Florence: An organization that has staged dozens of protests against a Confederate monument in north Alabama filed suit contending the city is trying to limit the demonstrations in violation of free-speech guarantees. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday by Project Say Something and its founder, Camille Bennett, claims the city and Police Chief Ron Tyler are trying to clamp down on the protests by telling the group when, where and how it can demonstrate against the monument, located at the Lauderdale County Courthouse. Bennett said the organization, a nonprofit she founded about eight years ago, has tried to work with the city, the TimesDaily reports. “Alabama has a long history of confronting racial injustice through peaceful demonstration, and it is imperative that we not lose that ability to speak truth to power when the situation demands it,” Bennett said in a statement. The city has not responded to the federal lawsuit in court, and city officials declined comment. Project Say Something held as many as 175 demonstrations at the monument in 2020 but cut back the following year because the city used its noise and parade permit ordinances to discourage them, the lawsuit said. The chief relocated the demonstrations to a “protest zone” away from the courthouse to shrink the potential audience, it claimed, and he threatened to issue citations.
Juneau: U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland is in the midst of her first visit to the state in the role, including a visit to a community at the center of a long-running dispute over a proposed land exchange aimed at building a road through a national wildlife refuge. Residents of King Cove have seen a road as a life and safety issue. Haaland was in King Cove on Wednesday with Gov. Mike Dunleavy and U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Dunleavy’s office said. King Cove residents have long sought a land connection through Izembek National Wildlife Refuge to Cold Bay, which is about 18 miles away and has an all-weather airport. The refuge is near the tip of the Alaska Peninsula and contains internationally recognized habitat for migrating waterfowl. “The federal government needs to consider human safety and quality of life factors for residents in King Cove. The locals deserve to be heard by the federal government,” Dunleavy said in a statement. A U.S. Justice Department attorney last summer said Haaland had not decided what position she would take on a proposed land exchange, saying Haaland planned to review the record and visit King Cove before making a decision. A planned trip to Alaska last year didn’t materialize.
Phoenix: The state’s Republican House speaker on Thursday was named one of five recipients of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage award for his refusal to consider overturning the 2020 election results despite massive pressure from ex-President Donald Trump and his supporters. Speaker Rusty Bowers rebuffed repeated direct efforts by Trump, his attorney Rudy Giuliani and others to overturn results that saw President Joe Biden narrowly defeat Trump in Arizona. Trump and Giuliani urged Bowers in a phone call to retroactively change Arizona law to allow the Legislature to chose a different slate of presidential electors than those picked by the voters. “I am very grateful for this honor yet cannot help but feel undeserving of it,” Bowers said in a statement. “Honoring my oath and the people’s choices at the ballot box are not heroic acts – they are the least that Arizonans should expect from the people elected to serve them.” The award created by Kennedy’s family in 1989 is designed “to recognize and celebrate the quality of political courage that he admired most” and is given each year to one or more political figures. This year’s award honors those who showed “courage to protect and defend democracy in the United States and abroad.” The awards will be presented at a May 22 ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.
Fort Smith: A local agency says it’s seeing an uptick in calls for help after the end of a statewide rent relief program. The Arkansas Department of Human Services closed its program April 1, leaving many renters struggling to find additional avenues to keep their families housed. The Arkansas Rent Relief Program provided up to 15 months of relief for unpaid rent and utilities due on or after April 1, 2020. As of the beginning of this month, about 30,000 applications had been paid at the close of the program, totaling $92.5 million in funding distributed. Some households are still waiting for assistance as their applications are being processed. As of April 7, about 3,700 applications were still being processed across the state. In the U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey taken from Jan. 26 to Feb. 7, 41.4% of Arkansas households surveyed said they were not current on rent or mortgage, making eviction or foreclosure either very likely or somewhat likely in the next two months. Dana Crawford, family services manager at the Crawford-Sebastian Community Development Council, said she has seen an uptick in calls looking for help following the closure of the state’s rental assistance program. “We did have the Arkansas Fresh Start, but we have since depleted those funds,” Crawford said.
Sacramento: Parents of middle and high school students in the state would be warned about the dangers of firearms every year under a measure that advanced Wednesday. But they would no longer be required to tell school officials if they keep guns in the house, under the revised legislation. The state Senate Education Committee three weeks ago rejected the firearms reporting requirement as an invasion of privacy. So Democratic state Sen. Anthony Portantino reworked his bill, eliminating the parental reporting. The narrower version cleared the same committee Wednesday on a 5-1 vote. His revised bill requires schools to include information on the safe storage of firearms in the annual notifications they send home to parents of students in middle and high schools, starting in the 2023-24 school year. Legislation with a similar requirement has already passed the California Assembly. More than two-thirds of school shootings involve weapons taken from the students’ home, friends or relatives, Portantino said. “This is an attempt to try to empower school districts to do everything they can to make the school environment safe,” he said. “This errs on the side of caution.” If there are threats or perceived threats of school shootings, the proposal requires investigators to check the state’s firearm database to see if the suspect’s family has registered firearms.
Aurora: The police chief who led the force in the Denver suburb when a gunman killed 12 people in a movie theater a decade ago is returning to temporarily lead the embattled department following the firing of its last chief. Daniel J. Oates, who served as police chief in Aurora from 2005 to 2014 before retiring as police chief in Miami Beach, Florida, will serve as interim chief and help in the selection of the next police chief, the city announced Wednesday. City manager Jim Twombly said he hired Oates “because he has established trust within our community and many of our officers.” Earlier this month Twombly fired Police Chief Vanessa Wilson, who was hired in 2020 as the city faced scrutiny over the death of Elijah McClain – a case that received widespread attention in the wake of protests of racial injustice and police brutality. McClain died after being stopped by police, put in a chokehold and injected with the powerful sedative ketamine in 2019. Three police officers and two paramedics were indicted in McClain’s death last year. Wilson acted quickly to fire officers for misconduct, including officers who took and shared photos appearing to mock McClain’s death. Twombly praised Wilson’s community outreach but said he fired her because of concerns about her leadership and management of the department, without getting into specifics. Wilson disputed Twombly’s assessment and alleged she was forced out for political reasons.
