Thursday, May 30, 2019

“Waymo bringing self-driving trucks to Phoenix area freeways - CityNews Vancouver” plus 1 more

“Waymo bringing self-driving trucks to Phoenix area freeways - CityNews Vancouver” plus 1 more


Waymo bringing self-driving trucks to Phoenix area freeways - CityNews Vancouver

Posted: 30 May 2019 06:26 AM PDT

PHOENIX — Google's self-driving vehicle division says it's bringing autonomous trucks to the Phoenix area.

Waymo announced Wednesday that its fully self-driving tractor-trailers will start driving on freeways this week and will expand to more routes over time.

Waymo's self-driving passenger vehicles are ubiquitous in the eastern Phoenix and its suburbs, where the company conducts extensive testing and runs a taxi service.

The company says the big trucks use the same sensors as passenger vehicles but they're configured differently. The testing will start with two drivers in each rig.

Companies including Uber and TuSimple have driven self-driving trucks on Arizona roads. Waymo says it tested trucks in Arizona in 2017.

Waymo and Google are both subsidiaries of Alphabet Inc., based in Mountain View, California.

The Associated Press

Andy Warhol, sudden oak death, Kingda Ka coaster: News from around our 50 states - USA TODAY

Posted: 29 May 2019 08:58 PM PDT

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Alabama

Montgomery: The state Senate has passed legislation prohibiting drivers from staying in the leftmost lane on interstate highways for more than a mile and a half without passing another vehicle. The sponsor of the bill, Republican Rep. Phillip Pettus, calls it the "Anti-Road Rage Act." He says it's aimed at reducing the risk of violence from drivers becoming angry at slow drivers in the left lane. The bill allows for some exemptions, such as during inclement weather or particularly bad traffic conditions. The legislation now heads to the governor's desk to be signed.

Alaska

Juneau: State lawmakers have endorsed an Alaska Native tribe's effort to change the name of Saginaw Bay to Skanax Bay. CoastAlaska reports tribal leaders are pushing the change because the body of water off Kuiu Island was named for a U.S. warship that laid waste in 1869 to three Tlingit villages near present-day Kake. The Alaska House passed a resolution 37-0 endorsing the name change to Skanax, the Tlingit word for security. The executive director of the Organized Village of Kake told a House committee considering the resolution that the tribe "never relinquished to the rights to this bay." Democratic state Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tompkins says the name is "an affront" to the Tlingit community and discomforting to many residents of the community east of Sitka.

Arizona

Phoenix: The state Supreme Court has ruled that medical marijuana cardholders are protected from arrest for possessing hashish and other cannabis extracts as long as they don't have more of the drug than allowed. In making the ruling, the court concluded the state's medical pot law covers products made with resin extracted from pot plants. The unanimous ruling Tuesday reversed a lower-court decision that found patients faced arrest for hashish possession because the drug isn't mentioned or included by name in the law. The state Supreme Court said Arizona's 2010 voter-approved medical marijuana law includes dried cannabis flowers and resin extracted from pot plants. The ruling points out that, under the law, marijuana means "all parts of any plant of the genus cannabis whether growing or not."

Arkansas

Hot Springs: Arkansas Rehabilitation Services says it is ending its residential program in the city and laying off 120 employees. The Arkansas Career Training Institute is a state-owned facility that provides young disabled adults with vocational training. ARS says switching to a non-residential model will allow it to "use taxpayer dollars more efficiently." ARS Commissioner Alan McClain tells The Sentinel-Record that a third of the current budget is used to support the facility in Hot Springs. By ending the residential program, McClain says, the savings will be used to support other programs across the state. McClain says the layoffs include housekeeping staff, maintenance workers and food-service employees. He says about 40 to 50 vocational counselors and instructors will likely be retained.

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California

San Francisco: A retrospective of Andy Warhol's work on display in the city captures his use of artwork to create public personas for his subjects the way people do now using social media. "Andy Warhol – From A to B and Back Again" opened this past week at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. It runs through Sept. 2. Organizers say the exhibit illustrates how Warhol embraced personal branding decades ago and foreshadowed the digital age. It includes more than 300 works spanning Warhol's 40-year career. The show features some of the artist's most iconic creations – depictions of Campbell's soup cans and Brillo boxes, for instance, and silkscreen portraits of Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and others – along with lesser-known pieces from his early and later years.

