Montgomery: A divided state school board has cemented rules that ban so-called critical race theory teachings from K-12 classrooms and limit how educators can talk about race in the classroom. The decision drew sharp criticism from opponents who said the language could prevent honest conversations and lessons about history and race. The Alabama State Board of Education voted 7-2 on Thursday to put the measure in the state administrative code, news outlets report. It instructs schools to follow a previous resolution that bans “concepts that impute fault, blame, a tendency to oppress others, or the need to feel guilt or anguish to persons solely because of their race or sex.” It also bans theories that promote political ideologies or “one race or sex above another.” The Rev. Rayford Mack of Montgomery called the resolution an “anti-truth” measure, al.com reports. “It is a dangerous step backwards that has emerged from a coordinated national effort to suppress our nation’s history and to deny the experience of Black people and other people of color,” he said. Board members in August first approved the measure in August. Alabama Superintendent Eric Mackey said critical race theory is not currently taught in Alabama schools, but board members wanted to take action that would be preventative.
Anchorage: The Alaska Federation of Natives’ annual convention, the largest gathering of Indigenous people in the state, will be fully virtual this year, organizers announced Friday. The decision was made after federation leaders consulted with state federal and tribal health officials and reviewed current COVID-19 data trends, according to a statement. The federation decided to go all-virtual out of concern for the safety of the thousands of people from across the state who normally attend in person, the statement said. Organizers cited the continuing high rates of COVID-19, transmission, hospitalizations and deaths, particularly in Anchorage, the statement said. Alaska currently has the highest number of cases in the past seven days per 100,000 population among the 50 states, the state health department said Thursday in its weekly case update. “The incidence of COVID-19 in the Municipality of Anchorage appears to have either plateaued or be increasing. Regardless of the trajectory, intense community transmission is continuing to occur and is causing significant illness, death, and demand on the health care system,” the report says. “Safety is paramount to our decision,” said Sheri Buretta, chair of Alaska Federation of Natives convention committee, who also noted social distancing guidelines would be hard to meet.
Phoenix: A judge has rejected the Republican-controlled state Senate’s contention that it can withhold a raft of communications between its leaders and private contractors they hired to conduct an unprecedented review of the 2020 election results in the state’s most populous county. The ruling released Thursday evening is the latest in a series of losses for the Senate stemming from its efforts to keep secret records showing how the review was conducted. A watchdog group called American Oversight had sued to compel their release and repeatedly won. The Arizona Republic has a separate lawsuit seeking records from the election review. The Senate has already released tens of thousands of records after court rulings in the American Oversight case found they were covered by the state’s public records law. It was trying to shield more than 1,000 other texts and emails. American Oversight said it is fighting for the public’s right to know how the partisan audit was funded and how Cyber Ninjas and other private contractors hired by the Senate conducted the review. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Michael Kemp’s ruling said the Senate’s position that the records were covered by legislative privilege was flat wrong. He said that privilege is intended to protect debate about pending legislation.
Little Rock: State Attorney General Leslie Rutledge raised $190,970 over the past three months in her bid for governor, her campaign said Friday, as she continued trailing former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in fundraising for the state’s top office. Rutledge’s campaign said the latest contributions brought her total fundraising haul to more than $1.6 million since she announced her candidacy last year. Rutledge spent $259,134 during the quarter and reported having more than $1 million cash on hand. Sanders a day earlier reported raising $2.1 million during the quarter and having $7 million in the bank for her bid. The two are running in next year’s Republican primary. Friday was the deadline for candidates to file their quarterly fundraising reports with the state. Rutledge said more than 80% of her contributions are from Arkansans. All but $3.7 million of the $11 million Sanders has raised total has come from out-of-state donors. “I will continue to keep my campaign focused on Arkansas and issues that are important to Arkansans,” Rutledge said in a statement. The two are running to succeed Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who is barred by term limits from seeking reelection. Chris Jones, a Democratic candidate, on Thursday reported raising more than $384,000 during the quarter.
Sacramento: The state has added the Pacific leatherback sea turtle to its endangered species list, guaranteeing more protections for a rapidly dwindling population. The California Fish and Game Commission voted Thursday to add the turtles under the state’s Endangered Species Act. The world’s largest turtle species has been on the federal endangered species list since 1973. But scientists now know more about how crucial California is to its survival, according to Catherine Kilduff, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. A subpopulation of leatherback sea turtles hatches on beaches in Indonesia. Once fully grown, the reptiles swim nearly 6,000 miles to eat jellyfish off the California coast. Adult leatherback sea turtles weigh an average of 1,000 pounds. Scientists say these sea turtles have declined by about 5.6% in California each year for the past three decades. About 50 sea turtles visit the California coast each year, compared to about 178 turtles in the 1990s, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. Adding turtles to California’s endangered species list will make them a conservation priority for state agencies. It will also increase the state’s cooperation with federal agencies to protect the sea turtle population.
Glenwood Springs: The fire, floods and massive debris flows of the past year in Glenwood Canyon could help answer an aeons-old question – where exactly does the underground source of water that feeds Hanging Lake begin? The U.S. Forest Service is working with scientific consultants from the renowned Ozark Underground Laboratory out of southwest Missouri to conduct an experiment that may answer the question once and for all. The team recently placed special carbon samplers at key locations in Hanging Lake and at points where multiple springs emerge at the lake and Spouting Rock above the lake, as well as in nearby surface streams. Then, they traveled into the Flat Tops above Glenwood Canyon to place nontoxic fluorescent tracer dye into the water at various potential source points. The idea is that the dye will travel through the canyon’s extensive karst system of caves and sinkholes. Whichever color dye or dyes come out at Hanging Lake should identify the source. Water travels through limestone deposits deep underground and eventually pools amid the steep cliffs at what’s become one of the most popular hiking destinations within the White River National Forest. That passage through the travertine formation and the unique vegetation in and around the lake give Hanging Lake its unique turquoise-green color.
