Saturday, May 18, 2019

“Stevie Wonder, pet cemetery, songwriter jamboree: News from around our 50 states - USA TODAY” plus 2 more

“Stevie Wonder, pet cemetery, songwriter jamboree: News from around our 50 states - USA TODAY” plus 2 more


Stevie Wonder, pet cemetery, songwriter jamboree: News from around our 50 states - USA TODAY

Posted: 16 May 2019 09:41 PM PDT

Alabama

Montgomery: A group of historic treasures has a new home, with five pieces by African American artists from the state joining the permanent collection of the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. The works now on display in the gallery were acquired through a partnership with the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, a group dedicated to documenting, preserving and promoting African American artists of the South. One of the largest of the works is "Lost Americans," a 2008 mixed media work by the late Thornton Dial Sr. of Emmelle. Dial's works used many found objects, which he often found beside train tracks. Another new earthy piece is "Wheel at the Fairground," from 1988 by the late Jimmy Lee Sudduth of Fayette. The artist came up with his own medium by combining clay and sugar and using that to paint pieces of plywood. The three other new pieces are quilts by the famous Gee's Bend quilt makers of Wilcox County.

Alaska

Fairbanks: Residents who burn wood, coal and oil for heat are facing new air pollution control measures. Draft rules made public by the state Tuesday are expected to result in additional bans on burning wood and coal in Fairbanks North Star Borough, as well as higher fuel oil and electric bills, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports. New rules are required under the federal Clean Air Act. The deadline is the end of December, officials said. The Fairbanks area each winter is regularly out of compliance for fine particulate, a mix of solid particles and liquid droplets that can be inhaled deep in the lungs. Wood smoke contributes up to 80% of Fairbanks' fine particle pollution. Residents burn wood as a cheaper alternative to fuel oil. The goal is to reduce smoke pollution in Fairbanks and North Pole by 5% annually with attainment expected in 10 years, officials said.

Arizona

Phoenix: The U.S. government plans on replacing barriers through 100 miles of the southern border in California and Arizona, including through a national monument and a wildlife refuge, according to documents and environmental advocates. The Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday again waived environmental and dozens of other laws to build more barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border. Barriers will go up at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, a vast park named after the unique cactus breed that decorates it, and Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, which is largely a designed wilderness home to 275 wildlife species. The government will also build new roads and lighting in those areas in Arizona. Environmental advocates who have sued to stop the construction of the wall say this latest plan will be detrimental to the wildlife and habitat in those areas.

Arkansas

Little Rock: Less than a week after the state's first medical marijuana dispensaries officially opened their doors, patients who would rather eat their pot than smoke it will soon have their chance. Robert Lercher, a spokesman for BOLD Team, says the cultivator intends to have gummy chews, concentrates and vape cartridges available with the next harvest, with products hitting dispensary shelves by the end of next week. Voters approved a medical marijuana amendment in 2016. Only two dispensaries, both in Hot Springs, are licensed, and only one cultivator has harvested a crop, though two others expect to harvest their own this summer. As of Tuesday night, the two dispensaries, Doctor's Orders RX and Green Springs Medical, had sold more than 26 pounds of the drug in its flower form and totaled sales of about $177,000.

California

San Francisco: A cafe is brewing up what it calls the world's most expensive coffee – at $75 a cup. Klatch Coffee is serving the exclusive brew, the Elida Natural Geisha 803, at its branches in Southern California and San Francisco. The 803 in the coffee's name refers to the record-breaking $803 per pound for which the organic beans sold at a recent auction after winning the Best of Panama coffee competition, says Bo Thiara, co-owner of the Klatch branch in San Francisco. He calls the annual competition the coffee world's equivalent of the Oscars. Only 100 pounds of the beans were available for purchase, and most went to Japan, China and Taiwan, Thiara says. Klatch secured 10 pounds and is the only chain in North America to have it. Klatch describes the coffee as a rare variety of Arabica from Panama that has a floral, tea-like flavor with hints of jasmine and berries.

Colorado

Colorado Springs: Officials say this year's snowpack could recover the state's hydrological system following last year's drought. The Gazette reports federal data shows the snowpack in the state's southwest corner at 19.5 inches, 220% of the median snowpack Tuesday. Colorado Climate Center climatologist Becky Bolinger says the state's soil, reservoirs, rivers and streams could likely see recovery following the snow and cold that arrived in February and March. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration hydrologist Greg Smith says the Upper Colorado River Basin is seeing encouraging conditions, and the Upper San Juan River Basin experienced its third wettest March on record this year. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, about 15% of the state is abnormally dry, and less than 1% is in moderate drought.

Connecticut

Hartford: The West Hartford Libraries has launched its year of happiness, offering a full year's worth of special programming centered around the things that make people happy – like music, meditation, food, games and even homebrewed beer. "We wanted something that's positive and all inclusive of ages," says Carol Waxman, the children's librarian at the Noah Webster Library, who will offer special programming like chocolate making to children. Also part of the year of happiness is the bolstering of a program called "Hunger Doesn't Take a Vacation." Through the summer program, in partnership with the Fern Street Food Ministry at the Universalist Church of West Hartford, the library offers backpacks full of food to children who during the school year would receive free lunches. The full list of happiness events can be found online.