Westport: Emergency responders rescued 50 dogs and cats from a fire at a pet boarding facility after three people had escaped the flames by jumping from a second-floor window, authorities said Thursday. The fire was reported shortly before midnight Wednesday in a two-story building on Post Road East, Assistant Chief Jeff Gootman of the Westport Fire Department said in a news release. Firefighters responded and found heavy fire on the second floor of the building, which housed a pet boarding facility on the first floor and basement and an apartment on the second floor, Gootman said. After firefighters extinguished the flames, they searched the building and determined that the three people on the second floor had jumped to safety from a window, Gootman said. None required hospitalization. Westport firefighters and police officers removed approximately 50 dogs and cats from the boarding facility, Gootman said. The cause of the fire was under investigation Thursday.
Wilmington: After decades of criticism over use of force and a strained relationship with the community, the Wilmington Police Department’s policies and procedures are coming under legal scrutiny. A federal lawsuit filed against Wilmington officers involved in the 2020 shooting of a man found sleeping in an SUV lists years of departmental procedures claiming city police are unable to handle many situations, including making contact with unarmed individuals. The civil lawsuit touches on documented accounts of how Wilmington officers have not been taught to give proper verbal warning prior to using deadly force or to take cover when officers believe someone is armed. The lawsuit also claims department supervisors, among others, fail to check that officers use their standard-issue equipment and fail to prohibit officers from making false statements. These failures create unwritten policies, allowing Wilmington officers to engage in acts of excessive force without accountability, which in turn result in injury to civilians, according to the lawsuit filed on behalf of Jabri K. Hunter, who was shot by a Wilmington officer April 12, 2020. “These inadequate training policies existed prior to the date of this incident and continue to this day,” said the lawsuit targeting the officers involved in the shooting, Chief Robert Tracy and the city.
District of Columbia
Washington: Mayor Muriel Bowser and other community leaders announced Thursday that the city’s annual census of individuals experiencing homelessness showed a decline for the sixth straight year, WUSA-TV reports. Over the past year, the overall number of people experiencing homelessness has dropped 13.7%. Since 2016, when the Bowser administration began its Homeward DC plan, homelessness has declined by 47% total, data show. For the 2016 Point in Time count, 8,350 people were experiencing homelessness. In 2022, that number was 4,410. That’s the lowest recorded number going back to at least 2005, the mayor’s office said. The 2022 results also show declines in family homelessness (down 14%), homelessness among single adults (down 12%), and chronic homelessness for families (down 26%) and single adults (down 22%). “These results are a culmination of years of working together – across government, with our community partners and providers, and with residents in all eight wards – to implement Homeward DC and build systems and resources that meet the needs of D.C. residents,” Bowser said in a statement. “While we are proud of these results, we know there’s more work to do.”
Tallahassee: Black lawmakers staged a sit-in on the Florida House floor Thursday to protest a congressional map pushed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis that they say will diminish the state’s Black representation in the U.S. House. The DeSantis map would increase Florida’s GOP presence and dismantle two districts now represented by Black members of Congress. As debate on the maps was nearing an end, Reps. Angie Nixon and Tray McCurdy opened up their suit jackets to display “Stop the Black Attack” T-shirts and shouted the same phrase. They sat on the state seal in front of the House speaker’s rostrum and were soon joined by other other Black Democrats and other supporters. The Republican-led chamber called a recess, all GOP lawmakers left the floor, and the state Florida Channel stopped broadcasting the proceedings. “This is good trouble! Necessary trouble!” Nixon shouted, echoing a phrase used by the late civil rights activist and congressman John Lewis. The group sang “We Shall Overcome” and prayed. Some members went on Facebook to stream live feeds of the protest. Nixon said in a text message to the Associated Press that the lawmakers would not leave the floor unless they were physically removed.
Atlanta: Democrat Stacey Abrams’ gubernatorial campaign asked a federal judge Wednesday to shut down unlimited contributions to a committee controlled by Republican incumbent Brian Kemp. The filing is yet more litigation over the constitutionality of a 2021 Georgia law that allows certain top elected officials and party nominees to create “leadership committees” that can raise campaign funds without limits and coordinate spending with campaigns. The judge earlier denied a request by Abrams to start taking unlimited amounts before she clinches the Democratic nomination May 24. Kemp narrowly beat Abrams in the 2018 general election, and they would match up again if Kemp survives a Republican primary challenge from former U.S. Sen. David Perdue and others. The law allows the governor and lieutenant governor, opposing major party nominees, and both party caucuses in the state House and Senate to form leadership committees. Donors can give as much as they want, while they can’t directly give candidates for statewide office more than $7,600 for a primary or general election and $4,500 for a runoff election. Opponents say the law unconstitutionally favors incumbents over challengers because they can raise limitless sums for years ahead of an election.
Honolulu: Public school students must continue wearing masks in classrooms despite state officials lifting the same rules for airports and public transportation following Monday’s federal judge decision to remove mask requirements on U.S. flights. Masks are no longer required in Hawaii airports, on city buses or in handicapped vans, but all public students will be required to wear masks through the end of the school year, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports. “I understand that there are different perspectives regarding the Hawaii State Department of Education’s indoor masking in schools,” interim Superintendent Keith Hayashi said in a letter to parents. “We will continue to implement universal indoor masking in schools.” Federal transportation officials announced Monday that they would no longer enforce mask rules after a U.S. judge’s decision to strike down the mandate on domestic flights. The four largest U.S. airlines almost immediately dropped their mask requirements, and Hawaiian Airlines announced late Monday that it would follow suit. “We ask for our guests’ patience and understanding as we update all our communications and announcements,” the airline said. “We advise travelers to stay informed and follow mask requirements that may remain in effect at their origin or arrival airports.”
Boise: Two men have been sentenced to jail time and banned from hunting for years after pleading guilty to poaching a grizzly bear near Yellowstone National Park. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game said in a press release that Rex Baum, 79, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in connection with the female grizzly’s death last year. He was ordered to serve 3 days in jail and was banned from hunting for a decade. Baum’s son, Jared Baum, of Ashton, was sentenced to 30 days in jail and banned from hunting for life after pleading guilty to a felony in connection with the incident. Fish and Game officers discovered the grizzly’s carcass April 9, 2021, after the bear’s radio tracking collar signaled it had died, the Idaho Statesman reports. X-rays of the bear showed she had been shot more than a dozen times. Conservation officers visited the bear’s den, discovering a dead male cub. The agency contacted the two men after sending a warrant to Google for records of electronic devices that had been in the area around the time of the grizzly’s death. Idaho grizzlies are federally protected. Last month, Gov. Brad Little joined Montana and Wyoming governors in petitioning for the bears to be removed from Endangered Species Act protections.
