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‘QAnon the Musical,’ Fritz the hippo, hurricane drones: News from around our 50 states

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 8/16/2022 From USA TODAY Network and wire reports

Alabama

Montgomery: A federal jury awarded Republican Roy Moore $8.2 million in damages Friday after finding a Democratic-aligned super PAC defamed him in a TV ad recounting sexual misconduct accusations during his failed 2017 U.S. Senate bid. Jurors found the Senate Majority PAC made false and defamatory statements against Moore in one ad that attempted to highlight the accusations against Moore. The verdict, returned by a jury after a brief trial in Anniston, Alabama, was a victory for Moore, who has lost other defamation lawsuits, including one against comedian Sacha Baron Cohen. “We’re very thankful to God for an opportunity to help restore my reputation, which was severely damaged by the 2017 election,” Moore said. Ben Stafford, an attorney representing Senate Majority PAC, said the group believed the ruling would be overturned on appeal. Moore, a former judge known for his hard-line stances opposing same-sex marriage and supporting the public display of Ten Commandments, lost the 2017 race after his campaign was rocked by misconduct allegations. Leigh Corfman told The Washington Post that Moore sexually touched her in 1979 when she was 14, and he was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney. Moore denied the accusation. Other women said Moore dated them or asked them out when they were older teens.

Alaska

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Ketchikan: A cruise line, a floatplane operator and a pilot’s estate are all facing a lawsuit from the families of four people who died in a crash last year. The cruise passengers were on a floatplane tour when it crashed about 12 miles from Ketchikan, and the families claim in the suit that Holland America has a history of pressuring floatplane operators into unsafe operations, without warning passengers of associated risks, Alaska Public Media reports.

Arizona

Navajo Code Talker Thomas H. Begay sits for photos in front of the Navajo Code Talkers memorial at Wesley Bolin Plaza in Phoenix on Aug. 14, 2022. © Megan Mendoza/The Republic Navajo Code Talker Thomas H. Begay sits for photos in front of the Navajo Code Talkers memorial at Wesley Bolin Plaza in Phoenix on Aug. 14, 2022.

Phoenix: A ceremony at the Wesley Bolin Plaza on Sunday marked 80 years since the first Navajo Code Talkers joined the Marines, transmitting messages using a code based on their then-unwritten native language to confound Japanese military cryptologists during World War II. “It was the hardest thing to learn,” said Thomas H. Begay, 98, one of the last living members of the group. “But we were able to develop a code that couldn’t be broken by the enemy of the United States of America.” Hundreds of Navajos were recruited by the U.S. Marines to serve as Code Talkers during the war. Begay is one of just three who is still alive to talk about it. The Code Talkers participated in all assaults the Marines led in the Pacific from 1942 to 1945, including Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Peleliu and Iwo Jima. They sent thousands of messages without error on Japanese troop movements, battlefield tactics and other communications crucial to the war’s ultimate outcome. President Ronald Reagan established Navajo Code Talkers Day in 1982, and the Aug. 14 holiday honors all the tribes associated with the war effort. It’s also an Arizona state holiday and Navajo Nation holiday on the vast reservation that occupies portions of northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico and southeastern Utah.

Arkansas

Little Rock: State and local authorities are investigating after a series of weekend shootings left three people dead and three others injured in the Little Rock area. As many as 11 shootings happened Saturday and Sunday, and authorities are trying to determine whether they are connected, according to a joint press release from Arkansas State Police, the Little Rock Police Department and the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office. One person was killed Saturday night, and two other shooting deaths happened Sunday, included one at a convenience store, authorities said. Gunfire was also reported Sunday afternoon along Interstate 630 and at a busy intersection in west Little Rock, though no injuries were reported, police said. So far, police have linked the west Little Rock intersection shooting and the convenience store killing, police said Monday. A 31-year-old man was detained Sunday in connection with those two shootings.

California

Sacramento: The state should invest tens of billions of dollars in water recycling, storage and desalination over the next two decades to shore up its supply as California gets drier and hotter, Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a proposal released Thursday. It comes as drought continues to grip the U.S. West and as the state prepares to lose 10% of its water supply by 2040, according to projections by the Department of Water Resources. The Democratic governor discussed the proposal at the construction site of a plant to remove salts from river water that should be fresh – the type of project of which he said the state needs more in the coming years. Newsom’s proposed water recycling targets, which would make treated wastewater safe for drinking, would cost $27 billion by 2040, his proposal said. That was the biggest price tag associated with the plan, which also relies on billions in money already approved in past state budgets. The plan envisions that money coming from both state and federal sources. In total, he wants to boost annual water supply by nearly 3 million acre-feet each year; 1 acre-foot can supply about two households. The plan also calls to expand water storage, in above-ground reservoirs and underground aquifers, by about 4 million acre-feet – nearly enough water to fill Shasta Lake, the state’s largest reservoir.

Colorado

Wellington: Extra chairs and palpable tension filled the board room of the town’s community center last week as residents pushed for new restrictions on some books in the local library. The room quickly filled with roughly 40 people, many of whom were there to comment on a list of books some residents want banned from Wellington Public Library. Though a book ban wasn’t officially on the board’s agenda Tuesday, a list of public records requests from Wellington residents in recent months was made publicly available ahead of the meeting. Among those requests was an inquiry by Christine Gaiter – the wife of Trustee Jon Gaiter – asking when 14 book titles were purchased and made available for checkout. Some of the books on the list were popular titles like E.L. James’ “Fifty Shades of Grey,” Stephen Chbosky’s “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” and Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye.” The request gained traction on a Facebook page where several residents speculated there would be an effort to ban books from the library. Their suspicions were confirmed at Tuesday’s meeting, where multiple people asked for several books to either be banned or made less accessible at the library.

Connecticut

Waterbury: A federal judge has rejected the latest attempt by an ex-mayor to have his sentence on child-sex charges shortened. Former Waterbury Mayor Philip Giordano, who has served 19 years of a 37-year sentence after being convicted of sexually abusing 9- and 11-year-old girls, had requested compassionate release, citing in part the threat to his health from the COVID-19 pandemic. Giordano, 59, who also said he suffers from chronic spinal pain, was convicted in 2003 of repeatedly abusing the daughter and niece of a girlfriend, including several times in his city hall office. He was charged after FBI agents overheard assaults taking place while conducting surveillance for a separate corruption investigation. In his request for early release, Giordano argued his health issues – combined with his cooperation in that federal corruption probe, his volunteer work in prison, and the harshness of his sentence – should lead to a new sentence of time served. U.S. District Judge Stefan Underhill disagreed in a decision Friday, noting that Giordano “does not expressly address the conduct at issue in the underlying crimes in his litany of filings” and has never accepted full responsibility for his conduct.

