Montgomery: The state’s prison system said Friday the execution of Joe Nathan James Jr. on Thursday night was delayed 3 hours because of the time it took to establish an intravenous line to the inmate. The state offered more information on Friday about the hourslong delay that observers said was troubling and unusual. A statement from the Alabama Department of Corrections did not elaborate on how long it took to establish the intravenous line or how many attempts were made. But a prison system spokeswoman confirmed the delay happened because of the time required to establish the IV connection. James was put to death for the 1994 murder of his ex-girlfriend Faith Hall, 26, more than 3 hours after the procedure originally was supposed to begin. The execution was set for 6 p.m. and the U.S. Supreme Court denied James’ request for a stay at 5:24 p.m. Reporters were taken to the grounds of Holman prison by van at about 6:30 p.m. to witness the execution, which did not get underway until about 9:04 p.m. The inmate was pronounced dead at 9:27 p.m. A delay of that length is unusual compared to executions conducted in Alabama in recent years.
Haines: More than a year and half later, local and out-of-state organizations are still helping to repair damage from the dozens of landslides that occurred around the borough. The recovery work has evolved over time, said members of the Haines Long Term Recovery Group and other organizations involved in recovery efforts. The landslides, driven by unusually heavy rain, killed two, but were scarcely limited to that, said Sylvia Heinz, coordinator for the LTRG. Smaller landslides across Haines, which has a population of about 2,500, cut off roads, washed through houses and destroyed buildings. Heinz said there’s roughly 50 cases the LTRG is still dealing with, with issues ranging from damaged foundations to broken doors and windows, washed out culverts, driveways rendered impassable or physical or water damage from sliding debris. During the initial response, the borough focused its response on infrastructure projects that would be paid for or reimbursed by Federal Emergency Management Agency, while other organizations focused on individual homeowners, said Harriet Brouillette, tribal administrator for the Chilkoot Indian Association. Organizations had to scramble to help out individual homeowners while the borough government focused on different projects.
Phoenix: Michael Sullivan, a law enforcement official overseeing police reform in Baltimore, has been tapped to lead the Phoenix Police Department, which has been the subject of a wide-ranging civil rights investigation. Sullivan, the deputy commissioner of compliance in Baltimore, will join the Phoenix agency in September as interim chief. He’s expected to serve up to two years while the city – the fifth-largest in the U.S. – searches for a permanent chief. The U.S. Department of Justice is looking into whether officers in Phoenix have used excessive force, abused people with disabilities and people experiencing homelessness, engaged in discriminatory policing practices and retaliated against people exercising free speech, which is protected under the First Amendment. The investigation began last August. Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams announced in May that she’s retiring after a 33-year career in law enforcement, including six as chief. She’s expected to help Sullivan transition into the job.
Little Rock: Supporters of a recreational marijuana initiative have turned in the required number of valid signatures, moving the measure closer to appearing on Arkansas’ ballot this fall, election officials said. A spokesman for the secretary of state’s office said supporters of the proposed constitutional amendment had reached the 89,151 valid signatures from registered voters needed to qualify for the November ballot. The proposal’s name and ballot title still must be approved by the state Board of Election Commissioners to qualify for the ballot. The board is expected to review the measure Wednesday. More than 192,000 signatures were submitted July 8 for the proposal to allow people age 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of cannabis. Arkansas voters in 2016 voted to legalize medical marijuana in the state. The secretary of state’s office did not have a final count on the number of valid signatures verified yet.
San Francisco: The Bay Area Rapid Transit system is again requiring masks for travelers and employees. BART’s board of directors voted to immediately reinstate the mask mandate on all trains and in stations beyond ticket gates. It runs through Oct. 1 unless it’s extended again. The previous mask mandate started in April and ended on July 18. For 10 days, masking was optional but highly encouraged. BART serves commuters in San Francisco, San Mateo, Alameda, Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties. The board’s vote came hours after Los Angeles County public health officials dropped a plan to impose a universal indoor mask mandate last week as COVID-19 infections and rates of hospitalizations have stabilized. San Francisco and Los Angeles counties are at the “high” level of community transmission set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Keystone: The U.S. Forest Service has stopped construction of a ski resort expansion after contractors mistakenly demolished protected alpine tundra for a temporary road. Officials raised their concern after seeing crews carving the new path into the protected land, beyond the area that the Forest Service and resort had initially agreed upon, The Colorado Sun reported. “We were surprised and disappointed to see this for sure,” said Scott Fitzwilliams, the supervisor of the White River National Forest for the U.S. Forest Service, adding the mistake “is not a catastrophic ecological event.” The federal agency issued a cease-and-desist letter in early July, suspending development of Keystone resort’s 555-acre expansion until the environmental impacts of the unauthorized road are measured. That could delay the opening of the the resort’s 16-trail expansion this winter, one of the largest capital investment plans in the resort industry. The company has since hired a restoration firm to help mitigate and repair the damage.