Delaware

Dover: Environmental groups are asking federal officials to take emergency action to protect a species of firefly unique to southern Delaware. In an emergency petition filed Wednesday with the Department of the Interior, environmentalists claim the Bethany Beach firefly is at immediate risk of extinction because of imminent destruction of a significant portion of its habitat. The filing comes partly in response to a planned residential development that would be accessible by a unique wooden cul-de-sac that has been built on pilings over one of the freshwater marshes where the firefly lives. Environmentalists say threats to the bug also include sea level rise, climate change and mosquito-control pesticides. The petition was filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

District of Columbia

Washington: The city is set to get its first official pet cemetery. News outlets report that people will be able to secure final resting places for their beloved pets at the historic Congressional Cemetery, where officials plan to open the Kingdom of Animals section next month. Cemetery President Paul Williams says the section will span about third of an acre at the 35-acre cemetery and will accept all pets, ranging from birds to alligators. The cemetery calls this an extension of its popular members-only dog walking group, whose volunteers have revived the grounds over the past two decades. The group costs about $235 per year and $50 per dog to join. Burial prices will range from $500 to $1,500.

Florida

Naples: An audience member called 911 on an Egyptian-American comedian who made a joke about being of Middle Eastern descent. The complainant called police Sunday, one day after Ahmed Ahmed performed at the Off The Hook Comedy Club in Naples. Ahmed says he asked if anyone of Middle Eastern descent was in the audience. After a few people clapped, Ahmed replied, "Hey, it only takes one of us" followed by a pause and then "to tell a joke." He added, "Seriously, lock the doors." The caller told the 911 dispatcher that after audience members acknowledged being from the Middle East, Ahmed said, "That's great. We could organize our own little terrorist organization." He said that bothered him. Ahmed says he never said that. The club has rebooked Ahmed for next week.

Georgia

Atlanta: Former President Jimmy Carter plans to teach Sunday school this weekend just days after undergoing surgery for a broken hip, a spokeswoman says. Carter, 94, was released from the hospital Thursday morning after getting a hip replacement. He plans to continue recuperating at his home in rural Plains, said a statement from Carter spokeswoman Deanna Congileo. Carter's wife, Rosalynn Carter, went home with her husband after she was admitted to the hospital Wednesday for observation and testing after she "felt faint," Congileo said. "Both President and Mrs. Carter extend their thanks to the many people who sent well wishes the past few days," Congileo's statement said. She said Carter plans to teach his regular Sunday school class this weekend at Marantha Baptist Church in Plains.

Hawaii

Kahului: An airport has opened a $340 million facility for car rental companies. The Kahului Airport Consolidated Rent-A-Car facility is the largest single public works project on Maui, The Maui News reports. The facility that opened Wednesday houses all major rental car companies in one spot and connects passengers with the airport via electric tram. The project took three years to complete, was environmentally friendly and created hundreds of local jobs, officials say. The project will help save energy costs, reduce waste and increase indoor air quality, the state Department of Transportation said. Democratic Gov. David Ige visited the site Tuesday and said the project was "funded with no taxpayer dollars involved." Funding came from a state facility charge and a daily $4.50 payment by rental car customers, officials say.

Idaho

Pocatello: A man has been ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution after damaging an archaeological site in Challis. U.S. Attorney Bart Davis announced this week that 38-year-old Alan Thorkelson of Challis pleaded guilty last month to digging at a Shoshone-Bannock tribal cultural site without authorization. The Devil Canyon Archaeological Site was being monitored because of previous issues with graffiti; court records say Thorkelson was caught digging at the site in October of 2017. U.S. District Judge David Nye ordered Thorkelson to pay the restitution during a sentencing hearing late last month. Mary D'Aversa with the Bureau of Land Management says looting archaeological sites like the one in Challis is especially harmful because they are significant to tribal communities.

Illinois

Springfield: A new plan has been introduced that aims to end HIV in the state by the year 2030. Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Illinois and Chicago public health departments, and the AIDS Foundation of Chicago introduced the Getting to Zero Illinois plan this week. It's the results of nearly two years of planning that included town hall meetings, surveys, focus groups and community feedback from across the state. State officials say nearly 40,000 people were living with HIV in Illinois in 2017. The plan focuses on efforts including increasing HIV treatment access, allocating resources to communities with the greatest disparities and measuring progress through surveillance. The city of Chicago is providing $40 million toward the effort to 40 organizations, and the state is providing almost $26 million to 62 agencies.

Indiana

Indianapolis: The Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library has reached its goal of raising $1.5 million to acquire and begin renovations on a building to serve as its permanent home. The museum announced Wednesday that it met a deadline for the fundraising effort. The museum's founder and CEO, Julia Whitehead, says it's "a wonderful step forward," and people "are recognizing that we have something very special here." Whitehead said in March that the museum signed a purchase agreement for a building to display a new exhibition about Vonnegut's book "Slaughterhouse-Five." It will also display other exhibitions and the organization's large collection of Vonnegut artifacts and memorabilia. The museum has been operating for eight years but is currently closed to the public. Vonnegut was born in Indianapolis. He died in 2007 at age 84.