Springfield: The city will have a starring role in the state’s latest marketing campaign, with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Cozy Dog Drive-In, and other sites featured in the new promotion. Gov. J.B. Pritzker officially announced the new campaign, “Middle of Everything,” at a ceremony Monday at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium. While the Windy City is spotlighted heavily, Springfield gets plenty of love as well, with sites related to the 16th president, such as Lincoln’s Home and Lincoln’s Tomb, promoted in addition to the museum and a statue of Lincoln sitting on a park bench outside the museum. Pritzker said the $30 million campaign would help to recover tourism dollars lost during the COVID-19 pandemic and put the state in a position to grow in the years to come. A series of TV ads will run with the campaign, directed by Illinois native Jane Lynch, famous for roles such as in the TV series “Glee” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” The Dolton-raised actor, a graduate of Illinois State University, narrates a quartet of 30-second ads that showcase a Lincoln impersonator at the Lincoln Home, a muscle car at the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices downtown, Lynch interviewing a family at the Cozy Dog and speaking with a ghost of Lincoln at “Ghosts of the Library” in the ALPLM, among others.
Indianapolis: Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Thomas McDermott Jr. released a new video ad Wednesday of him smoking marijuana in honor of 4/20, a cannabis-related celebration. McDermott, who will face Republican Sen. Todd Young on Nov. 8, has been vocal about his support for the legalization of marijuana, but the video of him lighting it up is a first. In the video the Hammond mayor posted on Twitter, McDermott lights a joint and smokes it in an Illinois backyard, where marijuana consumption has been legalized. He talks to an attorney, a physician, a criminal defense attorney, a professional distiller and another elected official about the benefits of legalizing weed. “Here’s the bottom line,” McDermott says in the video. “We need to legalize marijuana on the federal level. We need to also legalize cannabis in Indiana as well, so Hoosiers can get the health and economic benefits of cannabis.” The mayor admitted last year on his “Left of Center” podcast that he smoked marijuana at a recent Grateful Dead show at Wrigley Field. McDermott unveiled the ad the same day the Indiana Democratic Party launched a tour to push marijuana legalization. It started publicly advocating for the policy change in November, but with Republicans in control at the Statehouse, it went nowhere in the 2022 legislative session.
Dyersville: This year’s Major League Baseball Field of Dreams game between the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs will have an opening act. The Cedar Rapids Kernels and Quad Cities River Bandits will play a regular season minor league baseball game in the stadium located near the iconic diamond from the movie Aug. 9. That showdown is set to take place just two days before MLB’s second-straight visit to the famous farmland and in the same ballpark used last season by the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees. The Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds will play on the same field Aug. 11. “I think it just adds to an entire week now up there,” said Kernels general manager Scott Wilson. “Instead of just one night even with the major league game, you’ve got Tuesday night with us. It gives the Field of Dreams some opportunity to do some things on Wednesday between us and have that game on Thursday.” It’s a marquee matchup of minor league teams have been rivals in the Midwest League for years. The River Bandits are the High-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. The Kernels are the High-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. The two teams, who are are located in Eastern Iowa, will become the first two minor league teams to play on the field.
Atchinson: Aviator Amelia Earhart vanished as she tried to fly around the world in 1937, along with navigator Fred Noonan and their Lockheed Electra 10-E airplane. That plane – named “Muriel,” after Earhart’s sister, Grace Muriel Earhart Morrissey, who died in 1998 at age 98 – will become the centerpiece of the soon-to-be-created Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum at Atchison, Earhart’s birthplace. Museum founder and president Karen Seaberg announced last week that supporters had already donated $10 million of the estimated $15 million needed to create the museum, including corporate powerhouses FedEx, Garmin and Lockheed Martin. The museum is expected to open next year, according to its website. Earhart, born in 1897 in Atchison, was a social worker in Boston in 1923 when she became the 16th woman in the U.S. to be issued a pilot’s license. She subsequently became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic and the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland. She was also the first woman to fly nonstop across the U.S. She became a celebrity and drew attention by rejecting traditional women’s roles and speaking in support of the proposed Equal Rights Amendment. Earhart also created her own line of women’s clothing, featuring comfortable outfits designed for “active living.”
Frankfort: Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday that he will form an advisory team amid a broad review as he weighs whether to take executive action to legalize access to medical marijuana. Beshear said he instructed his legal team to analyze potential options for executive action to create a framework to make medical cannabis available for people suffering from specified ailments. The Democratic governor also made a direct appeal to Kentuckians to offer their views on the issue. “I want to be clear: I am for medical cannabis,” Beshear said at his weekly news conference. “I want it done in the right way. And we’re going to be looking at our legal options very closely. And at the same time, we want to hear from you.” The advisory team will travel the state to gather public input, and Kentuckians will be able to express their views directly to the governor’s office, he said. The expanded review reflects the governor’s growing frustration after the latest bill to legalize medical marijuana died in the state Senate during the legislative session that ended last week. Lawmakers failed to “get the job done,” with Kentucky falling behind the majority of states that make medical cannabis available as an alternative to opioid medications, the governor said.
New Orleans: A federal judge and court-appointed monitors hired to oversee reform of the New Orleans Police Department said Wednesday that the long-troubled agency could reach full compliance this year after a nearly decade-old court-backed overhaul of its policies and practices. “I’m proud of how far NOPD has come,” U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan, who approved the agreement in 2013 a highly critical 2011 investigation and report by the U.S. Justice Department. Morgan tempered her praise with acknowledgment of continuing problems, including the short-handed department’s slowdown in recruiting and allegations of wrongdoing by officers who work private duty details arranged through the department. But the department has shown transparency in dealing with such setbacks, Morgan said. The reform agreement, embodied in a court document called a consent decree, was welcomed by department critics when it was negotiated during former Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration. They said it was needed for a department that had been plagued by recurring scandals involving corruption or questionable use of force for decades. But the consent decree had its critics as well, including police officer representatives who said it hampered police work.
