Wednesday, July 24, 2019

“Big butter sculpture, sweet guitar, owl released: News from around our 50 states - USA TODAY” plus 1 more

“Big butter sculpture, sweet guitar, owl released: News from around our 50 states - USA TODAY” plus 1 more


Big butter sculpture, sweet guitar, owl released: News from around our 50 states - USA TODAY

Posted: 24 Jul 2019 05:48 PM PDT

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Alabama

Auburn: Gov. Kay Ivey has announced that an Italian auto supplier plans to expand its operation in the city. Ivey's office said Tuesday that the $15 million expansion project at 2A USA in Auburn will create more than 50 jobs. The facility is a Tier 1 supplier to major producers of automobiles and heavy trucks. Ivey's office said 2A's parent company is Italy's largest privately owned high-pressure die-casting industrial company. It specializes in the casting of large, complex aluminum components. Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield said in a statement that Alabama's auto supply chain continues to "grow in scope and sophistication as companies such as 2A expand their operations in the state."

Alaska

Anchorage: New storage facility construction projects at the city's airport could create more than 1,000 jobs. KTVA-TV reported Monday that Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is planning to build a cold cargo storage building on its east side and anther cargo building on the property's west side. The airport's manager says construction on both buildings could start next year, with expected opening dates in 2021. Officials say the combined cost of the buildings could reach $370 million. Officials say the jobs projection includes design, engineering and construction work and does not factor potential permanent workers at the facilities. The cold cargo building is projected to be 700,000 square-feet and the west side storage is planned to be 1.5 million square feet.

Arizona

Flagstaff: A key congressional committee has endorsed a bill to make permanent a ban on the filing of new mining claims around the Grand Canyon. The House Natural Resources Committee approved the measure July 17, sponsored by its chairman, Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona. There is no companion bill in the Senate. The Obama administration put about 1,562 square miles outside the boundaries of Grand Canyon National Park off-limits to new hard rock mining claims until 2032. The bill would make it permanent. Republicans have opposed the measure, saying mining would bring jobs and much-needed revenue to the region. No uranium mines are open in Arizona. One company has one on standby south of the Grand Canyon but is waiting for prices to rise.

Arkansas

Little Rock: City leaders have approved a measure that would create an entertainment district in the city's River Market area, which would allow open containers of alcohol outdoors in a four-block zone on the weekends. With Tuesday's decision, Little Rock becomes the third city in Arkansas to allow entertainment districts, along with Mountain Home and El Dorado. In Little Rock, the entertainment district covers a four-block area downtown and is in effect for limited hours on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and on certain holidays. The Legislature passed a measure this year allowing the entertainment districts in the state.

California

Big Bear Lake: A young bald eagle that the public watched hatch online in a Southern California mountain nest has finally made its first flight. San Bernardino National Forest spokesman Zach Behrens says the juvenile male let out a call at 6:19 a.m. Tuesday and flew off the screen. Bald eagles typically make an inaugural flight between 10 and 12 weeks of age, but this one waited until he was 14 weeks old. Forest Service biologist robin Eliason says the bird will stay close to his parents over a few months to learn hunting skills and then will likely leave the area. The eagle's mother laid two eggs in the nest near Big Bear Lake in March and two eaglets hatched in April. The nest cam showed one eaglet died during a late winter storm on Memorial Day weekend.

Colorado

Lyons: A surveillance camera filmed a bear attempting to take and open a dumpster at a local marijuana dispensary. The Daily Camera reports that Colorado Parks and Wildlife Northeast Region posted the video on its Twitter account Tuesday. Agency spokesman Jason Clay says the bear was captured on video at The Bud Depot in Lyons just before midnight July 17. The video shows the bear pulling the large metal trash bin out of an enclosed area and unsuccessfully attempting to open its top lid in the town 44 miles northwest of Denver. "It tries to take the bear-resistant dumpster home with him, but cannot," the Parks and Wildlife social media post says. "No reward for this bear."

Connecticut

Waterbury: A roughly 300-pound bronze church bell and a pile of scrap metal have been reported stolen from the site of a Russian Orthodox Church scheduled for demolition this week. Project manager Albert Well tells the Republican-American that scrap metal and the lightest of three bronze bells that once hung in Nativity of the Holy Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church were stolen in late June. Well says the bell was stolen from a padlocked shipping container. The bells, stained glass windows and other items were removed for the demolition and could be used in other churches. Well estimates the bell is worth thousands as an artifact. Police estimate the bronze and the stolen scrap metal is worth $500. Officials are investigating.

Delaware

Dover: Officials say high levels of a worrisome class of manmade chemicals have been detected in four private wells near Dover Air Force Base. Officials said in a news release July 14 that they had been notified about the elevated levels of per- and polyfluoroalykyl substances, or PFAS, by the U.S. Air Force and Dover Air Force Base. Wells at the base have PFAS levels above a federal health advisory limit, and testing of nearby private wells has been ongoing. According to the news release, the four wells provide water to a shopping center with five businesses, two residences and an office building. The owners have been notified, and the base has provided bottled water. The widely used compounds are linked to a variety of health issues and have come under intense federal and state scrutiny in recent years.

District of Columbia

Washington: Family, friends and the Southeast D.C. community held a vigil Tuesday for 11-year-old Karon Brown, who was shot and killed on July 18, WUSA-TV reports. Brown was supposed to be at football practice the night he was shot and killed. Dozens of people came out to Stanton Elementary to remember his life. " Brown's football coach, Julian Lewis, briefly addressed the crowd. "Karon did touch my heart in a special way," Lewis said. "He was always smiling...I don't care what he was doing, there was a smile." Tony McClam, 29, is accused of killing Brown. He was arrestested and charged with first-degree murder while armed, according to The Washington Post. McClam's next hearing is scheduled for Aug. 2.