Hartford: The state plans to install equipment designed to help prevent drivers from going the wrong way down the state’s highways after nearly a dozen wrong-way crashes led to 20 deaths this year. The effort came as transportation officials nationwide struggle to curtail a surge in fatalities on U.S. roads that began during the coronavirus pandemic. Connecticut’s $20 million planned program would install cameras on wrong-way signs across the state that will trigger flashing lights when a wrong-way driver is detected. There have been 11 fatal wrong-way accidents this year in the state, resulting in 20 deaths, according to statistics from the the Connecticut Transportation Institute at the University of Connecticut. That’s up from three fatal wrong-way crashes in 2020 and four in 2021, according to the Institute. The latest fatal crash occurred Sunday in Bridgeport. A van traveling the wrong way on Route 8 struck a car carrying a mother and her two children, police said. The mother was killed along with a passenger in the van. Officials said about 80% of the accidents involved drivers impaired by alcohol or other substances.
Wilmington:Former mortgage lender Trident Mortgage Company, owned by Berkshire Hathaway, must provide mortgage subsidies of up to $10,000 to homeowners in minority neighborhoods after claims of redlining, the Delaware Department of Justice said. The company continues to deny any wrongdoing amid the $20 million multistate settlement. Redlining, the practice of denying services to residents in minority neighborhoods, is prohibited by the Delaware Fair Housing Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the Delaware Consumer Fraud Act. “Redlining is one of the modern era’s most damaging and insidious forms of racism,” Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings said in a written statement. “Few practices have done more to enforce de facto segregation in our communities.” Jennings worked with officials in New Jersey and Pennsylvania to reach Wednesday’s settlement. Although Trident was based in Devon, Pennsylvania, until its closure in December 2020, its services reached into nearby counties and states, including New Castle County. Its affiliate company Fox & Roach Realtors – which the Delaware DOJ said shared many customers with Trident – still operates in Delaware.
District of Columbia
Washington:A mother on unemployment benefits said she has been left without weekly payments for four weeks after a breach in her D.C. Department of Employment Services account, WUSA-TV reported. Christina Paul said she first noticed something was wrong when she was unable to access her account June 8. After contacting the agency, she was informed her payment method had been changed from a debit card to a direct deposit, and her email had been changed. Since then, Paul said her account has been changed at least five times with new bank accounts and emails she does recognize. She has reported the incident to DC Police, but for the past month she has not received any payments leaving her out $1,6000. Paul said representatives from the agency told her the agency;s system had been breached. She said she was also told by the agency that her funds could not be distributed until the office recuperated the money. D.C.’s Department of Employment Services denied the security issue is from a potential hacking. The agency said it continues to aggressively work to minimize opportunities for cybercriminals to be successful and to mitigate risks. It is asking anyone who believes their funds have been improperly issued in their name to contact their office at (877)- 372-8360.
Miami: The Miami-Dade School Board rescinded a decision made last week that rejected new sex education textbooks for middle and high school students. The debate over the sex education materials in Miami took place as school districts and boards navigate a new landscape in Florida classrooms over what officials deem appropriate content. Miami-Dade County has the nation’s fourth-largest public school system, with 334,000 students. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed new laws this year that prevent teachers from talking about gender identity and sexual orientation to third graders and younger and limiting how race can be discussed. The board approved the textbooks after Chair Perla Tabares Hantman changed her mind last week, citing the district needs to follow state standards and curriculum requirements. Hantman added the books are online and content that is not age appropriate is not accessible. She clarified parents are also allowed to opt their children out from lessons on sex education, tasking school officials with making a strong effort to let parents know.
McDonough: Gov. Brian Kemp is using federal COVID-19 relief money to give teachers another $125 to buy school supplies, months after issuing a similar stipend. Kemp, a Republican running for reelection, made the announcement Friday at Ola High School in Henry County before teachers preparing for school to start this week. He said he learned firsthand how much teachers can spend buying supplies, learning aids and decorations for their classroom when his daughter started teaching first grade last year in Oconee County. Although January’s $125 supplement went only to teachers and paraprofessional teacher aides, state education officials said the new supplement will include others who provide instructional support on a daily basis, including counselors, librarians, school nurses and speech language pathologists. The last supplement cost about $15.9 million, said Kemp spokesperson Katie Byrd. She said the total cost for this round of spending has yet to be completed. Teachers and others will get allocations in an online platform that they can use to order supplies. The money comes from federal COVID-19 aid that Kemp can give to schools. Georgia got two rounds of funding for public schools totaling $173 million that has been spent, plus $79 million in money for emergency aid to private schools. Kemp spokesperson Katie Byrd said that because of federal requirements for spending the money, Georgia has $59.7 million left over in the nonpublic school account. She said federal education officials are letting states spend that money on public schools at Kemp’s discretion. The school supply grants are the first spending announced from those funds.
Maui: Fire crews and helicopters were fighting a wildfire Saturday night on Maui near Paia Bay. The Maui County Emergency Management Agency said roads have been closed and have advised residents and travelers to avoid the area. It is unknown how many acres have burned. A red-flag warning was in effect Sunday.