Augusta: Democratic Gov. Janet Mills signed off on a $1.2 billion supplemental budget Wednesday that sends more than half the money to residents in the form of $850 relief checks. Backed by dozens of lawmakers and Cabinet members, the governor signed the bill into law in the State House Hall of Flags. “What this budget shows once again – through hard work and good faith negotiation – Democrats, Republicans and independents can come together to do what is right for Maine people. And that we can do so without rancor or bitter partisanship that has sometimes divided Augusta in the past,” she told the assembly. The swift action means the checks will be mailed to more than 850,000 Mainers as early as June. Lawmakers overwhelmingly approved the budget proposal in a show of bipartisanship. Mills proposed returning much of the money to Mainers, taking a suggestion from Republicans as a historic surplus ballooned thanks to federal spending and rosier-than-expected revenue forecasts. It was originally touted as pandemic relief but is now called inflationary relief. Mills’ opponent in the upcoming election, Republican former Gov. Paul LePage, derided the relief checks as a “gimmick.”
Annapolis: Gov. Larry Hogan signed measures into law Thursday aimed at increasing public safety, jobs, environmental stewardship and mental health resources. The Republican governor, who prioritized initiatives to support the police and fight crime this legislative session, signed legislation to increase transparency in the criminal justice system and to create a state gun analytics center to coordinate resources to screen and vet gun cases to improve the prosecution of gun crimes. “Violent crime continues to be Marylanders’ top priority, and today we’re signing our Judicial Transparency Act so that the public knows more about the sentences that are being handed down for violent criminals,” Hogan said. “We’re further expanding our warrant apprehension efforts and strengthening prosecutions on gun crimes.” Hogan opened his remarks before signing 103 bills with House Speaker Adrienne Jones and Senate President Pro Tem Melony Griffith by noting it was the first time two Black women were the presiding officers representing the Maryland House and Senate together at a bill signing. The criminal justice measures marked a compromise between the Republican governor and the General Assembly, which is controlled by Democrats.
Martha’s Vineyard: A local family will go to court Friday over its continuing fight over a piece of land in Aquinnah that the Kennedy family donated to the Vineyard Conservation Society in 2013. Tanisha Gomes and her family say they are the rightful owners of that 5.7-acre property and are challenging the society’s motion for summary judgment, which asks a judge to throw out the case. In 2017, Gomes received a letter from Fidelity National Law Group, a firm that represents Vineyard Conservation Society Inc., to inform her and 19 members of her family about title problems with the land. The letter informed Gomes and her relatives that a lawsuit was filed with Dukes County Superior Court against the family, who are considered heirs of Louisa Pocknett. Pocknett, described in the complaint as the former owner of the property, died Aug. 29, 1874, and was a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe. The family members were asked to sign an agreement to verify they had no right, title or interest in Lot 240, which was indicated on a plan entitled “Plan of Gay Head.” After further research, Gomes and her family found that Lot 240 remains in Pocknett’s name on the town of Aquinnah’s assessor’s website and objected to the lawsuit due to discrepancies surrounding incomplete deeds.
Lansing: Republican state Sen. Lana Theis opened a session with an invocation by claiming children are being attacked by “forces” that want to indoctrinate them with ideas their parents do not support. Three Democrats walked out of last week’s meeting to protest her apparent reference to how schools address sexual orientation and gender identity and critical race theory. Within days, one who tweeted criticism of the prayer was targeted by Theis in a fundraising email, calling Sen. Mallory McMorrow a liberal social media “troll” and accusing her of wanting to “groom” and “sexualize” kindergartners and teach “that 8-year-olds are responsible for slavery.” McMorrow responded Tuesday with a forceful, impassioned floor speech that resonated nationwide. “I am a straight, white, Christian, married, suburban mom” who wants “every kid to feel seen, heard and supported – not marginalized and targeted because they are not straight, white and Christian,” she said. Theis, who declined to speak after the session, released a statement in which she did not apologize but again accused Democrats of trying to undermine parents as the primary decision-makers in their children’s education. McMorrow’s 5-minute speech found an engaged audience on social media, racking up millions of views across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
St. Cloud: Mike Dando, a St. Cloud State University English professor, has helped to create a new superhero comic and is aiming to teach students in grades 5-12 literacy skills, critical thinking and self-reflection this summer through an often overlooked medium. Exploring concepts like Afrofuturism and the African diaspora, students can imagine new worlds by reading and analyzing the story of the first Black superhero, Lion Man. In 2018, after the highly successful “Black Panther” movie debuted, Dando worked with a group of artists and professors around the world to revisit Lion Man, the first Black superhero comic, written in 1947 by Black Philadelphia journalist Orrin Cromwell Evans. The original story follows Lion Man, a scientist turned superhero tasked by the United Nations to watch over a magical mountain full of uranium in Africa to prevent war. When All-Negro Comics Inc.’s paper supplier refused to help the company produce another book because its founders were Black, only one Lion Man issue was ever published – until now. Dando’s new, much longer Lion Man comic book follows the character’s journey of self-discovery and heroism as he works to save a group of other heroes trapped in monstrous bodies. He served as editor and project manager for the work written by John Jennings and illustrated by David Brame. Thanks to a grant from St. Cloud State, the team was able to make copies of the comic book – one of which is on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York – and Dando will work with a variety of after-school clubs this summer to talk about the narrative structure and themes of the book, as well as teach students how to make their own comics.
Gulfport: Volunteers on Thursday planted several types of grasses along a stretch of Mississippi Gulf Coast beach to help restore habitat for newly hatched Least Tern chicks. Audubon Delta, along with Harrison County Sand Beach Authority and Gulfport High School, partnered to install several species of beach grasses into a globally recognized conservation zone in Gulfport in order to stabilize the beach, encourage dune formation and provide coverage for the endangered birds. The area was destroyed after hurricanes Ida and Zeta and several tropical storms over the past two years, officials said. The project was made possible by a Caring for Our Coasts grant issued by Citgo and Restore America’s Estuaries.
St. Louis: City leaders on Thursday announced plans for a new institute designed to make the region a major player in geospatial technology. Andy Taylor, executive chairman of the rental car company Enterprise Holdings, is providing financing for the Taylor Geospatial Institute, along with eight St. Louis-area research institutions. The institute will provide funding for research and program development and expects to attract leading scientists to St. Louis, organizers said. Taylor said in a statement that he hopes the institute “will cement St. Louis as the world’s true center for geospatial excellence.” A news release says research and training will focus on topics such as food security, improving health care systems, and national security. Officials did not disclose how much money the Taylor family is investing, but the family has funded more than $1 billion in St. Louis civic initiatives and cultural institutions through the years.