Florida

Melbourne: Two juvenile green turtles named Don King and Kazoo are back in their natural habitat after rehabilitating at an area zoo. Brevard Zoo spokesman Elliott Zirulnik said in a news release that the turtles were released into the Indian River Lagoon on Tuesday. Zirulnik says Don King arrived at the zoo's Sea Turtle Healing Center on March 29 with a fractured front flipper and a healed fracture to the skull. He was also covered in barnacles. Kazoo was brought in on May 27 after he was found floating and lethargic at Cocoa Riverfront Park. He says they were both treated with nutritional support and medication.

Georgia

Savannah: A federal judge has dismissed a legal challenge to a tax Georgia's oldest city imposes on guided tours. U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr. ruled Monday he lacks jurisdiction over whether Savannah unfairly burdens tour guides with the $1-per-adult customer tax. He said the issue belongs in state courts. The tax challenge was part of a 2014 lawsuit that also claimed Savannah violated tour guides' free-speech rights by requiring them to pass a written history test to obtain a license. Moore ruled in the tour guides' favor on that issue in May, though Savannah had scrapped the licensing ordinance in 2015. The tour tax helps pay for maintenance on Savannah's historic monuments. Tour guides say it's unfair because other businesses that profit from tourism don't pay it.

Hawaii

Lihue: A frayed 17-year-old cable was to blame for a widespread power outage. The Garden Island reported Tuesday that Kauai Island Utility Cooperative discovered the cause Monday and plans to repair the cable by Friday. Officials say the cable was connected to the company's largest collection of generators and resulted in an almost three-hour outage across Kauai. The company says several other units were down at its Port Allen Generation Station for scheduled maintenance, but that repairs have been delayed until custom-made replacement parts can be shipped from the U.S. mainland. The company says a newly functioning diesel generator should supplement some power until repairs are complete, but that consumers should still conserve energy. Officials say uncooperative weather could slow the repair process.

Idaho

Boise: The City Council has approved three ordinances designed to address safety and other issues arising from the growing use of e-scooters In the state's largest city. The Idaho Statesman reports that the scooters arrived in Boise in October, and the city now has 750 scooters split among three companies: Bird, Lime and Spin. In nine months, users have traveled nearly half a million miles, and each scooter averages almost four rides per day. One change approved by the Council affects speed limits. Boise limits speed to 15 mph, but the new ordinances will make riders slow to below 5 mph in congested areas, public plazas or other geofenced areas. A second change affects reckless riders. Each scooter will get an ID number to help people identify reckless users and report them to the companies. A third change penalizes vandalism. If a rider knowingly defaces public or private property open to the public with tire marks, that person would be guilty of a misdemeanor

Illinois

Chicago: The University of Illinois at Chicago has opened a $43 million engineering facility. The university held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday at the 57,500-square-foot Engineering Innovation Building. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot joined university President Tim Killeen and other officials, as well as students and faculty, for the event. The university says enrollment in engineering programs has skyrocketed. The College of Engineering now has an enrollment of more than 5,000 students. That's almost double what it was a decade ago.UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis says the facility will help attract top academic talent and strengthen ties with local business and industry. Among the building's features is a high-bay structural research lab, where researchers and government agencies can test large-scale structural components such as roads and bridges.

Indiana

West Lafayette: Purdue University will start issuing new student identification cards with a change aimed at ensuring that the cards comply with state law. The university announced Tuesday that new ID cards will be available in August with an expiration date six years from the day a card is issued. That information wasn't on Purdue's previous student IDs, but The Journal & Courier reports that it's required under Indiana's voter ID law that took effect in 2008. Tippecanoe County's election board had determined that using Purdue records to check whether students are enrolled met the state's voter ID requirements. But in May, county Clerk Julie Roush questioned whether the county's arrangement with Purdue truly complied with the law. Roush said Tuesday she's grateful Purdue was working with the county on a solution.

Iowa

Iowa City: Another round of state spending cuts means Iowa Public Radio will have to ramp up its fundraising efforts this year and rely even more on the generosity of its listeners and sponsors. IPR will receive nearly $71,000 less from Iowa public universities this year – a roughly 8% cut from last year – under a recommended budget proposed to Iowa Board of Regents this week. The cut is yet another in a series of incremental reductions in government funding for public radio in the state, though IPR leadership says the organization is still on a growth path. Government funding – from the Iowa Board of Regents, state appropriations and the federal government – makes up around 21% of IPR's operating income, which is expected to reach $8.3 million this year.

Kansas

Olathe: A Kansas City suburb is allowing people to pay their parking fines with school supplies. KMBC-TV reports that the city of Olathe is offering the option through Aug. 16. Items that are being sought include No. 2 pencils, 1- and 3-inch three-ring binders and single-subject spiral notebooks. People who want to take advantage of the offer can bring in the supplies and a receipt. City officials say the offer isn't valid for commercial parking violations and only up to $50 in school supplies can be donated per person.

Kentucky

Louisville: Kentucky Peerless Distilling Company announced Wednesday morning that it will be selling the second batch of its Peerless Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey starting on Aug. 3. The company's distillery in downtown Louisville will open at 9 a.m. that day, according to a press release. After announcing it would be releasing its first bourbon since 1917 to the public on June 22, Kentucky Peerless said it sold out of all of its bottles in less than a day. If you want to get some of the company's bourbon this time around, you'll have to act quick: Kentucky Peerless will have just under 500 bottles available for purchase, according to company spokesperson Tara Bowling. Started in 1889 by Henry Kraver, the great-granfather of CEO Corky Taylor, the Peerless brand was once the state's second-largest bourbon distillery. The company produced about 200 barrels of rye whiskey and bourbon per day until 1917, when Kraver closed the facility at the onset of World War I. The Taylor family resurrected the brand in 2015 with the opening of a new distillery in downtown Louisville. Bottles will sell for $79 a pop, Bowling said.