Salmon: The Moose Fire in the Salmon-Challis National Forest has burned on more than 75 square miles in timbered land near the town of Salmon. It was 21% contained by Sunday morning. Pila Malolo, planning operations section chief on the fire, said in a Facebook video update that hot, dry conditions were expected to persist Sunday. Officials said they expected fire growth in steep, rugged country on the fire’s south side.
Chicago: Google is moving into the Thompson Center, the iconic state building in downtown Chicago, officials said. Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the state is selling the building to a developer for $30 million in cash and also getting another downtown building valued at $75 million. Google, which has more than 1,800 employees in Chicago, said it will control the building after a major renovation and occupy it by 2026. The Thompson Center, a hulking all-glass building designed by Helmut Jahn, opened in 1985 as the State of Illinois Center. It was renamed in 1993 for James “Big Jim” Thompson, who served as governor from 1977-91. JRTC Holdings LLC will renovate the Thompson Center to meet Google’s needs. The state, meanwhile, will move nearly 1,800 employees from the Thompson Center and other downtown office space to the newly acquired building on South LaSalle Street.
Indianapolis: State senators narrowly passed a near-total abortion ban Saturday during a rare weekend session, sending the bill to the House after a contentious week of arguments over whether to allow exceptions for rape and incest. The Republican-controlled Senate voted 26-20 after about 3 hours of debate, passing the bill with the minimum 26 votes needed to send it to the House, which Republicans also control. The bill would prohibit abortions from the time a fertilized egg implants in a uterus. Exceptions would be allowed in cases of rape and incest, but a patient seeking an abortion for either reason would have to sign a notarized affidavit attesting to the attack. Indiana is one of the first Republican-controlled states to debate tighter abortion laws since the U.S. Supreme Court last month overturned Roe v. Wade. But the GOP splintered after the rape and incest exceptions remained in the bill Thursday, when an amendment failed that would have stripped out those exceptions. Ten Republican senators voted against the legislation Saturday, including a handful who support abortion rights. House Speaker Todd Huston on Friday declined to discuss specifics of the Senate bill. But he said he supports the rape and incest exceptions.
Dubuque: Dubuque County Conservation has been making steady progress in developing its canoeing and kayaking infrastructure, with the intended destination of a countywide water trail in the coming years. The development of kayaking opportunities was identified as a top priority through public input gathered during the department’s long-term strategic planning process in 2020. In response, Dubuque County funded a recently completed project at Bowstring Wildlife Area to create better water access for paddlers and further the county’s water quality improvement goals. The conservation department recently finished a streambank stabilization project in the wildlife area along Lytle Creek, a project that included seeding the banks with prairie grasses. Workers installed a crossing on the creek so conservation staff can maintain the prairie, but it also will serve as a kayak launch point. Dubuque County will be the second area county to finish a water trail plan. Delaware County officials previously developed one for the Maquoketa River, which helped lead to the development of Manchester Whitewater Park.
Topeka: A law allowing deadly force against an attacker doesn’t protect people from prosecution if a bystander is injured, the state’s highest court ruled. The Kansas Supreme Court ruled in the case of a Wichita police officer whose shots at a charging dog wounded a 9-year-old girl. The justices ordered a trial in Sedgwick County District Court for former Officer Dexter Betts on a charge of felony reckless aggravated battery. The December 2017 shooting happened after Betts and other officers responded to a call about domestic violence and a suicide threat at a Wichita home. Once inside, the dog charged at Betts, and he fired twice. His shots missed and hit the floor, and bullet fragments hit the girl above an eye and on a toe, according to the court’s decision. Betts argued he acted in self defense. A judge dismissed the case before trial, and the Kansas Court of Appeals upheld that decision. But Supreme Court Justice Dan Biles, writing for a unanimous state Supreme Court, said Kansas law grants immunity from prosecution for force used specifically against an attacker and doesn’t mention bystanders. Jess Hoeme, Betts’ attorney, said he believes Betts will be acquitted at trial, but expressed concern that the ruling could hinder law enforcement and endanger officers. Hoeme said the ruling is “unfortunate” because Betts didn’t intend to hurt any person while shooting and the bullets fragmented. But prosecutors have argued that Betts acted recklessly in shooting at the dog with the girl nearby. A conviction on a reckless aggravated battery charge for a first-time offender carries a presumed sentence of 18 months’ probation.
Louisville: Jefferson County Public Schools offered to continue providing adult education services until June 30, 2023, a spokesperson for Kentucky’s Education and Workforce Development Cabinet said. “At that time, JCPS will review the success of their adult education services against federal performance indicators and state achievement goals to determine if they will seek renewal for the remaining two years of the original contract,” spokesperson Rosalind Harvey said. Kentucky’s largest school district previously told state officials it would be cutting a three-year contract to provide adult education in Louisville short, ending the program in December and shifting the responsibility of the program to another entity. The move blindsided those working in the adult education program, many of whom began contacting school board members and reporters to protest the change. Although district officials signaled the decision was final, school board chairwoman Diane Porter said the decision to end district control of the program rests with the board.
