Birmingham: The founder and chief executive of the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama will leave the nonprofit organization at the end of the year, the group said in a statement. Isabel Rubio, who has led the Birmingham-based organization for 20 years, will be replaced by chief operating officer Carlos Aleman, who went to work for the group as deputy director three years ago. The coalition, which advocates for Latino and immigrant families in Alabama, helped lead opposition and provided community services when the state passed a restrictive law dealing with immigrants a decade ago. Court challenges later gutted the law. Growing from a staff of one, the coalition said it now has a staff of more than two dozen bilingual workers who serve more than 5,000 people annually. Rubio has raised more than $19 million to support the Hispanic community with small business development, citizenship, college and home ownership.
Anchorage: A popular strip club that once beckoned customers off a busy highway leading into Anchorage is now a church offering salvation – instead of temptation – behind the daughter of a former exotic dancer. Linda Dunegan believes divine intervention played a hand in transforming the building that housed Fantasies on 5th into the start-up Open Door Baptist Church, turning the show floor into a sanctuary and trading the dancer’s pole with a pulpit. “This church came about because I prayed for five years,” said Dunegan, who tried to buy the building before but walked away – for good, she thought – when she and the owner couldn’t come to terms. Then the owner gave a real estate agent a week to sell it and suggested the agent call Dunegan. This time, the deal went through. “God has been very good to me,” Dunegan said, “to give me a family, a wonderful husband, food on the table, a place to live.”
Phoenix: An Arizona Republican official said ballots stored for the review of the Maricopa County 2020 election were not damaged by water leaking from the ceiling at a state fairgrounds building during Phoenix-area monsoon thunderstorms. “No ballots are at risk,” Randy Pullen, representing state Senate Republicans who ordered the election review, told the Arizona Republic. Pullen said he was at the building when leaks began. He said workers covered boxes with tarps for protection and moved them away from the leaks inside the Weslin Bolin Building as rain poured outside. Pullen identified four leaks above where work is taking place, as well as leaks in other parts of the building. He told the Republic he called fairgrounds management to fix them. The Bolin building is an exhibit hall usually used for trade shows. It is not air-conditioned. The ballot review moved to the building earlier this month after the state Senate’s lease ended at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, also on the fairgrounds property.
Little Rock: COVID-19 continues to rage through Arkansas as new day-over-day cases topped 2,000 for the first time since February. State health officials reported 2,015 new cases Saturday as the highly contagious delta variant swept across the state, prompting the state to resume weekend daily updates. Another 1,022 were reported Sunday. Forty-eight more COVID-19 cases required hospitalization over the weekend, and 13 more deaths were reported. The state averaged 626 new cases a day per 100,000 population over the past two weeks, an increase of 140.7% and a rate that topped the nation’s states, according to Johns Hopkins University research data. Although the Arkansas vaccination rate has been among the nation’s lowest, State Epidemiologist Jennifer Dillaha told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that 32,466 first doses of COVID-19 vaccine were administered last week, the most since late April.
San Diego: The state has given the University of California, San Diego $35 million to build a coastal research vessel that will focus on such pressing topics as sea-level rise, the health of marine fisheries, ocean acidification, El Nino and the atmospheric rivers that periodically bring damaging storms to California. The university’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography will oversee the design and construction of the 125-foot vessel, which will have a hydrogen-hybrid propulsion system, an emerging technology meant to limit the release of greenhouse gases. The vessel – whose funding comes from the state’s general fund – will primarily sail in California waters, and also will be able to operate with diesel fuel. The ship will be used for research and education, replacing the research vessel Robert Gordon Sproul, which is nearing the end of its 40-year service life. Scripps also operates two large research ships, the Sally Ride and the Roger Revelle, and a small, near-shore vessel, the Bob and Betty Beyster.
La Junta: Nine Otero County restaurants received nearly $622,000 in federal COVID-19 relief funding from Restaurant Revitalization Fund grants. The Restaurant Revitalization Fund was designed by Congress as part of this year’s American Rescue Plan Act. About $28.6 billion worth of grants were awarded to restaurants, bars and food trucks throughout the nation. Nearly $500 million was awarded to Colorado alone, according to Democratic U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper. Otero County restaurants receiving grants included Copper Kitchen, Eagle’s Lanes & Eagle’s Nest, El Azteca Mexican Restaurant, Felisa’s Mexican Food and Lounge and JJ’s Inc. in La Junta. RPF grants were also given to Frontier Diner in Cheraw, Majestyk, Inc. in Manzanola, Tamarack Grill in Fowler and Rocky Ford’s China Kitchen. No businesses in Crowley or Bent counties received such grants.
Hartford: Connecticut could lag behind most states in regaining hotel jobs lost during the coronavirus pandemic, according to projections by a national trade group. The American Hotel and Lodging Association predicted the state will have regained a little less than 72% of its roughly 26,000 direct hotel industry jobs by year’s end. The projected 7,400 unfilled jobs is a more dire forecast than the group made in May, when it predicted a gap of about 5,900 jobs. The group predicted only four states – Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts and New York – and the District of Columbia will regain smaller percentages than Connecticut by the end of 2021. It estimated the hotel industry will end 2021 down about 500,000 jobs compared to 2019 levels. Direct hotel jobs include positions such as housekeeper and front desk attendant but don’t include jobs such as restaurant or retail workers or other small businesses supported by the hotel industry. Experts said vacation and leisure travel in Connecticut has rebounded but business travel has lagged considerably. Business travelers account for roughly 60% of the hotel industry’s customer base.