Iowa

Okoboji: This lake town now has a vodka named for it. Foundry Distilling Co. is launching the first brand in its Heritage Collection of spirits: Okoboji Vodka. It's made from 100% corn with the majority grown in Iowa and will be available at retailers in the Lake Okoboji region this summer. "This is special for me as my dad grew up about 10 miles away from Okoboji in Lake Park," says Scott Bush, founder of Foundry Distilling Co. "We used to go up to Okoboji as kids to see Grandpa and Grandma Bush, and those are memories I will always cherish." Bush hopes Okoboji Vodka will strike a chord with others who have strong sentimental ties to that region of Iowa. Foundry Distilling Co. was founded in 2018 and has developed two unique offerings: the Private Barrel Program and the Brewer/Distiller Alliance.

Kansas

Topeka: Despite an increase in state funding for higher education, four of the state's six major universities are asking for tuition increases for next year. During a meeting Wednesday, some members of the Kansas Board of Regents expressed frustration with the university administrators for seeking increases. The Wichita Eagle reports the board will vote on the proposals in June, and it is unclear if there are enough votes to approve them. University officials said the proposed increases would be the smallest in decades. The University of Kansas and Wichita State are asking for a 1% increase for Kansas residents. Emporia State requested a 2.5% increase, and Kansas State is seeking a 3.1% hike. Pittsburg State and Fort Hays State did not ask for higher tuition.

Kentucky

Lexington: The city is suspending paper recycling due to "changes in the global marketplace" for recycled materials. City officials say there is an overabundance of material in domestic markets, and Lexington's recycling center cannot store the paper long term. Residents are being told to put office paper, newspaper, magazines, cereal boxes, paper towel rolls and similar products in the trash. Residents can continue to recycle corrugated cardboard, like moving and shipping boxes. Nancy Albright, Lexington's Commissioner of Environmental Quality and Public Works, says the city is seeking new recycling outlets for paper. She says at least three new nearby mills are expected to begin receiving materials by late fall. A city news release says recycling markets across the country are under strain due to increased standards in China.

Louisiana

Lafayette: The city's downtown will be alive Memorial Day weekend with South Louisiana Songwriters Festival, the only songwriter jamboree in the United States. The SOLO event is a seminar and presentation mash-up May 21-26. Songwriters collaborate in small groups for four days, starting Tuesday. Nick Lowe, known for the pop hit "Cruel to Be Kind," will kick off the festivities Wednesday night with a show at Warehouse 535. On Thursday kids from local schools, who have been participating in their own version of the workshop, will perform Songs Over Style and the School Program Showcase. By Friday evening the top 12 workshop songs are presented at the Methodist Church downtown. Saturday and Sunday are the true festival days, with five stages total between Blue Moon Saloon and Warehouse 535.

Maine

York: It was the vision and legacy of the late art patron Mary Leigh Smart and artist Beverly Hallam to create an artist's residency at their 44-acre oceanfront property. Today that vision is ever closer to reality, with interviews underway for the inaugural residents who will arrive in York this fall. The Surf Point Foundation was created by Smart and Hallam in 1988 so that upon their deaths their duplex home, a second house called Wild Knoll where author and poet May Sarton once lived, and the surrounding property would be transformed into a residency for artists, art historians, architects, critics and designers. For the residents, Executive Director Yael Reinharz says that "special attention will be given to women and people of color. And we also want to place a priority on people who have a connection to Maine."

Maryland

Assateague Island: The island has a new member in its wild horse herd, officials announced Wednesday. Mother N2BHS-A, also known as "Gokey GoGo Bones," gave birth to a chestnut filly Saturday morning, according to a news release from the National Park Service. The new foal, N2BHS-AR, and band live most of the year in the very busy developed area and campgrounds. For this reason, the National Park Service expressly reminds visitors that it is essential to remain a minimum of a bus length, or about 40 feet, away from the wild horses at all times, officials said. "Everything is new to a foal," the park service said in a release. "N2BHS-AR will learn how to interact with the environment from her mother and other members of her band."

Massachusetts

Newburyport: A 71-year-old man has embarked on a 3,600-mile, coast-to-coast walk to draw attention to the plight of military veterans. William Shuttleworth departed his hometown of Newburyport on Wednesday for what he estimates will be a 7 1/2-month trek to Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, California. He plans to talk to veterans along the way and raise public awareness about the health care, housing and economic issues that many face. The Air Force veteran tells The Daily News of Newburyport he was inspired while working last year at a California park where many veterans were camping because they were homeless and struggling with addiction. He has mapped his route and plans to walk about 25 miles per day. He intends to camp because he hasn't reserved overnight accommodations.

Michigan

Detroit: A massive portrait of Stevie Wonder will be the latest addition to the downtown skyline. Measuring roughly 100 feet tall, the new mural of the iconic Motown singer is being painted by London-based artist Richard Wilson, who was busy this week finishing details of Wonder's face and neck. The musician turned 69 on Monday. The portrait on the side of the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts spans roughly 8,000 square feet and is large enough to be seen by an airplane passing overhead. "For me, he's the greatest living singer, songwriter and musician," Wilson says. "In 300 years, I'm sure he'll be looked (at) as a Beethoven, Mozart, Bach – that kind of epic influence on humanity." Wilson flew himself to Detroit earlier this month to start the project on his own dime. He conservatively estimates the entire mural will cost "at least $10,000" and take another two weeks or so to complete.