Belle Chasse: The state has completed one of its largest coastal restoration projects yet, and is at work on even larger ones. The dredge used to suck up sediment from the Gulf of Mexico to add 1,000 acres of habitat to sites in the Terrebonne Basin is now at work in the Mississippi River, doing the same for a 1,600-acre project that’s further east and named for a historic Plaquemines Parish outlet called Spanish Pass, officials said last week. “These are key examples of our front-line defense” against hurricanes, said Bren Haase, executive director of the state Coastal Preservation and Restoration Authority. They had been eaten away by erosion and subsidence – and by sea level rise. On Tuesday, the authority announced completion of another project – the addition of about 256 acres of beach and dune and 143 acres of marsh on West Grand Terre Island. Barrier islands and marshes slow storm surge, so the work protects people and buildings on shore while providing a habitat for plants and animals. The Spanish Pass project starts just outside the Plaquemines Parish town of Venice. The fragility of the wetlands fringing Louisiana’s coast was illustrated less than a minute by seaplane from the project’s west end. In that spot, trees grow in parallel lines on relatively high ground in open water. They mark the banks of canals dredged through marshes that no longer exist.
Portland: Vessels off the East Coast must slow more often to help save North Atlantic right whales from extinction, the federal government said. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration made the announcement via new proposed rules designed to prevent ships colliding with the whales. Vessel strikes and entanglement in fishing gear are the largest threats to the giant mammals, which number less than 340 and are falling in population. Efforts to save the whales have long focused on fishing gear, especially that used by East Coast lobster fishermen. The proposed vessel speed rules signal the government wants the shipping industry to take more responsibility. The new rules would expand seasonal slow zones off the East Coast that require mariners to slow to 10 knots. They would also require more vessels to comply with the rules by expanding the size classes that must slow. The rules also stated the NOAA would create a framework to implement mandatory speed restrictions when whales are known to be present outside the seasonal slow zones.
Emmitsburg: A 26-foot statue of the Virgin Mary is back in place at a Catholic university in Maryland. The Frederick News-Post reported the statue has been put back in place atop a 78-foot pedestal at the National Shrine Grotto on the campus of Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg after a year of restoration work. That work continues even as the statue is back in place, surrounded by scaffolding. Workers are now in the process of layering gold leaf to statue’s exterior. The university has raised $400,000 to support the restoration; about $450,000 more is needed. The statue is expected to be completed next month, with a formal ceremony planned for October. The grotto draws about 300,000 visitors a year; it is a replica of the grotto in Lourdes, France, that draws pilgrims to a site where believers said the Virgin Mary appeared in the 19th century.
Boston: Gov. Charlie Baker sent back to lawmakers on Friday a bill mandating some of the steps the state needs to take to meet a goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In a letter to lawmakers, the Republican governor said he agreed with much in the bill but suggested some changes. Although the bill encourages the development of offshore wind, which Baker supports, he said the state needs to look to other sources of what he described as clean energy to meet its emissions goals. To do that, Baker said he is again asking lawmakers to put $750 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds into a clean energy investment fund. Baker also said the legislation needs to do more to ensue improvements to energy transmission systems. The state House approved the bill on a 143-9 vote. The Senate then voted 38-2 in favor of the bill before sending it to Baker last week.
Detroit: The Detroit Health Department is offering vaccines to residents who have been exposed to the monkeypox virus or suspect they have been exposed. The department said it is offering the Jynneos vaccine at its office from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and at the Wayne HIV/STI Clinic from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and on the first and third Saturdays of the month from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The vaccines will be provided to prevent development of the virus in people who have been exposed to it and to people with risk behaviors in places, events or venues with known transmission of the virus over the previous two weeks, the department said. Ten of Michigan’s known 37 cases of the virus have been seen in Detroit, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said.
St. Paul: Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen said he supports abortions for victims of rape and incest, altering his stance from previous comments he described as clumsy. Jensen told Minnesota Public Radio in May he didn’t support exceptions for rape and incest unless the life of the mother was in danger. He said in a video released Friday that if he had been unclear previously, he wanted to set the record straight. “I never thought it necessary to try and identify what those exceptions might be in regards to legal abortion or not because I always thought when I uphold the pregnant woman’s life, and if her mental and physical health is in danger or jeopardized, that’s all that needs to be said,” Jensen said. Minnesota Democratic Party Chairman Ken Martin said Jensen is trying to walk back previous comments and believed if elected, the Watertown family physician would attempt to pass an abortion law without rape and incest exceptions, the Star Tribune reported.
Jackson: A federal judge has seized control of a Mississippi jail after citing “severely deficient” conditions at the facility. In a Friday ruling, U.S. Southern District of Mississippi Judge Carlton Reeves placed Hinds County’s Raymond Detention Center into receivership. The judge will soon appoint an expert, known as a “receiver,” to temporarily manage the facility in hopes of improving its conditions. “After ample time and opportunity, regretfully, it is clear that the county is incapable, or unwilling, to handle its affairs,” the judge wrote. “Additional intervention is required. It is time to appoint a receiver.” Reeves said deficiencies in supervision and staffing lead to “a stunning array of assaults, as well as deaths.” Seven individuals died last year while detained at the jail, he said. County officials said they’re still digesting the order and are determining whether they will appeal, WLBT-TV reported. Reeves’ decision came months after he agreed to scale back the county’s jail 2016 consent decree with the federal government to address “unconstitutional conditions” at Raymond and two other facilities that comprise the Hinds County jail system.