Delaware

Wilmington: Nearly a year after attorneys filed a lawsuit against Wilmington and the private towing companies with which it contracts, claiming the city’s towing practices are unconstitutional, a federal judge advised attorneys the case will move forward. “I don’t know when I’m going to get to this,” U.S. District Chief Judge Colm Connolly said last Tuesday, remarking on how busy the court is. “The case is going to go forward – I’ll tell you that. Some aspect of the case is going forward.” Last September, Wilmington residents Ameera Shaheed and Earl Dickerson filed a lawsuit saying the city is violating the Fourth, Fifth, Eighth and 14th amendments. According to the suit, the city allows private companies to tow legally parked cars that have unpaid parking tickets totaling over $200. If the owners do not pay the outstanding debt within 30 days, the tow companies can scrap the vehicles and keep the proceeds. Attorneys from the Institute for Justice – a Virginia-based national law firm focused on limiting the size and scope of government power – representing Shaheed and Dickerson claim the city is violating the Takings Clause by allowing tow companies to sell or scrap a vehicle without the value being credited to the owners’ parking ticket debt, which, in turn, amounts to an excessive fine.

District of Columbia

Washington: Mayor Muriel Bowser is once again seeking National Guard assistance in helping aid migrants being bused to D.C. from Texas and Arizona, WUSA-TV reports. Earlier this month, the Pentagon rejected a request from Bowser for National Guard help in what the mayor has called a “growing humanitarian crisis” prompted by thousands of migrants being bused to the city from the two states. In July, Bowser formally asked for an open-ended deployment of 150 National Guard members per day as well as a “suitable federal location” for a mass housing and processing center, mentioning the D.C. Armory as a logical candidate. In a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Thursday, Bowser again requested Guard assistance to help “prevent a prolonged humanitarian crisis in our nation’s capital.” Austin originally declined to provide Guard personnel and the use of the D.C. Armory to assist with the reception of migrants into the city, according to U.S. defense officials. Bowser said the National Guard did not approve of the “open-ended nature” of the request. In the new request, Bowser sets an official timeline of aid requested. The letter says Guard assistance would be needed starting Aug. 22 and last for a period of 90 days, with a reevaluation of the mission on Dec. 1, 2022.

Florida

West Palm Beach: The state’s primary energy provider is ready to launch a powerful new technology, just ahead of the busiest weeks of the Atlantic hurricane season: a fixed-wing drone designed fly into tropical storm-force winds and speed the restoration of electricity after severe weather. FPLAir One resembles a small plane and is remotely operated, enabling the utility to capture and deliver images and video of damaged electrical equipment in real time to its command center. It can fly up to 1,000 miles at a time – enough to cover the length of Florida twice in the immediate wake of the most damaging storms. It’s a vast improvement on bucket trucks and hand-held drones when it comes to learning what a storm did at the top of a power pole. “Rather than going out and try to figure out what’s going on, we’re able to save hours and days on getting the lights on,” Florida Power and Light Chairman and CEO Eric Silagy told the Associated Press. The drone can even be pre-deployed when a major storm hits, skirting around to its wake and following its path across the utility’s power grid. That data can then point ground crews exactly where they need to go, Silagy said. While satellites need sunny days to document damage, drones can fly under the cloud cover. And unlike handhelds, FPLAir One can fly in much rougher weather, remaining airborne for 22 hours without refueling.

Georgia

Plains: Former first lady Rosalynn Carter has dedicated a sculpture of monarch butterflies in a garden named for her in her hometown – part of Carter’s continuing advocacy for butterflies and their habitat. Former President Jimmy Carter also attended the dedication ceremony Saturday. The statue, meant to honor Carter days before her 95th birthday Thursday, is in the Rosalynn Smith-Carter Childhood Garden, next to her childhood home. Plains resident Tim Buchannan told WRBL-TV that the sculpture by artist Peter Hazel aims to raise awareness of “what the monarch needs to survive because it was added to the endangered species list just recently.” The sculpture titled the “Monarch Tree” stands about 15 feet tall and 15 feet wide, with eight stumps and 18 butterflies. Organizers plan to add plants nearby to attract butterflies. It’s the flagship of the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail, an effort to create and register public and private butterfly gardens around the world. More than 400 public and more than 1,000 private gardens have been registered so far, according to the trail’s website. That includes 21 in and around Plains, where the Carters still live.

Hawaii

Pahoa: A 16-year-old boy has died, and the search has ended for his missing 14-year-old brother, after they were swept away while swimming off a remote beach on the Big Island last week, according to police. Rescuers responded Thursday to a report of multiple swimmers in distress at Haena Beach, also known as Shipman Beach, in the Puna district. The brothers, their father and another adult were swept out by the current and high surf, police said. The two adults and the 16-year-old were rescued by a fire department helicopter. The older boy was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said. An autopsy was ordered. Rescue crews ended the search for the younger boy Sunday night, HawaiiNewsNow reports.

Idaho

Boise: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is developing proposed aquatic life water quality standards for mercury pollution that could have statewide ramifications. The agency on Wednesday made public a proposed remedy resulting from a federal court’s 2021 ruling in a lawsuit by the Portland, Oregon-based Northwest Environmental Advocates and the Boise-based Idaho Conservation League. The court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2008 disapproval of Idaho’s mercury criteria created a mandatory duty for the EPA to develop criteria for the state that complies with the federal Clean Water Act. The agency is taking public comments through Sept. 9 on its plan to propose the mercury criteria within 18 months. After the proposal is finalized, the EPA within nine months will determine whether the Endangered Species Act applies to it. Idaho has runs of salmon and steelhead that are federally protected under the act. Several snail species plus bull trout and white sturgeon are also federally protected in the state. If the Endangered Species Act does apply, the EPA will begin consultation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s fisheries division and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Those agencies about eight years ago said Idaho’s allowable mercury standards were not stringent enough.