Wilmington: No Delaware hospitals – including the state-run psychiatric facility – are complying with federal regulations to post prices on their websites, according to a recent report. This month, Patient Rights Advocate published a report that found that 94.4% of U.S. hospitals are failing to follow the hospital price transparency rule that was put in place during the Trump administration. The list included all of the acute care hospitals in Delaware, as well as a number of behavioral health organizations. In January, hospitals were required to post the costs of services for all payers and plans and have a list or price estimator that calculates the 300 most common services. Before this law went into effect, the hospital industry sued to prevent posting prices but ultimately lost. President Joe Biden earlier this month issued an executive order that told the secretary of Health and Human Services to “support existing hospital price transparency rules.” ChristianaCare, the largest health system in Delaware, said in a statement that it has been “committed to price transparency” and launched its price website in 2018, years before the federal mandate.
District of Columbia
Washington: D.C. officials are asking people to stay out of the Potomac and Anacostia rivers as summer heat sends many toward local waterways, WUSA-TV reported. “The entire river is inherently dangerous because it looks calm,” said D.C. Fire and EMS Captain Paul O’Conner. “But underneath the moving water ... that looks easy to swim in (are) many obstructions.” Agency spokesperson Vito Maggiolo said three people have accidentally drowned in D.C. waters this year. The most dangerous area is on the northwest edge of the city near Fletcher’s Boathouse, according to Maggiolo. “Strong currents, they’ll pull you under,” he said. “Rocks, you’ll get tossed around. It’s almost like a vortex, being in a washing machine.” If that’s not enough, there’s another reason not to jump into the rivers: It’s illegal. DCFEMS and DC Police confirmed swimming in the Anacostia or Potomac rivers is against the law.
Key West: There’s a new Ernest Hemingway look-alike in Key West. Zach Taylor of Ambrose, Georgia, won this year’s contest to celebrate the author during the island’s annual Hemingway Days festival. The 63-year-old business owner beat out 136 other entrants at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, the Key West saloon where Hemingway frequently drank. Competing in the contest is a family affair for Taylor. His late father-in-law, Carlie Coley, was the winner in 2000. His wife and mother-in-law shared his victory celebration Saturday night. “Hemingway has been a fixture of ours since we started coming down to the contest,” Taylor said. “And you know, I think ‘Papa’ would be proud of what’s been accomplished in his name in a town he loved so well.” Saturday night’s competitors paraded across Sloppy Joe’s stage, trying to impress the judging panel of former winners, while the audience cheered and applauded. In 2020, the contest was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Like Taylor, most 2021 entrants attempted to emulate the “Papa” persona adopted by the author in his later years. Some pleaded for victory through poems or song fragments including finalist David “Bat” Masterson, who accompanied his original tune on the harmonica. As well as resembling Hemingway, Taylor said he shares the Nobel Prize-winning author’s passion for fishing, hunting and the life of an outdoorsman.
Brunswick: The demolition and removal of an overturned cargo ship along the Georgia coast is inching closer to completion. Crews on Thursday began cutting through steel to remove a sixth chunk of the Golden Ray and take it away on a barge to a facility in Brunswick. Roughly two-thirds of the ship has been removed since demolition began in November. The cut that started Thursday will be the second-to=last one on the project, the Brunswick News reported. Section 6 is about 73 feet long and weighs approximately 3,700 metric tons. The South Korean-owned Golden Ray capsized with more than 4,200 automobiles in its cargo decks shortly after departing the Port of Brunswick on Sept. 8, 2019. Investigators concluded the ship tipped over because unstable loading left its center of gravity too high. The entire crew was rescued safely but the ship was deemed a total loss. Demolition of the ship has been slower than officials predicted. The project reached the halfway mark with removal of the fourth section in April. The fifth chunk was cut away in early July.
Honolulu: Testing of drinking water at Hawaii’s public schools found at least 93 faucets and fountains have elevated concentrations of lead. The contaminated water was found among 2,232 sampled taps at 58 schools on Maui, Kauai and the Big Island, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported. Testing on Oahu began in July, and the results will be released as they become available. An additional four taps with elevated levels of lead were found among 100 sampled sources at 70 child care centers in the state. The results show elevated lead in about 4% of the samples collected so far, officials said. The water testing returned lead concentrations above a project action level of 15 parts per billion. State officials said the compromised fixtures were taken out of commission, and the facilities were notified. Faucet fixtures appeared to be the problem in most cases, but follow-up testing will reveal if plumbing is to blame, said Michael Miyahira, acting branch chief of the Department of Health’s Safe Drinking Water Branch. This is the first time Hawaii’s public schools have been comprehensively tested for lead in drinking water. The state received a $222,000 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant to do the testing.