Preston: The Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, which owns and operates Foxwoods Resort Casino, is seeking to develop a luxury RV resort on land the tribal nation has owned since 1994. The tribe and Blue Water Development Corp., of Ocean City, Maryland, recently filed plans for the proposed park in Preston, to include camping sites, a pool, a water slide, a splash pad, tennis and volleyball courts, a playground, a camp store and a picnic pavilion. The project, located just north of Foxwoods, will be discussed Tuesday at the Inlands Wetlands and Watercourses Commission meeting. Blue Water has completed eight projects of similar size and scope in various states. This latest project comes after a record number of recreational vehicles were sold over the past year in the U.S. “We have waited many years to find the best use and environmentally-conscious partner for this property as we look to thoughtfully enhance our resort experiences,” said Jason Guyot, president and CEO of Foxwoods, in a written statement. He has said previously that Foxwoods has long considered a high-end RV park option for its patrons.
Lewes: The city’s two municipal beaches, formerly known as Beach 1 and Beach 2, are getting brand-new names. Beach 1, which sits at the end of Savannah Road, will now be known as Savannah Beach. Mayor Ted Becker said the geographic name seems “intuitive.” Just down the coast, the former Beach 2 has officially been renamed Johnnie Walker Beach – a nod to a prominent Black business owner who opened a restaurant there and created a welcoming atmosphere for Black families during segregation. While many people recall that the small port city of Lewes was largely known as a diverse and welcoming area in the 1950s and ’60s, Jim Crow laws still segregated significant parts of life – including the resort town’s two beaches. But Johnnie Walker’s, a restaurant and open-air pavilion where live music often played, was a place where people ate fish sandwiches and french fries, teenagers danced until their shoes were worn out, and families found a sense of belonging, according to people who shared stories from this time. Becker said the city is working with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control to possibly recreate the Johnnie Walker pavilion on that beach.
District of Columbia
Washington: Indigenous groups and other environmental activists marched to the Capitol on Friday as they continued a weeklong protest demanding that Congress and the Biden administration stop new fossil fuel projects and act with greater urgency on climate change. Nearly 80 people were arrested on the fifth day of the “People vs. Fossil Fuels” protest, bringing the total arrested during the week to more than 600, organizers said. Under a banner declaring “We did not vote for fossil fuels,” activists pressed President Joe Biden to stop approving new pipelines and other fossil fuel projects and declare a climate emergency. Demonstrators urged members of Congress to “listen to the people” who sent them to Washington and take urgent action to phase out fossil fuels that contribute to global warming. Capitol Police said 78 people were arrested on obstruction or crowding charges. Three of those arrested also were charged with assault on a police officer. The Capitol protest followed a sit-in Thursday at the Interior Department in downtown Washington. The protest was part of “a historic surge of Indigenous resistance” in the nation’s capital that started last Monday, Indigenous Peoples’ Day, outside the White House, said Jennifer Falcon, a spokeswoman for the Indigenous Environmental Network, part of the coalition that organized the protest.
Fort Lauderdale: The gunman who killed 14 students and three staff members at a Parkland high school will plead guilty to their murders, his attorneys said Friday, bringing some closure to a South Florida community more than three years after an attack that sparked a nationwide movement for gun control. The guilty plea would set up a penalty phase in which Nikolas Cruz, 23, would be fighting against the death penalty and hoping for life without parole. Cruz attorney David Wheeler told Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer that he will plead guilty Wednesday to 17 counts of first-degree murder in the February 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The pleas will come with no conditions, and prosecutors still plan to seek the death penalty. That will be decided by a jury, with the judge hoping to start the trial in January after choosing a jury from thousands of prospects starting in November. Cruz will also plead guilty to 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder. He was not initially present during the hearing but later entered the Broward County courtroom to plead guilty to attacking a jail guard nine months after the shooting. Cruz said he understood that prosecutors can use the conviction as an aggravating factor when they later argue for his execution.
Atlanta: One of the world’s largest elevator towers will soon be opened to test elevators of the future as well as current ones high above the Atlanta suburbs. TK Elevators’ 420-foot tower is set to become fully operational early next year, company executives said during a tour of the new research lab and elevator testing facility. “This is going to transform our industry,” said Kevin Lavelle, CEO of the company’s North American operations. It’s the largest elevator test tower in the Western Hemisphere, according to the company and general contractor Brasfield & Gorrie, which built it. The tower with its multiple elevator testing shafts looks down into the Atlanta Braves’ stadium nearby and offers stunning views of the Atlanta skyline. It’s next door to the company’s new North American headquarters in Cobb County, just northwest of the city. Construction on the tower began in 2019 with 3,000 tons of steel, and the structure is now in place, with interior work still ongoing as TKE prepares to fully open it in February. Among concepts being tested in the high-rise: twin elevators, which use the same elevator shaft but operate independently, with one car above the other, Lavelle said. Twin elevators save space and are able to carry passengers more efficiently, he said.
Honolulu: The state can expect above-average rainfall during the upcoming wet season and potentially have more floods like last winter, the National Weather Service said Friday. Even so, Maui County and the Big Island may remain in drought and at greater risk for wildfires because the leeward sides of their islands won’t get as much rain. The strength of this year’s La Nina weather event will likely influence rainfall patterns across the island chain. La Nina is a cooling of Pacific Ocean sea surface temperatures near the equator and the flip side of a warmer El Nino pattern. Kevin Kodama, the weather agency’s senior service hydrologist in Honolulu, said La Nina is expected to be moderate this year. That will mean heavy rainfall on the windward sides of the islands and drier leeward sides during the wet season, which runs from this month through April. That’s similar to the last wet season. Under this scenario, Kauai and Oahu, which have some areas of moderate drought, will likely recover, but drought is expected continue on Maui County and the Big Island. Ranchers in leeward Maui County – areas currently in extreme and severe drought – have recently lost cattle due to the dry conditions. A lack of vegetation in the forests has pushed invasive Axis deer into farms, leading to agricultural losses.
Ammon: Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin held a news conference Thursday to defend her decision to refuse to release public records until she lost a lawsuit over the matter, criticizing the Idaho Attorney General’s Office and accusing several news organizations of lying in their coverage of the civil case. Her remarks at an elementary school in Ammon included campaign talk that may have violated a state law against campaigning on public school grounds. McGeachin held the event with Republican Attorney General candidate Art Macomber, of Coeur d’Alene, saying she wanted to “set the record straight” regarding the lawsuit from the Idaho Press Club. She refused to take any questions. “I know the media is very busy writing lies about me and my office,” she said. The Idaho Press Club sued McGeachin in July after several journalists said she wrongly denied public record requests for materials relating to her new Education Task Force. The panel was ordered to investigate allegations of “indoctrination” in the state’s public school system, something McGeachin said was necessary to “protect our young people from the scourge of critical race theory, socialism, communism and Marxism.” The journalists requested public feedback forms and other documents.