Louisiana

Baton Rouge: A chicken producer is planning a $47 million expansion of its Louisiana operations, creating a new feed mill and upgrades to its hatchery and processing plant. House of Raeford Farms CEO Bob Johnson announced the plans Tuesday in a news release from Gov. John Bel Edwards' office. The northwest Louisiana expansions are expected to create 118 jobs. The North Carolina-based company says it will spend $41 million to build a feed mill in Lincoln Parish, replacing and doubling the capacity of an older mill, and $6 million on improvements to Bienville Parish facilities. The company distributes chicken products to grocery stores, schools and other businesses, packaged under its own label and other private labels. Louisiana is giving the company $1.5 million for the projects, along with tax breaks.

Maine

Bangor: State environmental managers say more than 1,000 Atlantic salmon have returned to the Penobscot River this year for the first time since 2011. Department of Marine Resources scientist Jason Valliere says the total of returning salmon was 1,059 in the middle of July. The returns of salmon to the Penobscot generates a lot of attention from conservationists because the fish are considered endangered by the federal government. The Bangor Daily News reports less than 700 salmon were counted at the Milford Dam fish lift last year. This year's total of returns is tentative and subject to change according to the state. Returns to the river have fluctuated over the years. It's the most important U.S. river for Atlantic salmon, which return to a handful of rivers to spawn.

Maryland

Pocomoke City: The Police Department is warning businesses to be vigilant about counterfeit money that has been circulating in the area. Police received several complaints of counterfeit $100 bills Monday, including one at a bank, according to a Facebook post from the Police Department. The bills passed tests using a counterfeit detector pen and counting machines, according to the post. Capt. Rich Kaiser with the Salisbury Police Department said there has been one report of a fake $100 used at Aldi on Dagsboro Road in Salisbury over the weekend. Business owners are asked to call police immediately if anyone tries to pass them a bill matching the description. Try to obtain as much information on the individual or individuals attempting to pass the bill as possible. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Pocomoke City Police Department at 410-957-1600.

Massachusetts

Yarmouth: High winds and one radar-confirmed tornado ripped off a hotel roof, downed trees that blocked roads and knocked out power to thousands on Cape Cod on Tuesday during the peak of tourist season. A tornado struck Yarmouth just after noon, according to the National Weather Service, which along with the state Emergency Management Agency sent a survey team to the scene to assess the damage and the tornado's strength. A wind gust of 90 mph was reported in Barnstable, according to the weather service. There were no reports of injuries. The Cape Sands Inn in Yarmouth was condemned by building inspectors after its roof was ripped off and deposited in the back of the building. Guests were being relocated to other hotels. Electric utility Eversource reported about 50,000 power outages across the state, most on Cape Cod, with Chatham, Dennis and Harwich the hardest hit. More than 90% of customers in Harwich and Chatham lost power at one point.

Michigan

Lansing: State Attorney General Dana Nessel is opposing a federal plan to drop gray wolves from the endangered species list. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the wolf has recovered in the Lower 48 states and no longer needs federal protection. More than 5,000 live in the contiguous U.S., including roughly 660 in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The service wants to turn management of the species over to the states. In comments submitted recently, Nessel says the Fish and Wildlife Service has tried repeatedly to remove wolves from the protected list without providing adequate justification. She says eliminating the federal shield would lead to renewed hunting and could imperil the species. Wolves in the Lower 48 were hunted, trapped and poisoned to near-extinction before legal protection was granted in the 1970s.

Minnesota

Minneapolis: An Uber driver ferried two sisters 200 miles to their aunt's 100th birthday party. Kerry Maggard and Deb Eggers were flying from San Antonio to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, with a connecting flight in Minneapolis. But bad weather forced their flight from San Antonio to land in Madison, Wisconsin, and they missed their connecting flight in Minneapolis. No other flights were available. So the sisters turned to Uber and noticed the driver name that popped up on the ride-sharing app – Jesus Florentino. Maggard told KARE-TV when that popped up, "I thought God has a sense of humor." Florentino didn't realize the length of the trip when he pulled up, but agreed to drive. Uber charged Maggard $216 for the trip. She tipped Florentino another $54.

Mississippi

Jackson: Casino revenues sprinted ahead in Mississippi in June, powered by a strong performance at Gulf Coast gambling halls. Figures show gamblers lost $182 million in June, 7% more than in the same month in 2018. That includes $1.6 million in sports betting revenue at casinos. The 12 coastal casinos saw June revenue rise 12% to $109 million, continuing a strong run that began in spring 2018. The 14 river casinos saw revenue rise less than 1% from June 2018 to $72 million. It's the 10th increase in 11 months for a region hard-hit by competition. The increase comes despite Tunica County casinos that closed in January and May. Statewide revenue is up 4% over the last 12 months. The numbers exclude Choctaw Indian casinos, which don't report to the state.

Missouri

Columbia: A great horned owl named Athena has been released into the wild after spending three months growing to full maturity in a state animal rehabilitation program. The Columbia Missourian reports that a group of about 10 people gathered Tuesday at the Three Creeks Conservation Area near Columbia as a wooden crate containing Athena was unloaded from a car. When Athena finally came out of her crate, she flew to a nearby tree, where she perched for a few seconds before taking off. Athena was too young to care for herself when she was found alone in April. That's when the Raptor Rehabilitation Project got involved. Volunteer and University of Missouri veterinary student Rebecca Belter says Athena had "no great love for humans," which made her a great candidate for release.

Montana

Kalispell: Three northwestern Montana communities along the Kootenai River are seeking stronger protections from the hazardous contaminants that flow downstream from mines in Canada. The Flathead Beacon reports that leaders in Libby, Troy and Eureka wrote to Gov. Steve Bullock that their economies depend on the water quality of rivers and lakes that are being compromised by pollution from British Columbia coal mines. The leaders want state and federal officials to fund better long-term water quality monitoring and to adopt a strict water quality standard for selenium. The mineral is toxic at elevated levels, and concentrations in northwestern Montana already exceed the threshold identified in the national regulatory standards

Nebraska

Norfolk: Brian King knows a little bit about sweet instrumetns after making his own colorful custom guitar build a few months ago. The process involved taking apart a new Fender guitar, creating a mold from it, then adding three bags of plain M&M's and epoxy to the mold. After the epoxy mix hardened, he cut out holes and added an epoxy topcoat for extra shine and protection. Finally, he drilled holes for the guitar neck and reassembled the guitar. The guitar build took about 80 hours in total, he said, especially taking curing time into consideration. He completed it over the course of about three weeks, the Norfolk Daily News reported. Assembly took place in his garage workshop, which includes all the equipment he needs, as well as some car projects he has done. Also helping with the effort? His three children, who assisted by counting M&M's and mixing epoxy. The sweet creation is fully functional, but you might not want to play it standing up – the guitar is at least eight times heavier than the original, King said. It was inspired by a similar build with Jawbreakers candies that he saw on the internet.

