Baby Sharks, Broadway’s Back, Rice Filtration: News From Around Our 50 States

Montgomery: Facebook briefly took down Gov. Kay Ivey’s campaign page Tuesday morning, indicating it had been mistakenly flagged as an imposter account, though the governor suggested the move was prompted by her criticism of President Joe Biden’s vaccination-or-testing mandate. Ivey, a Republican, cited her staunch opposition to the Democratic president’s vaccine push. But Facebook indicated that was not the case. “We fought back and won. Evidently, they’re upset that I said I’m standing in the way of President Biden to protect Alabamians from this outrageous overreach by the federal government,” Ivey said in a statement posted on social media. The dispute involved Ivey’s campaign page and not her gubernatorial account. Ivey is running for reelection in 2022. However, Facebook indicated the content on Ivey’s page played no role. Her campaign called the tech giant’s statement about the page being incorrectly marked as an imposter account a “nonsense excuse.” It said Facebook first said it was unpublishing the page because of “harassment and bullying,” and the campaign fought to get it restored. Ivey has strongly encouraged peopled to get vaccinated against COVID-19, even going as far to say that “it’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks” for a spike in cases. But she has vowed resistance to Biden’s mandate.

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Alaska

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Anchorage: Overwhelmed by a surge in COVID-19 patients, Alaska’s largest hospital on Tuesday implemented crisis standards of care, prioritizing resources and treatments to those patients who have the potential to benefit the most. “While we are doing our utmost, we are no longer able to provide the standard of care to each and every patient who needs our help,” Dr. Kristen Solana Walkinshaw, chief of staff at Providence Alaska Medical Center, wrote in a letter addressed to Alaskans and distributed Tuesday. “The acuity and number of patients now exceeds our resources and our ability to staff beds with skilled caregivers, like nurses and respiratory therapists. We have been forced within our hospital to implement crisis standards of care.” Alaska, like other places, has seen a surge in coronavirus cases driven by the highly contagious delta variant. State health officials said Tuesday that there were 691 new cases and six recent deaths, all Anchorage men in their 50s to 70s. A woman in her 60s from out of state also recently died in Juneau, the department said. Health officials said statewide there are 202 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 who are hospitalized, and nine additional patients are under investigation. Officials said 33 of those people are on ventilators.

Arizona

Phoenix: The state Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an effort by the Arizona Senate to keep secret records of its ongoing review of the 2020 election in Maricopa County that are in the possession of the contractors conducting the recount. The high court, without comment, rejected the appeal filed after an appeals court and trial court both ruled the documents are public records that must be released. The court also dissolved a stay on the appeals court ruling it put in place Aug. 24 so it could review the record and decide whether to accept the appeal. The Arizona Court of Appeals had ruled that the documents sought by the watchdog group American Oversight detailing how the recount and audit are being conducted are public and must be turned over. Republicans who control the Senate have tried for months to keep secret how their contractors are conducting the recount. They argued that because the records are maintained by Senate contractors, they were not subject to public records law, and legislative immunity applies. But the appeals court in its Aug. 19 ruling rejected that argument. The court said the main contractor, Florida company Cyber Ninjas, was subject to the records law because it was performing a core government function that the Senate farmed out.

Arkansas

Little Rock: The state reported 36 new COVID-19 deaths and more than 1,500 new coronavirus cases Tuesday. The Department of Health said Arkansas’ death toll from COVID-19 now totals 7,334 since the pandemic began. The state’s coronavirus cases rose by 1,544 to 477,191 total. Arkansas ranks 15th nationally for new cases per capita, according to Johns Hopkins University research data. Gov. Asa Hutchinson said 11 of the deaths announced Tuesday were delayed reports, with two occurring as far back as June. The number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals across the state dropped by 16 to 1,097. There were 432 COVID-19 patients in intensive care units and 281 on ventilators. There were 33 ICU beds available in the state, and Hutchinson said at least 14 were equipped for COVID-19 patients.

California

Olympic Valley: A popular ski resort whose name included a derogatory term for Native American women changed its name to Palisades Tahoe on Monday. The renaming of Squaw Valley Ski Resort is one of many efforts nationally to address a history of colonialism and oppression against Native Americans and other people of color. The word “squaw,” derived from the Algonquin language, may have once simply meant “woman,” but over generations, the word morphed into a misogynist and racist term to disparage Indigenous women, according to experts. “It was the right thing to do, and I think it’s going to make a difference. I think we’re going to be seen as a more welcoming, inclusive resort and community,” said Palisades Tahoe President and COO Dee Byrne. Byrne said that after studying the issue for the past year, the resort’s research concluded the word is very offensive “not just to Indigenous women but to all women.” The resort is in Olympic Valley, which was known as Squaw Valley until it hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics. Tribes in the region had been asking the resort for a name change for decades. The valley, in the Lake Tahoe area, is within the ancestral homeland of the Washoe people, Darrel Cruz of the Washoe Tribe Historic Preservation Office said in a statement. He said the word is a “term that was inflicted upon us by somebody else, and we don’t agree with it.” Washoe Tribal Chairman Serrell Smokey said the tribal council expressed “its great appreciation for this positive step forward.”

Colorado

Arvada: Visiting the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Flatirons Campus outside Denver on Tuesday, President Joe Biden tried to advance his domestic spending plans by warning about climate change’s dangers while highlighting how his clean-energy proposals would also create well-paying jobs. “Here’s the good news: Something that is caused by humans can be solved by humans,” Biden said. He deemed the need for a clean-energy future an “economic imperative and a national security imperative” and said there was no time to waste, as the impact of climate change seems to grow more severe by the year. Biden said extreme weather events will cost more than $100 billion in damages this year and underscored his goal to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 while using solely carbon pollution-free power 15 years earlier. “We can do that; we can do all of this in a way that creates good jobs, lowers costs to consumers and businesses, and makes us global leaders,” the Democratic president said. Biden spoke about “more jobs for the economy” on an earlier tour as he checked out a giant windmill blade on the ground outside the lab and got a demonstration of wind turbine technology.

Connecticut

Hartford: Gov. Ned Lamont said Tuesday that he wants to extend the state’s mask mandate for public schools beyond the end of this month, when his pandemic-related emergency powers are set to expire. Lamont, a Democrat, said another 90-day extension of his powers is warranted. State lawmakers have extended his emergency declarations in the past, although Republicans and some Democrats have argued it’s time to get back to normal. “I just think it should continue a little bit longer,” Lamont told reporters following an event in Hartford, referring to the mask mandate and new coronavirus variants. “We’ve got not just delta but mu. We’ve got flu season.” Lamont’s general counsel has a list of 10 executive orders, including the mask mandate, that he believes should continue beyond the end of this month, the governor said. Officials from his administration were slated to meet Tuesday with legislative leaders about extending them. “What I want is legislative input on the executive orders. I’d like to know where they stand. I’d like to have their fingerprints on some of the decisions,” he said. Lamont said he believes a requirement for masks in public schools should remain in effect for “a little bit longer.”