Illinois

Gurnee: Three people were injured in a shooting outside a Chicago-area amusement park’s entrance that sent visitors scrambling for safety and prompted the park to close early, authorities said. Officers responded about 7:50 p.m. Sunday after 911 calls reporting shots fired at Six Flags Great America, about 45 miles north of Chicago, the Gurnee Police Department said. “The shooting … was not a random act, and appeared to be a targeted incident that occurred outside the park,” police said in a statement posted to Facebook. According to an initial investigation, police said a white sedan entered the parking lot and drove toward the park’s front entrance. People got out of the car and shot at another person in the parking lot before driving away, police said. Additional details about the suspects, including the number of people who fired shots, wasn’t immediately released. Police were investigating. A 17-year-old boy from Aurora, Illinois, had a thigh wound, and a 19-year-old woman from Appleton, Wisconsin, had a leg wound, police said. They were taken to a hospital, and their wounds were described as non-life-threatening. A third victim had a shoulder injury and declined to be taken to a hospital.

Indiana

Indianapolis: The 2022 IndyFringe Festival opens Thursday, with a lineup including a comedy called “QAnon the Musical.” Co-written starting early in the pandemic by Joe Cameron, a member of Indianapolis-based comedy boy-band Un5gettable, and Zach Harris, the musical started as a series of short songs posted to TikTok about the baseless conspiracy theory that claims there is a “deep state” apparatus working against ex-President Donald Trump. “It’s just a silly, irreverent take on kind of right-wing conspiracies that are, you know, flooding people’s everyday lives,” Cameron said. “I mean, it’s ruined some friendships and some families and/or at least put some serious strain on them, and my way of dealing with it was with humor.” The show’s cast and crew includes five people, three of whom are members of Un5gettable. Brendan Hawkins, also a part of both groups, said he knows everyone has their own views pertaining to QAnon, as it’s a difficult, sometimes confusing topic. Hawkins said he was a little hesitant about the material of the show and whether the group should actively pursue producing the musical, but once he began reading the script, he knew they had something special. Cameron and Hawkins said the show is meant to resemble an educational children’s program. The IndyFringe Festival runs through Sept. 4.

Iowa

Winterset: A suspect in a Nebraska double homicide was arrested after barricading himself inside an Iowa church alone Sunday. West Des Moines Police Sgt. Jason Heintz said 27-year-old Gage Walter, of Omaha, ultimately surrendered and was arrested after several hours of negotiating with authorities from inside the church in Winterset. Heintz said Walter fled when police tried to pull him over in West Des Moines on Sunday morning and led officers on a chase for about 45 minutes before abandoning his vehicle and entering St. Paul Lutheran Church. Walter is a suspect in the deaths of Marceline Teeters, 93, and Linda Walter, 70, whose bodies were found Saturday inside an Omaha home. Police called their deaths suspicious but didn’t release details of how they died. Investigators were searching for a car stolen from the home where the bodies were found. Heintz said Walter faces charges of possession of a stolen vehicle and fleeing from police. He could also be charged with burglary for entering the church. Detectives from Omaha planned to visit Iowa to investigate, Heintz said.

Kansas

Topeka: A statewide hand recount of this month’s decisive vote in favor of abortion rights had yet to begin Monday because the abortion opponents seeking it hadn’t shown they could cover the costs of an effort that wouldn’t change the outcome. The state’s elections director gave a western Kansas woman until 5 p.m. Monday to provide cash, a valid check or a credit card with a sufficient balance to cover the $229,000 in expected costs for the state’s 105 counties. The recount request came Friday from Melissa Leavitt, an election conspiracy promoter from Colby, but Mark Gietzen, a hard-right anti-abortion activist from Wichita, pledged to help pay for the recount. Voters on Aug. 2 overwhelmingly rejected a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution that would have allowed the Republican-controlled Legislature to further restrict abortion or ban it. The “no” side prevailed by 18 percentage points, or 165,000 votes. There has been no evidence of significant problems with the election. Baseless election conspiracies have circulated widely in the U.S., particularly among supporters of ex-President Donald Trump, who has repeated false claims that he lost the 2020 election through fraud.

Kentucky

Frankfort: New FEMA mobile disaster recovery centers opened Sunday to assist eastern Kentucky flood survivors. The new centers are at the Magoffin County Health Department in Salyersville and the Owsley Recreation Center in Booneville. The centers will be open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. They will reopen Aug. 21 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Aug. 22-23 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fixed centers are also at the Breathitt Library in Jackson, the Clay County Community Center in Manchester, the Knott County Sport Plex in Leburn, the Letcher County Recreation Center in Whitesburg, Hazard Community College in Perry County, and the Dorton Community Center in Jenkins in Pike County. Survivors in Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Knott, Leslie, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Owsley, Perry, Pike and Whitley counties can go to any center for help. They can also request assistance online at disasterassistance.gov, by calling 800-621-3362 or by using the FEMA mobile app.

Louisiana

Bogalusa: The home that served as the base of operations for the Bogalusa Civil Rights Movement is now recognized with a marker along the Louisiana Civil Rights Trail. Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser and the Louisiana Office of Tourism on Thursday dedicated the seventh marker on the trail at the Robert “Bob” Hicks House in Bogalusa. “We are proud to tell the extraordinary story of Robert ‘Bob’ Hicks and the importance of his house,” Nungesser said. “It’s a privilege to honor Mr. Hicks, his family and all those from Bogalusa who strived to make rights real in Louisiana.” The house was a regular meeting place for the officers of the Bogalusa Civic and Voters League and the local chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality, Nungesser’s office said in a news release. “The house was a safe place for civil rights workers and served as an emergency triage station. The breakfast room became the communications center for the Bogalusa chapter of the Deacons of Defense and Justice, an armed self-defense group who protected civil rights workers from violence,” the news release said. Hicks founded the Deacons of Defense and Justice chapter in Bogalusa and later served as president of the BCVL. Hicks joined with civil rights activists A.Z. Young and Gayle Jenkins to help lead the Bogalusa-to Baton Rouge March in 1967.

Maine

Augusta: A metal object believed to have fallen from a trans-Atlantic jet came crashing down outside the Maine State House, landing with a loud bang just feet from Capitol Police worker, officials said Monday. The Federal Aviation Administration was alerted Friday and returned to the State House on Monday as it investigated the incident, Capitol Police Chief Matthew Clancy said. The object hit with a loud bang on a slab of granite lining a cobblestone walkaway about 6 to 8 feet from a security screener – and came close to hitting the building itself, he said. “It definitely shocked him,” the chief said. “He was walking back to the building and got quite a wake-up call.” The FAA believes the metal sleeve weighing 6 to 7 pounds came from a wing flap of a large passenger jet, he said. Airlines were notified, and all planes landed safely that day, he said. The situation could’ve ended in tragedy. The area where the airplane part crashed to the ground is usually busy when the Legislature is in session, and it’s routinely used for rallies, protests and press conferences, he said.