Minnesota

Minneapolis: The federal Bureau of Land Management on Wednesday renewed mineral rights leases for a proposed Twin Metals copper-nickel mine in the state's northeast, a project that environmentalists fear would spoil the pristine Boundary Waters Canoe Area. The leases cover land in the Superior National Forest that encompasses vast reserves of copper, nickel and precious metals. According to Twin Metals Minnesota, the renewed leases add new conditions, including higher annual royalty payments, project milestones and additional environmental requirements. Environmental groups are fighting the project, fearing effects on the nearby Boundary Waters Canoe Area, the country's most-visited wilderness. Nine area companies who contend the project would hurt their business are suing in federal court to block the leases.

Mississippi

Jackson: A new local law will ban the state's largest city from asking people about their salary history when they apply for municipal government jobs. The Jackson City Council approved the ordinance Tuesday, and it takes effect June 14. Council members and Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba say the law is intended to alleviate the problem of women being paid less than men for the same jobs. It applies only to city government jobs, not to jobs in the private sector. The National Conference of State Legislatures says Mississippi and Alabama are the only states without laws requiring equal pay for equal work, though one is working its way through the Alabama Legislature. Councilman De'Keither Stamps wrote the Jackson law and says he hopes other cities, counties and school districts in Mississippi will adopt similar ones.

Missouri

Eugene: The first section of a new biking and hiking trail created on an abandoned rail line has opened in the Kansas City area. A ribbon-cutting ceremony that's planned for June 1 for the Rock Island Trail will make it official. The 6.4-mile section of trail stretches from southern Kansas City to the nearby suburb of Lee's Summit. Advocates say that when another stretch is completed, it will attract thousands of hikers and cyclists and spur new development. Eventually, the county hopes to connect the trail to the 240-mile Katy Trial. Highlights of the new stretch of trail include a section that passes through the 453-foot-long Vale Tunnel, which was completed in 1904. Trains stopped using the rail line in the early 1980s.

Montana

Missoula: Missoula City-County Health Department officials say the number of cases of whooping cough in the area has topped 100, including many people who have been vaccinated. Department Director Ellen Leahy says protection from the vaccine wanes over time. Vaccines against whooping cough, or pertussis, are given as a series between 2 months and 18 months of age and another around age 5. A booster is given to preteens. The Centers for Disease Control says women should get a booster during the third trimester of each pregnancy. Missoula County had confirmed 103 cases of whooping cough through Tuesday and was hiring more nurses to help with testing. Leahy told KGVO-AM that 975 tests have been submitted, and another 58 were pending at the state lab.

Nebraska

Lincoln: State lawmakers have kicked off a debate on a proposal to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes as activists push a much broader ballot measure that would place the issue before voters next year. Supporters argued Wednesday that the legislative bill is narrowly tailored, with restrictions on how much users can possess and a ban on marijuana smoking. Senators who oppose the measure say the drug is still illegal at the federal level and argue that its benefits and dangers haven't been fully studied. The sponsor, Sen. Anna Wishart, of Lincoln, says the bill is intended to address the concerns of many groups. Legalization supporters are circulating petitions to place the issue before voters on the November 2020 ballot, where it's likely to pass.

Nevada

Carson City: The governor has signed a bill that prevents insurers from denying coverage to patients due to a pre-existing condition. Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak said at a bill signing Wednesday that the measure ensures that health care protection even if the Affordable Care Act is struck down at the federal level. He also signed a bill to address "surprise" medical billing and said the practice can saddle a patient with a five-figure bill. He said the legislation aims to prevent an out-of-network provider who gives emergency medical care from overcharging a person. Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson praised the bill and said the measure makes sure that patients are cared for.

New Hampshire

Canaan: A school cafeteria worker says she lost her job after giving a student lunch for free. Bonnie Kimball tells the Valley News she was fired March 28 by her employer, a vendor that supplies food to the Mascoma Valley Regional High School in Canaan. She told the student she followed what a boss had told her. She says she told the student quietly, "Tell (your) mom you need money." A day later, she says, she was terminated. A spokeswoman for Manchester-based Cafe Services said in a statement Thursday that it "would never authorize an employee to not feed a student or staff member a meal." But the spokeswoman said Cafe Services can't discuss confidential details regarding a worker's employment or termination. The district school board voted Tuesday to continue using the company.

New Jersey

Trenton: The fear of poachers stealing oysters from polluted waters and making consumers sick has long thwarted efforts to grow the shellfish in dirty water in the state, despite the potential to help improve water quality. But a proposed remedy could actually make matters worse by removing state oversight, possibly causing the very illnesses state regulators have long feared. A bill pending in the Legislature would allow oyster colonies to be planted in polluted waters for research, water quality improvement or shoreline stabilization purposes. But it also would block the state Department of Environmental Protection from regulating the patches, which even the most ardent supporters in the environmental community agree would be going too far. Lawmakers agreed Thursday to send the bill back for amendments.

New Mexico

Las Cruces: Now in its third year, the Las Cruces UkeFest is bringing top-notch instructors and performers to town this weekend, as well as ukulele players from across the country. This year's festival, running Friday through Sunday, features well-known performers Victoria Vox, Kevin Carroll, Abe Lagrimas, Jr. and The Quiet American, Aaron and Nicole Keim. The festival kicks off with a concert at the New Mexico State University Atkinson Recital Hall at 7 p.m. Friday. The concert will begin with a couple of songs performed by the host club, the Las Cruces Ukes, and then the professionals will take the stage. For non-players, concert tickets are available separately for only $10, with children ages 12 and under admitted free with a paying adult. Events Saturday and Sunday include workshops, a prize drawing and an evening jam session. Registration for the full festival is $135, or $75 for full-time students with ID.