Boise: Officials are working on a hemp plan to submit to federal officials this fall so that farmers can grow it next year. State Department of Agriculture Deputy Director Chanel Tewalt told the Capital Press last week that the state intends to submit its plan to the U.S. Department of Agriculture by Sept. 1. Idaho lawmakers earlier this year approved the growing and selling of hemp products containing 0.3% or less of THC, the cannabis compound that gives marijuana its high. The State Department of Agriculture plans to submit the hemp plan in early August to Republican Gov. Brad Little and the State Police for their approval. Little, who signed the bill approving hemp in Idaho into law in April, and law enforcement officials have expressed concern that hemp could be used as a cover for growing or transporting marijuana. The overall effort is to align state law with federal law contained in the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized hemp. Idaho is the only state that still treats hemp like marijuana. That has prevented Idaho framers from growing hemp, which backers say can be a lucrative crop.
Wayne: A tick species native to the southeastern part of the United States has been found outside Chicago. Three Gulf Coast ticks were located earlier this month in the Dunham Forest Preserve in Wayne, according to The (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald. Wayne is roughly 40 miles west of Chicago. The species is more likely than others to carry the pathogen causing Tidewater spotted fever, which could cause a headache, muscle aches and rash, among other things. “Don’t be scared, be prepared. We don’t need to freak out,” said Holly Tuten, vector ecologist for the Illinois Natural History Survey Medical Entomology Lab at the University of Illinois. The ticks have previously found in more than a dozen Illinois counties, but in small numbers. Then last year, 780 were found in Illinois after researchers found a new way of searching for them, Tuten told the newspaper. However, only adults have been found, suggesting they might not be able to survive Illinois winters. Experts said Gulf Coast ticks can be avoided in the same ways as other ticks. Experts recommend remaining on the center of nature trails and wearing protective clothing when in grassy areas.
Bloomington: Public beaches along the Lake Monroe shoreline remained closed Friday more than a week after multiple rounds of heavy rain passed through south-central Indiana. The beaches at Fairfax and Paynetown state recreation areas were closed by lake officials after several days of heavy downpours caused widespread flooding in the area. Michael Prier, an office worker at the Paynetown office at Lake Monroe, told The Herald Times that lake waters on Thursday were up 6 feet from typical levels. Days earlier, the lake was 10 feet above normal. Lake Monroe’s public fishing docks also remain closed because of the high water. Some county roads that are used to travel around the lake additionally remain underwater, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Boaters are encouraged by the IDNR to use “extreme caution” on the lake because of possible floating debris and hidden obstacles in the lake. All boat ramps and campgrounds near Lake Monroe remain open.
Des Moines: More than 100 people gathered outside the state Capitol on Saturday to rally against mandates requiring people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, such as the ones some Iowa hospitals have issued. One of the speakers at the rally, Republican state Rep. Jeff Shipley, called vaccine mandates “a crime against humanity.” People in the crowd held signs that read “stop vax bullying” and “mandates belong in socialist countries.” The event was organized by a group called Informed Choice Iowa that opposes mandatory coronavirus vaccinations and vaccine passports. Brei Johnson with that group told the Des Moines Register that she believes vaccinations should be discussed between a health professional and patient, not made a condition of employment. “You can take off a mask but you can’t undo a vaccine. That’s a slippery slope to what comes next,” Johnson said. Earlier this month, the owner of seven MercyOne hospitals and related clinics said all employees would be required to get vaccinated or risk termination. The hospitals and clinics are in Clinton, Dubuque, Dyersville, Mason City, New Hampton, Primghar and Sioux City. The Iowa Department of Public Health said nearly 47% of Iowa residents have been fully vaccinated against the virus.
Lawrence: A retired University of Kansas professor received Poland’s Medal of Valor this weekend more than 75 years after he fought with the Polish resistance against the occupying forces of Nazi Germany during World War II. Polish Air Force Major Gen. Cezary Wisniewski who is based at the Polish embassy in Washington, visited Jarek Piekalkiewicz’s home in Lawrence on Saturday to give him Poland’s second-highest combat honor on his 95th birthday. Wisniewski said the honor was overlooked during the war and then the post-war communist government of Poland refused to honor the country’s wartime resistance fighters. The recommendation that Piekalkiewicz receive the medal for his efforts was recently discovered in Poland’s archives, according to the Lawrence Journal-World. Piekalkiewicz joined the Polish resistance at age 16. Two years later, he was promoted to platoon sergeant and commanded 1,000 men during the bloody uprising of 1944 when roughly 6,000 resistance soldiers were killed before the resistance surrendered in October when its forces ran short of ammunition and food. Piekalkiewicz said he then became a prisoner of war at a German labor camp, and he tried to escape three times before he finally succeeded. Later, he served with the U.S. Army and British military. After the war, he earned his bachelor’s degree and met his wife at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, before coming to the United States and earning his doctorate. He went on to teach at KU from 1963 to 2000,
Irvine: State officials have celebrated the opening of a $14.7 million technology center serving Estill, Powell and surrounding counties in eastern Kentucky. The center will serve high school and technical college students and provide training for displaced workers seeking new career paths. Gov. Andy Beshear participated in the recent grand opening, along with state Education Commissioner Jason Glass and Senate President Robert Stivers. Beshear praised the “forward thinking of leaders that laid the groundwork” for the project. The Estill County Area Technology Center will serve about 300 students from Estill, Powell and surrounding counties, Beshear’s office said. It will house six career and technical programs and will be home to the Estill County Success/Virtual Academy. “Technical centers, like the new Estill County Area Technology Center, are key to preparing the future workforce of Kentucky,” Glass said. “Our students will develop the latest and most in-demand skills in high demand areas, including health and computer sciences.