Helena: Lawmakers have rejected an attempt to call a special legislative session to investigate the state’s election processes amid continued false claims by ex-President Donald Trump and his supporters that the 2020 election was stolen. A poll of 149 lawmakers found just 44 approving a special session by Tuesday’s deadline, short of the 75 needed. The secretary of state’s tally showed 60 lawmakers rejected the special session, and another 45 didn’t return their ballots, which counts as a “no” vote. One legislative seat is vacant. Earlier this year, Republican lawmakers tried to reach an agreement to ask Gov. Greg Gianforte to call a special session to create new voting districts for the Public Service Commission before three federal judges had to decide how to even out the populations in the five districts. However, GOP leaders were unable to get a commitment from all Republicans to limit the special session to addressing just the voting districts. Gianforte said he would not call a special session without such an agreement. After the court set the PSC districts for the 2022 elections, 10 lawmakers asked for the poll on whether lawmakers wanted to hold a special session on election integrity.
Lincoln: Former U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson endorsed state Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks on Thursday in her campaign for the state’s 1st Congressional District. Pansing Brooks, a Democrat, is looking to replace former U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, a Republican who resigned after he was convicted on charges that he lied to federal authorities about an illegal campaign contribution. Nelson, a Democrat, said Pansing Brooks has worked with both parties while in the Nebraska Legislature and passed more than 60 bills. Pansing Brooks will face state Sen. Mike Flood, a Republican, in a June 28 special election to determine who will serve the remainder of Fortenberry’s term in Congress. She’s also expected to face Flood again in November, assuming that they both win their parties’ May 10 primary nomination as expected. Nelson is the most recent Democrat to have served as Nebraska’s governor, with a tenure from 1991 to 1999. He was a U.S. senator from 2001 to 2013. Pansing Brooks has served in the Legislature since 2015 and is leaving office in January due to term limits.
Las Vegas: Most of the five leading Republican candidates for governor who gathered Wednesday for a campaign forum offered dire assessments of the state’s tourism-dependent economy, rising crime and struggling schools – and asked for votes for their visions to fix them. Several also blamed Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, the consensus GOP front-runner, for skipping the event. “We want to have the best, well-run, state in the country,” said Guy Nohra, a Reno venture capitalist, drawing applause from among about 100 people at a Republican women’s club luncheon in Las Vegas. “But we don’t. We’re 50th in everything,” said Nora, who called his foray into politics the culmination of an American dream after his own teenage experience fighting a war in his home country, Lebanon, and his business ventures in the U.S. The event also featured North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee, Gardnerville surgeon Fred Simon, former U.S. Sen. Dean Heller and firebrand northern Nevada lawyer Joey Gilbert.
Concord: The state House approved a resolution Thursday in support of New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary before advancing a bill opponents said would threaten it. The nonbinding resolution came a week after the Democratic National Committee approved a plan to revoke the guaranteed first-place spots in the presidential nominating calendar long held by the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary. Noting New Hampshire has withstood previous challenges, lawmakers affirmed their commitment to the tradition and said candidates are well-served by campaigning in a state with an engaged citizenry and “well-run, free and fair elections.” But a supporter of a bill to create a provisional ballot system later called the current system “laughable,” claiming it allows people to cast fraudulent ballots with virtually no consequences. Under current law, voters who arrive at the polls without the necessary identification fill out affidavits promising to provide documentation within 10 days; those who don’t can be investigated and charged with fraud. The votes themselves remain valid, but under a bill sent to the House Finance Committee on Thursday, the state would create a new type of “affidavit ballots” that would be thrown out if voters fail to follow up. Opponents called it an expensive and complicated solution to a problem that doesn’t exist and said creating a system that would delay the final results for more than a week would threaten the state’s ability to hold the first primary.
Bloomfield: The flowers were finally on full display Thurday as recreational marijuana sales began in the Garden State. Michael Barrows wore his Grateful Dead T-shirt and Jerry Garcia face mask for opening day of legal cannabis sales and was one of dozens of people who lined up before dawn to join the celebratory scene. “It’s pretty amazing, exciting, and if I get pulled over on the way home, and I’m ever asked if I have any drugs in the car, now I’m allowed to say ‘only this,’ ” Barrows said, holding up the canister of marijuana flower he had just purchased. Possession of cannabis is legal now in New Jersey, though driving under the influence is still prohibited. Barrows, 60, joined a steady stream of other novelty-seekers, longtime marijuana users and medical patients at RISE in Bloomfield, near the state’s biggest city, Newark, and not far from New York City. With soul music blaring, free doughnuts in the parking lot, a steel drum and a balloon arch at the entrance, New Jersey’s cannabis kickoff for people 21 and older had the feel of a fair more than a store opening. Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, who has long backed recreational marijuana legalization and signed the bill that set up the new marketplace kicking off at 13 existing medical marijuana facilities across the state, appeared at ZenLeaf in Elizabeth for its first day of recreational sales. The governor said he wouldn’t be trying any pot; earlier this week he said it’s not his “thing,” and he prefers scotch.
Carlsbad: Habitat for about a million bats will be protected from human impacts through a deal between a nonprofit and the federal government. About 315,000 acres of southern New Mexico land owned by billionaire media tycoon Ted Turner were protected from development in a partnership between the U.S. Department of Defense and New Mexico Land Conservancy. The deal saw a conservation easement added to Armendaris Ranch, owned by Turner, due to perceived cultural significance and biological diversity on the land in Sierra and Socorro counties. The ranch land supports more than 500 vertebrate species, according to a report from the Land Conservancy, including multiple listed for federal and state protections. It also contains the Fra Cristobal Mountain Range, home to 230 desert bighorn sheep, and lava fields that include the Jornada cave system that houses bats of multiple species. “This land is laden with important and unique natural and cultural resources, and the opportunity to permanently protect a property with conservation values of this magnitude was at the heart of our organization’s decision to tackle this landscape-scale project,” said Ron Troy, southern New Mexico program manager with the Land Conservancy.