Springfield:Families started lining up outside the Springfield Expo Center an hour before the Back To School Bash was scheduled to open Saturday. The event offered free backpacks, hygiene kits, immunizations, and physicals plus fun activities, including bounce houses, esports, games and robotics. At the event, the first of its kind for the district, Convoy of Hope passed out bags of groceries to families to celebrate having served more than 200 million people since it was founded in 1994. To get parents and children out of the rain faster, Springfield Public Schools opened doors 30 minutes early. “This is the first time we have planned a back-to-school event on this scale,” said Springfield Public Schools Superintendent Grenita Lathan. “We want families to come, enjoy themselves and have the opportunity to access resources that will help them be ready for the first day of school.” The new school year starts Aug. 22.
Elmo: A blaze sparked in grasslands in northwest Montana, grew to more than 11 square miles after advancing into forest. A portion of Highway 28 between Hot Springs and Elmo was closed because of the thick smoke, according to the Montana Department of Transportation.
Omaha: Union Pacific will spend more than $1 billion to upgrade 600 of its old diesel locomotives over the next three years and make them more efficient, but regulators still want it to do more to cut pollution from its engines. The move will accelerate the pace of upgrades the company planned to make and help the Omaha-based railroad cut roughly 210,000 tons of carbon emissions each year – the equivalent of taking 45,000 cars off the road. The railroad will go from modernizing 120 locomotives this year to modernizing 200 a year in each of the next three years. “It’s really taking the older locomotive fleet and applying the latest and greatest to get one of the most fuel efficient locomotives we can have,” said Grace Olsen, who oversees locomotive engineering for Union Pacific. The railroad estimated this program will improve the fuel efficiency of long-haul locomotives by up to 18% and help them produce peak power more reliably. To accomplish that, locomotive manufacturer Wabtec will strip down the locomotives, and spend eight weeks overhauling their engines and installing new software and electronic controls. The improved power will let Union Pacific pull the same amount of freight with fewer locomotives.
Las Vegas: Intense thunderstorms drenched parts of the city, causing water to cascade from casino ceilings and pool on the carpet of a stadium-sized sports betting area. Although only three-tenths of an inch of rain was registered at Las Vegas’ airport late Thursday, more than an inch fell just a mile away at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Nearby wind gusts peaked at 71 mph and toppled trees. Pea-sized hail fell from lightning-streaked skies in suburban Henderson, where almost an inch of rain fell in some areas. Police, county and city officials and the National Weather Service said no injuries or widespread damage was reported. Casino patrons posted videos of water pouring from ceilings at Caesars Palace and Planet Hollywood resorts on the Las Vegas Strip and from behind a huge video display at the downtown Circa hotel-casino sports book. One video showed a man continuing to gamble at a casino slot machine while water fell around him.
Concord: Members of a rescue group carried the body of a hiker nearly a mile in freezing temperatures and high winds after the man died on the Northeast’s highest mountain, authorities said. A group of hikers found the man unconscious and not breathing on Mount Washington’s Jewell Trail on Saturday afternoon, the New Hampshire Department of Fish and Game said. They called 911 and started performing CPR. Members of one rescue group drove to the summit of the nearly 6,300-foot mountain and hiked down to the man, while another group rode up the mountain’s famous Cog Railway and hiked in. With no sign of life after 40 minutes, resuscitation efforts ceased, and rescue group members carried the body nearly a mile to the train. A dog the man was hiking with was taken to an animal shelter until it can be reunited with the man’s family.
Trenton: Gas prices posted another double-digit drop in New Jersey amid low demand. AAA Mid-Atlantic said the average price of a gallon of regular gas in New Jersey on Friday was $4.41, down 10 cents from last week. Drivers were paying $3.18 a gallon on average a year ago at this time. The national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline was $4.25, down 16 cents from last week. Drivers were paying $3.16 a gallon on average a year ago at this time.
Shiprock: Samuel Sandoval, one of the last remaining Navajo Code Talkers who transmitted messages in World War II using a code based on their native language, has died. Sandoval died late Friday at a hospital in Shiprock, his wife, Malula, told The Associated Press on Saturday. He was 98. Hundreds of Navajos were recruited from the vast Navajo Nation to serve as Code Talkers with the U.S. Marine Corps. Only three are still alive today: Peter MacDonald, John Kinsel Sr. and Thomas H. Begay. The Code Talkers took part in every assault the Marines conducted in the Pacific, sending thousands of messages without error on Japanese troop movements, battlefield tactics and other communications crucial to the war’s outcome. The code, based on the then-unwritten Navajo language, confounded Japanese military cryptologists and is credited with helping the U.S. win the war. Sandoval was on Okinawa when he got word from another Navajo Code Talker the Japanese had surrendered and relayed the message to higher-ups. The Navajo men are celebrated annually on Aug. 14. Samuel Sandoval was looking forward to that date and seeing a museum built near the Navajo Nation capital of Window Rock, Arizona, to honor the Code Talkers, his wife said.