Delaware

Newark: Faculty and students are split over a University of Delaware policy that prevents instructors from informing students if someone in their class has tested positive for the coronavirus. While the school says it’s concerned about student privacy, wants to prevent panic and has formal contact tracing mechanisms in place, some worry that system may be inadequate. Nada Abuasi, a student at the university, called the policy “harmful” and worried many people on campus might not be aware they’ve been exposed. “I would rather you be upfront with me that someone in my class has COVID, and maybe I was sitting next to them, because I might have immunocompromised people at home,” Abuasi said. Andrea Boyle-Tippett, the university’s director of external relations for the Office of Communications and Marketing, said the idea of faculty passing on exposure information, even without naming the student, “was causing privacy problems because if the class size is small, then by a possible elimination, you can figure out who the student is.” Some instructors, including ethics professor Mark Greene, agreed with the new protocol, saying they shouldn’t have to inform students and face questions that “most of us aren’t qualified to answer.” Others worried they were wrongly “withholding public health information.”

District of Columbia

Washington: For the second year in a row, the Broccoli City music festival has been canceled over COVID-19 concerns, WUSA-TV reports. The 2021 performance lineup included Lil Baby, Snoh Aalegra, Moneybagg Yo, Lucky Dave, Rubi Rose and more. The hip-hop concert, which was scheduled this year for Oct. 2 at RFK Stadium, typically draws about 30,000 attendees. “At the heart of Broccoli City is the belief that our people deserve the best of everything – including safe spaces to gather in celebration of our culture,” festival organizers said in a statement. “In that spirit, we have decided to cancel the Broccoli City Festival 2021 this October to reduce the likelihood of exposure to COVID-19 and do our part to slow the spread in the communities of color we serve.” The official festival statement also made a plug for vaccines. “In the meantime, please continue to take COVID-19 seriously,” organizers said. “Get vaccinated, get tested and take care of yourselves (and each other) so that we can all gather next year in 2022 to celebrate 10 years of Broccoli City building better communities, Black change and Black culture.” The festival has been postponed until May 2022. Organizers said tickets would be automatically refunded within 14 business days.

Florida

Tallahassee: Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday that people who decide not to get a COVID-19 vaccine might be making the wrong choice but defended their right to make that choice. Speaking a day after holding a news conference to condemn vaccine mandates, DeSantis agreed that the shots save lives. “There are some of those folks who may make a decision that’s not ultimately the right decision for them,” DeSantis said at a news conference Tuesday in Miami-Dade County. “There’s obviously probably people that have been hospitalized who probably wouldn’t have been if they had done that.” The discussion was a follow-up to a campaign-like event Monday, when DeSantis and the two independently elected Republican Cabinet members criticized mandates. Several Gainesville city employees spoke at the event, saying government shouldn’t force them to get inoculated. One speaker said vaccines change people’s RNA, which has led critics to say DeSantis is spreading anti-vaccine theories. But the Republican governor said he doesn’t share the opinion. “Honestly I don’t even remember him saying that. So, it’s not anything I’ve said,” he said. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines deliver a synthetic form of messenger RNA into the body, but that material is short-lived and doesn’t affect a body’s genetic material.

Georgia

Atlanta: At least 18 of the 20 gorillas at the city’s zoo have now tested positive for the coronavirus in an outbreak that began just days before the facility had hoped to obtain a veterinary COVID-19 vaccine for the primates, officials said Tuesday. Zoo Atlanta had announced the first positive tests among the western lowland gorillas Friday after employees noticed the gorillas had been coughing, had runny noses and showed changes in appetite. A veterinary lab at the University of Georgia returned positive tests for virus that causes the respiratory illness. Zoo Atlanta said the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa, confirmed that at least four of the samples from the gorillas so far have tested positive for the delta variant of the virus. The zoo said it was using monoclonal antibodies to treat the gorillas at risk of developing complications from the virus. Officials said there’s no evidence the gorillas can pass the virus back to humans, and visitors are too far away to be infected by the animals. Because the gorillas live close together in four troops, zoo officials said it’s impossible to keep infected animals isolated. Officials said they believe an asymptomatic employee who cares for the gorillas passed on the virus. The employee had been fully vaccinated and was wearing protective equipment such as a mask and gloves.

Hawaii

Honolulu: Citing the high vaccination rate among residents, Gov. David Ige said there would not be another “full-scale shutdown” in the state despite the recent surge in COVID-19 cases. Instead, if further restrictions are needed, they would likely be in the form of curfews or reducing the size of social gatherings, Ige told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. There are signs the rapid rise in cases in abating, and hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients have remained stable. The seven-day average for new cases is 567, a 37% drop from two weeks ago, and the number of coronavirus tests coming back positive has declined to 6.9% from 7.8% over that same time period. As of Monday, 392 people were hospitalized in Hawaii, down from 435 a week ago. Those in intensive care units also fell, from about 100 more than a week ago to 79 on Monday. “It is getting a little better, but I think it is still too early to call it a definite trend that would provide relief,” Ige said. Any increase in hospitalization rates or those admitted to ICU units would trigger new restrictions, he said. He said curfews could reduce the number of people coming into emergency rooms because of accidents. Social gatherings could also be reduced. Currently 10 people can gather inside, and that could be cut in half. The 25-person limit for congregating outdoors could be reduced to 10.

Idaho

Boise: Public health officials say crisis standards of care are imminent for the state’s most populated region as hospitals continue to be overrun with unvaccinated COVID-19 patients. The southwestern and southern Idaho regions that include Boise and Twin Falls may get official authorization to begin rationing health care – a step intended to ensure the patients most likely to survive are given access to scarce resources like intensive care unit beds – any day now, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen said Tuesday. “We continue to set new records each week,” he said of coronavirus hospitalizations. “We do not see a peak in sight.” Hospitals in the northern half of the state were given permission to begin rationing care last week. “Nearly all the metrics we track are trending in the wrong direction” when it comes to the virus, deputy state epidemiologist Dr. Kathryn Turner said. But even as the state continues to see new records in the number of people hospitalized or on ventilators with COVID-19, weekly vaccination rates are dropping. And Gov. Brad Little, who has never issued a statewide mask mandate, said he’s working with Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden to see if they could use the courts to stop President Joe Biden from requiring large employers to mandate vaccines or implement routine coronavirus testing.