Colorado

Denver: A heavy mountain snowpack has helped the Centennial State shake free of drought that covered much of the state just months ago. The Department of Agriculture's latest update of drought conditions shows a fraction of 1% of Colorado is still experiencing drought. In February, more than two-thirds of the state was experiencing drought. Mountain snowpack levels are high statewide and particularly in the southwest. As the snow melts, more water will be available for agriculture and for cities and towns to store in reservoirs.

Connecticut

Hartford: Officials say they're temporarily closing two offshore islands to the public to prevent disturbances to nesting birds. The state's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection says Charles Island in Milford and Duck Island in Westbrook are closed through Sept. 9. The islands are closed annually during nesting season to protect various bird species. Both islands have been designated by the state as natural area preserves because of their importance as nesting habitats for snowy egrets, great egrets, glossy ibis and little blue herons. The department also asked beachgoers and boaters along the Connecticut shoreline to respect the fencing and yellow signs warning of piping plover and least tern nesting sites. DEEP Deputy Commissioner Susan Whalen says these are simple, effective ways to protect the birds.

Delaware

Dover: Delaware Pride Festival now belongs to LGBT Pride Month. The annual Delaware Pride Festival has been moved from late summer to June, coinciding with the national commemoration of the 1969 Stonewall riots. And that's not the only big change at this year's fest, to be held Saturday in Dover. The annual Delaware Pride Festival – the largest annual LGBT gathering in the state – has added an hourlong parade, which will kick things off at 9 a.m. Saturday at Legislative Hall. Then at 10 a.m., the seven-hour festival starts with New York comedian Robb Coles as host. This year's entertainment includes Wilmington's own Aunt Mary Pat DiSabatino, Julia Scotti of "America's Got Talent," local music acts and an array of local drag queens. The event is free, and more details are available on Facebook.

District of Columbia

Washington: A Catholic girls school in the city says it's getting overwhelmingly positive responses to its decision to include same-sex union announcements in its alumnae magazine. But the pastor of a nearby Catholic parish calls the move by Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School a "dagger to the heart." The Washington Post reported on the criticism by Monsignor Edward J. Filardi of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Bethesda, Maryland. He wrote in Sunday's parish bulletin that Visitation's president emerita, Sister Mary Berchmans, has betrayed her faith and succumbed to lobbying. Berchmans says the move at the 220-year-old girl's school follows "the Gospel commandment of love." She said the church's stance on same-sex marriage is clear, but the church also teaches that all people are God's children.

Florida

Jacksonville: Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is welcoming the birth of four critically endangered black and white ruffled lemurs. Zoo spokeswoman JJ Vitale said in a news release that the lemurs were born Sunday. They are the third litter for parents Hawk and Potter. All four lemurs are male, which may allow them stay longer at the zoo. Female lemur offspring become incompatible with their mothers around age 2. Black and white ruffled lemur mothers don't carry their offspring around. Instead, Vitale says, they build a nest and leave the litter there, returning to nurse. She says the family will bond behind the scenes for the immediate future. All lemurs are native only to Madagascar and are critically endangered.

Georgia

Atlanta: Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos says the streaming giant will "rethink our entire investment" in the state if the recently passed abortion law goes into effect. Sarandos made his remarks in a statement Tuesday, first reported by Variety. They constitute the strongest language yet from any leading Hollywood studio since Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law a ban on virtually all abortions. Sarandos said that Netflix has many women working on productions in Georgia whose rights "will be severely restricted" by the law. He said the company will help the American Civil Liberties Union contest the law in court. Netflix productions in the state will continue before the legislation is implemented. Atlanta has in recent years become a major hub of TV and film production.

Hawaii

Honolulu: A record number of racial minority medical students have graduated from the University of Hawaii. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports 12 Native Hawaiians and 12 Filipinos were among this year's 73 graduates from the university's John A. Burns School of Medicine. Officials say there were six Native Hawaiian and four Filipino medical school graduates in 2018. A school official says Native Hawaiians make up 23% of the state population but only 3.4% of Hawaii physicians. The school says it is increasing efforts to close the gap for racial minority students who wish to pursue medical careers through the yearlong Imi Hoola program. Officials say Queen's Health Systems provides a stipend directly to students so they do not have to find employment while in the program.