Nevada

Reno: Boaters in Northern Nevada are drowning at an alarming rate this year. With the apparent drowning of a kayaker in Washoe Lake on July 17, six Nevadans have drowned in boating accidents this year – a figure that approximately matches the Silver State's average of six to seven boating-related drowning accidents per year. Out of those six deaths, five have been in Northern Nevada, according to the Nevada Department of Wildlife. Aaron Meier, the boating education coordinator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife, says there is a common thread between nearly all of this year's deaths – people who drowned were not wearing life jackets. Nevada law mandates that boaters at least carry a life jacket with them on the vessel, including kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddle boards.

New Hampshire

Hebron: A summer camp founded in 1903 has been put on the National Register of Historic Places. Camp Mowglis, in Hebron, is described as the first U.S. summer camp dedicated to boys under 14. It was founded by Elizabeth Ford Holt, who also founded nearby Camp Redcroft for girls. Each camp provides activities drawn from the outdoors and nature. Camp Mowglis takes its name from the lead character from Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book," published in 1894. Kipling, who gave permission for the camp name, maintained a lifelong interest in the camp. The camp's lodge, outdoor chapel, craft shop, ice house, woodshed, pump house, chapel, rifle range, assembly hall, tennis courts and athletic fields contribute to its historic significance. Most were built before World War II.

New Jersey

Edison: Trains on New Jersey Transit's Northeast Corridor line were delayed during the morning commute Wednesday because a car that became wedged under the passenger platform of a station was blocking one of the tracks. It's not clear how the car became wedged under the eastbound platform of the station in Edison. It did not appear that anyone had been injured. The car apparently went through a chain link fence that separates the parking lot from the platform. The car also knocked over a sign. The incident caused delays of up to 30 minutes before the vehicle was removed. Officials say normal operations were expected to soon resume.

New Mexico

Albuquerque: The U.S. Air Force is inviting the public to learn about the work being done to clean up jet fuel contamination at a base bordering the state's largest city. The open house at Kirtland Air Force Base is scheduled for Thursday. Experts from the Air Force and the state Environment Department will be on hand to answer questions. A coalition of environmental groups has threatened to sue, saying the contamination is a danger to public health and the environment. The Air Force has spent $125 million cleaning up soil and water around the site, but the group is seeking an agreement that would establish a schedule with clear deadlines and penalties. The fuel leak was detected in 1999. It was believed to have been seeping into the ground for decades.

New York

New York City: A couple captured a 3-foot alligator in their local park and taped its mouth before calling the police to pick the animal up. Authorities believe the gator was an illegally owned pet that escaped. The New York Post reports that Staten Island resident Don Walters spotted the alligator in a park near his home on Tuesday. Walters had lived in Florida so he was familiar with alligators. He told the Post he threw bait at the reptile, then held its head while his wife, Kim, taped its mouth shut. The couple called 911 and police arrived and took the alligator to an animal care facility. The alligator's capture comes days after a Long Island family spotted a baby alligator in their backyard pool.

North Carolina

Pittsboro: A rescue group says one of its lions has died after becoming overheated and suffering organ failure. Carolina Tiger Rescue wrote in a Tuesday Facebook post that the 17-year-old lion named Sheba wasn't able to recover despite staff efforts. News outlets report a heat wave recently hit the East Coast, bringing with it temperatures above 90 degrees. The nonprofit cat sanctuary says on its website that it works to protect big cats in the wild and in captivity, taking in animals that have been confiscated, abandoned or in need of a new home. An earlier Facebook post by the group says Sheba was used in a cub petting practice in which cubs are taken at birth to be handled by humans for monetary gain.

North Dakota

Bismarck: The state Health Department is warning residents to avoid blue-green algae in two Morton County lakes. The agency issued the blue-green algae advisories Tuesday for Harmon Lake and Sweetbriar Lake. Hot summer weather contributes to the production of the algae that's also known as cyanobacteria. People and animals who ingest affected water can get sick and even die. There's no known antidote for toxins blue-green algae can produce. People are urged to avoid water that looks discolored or scummy or has a foul odor.

Ohio

Columbus: This year's Ohio State Fair butter display honors the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing and Ohio's own Neil Armstrong. The sculptures – featuring the whole Apollo 11 crew and the usual cow and calf– are made from more than 2,200 pounds of butter. The butter display includes a life-size sculpture of Armstrong standing next to the lunar module Eagle and saluting the American flag after planting it on the moon's surface. The display also includes a butter sculpture of the entire spacecraft crew: Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins and the traditional butter cow and calf, according to a statement from American Dairy Association Mideast. To make the display, five sculptures worked in a 46-degree cooler for about 400 of the 500 hours it took to complete the display.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma City: A group seeking a statewide vote on whether to expand Medicaid to tens of thousands of low-income Oklahomans is organizing volunteers after receiving the date for when they can begin gathering signatures. The group Oklahomans Decide Healthcare said Wednesday they've been notified by state officials that the 90-day signature gathering window will begin on July 31. Supporters will need to gather nearly 178,000 signatures from registered voters in order to get the question on the ballot. A spokeswoman for the group, Amber England, says they have been overwhelmed with volunteers from across the state seeking to circulate petitions. England says the group also is prepared to hire professional signature gatherers to ensure they qualify the question for the ballot. Oklahoma is one of 14 states that have not expanded Medicaid.