Illinois

Chicago: The City Council agreed Tuesday to pay a total of $20.5 million to two of at least a dozen men who have had murder convictions dismissed after being allegedly framed by the same police detective. With the vote to settle the lawsuits of Armando Serrano and Jose Montanez, the council avoided the possibility of a larger payout had the suits gone to trial. That happened in 2009, when a former prison inmate who accused Reynaldo Guevara of framing him won a $21 million jury verdict, and in 2018 when another jury awarded $17 million to a man who made similar allegations. Russell Ainsworth, an attorney representing Montanez, said he hoped the city would take what happened in this case – a four-year legal fight that culminated with a judge ruling against the city by determining the case could go to trial – that it should settle the 11 pending lawsuits that involve Guevara. “I hope they settle these before running up millions of dollars in legal fees,” he said. “The city needs to resolve these cases, or they will face trial after trial.” Chicago’s police department has been dogged by decades of scandal, cover-ups and brutality. Serrano and Montanez spent 23 years in prison. A key witness in their case admitted he’d lied about hearing them confess because Guevara had threatened to beat him if he didn’t.

Indiana

Indianapolis: A nine-member task force created by the Indiana Supreme Court will help landlords and tenants resolve their disputes and access federal rental assistance resources. The Indiana Eviction Task Force will review the state’s eviction process and make recommendations for implementing a pre-eviction diversion program, including ways to more quickly and effectively distribute federal emergency rental assistance funds to landlords and tenants. Members of the task force, who include local judges and representatives from nonprofits, will submit recommendations to the high court on how the program should work by Jan. 17. “Our courts are both the front line in providing parties a fair chance to resolve their disputes and the last line of defense in getting resources … to the people who need them,” Chief Justice Loretta H. Rush wrote in her Monday order. “And that money must move quickly.” Since the federal COVID-19 eviction moratorium ended Aug. 26, Indiana has seen a surge of residential evictions. An estimated 93,000 Indiana households are behind on rent and at risk of eviction, according to National Equity Atlas’ Rent Debt Dashboard. Yet 83% of those Hoosiers haven’t applied for assistance. Since early September, Indiana’s eviction filings have risen 22% above the pre-pandemic average, state data shows.

Iowa

a tree in a forest: Tree limbs in Cedar Rapids' Van Vechten Park are snapped a year after a derecho hit the state. © Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen Tree limbs in Cedar Rapids' Van Vechten Park are snapped a year after a derecho hit the state.

Des Moines: The state lost an estimated 7.2 million trees in cities and farms when last year’s hurricane-force derecho swept across the state, a new Iowa Department of Natural Resources report shows. Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and Davenport suffered the largest tree losses in the Aug. 10, 2020, storm, according to the DNR report, as winds surged up to 140 mph in some counties. The storm damaged thousands of homes, business and vehicles, along with a millions of acres of cropland. Overall, Iowa cities lost about 4.5 million trees, or 13% of the state’s 34 million urban trees, the report says. The storm damaged an estimate 32,773 acres of urban tree canopy. Iowa’s rural lands lost 2.7 million trees, the state reported. The state puts the costs to Iowa at $20 million annually, with the trees no longer able to capture and store carbon that contributes to climate change, reduce air pollution, or provide windbreaks and shade that cut energy use. The state cumulatively sustained $11.5 billion in damage, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which has called the derecho “the costliest thunderstorm in U.S. history.”

Kansas

Topeka: A state legislator accused of kicking a high school student in the testicles pleaded guilty Monday to three lesser misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and was placed on a year’s probation under a deal with the local prosecutor. Republican Rep. Mark Samsel also agreed not to use social media for personal purposes or have any contact with the high school student who said he was kicked or another another student who complained of an interaction with Samsel. The lawmaker also agreed to write letters of apology to both students. Samsel had faced three misdemeanor criminal charges of battery following what the local prosecutor described as “rude, insulting or angry” interactions with two students, as a substitute teacher during an April 28 art class at the high school in Wellsville. One student told a sheriff’s deputy that Samsel had manhandled him and kicked him, according to an affidavit from the deputy. The lawmaker said in a Facebook post last month that “extreme” stress caused him to have “an isolated episode of mania with psychotic features” in a classroom. He disclosed he was undergoing mental health treatment and surrendered his state substitute teacher’s license. But Mary Woods, whose niece had a class with Samsel the same day, said he should have received time in jail.

Kentucky

Frankfort: Citing a national shortage of a drug increasingly used to treat COVID-19 patients, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Tuesday that the federal government is going to cap the supply to states. The drug company Regeneron makes the treatment, a “monoclonal antibody” approved for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat COVID-19 patients. “Health care providers will no longer be able to order the treatments directly,” Beshear said in a news release. “Instead, state governments will supervise the distribution of a capped number of treatments delivered to them each week.” The shortage comes amid an “extraordinary demand” for the treatment, Beshear said. Generally administered intravenously, it has been shown to be successful at limiting the severity of illness in some patients and keeping them out of the hospital. But demand has skyrocketed as COVID-19 cases soared in recent weeks. Beshear said he worries too many Kentuckians will hear about the antibody treatment and rely on getting it instead of a COVID-19 shot. “What this shortage ought to tell you is that if you’re unvaccinated, and you get really sick, not only might there not be a bed in the hospital for you because they are so full, but that monoclonal antibody treatment might not be there for you, either,” Beshear said.

Louisiana

Baton Rouge: The Louisiana Department of Revenue is granting filing extensions to taxpayers in 25 parishes whose homes and businesses were affected by the impacts of Hurricane Ida. The automatic extension due date is Jan. 3, 2022, for excise, franchise, income, severance and withholding taxes with original or extended due dates on or after Aug. 26 and before Jan. 3 eligible. This is an extension to file the applicable tax returns, not to pay any taxes due, the department said in a news release. Payments submitted after the original deadlines are subject to penalties and interest. The extension applies to those in Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Martin, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Washington, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana parishes. In addition, the department said people may be eligible for state sales tax refunds for personal property destroyed in a natural disaster, such as clothing, furniture, electronics, recreational equipment and appliances not permanently attached to a house or building. Refunds are limited to items not covered by insurance or any other type of reimbursement.