New Orleans: Republican U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins, a critic of mask mandates and public health restrictions during the pandemic, said he, his wife and son have contracted the coronavirus. He made the announcement on Facebook on Sunday night. He said he and his wife had been infected last year, but this time around is much more difficult. He has not said whether he has been vaccinated. “This episode is far more challenging. It has required all my devoted energy,” he said. “We are all under excellent care, and our prognosis is positive.” Higgins is the second member of Congress to announce in the last week that they contracted the virus. Rep. Vern Buchanan, a Republican who represents parts of southwest Florida, said July 19 that he had tested positive. Buchanan said he had been fully vaccinated and was experiencing mild symptoms. Higgins has said he doesn’t support mask mandates or mandatory vaccines. In a May Facebook post, Higgins said: “If you want to get vaccinated, get vaccinated. If you want to wear a mask, wear a mask. If you don’t, then don’t. That’s your right as a free American.”
Portland: Some unemployment claimants in Maine and elsewhere will soon have to submit proof that they were employed when they lost a job because of the coronavirus pandemic. The federal government is requiring the proof of employment by Aug. 4 for people who have received Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. The rule applies to anyone who has received the benefits beginning with the week that ended Jan 2. The Maine Department of Labor said claimants must submit the proof of employment as soon as possible to avoid a denial of benefits. Overpayment of benefits would require the claimant to repay benefits, the department said. There were 100 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance in Maine in the week that ended July 17.
Baltimore: Colleges and universities in Maryland are adjusting computer software and hiring additional staff to manage vaccination records for COVID-19 ahead of the fall semester. The Baltimore Sun reported administrators are devising plans to verify compliance with vaccine mandates and to process applications for an exemption. Earlier this year,14 schools across the state said they would require students and employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine before the fall. Some schools have collected immunization records for years. But they’re now doing so on a larger scale and will include employees. Unvaccinated students who lack an exemption might not be allowed to live on campus or access campus facilities. Some could also see their registration for courses canceled.
Boston: Rachael Rollins, who has pushed for progressive criminal justice reforms as the first woman of color to serve as a district attorney in Massachusetts, has been nominated by President Joe Biden to become the state’s top federal prosecutor. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Rollins, who has led the Suffolk County district attorneys office since 2019, would become the first Black woman to serve as U.S. attorney for Massachusetts. Rollins defeated the district attorney candidate backed by the longtime incumbent and police groups in the 2018 Democratic primary on a promise to decline prosecution for certain low-level crimes. She argued people shouldn’t be jailed for crimes that result from mental health or addiction problems and said she wanted to focus her attention on serious crimes, like homicides. Sens. Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, who recommended Rollins for the job, said they are “certain that she will be a tremendous U.S. attorney” and pledged to work to make sure she’s confirmed as quickly as possible.
Detroit: The National Weather Service said tornadoes struck near Detroit and near Flint on Saturday night. The EF-1 tornadoes touched down in Genesee County’s Clayton Township about 6:30 p.m. and in Oakland County about 7:45 p.m., the weather service said. Damage from both storms was consistent with winds of 100 mph and they traveled about 1.8 miles, damaging trees. One person suffered minor injuries. Thousands of utility customers in the Detroit area had no power Sunday following a night of severe storms. DTE Energy reported nearly 135,000 customers in Oakland and Macomb counties had no service at 10:20 a.m. because of wind damage. Consumers Energy reported more than 650 customers without power in Oakland County’s Holly Township at 9:45 a.m. DTE had more than 500 crews in the field and “will be working around the clock to restore power to impacted customers as quickly and safely as possible,” the utility reported on its website.
Minneapolis: Minnesota officially adopted regulations championed by Gov. Tim Walz to encourage the switchover to electric vehicles. The “clean car” rules published in the State Register take effect in 2024 with the 2025 model year. They will require manufacturers and dealers to supply more electric vehicles for the Minnesota marketplace. The Walz administration said the rules will lead to cleaner air and help fight climate change by increasing the choices Minnesotans have for purchasing electric cars. It said the changes will protect public health and save Minnesotans money at the pump. But Scott Lambert, president of the Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association, said the rules put California in charge of writing Minnesota’s regulations because the state is essentially adopting California’s standards, and can’t modify them under federal law. He said the changes will swamp Minnesota dealers with more electric vehicles than customers want to buy, and force up car prices for everyone.
Jackson: The Mississippi Department of Education will temporarily move out of its headquarters in the old Central High School building in downtown Jackson so repairs can be made to alleviate repeated leaks and flooding. The department will lease office space at South Pointe Business Park in the Jackson suburb of Clinton, officials said in a news release Monday. Some employees will start working there sometime in mid-August, and others will work remotely. The department said phone numbers and email addresses for all staff will remain the same. This is the second time in recent years for the Department of Education to temporarily move to South Pointe. The first time was in 2015, when a fire in a downtown Jackson hotel damaged the old Central High building. Those repairs were completed after a year. The Legislature will have to set aside money for the new repairs.