Idaho

Boise: The Idaho Department of Fish and Game will not recognize as a state record a bighorn sheep that was killed nearly three years ago by a Nez Perce Tribe member because the agency said the ram was shot in violation of state hunting regulations, even though those regulations do not apply to tribe members hunting on ancestral lands. But the Boone and Crockett Club hunting group has recognized the kill by hunter Gary Sublett in September 2016 as being within his tribe's 1855 rights and has invited him to its Big Game Awards banquet in early August in Springfield, Missouri, where the bighorn's head will go on display. The animal's massive horns rank No. 1 for Idaho and No. 26 for the U.S. and Canada on Boone and Crockett's list of largest Rocky Mountain bighorns.

Illinois

Springfield: The state Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has awarded $1.8 million in grants to increase Prairie State tourism. The Office of Tourism announced the 17 recipients of two different grants, saying tourism produced more than $3 billion in tax revenue for the state and local communities last year. The Tourism Attraction Grant program helps develop or enhance tourism attractions to boost visitation and overnight stays in Illinois. There were 13 recipients sharing $1.4 million. Officials say there were four times as many applications for this grant as there was available funding. Just over $400,000 went to four applicants for the Tourism Private Sector Grant program. The money helps attract major new events to the state or helps enhance existing ones.

Indiana

Indianapolis: State officials say the problem with an invasive, tree-killing disease called sudden oak death is worse than initially suspected. The state Department of Natural Resources said last week that the fungal pathogen was detected in rhododendrons at about 30 stores. The number has since tripled, and affected material was sent to more than 70 Walmart stores and 18 Rural King stores in Indiana. Megan Abraham, director of the DNR's Division of Entomology & Plant Pathology, says the plants were delivered to several other states, but she didn't specify which ones. Abraham says Indiana has the most locations with infested plants. The DNR has said that it's the first time in about 10 years that sudden oak death has been detected in Indiana.

Iowa

Grinnell: Two larger-than-life statues now stand in memory of a University of Iowa student whose life captivated the country as news spread of her disappearance and death. The statues of Mollie Tibbetts were dedicated May 18 during a private ceremony with family and friends, according to a news release from UnityPoint Health issued on behalf of Tibbetts' family. Chad Nath, director of Grinnell Regional Medical Center's youth day camp where Tibbetts spent two summers working with children, called the bronze statues by Dubuque artist Gail Chavenelle "breathtaking and absolutely amazing." One statue featuring Tibbetts running with her dog was unveiled at the Grinnell hospital's healing garden. A second statue, which depicts Tibbetts surrounded by children, was placed in Ahrens Park. Inspired by her role as a camp counselor, the statue sits on a raised concrete base so children visiting the park can sit beside her, Nath said.

Kansas

Wichita: A new culinary arts program could be in the works for downtown Wichita in a partnership among three centers of higher education. The Wichita Eagle reports Wichita State University, WSU Tech and Butler Community College are in talks but have yet to reach agreement on the proposal. The culinary arts school would be established in a new downtown complex that will also host a private school of osteopathic medicine, student apartments and a hotel. Developer Sudha Tokala says there's a need for individuals with a broad spectrum of skills who can cater to all dietary requirements, including vegan and gluten free. Tokala says her vision is for a place where students can "eat, study, play, work and live."

Kentucky

Jamestown: The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is funding a program in Russell County and nine surrounding counties to help children and youth dealing with violence, addiction and other trauma. According to a news release, the foundation awarded $200,000 to the Louisville-based Bounce Coalition. The group is already showing progress with a similar program in Jefferson County Public Schools. Accomplishments include fewer out-of-school suspensions, an improved school climate and increased parent engagement. The foundation and Bounce hope similar results can be achieved in a rural setting. Bounce will work with Russell County Schools and the Lake Cumberland District Health Department. Ben Chandler, president and CEO of the foundation, says the program will help children build resilience to "toxic stressors" that keep them from thriving throughout their lives.