Babylon: Shark sightings have become more common along Long Island’s shores this summer – and not just the mostly harmless, abundant dogfish. Since June, there have been at least five verified encounters where sharks bit swimmers and surfers. Although there were no fatalities, sightings prompted officials to temporarily close some beaches to swimming, from New York City’s Rockaway Beach to Long Island’s Smith Point County Park, where a surfer beat a shark on its snout after it bit his calf. George Gorman, regional director for the state park system on Long Island, referred to the recent shark interactions as “extraordinarily unusual.” Sharks aren’t new to New York’s waters. Sand tiger, sandbar and dusky sharks are some of the more common species found near shore. But in the last century or so, New York state had documented only 13 shark attacks. Experts said sharks aren’t setting out to dine on people, but instead are chasing bunker fish near beaches. Recent shark bites are likely mistakes, Gorman said. Swimmers might also be interacting with sharks while they are feeding.
Raleigh: The state Supreme Court has agreed to accelerate arguments on further challenges to the boundaries for the state’s legislative seats and congressional districts. By a 4-3 ruling, the justices granted a request by Common Cause to accelerate the redistricting proceedings before them. The group is fighting the state House and Senate maps approved by the General Assembly in February. Oral arguments will be held in early or mid-October, according to Thursday’s order signed by Senior Associate Justice Robin Hudson. The order said specifically the court didn’t address a recent request by Republican legislators to end its appeal of the congressional district boundaries, which a state trial court drew and adopted for use this year only. But the order said expediting all redistricting appeals was based on “the great public interest in the subject matter of this case, the importance of the issues to the constitutional jurisprudence of this state, and the need to reach a final resolution on the merits at the earliest possible opportunity.” It’s too late for any decision after those oral arguments to alter the district lines for this year’s elections, which are happening under the challenged maps. Any ruling could clarify further how partisan bias is avoided in map making and force the Legislature to redraw new General Assembly maps that would be used for the remainder of the decade. A new congressional map for the 2024 elections already will be needed.
Bismarck: International Music Camp founder Merton Utgaard will receive North Dakota’s highest honor, Gov. Doug Burgum said. Utgaard, who died in 1998 at age 84, is the 47th recipient of the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award. A ceremony will be scheduled at a later date. Utgaard, a native of Maddock, founded the music camp in 1956 at the International Peace Garden that sits astride the North Dakota and Canadian border, north of Dunseith. He served as director for 28 years. At the time of his death, more than 90,000 students from more than 60 countries had attended the summer camp. Utgaard was a teacher and director of bands at the University of Minnesota, the University of South Dakota, Ball State University, Northern Illinois University and the University of Manitoba-Brandon before he began to work full time on the International Music Camp in the mid-1960s. Utgaard’s portrait will hang in the North Dakota Capitol with those of the other 46 people who have received the award, established by Gov. William Guy in 1961.
Athens:Ohio University is reinstating its indoor mask mandate starting Monday. The mask mandate is going into effect because Athens County is listed as having a high level of transmission on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest COVID-19 data tracker, according to the university’s website. Ohio University is the first public university in the state to reinstate a mask mandate after colleges and universities shed their mandates in the spring. OU’s classes begin Aug. 22. The university’s mask mandate will drop when the level of COVID-19 transmission in Athens County goes down to medium. Masks will be recommended during scheduled class and class-related activities when the level of transmission is medium. Masks will be optional when the level of COVID-19 transmission is low in Athens County. Ohio State University is not requiring masks, university spokesman Ben Johnson said in an email.
Oklahoma City: Contraband including weapons, cellphones, drones and grappling hooks believed to be headed to state prisons was seized at a warehouse in Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections said Friday. The department’s Office of Inspector General learned of the contraband and raided the warehouse on July 15, with Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics agents, according to a news release from Corrections Department spokesperson Josh Ward. Justin Brown, another spokesperson for the department, said few other details could be released because it involves an ongoing investigation into contraband being smuggled into prisons. Seized items included 31 cellphones, which have been used to run drug rings from prisons and to coordinate inmate violence, such as fights in 2019 at several state prisons that left one inmate dead and dozens injured. Ammunition, drugs, tobacco and $8,500 in counterfeit $100 bills were also seized. The grappling hooks were intended to retrieve the contraband, the Oklahoma Corrections Department said. Drones have been used to deliver contraband into prisons nationwide, including federal prisons, leading to charges this month in Beaumont, Texas. No arrests were announced, but Inspector General Ted Woodhead said charges are expected against “numerous individuals” at the end of what he said is an ongoing investigation into the contraband.