Olive: As western regions contend with drier conditions, New York City is under fire for sometimes releasing hundreds of millions of gallons of water a day from a key reservoir in the Catskill Mountains. The occasional releases, often around storms, have been used to manage water levels in the Ashokan Reservoir and to keep the water clear. But residents downstream say the periodic surges cause ecological harm along the lower Esopus Creek. They say the high flows churn up the water so much it turns the scenic Hudson River tributary the color of chocolate milk. “These people can afford to offer New York City cheap, clean, beautiful water by destroying ours,” said Michael Vallarella, who lives on the creek in Saugerties. Standing on his back deck recently, he swiped through pictures on his phone of the water looking like “Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory river.” The tensions between upstate residents and the city of 8.8 million people to the south touch on how the largest unfiltered water supply in the country will operate in an expected stormier future. Opponents pushing for changes to the water releases got a boost recently when state regulators told the city to take a deeper look at their effects. City officials say they’re trying to strike the difficult balance of responding to downstream concerns while delivering quality water.
Asheville: The fight over a downtown Confederate marker is not over, according to the attorney challenging the city’s removal of Vance Monument, and documents filed Wednesday attempt to take the issue to North Carolina’s highest court. Despite an April 5 ruling from the N.C. Court of Appeals in favor of the city, affirming a lower court judgment to dismiss the lawsuit, allowing removal of the monument, the city finds itself again in limbo. Nearing midnight Wednesday, Edward Phillips, lawyer for the Society for the Historical Preservation of the 26th North Carolina Troops, which brought the challenge against the city, filed a petition for discretionary review with the N.C. Supreme Court. This document is a request for the Supreme Court to review the decision by the Court of Appeals. It does not ensure the high court will hear an appeal, said City Attorney Brad Branham. “I am not going to cede the point until I’m told there’s just no path forward,” Phillips said. The filings add to an already lengthy process to determine the fate of the obelisk that was built to honor racist Civil War-era Gov. Zebulon Vance. The 75-foot-tall granite Vance Monument stood in Pack Square Plaza in the heart of downtown Asheville. All but its base was taken down as of June 2021 after the City Council voted to remove it. The historical preservation group is seeking to stop and potentially reconstruct the monument to Vance.
Bismarck: A federal appeals court has upheld a ruling that dismisses a lawsuit brought by the state and several western counties that could have resulted in the construction of additional roads in parts of the Badlands. The Badlands Conservation Alliance says the ruling protects some of the most pristine areas of the Badlands from traffic and potential oil development. “I think it’s a really serious win for the Badlands, for the long-term integrity of those areas that are still roadless and considered suitable for wilderness,” said Connie Triplett, president of the alliance. A three-judge panel of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals found the state’s and counties’ claim is barred by a 12-year statute of limitations that was passed years ago. Their ruling upholds an earlier decision by U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Hovland, who dismissed the matter in 2017, the Bismarck Tribune reports. The case began a decade ago when Billings, Golden Valley, McKenzie and Slope counties sued the federal government. The state followed with its own lawsuit, and the court consolidated the two cases. The plaintiffs sought to claim rights to section lines used in land surveying and mapping in the Little Missouri National Grassland and other areas that make up the Dakota Prairie Grasslands.
Columbus: A lawsuit has been filed targeting legal protections granted to health care providers that allow them to deny treatment they oppose on the basis of their conscience or religious beliefs. Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein on Wednesday sued the state over the measure known as the “conscience clause.” According to the law, a medical provider can be “excused from participating” whenever a treatment conflicts with a provider’s “moral, ethical, or religious beliefs or convictions.” Opponents of the law say it could limit abortions or other medical care. The city also argues the measure violates Ohio’s Constitution and the federal Affordable Care Act. If nurses employed by the city are opposed to a medical procedure, “they can refuse it, and we as a city can’t do anything about it,” Klein said. He also said insurance companies could refuse to pay for certain procedures, and “that obviously causes significant problems for our employees.” Republican Gov. Mike DeWine kept the language of the law in place when he signed the 2021 budget. DeWine said the provision merely sets into state law what’s already being practiced. In a statement, Attorney General Dave Yost called the lawsuit “meritless, anti-democracy and authoritarian.”
Oklahoma City: Plans to fully legalize marijuana can proceed to the signature-gathering stage, the state Supreme Court ruled, paving the way for two more cannabis plans seeking voter approval. The high court’s ruling late Tuesday comes amid a marijuana boom in the Sooner State after voters in 2018 approved the most liberal medical marijuana program in the nation. Nearly 10% of Oklahoma’s 4 million residents have qualified for a medical-use card – by far the highest percentage in the country. Supporters of the two separate proposals still need to gather enough signatures to put the plans on the ballot for voters. The plans approved Tuesday, State Question 819 and a companion State Question 818, would amend the Oklahoma Constitution to protect the right of residents age 21 and older to use marijuana. It’s part of a nationwide push to legalize the recreational use of cannabis for adults, which 18 states and the District of Columbia have already approved. Because the two proposals seek to amend the constitution, supporters will have to gather more signatures, about 178,000 in 90 days, for them to qualify for the ballot. “Whether we’ll get on the November ballot this year remains to be seen,” said Jed Green, a longtime Oklahoma cannabis activist behind the plans. “We’re going to push, push and push to get it done.”
Portland: A Native American tribe in the state said it is assessing its legal options after learning the U.S. government plans to release water from a federally operated reservoir to downstream farmers along the Oregon-California border amid a historic drought. Even limited irrigation for the farmers who use Klamath River water on about 300 square miles of crops puts two critically endangered fish species in peril of extinction because the water withdrawals come at the height of spawning season, the Klamath Tribes said. Last year, critically endangered sucker fish central to the Klamath Tribes culture and religion didn’t have enough water to spawn, and thousands of downstream juvenile salmon died without reservoir releases to support the Klamath River’s health. The tribes said in a statement that the decision to release any water to about 1,000 farmers in the massive, federal agricultural project was “perhaps the saddest chapter yet in a long history of treaty violations” and placed the blame for the current water crisis on “120 years of ecosystem mismanagement at the hands of settler society.” The fish are important to the inland tribes’ cultural and religious practices and were once a dietary staple. The Klamath stopped fishing for the sucker fish in the 1980s as numbers dwindled. They now run a captive breeding program to ensure the species’ survival and note that no juvenile sucker fish have survived in the wild in recent years. “We have nothing left with which to ‘compromise,’ ” the Klamath Tribes said in a statement. “Global warming is certainly a global problem, but thus far its local consequences appear to be exacerbating existing and systematic inequalities between ourselves and the larger society.”