New York

Beacon: The sloop Clearwater is celebrating 50 years of sailing on the Hudson River. Clearwater's founders and crew members will gather with public officials along the Hudson in Beacon on Friday to mark the anniversary of the sloop's launch May 17, 1969. They will hold an on-board christening ceremony. Folk singer Pete Seeger and like-minded environmentalists wanted the ship to be a symbol of the river and a sort of floating classroom. It was built to look like the Dutch sloops that used to carry food and other supplies up and down the Hudson River.

North Carolina

Charlotte: The police department has honored a college student who was killed when a gunman opened fire inside a classroom. News outlets report the family of UNC Charlotte student Riley Howell was awarded the Civilian Medal of Valor posthumously Wednesday from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. Howell's parents, siblings and girlfriend accepted the award on his behalf and received a standing ovation. Howell, 21, was shot while tackling the shooter who is accused of killing him. Howell's move is credited with saving lives. Also killed in the April 30 attack was 19-year-old student Ellis R. Parlier. Four other students were wounded. Police charged Trystan Andrew Terrell, 22, with two counts of first-degree murder, four counts of first-degree attempted murder and other offenses in the shooting.

North Dakota

Bismarck: Regulators say the state's oil production remained at a near-record level in March. The Department of Mineral Resources says the state produced an average of 1.39 million barrels of oil daily in March. That was down from a record 1.4 million barrels a day from the record set in January. North Dakota also produced a record 2.8 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day in March, up from 2.6 billion cubic feet in February. There were 15,353 wells producing in March. That's down 56 wells from the record set in January. The March tallies are the latest figures available. There were 65 drill rigs operating in North Dakota on Wednesday, down one from the March average.

Ohio

Newark: A country club plans to appeal an order that it sell back a lease to the state historical agency to provide public access to ancient burial mounds. Licking County Judge David Branstool recently ruled that the Ohio History Connection can reclaim the 2,000-year-old Octagon Mounds from Moundbuilders Country Club if it can afford to pay the price a jury will set in September. The agency sued the club last year to buy back its lease with Moundbuilders. The U.S. Interior Department has said it won't nominate Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks, which includes Octagon Mounds, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site unless the course is removed. The president of the club's trustee board says the club is willing to move elsewhere if it's paid fairly.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma City: Authorities say falling debris is still a danger after a skyscraper was damaged when it was battered by a dangling scaffold holding two men. Police blocked some roads and a park to most vehicle and pedestrian traffic Thursday, a day after two window washers were rescued from the scaffold above the nearly 850-foot Devon Tower. Both men refused treatment after they were brought to safety. It's unclear what caused the scaffold to hit the building, shattering windows and dropping glass. The cause of the accident is under investigation. Firefighters secured the scaffold with ropes as it hung from a crane 20 to 30 feet above the roof. The tower houses corporate offices for Oklahoma City-based Devon Energy Corp.

Oregon

Salem: Lawmakers have approved the largest statewide expansion of the federal free lunch program, ensuring all students living up to three times above the poverty line will have access to free meals. It's the first time a state has offered to completely take on school meal costs, which can often run tens of thousands of dollars for individual school districts. The move is expected to provide hundreds of thousands of students with free breakfast and lunch. About 1 in 7 Oregon households is "food insecure," according to the Oregon Center for Public Policy, meaning that families have trouble putting food on the table and often don't know where they'll get their next meal. At least 174,000 children have limited access to food, more than the population of Oregon's second-largest city, Eugene.

Pennsylvania

Harrison City: A school district is defending itself after video surfaced of a safety drill that had a teacher posing as a shooter and donning what appeared to be a Middle Eastern headdress. The video appears to show the actor wearing a kaffiyeh. The Penn-Trafford School District says organizers didn't intend to portray the shooter as Arab or Muslim at the January training. The district says volunteers were provided costumes by a consultant group, and there was no intent to represent any particular culture or religion. The statement said the person portraying the shooter also wore a long blond wig and a paintball mask. The Islamic Center of Pittsburgh says that "to stereotype the shooter is appalling given the data on active shooters and the recent shootings at the Tree of Life and Christ Church."

Rhode Island

Providence: Despite millions in overspending by some agencies, the state is projected to end the budget year with a $24 million surplus, according to a report issued Wednesday by state budget officer Tom Mullaney. The fiscal year ends June 30. WPRI-TV reports Mullaney predicted last fall that the state was headed for a $42 million deficit. State agencies are still overspending, but numbers have improved. Mullaney says agencies are on track to overspend by about $16 million, down from $51 million last fall. Most of the agency deficits are in social services. Top Democrats in the state House are currently in negotiations over the next budget. Legislators have been holding hearings on Gov. Gina Raimondo's nearly $10 billion budget proposal since it was introduced in January.

South Carolina

Rock Hill: The Catawba Indian Nation is bringing back the Yap Ye Iswa, or Day of the Catawba, festival after a 12-year hiatus. The free festival is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Catawba Cultural Center. The festival dates back to 1990 as a way to connect the tribal and non-tribal communities with the Catawba Indian Nation. Festivalgoers will get a taste of the tribe's culture through performances by drummers and dancers to authentic Catawba songs. There also will be traditional art by Catawba artisans, pottery and beadwork demonstrations, and traditional Native American food. The Herald reports the Catawba Indian Nation is the only federally recognized tribe in South Carolina. Its reservation sits on about 700 acres east of Rock Hill.