Maine

York: The state has a new high-speed toll plaza near its southern border. The Maine Turnpike plaza in York opened early Wednesday, just as the old one located to its south was deactivated. The new plaza has six high-speed toll lanes that don’t require drivers to stop, WMTW-TV reports. The demolition of the old plaza is expected to take a little more than a year. State officials have said drivers will continue to pass through the old toll booth lanes during the dismantling. The speed limit will be 10 mph. Maine Turnpike Authority has said the old plaza “does not provide the modern, open, highway speed electronic tolling that travelers now expect and deserve.” It has also said the new plaza will be safer and much more efficient.

Maryland

Easton: A Confederate monument is set to be moved from a courthouse lawn on the Eastern Shore after local officials voted Tuesday night to relocate it to a Virginia battleground. The Talbot County Council voted 3-2 to approve a resolution to move the “Talbot Boys” statue that commemorates more than 80 soldiers who fought for the Confederacy. The statue dedicated in 1916 is thought to be the last Confederate monument still standing on public property in Maryland besides cemeteries and battlefields. For years, local activists have fought for the removal of the Jim Crow-era statue on the lawn adjacent to a former slave market site in Easton. In May, civil rights advocates sued the county seeking the court-ordered removal of the statue depicting a soldier with a Confederate flag draped over one shoulder, calling it a racist symbol of oppression and claiming it is unconstitutional and illegal. Singer Maggie Rogers, an Easton native, has been among those pushing for its removal, taking to social media to drum up support and posting videos about the County Council meeting. Private funds will cover the cost of relocating the statue to the private Cross Keys Battlefield in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Massachusetts

Boston: For the first time, the city’s voters have narrowed the field of mayoral candidates to two women of color who will face off against each other in November. City Councilors Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George topped the five-person race in Tuesday’s preliminary runoff. They bested acting Mayor Kim Janey, City Councilor Andrea Campbell and John Barros, the city’s former economic development chief. All five were candidates of color – a major shift away from two centuries of Boston politics dominated by white men. Wu’s parents immigrated to the U.S. from Taiwan. Essaibi George describes herself as a first-generation Arab Polish American. Whoever wins Nov. 2 will make history in a city where, for the past 200 years, the office has been held exclusively by white men. Earlier this year, Janey became the first Black Bostonian and first woman to occupy the city’s top office in an acting capacity after former Mayor Marty Walsh stepped down to become President Joe Biden’s labor secretary. Wu and Essaibi George’s advancement to the general election ushers in a new era for the city that has wrestled with racial and ethnic strife. All the candidates in Tuesday’s primary were Democrats. Mayoral races in Boston do not include party primaries.

Michigan

Ann Arbor: Provocative pro-Palestinian protests outside a Jewish synagogue are protected by the Constitution’s First Amendment, a federal court appeals said Wednesday. The court declined to stop the demonstrations or set restrictions in Ann Arbor. The protests have occurred on a weekly basis since 2003, with people holding signs that say “Jewish Power Corrupts,” “Stop Funding Israel” and “End the Palestinian Holocaust.” Members of Beth Israel Synagogue, including some Holocaust survivors, said the protests have interfered with their Saturday worship and caused emotional distress. “But the congregants have not alleged that the protesters ever blocked them from using their synagogue or that the protests were even audible from inside the building,” Judge Jeffrey Sutton said. He said a proposed remedy – a 1,000-foot buffer and limits on signs – would likely violate the First Amendment. “The key obstacle is the robust protections that the First Amendment affords to nonviolent protests on matters of public concern,” Sutton said in summarizing the case, joined by Judge David McKeague. Judge Eric Clay agreed with the result but on different grounds. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a brief in support of the activists, saying the protests are entitled to protection even if “offensive, upsetting and distasteful.”

Minnesota

a close up of a man who is smiling and looking at the camera: Kim Potter resigned from the Brooklyn Center Police Department in Minnesota. © Bruce Bisping, AP Kim Potter resigned from the Brooklyn Center Police Department in Minnesota.

Minneapolis: Attorneys asked a judge Wednesday to dismiss a new manslaughter charge against the former suburban Minneapolis police officer who shot and killed Daunte Wright during a traffic stop this spring. Former Brooklyn Center Officer Kim Potter has said she mistakenly drew her firearm instead of her stun gun as Wright was trying to drive away from officers during the stop in April. Potter is recorded on body-camera video an instant after the shooting saying she drew the wrong weapon. Potter is white. Wright was Black. His death sparked several nights of protests. Prosecutors charged Potter with second-degree manslaughter. Attorney General Keith Ellison, whose office later took over the case, added a count of first-degree manslaughter earlier this month. Potter is scheduled to stand trial in December. The second-degree manslaughter charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison; first-degree has a maximum 15-year sentence. Potter’s attorneys, Paul Engh and Earl Gray, filed a motion Wednesday seeking to dismiss the new charge. They argued that Minnesota statutes define first-degree manslaughter as endangering someone by recklessly handling a gun or other dangerous weapon and that Potter didn’t consciously realize she was holding a gun or was about to fire it.

Mississippi

a hand holding a piece of meat on a cutting board: Rice hulls are dried and turned into activated carbon at Memphis-area startup Glanris, where the product can be used to filter water, turning a previously discarded bio-waste into valuable tool for water conservation. © Joe Rondone/The Commercial Appeal Rice hulls are dried and turned into activated carbon at Memphis-area startup Glanris, where the product can be used to filter water, turning a previously discarded bio-waste into valuable tool for water conservation.

Olive Branch: A local startup is trying to turn a rice-production byproduct into a way to avoid water shortages and reduce carbon emissions. Glanris President and CEO Bryan Eagle said he knows it’s a big goal, but everyone needs to do something to try to change the world. “We’re running out of water ... we’re past the tipping point where there are too many people and not enough fresh water,” Eagle said. While water is a renewable resource, global demand is quickly outpacing the rate at which aquifers and other fresh water sources renew. So Glanris buys rice hulls – they make up 20% of the weight of a rice harvest and have to be removed before the rice is eaten – and turns it into a water-filtrating activated carbon. The company’s patented process is relatively simple, Eagle said. The rice hulls are put into a rotary kiln and roasted at 400 degrees Celsius for about 8 minutes. Coconut shells, which have been previously used for water purification, need to be roasted at 1,000 degrees Celsius for about 12 to 18 hours. After roasting, the rice hulls are cooled and put back into the containers in which they were delivered. In most other cases, rice hulls are burned, releasing greenhouse gases. “We’re stopping that burning and creating a stable carbon,” Eagle said. “What we’re really addressing is climate change.”