Chicago: Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Friday that she took her fight with the head of the city’s police officers union to court, arguing that his call for officers to ignore the order to report their COVID-19 vaccination status was illegal. The mayor said in a statement that the city’s law department filed a complaint in Cook County Circuit Court for injunctive relief against Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara, whom she accused of “engaging in, supporting and encouraging work stoppage or strike.” A judge on Friday evening granted the city’s request for a temporary injunction barring Catanzara from making any public comments that encourage FOP members to disobey the city’s vaccine mandate until the next hearing on the city’s lawsuit Oct. 25. Judge Cecilia Horan ruled there was potential irreparable harm if Catanzara continued such statements. City attorneys argued they were tantamount to him advocating “sedition” and “anarchy” because he was directing members to disobey an order from their superiors. Lightfoot said that by urging union members not to report their COVID-19 vaccination status by Friday’s deadline, Catanzara put the public in danger.
Knox: An Israeli company has started work to build a solar energy farm that’s planned to cover some 13,000 acres across two northern Indiana counties when completed. Executives of Doral Renewables took part in a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday with Gov. Eric Holcomb and local officials for the project that is estimated to cost $1.5 billion to build over the next few years. The project, dubbed Mammoth Solar, will see solar panels erected in Starke and Pulaski counties, generating electricity that Doral will sell under a long-term agreement to American Electric Power for the Columbus, Ohio-based utility company to increase its renewable energy capacity. The solar farm’s first phase is expected become operational by mid-2023 and will produce 400 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 75,000 households, according to the company. Construction is planned to start next year on other phases of the farm, which will ultimately generate 1.65 gigawatts of electricity as those portions begin operating in 2024. Proposals for large solar farms have faced opposition in some places over loss of farmland. But Starke County Commissioner Mark Gourley said he was excited about the project coming to the rural area about 50 miles southwest of South Bend. “I’ve never in my life seen anything like this project here,” Gourley said.
Des Moines: Republican leaders are calling for a new round of tax cuts after a state panel projected Friday that Iowa would take in more money this year than previously expected. Iowa’s three-member Revenue Estimating Conference, which sets the revenue projections that lawmakers use to form the state budget, has increased its revenue estimate for the next two budget years after the state saw an 11% year-over-year growth the year before. Panel members expect state revenues will continue to grow but at a more modest rate – about 1.5% – for each of the next two years. Iowa Republicans credited their budgeting practices and pandemic policies and immediately pointed to the results as reason to cut taxes. But Democrats said the credit for the state’s recovery should go to the federal pandemic relief package that Republicans opposed, and any new tax cuts should be sustainable and focus on middle-class families. Rep. Chris Hall, the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, didn’t rule out agreement on tax cuts, but he said in a statement that Republicans need to also focus on investing in areas that will attract and keep families in Iowa. “Any tax changes made next session must be targeted to middle class families, not just the wealthy and special interests,” he said in the statement.
Topeka: A task force formed three years ago to investigate clergy sexual abuse in Catholic dioceses across the state has received 215 tips and opened 122 cases, according to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. Robert Jacobs, executive officer of the KBI, reported on the work of the agency’s Catholic Clergy Taskforce last week during a hearing of a state legislative committee. He said investigators set up a phone line and email address for people to report abuse, The Kansas City Star reports. The task force has been working with Catholic dioceses to review almost 40,000 diocesan records since its work began in 2019, Jacobs said. Along with considering a specific allegation, investigators are working to determine if the allegation was made to the diocese or to law enforcement “and what the follow-through was on that claim when it was initially made.” State Sen. Jeff Pittman, D-Leavenworth, questioned why no prosecutions had arisen from the investigation. “Why, with 40,000 different records, there doesn’t seem to be any action on this?” Pittman said. “Is the pursuit not revealing anything? I mean, it seems like there’s a lot in the news about this. What’s the story?” Jacobs said one issue has been that some of the alleged acts took place years ago. “Obviously, we run into time constraints,” he said.
Frankfort: Saying the COVID-19 pandemic reinforced the necessity for accessible health care, Gov. Andy Beshear marked a milestone Friday for the state’s relaunched health insurance exchange, where consumers now can shop for health coverage for the coming year. Kentuckians can find out if they qualify for Medicaid and compare private plans on the state’s health care marketplace on the web portal, known as kynect, ahead of the enrollment period that begins Nov. 1. Open enrollment for existing recipients of Medicaid started Friday. In a state with high rates of cancer and other diseases, the portal signed up hundreds of thousands for health coverage before it was shut down by the previous governor. Beshear had already relaunched the state-run portal, and Friday marked the first day consumers could go on the website to review coverage plans for 2022. “People deserve easy access to information about their health plans and their benefits,” Beshear said. “It shouldn’t be hard to secure something that keeps you healthy and, in a pandemic, alive.” The Democratic governor was joined by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra in promoting kynect, which offers a centralized place for Kentuckians to apply for health insurance coverage and other benefits.
New Orleans: Once-endangered alligators are thriving in the wild, so state authorities are proposing a deep cut in the percentage that farmers must return to marshes where their eggs were laid. “Over the past 50 years, alligator nest surveys have increased from an estimate of less than 10,000 in the 1970s and 1980s to well over 60,000 nests in recent years,” the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission said in a notice published Wednesday. “This increase in nesting has produced a population that can now be sustained with a much lower farm return rate.” The commission is taking comments until Jan. 4 on a proposal to cut that rate from 10% to 5%. The big armored reptiles don’t breed well in captivity, so farmers are allowed to collect eggs from nests as long as they return a percentage to the same area as youngsters big enough to foil predators other than people and much bigger alligators. Alligator hides are made into luxury leather for products including watchbands, boots and purses. The meat is used in sausages; companies also sell roasts, steaks, ribs, nuggets, jerky and even whole skinned alligators. Forelegs are marketed as “alligator wings.” Uncontrolled hunting nearly wiped out American alligators before Louisiana barred all hunting in 1962.