Maryland

Annapolis: The state raised a record $1.5 billion from gambling revenue in the last fiscal year, the lottery announced Monday. The new all-time state record includes money raised by the lottery, the state’s six casinos, sports betting and fantasy sports wagering. The revenue for the last fiscal year beat the amount raised in the previous one by $120 million, the lottery said. Maryland’s fiscal runs from July 1 to June 30. The lottery and casinos both contributed more than ever before to the state. Lottery profits totaled $673.7 million. Casinos contributed $832.3 million. The lottery’s profits to the state in the last fiscal year beat the record set in the previous year by $6.3 million. Sales totaled almost $2.67 billion, an increase of $51.5 million, compared to the prior record set in fiscal year 2021. Scratch-off tickets have boosted the lottery’s growth in recent years. John Martin, the Maryland lottery and gaming director, said the lottery, which will be 50 years old next year, has developed a variety of games to play over the years. “We have a fairly equal product mix,” Martin said. “We’re not overly dependent on any one thing.”

Massachusetts

Boston: A break in a 20-inch water main early Monday sent water rushing down a city street, formed a sinkhole that swallowed a vehicle, and flooded area basements, city officials said. The burst pipe in the city’s South End was reported about 3:30 a.m., according to the Boston Water and Sewer Commission. The water main is about 150 years old but was updated in the 1970s, the commission said. The flood also buckled the roadway, which was closed to traffic. “It was a significant amount of water over a short period of time,” commission spokesperon Dolores Randolph said. Service to area buildings was not affected, and no one was hurt. The vehicle, seen in television video tilting into the sinkhole, was removed later in the morning. Sarah Donner heard the pre-dawn commotion outside and looked out to see her vehicle in the sinkhole. “I saw the hole, and I was like, ‘Wait, wait, wait. My car is over there,’ ” she told WCVB-TV. “It was just kind of a gradual pre-coffee awareness that my car was in a sinkhole.” The water was shut off, and construction crews responded to the area to fix the roadway.

Michigan

Grand Rapids: A man charged with conspiring to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was ecstatic and exclaimed, “That’s it!” as he rode past her vacation home in 2020 and told an ally to make a video, according to trial evidence presented Monday. Jurors heard from Dan Chappel, who was known as “Big Dan” to Adam Fox and a band of anti-government extremists. He was a crucial informant armed with recording devices to help the FBI build its case two years ago. Fox and Barry Croft Jr. are on trial for the second time on conspiracy charges. A jury in federal court in Grand Rapids couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict in April but acquitted two other men. Chappel, an Army veteran who hauls mail, explained to jurors how he joined a paramilitary group, the Wolverine Watchmen, early in 2020 to maintain his gun skills and meet people who supported gun rights. He said he turned to the FBI when talk turned to killing police. Fox wasn’t a member of the Wolverine Watchmen, but the group became his ally that summer. Chappel participated in firearm drills, met privately with Fox in the basement of a Grand Rapids-area vacuum shop and made two trips with him to see Whitmer’s property in Elk Rapids. On a recording, Fox said they would pose as tourists on the first ride, “just checkin’ out pure Michigan, bro,” a reference to a state tourism slogan.

Minnesota

Minneapolis: Two former police officers charged in George Floyd’s killing told a judge Monday that they have rejected plea deals that would have resulted in three-year sentences, setting the stage for trial in October. Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng are charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death. They and Thomas Lane were working with Derek Chauvin when he pinned Floyd’s neck with his knee for more than nine minutes as the 46-year-old Black man said he couldn’t breathe and eventually grew still. The killing, captured on bystander video, sparked protests worldwide and a reckoning on racial injustice. Chauvin, who is white, was convicted of second-degree murder last year and sentenced to 221/2years on the state charge. Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill had set a limited window for accepting a plea deal ahead of trial, and Monday’s brief hearing served to formalize the two ex-officers’ rejections of the state’s offers. “It would be lying for me to accept any plea offer,” said Thou, who held back concerned bystanders as Chauvin pinned Floyd. Kueng did not give his reasons for rejecting the state’s offer.

Mississippi

Lafayette County Fire Chief Wes Anderson, right, and county firefighters inspect the aftermath of a fire at College Hill Presbyterian Church near Oxford, Miss., Sunday morning, Aug. 14, 2022, after a Saturday night fire destroyed the majority of the historical structure. The church which was built in 1844, is where William Faulkner and his wife, Estelle, were married in 1929 — two decades before the novelist received the Nobel Prize in literature. © Maya Martin, AP Lafayette County Fire Chief Wes Anderson, right, and county firefighters inspect the aftermath of a fire at College Hill Presbyterian Church near Oxford, Miss., Sunday morning, Aug. 14, 2022, after a Saturday night fire destroyed the majority of the historical structure. The church which was built in 1844, is where William Faulkner and his wife, Estelle, were married in 1929 — two decades before the novelist received the Nobel Prize in literature.

Oxford: The church where William Faulkner was married nearly a century ago has been heavily damaged in a fire. College Hill Presbyterian Church, northwest of Oxford, caught fire Saturday night and burned for more than three hours, the Oxford Eagle reports. The congregation was founded in 1835, and the church was built in 1844. Faulkner and his wife, Estelle, married there in 1929 – two decades before the novelist received the Nobel Prize in literature. The pulpit and most of church’s red-brick exterior and white columns survived the fire, but the original stained-glass windows and pews were destroyed. A firefighter retrieved a Bible from the pulpit. “So many pastors from the 1800s had written into that Bible and preached from that Bible,” said Casey Rodgers, a church elder. “There’s a lot of history that was lost, so we’re thankful that it was able to be saved.” Lafayette County County Fire Chief Wes Anderson said authorities are investigating what caused the fire. The church will continue to hold worship services in the fellowship hall next to the main building. The church’s nursery coordinator, Debra Patterson, said people will sometimes sit inside or outside the building, even when services are not happening. “The doors are never locked, so you can always just come in and pray,” she said. “It truly is a sanctuary.”