Louisiana

Baton Rouge: The state's welcome signs along Interstate 10 could soon celebrate the New Orleans Saints. Lawmakers agreed I-10 welcome signs at the Texas and Mississippi state lines should declare people have entered the "Home of the Who Dat Nation," referencing the nickname for Saints fans. A 35-0 state Senate vote Tuesday gave final passage to the bill by New Orleans Sen. Wesley Bishop. It also calls for the Saints appreciation language to be included on the Superdome exit sign on I-10 in downtown New Orleans. The House added an extra provision to the bill, designating Highway 90 from Lafayette to Raceland as the "Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco Highway," in honor of Louisiana's former governor. The signs must be paid with local or private dollars to be installed.

Maine

Portland: Fishing regulators are considering some small changes to the rules that govern the state's fishery for sea urchins. Urchins are harvested in coastal Maine for use as food. The roe of urchins is commonly used in Japanese dishes. The Maine Department of Marine Resources says it's considering reducing the daily tote limits along the state's southern coast. The marine department says the state is considering options that would allow for a deeper limit cut and more fishing opportunity days. It's also considering less of a cut and keeping the opportunity days the same. There could also be a slight limit reduction along the northern coast. The state is holding public hearings on the changes in June. They'd apply to the 2019-20 fishing season. Maine urchins were worth more than $6 million last year.

Maryland

Baltimore: Several journalists and community organizers in the city have sued to challenge a state law's ban on broadcasting digital recordings of criminal court proceedings. The federal suit filed Tuesday asks the court to declare that the law violates the plaintiffs' First Amendment free speech rights. Audio recordings of criminal trial proceedings are publicly available in Maryland, but a 1981 state law banned the broadcasting of any court proceedings for criminal trials. Anyone who violates the law can be held in contempt of court. The ban doesn't apply to civil cases or criminal appeals. Maryland Judiciary spokeswoman Terri Charles says she can't comment on pending litigation. Plaintiffs include journalists Brandon Soderberg and Baynard Woods, who are working on a book about the Baltimore Police Department's scandal-plagued Gun Trace Task Force.

Massachusetts

Cape Cod: A local company has proposed building a sonic barrier around the region's beaches to chase away seals and prevent shark attacks. Deep Blue LLC presented the idea Wednesday at a public meeting in Barnstable. It sparked a broader debate about addressing the region's massive seal population. The company envisions a system of underwater audio devices that will emit a sound unpleasant to seals. Owners Willy Planinshek and Kevin McCarthy say that if the seals leave the area, the great white sharks that eat them will follow. Commission members and some residents voiced support for the idea. But marine biologists said that sharks eat more than just seals and that acoustic deterrent systems have failed elsewhere.

Michigan

Ann Arbor: For those who believe everything is better with bacon, an event this week in the city beckons. Zingerman's kicked off its annual Camp Bacon event Wednesday. Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, Camp Bacon spans five days, with events running through Sunday. It's a bacon lover's dream with events including lunches with guest chefs, a film festival, bacon ball and street fair. Camp Bacon events take place at several Zingerman's venues in the Ann Arbor area. The main draw is an all-day symposium on pork Friday on the grounds of Zingerman's Cornman Farms. Attendees will hear from an array of speakers, including Matt Romine of Ferndale's Farm Field Table. A full list of events is available online.

Minnesota

St. Paul: Abortion rights supporters are seeking to overturn the state's restrictions on abortion, including its 24-hour waiting period and parental notification requirements. A lawsuit filed in state court by Gender Justice and the Lawyering Project argues the restrictions violate Minnesota's constitution. A 1995 Minnesota Supreme Court decision affirmed abortion rights. But the lawsuit contends opponents have chipped away at those rights over time. The lawsuit runs counter to the trend of states imposing stricter restrictions on access to abortion with the goal of getting the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider its 1973 ruling that legalized abortion. Amanda Allen of the Lawyering Project says those efforts make the legal challenge to Minnesota's restrictions essential.

Mississippi

Starkville: Some cities in the Magnolia State are putting up cameras that let police remotely watch what's happening on the streets. Starkville and Greenville are among the places installing eyes in the sky. The Starkville Daily News reports that cameras in the city do not include facial recognition software. Mayor Lynn Spruill says some residents have asked her about that. She also says the cameras will not be used to issue traffic tickets because that practice is banned by state law. The Delta Democrat-Times reports that in Greenville, city officials have approved a test run of sky cameras. Minutes from a City Council meeting say the cameras have audio and video that can "help track perpetrators" and identify "crime hot spots." The camera company is giving Greenville one month of free use.