Augusta: A law banning obscenities from license plates on Maine’s roads and highways goes into effect Monday, but removing such profanities in a state where such regulation has been unusually lax won’t happen overnight. Currently, there are license plates with salty language including f-bombs, references to anatomy and sex acts, and general insults. One license plate says simply “F---Y0U” – except it’s plainly spelled out. Now, rule-making is getting underway to ensure the law protects First Amendment rights while getting rid of obscene language. The process, which includes public comment, could take two to four months, Secretary of State Shenna Bellows said. Requests for so-called vanity license plates that are deemed to be potentially offensive will be on hold in the meantime. Eventually, the state will begin recalling previously issued plates, likely this winter. A majority of states have restrictions on license plate messages that are considered profane, sexually suggestive, racist, drug-related, politically objectionable or religiously offensive. But Maine became the “wild, wild, wild west of vanity license plates” when the state dropped its review process in 2015. “Our anything-goes approach was unusual,” Bellows said.
Annapolis: Gov. Larry Hogan proposed a $150 million boost in public safety spending Friday. The Republican governor dubbed the plan the “Re-Fund the Police Initiative” and decried “an all-out assault on the entire law enforcement community” at a news conference announcing the plan, The Baltimore Sun reports. The name is a play on the call to defund police, a tactic supporters say aims to address systemic problems in policing and direct spending to other needs, but Hogan called the idea “dangerous far-left lunacy.” The plan would put $45 million toward local law enforcement and $50 million toward state police agency raises and bonuses. It would also spend $24 million on body cameras and training and $10 million on neighborhood grants for safety improvements like lighting and security cameras. Hogan’s proposal would spend $20 million on victim protection, including $14 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to restore funding for victim services providers after federal cuts. The proposal also includes $1 million for the state’s police chief and sheriff’s associations. The governor is set to speak at a joint meeting of the two groups Monday. The General Assembly would need to approve most of the spending Hogan is proposing.
Boston: A high-tech buoy designed to enhance maritime safety is being installed in Buzzards Bay, state environmental officials said. The buoy that measures wave height, wave period, wave direction and surface water temperature every 30 minutes will be placed about 4 nautical miles southwest of Cuttyhunk Island, according to a statement last week from the state Department of Environmental Protection. The buoy is a joint project involving the state, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems. “The waters of Buzzards Bay and Cape Cod Bay are precious natural resources in Massachusetts, and we must continue to make strong efforts to protect them for both the public and marine species to benefit from,” state Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides said. “Adding this new buoy in Buzzards Bay will expand Cape Cod’s marine safety network and help ensure safe passage for mariners traveling through these important waters.” The state is providing about $900,000 to purchase, install and operate the buoy. The money is coming from the Oil Spill Prevention and Response Trust Fund, established after a barge spilled 98,000 gallons of oil into the bay in 2003.
Detroit: The state must serve kosher meat, dairy and cheesecake to prisoners observing the Jewish Sabbath and holidays, a federal appeals court said, rejecting arguments that a special menu would be too costly and disruptive. The Corrections Department typically offers a vegan meal to anyone with religious dietary needs. But the appeals court said it was a “substantial burden” on the rights of prisoners who said they instead need meat and dairy to practice their Jewish faith. In a 3-0 opinion this week, the appeals court affirmed a decision by U.S. District Judge Linda Parker. The court analyzed the case under a federal law that protects the exercise of religion in a confined setting. Gerald Ackerman and Mark Shaykin sued after the state in 2013 adopted a vegan religious meal and said Jewish organizations could no longer send food for four holidays. Prisoners can purchase small kosher meat and dairy products at the commissary, but the food can’t be brought into the chow hall. Ackerman and Shaykin said they must eat the special food as meals, not snacks. They also believe they must eat kosher cheesecake on Shavuot, which recalls the ancient harvest of wheat and the delivery of the Torah to Jews. The appeals court said the “cheesecake issue is trickier” than meat and milk, but it affirmed the trial judge’s findings.
Robbinsdale: Gov. Tim Walz said Friday that he’ll use the Minnesota National Guard to help alleviate staffing shortages at care facilities that are struggling to cope with the surge in COVID-19 cases among unvaccinated residents. “These folks need respite care. They’re at a breaking point. They can’t go anymore,” Walz said. The governor went to North Memorial Health Hospital to announce plans for relieving overstretched staffs at long-term care facilities that prevent hospitals from discharging patients into transitional care centers. More than 400 Minnesota hospital patients are currently waiting for beds to open up for incoming patients, he said. Walz said the number of soldiers who will provide that relief and their exact roles have yet to be determined, but it would be a “fairly large contingent.” “We’re not going to send untrained National Guard into an ICU unit, but we can give them the training necessary to provide … the long-term care for the other folks,” he said. Hospitals across Minnesota are at or near capacity, treating just over 1,000 COVID-19 patients. But officials say the problem is due not only to the coronavirus but also to other conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, trauma, scheduled surgeries and a backlog of procedures that began building up earlier in the pandemic.
Jackson: The Russell C. Davis Planetarium is undergoing renovations and expected to reopen at the end of 2023 with a fresh look and more extensive exhibits. This is the first renovation in decades at the site in downtown Jackson. Mike Williams, the planetarium manager, said the city is creating a world-class center for science and technology. “This is going to be something we can present to the world that is in diametrically opposed to a lot of the negative ideas people may have about our state,” Williams said. He said visitors will see interactive exhibits, including some using augmented and virtual technology. Exhibits will showcase recent space missions and projects by NASA and space travel by private companies, he said. He said he hopes new and updated exhibits will inspire students to explore science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers. “It’s a total investment in our kids and the people of our state,” Williams said. The planetarium closed in April 2018 because of a roof leak and interior damage. After the roof was repaired, the city announced in June 2020 that the planetarium would undergo renovations. Those are expected to cost $12 million or so, and plans include establishing a $2 million operational endowment, said John David Lewis, the city’s deputy director of cultural services.