Missouri

Branson: Operators at the Promised Land Zoo say a staff member’s failure to properly lock an enclosure allowed a pair of olive baboons to escape. Although one of the animals was recovered, another was shot and killed after it bit an employee. The monkey, a longtime fixture at the park, was deemed dangerous by zoo officials and was shot and killed by the wildlife park’s owner, Jeff Sanders, according to Branson police. Laura Sanders-Remenar, the zoo’s director, said the June 22 shooting was a lawful and humane safety measure, but she knows others may think otherwise. “Unfortunately, we expect some blowback from animal rights activists who are anti-zoo, anti-faith-based business, animal ownership and anti-Branson,” Sanders-Remenar said in a wrien statement. According to a police report written by police Sgt. Stanley Kaufman, Sanders-Remenar was also wary of the optics in the immediate aftermath of the shooting on zoo property. “I only obtained one picture of the baboon as Mrs. Sanders got upset with me photographing it and was afraid we would release it to the media,” Kaufman wrote. “I explained to her that this report is available to the public if requested and I had to document the incident due to Mr. Sanders discharging a firearm within the city limits.”

Montana

Missoula: John Engen, the city’s longest-serving mayor, died Monday of pancreatic cancer, city officials said. He was 57. After winning his fifth term in November 2021, Engen announced in March that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and had a tumor on his liver. His death was announced in a news release by city spokesperson Ginny Merriam. Gwen Jones, president of the City Council, has been appointed interim mayor until a new mayor can be chosen, Merriam said. Engen led with humor, strength and grace, Jones told the Missoulian. He was “an amazing mayor who brought this town forward and turned into a city,” Jones said. “The creative, beautiful Missoula that we all know and love.” One of Engen’s major accomplishments was using the city’s power of eminent domain to acquire the water company that served the city. The years­long legal case cost the city millions of dollars, but Engen and the City Council said the long-term benefits of owning the water utility would outweigh the purchase price and legal costs. Engen won his fifth term last year in a campaign focused on the city’s affordable housing and homelessness challenges, the Missoulian reports.

Nebraska

Omaha: The City Council will hear from residents Tuesday on city charter changes and the 2023 budget, the Omaha World-Herald reports. A council meeting and an evening hearing on the budget are slated for the legislative chambers of the City-County Building.

Nevada

Gardnerville: Standing in front of 1,500 Republicans on Saturday for the 7th annual Basque Fry, gubernatorial candidate Joe Lombardo referenced the “elephant in the room” without naming him. The second-place finisher in the gubernatorial primary, Reno attorney Joey Gilbert, has baselessly claimed the mathematical counting was off and has continued to attack Lombardo. The GOP primary winner to this point hasn’t directly addressed Gilbert, who requested a statewide recount of the results and later filed a lawsuit that was thrown out last week. “No matter who you voted for, we’ve got to get past that,” Lombardo said. What has become a yearly tradition held in rural Douglas County, at a rural ranch backdropped by the Sierra Nevada mountains, includes live music, an inflatable rodeo ride and Basque cuisine. It’s modeled after Adam Laxalt’s grandfather and former Gov. Paul Laxalt’s cookouts. The elder Laxalt was the son of Basque immigrants, and Adam now hosts the event with the Morning in Nevada PAC. Several speakers, including U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Laxalt condemned the search of ex-President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home. Laxalt called it an example of “weaponizing the FBI” – a rally cry that many Republican lawmakers have made in the past week to tap into voter outrage.

New Hampshire

Concord: James Duggan, who expanded access to justice from the bench of the New Hampshire Supreme Court and as founder of the state’s appellate office for indigent defendants, has died. He was 79. Duggan died Saturday at his home in Amherst after a period of declining health, according to his family. He was nominated for a seat on the state Supreme Court in 2001 by then-Gov. Jeanne Shaheen after a screening committee praised his “unusual combination of scholarliness and pragmatism” and ability to work “tirelessly, wisely and courageously for the people of New Hampshire.” When he retired in 2011, former state Chief Justice Linda Dalianis called him the court’s “intellectual anchor” and praised his efforts to expand access to justice for citizens of limited means. That work began decades earlier when Duggan was recruited by his friend Paul Semple, the state’s first full-time public defender, to open an office in Manchester. He began teaching at what was then Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord in 1977, helped expand the public defender’s office statewide and founded the Appellate Defender Office to represent those appealing their convictions to the state’s highest court. Shaheen, now a U.S. senator, said Monday that she was deeply saddened by Duggan’s death.

New Jersey

Trenton: Teachers and day care workers who are not vaccinated for COVID-19 will no longer be required to get tested regularly for the virus under an executive order signed by Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday. Testing requirements for unvaccinated state contractors and state workers, including state police, will also come to an end, Murphy said in a statement. But covered workers in congregate care, health care and correctional facility settings will still be required to be up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations, including the first booster dose, Murphy said. The change applies to school districts and child care settings immediately and to state contractors as of Sept. 1. The move comes a year after Murphy mandated the testing program that, he said at the time, was key to stopping the virus from spreading rapidly as most students returned to school in-person for the first time in more than a year. The recent expansion of vaccines to toddlers is part of the reason for the change in policy, Murphy said in the statement. But children have some of the lowest vaccination rates in New Jersey. As of Monday, only 4.8% of those ages 6 months to 2 years had received at least one shot, while 9.2% of children 3 to 4 years had received a first dose, according to state Health Department data.

New Mexico

Albuquerque: An investigation has determined that a tree falling in power lines started a fatal fire that also destroyed more than 200 homes in the Ruidoso area four months ago. A report issued by the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department says wind gusts of up to 80 mph toppled a 49-foot-tall, drought-stressed tree April 12, causing electrical lines to arc and ignite the fire, according to the Albuquerque Journal. The following day, authorities reported finding the remains of an elderly couple who died while trying to evacuate their burning home. The fire has spawned two lawsuits filed on behalf of dozens of Ruidoso property owners. The suit alleges that Public Service Company of New Mexico and a contractor caused the fire by failing to properly maintain trees and vegetation near its power lines. PNM has denied any fault or wrongdoing, saying the tree that struck the electrical lines was located outside the company’s right-of-way.