Oregon

Ashland: The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, a major tourist draw in southern Oregon, is exploring changes to its famous outdoor theater after losing millions because of smoky wildfire conditions in 2017 and 2018. The Daily Tidings reported Tuesday that the annual summer theater festival uses Ashland High School's indoor theater when smoke shuts down its outdoor 1,190-seat outdoor venue. But the festival is looking for a long-term solution to volatile air quality as wildfires have forced it to shut down productions two years in a row. The festival lost $5.4 million during 2017 and 2018 seasons because of wildfires.

Pennsylvania

Oklahoma: The historic Belvedere Hotel collapsed early Wednesday as flames consumed the structure that was built in 1905 on Route 66 across from a railroad stop in Westmoreland County. The 28-room hotel was declared unsafe in 2017. Officials are saying the fire is suspicious because no one was living in the building and utilities were turned off. The fire marshal is investigating. No one was injured.

Rhode Island

Providence: The state has received a $60 million federal highway grant to make improvements to Interstate 95. The state's congressional delegation says the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant will be used to replace and upgrade the northbound Providence Viaduct on the highway. The 1,300-foot-long viaduct, which was built in 1964, runs alongside the Providence Place Mall and carries about 220,000 vehicles per day. Democratic U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said in a statement that the grant will allow the state to make the viaduct safer and more convenient, and create construction jobs. Replacement of the southbound section was completed in 2017, but the northbound side remains structurally deficient.

South Carolina

Tega Cay: The city has removed a monument to police officers that included a Bible verse and a prayer after upsetting religious and secular residents. A resident complained about the religious references at a July 15 meeting. The city painted over the word "Lord" in several places on the monument and removed the Bible reference because they feared a possible lawsuit. Then The Herald of Rock Hill reports other residents complained about the alterations made to the monument donated by the Tega Cay Women's Club. The city released a statement Tuesday saying it put the monument in storage for now while it seeks a possible solution to the dispute. Tega Cay is a well-off suburb of 10,000 people on a lake near Charlotte, North Caronia.

South Dakota

Rapid City: When students return to public schools across the state this fall, there should be a new message displayed in a common area, a cafeteria, entryway or other prominent location. A state law that took effect this month requires all public schools in the state's 149 districts to paint, stencil or otherwise display the national motto "In God We Trust." The lawmakers who proposed the law said the requirement was meant to inspire patriotism in the state's public schools. Associated School Boards of South Dakota executive director Wade Pogany says his group pushed to include language in the bill that directs the state's attorney general to represent schools or districts that might be sued over the religious message at no cost.

Tennessee

Memphis: University of Tennessee athletic director Phillip Fulmer will serve as the honorary Peabody duckmaster in downtown Memphis on Aug. 9. The Peabody ducks perform a march along a red carpet from the Peabody Hotel lobby to their rooftop penthouse each day in a tradition that began in the 1930s. Fulmer will serve as the honorary duckmaster Aug. 9 before he joins new Tennessee Chancellor Donde Plowman at the Big Orange Gala that takes place in Memphis that night. Festivities at the Peabody Hotel begin at 5 p.m., though guests are encouraged to arrive 15 minutes early. The Big Orange Gala will start at 7 p.m. at Memphis Botanic Garden. The event raises scholarship funds for Shelby County students to attend the University of Tennessee.

Texas

El Paso: Plans are in the works to build gateway boulevards along Interstate 10 from downtown to near the Spaghetti Bowl in central El Paso and would require the acquisition of part of the downtown rail yard and might force some businesses to relocate. Gateways, or frontage roads, also are proposed to be built on both sides of I-10 from Executive Center Boulevard in west El Paso to downtown. Those likely won't require property acquisitions because initial plans call for putting them on elevated bridges overlapping portions of I-10, says Hugo Hernandez, project manager for Reimagine I-10, TxDOT's planning study of the highway through El Paso.

Utah

Salt Lake City: Residents gathered Wednesday to celebrate Utah's history and recognize Mormon pioneers who trekked West in search of religious freedom. Pioneer Day is a beloved only-in-Utah holiday every July 24 that features parades, rodeos, fireworks and more. Hundreds of people camped outside Tuesday to stake out spots along the parade route in downtown Salt Lake City. Pioneer Day is so big, locals often refer to it as "the holiday." It marks the date in 1847 when Brigham Young and other Mormon pioneers, many pulling handcarts, ended their treacherous journey across the country from Illinois and discovered the Salt Lake Valley. Many businesses and government offices close for the state holiday.

Vermont

Montpelier: The state's top bear biologist says this summer's nuisance bear problem is likely to ease in the next few weeks as berries and other natural foods ripen in the state's forests. Meanwhile, Fish and Wildlife Biologist Forrest Hammond is continuing to urge people to keep food away from bears so they don't associate people with food. The message comes after Vermont game wardens had to kill two bears in recent weeks. One of the bears had entered an Underhill home. In the other case, a bear was bothering hikers along the Appalachian Trail in southern Vermont. Hammond says experts are monitoring a number of other problem bears. He says biologists remember the case last year in New Hampshire when a woman was injured by a bear that had entered her home.

Virginia

Charlottesville: A Confederate statue that became a rallying point for white nationalists was found vandalized Wednesday with an expletive against President Donald Trump. The profanity was graffitied on the base of the Gen. Robert E. Lee statue in white paint, TV station WVIR reported. Blue paint was also splattered around the base, according to the station. The city's Parks and Recreation Department was notified to clean the statue, police spokesman Tyler Hawn said. Charlottesville, like other cities across the U.S., has been wrestling for years with what to do with Confederate monuments in its public spaces. A lawsuit over a statue-removal plan is ongoing and the figure of Lee on horseback has remained in place. The statue has been vandalized several times before.