St. Louis: The St. Louis area has become one of the first in the country to reinstate mask requirements amid a rise in cases that health officials are blaming on low vaccination rates and the highly contagious delta variant. Despite pushback from some elected officials, face coverings became mandatory Monday in indoor public places and on public transportation in St. Louis city and St. Louis County for everyone age 5 or older – even for those who are vaccinated. Wearing masks outdoors is strongly encouraged, especially in group settings. “For those who are vaccinated this may feel like punishment, punishment for doing the right thing,” St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, a Democrat, said at a news conference Monday. “I’ve heard that and I feel that frustration. While the vaccination can protect against serious illness, it can’t protect you from being infected with COVID-19 and passing it onto someone else, someone who may be more vulnerable.” The decision came as both of Missouri’s urban areas have seen a big uptick in coronavirus hospitalizations that began in rural areas of the state, especially in southwestern Missouri. Missouri ranks fourth nationally in the most new cases per capita in the past 14 days, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Cascade: The Cascade County Sheriff’s Department has issued a pre-evacuation warning for “everything south of Cascade” in advance of a wildfire, Sheriff Jesse Slaughter said in a text Sunday afternoon. “A pre-evacuation warning has been issued for the Sheep Creek Lane area, everything south of Cascade,” Slaughter said in the text. “Deputies are being called in to make notifications.” Also, the County Sheriff’s Department and the Montana Highway Patrol were conducting pre-evacuation warnings for the northern part of the Belt Creek Drainage as well as the town of Monarch being threatened by another wildfire as of 6:47 p.m. Sunday. According to the Inciweb website, that fire started Friday at about noon by lightning about 10 miles southeast of Cascade and has since grown to 3,623 acres. It is east of the Dearborn Rest Area on Interstate 15 at the Cascade-Lewis and Clark County Line. A total of 132 firefighting personnel were on the scene, including two Type 1 hotshot crews and three Type 2 Initial Attack Crews, along with three bulldozers and five fire engines. The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation is coordinating with the Cascade County Sheriff’s Department and multiple volunteer fire departments in Cascade County.
Bellevue: Four people were injured when a second-floor outdoor deck collapsed during a barbecue, trapping the people and leaving serious burns on one woman when a hot charcoal grill fell on her. First responders said the incident happened about 9 p.m. Sunday at a home in Bellevue. Several people were on the deck when it collapsed, officials said, causing them to fall 10- to 12-feet to the ground. Four people, including the woman with first- and second-degree burns, were taken to local hospitals. Officials said some people at the scene declined treatment.
Reno: The airport serving Nevada’s second-largest metro area faces a shortage of jet fuel that could force the cancellation of cargo and passenger fights, potentially restricting the flow of tourists and essential goods into the northern part of the state. Nevada’s political leaders issued a statement late Saturday pledging to minimize disruption at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport and ensure the aerial fight against Western wildfires isn’t hampered. Besides serving Reno, a popular gambling destination, the airport is the nearest passenger terminal to Lake Tahoe. “To be clear, further failure to secure adequate fuel supplies is unacceptable,” wrote Gov. Steve Sisolak, Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen, and U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei. Airport officials across West have voiced concerns about jet fuel shortages and their effect on what is shaping up to be a busy wildfire season. Jet fuel demand declined sharply and supply chains atrophied during the coronavirus pandemic, according to aviation supply companies, jet fuel transport companies and others. They have yet to bounce back in the West even as the economy picks up and people flock to airports for long-delayed trips.
Moultonborough: Parents are demanding answers after a summer camp that called itself one of the best in the nation unexpectedly shut down after just six days this month. Officials at Camp Quinebarge notified parents in early July that they needed to pick up their children after delays in food shipments made it impossible to continue, The Boston Globe reported. All remaining sessions for the overnight camp were canceled. But some parents told The Globe that problems appeared to go beyond food deliveries. Stories surfaced about counselors who were hired days before camp with little training. Campers reported that multiple meals were served on dirty dishes. Some parents said their children were quarantined after they vomited and that the parents were not notified. The camp’s executive director, Eric Carlson, apologized to parents but said the closure was tied to industry-wide staffing and supply chain problems and not because of any long-term problems with the camp’s operations. The camp had been licensed to operate by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, but it closed before an in-season inspection was performed, a department spokesperson told The Globe. Some parents have said they deserve a full accounting of what happened at the 85-year-old camp, which costs $3,400 for two weeks. Although some defend the camp, some have swapped horror stories on a Facebook group for aggrieved parents.
Hackensack: Advocacy groups filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security against the Bergen County Jail on behalf of 15 current and former inmates, with allegations of sexual assault, medical and physical abuse, religious discrimination, COVID-19 negligence and generally “deplorable” conditions. The complaint called for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to end its agreement with the jail and release all immigrants detained at the facility. Freedom for Immigrants, the Center for Constitutional Rights and UnLocal jointly filed the complaint. It includes testimonies from current and former inmates, some who kept anonymous because of fear of retaliation. One inmate told Freedom For Immigrants’ hotline that a correctional officer sexually assaulted him, and then was told by the officer “you can’t do anything about it.”At least three inmates complained of medical neglect. One man said he was diagnosed with HPV and diabetes while in jail, and since then has been denied proper treatment for both ailments. Another said he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2013, but after having an X-ray conducted by a doctor at the jail, he was told everything was “fine,” despite feeling constant pain. The Bergen County Sheriff’s Office had previously denied similar allegations. Regarding this complaint, the sheriff’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Las Cruces: Indian Resources Development at New Mexico State University, in partnership with Navajo Technical University, received a four-year, $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to develop experiential learning opportunities to increase retention and graduation of Native American students at New Mexico land-grant institutions. Housed in NMSU’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, Indian Resources Development and NTU were awarded the grant with support of Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, American Indian Chamber of Commerce, Flower Hill Institute and the Navajo Nation Department of Natural Resources. The project will offer experiential learning opportunities that foster connections between Native American students’ cultural background and their academic experiences along with relevant real-world internships, professional development and career exploration opportunities. Mentors from regional land-grant institutions, Tribal entities and Native professionals also will collaborate on the project.