South Dakota

Rapid City: Attorneys for oil pipeline opponents are fighting an attempt by a sheriff to be dismissed from a lawsuit challenging new state laws that aim to prevent disruptive demonstrations against the Keystone XL pipeline. They say in a Tuesday court filing that Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom should remain a defendant in the suit spearheaded by the American Civil Liberties Union because he'll be enforcing law that amounts to an unconstitutional infringement on free speech. Thom's attorneys say he must enforce state laws but isn't responsible for defending them. Plaintiffs' attorneys counter that Thom must use personal discretion in enforcing the laws, effectively making him a policymaker.

Tennessee

Murfreesboro: An elementary school will no longer have a student portray Adolf Hitler in its living history exhibit after a group of students began giving Nazi salutes. James Evans, a spokesman for the Rutherford County school district, said in an email that the student portraying Hitler was supposed to give a speech and a Nazi salute. Evans said other students started giving the salute as well, both in and out of rehearsals. The issue became public when Middle Tennessee State University professor Keith Gamble tweeted that his daughter was sent to the principal's office for yelling at the other children to stop. Evans said the girl was taken to the office because she would not calm down. He said the district does not condone "hate-filled or insensitive" actions or symbols.

Texas

Houston: The ex-owner of a tiger rescued from a filthy cage in an abandoned house has been charged with animal cruelty. Houston police arrested 24-year-old Brittany Garza on Wednesday on the misdemeanor count involving a non-livestock animal. She's free on $100 bond. An attorney for Garza, Jay Cohen, declined comment Thursday. The Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison has cared for the 350-pound tiger since it was found in February by people entering the house to smoke marijuana. A judge ruled in April that the sanctuary, 70 miles southeast of Dallas, can keep the tiger and that Garza must pay nearly $12,000 for the animal's care. The shelter is doing an online poll to name the tiger. The choices are Ezekiel, George, Loki or Navi.

Utah

Ogden: Wildlife officials have released into a northern Utah reservoir thousands of tiger muskie fish, a hybrid predator that's popular with anglers and helps keep other species in check. The Standard Examiner reports the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources recently released 28,000 of the fish at Pineview Reservoir. Assistant aquatic program manager Cody Edwards says less than 10% of the fish will make it to adulthood. The fish are released when they're 2 inches long, but they can grow over 30 inches in length. A cross between a northern pike and muskellunge, tiger muskies have been stocked there since at least the 1990s. They're sterile fish introduced as a top-level predator to keep the population of other species in check and prevent big booms and busts in the ecosystem.

Vermont

Montpelier: At least three people have been arrested after a group of climate protesters disrupted a session of the state House of Representatives. The House was in session Thursday when protesters began to shout climate slogans and throw leaflets onto the floor from the visitors' gallery. Democratic House speaker Mitzi Johnson tried to restore the session but adjourned and closed the House chamber after the protesters refused to be silenced. The protesters say they wanted the Legislature to do more to combat climate change. After most of the protesters had left, three people remained. They were arrested and escorted from the chamber after they refused repeated orders from capital police to leave.

Virginia

Arlington: A state panel has unanimously approved a request from Arlington County to rename a highway that currently honors Confederate President Jefferson Davis. The Commonwealth Transportation Board voted unanimously Wednesday to change the name of U.S. Route 1 in northern Virginia from Jefferson Davis Highway to Richmond Highway. Arlington County requested the change last month, and Gov. Ralph Northam supported the change. The road is already called Richmond Highway in Fairfax County and Alexandria. The county estimates it will have to spend $17,000 to pay for new street signs. County officials say the changes will be implemented by Oct. 1. The board meeting Wednesday took place at a hotel located on Jefferson Davis Highway.

Washington

Seattle: A trio of Seattle companies, including two of the city's hospitals, have announced $15 million in donations for projects aimed at the homeless. The money will help fund three projects geared toward helping the chronically homeless, who experts say make up a limited proportion of the homeless overall but can be among the most difficult to reach. The funds will pay for a relatively small portion of three buildings slated to create about 290 units of housing that include on-site staffing to help residents stay connected to services. Swedish Health Services, Providence St. Joseph Health and Premera Blue Cross each donated $5 million. Representatives of Plymouth Housing, the group behind the projects, did not make a total budget available for the projects but said the first of the three is slated to cost about $34 million.

West Virginia

Charleston: State health officials and Boy Scout leaders say they're preparing for the possibility that some children may bring measles to the World Scout Jamboree this summer. The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports officials are encouraging measles vaccinations for the 45,000 Scouts and leaders expected to travel across the world and country to attend. The state hasn't had a confirmed measles case since 2009. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 23 states had 839 total confirmed measles cases as of May 10. The preventable disease was declared eliminated in 2000. The CDC says this is the greatest number of measles cases the country has seen since 1994. Scout leaders say seemingly sick individuals will be examined before event admittance, and an outbreak would lead to a quarantine.

Wisconsin

Milwaukee: "Evicted," an immersive exhibit based on Matthew Desmond's Pulitzer Prize-winning book about low-income evictions in the city, is coming to the near west side in June. It will be on view June 21 through Sept. 30 at the Mobile Design Box. Admission will be free. Milwaukee will be the first stop on a national tour for the traveling version of the "Evicted" exhibit, which the National Building Museum in Washington created and has been showing for more than a year. Bringing "Evicted" here highlights an issue that affects not just cities but suburban and rural areas, too, said Keith Stanley, executive director of Near West Side Partners, a nonprofit organization that's hosting the exhibit. Desmond studied the relationship between eviction and poverty in Milwaukee for nearly a decade.