Missouri

St. Louis: The state’s new health czar lamented that the pandemic has become so embroiled in politics as another child died of COVID-19 and as the coronavirus sickened record numbers of youths. Donald Kauerauf, who began serving three weeks ago as the director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, told lawmakers Tuesday that “we failed, as a nation, public health because we got to this point.” In emergency planning, Kauerauf said, you plan for the “absolutely worst” scenario – but “we didn’t plan for this reaction from the public.” And he said it was crucial to retool the public message as he works toward a goal of getting about 80% of the state’s residents vaccinated. Currently, 52.8% have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, state data shows. “We’ve got to start something new,” Kauerauf said. The state just ended what is shaping up to be one of the deadliest months of the pandemic. Data lags by several weeks, but COVID-19 deaths in Missouri have already reached 878 in the five weeks that span August – more than triple the numbers seen this past spring, before the highly infections delta variant of the virus took hold, according to state data analyzed by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. A child died last week in the St. Louis area, the Post-Dispatch reports.

Montana

Helena: A group advocating for “right-to-work” policies is suing to strike down the state’s Clean Campaign Act, arguing it contains a provision that violates political speech protections. Montana Citizens for Right to Work filed the lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court in Helena against Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Jeff Mangan, the Montana State News Bureau reports. A “right-to-work” law prohibits a company and a union from signing a contract that would require workers to pay dues or fees to the union that represents them. The lawsuit argues that a provision in the Clean Campaign Act is unconstitutional because it requires political committees to notify candidates of negative mailers, but mailers endorsing candidates are not subject to the same requirement. The lawsuit asks a judge to strike down the entire Clean Campaign Act and prohibit Mangan from following through on prosecuting Montana Citizens for Right to Work over a previous alleged violation. The filing appears to be a preemptive strike at the state’s top political cop, claiming Mangan is preparing a civil prosecution against the group for violating laws on notifying candidates if a negative mailer is sent out within 10 days of Election Day.

Nebraska

Omaha: Creighton University plans to invest $37 million in a new residence hall for freshmen that will be the institution’s first new dormitory since 2006. Most of the 400-student dormitory will be divided into four-person suites that will each have two bedrooms, two living spaces and a shared bathroom. Each floor will also have kitchenettes, and there will be a larger kitchen on the second floor, according to the Omaha World-Herald. The hall will include an interfaith prayer space and two prayer rooms for Muslim students. It will also have an elevated outdoor courtyard capable of hosting gatherings and events. The new residence hall will be built a few blocks east of the new $75 million CL Werner Center for Health Sciences Education that will house Creighton’s School of Medicine. Both new buildings are slated to open in the fall of 2023. Currently, Creighton has eight dorms. All unmarried undergraduate students from outside the Omaha area are required to live in a residence hall for their first two years.

Nevada

Henderson: The city and Las Vegas Valley Water District say they’re joining forces for enforcement patrols to identify water wasters in suburban southern Nevada. On Wednesday and Thursday, Henderson Conservation Awareness Assistants and LVVWD’s Water Waste Investigators will tour commercial and residential areas known for high water use to make sure people are following watering rules. Fall seasonal water schedule rules changed Sept. 1, and officials say water conservation is more crucial following the first-ever Colorado River water shortage declaration in August. Climate change, drought and high demand combined to trigger mandatory delivery restrictions to states, farmers and tribes that rely on the parched river and its shrinking reservoirs. Watering is now limited throughout southern Nevada to no more than three days per week based on a property owner’s regional assignment. Sunday watering is prohibited. Customers violating watering restrictions or found letting water spray or flow off their property can face city administrative water waste fines. Henderson conservation and customer official Tina Chen told KTNV-TV the water waste patrols show that everyone is striving toward a common goal of eliminating as much water waste as possible.

New Hampshire

Manchester: Two agencies in the state are working on resettlement plans for Afghan refugees. The refugees are currently being screened at military bases before they arrive in New Hampshire. Jeff Thielman, president and CEO of the International Institute of New England, said the Manchester agency has agreed to receive 50 evacuees from Afghanistan. “We’re all going to work together to provide people with the basic needs, food, clothing, shelter,” Thielman told WMUR-TV. The agency will also work to help refugees with long-term needs such as education and employment. Another agency, Ascentria Care Alliance in Concord, has proposed resettling 100 Afghan refugees. Both agencies have submitted proposals to the U.S. State Department. Under a program called “Operation Allies Welcome,” some 50,000 Afghans are expected to be admitted to the United States, including translators, drivers and others who helped the U.S. military during the 20-year war and who feared reprisals by the Taliban after they quickly seized power last month.

New Jersey

Trenton: The state intends to divest assets from the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s after a preliminary review found the ice cream maker engaged in a boycott of Israel or Israeli-controlled territories, the Division of Investment announced Tuesday. Officials warned Bergen County-based Unilever in a letter that its subsidiary’s actions had triggered New Jersey’s 5-year-old law requiring state pension funds to divest from pro-boycott businesses. New Jersey holdings in Unilever total approximately $182 million in stocks, bonds and short-term paper, according to the Treasury Department. British conglomerate Unilever plc, a multinational consumer goods company that employs 1,600 people in Englewood Cliffs, has 90 days to appeal the decision. Unilever acquired the ice cream company, known for embracing progressive causes, in 2000. The contract grants the Ben & Jerry’s board independence to make decisions about its social mission, Unilever has said. Ben & Jerry’s, a Vermont company founded by two Jewish Americans, said in July that it would continue operating in Israel but stop sales in controversial settlements located in Palestinian territory in the West Bank and Jerusalem. It is not a boycott of Israel, the company said.

New Mexico

Santa Fe: The New Mexico Supreme Court has ruled state law doesn’t require that vehicle taillights all be working perfectly – only that they work well enough for their intended use. A ruling Monday by the state’s highest court stems from a man’s conviction for violating a state law requiring that certain vehicle equipment be in “good working order.” To conclude that “good working order” means free from flaws or defects “would impose an absurd standard for vehicles on New Mexico roads and highways because it would require that equipment be in perfect condition, beyond a more reasonable expectation that equipment functions for its intended use,” Justice S. Shannon Bacon wrote for the court. The case began when a Bernalillo County sheriff’s deputy pulled the man over because one bulb in a tail lamp didn’t work despite the rest of the lamp being illuminated. The man was convicted both for driving a vehicle with defective equipment and for driving under the influence, and his appeals argued there weren’t grounds to pull him over because his tail lamp was operating well enough. The Supreme Court’s ruling sends the case back to district court for further proceedings.