Washington

Olympic National Park: Officials say 76 mountain goats were successfully moved from Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest to the Cascade Mountains in July. Olympic National Park officials say 174 of the nonnative mammals have been rounded up and moved to the Cascades, where they belong, since September. Officials say five other goats died during capture efforts, three were euthanized because they were unfit for relocation, and one animal died in transit. Officials say four animals that could not be captured safely also were killed. Another round of goat relocation is planned for August. The Olympics have few natural salt licks. That makes it more likely goats there will be attracted to the sweat and urine of hikers, potentially endangering the hikers.

West Virginia

Charleston: The Police Department has started a crime-solving partnership using a database that links shell casings to specific guns. The Police Department on Wednesday announced it is now using the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network. The database compares high-resolution images of shell casings to find markings unique to a certain weapon. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is providing the system at no cost to the city. Police Chief Opie Smith says in a news release the database "has already proven to be beneficial in linking cases that otherwise would not have any apparent connections." The statement says a Charleston police detective who has been trained to use the system has been assigned to cases in which shell casings or firearms are recovered as evidence.

Wisconsin

Altoona: Train fans are turning out to see the world's largest operating steam locomotive. The 133-foot-long Big Boy No. 4014 is part of Union Pacific's tour to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the transcontinental railroad. A crowd greeted the train and a historical exhibit on a rail car at the Union Pacific yard in Altoona on Tuesday. The restored engine is the only operating Big Boy locomotive of the 25 ever built. The Leader-Telegram reports the train began chugging eastward Wednesday morning.

Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park: Park officials say a bull bison tossed a 9-year-old girl into the air when the animal charged a group of about 50 tourists. Park officials say the bison rushed the group Monday after some of the tourists approached to within 5 to 10 feet of the animal over at least 20 minutes. The Odessa, Florida, girl was taken to Old Faithful Lodge by her family for treatment by emergency personnel. She was later taken to a clinic and released. Park officials did not disclose the extent of any injuries. The incident occurred near Observation Point Trail, in the area of Old Faithful Geyser. Injuries of tourists by bison and other wildlife occur regularly in Yellowstone, which gets about 4 million visitors annually.

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News from Ocean Beach and Point Loma – Early July 2019 - OB Rag

Posted: 08 Jul 2019 12:00 AM PDT

"Weed control" in Ocean Beach. Photo by Albert C Elliott.

No More Speeding on OB Pier

The City of San Diego is trying to stop people from driving onto the Ocean Beach Pier, recently installing plastic pylons. The city recently installed the pylons at the foot of the pier after a car sped onto the structure, hitting two people and a police cruiser in June. The pylons are the first step, but the city says it's still considering additional options to discourage people from driving onto the pier.

The Plunge in Mission Beach Finally Re-Opens

The Plunge at Fit marked the official return of the iconic beachfront pool in Belmont Park on July 4. The completion of its $12 million restoration and construction of the 400,000 gallon swimming pool and building, include:

  • a new contemporary design,
  • floor-to-ceiling glass walls that maximize ocean views and
  • a retractable roof that allows for a climate-controlled environment.
  • historical features from the original 1925 structure
  • replicas of original entrance archways and pool tiles.
  • a dining deck connecting to the newly renovated Beach House for guests to enjoy food, drinks and a fresh ocean breeze.

A series of safety and maintenance issues in the decades that followed led to the pool's closing in 2014. Shortly thereafter, Pacifica Enterprises embarked on a nearly three year project to restore this beloved attraction to its iconic status. Open to the public daily between the hours of noon – 5:00 p.m, it has a range of daily and monthly Plunge membership options available with discounts for groups, select community members, guests under 17, and guests 65 and up. Aqua classes, swim lessons and water safety clinics will also be offered this summer. Passes and memberships can be purchased on site at the north entrance of the pool located at 3115 Ocean Front Walk. For more information on the Plunge at Fit, please visit plungesandiego.com or call 858-779-1630.

Social Syndicate Signs $2.4 Million Lease for Former Nati's Site

Location Matters has arranged a $2.4 million, 10-year lease for Social Syndicate, a San Diego-based multi-concept restaurant group, for a space at 1852 Bacon St. in the Ocean Beach neighborhood of San Diego. Nati's Mexican Restaurant had occupied the freestanding restaurant building for nearly 60 years before the Social Syndicate lease. The new restaurant will also carry a Mexican theme. Nati's Inc., which is controlled by Foley Development, owns the property. Future plans call for developing the land directly behind the restaurant into an apartment complex. Mike Spilky of Location Matters represented the landlord and tenant in the transaction. Social Syndicate will occupy 2,660 square feet inside the building, in addition to 1,468 square feet of patio space. Rebusiness Online This followed on the report on the deal we published on Thursday.

BB Gun Used to Shoot Out Windows in Midway District and Lyft Car in OB

A BB gun was used to shoot out windows at three businesses in and near the Midway District and the back window of a Lyft car in Ocean Beach. The BBs shattered the window of a Chili's restaurant on Sports Arena Boulevard around 11 p.m. Saturday, July 6 and multiple windows at an A-1 Storage center on Noell Street and a Vespa Motorsport shop on Pacific Highway. A perpetrator damaged five windows each at the storage center and shop. Two passengers accompanied the Lyft driver at the time BB's shattered the car window at Nimitz and Sunset Cliffs boulevards. No one was hurt in the vehicle, police said, or the restaurant, where customers remained at the time of the incident. No arrests had been made as of Sunday. Times of San Diego

Similar Incident in College Area

A BB gun was used to shoot out windows at four businesses in the College Area along with a side window of a vehicle parked nearby, police said Monday. The damage was reported around 9:35 p.m. Sunday in the 7100 block of El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego police public-affairs Officer Billy Hernandez said. Officers arrived and found windows shattered at four businesses in the area as well as the driver's side rear window of a parked vehicle, Hernandez said. Fox5

It Took 2 Years and Loss of 42,000 Gallons of Water Until Navy Fixed Leak in Midway District

After being contacted by local TV station about a leak from a water meter device that has gone on for 2 years, with the loss of possibly 42,000 gallons of water, the Navy has acted. On July 2, a media spokesperson for Naval Base Point Loma sent an email which reads, "We appreciate everyone who took the time to bring this leak to our attention. Our Naval Base Point Loma Public Works team is taking action to fix the leak today. Conserving our natural resources is a high priority and is very important to all of us at Naval Base Point Loma. We encourage active participation by contacting us directly at nbpl_pao@navy.mil or use the "Get-It-Done San Diego" app for the City of San Diego. [It] is a quick way for anyone in the community to report service issues (street lights, traffic signals, trash recycling, sidewalks, street flooding, etc.)" 10News verified that the leak has been addressed.