New York City: The city will require all of its municipal workers – including teachers and police officers – to get coronavirus vaccines by mid-September or face weekly coronavirus testing, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. The rule is expected to affect about 340,000 city employees, making the city one of the largest employers in the U.S. to take such action. Although it isn’t a vaccine mandate – no workers will be forced to take a shot – officials hope the inconvenience and discomfort of weekly tests will persuade many to overcome a reluctance to get inoculated. “This is about our recovery. This is about what we need to do to bring back New York City,” de Blasio said. “This is about keeping people safe.” The Sept. 13 deadline coincides with the start of public school, when the Democratic mayor has said he expects all pupils to be in classrooms full-time. City health care workers and employees in congregate setting such as group homes will face earlier deadlines. The move came as the city fights a rise in COVID-19 cases fueled by the highly contagious delta variant. Since the end of June, the daily average of new cases has increased by more than 300%.
Ocracoke: Officials said no one was seriously injured when a small airplane flipped over onto its roof shortly after landing at the Ocracoke Island Airport on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The incident happened about 1:30 p.m. Sunday, a news release from the Cape Hatteras National Seashore said. The single-engine airplane came to rest in grass near the end of the runway, and emergency officials responded. Neither the pilot nor passenger required transport to a hospital, according to the news release. The Federal Aviation Administration was notified and no further details were immediately available.
Bismarck: The North Dakota Department of Transportation has added dozens of self-serve kiosks across the state to help residents avoid what can sometimes be a long wait at motor vehicle stations. The DOT has completed adding 44 kiosks, an effort it began earlier this year. Residents can now use 52 kiosks to renew a license, request a replacement license or ID card, schedule a road test, pay a reinstatement fee, change an address and edit donor registry information, the Bismarck Tribune reported. They also can check the status of their license, driving record and commercial driver’s license medical card. An initial REAL ID card isn’t available at the kiosk, but its renewal is possible. “The new driver’s license kiosk upgrades add another convenient option for customers doing business with the NDDOT and also expands services into rural communities,” DOT Director Bill Panos said. Motor vehicle registration renewals, nonresident temporary registration requests and applying for a mobility impairment placard are also available at the kiosks.
Columbus: The state doesn’t plan to mandate masks in schools this fall, but health officials strongly recommend students and staff wear face coverings if they aren’t vaccinated against COVID-19, the Department of Health’s chief medical officer said. That and other recommended steps are essential to protecting children and ensuring a successful school year as students return to classrooms, Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said. Some of Ohio’s largest districts, including Columbus and Cleveland, already decided to require masks for everyone when the school year begins. Others are still navigating the complicated decision-making and polarization around mask rules as the delta variant spreads and cases rise. The health department is strongly urging school employees and eligible students age 12 and older to get vaccinated. That is the best protection, Vanderhoff said. Health officials also are recommending schools continue additional measures that have proven helpful, such as keeping extra distance between people indoors, improving ventilation, sanitizing and encouraging good hand-washing.
Taft: A state prison inmate serving a sentence for escape was recaptured less than five hours after escaping a minimum security prison in eastern Oklahoma on Saturday, according to the State Department of Corrections. Robert Youngblood, 41, was taken into custody about noon after escaping the Jess Dunn Correctional Center in Taft about 7 a.m., according to a statement from the department. The department said Youngblood was seen by staff leaving the prison grounds on foot. The department said Youngblood was serving time for escape from a Logan County jail. DOC records showed Youngblood’s previous convictions included drug possession and distribution, false personation, obstructing an officer and robbery.
Salem: Rescue teams continued their search Sunday for a Salem climber who plummeted several hundred feet while descending Mount Jefferson on Friday. The "intense" search for Steven Vanpelt, 33, was in its third day after Marion County Sheriff's deputies initially responded to a call from the Pamelia Lake trailhead just off Oregon Highway 22 at 11:36 a.m. Friday. Linn County Sheriff’s Office took over command of the operation at about 3:30 p.m. that day. Linn County officials said Vanpelt was descending Mount Jefferson when he fell "among extreme mountainous terrain." A witness told deputies they lost sight of Vanpelt after he plummeted several hundred feet. Vanpelt has not yet been found because of the dangerous terrain consisting of snow, cliffs, large boulders, crevices and rock scree, which calls for technical mountaineers, officials said. Search-and-rescue efforts on and near the mountain often require multiple counties because of the resources needed and county borders in the area. Corvallis Mountain Rescue, Eugene Mountain Rescue, Deschutes Mountain Rescue and Portland Mountain Rescue are helping with the efforts, Linn County Sheriff's Office authorities said. LifeFlight crews and the Army National Guard have also conducted multiple flights to search the terrain in the days following the initial report.