New York

New York: Theater royalty welcomed back boisterous audiences to “Wicked,” “The Lion King” and “Hamilton” for the first time since the start of the pandemic, marking Tuesday as the unofficial return of Broadway. Kristin Chenoweth surprised the crowd at “Wicked” by appearing onstage for a speech on the same stage where she became a star years ago. “There’s no place like home,” she said, lifting a line from the musical. The crowd hooted, hollered and gave her a standing ovation. Julie Taymor, the director and costume designer of “The Lion King,” congratulated her audience for the courage and enthusiasm to lead the way. “Theater, as we know, is the lifeblood and soul of the city,” she said. “It’s time for us to live again.” And Lin-Manuel Miranda at “Hamilton” summed up the feeling of a lot of people when he said: “I don’t ever want to take live theater for granted.” The trio of shows were beaten by Bruce Springsteen’s concert show in June and the opening of the new play “Pass Over” on Aug. 22, as well as the reopening of two other big musicals, “Hadestown” and “Waitress.” But the return of the three mega-musicals – the spiritual anchors of modern Broadway’s success – is an important signal that Broadway is back, despite pressure and uncertainty from the spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus.

North Carolina

Raleigh: The flap over absentee ballots in the 2020 election resurfaced Wednesday at the General Assembly as Republicans gave final approval to legislation that would limit Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein’s ability to enter future legal settlements. The bill, now headed to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk following a party-line House vote, was introduced by GOP lawmakers angry about being left out of negotiations last year between Stein’s office and a labor-affiliated group that sued state election officials. Republican legislative leaders had already intervened to become defendants in the lawsuit. The enforced settlement, which ultimately was challenged all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, increased from three to nine the number of days mailed absentee ballots could be received after Election Day and still count. To prevent what they call “collusive settlements” in the future, GOP members passed the bill stating legal settlements challenging state law or the constitution must be backed by the Senate leader and House speaker when they are named parties. The 2020 settlement broke up bipartisan legislation approved to carry out the fall elections during the pandemic that had kept the ballot grace period at three days, GOP Rep. Destin Hall of Caldwell County said.

North Dakota

Bismarck: A state official told a legislative committee Tuesday that the state’s largest and most expensive leased office space is now mostly utilized, after it sat nearly vacant for months when an agency allowed its more than 400 employees to work from home indefinitely. The Associated Press reported in May that taxpayers are on the hook for nearly $3 million in rent over the next two years for the North Dakota Information Technology Department’s unused office space in Bismarck. The report spurred a legislative review of all state leases. Greg Hoffman, the Information Technology Department’s director of administration, told the interim Government Administration Committee that about 90% of the 85,000-square-foot leased space in a newly remodeled, privately owned office building in north Bismarck is now being used. The Department of Environmental Quality last month moved about 140 of its employees from a leased office building just north of the state Capitol to the IT department’s space. Hoffman said the environmental agency is subleasing two floors of the building at $12 a square foot; the IT agency pays $15 a square foot to lease the building. Other agencies also are using the building’s meeting spaces, he said.

Ohio

Columbus: Three of the prison guards involved in the February death of inmate Michael McDaniel were previously disciplined for excessive use of force or not intervening when inmates were in danger or when guards used unjustified force, records show. The disciplinary documents, obtained by the Associated Press, show a number of past incidents in which Lt. Bruce Brown and correctional officers Adam Causey and Jerry Perkins were reprimanded for actions similar to those made in connection with McDaniel’s in-custody death. The three men were among the seven employees at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient who were fired last month after a state investigation into the death of the Black inmate found guards used unjustified force, and a supervisor failed to intervene. The Franklin County Coroner’s office had declared McDaniel’s death a homicide and ruled the cause as a “stress-induced sudden cardiac death.” The autopsy detailed injuries to his head, face, shoulders, wrists, hands, knees, feet, toes and abdomen. He also had multiple rib fractures, and the coroner found evidence of heart disease. Security footage released by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction in July showed McDaniel, 55, collapsing on his own and being taken down to the floor by guards at least 16 times before he died Feb. 6.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma City: Southeastern Oklahoma State University, which was found to have discriminated against a transgender English professor, must reinstate her with tenure, a federal appeals court ruled. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver on Monday ordered professor Rachel Tudor to be reinstated with tenure and ordered a lower court to recalculate how much pay and attorney fees she is entitled to receive. A federal jury in Oklahoma City previously awarded Tudor more than $1 million after finding the university discriminated against her and wrongfully denied her tenure. But the trial court later reduced that award because of a $300,000 state cap on non-economic damages. Both parties appealed. Tudor began working at Southeastern in 2004. She began presenting as a woman in 2007 by wearing women’s clothing, styling her hair in a feminine way and going by the name Rachel, according to her lawsuit against the university. After she was denied tenure in 2010, Tudor filed a discrimination complaint. She was fired the following year. The U.S. Department of Justice also sued the university, leading to a settlement with Southeastern agreeing to hold mandatory anti-discrimination training and to implement policy changes to reduce discrimination.

Oregon

a tree in a forest: Trees marked for harvest at Silver Falls State Park. © Kyle Martz / Special to the Statesman Journal Trees marked for harvest at Silver Falls State Park.

Salem: Silver Falls State Park officials are planning to log about 100 acres in the park’s backcountry beginning this month in forest that was partially burned by the Beachie Creek Fire last September. The plan sparked concern from advocates and scientists who feel that the park should let the forest regenerate naturally and that the project is more about earning money than sound forest practice. The timber being removed has an estimated value of more than $1 million, and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department estimates the project will fetch a $300,000 profit that will be used for future “forest health programs,” parks officials said. The plan includes two projects: a logging operation in the backcountry and the removal of about 200 hazard trees from around historic buildings. Both projects are far from the waterfalls most people visit at Silver Falls but are close to and along some popular backcountry mountain bike and hiking trails, including the upper section of the popular Catamount Trail. The larger backcountry project, called the “Beachie Creek Salvage,” could begin this month and would produce 2.2 million board feet of timber. Trees logged would come from forest that’s fully burned, partially burned and green trees, interim park manager Chris Gilliand said.