Navy Dredging Plan on the Table

Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest (NAVFAC SW) is proposing a maintenance dredging project at Naval Base Point Loma (NBPL) in San Diego, California. The proposed project includes dredging and removal of approximately 16,485 cubic yards of material (including a 2-foot overdredge allowance) within the 1.85-acre proposed dredge area in association with Navy ARCO Drydock Sump Project. "The proposed dredge design depth is -60.0 feet mean lower low water (MLLW) for the ADD sump. Samples of the proposed dredged materials were collected and tested according to protocols for unconfined aquatic disposal determination for potential placement at the LA-5 Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Site (ODMDS) or a beneficial use site," said the Los Angeles District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in its announcement.

The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact including cumulative impacts of the proposed activity on the public interest. That decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources, said USACE. The deadline for submitting the comments for the Naval Base Point Loma dredging plan is July 27, 2019. Dredging Today

4,000 Pounds of Trash Cleared by Volunteers 'The Morning After Mess" from the 4th

Four environmental organizations removed almost 4,000 pounds of trash from beaches Friday following the Fourth of July. The San Diego chapter of the Surfrider Foundation hosted the annual "Morning After Mess" beach cleanups. I Love a Clean San Diego, the San Diego River Park Foundation and San Diego Coastkeeper supported the effort. Volunteers converged on Ocean Beach Pier, Ocean Beach Dog Park, Belmont Park, Crystal Pier and the Oceanside Pier and collected 3,916 pounds of trash and recycling.

According to San Diego Surfrider Chapter Manager Mitch Silverstein, the cleanups indicate a reliance on disposable items. "Most of what our volunteers pick up could be avoided if we chose reusable items instead of disposable ones," Silverstein said. "Start simple – reusable bags, reusable water bottles, reusable coffee mugs. Those three items will cut your waste footprint drastically, and they'll help keep our streets and beaches clean." At Surfrider's 2018 beach cleanups, roughly 75 percent of all the collected trash included at least some plastic. Times of San Diego

Pt Loma High School Theater Program Wins Award

Point Loma High School's recent production of "Heathers: The Musical" received a National Youth Arts award for Outstanding Supporting Performance in a Musical and a nomination for Outstanding Direction.  The NYAA are held at the end of each academic year to recognize outstanding theatrical and technical theater student performances throughout San Diego. This year marks the 14th annual awards ceremony. This past spring, Point Loma High School's theater program performed the rock musical "Heathers: The Musical." Based off of the 1988 black comedy "Heathers," this musical parodies John Hughes' high school movies and comments on high school romances, queen bee cliques, and teen violence. Pen. Beacon

Junior Lifeguards Got to Jump Off the OB Pier

Dozens of San Diego Junior Lifeguards, their family and some members of the public got the rare opportunity Monday, July 8 to plunge into the Pacific Ocean from the end of the OB Pier. Each kid that participates in the pier jump must know how to swim and have a pair of swim fins ready for their swim back to land, which can be up to 1,000 yards away. All the participants attended a safety class before the jump to make sure they were prepared. Kids jumped from the pier in two groups, one at 8 a.m. and another at noon. While the annual jump is a fun summer tradition, the goal of the event is to raise funds for swimming lessons for children in underserved communities. Organizers say that each $100 donation to the program allows them to fund swimming lessons for one child. Proceeds from the event go towards the Prevent Drowning Foundation of San Diego. Last year's fundraiser allowed the program to fund swimming lessons for more than 6,000 kids and host other lessons and events. 7SanDiego

9-Year-Old OB Kid Sells Lemonade to Help Others

A 9-year old in Ocean Beach is using his lemonade stand to help others. Dylan Rodriguez sets up his lemonade stand on Bacon Street every Wednesday near the OB Farmer's Market. Initially, he wanted to make some money for himself. "He wanted to raise a $100 bill," says his mother, Holly Raines. But after accomplishing that goal, his efforts became more altruistic. "It feels nice helping somebody out, because, if I was in that position, I would like a lot of help too," says Dylan. Over the past three years, he's used some of the money from the lemonade stand to pay for a handful of charitable projects. He's given backpacks of supplies to the homeless, bought art supplies for kids at Rady's Childrens Hospital and bought holiday presents for refugee families. "It makes me satisfied knowing that he's got a giant heart," says Raines.

Recently, Dylan's giving has become more personal. One of his friends was diagnosed with a form of Muscular Dystrophy. Dylan decided to help with payments for his treatments. "He needs a lot of money for each treatment," says Dylan. "It's, like, $10,000 each time. So I'm trying to raise money for him." In June, Dylan was able to give his friend $200. He says he'll keep giving his lemonade money to his friend indefinitely. "I'd like to give him $10,000," says Dylan. "I don't know if I can get that much money, but I'm hoping to make a lot of money for him." 10News

What's the bluegrass scene like in Ocean Beach?

From BlueGrass Today: It's a very young scene with several bands blending bluegrass with other types of music. Quite a few national touring acts like Hot Buttered Rum, Front Country, Old Salt Union, and Iron Horse have played to packed crowds of young and old alike in the clubs here in Ocean, like Winston's OB and the Holding Company. MohaviSoul is one of the usual support acts for these groups, blending the local with the national music. We find the scene very supportive of a band like ours.