Jefferson City: Three months after creation of a commission to identify cybersecurity risks in state government, Gov. Mike Parson has yet to appoint any members. A state lawmaker said Friday that vulnerabilities exposed on a state website prove the need for just such a panel of experts. Rep. Ashley Aune, D-Kansas City, helped write the section of Senate Bill 49 that created the Missouri Cybersecurity Commission. Parson, a Republican, signed the bill into law in mid-July. A St. Louis Post-Dispatch journalist uncovered a security flaw on a Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s web application that allowed the public to search teacher certifications and credentials. The newspaper found that the Social Security numbers of perhaps 100,000 teachers and other school officials from around the state were in HTML source code. The Post-Dispatch alerted the department Tuesday, and the agency removed the pages. The Post-Dispatch said it gave the state time to fix the problem before publishing a story Thursday. But Parson on Thursday announced a criminal investigation, alleging the journalist was “acting against a state agency to compromise teachers’ personal information in an attempt to embarrass the state and sell headlines for their news outlet. We will not let this crime against Missouri teachers go unpunished.” Aune accused Parson of a “smear campaign” against the Post-Dispatch journalist when it was Parson’s administration that stored the private information and left it unprotected.
Bozeman: Montana State University celebrated the grand opening of its American Indian Hall over the weekend, saying it will serve as a bridge between Native American culture and all other cultures on campus. The event Saturday began with a procession from the current American Indian Center – just over 1,000 square feet in the basement of Wilson Hall – to the new $20 million, 31,000-square-foot building. The procession was led by a Native American honor guard followed by flag-bearers with the state flag and others from Montana’s tribal nations, along with tribal dancers. The building will house the university’s Department of Native American Studies and a working space for the Senior Diversity and Inclusion officer. Classes will start there in January. It also has a kitchen, a drum room, and rooms for tutoring, counseling, advising and cultural ceremonies. Native American art is displayed, and there are furnishings crafted from trees removed from the site where the building now stands. The building is surrounded by gardens with indigenous plants that were planted by MSU Native American students and staff and is heated and cooled by 24 geothermal wells.
Omaha: The state’s attorney general said Friday that he won’t seek disciplinary action against doctors who prescribe controversial, off-label drugs to treat and prevent coronavirus infections, as long as they get informed consent from patients and don’t engage in misconduct. The office of Attorney General Doug Peterson released a legal opinion saying it didn’t see data to justify legal action against health care professionals who prescribe ivermectin, a decades-old parasite treatment, or hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug that former President Donald Trump took to try to prevent a COVID-19 infection. “Based on the evidence that currently exists, the mere fact of prescribing ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 will not result in our office filing disciplinary actions,” the Republican attorney general said in the opinion. Many health experts and leading medical groups have been trying to stop the use of both drugs, arguing that they can cause harmful side effects and that there’s little evidence that they help. It’s also unclear whether many doctors are actually prescribing them in Nebraska or elsewhere, although a few isolated cases have emerged nationally.
Reno: The COVID-19 pandemic helped expose the growing vulnerability of Lake Tahoe’s increasingly tourism-dependent economy as housing costs balloon, year-round residency declines, and more workers commute from afar or seek jobs elsewhere, a new report says. The Tahoe Prosperity Center says the findings in the study it commissioned with the help of a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration underscore the need to better diversify Tahoe’s economy, build more affordable housing and utilize an increasingly skilled workforce. “Exorbitant home prices, the high cost of living, long-haul commuters, a shortage of workers, and a flat to down economy over the past 10 years point to an economy that is not healing itself, nor resilient to disruptive changes that impact visitor-based economies more deeply,” the study said. Tourism now accounts for more than 60% of Lake Tahoe’s $5 billion regional economy – up from 40% in 2010, according to the nonprofit center’s research released last week. The report also pointed to the effects of climate change, which scientists say has made the West much warmer and drier in the past 30 years and will continue to make weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive, along with shifting snow and precipitation trends affecting the region’s ski resorts.
Concord: Mental health advocates are praising the state’s decision to expand services for children by purchasing a private, 111-bed psychiatric hospital. An association that represents the state’s 10 nonprofit community mental health centers called the news “a major milestone in our system.” “This is truly an investment in the future and will ensure that we strengthen our continuity of care,” said Brian Collins, president of the Community Behavioral Health Association. The cost of buying Hampstead Hospital and other details haven’t been determined, but it will be covered by federal pandemic relief funds pending approval of the legislative fiscal committee and Executive Council. The facility has had contracts with the state during the coronavirus pandemic to treat children in mental health crises. “Band-Aids and short-term solutions are not going to cut it,” Gov. Chris Sununu said while announcing Thursday that the state is in the final stages of the purchase. In late March 2020, for the first time in eight years, no one in New Hampshire was waiting in a hospital emergency room for an inpatient psychiatric bed. But the numbers went back up during the pandemic. By May 2021, more than 80 mental health patients, including record numbers of children, were waiting on any given day.
West Orange: An apartment complex from which 45 families were abruptly evacuated due to a rock slide stemming from the remnants of Hurricane Ida will be demolished, according to the lawyer representing the property owner. Attorney Steven Eisenstein handed evacuees checks for returned security deposits, October’s rent and an extra $1,250 per unit to help cover relocation costs during a community meeting Thursday, NJ.com reports. Eisenstein said three engineering firms had recommended to owner John Jakimowicz that the Ron Jolyn Apartments in West Orange be demolished. “It’s not that he has any choice,” Eisenstein said. The red brick garden apartment complex was evacuated late last Monday hours after a township employee opened an email sent Friday night warning that a steep, rocky slope behind the apartments was unstable and could result in property damage and “possible loss of life.” Mayor Robert Parisi said the township would go on paying for the hotel accommodations of evacuees while they sought new permanent housing. Evacuees voiced anger and frustration with the evacuation conducted from 10 p.m. Monday to 1 a.m. Tuesday with no warning to tenants, who had little time to gather what belongings they could carry.
Albuquerque: A judge on Friday denied a request by dozens of scientists and others at Los Alamos National Laboratory to block a vaccine mandate, meaning workers risked being fired if they didn’t comply with the lab’s afternoon deadline. The case comes as New Mexico extends a mask mandate for indoor spaces across the state, citing persistently high levels of community spread. While the vaccination rate among adults in New Mexico continues to hover below 72%, the lab confirmed Friday that 96% of employees are fully vaccinated. It’s not known how many workers have requested exemptions or how many could end up being fired for declining the shots. The legal challenge was backed by 114 scientists, nuclear engineers, research technicians, designers, project managers and other workers at the lab. Some are specialists and have high security clearance for the work they do, which ranges from national defense to infrastructure improvements and COVID-19 research. The workers claim that the mandate is a violation of their constitutional rights and that lab management has created a hostile work environment. Attorneys for the lab argued in court Thursday that being vaccinated was a condition of working at Los Alamos. State District Judge Jason Lidyard agreed, saying unvaccinated employees will have to find work elsewhere.