Tredyffrin Township: A Republican candidate for governor has denied he caused an accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike last week in which a Bradford County motorcyclist was killed. Charlie Gerow, 66, was involved in an accident Wednesday night in Chester County. A highway construction worker told Spotlight PA that he saw a car later identified as Gerow's traveling on the other side of the turnpike with a motorcycle wedged into its grill. State police closed the turnpike for 7 hours after the accident. No charges have been filed. The Chester County coroner’s office said the victim was Logan Carl Abbott, 30. The cause of death was multiple blunt impacts and toxicology tests on the victim are pending, Chester County Coroner Christina VandePol told the Associated Press. Gerow’s campaign posted a statement to its website on Friday that said he is “cooperating fully with the investigation and will continue to do so.” The statement said Gerow “looks forward to the State Police completing their investigation and is confident that the investigation will confirm that he was not the cause of the accident.” The campaign statement said Gerow has been advised to not discuss the accident until police have completed their investigation. State police released a crash report that did not identify anyone involved, but reported that a fatal crash occurred in the turnpike’s westbound lanes in Tredyffrin Township at about 9:50 p.m. Wednesday. Police said the crash involved a Honda motorcycle and a Mercedes Benz 300. The westbound lanes were closed until 4:45 a.m.
Narragansett: The easing of rules on outdoor dining that proved to be a crucial lifeline for many Rhode Island restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic were extended Monday during a ceremonial bill signing by Gov. Daniel McKee. The law signed outside Meldgie’s Diner in Narragansett puts a moratorium until April 1 on enforcement of municipal ordinances or zoning requirements that would penalize restaurant and bar owners for modifying their premises to allow for outdoor dining. “When something works and makes sense, you continue it,” the Democratic governor said at the ceremony attended by the legislative sponsors of the bill as well as several bar and restaurant owners. “That is what this legislation is all about: allowing these outdoor seating arrangements to continue so we can support small, locally-owned restaurants that have faced numerous challenges since the outset of the pandemic.” Mark Eldridge, co-owner of three Meldgie’s Diner locations, said the challenges of COVID-19 have been “overwhelming,” but his restaurants have stayed afloat thanks to local, state and federal aid programs.
Spartanburg: The Spartanburg County Council voted to ends its $25-a-year road fee in the wake of a state Supreme Court decision tossing a similar fee out in neighboring Greenville County. There have been other attempts in recent years to repeal the fee passed in 2005 to pay for road and bridge maintenance, but the high court ruling sealed its fate, County Council Chairman Manning Lynch said. The County Council will need to vote two more times to officially end the fee, the Herald-Journal of Spartanburg reported. The fee generates about $7 million a year and Lynch said he thinks the county can find money in its general budget to replace the fees.
Aberdeen: A federal contempt of court trial involving three members of the U.S. Marshals Service has been moved from Aberdeen to Sioux Falls, according to court documents. Three supervisory marshals, including the agency’s Chief of Staff John Kilgallon, were accused of allowing a deputy marshal to leave the courthouse in Aberdeen with prisoners in tow on May 10after the marshal refused to tell the judge whether she had been vaccinated against COVID-19. The trial was originally set for Sept. 13 in Aberdeen, but will now begin Dec. 14 in Sioux Falls. U.S. District Judge Brian C. Buescher, who is presiding over the case, said Sioux Falls is a more convenient place for proceedings for all parties involved in the case, the Aberdeen American News reported. U.S. District Judge Charles Kornmann, who filed the criminal contempt of court and obstruction of justice charges, has dropped out of the case. Buescher is based in Nebraska. In court documents recusing himself from the case, Kornmann wrote that Department of Justice policies should not trump lawful federal court order and the case “has nothing to do with requiring anyone to be fully vaccinated.”
Memphis: The Tennessee Department of Transportation said it will likely be early August before the Interstate 40 bridge between Arkansas and Tennessee can reopen to traffic. Contractors are working on Phase 3 of the repairs that began after a crack was found in May in the Hernando DeSoto Bridge over the Mississippi River. Transportation Commissioner Clay Bright previously said construction was expected to run into at least late July. The department said Friday it would have a more schedule information this week about reopening. All interstate traffic in the Memphis area is being diverted to I-55. The 47-year-old, six-lane bridge was shut down May 11 after inspectors found a crack in one of two 900-foot horizontal steel beams crucial for the bridge’s structural integrity.
Fort Worth: Party attendees beat a man to death with bricks early Monday after he opened fire, police said. Another person was shot and killed and three were injured. Fort Worth police were called to the 5600 block of Shiloh Drive about 1 a.m. Witnesses told police that a small gathering was being held in a backyard. One of the attendees became upset and left the gathering before returning with another person. Both started arguing with other partygoers, authorities said. Police did not describe what caused the initial altercation. The party attendee pulled a gun and shot one person, authorities said. The victim was not seriously injured. Other people at the party chased the shooter, authorities said. While the shooter turned and fired at the crowd, a group picked up landscaping bricks and started throwing them at the shooter. The shooter ended up on the ground – it’s not known whether he tripped or was tackled – and continued shooting. One person was killed by that round of gunfire, and another was injured, authorities said. “The shooter was struck multiple times with at least one landscaping brick and was pronounced dead at the scene,” authorities said. Police have not released the identities of anybody involved, nor have they said whether any charges will be filed. A handgun was recovered by police.