New York

Albany: As part of an effort to keep illegal drugs and other contraband out of state prisons, New York is taking away one of the few pleasures of life behind bars: It will no longer let people send inmates care packages from home. Under the new policy, which the state began phasing in last month, friends and family aren’t allowed to deliver packages in person during prison visits. They also won’t be allowed to mail boxes of goodies unless those come directly from third-party vendors. While the rule won’t stop prisoners from getting items that can be ordered online, like a Snickers bar or a bag of Doritos, they will lose access to foods like home-cooked meals or grandma’s cookies. That’s a letdown for people like Caroline Hansen, who for 10 years hand-delivered packages filled with fresh vegetables, fruits and meats to her husband, who is serving a life sentence. “When I first started bringing him packages, he said he loved avocados. He hadn’t had them in about 20 years,” said Hansen, a single mother of two who works as a waitress in Long Island. “What breaks my heart is, I take for granted having a banana with my yogurt. Imagine never being able to eat a banana?” New York had been one of the few states in the nation that still allowed families to send packages to inmates from home.

North Carolina

Raleigh: A $100,000 reward is being offered in the case of a sheriff’s deputy found fatally shot along a dark stretch of road last week. “Horrified” by a string of shootings that have injured and killed several deputies in the state in recent weeks, the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association announced the reward Monday for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for the killing of Wake County Sheriff’s Deputy Ned Byrd. The 48-year-old K-9 officer had been with the office for 13 years. Byrd joined the sheriff’s office as a detention officer in 2009 and was sworn in as a deputy in 2018, according to the sheriff’s office. Byrd was fatally shot late Thursday on a dark section of Battle Bridge Road, but it was not immediately clear why he stopped there, sheriff’s office spokesperson Eric Curry said last week. Byrd had responded to a domestic call less than a mile away earlier in the night, then entered his notes into the system, he said. There was no radio traffic to indicate he was making a traffic stop, but it appears something caught his attention along the road, since his vehicle was positioned as if to illuminate something, he said. When Byrd did not respond to several attempts to contact him, another deputy found Byrd shot outside his vehicle with his K-9 still inside the vehicle, Curry said.

North Dakota

Bismarck: Supporters of legalizing recreational marijuana in the state have succeeded in bringing the matter to a public vote in November. The group, New Approach North Dakota, submitted more than the required 15,582 valid petition signatures to get a measure on the November general election ballot, Secretary of State Al Jaeger announced Monday. Supporters submitted 26,048 signatures, and 23,368 were deemed valid, he said. The organization’s campaign manager, David Owen, has said the extra signatures show broad support for legalization. The New Approach initiative would allow people 21 and older to legally use marijuana at home, as well as possess and cultivate restricted amounts of cannabis. Public consumption of marijuana would not be allowed under the proposed provision. The measure would also establish policies to regulate retail stores, cultivators and other types of marijuana businesses. A similar effort failed in 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic hampered the group’s effort at gathering signatures. Marijuana was a major topic in the Republican-controlled Legislature last year. State representatives brought bills to legalize and tax the drug, but the Senate killed the bills that were passed by the House.

Ohio

After all the votes were counted, all 223,542 from 60 countries, his name forever more will be Fritz! It was between Fritz and Ferguson. Fritz garnered 56% of the vote. Fritz and mom Bibi will soon join Fiona and Tucker outside. But not yet. They are still bonding behind the scenes. Fritz was born August 4, 2022, weighing around 60 pounds. ThatÕs double what Fiona weighed at birth. © Cincinnati Zoo, Cincinnati Zoo After all the votes were counted, all 223,542 from 60 countries, his name forever more will be Fritz! It was between Fritz and Ferguson. Fritz garnered 56% of the vote. Fritz and mom Bibi will soon join Fiona and Tucker outside. But not yet. They are still bonding behind the scenes. Fritz was born August 4, 2022, weighing around 60 pounds. ThatÕs double what Fiona weighed at birth.

Cincinnati: After narrowing down the choice to two finalists and holding a public vote, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden has decided to name the newest member of the hippo bloat Fritz. Fritz is Bibi the hippo’s second calf and the younger brother to the world-famous Fiona. His name was narrowed down by the hippo care team to the choices Ferguson and Fritz and put to a public vote. Fritz was the winner, receiving 56% of the more than 220,000 votes cast. The initial callout to the public last week to help name Fritz received a huge response, with more than 90,000 suggestions from every U.S. state and more than 60 countries, according to the zoo. And the vote between Ferguson and Fritz was even bigger: 223,542 votes were received, with 125,183 in favor of Fritz. “We would have been happy with either name, but we really think the name Fritz fits this spunky little guy’s personality,” Wendy Rice, the zoo’s head hippo keeper, said in a release. “We also thought it was funny that it was suggested because Fritz is here due to Bibi’s birth control being ‘on the fritz.’ ” Zoo staff appeared on NBC’s “Today” show Monday morning to announce the name choice, after also revealing the sex and the final two name choices on the morning show last week.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma City: In a sworn statement sent to the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board, the first prison wife of death row inmate Richard Glossip wrote that she feels used and “did not get anything out of the relationship.” “Glossip, on the other hand, got exactly what he wanted, which was financing for himself while in prison,” Leigha Joy Jurasik said in the affidavit signed Wednesday. She revealed in the affidavit that she spent $7,000 on Glossip and another $1,000 on other death row inmates at his request. “He only thought of himself,” she wrote. “Glossip was controlling and manipulative and used me for financial gain.” Glossip, 59, is set to be executed Sept. 22 for the murder death of his boss, Oklahoma City motel owner Barry Van Treese. The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board meets Aug. 23 to decide whether to recommend Glossip for clemency. He claims he is innocent. That claim has received widespread support, most recently from conservative pro-death penalty legislators in Oklahoma. One outspoken supporter, state Rep. Kevin McDugle, R-Broken Arrow, has vowed to fight to abolish the death penalty in the state if Glossip is executed. Attorney General John O’Connor and his assistants included affidavits from Jurasik and another woman, along with graphic crime scene photos, in their packet to the parole board.

Oregon

Salem: New state regulations now allow recreational crabbers to catch triple the number of invasive green crabs from Oregon’s bays and inlets. The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission increased the bag limit of European green crab from 10 to 35 per day. It’s part of a concerted effort to eradicate these invasive crustaceans, which are known to compete with native crabs for food. Green crabs themselves are fine to eat, and some recipes even call for them. They are much smaller than Dungeness or even red rock crabs, making them harder to clean. Mitch Vance is a Shellfish Project Leader with the Marine Resources Program at Oregon Fish and Wildlife. He wants people to know for certain it is a European green crab they are harvesting. “Key characteristics that really help in the identification – five spines on each side of the crab, and between the eyes there are three rounded bumps,” he told KLCC. “It also has a very fan-shaped shell.” Vance said green crabs cannot reproduce in cold temperatures, but since the ocean warming events of 2015, their numbers have dramatically increased. He reminded recreational fishers that green crabs aren’t always green when they come out of the water. And juvenile Dungeness and native shore crabs can look a lot like green crabs in the rocky intertidal.