Philadelphia: Prosecutors said Thursday that they will not re-try a Philadelphia man whose 2012 murder conviction was overturned earlier this month, citing weak evidence and the involvement of a disgraced former detective now charged with sexually assaulting witnesses in other cases. Rafiq Dixon, 40, had been serving a life sentence in the 2011 fatal shooting of Joseph Pinkney. The 40-year-old was expected to be released from prison Thursday afternoon, hours after a Common Pleas Court judge granted the motion to withdraw charges, his attorney said. The initial case relied heavily on testimony from three witnesses who gave inconsistent accounts. All three were interviewed by former homicide detective Philip Nordo, who has been charged with various crimes including stalking, intimidating, and sexually assaulting male suspects and witnesses during his career. In June, a judge reversed the 2015 conviction of Arkel Garcia, who confessed to murder during an interrogation in which, his lawyer said, Nordo asked the teenager to view pornography with him. The ruling came after both sides presented evidence that Nordo had sexually groomed witnesses in the case and trial prosecutors had suppressed his misconduct. Garcia was also serving a life sentence.
Providence: Democratic former state lawmaker David Segal has joined the race to succeed U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin, a fellow Democrat who’s retiring after more than two decades in office. Segal announced his decision Wednesday, saying that many voters are fed up with federal politics and that “government should be able to do more to address the concerns of our neighbors.” Segal served on the Providence City Council before winning a seat in the Rhode Island House of Representatives. He served for two terms, from 2007 to 2011. In 2010 he lost a bid for Congress and founded a national liberal advocacy organization known as Demand Progress. He’s the latest entry in a crowded Democratic field that also includes state Treasurer Seth Magaziner; Joy Fox, a former top aide to Langevin; Biden administration official Sarah Morgenthau; Omar Bah, executive director of the Refugee Dream Center in Providence; and former political strategist Michael Neary. “We have the people power to reach the voters, we have the money to compete, and we have the urgent case to make that we deserve leaders who can bring people together and ensure their voices are heard,” Segal said in his campaign announcement.
Columbia: The state’s highest court on Wednesday issued a temporary stay blocking the state from carrying out what was set to be its first-ever firing squad execution. The order by the state Supreme Court puts on hold at least temporarily the planned April 29 execution of Richard Bernard Moore, who drew the death sentence for the 1999 killing of convenience store clerk James Mahoney in Spartanburg. The court said in issuing the temporary stay that it would release a more detailed order later. Attorneys for the 57-year-old inmate had sought a stay, citing pending litigation in another court challenging the constitutionality of South Carolina’s execution methods, which also include the electric chair. Moore’s lawyers also wanted time to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review whether Moore’s sentence was proportionate to his crime. It has been more than a decade since the last firing squad execution in the U.S. The state of Utah carried out all three such executions in the nation since 1976, according to the Washington-based nonprofit Death Penalty Information Center. The most recent was in 2010. The South Carolina Supreme Court on Wednesday also set a May 13 execution date for Brad Sigmon, 64, convicted in 2002 of the double murder of his ex-girlfriend’s parents in Greenville County.
Sioux Falls: A leadership shake-up and shorter wait times for service are welcomed changes for disgruntled military veterans who say the federal health care system is failing them, but that’s still not enough to appease the dozens of former soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines, as well as a handful of elected officials, who showed up at the South Dakota Veterans Council’s quarterly meeting Wednesday. Praises of this week’s removal of the now-former Sioux Falls Veterans Affairs director were tempered by caution for a need for more systematic improvements. “If you walked the halls on Tuesday, there were more smiles in the Sioux Falls VA Hospital than there have been in 14 months,” said Hawk Mayor, a Vietnam combat veteran, referring to the departure of now former Sioux Falls VA director Lisa Simoneau. “But we’ve been shut out.” Simoneau was removed from the position as of Monday after growing pressure for a regime change from both veterans, VA employees and South Dakota’s congressional delegation. Since at least October, members of the South Dakota Veterans Council have voiced concerns about a lack of responsiveness from Simoneau regarding what’s described as an inadequate level of care being provided to veterans entitled to medical services through the veterans’ health care system. Some employees at the VA have also blown the whistle in recent weeks on poor management practices and a hostile work environment under Simoneau.
Nashville: The state would become the latest to impose harsh penalties on doctors who violate new, strict regulations dictating the dispensing of abortion pills under a proposal headed to Republican Gov. Bill Lee’s desk. It’s part of a coordinated nationwide effort spearheaded by anti-abortion groups upset over the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recent decision to remove a rule that required women to pick up the abortion medication in person. After Tennessee’s GOP-controlled House approved the measure last week, Senate Republicans on Thursday signed off on sending the proposal to the governor. Lee hasn’t publicly weighed in on the measure, but he has yet to veto a bill while in office and frequently stresses his opposition to abortion. According to the bill, delivery of abortion pills by mail would be outlawed, and anyone who wanted to use abortion pills would be required to visit a doctor in advance and then return to pick up the pills. The drugs may be dispensed only by qualified physicians – effectively barring pharmacists from doing so. Violators would face a Class E felony and up to a $50,000 fine. The in-person requirement had long been opposed by medical societies, including the American Medical Association, which said the restriction offers no clear benefit to patients.
Houston: A prominent conservative activist has been charged with unlawful restraint and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon over an October incident involving a contractor the activist hired, his attorneys said Wednesday. Jared Woodfill and Gary Polland, attorneys for Dr. Steven Hotze, said the Harris County District Attorney’s Office told them Wednesday that Hotze was indicted over allegations against a former police officer, Mark Aguirre, who worked for Hotze. Aguirre had been retained to pursue a voter fraud investigation on behalf of Houston-based Liberty Center for God and Country, a nonprofit organization Hotze runs. Aguirre was charged Dec. 14 with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after a man accused him of running him off the road and holding him at gunpoint in an effort to prove what authorities have called a bogus voter fraud scheme. Aguirre claimed an air conditioner repairman was the mastermind. He said the man’s truck was filled with fraudulent ballots when he ran his SUV into it Oct. 19, according to authorities. Aguirre told police he and some friends set up a “command post” at a Marriott hotel in suburban Houston that conducted 24-hour surveillance on the repairman for four days, according to a police affidavit.