Point Loma Playhouse Welcomes Actors of All Levels for Summer Workshop

This week marks the beginning of Point Loma Playhouse's 11th Annual Summer Shakes Workshop. Within this workshop, actors will be studying Shakespeare monologues as a vehicle to become stronger actors and performers. This program will culminate in the Summer Shakes Showcase. … and now hosts a variety of workshops, classes, and full-length theatrical productions. … The Summer Shakes Workshop lasts for eight weeks. The workshop's director, Jeanette Knight, welcomes actors of all levels of experience to join the workshop. The minimum age is 16, and there is no maximum age. Knight explains, "A normal workshop will be very hands-on. Students should bring an open mind and come prepared to work and play with like-minded individuals." … This workshop begins Monday, July 8 from 7-10 p.m. and continues every Monday night for eight weeks. There will be two final showcases on August 31 and September 1. For more information on the workshop or the showcase, please visit pointlomaplayhouse.com. San Diego Community News Group

Monument to Tuna Industry Has Room for More Plaques

It's time to honor those who served in the industry with a plaque or paver at the Tuna Industry Monument in Point Loma. Located in the front of The Portuguese Historical Center since 2014, the large black monument made of granite pays homage to all those in the tuna industry. With about 85 names engraved on plaques, there is room for more to be added. …Today the monument stands proud and is rectangular in shape, has a fountain with a tuna man in bronze in the middle. There are also floor pavers surrounding it and leading into the center, as well as a granite bench. … There are around 85 names on it with room for about a handful more on the monument itself. …The cost is $225 for a plaque on the monument and $150 for a paver. …

Criteria for applying to have a paver or a monument includes being male; a tuna fisherman as a livelihood on a commercial vessel; a tuna industry-related job such as a captain, deck, boss, deck hand, unloading worker or owner; a resident of San Diego at any time; and doesn't have to be injury related. If you are interested in honoring those that gave, or those still giving, their livelihood to the tuna fishing industry, please see the application for criteria and questionnaire at phcsandiego.com. All applications will need to be approved by the PHC board of directors before the plaques and or pavers will be added, Garces said. It could take up to three months for names to be added and only 20 characters are allowed including spaces. Peninsula Beacon

Beach Jeep-Theft Ringleader Gets 37 Months

A motorcycle gang leader who led others to steal Jeep Wranglers in a high-tech way in Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, and elsewhere has been sentenced to 37 months in federal prison. Go here for more.

Arizona Man to Stand Trial for Murder of Girlfriend in Midway District

An Arizona man arrested last year after his girlfriend was fatally shot in a Point Loma parking lot last fall was ordered in late June to stand trial on a murder charge. Joe Bennette Conway, 42, is suspected of killing Octavia Williams, 20, from Phoenix, while they were arguing outside of a Domino's Pizza on Point Loma Boulevard. At a preliminary hearing in San Diego Superior Court on Wednesday, witnesses who worked at the Domino's and at a Denny's restaurant across the street testified that they heard the argument, then a woman's voice crying, "No!," followed by a single gunshot. San Diego Union-Tribune

Arizona Man Who Died in Scooter Crash in Mission Beach ID'ed

Authorities have publicly identified a 48-year-old man who was killed in June in a collision between two dockless scooters on the Mission Beach Boardwalk. Brian Witzeman of Mesa, AZ, and a 22-year-old female friend were riding the two-wheelers next to each other in the 3300 block of Ocean Front Walk when they collided and fell onto the concrete pedestrian path about 1:30 p.m. Sunday, according to San Diego Police. Both suffered scrapes and bruises in the crash, and Witzeman complained of chest pains. Medics took him to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, where he was pronounced dead, San Diego Police Department Lt. Shawn Takeuchi said. A preliminary autopsy report concluded that Witzeman died of blunt-force trauma to his torso. Times of San Diego

 15 Serious Scooter Crashes This Year So Far

Since Jan. 1, there have been at least 15 reported serious crashes involving the popular single-person rental conveyances in San Diego, according to San Diego Police Department Lt. ShawnTakeuchi. "The injuries range from serious fractures to significant head injuries," Takeuchi said. "Scooter riders should be aware of their surroundings and yield to pedestrians when appropriate." The city is implementing new regulations on dockless devices, including motorized scooters, Takeuchi said. Starting July 1, operators of the machines will be required to reduce speeds in specific areas, including beach-area boardwalks. Use of motorized scooters is also regulated under the California Vehicle Code.

OBcean Quoted on Beach Dangers

Shannon Craig spent the day at Ocean Beach Sunday. "We live a couple of blocks away, so we come down here a couple of times a week." Her daughter Sam likes to play tag with the waves, as they ripple towards her older brother Alex. The Ocean Beach residents say they know the potential dangers of their favorite play area. "I talk to my son about it because he is a little bit bigger," Craig said. "But my daughter, she stays close. We talk about the ocean being dangerous." 10News

Woman Seriously Injured Crossing Highway in Midway

A 58-year-old woman who was crossing a busy street in the Midway District was struck and seriously injured by an SUV, a San Diego police officer said Saturday. The crash took place at 8:35 p.m. Friday, June 28 at 4100 Pacific Highway, SDPD Officer Robert Heims said. According to police, the woman was crossing Pacific Highway diagonally from east to west across the northbound lanes when a 2007 Chevy Tahoe driven by a 27-year-old man sideswiped the woman, Heims said. The woman suffered serious fractures of her legs requiring surgery. The driver was not cited by police. Anyone who witnessed the crash was asked to call San Diego police at 619-531-2000 or Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477. Fox5

79-Year-Old Pedestrian Killed in Midway Traffic

A 79-year-old man was struck by a car and later died late Saturday, June 29 when he walked into the street from a sidewalk in the Midway District, San Diego police said. The man was standing on the south sidewalk on Kurtz Street near Pacific Highway when he "darted out" in front of a 59-year-old woman driving a 2006 Toyota Prius around 10:50 p.m., San Diego police Officer Robert Heims said. The man was rushed to a hospital, where he died from his injuries. Investigators said the driver was not driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, Heims said. SD U-T

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