Pennsylvania

Harrisburg: The judge in a case brought by Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration against three counties that aren’t reporting mail-in ballots lacking handwritten dates on their return envelopes told lawyers Friday that she will rule as quickly as possible. Commonwealth Court Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer presided over an online conference in the litigation brought by the Department of State under Wolf, a Democrat, against three Republican-majority counties over about 800 mail-in ballots from the May primary. The counties argue the ballots shouldn’t be counted because of the legal requirement for the exterior envelope dates, which are not used to determine if voters are eligible or if the ballots are received in time. Wolf sued Berks, Fayette and Lancaster counties a month ago, seeking a court order to compel them to “certify” the mail-in votes in question. Cohn Jubelirer, an elected Republican jurist, said Friday she “will work very diligently” to issue an opinion. The dispute has stalled certifications of statewide results from the primary in the high-profile races for Pennsylvania governor and U.S. Senate, as well as results for congressional and state legislative contests involving the three counties.

Rhode Island

Providence: Mayor Jorge Elorza on Monday announced a six-month extension of the city’s guaranteed income program using $500,000 in American Rescue Plan Act dollars. The program, launched last year, offers $500 monthly payments to 110 randomly selected participants, all of whom were at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. Those payments were set to end in October but will now be continued. Brandi Landry, a Providence resident who was homeless in the past but found an apartment using the income, called it “a blessing.” “It’s not just about the money,” she said. “It’s about what comes after that. Now I can kind of change my future around and make different decisions and go different directions.” The program’s extension means Landry can go “a little longer to get a little further,” she said. Elorza, reflecting on his own past growing up on Cranston Street, described his family as “very humble and incredibly poor,” though his parents together earned two incomes, and unlike other children in his neighborhood, Elorza had a father who was present in his life. “I was one of the fortunate ones,” the mayor said. “However, we know that being poor is not only difficult, but being poor is expensive.”

South Carolina

Bluffton: A woman was killed by an alligator Monday – the second such attack in the state this year, authorities said. The woman’s body was discovered at the edge of the water near a pond in a gated community in the town of Bluffton by a resident, who told deputies the reptile appeared to be guarding the body, The Island Packet quoted Beaufort County Sheriff’s Maj. Angela Viens as saying. Information about the size of the alligator and whether it would be euthanized or relocated was not immediately available. On June 24, the Horry County Police Department said an alligator dragged a man into a pond. Prior to those attacks, authorities said, the state had not recorded any in two years. In May 2020, a woman was attacked and killed by an alligator in the gated community where she’d gone to do a homeowner’s nails. A 90-year-old woman walked out of a Charleston nursing home in 2016 and was killed, while a 45-year-old woman walking her dog was fatally attacked on Hilton Head Island in August 2018. David Lucas, a spokesman for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, said then that the state had never recorded a person killed by an alligator before those attacks. Unprovoked attacks by alligators smaller than 5 feet long are rare, according to the National Wildlife Control Training Program.

South Dakota

Sioux Falls: Gov. Kristi Noem on Monday released a revised proposal for social studies standards in public schools that lays out a mostly shining vision of American history, after an initial draft of the standards came under heavy criticism last year from conservatives and Native American educators. The Republican governor claimed the new proposed standards are free from “political agendas” and include an increased focus on Native American history. But they received swift criticism from some educators as a thinly veiled political document. They emphasize the qualities of America’s founders and mimic language Noem has used as she jumped on the conservative cause of weeding certain “divisive” teachings on race from public schools. The 15-member standards workgroup, selected partially by the governor, included Noem’s chief of staff, two Republican lawmakers and the director of the South Dakota Catholic Conference but just three educators certified by the Department of Education. The group’s work was facilitated by William Morrisey, a former professor at Hillsdale College – a conservative institution in Michigan that has tried to remake education across the country.

Tennessee

Nashville: A private prison company has agreed to settle a federal lawsuit over an inmate’s killing that got national attention after a judge ordered the plaintiff’s attorney to stop tweeting about it. Tennessee-based CoreCivic and attorney Daniel Horwitz, who represents the family of the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center inmate who died, noted the settlement Tuesday in a federal court filing in Nashville. The plaintiff in the lawsuit is G. Marie Newby, the mother of Terry Childress, who died in February 2021 after his cellmate assaulted him, court records show. The lawsuit, blaming low staffing levels, claimed correctional officers were not making timely rounds. It sought $10 million for Newby. CoreCivic spokesperson Matthew Davio said the settlement terms are confidential, and the company is “pleased to have reached a mutually agreeable resolution to this case.” Horwitz said he remains unable to comment due to last month’s gag order. A judge still needs to approve the settlement. The suit asked the judge to declare that CoreCivic failed to maintain a constitutionally required level of inmate safety at Trousdale. The facility, about 50 miles northeast of Nashville, houses about 2,500 inmates, the most of any Tennessee prison.

Texas

Austin: Firefighters in central Texas are gearing up for a run of several weeks that are expected to have the area’s greatest risk for widespread wildfires in a decade, with the peak of hurricane season in the next couple of months posing a major threat. Strong winds from Tropical Storm Lee, which made landfall along the coast of southern Louisiana over Labor Day weekend in 2011, amplified the most destructive wildfire in Texas history – the 34,000-acre Bastrop County Complex fire that burned for 55 days, destroyed 1,600 homes and killed two people. Randy Denzer, vice president of the Austin Firefighters Association, was one among hundreds of firefighters called to battle blazes in central Texas that 2011 weekend, including six in Travis County alone. The exceptional drought and low humidity, boosted by high winds from the tropical storm, created the ideal conditions for wildfires to ignite and spread rapidly. “This year looks like 2011 all over again,” Denzer said. The latest U.S Drought Monitor report released Thursday showed that drought conditions continue to intensify in Texas, with the two most severe levels of drought – extreme and exceptional – now covering 68.2% of the state. That’s the largest extent of extreme and exceptional drought since December 2011, when such conditions covered about 69.4% of the state.