St. George: Faced with continuing drought and one of the fastest-growing populations in the U.S., the Washington County Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to apply new water restrictions to every new residential and commercial development. The new rules won’t apply to any existing homes or commercial buildings, but they could hopefully provide a better balance between what water is available and the continued demand for new construction, said Adam Snow, a member of the three-member commission, which regulates buildings requirements for all of the unincorporated areas of the county. “We want to have beautiful communities and a beautiful place to live and maintain our quality of life,” Snow said. “We’re doing it as effectively and efficiently as possible with our water, which is a very sacred resource right now.” The changes will be written into Title 10, Chapter 27 of the county code. They will only apply to projects on unincorporated county land that still need approval from the county to go forward, although they resemble similar measures being passed by cities and towns in the area. Snow said about 5% of the county’s population lives on unincorporated land.
Montpelier: Property owned by Vermont-recognized Native American tribes will be exempt from property taxes under a new law that takes effect in July. The legislation, signed by Gov. Phil Scott on Wednesday, recognizes that Vermont lands “are the historic and current territories of the Western Abenaki people.” “I sign it out of respect for the heritage of our Native American communities and traditions,” Scott wrote in a letter to the Legislature. “Further, the associated costs to the Education Fund and the General Fund borne by all Vermonters are forecast to be negligible.” To be exempt from the state and municipal property taxes, the property must be used for the purposes of the tribe and not leased or rented. Don Stevens, chief of the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk-Abenaki Nation, has said the tax exemption allows the tribes, which rely on grants and donations, to be able to use those resources “to help uplift our people” with food security and other needs. The legislation states that “stewardship of these lands was removed from the Abenaki by European governments and settlers” and acknowledges “the Abenaki people as the traditional land caretakers of Ndakinna, which includes parts of Vermont, New England, and Quebec.”
Westlake: Officials at Booker T. Washington National Monument are asking the public for help in unraveling one of its biggest mysteries. Hidden away in a section of the park just off its Jack O’ Lantern Trail rests a cemetery that predates much of the known history of the former plantation where Booker T. Washington was born a slave and later freed. The cemetery has few markings to provide context to who was buried there or when they were buried. “It’s definitely one of the biggest mysteries at the park,” said Tim Sims, senior park ranger. Archaeologist with New South Associates recently began taking a deeper look into the cemetery, commonly referred to as the Sparks Cemetery named after a person who once lived nearby. Some of the Black families who have lived near the cemetery include the Brown, Holland, Divers, Burroughs, Ferguson, Taylor, Green, Harris, English, Edwards, Starkey, Swain, Saunders, Childress and Dudley families. Sims said the names of the families were found looking through property deeds, slave records and federal census records. People with information on those possibly buried in the Sparks Cemetery are asked to contact Velma Fann, historian, at New South Associates at 770-498-4155, x126 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Olympia: The state Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously ruled that an Edmonds city ordinance requiring that guns be locked up and kept out of unauthorized hands is preempted by state law. The ruling affirmed a three-judge state of appeals ruling last year in the case sparked by a lawsuit filed by three residents against the city of Edmonds after it approved an ordinance in July 2018 requiring residents to lock up their guns or else face fines. “Under our system of divided government, many elected bodies hold legislative power, including elected city councils. These councils, however, must legislate within constitutional constraints,” Chief Justice Steven González wrote, joined by the eight other justices on the high court. “One of those constraints is that city ordinances must not ‘conflict with general laws’ that have been enacted by the people of our state by initiative or by our state legislature.” A statewide ballot measure that passed later that same year on gun safety doesn’t mandate that a firearm be stored in a particular way or place, but it created criminal penalties for when a gun isn’t properly stored and accessed by someone who is prohibited from possessing a firearm – such as a child – and used to injure or kill, displayed in public in an intimidating manner or used during a crime.
Morgantown: A health care system has partnered with a junior college on a program aimed at addressing the shortage of nurses in the state. Mon Health System and West Virginia Junior College signed a letter of intent to launch a nursing education program that will put students at the school on an accelerated path to becoming nurses, officials said during a signing ceremony Monday. Mon Health nurses will serve as faculty, and the students will have digital coursework as well as learning through work at the hospital – what Mon Health System President and CEO David Goldberg called patient-side, The Dominion Post reports. The program plans to open enrollment in September and start its first class next April. The collaboration, Goldberg said, will serve “to bring not only the best nurses to patient-side through Mon Health, but keep people in this community, grow our own, take care of our own neighbors, family members and friends, so we continue to be the best health care location in north-central West Virginia and improve our health care outcomes.” West Virginia Junior College CEO Chad Callen said nursing shortages are at near crisis levels in some areas of the state. “Such challenges require bold thinking and innovative, out-of-the-box approaches,” he said.
Madison: The work of an investigator looking into the 2020 presidential election generated fresh criticism Thursday after newly posted documents included a memo describing one elections worker in the state as “probably” a Democrat in part because she loves snakes and “has a weird nose ring.” Also on Thursday, a judge ordered Michael Gableman to stop deleting records, the latest legal defeat for the former state Supreme Court justice. Gableman has released two interim reports on the election won by President Joe Biden and has suggested the GOP-controlled Legislature look into decertifying his victory. Republican leaders including Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who hired Gableman, have repeatedly said they have no intention of trying to decertify the win. Gableman’s reports have not included evidence to back up the false claims that Donald Trump won Wisconsin in 2020. A recently posted unsigned document on Gableman’s website, titled “cross pollinators,” details his probe into public employees who work in elections. That memo contends that a geographic information system analyst for Milwaukee is “probably” a Democrat because she plays video games, “has a weird nose ring,” sometimes colors her hair, “loves nature and snakes” and lives with a boyfriend but is not married to him.
Casper: The state’s senior population grew at the nation’s second-fastest rate in the second decade of the millennium, the Casper Star-Tribune reports. Citing research from online resource hub AgingInPlace.org, the newspaper points to a 40% increase in the proportion of Wyoming residents who are 65 or older between 2010 and 2020, with the level sitting at 17.8% in the latest census. Only Alaska was found to have a faster-growing senior population when comparing U.S. Census Bureau data.
From USA TODAY Network and wire reports
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