Salt Lake City: The water levels at the Great Salt Lake have hit a historic low, a grim milestone for the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi River that comes as a severe drought grips the region. On Saturday, the U.S. Geological Survey announced average daily water levels had dropped about an inch below the previous record of 4,191.4 feet, which was set in 1963. The new record came months earlier than when the lake typically hits its lowest level of the year, indicating water levels could continue to drop further, said Candice Hasenyager, the deputy director of Utah’s Division of Water Resources. Receding water already is affecting a nesting spot for pelicans, which are among the millions of birds dependent on the lake. Sailboats have been hoisted out of the water to keep them from getting stuck in mud.
Montpelier: The city council has postponed a vote on whether to allow people experiencing homelessness to camp in city parks. Late last week, the council discussed a proposed policy looking at the needs of the homeless and the city, including where emergency sleeping would be located when the local shelter is full, WCAX-TV reported. The proposal also addressed what park staff should do if they find someone sleeping in an unapproved location, such as on school grounds, private property or near a public path, the station reported. The goal is to protect the homeless while adding boundaries, officials said. “If the shelters are open and there’s a place for someone to go, and they’re camping in a high sensitivity area, we would ask them to leave that area, so they can go to a shelter that’s more appropriate and safe,” Montpelier Homelessness Task Force staff representative Cameron Niedermayer said. The Homelessness Task Force will be considering suggestions from the public and working with the parks commission before the council’s next meeting on Aug. 18.
Virginia Beach: Lifeguards in Virginia Beach are warning people against diving into murky and shallow water at the oceanfront in the wake of three people reporting spinal cord injuries this year. Tom Gill, chief of the Virginia Beach Lifesaving Service, told The Virginian-Pilot last week that if “you can’t see what you’re diving into, you shouldn’t dive into it.” Chad Rosenbrock dived into the surf in June and reportedly hit his head. The impact broke several vertebrae. The 46-year-old Navy veteran was paralyzed from the chest down. Virginia Beach saw six suspected spinal injuries in 2020, three in 2019, two in 2018 and seven in 2017. Most injuries are fairly minor. And less than 10% result in paralysis. But doctors say they’re all preventable.
Bainbridge Island: A juvenile male sixgill shark measuring more than 9 feet long washed up on Rockaway Beach, and the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife responded to conduct a necropsy. “It was such a surprise to me,” said John Keller, who lives next to Mackenzie. “I fish out here and have fished out here a long time. I’ve never believed or even thought that there were sharks in the water other than dogfish. I’ve been out salmon fishing, I’ve caught more than my share of dogfish, but to see something like this … that’s just an amazing critter out here in this water.” Lisa Hillier, a biologist with the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife, was among those who examined the shark and found that the shark was killed after ingesting fishing gear, with lead weights and hooks. The shark was the third to wash up on a beach in the region this year, she said. “We do get washups occasionally, sometimes one or two a year. Having three is not unusual, but let’s just hope that it stops there,” Hillier said.
South Charleston: Coupon books are now available offering discounts on lodging, dining, activities and merchandise at West Virginia state parks. The coupon books cost $25 and are available for purchase online and at park and forest gift shops across the state, the Department of Commerce said in a news release. Among the offers are 30% off lodging at a state park; a 50% discount on a second Pipestem Peaks Zipline Tour when a first one is purchased; 30% off any item at any state park gift shop, and 15% off any breakfast, lunch or dinner for two at Tygart Lake State Park’s Lodge Restaurant. “One of the greatest parts of vacationing in our state parks and forests is that it’s affordable and this coupon book is going to make trips even better,” said West Virginia State Parks Chief Brad Reed. Coupon books ordered online will be mailed within three business days. The state parks system includes 35 parks, nine forests and two rail trails.
Madison: A southeastern Wisconsin school district failed to properly investigate a parent’s allegations of racism at its high school last year, the state Department of Public Instruction concluded. DPI officials concluded that the Cedarburg School District failed to establish enough facts to make any determinations and ordered the district to launch a new investigation. According to the DPI decision, parent Jessie Mchomvu filed a complaint with the district in October alleging her bi-racial child heard another high school student praise Kyle Rittenhouse and vowing to drive a vehicle through a Black Lives Matter protest. Rittenhouse, who is white, shot and killed two people during a protest over police brutality in Kenosha last August. He’s set to stand trial in November on homicide charges. Mchomvu also alleged that her child frequently heard a racial slur for Black people in the hallways, students displayed Confederate flags on their vehicles and wore clothing with messages supporting police and Donald Trump. The district hired an outside investigator to look into the complaint. The investigator determined there was no evidence of racial harassment or bullying after interviewing Mchomvu and one district employee. The district adopted the investigator’s conclusion.
Gillette: A recently retired U.S. senator from Wyoming remained hospitalized in uncertain condition Monday, three days after a bicycle accident outside his hometown. The accident Friday night near Gillette sent Mike Enzi, 77, to a hospital, where he was stabilized before being life-flighted to a hospital in Loveland, Colorado, Enzi’s family said in a statement. Details of the accident and the extent of Enzi’s injuries remained unknown, the statement said. Reached by phone, officials at UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland, didn’t immediately have an update on Enzi’s condition Monday. Enzi’s son, Brad, disclosed the accident Saturday on Twitter. Enzi, a Republican, retired in January after four terms as senator. He previously was a state lawmaker and mayor of Gillette, where he owned a shoe store.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 50 States