Portland: New state rules require access to water, shade and breaks on hot days, but workers said they’re still laboring in unsafe conditions. Skyler Fischer, a forklift driver at a Fred Meyer distribution center in the town of Clackamas, has been working there for 12 years and works at least four days a week, 10 to 12 hours each day. Fischer said he gets two 15-minute breaks each shift. In May, the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division adopted permanent rules to protect workers laboring in excessive heat or wildfire smoke. They are some of the nation’s strongest protections for employees working outdoors or in workplaces without air conditioning. But last week, with daily highs consistently hitting triple-digits, Oregon OSHA’s recently implemented heat rules were put to the test. Some Oregonians have said they’re still laboring in unsafe conditions despite the new heat rules. The rules went into effect last month and apply when temperatures in a work environment reach 80 degrees Fahrenheit. They require employers to provide access to shaded areas, cool drinking water, and additional rest breaks to cool down and acclimate to the heat. The rule also requires employers to provide heat illness prevention training. Aaron Corvin, Oregon OSHA’s public information officer, said the agency has opened an inspection related to the Fred Meyer facility. A statement from Fred Meyer said the company has installed a mechanical cooling station at its 1-million-square-foot warehouse in Clackamas. On days with high temperatures, the company provides employees with access to water bottles on ice, water fountains, frozen treats and cooling towels. A distribution team also takes daily temperatures throughout the facility and said this week temperatures have not exceeded 80 degrees Fahrenheit, the statement said.
Philadelphia: A fast-moving fire damaged Jim’s Steaks on South Street, one of Philadelphia’s best-known cheesesteak shops, early Friday, but authorities said no injuries were reported. Dozens of firefighters and other emergency responders went to Jim’s Steaks when the fire was reported about 9:30 a.m. Smoke could be seen pouring from the building, but officials said all the employees were able to safely evacuate the structure. It wasn’t immediately known how many people were in the building when the fire broke out. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Jim’s Steaks opened its original location in Philadelphia in 1939. The South Street location opened in 1976.
Portsmouth: Law enforcement handed out more than a dozen citations for boating violations Saturday during an annual party on the water that has become known as “Aquapalooza.” Two boats sank. At least two boat operators were cited for “boating under the influence.” Two other revelers were taken away for emergency medical treatment, including one with a leg injury from a moving propeller. Harbormaster Bruce Celico said this year’s event was the largest yet, drawing more than 1,000 boats and Jet Skis.
Clemson: Three horses have tested positive for equine infectious anemia, a blood-borne, potentially deadly illness, the Clemson University Public Service and Agriculture unit reported Friday. The first case was in a quarter horse in Berkeley County. The other two quarter-horse cases are in Barnwell County, state Veterinarian Michael Neault said in a news release. These are the first cases of the illness in South Carolina since 2014, when a donkey tested positive in Aiken County, Neault said. The virus that causes EIA is often transmitted by bloodsucking insects such as biting flies but also can be introduced by infected needles or other medical, dental or tattoo equipment. The illness does not affect humans but is potentially deadly to horses and other equine species, Neault said. The infected horse in Berkeley County has been euthanized. Clemson University’s Livestock Poultry Health regulatory agency, which Neault also directs, is discussing options with the owners of the two affected horses in Barnwell County.
Sioux Falls: The Oglala Sioux Tribe is suing the federal government for failing to provide adequate law enforcement on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The lawsuit filed last week against the Bureau of Indian Affairs and some high-level officials in the Interior Department alleged the inadequacy has created a “public safety crisis” on the reservation. Tribal officials said Pine Ridge, with its 3 million acres of land, has just 33 police officers and eight criminal investigators who handled more than 133,700 emergency calls last year. And, that there were six to eight officers on any given shift. The complaint uses Rapid City as a comparison with its 176 police officers who handled nearly 115,000 emergency calls in 2021, the Argus Leader reported. The tribe said the Bureau of Indian Affairs is out of compliance with its standards of having 2.8 officers per 1,000 people. For Pine Ridge, that would require at least 140 tribal officers. Court documents said officers are working an average of 80 hours of overtime on top of their 160 scheduled hours and do not have adequate backup when needed for emergency calls.
Nashville: Six people have applied to replace Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery, who won’t be seeking another term. The Tennessee Supreme Court announced Don Cochran, Jerome Cochran, Michael Dunavant, R. Culver Schmid, Jonathan Skrmetti and Bill Young submitted applications for the opening by Friday’s deadline. Tennessee is the only state in which the attorney general is appointed by the Supreme Court. The position runs in eight-year terms. The new term begins Sept. 1. The court’s justices selected Slatery in 2014 after he previously served as former Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s chief legal counsel. Interviews will be held on Aug. 8 and 9 at the Tennessee Supreme Court building in Nashville. They will also be livestreamed at www.youtube.com/user/TNCourts/featured.
Austin: Sunlight magnified by glass bottles in an open garbage can ignited paper trash, starting a 500-acre wildfire in north Texas that destroyed five homes, fire officials said. The July 18 fire on Possum Kingdom Lake’s western shore, about 70 miles west of Fort Worth, took eight days to fully contain. Chief Bonnie Watkins of the Possum Kingdom West Side Volunteer Fire Department found a trash can packed with party trash that included paper goods, food and numerous glass bottles, according to a department statement. Watkins concluded a wind gust opened the can lid, allowing sunlight magnified by the glass bottles to ignite the paper. The fire built rapidly until the fire spilled from the can and spread to nearby cedar trees, the statement said. Rich Johnson, a spokesman for the Insurance Council of Texas, a nonprofit insurance industry association, said he had never heard of such a freakish cause for a wildfire.