New York: The Democrat who will likely become the next mayor says he does not intend to get rid of the city’s program for gifted and talented students, nipping plans that outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio just announced. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said in an interview on CNN on Friday that de Blasio can’t get rid of the program in the nation’s largest school district until next year, when a new mayor is in place. Adams said he would preserve the program and expand opportunities for advanced learning. In response, the city’s department of education noted that Adams’ plans to expand accelerated learning in schools match the goals of de Blasio’s plan to replace the gifted and talented program. De Blasio, in a radio interview Friday, again defended his plan that would begin next year to phase out the program, which critics say favors white and Asian American students, while enrolling disproportionately few Black and Latino children. De Blasio said the district, with about 1 million students, would next year stop administering a screening test to 4-year-olds that’s used to identify gifted and talented students. Instead, he said the public school system would work to offer accelerated learning to all kindergarteners.
Elizabeth City: A northeastern North Carolina judge changed her voter registration from Democrat to Republican the day after she was sworn in to the job for which Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper appointed her. District Court Judge Jennifer Karpowicz Bland switched her registration Sept. 3, according to Dare County elections records. The former assistant district attorney was sworn in Sept. 2, the week after Cooper announced Bland would succeed now-Superior Court Judge Eula Reid, The Daily Advance of Elizabeth City reports. There’s no requirement that someone of the governor’s or departing judge’s political party is picked by the governor. Historically, however, governors have often favored someone of their own party to fill vacancies. Bland said her political views never came up during two pre-appointment interviews with Cooper. Bland said she didn’t contact Cooper’s office about her party switch before completing it. “I’ve always been conservative,” Bland said recently. “It’s the party that best represents my values.” In response to the switch, Cooper’s office focused on criticizing the GOP-controlled Legislature for passing laws in the 2010s to make judicial elections officially partisan again. “It’s still wrong now,” spokesperson Jordan Monaghan said.
Bismarck: The state is offering license refunds to nearly 30,000 deer hunters due to an outbreak of a viral disease in the western part of the state. It’s the second straight year that North Dakota’s Game and Fish Department is offering refunds to thousands of hunters. The department says it has received nearly 1,000 reports of dead deer after epizootic hemorrhagic disease, known as EHD, surfaced in late August. The disease, transmitted by biting gnats, seems to be affecting a larger portion of the state than usual, Wildlife Chief Casey Anderson said. Game and Fish Wildlife Veterinarian Charlie Bahnson said one theory could be that prolonged drought conditions in the state and record-breaking heat in October created conditions favorable to midges and more viral spread. The heaviest concentration of reported deaths is along the Missouri River, especially to the north and south of Bismarck and Mandan, the Bismarck Tribune reports. Last year’s outbreak was in the southwest and west central parts of the state, and Game and Fish offered license refunds to more than 9,000 hunters. Only about 400 sought refunds. Bahnson said nearly 30,000 hunters are potentially affected this year. Hunters and landowners are asked to report any dead deer, along with photos, through an online wildlife mortality reporting system.
Columbus: Democrats in the state House are calling for action on legislation that would remove time limits restricting when sexual assault victims could file lawsuits against perpetrators. The lawmakers are also urging that hearings be held on a bill that would lift caps on pain-and-suffering awards in lawsuits brought by rape victims. The bills in question focus on separate issues encompassing sexual assault. One involves lawsuits brought by long-ago survivors of sexual abuse, a measure backers say could assist both victims of priest abuse and – in a recent high-profile case – abuse perpetrated on hundreds of student-athletes by former Ohio State team doctor Richard Strauss. That bill would also eliminate the spousal exception for marital rape. The other bill involves recent state Supreme Court rulings dramatically reducing jury awards to child survivors of rape. The issue is not partisan, said Rep. Tavia Galonski, D-Akron. “We have a combining of victims now coming forward, and survivors, friends of survivors, family of survivors, combining with the Strauss victims who’ve been reaching out to our office to contact us,” she said at a Thursday news conference. A separate Republican bill meant to assist survivors of Strauss is stalled, and a GOP lawmaker last week suggested it was never meant to pass but only pressure Ohio State to settle. A federal judge dismissed some of the biggest unsettled lawsuits against Ohio State last month, agreeing with OSU’s argument that the legal window for such claims had passed.
Oklahoma City: The Oklahoma State Department of Health says it will reconcile its tally of COVID-19 deaths with those reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, resulting in more than 1,000 additional deaths. “This is part of our annual review process that we do every year for reportable diseases,” not just COVID-19, state epidemiologist Dr. Jolianne Stone said. The review is required of all states and, in Oklahoma, will result in an estimated 1,053 COVID-19 deaths when the CDC publishes the data Monday, Stone said Thursday. The update will also result in an estimated 1,366 additional coronavirus cases in the state, she said. The department, which investigates each death, has for months reported the CDC’s provisional death count based on death certificates. The health department on Friday reported a total of 10,826 deaths due to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, based on the CDC’s provisional death count.
Portland: The Oregon Court of Appeals has reversed a lower court’s decision to throw out an age discrimination lawsuit against a gun retailer, declaring it illegal to deny gun sales to buyers between the ages of 18 and 20. Brandy Dalbeck filed a $10,000 lawsuit against Bi-Mart in 2018 after the company’s Florence store refused to sell her a hunting rifle when she was 18. Bi-Mart had announced that year it would no longer sell guns and ammunition to people under the age of 21. Companies like Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods made similar changes around the same time after 17 students and staff members were killed in a school shooting in Parkland, Florida. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports federal law bans firearms retailers from selling handguns, but not rifles or shotguns, to anyone under 21. Oregon law allows residents to buy shotguns or rifles starting at age 18. Lane County Circuit Judge Charles D. Carlson dismissed Dalbeck’s case without a trial in 2019. In his order for dismissal, Carlson said Oregon’s anti-discrimination law did not prohibit places like Bi-Mart from discriminating against people between the ages of 18 and 20 based on age – and even if the law did, Bi-Mart could adopt a policy against selling firearms to those under 21 as a matter of public safety. Oregon’s appeals court disagreed.