Pennsylvania

Philadelphia: Police announced a new three-year contract with the city Tuesday that offers raises, along with a $1,500 bonus, but lets the city make some of the disciplinary reforms it sought. The Philadelphia Police Department’s more than 6,000 officers will see raises of 2.75% this year and 3.5% in each of the next two years. City officials, meanwhile, promised more transparency in the disciplinary process a year after protests against police brutality rocked Philadelphia and the nation. They said the reforms increase penalties for wrongdoing, add a civilian to the three-person review panel and ban officers from fraternizing with hate groups. There were no changes to the residency rule, which allows officers to move outside the city after five years on the force. Mayor Jim Kenney, at a news conference Tuesday, called that disappointing, saying he believes they should remain city residents. The contract, handed down by an arbiter, also lets the police union know when any personnel files are requested by city prosecutors, the local Fraternal Order of Police said. The office is currently led by District Attorney Larry Krasner, who has feuded with the union and this year charged three former homicide detectives with perjury in an exoneration case that cost the city a nearly $10 million settlement.

Rhode Island

Wakefield: Researchers are hoping eight recently released young great white sharks will yield insights into some of the questions scientists still have about the famous species. The sharks were released after being tagged with tracking devices by researchers this summer at the Atlantic Shark Institute of Wakefield, officials announced Tuesday. The devices will allow the scientists to locate the fish for 10 years and learn more about their movement and patterns. “It’s the most white sharks that have been tagged in this study to date and will aid considerably in filling in some of the missing pieces for this iconic species of shark,” said Jon F. Dodd, executive director of the institute, which has been working with the O’Seas Conservation Foundation. “In several parts of the world, the great white shark is determined to be critically endangered, and that makes this research all the more vital.” The most important part of the tagging was that most of the sharks were young, Dodd said. In the past few years, about 300 sharks have been tagged, but most were older. This time around, the youngest shark is a few weeks old, Dodd said. “Largely absent from the majority of those tags have been the much younger white sharks, and much about their behavior and habits is still largely unknown,” Dodd said.

South Carolina

Camden: Gov. Henry McMaster toured an elementary school Wednesday that he said is an excellent example of how to fight COVID-19 in schools without requiring everyone to wear masks. Camden Elementary School starts with a thermal scanner that takes the temperature of every student as they walk in without them having to stop. Any student warmer than normal is pulled aside and checked more carefully. The school and others in the Kershaw County School District have isolation rooms set up where any students who might have COVID-19 can be placed. When a possible case is identified, school nurses and others do a careful tracing to figure out whether any students were within 3 feet of an infected person for more than 15 minutes, the federal guideline for having to quarantine. They review classroom seating charts, video from school buses and even game film from football games to try to pull out only students who are considered close contacts. Classes are carefully measured to keep students the right distance apart, and while half the students in a grade go to the cafeteria for lunch – sitting three students at an eight-student table – the other half stay in their classrooms. “This is how you do it,” McMaster said. “This is how you win in South Carolina.” Kershaw County schools do not have a mask mandate this school year, following the wishes of Republican legislators who put a one-year provision in the state budget meant to prevent school districts from requiring masks.

South Dakota

Sioux Falls: Within days after authorities began investigating allegations of a guard sexually abusing prisoners at the South Dakota State Penitentiary, two of the alleged victims were dead. But with officials being tight-lipped about both a criminal investigation into the matter and an ongoing probe by the state into workplace misconduct at the prison, it’s unclear if the deaths played a part in Gov. Kristi Noem’s firing of prison administrators earlier this summer. Michael Noland, 23, died March 27, and Michael Hand, 25, died April 3. Both men were serving prison sentences at the Sioux Falls prison and were found unresponsive in their cells. The Department of Corrections announced the deaths as suicides, while the Division of Criminal Investigation and the Attorney General’s Office began a months­long criminal investigation into former penitentiary guard Rian Fitzpatrick, who last week was formally indicted and charged with engaging in sexual acts with prisoners. The indictment file says the crimes began in early February and went on until mid-March, while a public advocate representing Fitzpatrick said last week in court that he was employed with the state until only recently.

Tennessee

a group of people sitting in front of a crowd: An anti-mask mother of a special needs student shouts at board member Jen Aprea — a fellow mother of a special needs student — as Aprea speaks on the importance of masks in protecting high-risk students. © Anika Exum / The Tennessean An anti-mask mother of a special needs student shouts at board member Jen Aprea — a fellow mother of a special needs student — as Aprea speaks on the importance of masks in protecting high-risk students.

Franklin: An alderman says he was “appalled” to see the state make national headlines in the past several weeks due to unruly school board meetings that devolved into chaos, threats and heckling over coronavirus protocols. The first recent meeting to gain national attention was an August Williamson County school board meeting at which hundreds of unruly anti-mask parents interrupted the meeting, screamed at parents who supported pandemic safety protocols, and ended the meeting with threatening health care workers. The viral meeting garnered attention and public remarks from President Joe Biden, who condemned the attack. “I was appalled,” said John Schroer, an at-large alderman for Franklin. “We have parents fighting parents.” At a Rutherford County meeting, adults heckled a high school student who shared that his grandmother died from COVID-19. One man shouted at him to shut up. Others laughed at the teen. “He was mocked by adults in the crowd,” Schroer said. “I’ve never in my life been embarrassed to be a Tennessean, but I was embarrassed to be a part of that group known as Tennesseans treating other Tennesseans that way.” Schroer likened COVID-19 protections to prohibiting smoking indoors because of secondhand smoke and asked Volunteers to care for one another.

Texas

Midland: Federal officials have cleared the way for construction of a dump in West Texas that could hold spent nuclear fuel for up to 40 years. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission granted a license to Interim Storage Partners LLC to build and run a facility that could take up to 5,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel rods from power plants and 231 million tons of other radioactive waste. The decision puts the federal agency on a collision course with state officials in Texas, where opposition to nuclear waste storage has been building for years. Last week, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill that purports to prohibit the storage or transportation of high-level nuclear waste such as spent fuel rods through the state. “Texas will not become America’s nuclear waste dumping ground,” Abbott tweeted Tuesday. Environmental groups including the Sierra Club have filed federal lawsuits to block the project, arguing that the discovery of groundwater under the site makes it unsafe to store radioactive waste there. Interim Storage Partners plan to build the facility next to an existing dump site in Andrews County, near the Texas-New Mexico state line, for low-level waste such as protective clothing and other material that has been exposed to radioactivity.

Utah

Salt Lake City: A judge tossed out a lawsuit filed by James Huntsman, a member of one of the state’s most prominent families and brother of a former governor, against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in a ruling issued Tuesday. Huntsman had accused the Utah-based faith known widely as the Mormon church of fraud and sought to recover millions of dollars in contributions, saying the church spent donations solicited for charity on commercial purposes. Judge Stephen Wilson rejected Huntsman’s claims and said no reasonable juror would believe that Latter-day Saint leaders made false statements about how tithing funds would be used. In a lawsuit filed in March, Huntsman said he was defrauded out of millions during the 24 years he gave 10% of his annual income to the church. He is the brother of former U.S. diplomat and ex-Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. and son of late billionaire philanthropist Jon Huntsman Sr. He alleged that the church has “repeatedly and publicly lied” about the use of billions of dollars in contributions meant to pay for missionary work, temples and other educational and charitable work. Church spokesperson Eric Hawkins said the church is “grateful” the judge granted its motion for summary judgment in a statement Tuesday.