St. George: Three people, including a juvenile, have been arrested over an alleged vandalism spree at church buildings across the city owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Police found reports of broken windows at 14 churches across Washington County spanning multiple dates, according to arresting documents filed in 5th District Court. The first incident was reported to police on July 18. All of the damage was done at churches owned by the Latter-day Saints, which make up Utah’s predominant religious denomination. The estimated cost of the damage done was $5,000. Two of the three individuals, one adult and one juvenile, reportedly admitted to their involvement, according to police. The adult is Nathan Monroy, 18, who was arrested and placed in the Purgatory Correctional Facility on a second-degree felony charge of criminal mischief. The juvenile was also arrested and placed in the Dixie Area Detention. Another adult, Zachary Steele, 18, was arrested later by Washington City officers and faces the same charge.
Burlington: U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy on Friday was discharged from a rehabilitation center following his second surgery to help repair a broken hip, his office said. Leahy, 82, fell and broke his hip last month in his Virginia home. He underwent hip-replacement surgery June 30 at a Washington-area hospital. He was then moved to a rehabilitation center. An additional operation was done July 20. He and his wife, Marcelle, returned to the home Friday. Leahy plans to return to the Senate this week. On his way home, he went to the Capitol to sign a newly passed bill that would boost the semiconductor industry and scientific research. As President Pro Tempore of the Senate, his signature is required, along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s, before the bill can be sent to President Joe Biden. Leahy, the longest serving member of the U.S. Senate, is not seeking reelection in November. When Leahy’s current term expires in January 2023, he will have served for 48 years in the Senate.
Richmond: Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Colette McEachin said she won’t file criminal charges against police officers who deployed tear gas on demonstrators gathered at the city’s Robert E. Lee statue in 2020 to protest police violence. McEachin said confused police radio communications led officers to use tear gas on a peaceful group of protestors who gathered at the statue on June 1, 2020, in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. She said her review showed that police commanders authorized tear gas to be used at the nearby J.E.B. Stuart monument, where a smaller group of protesters was trying to topple the statue. She said radio transmissions simply referred to “the monument,” and officers at the Lee monument wrongly believed the use of tear gas had been authorized there. Richmond Police quickly apologized for the use of tear gas at the Lee statue and said it was unwarranted. A few days later, the city’s police chief resigned.
Sedro-Wolley: A woman was arrested after she allegedly left her family’s dog on a balcony without water or shade during dangerous high temperatures, resulting in the dog’s death. A police animal control officer responded to calls from concerned neighbors and found the 5-year-old dog named Enzo in “severe distress.” He displayed symptoms including seizing and foaming at the mouth. The officer took life-saving measures, moving the dog inside and trying to cool him down, but Enzo died, KING5 reported. His body was taken to an emergency medical facility where its internal temperature was at least 107 degrees – the maximum temperature the vet’s thermometer could detect, according to court documents. The dog’s water bowl was empty and there were signs he had pawed at the sliding door. In addition, neighbors and nearby workers reportedly heard a dog in distress. Temperatures in Sedro-Wolley reached nearly 90 degrees on Tuesday and officers measured one surface of the balcony at 131 degrees with an infrared heat camera, according to court documents. The woman told police she had been preparing for her son’s birthday and did not check the water bowl or consider the temperature on the deck, though she told police she was aware of the forecast for the day, court documents said. The woman was charged with first-degree animal cruelty and released on her own recognizance.
Charleston: Wheeling attorney Elgine McArdle was elected chair of the West Virginia Republican Party. McArdle was chosen during a meeting of the state GOP executive committee in Charleston. McArdle has been a member of the committee since 2005. She succeeds Mark Harris, who chose not to seek a full four-year term after he was picked in March 2021 to serve the remainder of former chair Melody Potter’s term. McArdle also spent five years as an assistant federal prosecutor for the state’s northern district.
Madison: Investigators said two Dane County deputies investigating a case of road rage were injured when an alleged drunken driver crashed into their squad cars late Friday. Their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening, the Dane County Sheriff’s Office said. The incident happened in the town of Springfield, where authorities said a person was shot and injured in a dispute near the intersection of two highways. The suspect in that incident fled the scene and was later arrested. The person who was shot is expected to survive. The deputies who responded to the scene were standing outside of their cars when the drunken-driving suspect crashed into their vehicles. They were taken to a local hospital for treatment. The driver was arrested for operating while intoxicated causing injury.
Cheyenne: Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Buchanan has been named by Gov. Mark Gordon a judge for the 8th Judicial District, serving Goshen County, his home county, the Wyoming Tribune Eagle reported. The newspaper reported Buchanan said he would not seek a second term after Judge Patrick W. Korrell announced his retirement.