Missouri

St. Louis: Former Gov. Eric Greitens will return to the Navy – but not as one of the elite Navy SEAL team. The Kansas City Star reports Greitens will return to service as an officer assigned to the Navy Operation Support Center in St. Louis. He will be designated as a general unrestricted line officer. Navy Personnel Command spokeswoman Cmdr. Karin Burzynski said people in that designation usually perform general office jobs. Greitens made a request to the Navy in April to transfer from inactive standby reserve status to active status in the selected reserves. Greitens resigned as governor in June 2018 amid allegations of sexual misconduct and campaign finance violations. He mentioned his service as a Navy SEAL frequently throughout his campaign and tenure as governor.

Montana

Great Falls: Wildlife officials say the prairie dog population at a wildlife refuge has been gutted by a bacterial disease, causing the number of black-footed ferrets at the site to plummet. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Randy Matchett says 70% of prairie dogs at the UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge have died since a sylvatic plague event in the winter of 2017 and 2018. Researchers counted only one black-footed ferret on the refuge this spring. The ferrets are considered an endangered species and depend on the prairie dog population for food. The central Montana refuge is not the only place where ferrets have been reintroduced to the wild. Researchers say there are a total of 24 reintroduction sites in the western U.S.

Nebraska

Belmar: Officials say Cedar View Campground at Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area is closed so construction crews can complete upgrades to campground amenities. The campground, situated about 15 miles west of Kingsley Dam on Nebraska Highway 92 near Otter Creek Bay, is scheduled to reopen June 13. Some of the work might not be finished until fall. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission says the upgrades will include new electrical and water utilities leading to 85 camping sites. Eight campsites will be updated with accessible features along with renovations to the existing shower facility.

Nevada

Las Vegas: It's not cheap to be a swing state. That's what officials are learning as the state's rising political prominence attracts more visits from the president, vice president and other high-profile figures that are driving up costs for state troopers assigned to help protect them. In the past year, Nevada has had seven visits from either President Donald Trump or Vice President Mike Pence, in addition to visits from members of the first family and a Cabinet secretary. The Nevada Highway Patrol, at the request of the U.S. Secret Service, provided protection at a combined cost of more than $110,000. That's seven times what lawmakers had set aside for protecting "visiting dignitaries." The state doesn't get reimbursed by the federal government or campaigns, and the protection is expected to be even more costly moving forward.

New Hampshire

Concord: The state has sued eight companies including 3M and Dupont for damage it says has been caused statewide by a class of potentially toxic chemicals found in everything from pizza boxes to fast-food wrappers. The state becomes the second in the nation to go after the makers and distributors of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, and the first to target statewide contamination. The lawsuit also names Chemours Company, Chemguard Inc., Tyco Fire Products, Buckeye Fire Equipment, Kidde-Fenwal Inc. and National Fire Foam Inc. New York state has sued six companies that made firefighting foam containing PFOS and/or PFOA chemicals that it says have contaminated drinking water in two communities and groundwater in another.

New Jersey

Camden: A popular roller coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure exposes some patrons to the risk of "whiplash type injuries," says a lawsuit for a physician who claims his ride led to spinal surgery. Dr. Christopher Fabricant, of Red Bank, contends he suffered "severe and permanent damage to his neck and spine" during a painful ride on Kingda Ka, which the park describes as the "fastest roller coaster in North America." The lawsuit in Camden federal court contends park employees did not warn the 6-foot-2 doctor that a person of his body size "was not a candidate for safely riding (Kingda Ka)." It claims a rider on Kingda Ka risks whiplash from the coaster's "extreme speed and torqueing forces" if most or all of the person's head extends above the rear of the seat. And the suit alleges the seat's safety harness can cause "crushing injuries" for taller patrons.

New Mexico

Albuquerque: U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt has agreed to put a yearlong hold on oil and gas leasing within 10 miles of Chaco Canyon National Historical Park. Officials say that will allow for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to finish drafting an updated management plan that will guide energy development across the region. The decision comes after Bernhardt visited the ancient site Tuesday. The area has been central to an ongoing dispute over drilling in the San Juan Basin. Native American tribes and others are pushing for a formal buffer to protect sacred and culturally significant sites outside the park's boundaries. The draft will include an alternative that reflects the views of Native American leaders as well as provisions of pending federal legislation.