Upper Darby: A woman was raped by a stranger on a commuter train in suburban Philadelphia in the presence of other riders, who a police official said “should have done something.” Superintendent Timothy Bernhardt of the Upper Darby Police Department said officers were called to the 69th Street terminal about 10 p.m. Wednesday after the assault on the westbound train on the Market-Frankford Line. An employee of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority who was in the vicinity as the train went past called police to report that “something wasn’t right” with a woman aboard the train, Bernhardt said. SEPTA police waiting at the next stop found the woman and arrested a man. The woman was taken to a hospital. Bernhardt called the victim an “unbelievably strong woman” who provided police with a lot of information. She did not know her attacker, he said. “She’s on the mend,” Bernhardt said. “Hopefully she will get through this.” The entire episode was captured on surveillance video that showed other people on the train at the time, Bernhardt said. “There was a lot of people, in my opinion, that should have intervened; somebody should have done something,” Bernhardt said. “It speaks to where we are in society; I mean, who would allow something like that to take place?”
Providence: The Rhode Island Foundation is providing a $250,000 grant to purchase thousands of opioid overdose prevention kits until a more sustainable source of state funding is in place. The grant announced recently to the University of Rhode Island will enable the Community First Responder Program at its College of Pharmacy to purchase approximately 3,000 Narcan kits for distribution to community-based recovery and harm reduction organizations across the state, the foundation said in a statement. There is a critical need for the kits. Supplies of Narcan, also known as naloxone, are seriously depleted as drug overdoses rise. According to state Department of Health figures, 384 Rhode Islanders died of a drug overdose last year. “Narcan kits are a simple solution to a deadly problem. While our funding will save lives, it’s just a large, yet critically needed Band-Aid until a sustainable funding source is put in place,” foundation President and CEO Neil Steinberg said. The funding will provide about a two-month supply of Narcan. The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in the state.
Columbia: An elementary school teacher surrendered to authorities Friday after being accused of having marijuana edibles in a student prize box in her classroom. The 27-year-old teacher from Lexington was behing held on a charge of possession of a Schedule I drug. Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon said the teacher bought a mixed bag of candy to give to her students at Rocky Creek Elementary School, and two students were allowed to get a prize from the candy box Sept. 23. “Marijuana edibles are cannabis-based food products. They come in many forms, but the items in this case were candy,” Sheriff Jay Koon said, adding that while they looked similar to traditional candy brands in wrappers with bright colors, they are illegal in South Carolina. According to the arrest report, one student grabbed a pack of “Stoney Patch Kids” gummies, believing they were “Sour Patch Kids,” and though the teacher told the student to get something else, the child still left with marijuana edibles. The other student grabbed a lollipop. After getting the prize, the student with the gummies went to an after-school day care program and asked his teacher there to help him open the pack. The teacher saw that the candy was not “Sour Patch Kids,” did not open the pack, and contacted the child’s school, the deputy’s report said.
Spearfish: A junior mineral exploration company is making a new push to find gold in the Black Hills. Solitario Zinc Corp. arrived in Spearfish in July. Todd Christensen, a geologist with Solitario, said the company was invited to evaluate some claims from a group of investors, and “we saw it as an opportunity to get our foot in the door and to evaluate exploration potential.” Solitario will be combing through 580 mining claims that make up about 11,600 acres of land in Lawrence County. Christensen said the company plans to conduct a multiyear surface exploration program and intends to look for deposits like the Homestake deposit. The former Homestake Mine near Lead became the largest and deepest gold mine in North America and generated 40 million ounces of gold during its 126-year life. In 2002, it closed and became an underground research facility. Homestake’s origins were in the Black Hills gold rush of the 1870s. “Currently, we’re collecting samples to get an understanding of the geology and the mineralization potential,” he said. Christensen told the Black Hills Pioneer that Solitario has focused on zinc in recent years but expanded to gold after a geologist with South Dakota roots gave a presentation at a mineral exploration conference in Toronto.
Nashville: A federal judge has limited the ability for now for the nonprofit running Oak Ridge National Laboratory to place employees on unpaid leave who receive exemptions to a COVID-19 vaccine requirement. U.S. District Judge Charles Atchley in Knoxville issued the temporary restraining order Friday barring UT-Battelle from placing employees on indefinite unpaid leave or firing them after they receive a religious or medical accommodation to the vaccines. The six workers who sued have argued they were told the unpaid leave would be indefinite. Their employer said in a court filing that the leave will last 60 days – with health benefits intact – and then will be reevaluated. Those with security clearances will maintain them for 90 days, the filing said. The judge wrote that he will decide by Oct. 29 whether to let the order expire or keep it while the case plays out. He reasoned that “preventing their (employees’) placement on unpaid leave for a matter of two weeks simply will not harm” the organization, while the unpaid leave presents a “functional loss of employment” and other damages for the workers at the lab, which is about 25 miles west of Knoxville. The judge wrote that the order shouldn’t be interpreted that he is inclined to block the order permanently.
Southlake: A school district administrator told teachers that if they have books about the Holocaust in their classrooms, they should also have books that offer “opposing” or “other” viewpoints on the subject. Gina Peddy, the executive director of curriculum and instruction for the Carroll Independent School District in Southlake, in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, issued the directive this month during a training session about which books teachers can have in their classroom libraries. A staff member secretly made an audio recording of the training session and shared it with NBC News, which broke the story. In the recording, Peddy told the teachers to remember a new Texas law that requires teachers to present multiple perspectives when discussing “widely debated and currently controversial” issues. She said: “And make sure that if you have a book on the Holocaust that you have one that has an opposing – that has other perspectives.” “How do you oppose the Holocaust?” one teacher asked. “Believe me,” Peddy said. “That’s come up.” Texas and some other Republican-controlled states this year moved to regulate what can be taught about race-related ideas in public schools and colleges amid the nation’s racial reckoning after last year’s police killing of George Floyd.