Wyoming

Cheyenne: Filters installed on storm drains in the state's largest city will attempt to keep trash out of a creek. Crews have installed 12 water filtration units called "Gutter Bins" on storm drains in downtown Cheyenne. The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports the Laramie County Conservation District, local Rotary clubs and Casper-based Frog Creek Partners took part in the project. Brian Deurloo with environmental technology company Frog Creek Partners estimates 40 million cigarette butts litter Cheyenne annually. He estimates about a million pounds of pollution wash into Crow Creek each year. Each filtration unit costs about $700. Conservation district staff and Rotary volunteers will maintain the bins for the first couple of years.

From staff and wire reports

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Dr. Richard Simms — An Art Collector Like No Other - Forward

Posted: 05 May 2019 12:00 AM PDT

Editor's Note: This is the first story in a two-part series about the life and career of Dr. Richard Simms, a dentist who became one of the world's foremost art collectors. Part II may be read here.

When Richard A. Simms told his grandmother that he wanted to become an artist, she fired back, "No, boy, you will be a doctor." Simms, who is African American, became a dentist in the segregated South of the early 1950s, until a socially minded Jewish dentist who'd heard of his skills asked him to join his integrated practice near the Port of Los Angeles, where racial bias was less open but deep. Simms's strong feeling for art only grew through the years, and when he wasn't fixing dockworkers' teeth, he combed the intimate cluster of art galleries in 1960s Los Angeles. An early collector among dealers, he planted some of the seeds from which the city grew into the art capital it is today.

FLORENCE UPDATES: Florence topples trees, knocks out power around Charlotte region - WSOC Charlotte

Posted: 16 Sep 2018 12:00 AM PDT

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -  Catastrophic flooding from Florence spread across the Carolinas on Sunday, with roads to Wilmington cut off by the epic deluge and muddy river water swamping entire neighborhoods miles inland. "The risk to life is rising with the angry waters," Gov. Roy Cooper declared. 

[GALLERY: Storm-related damage across the Charlotte area]

[WATCH: Interactive Radar]

[LINK TO NC POWER OUTAGE MAP]

[LINK TO DUKE ENERGY OUTAGE MAP]


***Scroll down for a running list of incidents***


8 p.m.

The Cheraw fire chief said they are evacuating the evacuation shelter because of rising water.

There was 2 feet of water inside the community center, which was the planned evacuation shelter. Now they are moving as many as two dozen people to Cheraw High School.

As the water continued to rise, they are again doing water rescues around town.

The fire chief said about a dozen people have been rescued from their homes.

2:30 p.m.

A busy road in Matthews is shut down for flooding.

A nearby creek flooded Sam Newell Road and officials are not letting any drivers pass.

1:30 p.m.

City of Charlotte officials said they've received 283 storm damage calls related to tree debris since Thursday.

11:50 a.m.

Updated list of closures due to power lines and trees down:

  • North Tryon Street/16th Street (flooding)
  • 3200 Shopton Road (power lines)
  • Weddington Road/Plantation Center Drive (tree down)
  • Thompson Road/Fairington Oaks (tree down)
  • 7100 block Nelson Road (tree down)
  • Park Road/Mockingbird Lane (power lines)
  • Addison Drive/Robinwood Road (flood)
  • 1415 Edgewood Road (tree/water main)
  • 20406 Bethelwood Lane (tree)


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11:40 a.m.

There is extreme flooding on St. George Street as Briar Creek crests. Police have gone knocking on neighbors' doors to let them know.

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11:05 a.m.

CMPD has responded to dozens of calls this morning around town. Their command center is monitoring creeks.

___

11 a.m.

The awning above several businesses along Central Avenue in Charlotte fell overnight -- likely caused by strong winds and heavy rain.

Mecklenburg County currently has 25,000 power outages.

___

10:40 a.m.

East Liberty Street in York County is mostly closed because of downed power lines.

___

10 a.m.

Sardis Church Road in Indian Trail is now closed near the entrance to the Crooked Creek Wastewater treatment facility, near the QuikTrip and ALDI due to flooding.

____

10 a.m.

Huge tree crashed down on Springs Street in Fort Mill.

___

9:50 a.m.

Overnight, York County emergency crews responded to 27 trees in the roadway, 18 power lines down, six calls for service, two structure fires, and five trees on homes.

___

9:30 a.m.

Viewer Mike O'Hara sent Channel 9 video of a major water main break in the University City area, on Wyndborough Lane off Prosperity Church Road.

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9:15 a.m.

Sam Newell Road closed near Independence Boulevard in Matthews due to flooding.

___

9:05 a.m.

  • North Tryon Street closed at 16th Street for flooding.
  • 3200 block of Shopton Road closed due to downed power lines

___

8:50 a.m.

  • Road closures in Anson County:
  • Camden Church Road is closed near White Store and Horton Road
  • Lockhart Road is closed due to high water near U.S. 52 North
  • Brown Creek Church Road has been closed due to high water in the area of Fork Branch between N.C. 742 and U.S. 52
  • Webb Road is closed due to high water flooding between Beck Road and Deep Creek Church Road
  • The bridge is closed on Lockhart Road crossing over Goulds Creek between U.S. 52 and Brown Creek Road

___

8:30 a.m.