New York

Albany: The Legislature could soon repeal a long-standing ban on paid surrogacy contracts, in which a woman is compensated for carrying the child of another person or couple. New York and Michigan are now the only two states that expressly forbid surrogacy contracts, forcing many prospective parents to go to other states to start a family. A measure sponsored by Sen. Brad Hoylman, a Manhattan Democrat, would permit surrogacy contracts and impose rules intended to protect surrogates, intended parents and babies. Hoylman has two daughters born to a surrogate in California. He says state law hasn't kept up with medical advances that make surrogacy a good option for many couples and single people. Lawmakers held a hearing on the legislation Wednesday, a critical step before a possible vote.

North Carolina

Charlotte: A barber shop owner has raised enough money to erase the debts of more than a dozen high school seniors who risked not graduating if they didn't pay them off. WBTV reports Season Bennett learned 14 seniors at East Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte wouldn't get their diplomas with the rest of their class if the overdue school fees weren't paid. So Bennett asked the community for help eliminating the $4,500 debt. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools prohibits students from graduating if the overdue fees go unpaid. Between donations from the public and help from former Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis, Bennett raised the money. Bennett said she was inspired by billionaire technology investor Robert F. Smith, who announced he'd pay off the student loans for graduating seniors at Morehouse College.

North Dakota

Bismarck: Oil drillers are falling far short of the state's goals to limit the burning of excess natural gas at well heads, five years after the state adopted the rules to reduce the wasteful and environmentally harmful practice. The industry has spent billions of dollars on infrastructure but is at least two years from catching up, and regulators are projecting that the state's increasing gas production will still outstrip that new capacity. Environmentalists and even a key Republican say the problem will persist as long as the state doesn't take a tougher approach with the industry, which has largely avoided financial penalties. "We need to find an excess flared gas solution immediately," said Republican Rep. Vicky Steiner, whose hometown of Dickinson is in the heart of the state's oil patch. "It's a shame. I'd like to see us find a use for this."

Ohio

Columbus: A legislative proposal would allow parents in the state to avoid an often heartbreaking decision: giving up custody of troubled children so they can receive desperately needed and expensive services. The amendment to Ohio's two-year budget is aimed at so-called multisystem youths, those needing help from service agencies that cover disabilities, child welfare and mental health. Under the current system, parents sometimes must relinquish custody to the state to obtain help for their child because they don't have the money and insurance coverage. The goal of the state should always be to maintain families, state Sen. Jay Hottinger, a Newark Republican, told The Columbus Dispatch. He is backing a budget proposal that would provide $20 million over two years to give parents other options than giving up custody.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma City: Agriculture officials say the state's canola and wheat harvests could be smaller and come later than planned due to recent severe weather. The Oklahoman reports that agriculture experts Josh Lofton and Mike Schulte say growers will need another week to assess the damage, and the harvests likely won't start before then. Canola generates seed pods that are crushed for oil. They're especially vulnerable to hail storms and high winds because dried-out pods are delicate and can shatter. Schulte says Oklahoma wheat farmers are warning that the number of bushels harvested this year could be reduced by 15% or more. Two people died in Oklahoma after a rash of tornadoes hit the state Saturday, and flooding along the Arkansas River last week submerged communities and prompted forced evacuations.

Oregon

Salem: Republicans have forced a clerk in the Legislature to read aloud every word in nearly every piece of legislation as the minority party uses the stalling tactic to try to gain leverage. Democrats have supermajorities in both the state Senate and House, and Republicans are using the strategy to push their own initiatives and weaken Democratic ones. Other statehouses and Congress have seen similar delay tactics, such as Colorado, where minority Republicans wanted a 2,000-page bill read aloud this year, so Democrats brought in computers to read it at hyperspeed. A judge knocked down the trick. Oregon House Republicans have insisted on full readings since April 30, instead of summaries. It's put House reading clerk Lacy Ramirez Gruss in the spotlight as she reads bills hour after hour.