St. George: The city received more than $1 million last year to develop the community from a grant program run by the federal government but only spent about two-thirds of the money. Each year, the city of St. George is given money from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to make community improvements, especially for moderate- to low-income residents. In the most recent year, the city only used 66% of those funds on community projects. Some went to donations to public service organizations and to purchase fire protective equipment. The Community Development Block Grant funds are meant to be used on providing housing, a suitable living environment and expansion of economic opportunities, according to HUD. “There is a lack of decent affordable units across the board,” said a report in which CDBG detailed the housing situation in St. George. Although the city didn’t use any CDBG funds on creating more affordable housing, the CDBG report indicates the city is trying to remove barriers to accessing affordable housing primarily through encouraging a mix of housing choices such as single-family homes and single-bed apartments and promoting various lot sizes in developments to allow for increased densities.
Montpelier: A group of housing advocates are promising to camp outside the Statehouse until the state does more to help homeless people, one of the advocates said Friday. Brenda Siegel, of Newfane, and others want the expanded eligibility for housing assistance to stay in place through the end of the year. Begun amid the pandemic, the aid is set to expire Thursday. The advocates also want the state to accept federal funds intended for that purpose. “Any measure taken must include people who are on the street now and may be in the future,” Siegel said in an email Friday. In July, the state extended the hotel voucher program, which is used to provide shelter for some of those who experienced homelessness during the pandemic, through mid-September. Gov. Phil Scott later moved to keep the program running for 30 days, until Oct. 21, so a replacement could be developed. On Friday, Rebecca Kelley, a spokesperson for the governor, said in an email that the replacement plan is nearing completion and that a further extension would be included, without providing details. Meanwhile, Siegel said in a text Friday that the advocates would be using sleeping bags to camp in the front of the Statehouse “until appropriate action is taken.”
Burke: A man who works for the sergeant-at-arms of the U.S. House of Representatives has been charged with possession of child pornography, according to police. Stefan Bieret, 41, of Burke, was arrested Wednesday and charged with 10 felonies related to possessing child pornography, Fairfax County police said. The Washington Post reports he’s being held without bond and is expected back in court next month. Bieret’s attorney did not return calls seeking comment. The investigation began when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children was notified of a potentially illicit image uploaded to a Dropbox account, police said. The matter was reported to a task force on internet crimes against children. The owner of the account was found to live in Fairfax County. County detectives took over the investigation in August. A search warrant on the Dropbox account turned up additional images of child sexual abuse, and subsequent search warrants led detectives to identify the owner of the account as Bieret, officials said. On Wednesday, Fairfax detectives executed a search warrant on Bieret’s home and recovered multiple electronics. Bieret works as a program manager for the sergeant-at-arms, the chief law enforcement and protocol officer for the House of Representatives.
Seattle: Seattle Public Schools is suspending 142 school bus routes beginning Monday. District officials said the cuts are necessary because of a national bus driver shortage and because some drivers are choosing not to follow the state-mandated COVID-19 vaccine rules for public employees, The Seattle Times reports. District spokesman Tim Robinson said out of the 18,000 students who are eligible for bus rides, about 6,740 could be affected by the bus route cuts. The 142 bus routes being suspended will not affect students in special education classes, students with individualized education programs, or Section 504 plans that include public transportation services, students experiencing homelessness and foster students. Schools at interim sites or those that serve “high proportions of historically underserved students” also won’t be affected, an email sent to parents Friday said. The district doesn’t know how many students will actually be affected by route shortages because the number of students who ride the bus fluctuates every day, Robinson said.
Charleston: The state is ready to move forward with a plan to expand long-sought broadband access in rural communities at a potential cost of more than $1 billion, Gov. Jim Justice announced Friday. The plan, which Justice called the largest investment in broadband in the state’s history, will combine federal and state funding with private-sector investments and aims to bring broadband availability to at least 200,000 additional homes and businesses. “We’re going to change the trajectory of West Virginia in a bigger and better way,” Justice said at a event announcing the program. The plan will combine the state’s $236 million commitment with $362 million in funding from the Federal Communication Commission and $120 million from other state and federal resources, the governor’s office said in a news release. Most of the state funding comes from its share of federal American Rescue Plan allocations. The statement said the money will be allocated through competitive programs that draw additional matching funds from private-sector and local government partners. State Economic Development Director Mitch Carmichael said the plan will boost the ability for rural areas to offer distance learning, remote work and telehealth options.
Madison: The state Department of Natural Resources policy board plans to vote this week on whether to hire its own attorneys in a pair of lawsuits seeking to block the fall wolf hunt, underscoring the deepening rift between the board’s Republican members and Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul. The department announced Friday that the board will convene remotely Monday to take the vote. Board Chairman Fred Prehn said he’s not sure Kaul’s Department of Justice will represent board members’ pro-wolf management position in court because its attorneys aren’t talking to board members. “We haven’t met with them; they haven’t talked to any board members or talked strategy,” Prehn said. “The board feels it’s not being consulted.” Prehn has been at odds with Evers since his term on the board expired in May. The governor appointed Sandra Naas to replace him, a move that would give Evers appointees majority control of the panel. Prehn, who was appointed by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker, has refused to step down. He maintains he doesn’t have to leave until the Senate confirms Naas. Republicans control the Senate and have made no moves toward a confirmation vote, ensuring the board remains under GOP control.
Jackson: A 103-year-old man has set a record for the oldest adaptive paraglider to fly in America. Fred Miles doesn’t speak much, but he can hum his way around a melody, and the one coming out of his mouth this past summer as he looked down from the top of the Bridger Gondola at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort was “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” by John Denver. But Miles, 103, wasn’t going home via a car or a road just yet. First he was going tandem adaptive paragliding. It would be his first experience flying, seated in a wheeled cart with a paraglider behind him. It would also be the record-setter for the oldest adaptive paraglider to fly in America.But as his son, Greg Miles, reminded his father just before the flight, it would be far from his first time navigating the skies, the Jackson Hole News & Guide reports. “Part of the reason you’re not going to have a problem is because of your flying experience,” Greg, a former town councilor, told his father. The senior Miles first piloted a plane 81 years ago after joining the United States Army Air Corps, which eventually became the Air Force. He joined the force after graduating from Syracuse University with an engineering degree and flew in World War II, again in the Korean War and afterward for some time, for a total of 30 years.
From USA TODAY Network and wire reports
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Gator rebound, paragliding at 103: News from around our 50 states
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