Shopton road is closed because of downed power lines.

___

8 a.m.

State Road 2547 (Safrit Road) in Rowan County is blocked due to a tree down on power lines.

___

6:30 a.m.

Rock Hill police responded overnight to numerous trees down. No injuries were reported.

___

6 a.m.

Union County road closures:

  • NC-218 near Holly School Road
  • South Potter Road near Embassy Court
  • E CJ Thomas Road near Unionville Road


Richmond County road closures:

  • NC-381 near Scotland County Road
  • Concord Church Road near Saron Church Road
  • Richmond Road near Terrys Bridge Road due to a down tree
  • Battley Dairy Road near Homeplace Road due to a fallen tree
  • East Washington Street and Long Drive due to down power lines


Anson County road closures:

  • Near US 52 between US52 and Browns Creek Road due to high water


​​Stanly County road closures:

  • Hwy 731 is closed between SR 1766 and Hwy 52 South in Norwood due to hanging utility lines
  • Indian Mound Road is closed at SR 1739 to NC 24/27 due to a downed tree and power lines

___

5:10 a.m.

More trees have fallen across the Charlotte area overnight:

  • 1914 Dilworth Road
  • Queens Road West prior to Queens Road
  • Derita Avenue at Gibbon Road
  • Tyvola Road at Wedgewood Drive
  • 1400 South Wendover Road
  • Sam Newell Road at Crown Point Elementary School
  • Tree fell on the roof at Heath Springs Residential Care in Lancaster. Nobody was hurt.

___

5 a.m.

MEDIC says ambulances are well-positioned across Mecklenburg County as potentially stronger rain arrives. On Saturday, they responded to 355 calls -- 18 of them involving fallen trees, as well as 46 traffic crashes.


***SATURDAY REPORTS***

9:40 p.m.

Six people were getting ready for dinner Saturday night when a tree crushed their Gaston County home. They got out of the house safely, and there were no injuries reported.

7:20 p.m.

Heavy rains have breached a Duke Energy coal ash landfill at Sutton Lake in Wilmington, the company said Saturday evening.

6:45 p.m.

A tree fell onto a car and hit a home on Shiloh Unity Road in Lancaster. The family ran to the back of the house when they heard the crash.

5:20 p.m.

The roof of a Fort Mill gas station was blown off by strong winds. It happened at the Gulf Station on Spratt Street at Highway 160. 

5:10 p.m.

Officials said all four lanes of Highway 521 at Charles Pettus Road in Lancaster County are blocked 

5:05 p.m.

A fallen tree and power lines have shut down a road in Matthews.

Matthews police said Pleasant Plains at Fair Forest Drive is closed and traffic is being diverted through the Brightmoor neighborhood.

3:30 p.m.

Downed power lines and a tree have shut down Standard Street. Police are asking drivers to avoid the area.

Officials said no one was hurt.

3:25 p.m.

Flash flood warnings have been issued for Cabarrus and Rowan counties until 10:30 p.m. Saturday.

3:20 p.m.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said it has responded to several tree downs across the area, but so far, there have been no serious injuries.

3:15 p.m.

A tree came down on top of a home in Matthews. Channel 9 was told no one was hurt when the tree fell on Hartis Lane. 

3 p.m.

Flash flood warnings have been issued for Anson, Union, Richmond and Stanly counties until 10:15 p.m. Saturday

1:45 p.m.

Channel 9 crews arrived on scene of a large tree on a home in the Myers Park neighborhood.

The homeowner said the tree on Bucknell Avenue came down last night when the family was out of town. He told Channel 9 a neighbor heard a big boom and called him to let him know what happened. 

No one was hurt.

1:15 p.m.

Duke Energy is reporting 7,415 customers without power in Mecklenburg County

___

8:30 a.m.

A large tree has crashed down on Howard Road in the Derita neighborhood of north Charlotte.

___

7:20 a.m.

State Road 1228 (White Store Road) is closed in both directions in Anson County Near Peachland due to a tree down.

___

6:30 a.m.

State Road 1608 (Boyd Lake Road) is closed in both directions in Richmond County due to downed power lines and trees.

___

6 a.m.

Outbound lanes of South Tryon Street at Southampton Road are closed due to a power line down.  Duke Power is on scene working on the problem. The inbound lanes remain open.

___

5:20 a.m.

Providence Road West at Marvin Road is closed in both directions due to power lines being down. The tree came crashing down around 7 p.m. Friday.

Police have barricades in place to prevent traffic from driving on the lines.

There are more than 3,300 Duke Energy customers without power in Mecklenburg County.

___

5:10 a.m.

Nations Ford Road is closed in both directions just north of Archdale Drive (near the Burger King) due to power lines being down in the roadway. The lines are down after being hit by a tree limb.

___

3:45 a.m.

A large tree has fallen in the 2300 block of Margaret Wallace Road in southeast Charlotte. The road is closed from St. Peters Lane to Whitfield Drive.

The tree has knocked down a power line and traffic lights are out on Highway 74 from Krefeld Drive to Harris Boulevard, and on Margaret Wallace Road from Independence Boulevard to Idlewild Road.

Crews said it will be at least 7 a.m. before everything is fixed.

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