Pennsylvania

Scranton: Everyone complains that City Hall is for sale, but it might soon be the case here. City Hall in Scranton needs a renovation, and the mayor's administration is considering putting the 130-year-old structure up for sale rather than footing the nearly $11 million bill to fix it up. The Times-Tribune reports Mayor Bill Courtright's administration recently issued a formal "request for qualifications" from entities interested in acquiring and renovating the building. The mayor says if the city government ends up moving to another smaller location, he'd like the new owners of the City Hall building to restore the limestone Victorian Gothic Revival building to its former glory. Scranton was once a thriving center of the anthracite coal business, and architectural remnants of its glory days are dotted throughout downtown.

Rhode Island

Westerly: The state and the town of Westerly are teaming up to address the trash problem at Misquamicut State Beach. WJAR-TV reports the town has loaned the state two solar-powered compacting trash cans – one for garbage, the other for recycling. Caswell Cooke, a town councilor and executive director of the Misquamicut Business Association, says they fit a lot more trash than a normal trash can, and when they need to be emptied, they emit a signal. The state Department of Environmental Management has spent more than $100,000 to try to get beach trash under control, including hiring four summer employees to pick up garbage. The state has added more trash receptacles near beach entrances and in parking lots. People caught littering can be fined up to $500.

South Carolina

Columbia: Gov. Henry McMaster's promise to cooperate with state lawmakers if they worked in good faith with him is continuing through his budget vetoes. The governor on Wednesday rejected just 28 items worth $41 million from South Carolina's $9 billion budget. In his veto message, McMaster said most of the items were requests lawmakers made without saying exactly where the money was going. The previous two governors often clashed with the Legislature and used their budget vetoes to admonish their spending priorities. But McMaster and his staff reached out to key lawmakers and collaborated. One big veto rejected $11 million for the Judicial Department for a case management system. McMaster says money needs to be spent on a system that can work with all parts of the criminal justice system.

South Dakota

Rapid City: The U.S. Attorney's Office in the state says a project has uncovered dozens of people and organizations that collectively stole millions of dollars from nine Native American reservations. The office's spokeswoman, Aileen Crawford, tells the Rapid City Journal that the Guardians Project has led to 42 convictions on federal charges including fraud, theft and embezzlement from tribes and tribal organizations. The project, which launched in 2015, brings together local and federal agencies to investigate allegations of corruption and financial crimes against the state's Native American communities. Many of the convictions have involved tribal employees, tribal executives and out-of-state business owners.

Tennessee

Nashville: A fort built by African Americans during the Civil War has received an international designation for its significance to the history of slavery. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has named Fort Negley a "Site of Memory," as part of its Slave Route Project. The Union forces that occupied Nashville in 1862 forced more than 2,700 free blacks and escaped slaves to build the fort in miserable conditions. About 600 to 800 died. Vanderbilt University history professor Jane Landers has helped lead the charge to recognize and preserve Fort Negley. Developers dropped plans for a housing and entertainment complex near the site after archaeologists found it likely still contains the buried remains of the African American laborers who were pressed into service to build it.

Texas

Irving: The most recognized landmark in this city is the Towers at Williams Square, the Las Colinas area's high-rise complex with a sculpture of wild mustangs out front. Any time of the day or night, visitors can be found taking Facebook photos or selfies on the stone plaza that surrounds the horses, The Dallas Morning News reports. Soon they'll be romping through a park, not a field of granite, at the site about 10 miles northwest of downtown Dallas. Built as the centerpiece for Las Colinas, the 1.4 million-square-foot high-rise complex sold for $330 million in 2015. The city of Irving is working with the new owners on a complete revamp of the mustang plaza that will make it more like a park than a hot granite landing field. The redo will add trees, plantings and lounging spaces around the beloved mustang fountain.

Utah

Coalville: More than 30 deer have turned up dead near a landfill in Utah, prompting an investigation by state officials and new measures meant in part to keep the animals from the site. The deaths came to light earlier this week after hikers shared photos on social media of dead deer strewn across a road near Three Mile Canyon Landfill in Coalville, about 45 miles northeast of Salt Lake City. One photo shows dozens of decaying deer carcasses mixed with trash on the edges of nearby Rockport State Park. Residents chimed in on Facebook, calling the photos "an eye-opener" and "insane." Deer come to the landfill each winter seeking food, then fall ill after ingesting plastic and other toxins, Summit County Solid Waste Division superintendent Tim Loveday says, and a recent spike in the state's deer population and the brutal winter have meant more deer are dying of starvation and cold.