Vermont

Burlington: The University of Vermont is planning to freeze tuition for the fourth straight year, University President Suresh Garimella said Wednesday. In a statement, Garimella said he would ask the university’s trustees to approve his proposal not to increase tuition next year for any students, regardless of their degree level or residency status. Room and board charges will remain flat for the third consecutive year. Comprehensive fees for undergraduates will also remain frozen. “Students graduating in UVM’s Class of 2023 will complete four years of study at the state’s flagship paying the same for tuition as they did when they started,” Garimella wrote. “We are intensely focused on reducing student debt so Catamounts can build their lives and careers without the burden of large loan payments.” Undergraduate tuition, room and board, and fees for Vermont students currently total about $32,350. For nonresidents, the cost is about $57,250. Garimella first froze tuition in November 2019, during his first six months as president. He has continued the freeze since then. Garimella said the school is committed to maintaining affordability for a college education for UVM students and their families.

Virginia

Richmond: A global conservation nonprofit and the state’s largest electricity utility have announced plans to develop what they say will be a large-scale solar project on former surface mines in the southwest Virginia coal fields. Dominion Energy Virginia plans to repurpose about 1,200 acres of the former Red Onion surface mine and surrounding properties for the 50-megawatt Highlands Solar project in Wise and Dickenson County, the company said in a news release with its project partner, The Nature Conservancy. The project will be developed within The Nature Conservancy’s Cumberland Forest Project, a land conservation initiative launched in 2019, and adjacent areas. Brad Kreps, director of The Nature Conservancy’s Clinch Valley Program, said in a statement that the hope is for the project to develop a model that can be replicated in other coal mining regions across the U.S. Construction would tentatively begin in 2024 or 2025, subject to review and approval from state regulators. The Nature Conservancy announced a similar initiative two months ago with two solar energy firms. Taken together, the utility-scale solar projects within the Cumberland Forest Project will cover nearly 1,700 acres and generate an estimated 120 megawatts of solar energy, according to the news release.

Washington

Seattle: Washington Department of Natural Resources lands east of the Cascades will reopen to public access Thursday. The department closed those lands July 23 because of extreme heat, drought and wildfire danger and large fires burning across the West that had stretched wildfire resources. At the time of the closure, the number of fire ignitions in the state was about double the 10-year average, state Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz said in a news release. Franz said conditions have improved dramatically thanks to the tireless efforts of firefighters, an expanded air fleet, and a focus on attacking fires quickly to limit spread. Firefighters have worked on approximately 1,750 fires that burned more than 650,000 acres, which is significantly less acreage burned than last year, she said. More than 98% of DNR fires were caught during the initial attack this fire season, she said. “After months of moving from fire to fire, we are optimistic that we have turned a corner,” Franz said. “I am extraordinarily grateful to everyone who complied with this closure for sharing in the sacrifice necessary to prevent wildfires.” A statewide burn ban remains in effect and is set to expire Sept. 30. More than three-quarters of Washington state remains in drought conditions, Franz said.

West Virginia

Huntington: Tests show a type of bacteria that causes the severe form of pneumonia known as Legionnaires’ disease has resurfaced at a state-run hospital, health officials said. Routine screening found Legionella bacteria at the Mildred Mitchell-Bateman Hospital in Huntington. The hospital is operated by the state Department of Health and Human Resources. The building where the bacteria was detected did not house patients. In April the hospital replaced all faucets and a hot water heater and installed a recirculation pump after the bacteria first was detected in two sinks in the hospital’s administration building. The bacteria in the latest tests was found in the same places as in April: a CEO restroom and a former human resources break room in a basement, the DHHR said in a news release. Legionnaire’s disease can be dangerous to people with lung or immune system problems. It is spread by inhaling droplets from contaminated water sources. The disease can be treated with antibiotics.

Wisconsin

Madison: Election clerks are reacting with a mixture of concern and confusion to the first inquiry made by a special investigator hired by Republicans to examine how the 2020 presidential election was run in the battleground state. Based on an Associated Press survey of all 72 county election clerks, the email Monday from the lead investigator landed in the junk folders of at least seven counties and wasn’t received by at least 11 others. Several that did get it flagged it as a security risk. Clerks for at least six counties said they would not be forwarding the email to municipalities in their jurisdiction as requested by the investigator, former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, a conservative who last year told a group of Trump supporters that the election had been stolen. “If there was fraud, it wasn’t in my county,” Christopher Marlow, the Lincoln County clerk, told the AP. “We keep very accurate voter lists and we are diligent in our work. All our voters are alive and received one vote each!” Former President Donald Trump won Lincoln County with 61% of the vote in 2020. The pushback and confusion from clerks is just the latest twist in Wisconsin, where conservatives at Trump’s encouragement are ordering investigations into the 2020 election. President Joe Biden carried the state by nearly 21,000 votes.

Wyoming

Casper: A state legislator is no longer among the Republicans challenging Liz Cheney for a U.S. House seat in 2022. Republicans should unite to defeat Cheney, state Rep. Chuck Gray, of Casper, said in a statement suspending his campaign Tuesday. Former President Donald Trump last week endorsed Cheyenne lawyer Harriet Hageman in the Republican U.S. House primary. Cheney, also a member of the GOP, reacted to the endorsement by saying: “Bring it.” Gray was among more than half a dozen Republicans to challenge Cheney for her vote to impeach Trump for the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Gray is the third candidate, after Cheyenne attorney Darin Smith and Sheridan County Republican Party Chairman Bryan Miller, to suspend or end a campaign after Trump’s endorsement of Hageman, the Casper Star-Tribune reports. Those still in the race include state Sen. Anthony Bouchard, of Cheyenne, and retired U.S. Army Col. Denton Knapp, of Gillette.

From USA TODAY Network and wire reports

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Baby sharks, Broadway’s back, rice filtration: News from around our 50 states

Source : https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/baby-sharks-broadway-s-back-rice-filtration-news-from-around-our-50-states/ar-AAOw5J7

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Baby sharks, Broadway’s back, rice filtration: News from around our 50 states

Source:MSN

Baby sharks, Broadway’s back, rice filtration: News from around our 50 states