Utah

Salt Lake City: A Republican state lawmaker said Friday that he plans to introduce legislation that would require clergy to report child abuse to authorities, eliminating the clergy-penitent privilege in a state where The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the predominant religion. Rep. Phil Lyman’s news release came a week after the Associated Press published an investigative story focusing on cases in Arizona and West Virginia that found the church’s abuse reporting system can be misused by church leaders to divert abuse accusations away from law enforcement and instead to church attorneys who may bury the problem, leaving victims in harm’s way. Lyman, a member of the faith who himself served six years as a bishop of a local congregation, said he had already been working for months on his legislation but called the AP story “powerful” and an example of the kinds of problems caused by delaying report of the abuse. He said he deeply values the repentance and confessional process. But he argued the clergy exception can delay intervention for victims and create uncertainty for clergy members. He would prefer to have clarity so clergy members could tell parishioners at the beginning of confessions that they are required to report abuse. The faith said in a statement issued one day after the AP story was published that the piece “seriously mischaracterized” the reporting systems and that a help line that local leaders are supposed to call to report abuse focuses on helping victims.

Vermont

Burlington: The federal government has awarded Burlington and Winooski $24.8 million to replace the 93-year old Winooski River Bridge. The cities, who are the joint owners of the bridge, applied for the highly competitive grant this year through the U.S. Department of Transportation with the help of the Vermont Agency of Transportation. Burlington, Winooski and the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission have been in discussions about the $31 million project for several years, and the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission published a scoping study about how best to replace the bridge in 2019 that greatly aided the grant application. If all goes as planned, and the cities are able to secure the remaining funding, they hope to start concept design in 2023, begin construction in 2027 and finish the bridge in 2030. Overdue for replacement, the bridge currently offers no bike lanes, four narrow vehicle lanes and crumbling sidewalks. The new bridge will feature widened lanes for cars and a mixed-use path for bikes and pedestrians on either side, protected by a wall.

Virginia

Richmond: The state government failed to carry out numerous lessons from a 2018 snowstorm that caused highway gridlock, as exhibited by a similar event along Interstate 95 in January that left hundreds of motorists stranded, a state watchdog office concluded. The Office of the Inspector General report, released Friday, was critical of how the state transportation, police and emergency management agencies performed during the severe snowstorm that began Jan. 3, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. Logjams along a 40-mile stretch of I-95 in both directions not far from the nation’s capital led to outrage among motorists, some of whom were stuck in their vehicles overnight and pleaded on social media for help. In April, a state-commissioned report created by a nonprofit group didn’t place blame on any single person or agency. But it found state agencies collectively “lost situational awareness” and failed to keep up with growing gridlock through a confluence of heavy snowfall, abnormally high traffic and staffing shortages related to COVID-19. Up to 11 inches of snow fell in the area. Friday’s performance audit mentioned many of the same issues, but the I-95 mess could have been avoided if state officials had taken preventive measures recommended by Virginia DOT after a snowstorm in late 2018 blocked traffic on Interstate 81, in far southwest Virginia.

Washington

Yakima: The same factors that produced a later and lighter cherry crop are affecting many Yakima Valley peach growers as well. Cold spring weather, a late April frost and their impact on pollination have delayed the peach harvesting season, usually at its peak by now, local growers and state agriculture officials say, according to the Yakima Herald-Republic. “Volume is down because of the cold conditions we saw this spring,” said James Michael, vice president of marketing for North America for the Washington State Fruit Commission. “Besides the severe cold and frost, we had a long, extended cool period that pushed everything back, including the peaches.” While there isn’t a formal Washington peach crop estimate, many of the state’s top peach areas were among the coldest points during the April freeze, Michael said. The consensus among growers is that there is about half a crop this season, he said. “We are getting into the peak of peaches now and will be transitioning through varieties until late September this year,” Michael said. “Traditionally, peach harvest begins in early July and lasts through mid-September, but the cool spring pushed most crops back by at least two weeks.”

West Virginia

Charleston: Gov. Jim Justice scoffed Monday at a suggestion by Democratic lawmakers to let voters decide whether abortion should continue to be allowed in the state. The Republican governor said the state’s abortion law falls under the scrutiny of the Legislature and the attorney general. During a legislative special session initiated by Justice last month, majority Republicans failed to pass legislation criminalizing abortion. On Friday, top Democrats asked Justice and leading GOP lawmakers to bring the Legislature back to consider a resolution to allow voters to consider a constitutional amendment for “reproductive freedom.” Justice wanted no part of that. “Unfortunately, this place is surrounded with constant grandstanding,” he said at a news conference. Abortion had been banned after 20 weeks of pregnancy in West Virginia until the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion. After that ruling, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said abortion was banned completely in the state because of an 1800s-era law that had been unenforceable while abortion was federally protected. But a Charleston judge barred the state from enforcing the ban, ruling it had been superseded by a slew of conflicting modern laws, including the 20-week ban. Morrisey has appealed the ruling to the state Supreme Court, which is expected to take up the case this fall.

Wisconsin

Madison: The University of Wisconsin System is launching a new tuition waiver at its 12 regional campuses. The program, dubbed the Wisconsin Tuition Promise, is modeled after the Bucky’s Tuition Promise program at UW-Madison. Beginning in fall 2023, Wisconsin residents who come from families making less than $62,000 a year will have any tuition and fees remaining after receiving financial aid waived. Undergraduates will be eligible for the waiver for eight semesters. Students seeking associate degrees and transfer students would be eligible for the waiver for four semesters. The discount works out to an average of $4,500 per student over four years. System officials plan to fund the program’s first year at $13.8 million and seek $24.5 million in additional state aid to cover the program in 2024-25. Students will be automatically considered for the Wisconsin Tuition Promise when they apply for federal financial aid.

Wyoming

Casper: A local man who taught hundreds of student pilots over a career spanning four decades will be added to the ranks of the Wyoming Aviation Hall of Fame, the Casper Star-Tribune reports. John B. Cooksey served in the Civil Air Patrol and helped people in rural areas through air drops of supplies during blizzards. He served in the Pacific theater during World War II and died in 1986, according to the newspaper. He’ll be inducted to the hall of fame Sept. 17 at the Newcastle Airport.

From USA TODAY Network and wire reports

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: ‘QAnon the Musical,’ Fritz the hippo, hurricane drones: News from around our 50 states

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