Vermont

Vernon: The now-unused cooling towers from the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant are going to be coming down. The Brattleboro Reformer reports that Corey Daniels of Northstar, the company that recently bought the closed plant in Vernon to demolish it, told members of the Vermont Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel that the cooling towers would be likely gone before September. He said asbestos abatement at the cooling towers was in process, and once completed, the demolition would begin. NorthStar bought Vermont Yankee in January. It has plans to complete the demolition of the plant by 2026, decades ahead of a long-term schedule endorsed by the plant's former owner, Entergy Nuclear. Daniels says the demolition of the reactor core is starting, with components being cut up into smaller pieces.

Virginia

Roanoke: Visitors to the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway had an estimated $1.3 billion economic impact last year in the park's various communities. The National Park Service's annual survey gauged the impact of visitor spending in the Virginia prize as well in as the other U.S. parks. The winding roadway has been one of the United States' most-visited national park sites, and last year's total was roughly on par with economic impact figures gauged since 2012. The $1.3

billion in estimated impact was down some $100 million from 2017. The parkway has become an integral part of the mountains and the communities that lie along its 469-mile route. It connects Shenandoah National Park with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Washington

Spokane: As the Seattle area becomes more crowded and more expensive, Spokane Mayor David Condon sees an opportunity to grow the state's second-largest city. Condon has been visiting the Seattle area recently, selling Spokane as a place with an educated workforce, cheap housing, shorter commutes and lots of amenities. "We're talking about the value you get in Spokane and the access to talent in Spokane," Condon said recently in a call from Denver, where he was also pitching the merits of the Lilac City. Condon focuses on contacting alumni of the five universities that operate in the Spokane region, in hopes they might move jobs to the city of 219,000 residents. Spokane is the nation's 100th largest city, according to the Census Bureau. Seattle is not giving up easily. Mayor Jenny Durkan issued a recent statement in which she called Seattle the city that "invents the future."

West Virginia

Martinsburg: Organizers of the Miss West Virginia Scholarship Pageant say this year's event will relocate to Martinsburg. Miss West Virginia Organization producer Candy Reid tells The Journal of Martinsburg that the state competition will be held in Martinsburg on June 28-29. The pageant typically takes place in Morgantown. Twenty contestants from around the state will compete in the two-night competition. The Miss West Virginia Scholarship Pageant is a volunteer organization and part of the Miss America Program. The Miss America Organization recently named new leadership for the Miss West Virginia Program. Shelley Nichols Franklin has been a local volunteer since 1995 and the local director since 2000. This year, the 75th anniversary of the pageant will be led by Franklin and a team of volunteers.

Wisconsin

Superior: The University of Wisconsin-Superior is running the only Great Lakes land-based facility that tests the success of technologies designed to prevent the spread of invasive species through ships' ballast water. Matt TenEyck, director of the university's Lake Superior Research Institute, told Wisconsin Public Radio that the treatments that show promise in the lab on Montreal Pier in Superior are then tested in the harbor to see how they perform in Great Lakes water conditions. Superior Mayor Jim Paine says the facility is vital for the protection of the health of the Great Lakes. Researcher Kelsey Prihoda says three treatment technologies are currently being tested in the lab. Prihoda says vessel owners and operators are more likely to have confidence in technologies that have undergone large-scale controlled land testing.

Wyoming

Laramie: A wild horse sanctuary that was the first such facility to be sponsored by the government is holding a horse auction next month. The Bureau of Land Management says the adoption event will be June 7-8 at Deerwood Ranch west of Laramie. Home to about 350 wild horses, Deerwood Ranch is a public pasture for excess wild horses removed from overpopulated herds. The adoption will include horses trained by the Mantle family in Wheatland and up to a dozen untrained yearlings from the Rock Springs Wild Horse Holding Facility. The untrained horses will be adopted on a first-come, first-served basis for a $25 fee, and their adopters are eligible for cash incentives. During the adoption, Deerwood will offer public tractor rides to view the horses.

From staff and wire reports

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