees-Jones of Chief Oil & Gas and Patrick Ryan of Ryan Specialty Group LLC. Utah Sen. Mitt Romney and his wife Anne also gave the top amount,, as did Bain Capital’s Joshua Bekenstein, a major Democratic donor.