Montgomery: An inmate said prison staff poked him with needles for over an hour as they tried to find a vein during an aborted lethal injection last month. At one point, they left him hanging vertically on a gurney before state officials made the decision to call off the execution. Attorneys for 57-year-old Alan Eugene Miller wrote about his experience during Alabama’s Sept. 22 execution attempt in a court filing made last week. Miller’s attorneys are trying to block the state from attempting a second lethal injection. Two men in scrubs used needles to repeatedly probe Miller’s arms, legs, feet and hands, at one point using a cellphone flashlight to help their search for a vein, according to the Oct. 6 court filing. The attorneys called Miller the “only living execution survivor in the United States” and said Alabama subjected Miller “to precisely the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain that the Eighth Amendment was intended to prohibit.” Alabama has asked the state Supreme Court to set a new execution date for Miller, saying the execution was canceled only because of a time issue as the state faced a midnight deadline to get the lethal injection underway. “What then, in Defendants’ view, is a constitutional amount of time to spend stabbing someone with needles in an attempt to kill them?” his attorneys wrote.
Juneau: State officials have canceled the fall Bristol Bay red king crab harvest and, for the first time, have also scrapped the winter harvest of smaller snow crab. The move is a double whammy to a fleet from Alaska, Washington and Oregon chasing Bering Sea crab in harvests that in 2016 grossed $280 million, The Seattle Times reports. The closures reflect conservation concerns about both crab species following bleak summer populations surveys. The decisions to shut down the snow crab and fall king crab harvests came after days of discussions by Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologists and senior agency officials who faced crabbers’ pleas for at least small fisheries. “I am struggling for words. This is so unbelievable that this is happening,” said Jamie Goen, executive director of the Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers, adding that some crabbers will go out of business. “Management of Bering Sea snow crab must now focus on conservation and rebuilding given the conditions of the stock,” the department said in a statement. Snow crab populations declined after a 2019 Bering Sea warming that scrambled the broader marine ecosystem. Last year’s snow crab harvest was the smallest in over 40 years. The causes of the population collapse are still being researched but likely include increased predation and stresses from warmer water.
Williams: ’Tis the season for permits for cutting down potential Christmas trees in Arizona. The Kaibab National Forest will make Christmas tree permits available online starting Thursday. The permits for ranger districts in north-central Arizona will only be obtainable via Recreation.gov. No permits will be given in person. The actual chopping down of trees will not be allowed until Nov. 1. Each permit holder can cut a maximum of five trees at $15 per tree. The permits apply to specific tree species no more than 10 feet tall. The permits expire Dec. 31. More specific instructions on which types of trees and a map of where people can cut down trees are available on the website.
Fort Smith: A free Riverfront Amphitheater weekly series of concerts featuring regional and local musicians will return for three more years thanks to the work of a nonprofit group promoting music and dancing. Fort Smith’s 64.6 Downtown has landed a grant to carry on the shows through 2025, said executive director Talicia Richardson. The Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation that supports nonprofits nationwide with music in public spaces announced this week that 64.6 Downtown has been awarded a multiyear Levitt AMP Grant Award of $90,000 in matching funds to present a free outdoor music series at the Riverfront Amphitheater in 2023, 2024 and 2025. “I’m very excited to make this even bigger and better with even more community engagement,” Richardson said. The Levitt AMP summer 2022 series ran from May 12 to July 14 and brought live music weekly to the downtown entertainment district. The indie rock band Dawson Hollow drew a crowd of about 300 people June 9 to the Riverfront Amphitheater, Richardson said. In 2021 the shows included ran between May 13 and July 15. The series features live music every Thursday for ten weeks.“We actually noticed that people were coming out when we were still in pandemic protocol,” Richardson said.
Los Angeles: Art Laboe, the pioneering radio DJ who read heartfelt song dedications to generations of loyal listeners and was credited with helping end segregation in Southern California during an eight-decade broadcast career, has died. He was 97. Laboe died Friday night at home in Palm Springs after catching pneumonia, said Joanna Morones, a spokesperson for Laboe’s production company, Dart Entertainment. His final show was produced last week and broadcast Sunday night. Laboe is credited with helping end segregation in Southern California by organizing live DJ shows at drive-in eateries that attracted white, Black and Latino listeners who danced to rock ’n’ roll – and shocked an older generation still listening to Frank Sinatra and Big Band music. The DJ is also credited with coining the phrase “oldies but goodies.” In 1957, he started Original Sound Record Inc., and in 1958 he released the compilation album “Oldies But Goodies: Vol. 1,” which stayed on the Billboard’s Top 100 chart for 183 weeks. He later developed a strong following among Mexican Americans for hosting the syndicated “The Art Laboe Connection Show.” His radio shows gave the families of incarcerated loved ones, in particular, a platform to speak to their relatives by dedicating songs and sending messages and updates. California and Arizona inmates would send in their own dedications and ask Laboe for updates from family.
Denver: A former National Security Agency employee accused of trying to sell classified information to Russia will remain behind bars while he is prosecuted, a magistrate judge ruled Tuesday. Jareh Sebastian Dalke, 30, is facing a possible life sentence for allegedly giving the information to an undercover FBI agent whom prosecutors say he believed was a person working for the Russian Federation. He pleaded not guilty through his lawyer during a hearing in Denver federal court before a hearing to determine if he should be released from jail. Dalke was arrested Sept. 28 after authorities say he arrived at Denver’s downtown train station with a laptop and used a secure connection set up by investigators to transfer some classified documents. Magistrate Judge S. Kato Crews said the stiff penalty Dalke could face makes him a flight risk along with the sympathies he has allegedly expressed for Russia. Crews also said he was not sure that Dalke, accused of sharing the documents after promising not to disclose information he obtained while working at the NSA, would honor any conditions he could impose that would allow Dalke to live with his wife and grandmother in Colorado Springs while the case proceeds. He was also concerned about authentic-looking but counterfeit badges for government agencies, including the NSA, allegedly found during a search of Dalke’s home.
Waterbury: The conspiracy theorist Alex Jones should pay $965 million to people who suffered from his false claim that the Sandy Hook School shooting was a hoax, a jury decided Wednesday. The verdict is the second big judgment against the Infowars host over his relentless promotion of the lie that the 2012 elementary school massacre never happened and that the grieving families seen in news coverage were actors hired as part of a plot to take away people’s guns. It came in a lawsuit filed by the relatives of five children and three educators killed in the mass shooting, plus an FBI agent who was among the first responders to the scene. A Texas jury in August awarded nearly $50 million to the parents of another slain child. Robbie Parker, who lost his 6-year-old daughter, Emilie, said outside the Connecticut court that he was proud that “what we were able to accomplish was just to simply tell the truth.” “And it shouldn’t be this hard, and it shouldn’t be this scary,” he said, his voice breaking. Jones wasn’t at court but reacted on his Infowars show. As courtroom video showed the plaintiffs’ names being read out along with the jury awards to each, Jones said that he himself had never mentioned their names. “All made up. Hilarious,” he said. “So this is what a show trial looks like. I mean, this is the left completely out of control.”
Wilmington: Nonprofits operating in the predominantly Black city have racial gaps in leadership, especially when it comes to reflecting the communities they serve. The finding is one of many from the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement’s 2022 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Report, which aimed to explore racial disparities in the makeup of Delaware nonprofit boards. The study, which was released last week and included responses from more than 100 nonprofit leaders, analyzes the diversity characteristics in senior leadership at Delaware nonprofits, such as age, gender and even whether board members live in the communities in which their organization operates. The survey, conducted at the beginning of 2022, asked respondents if they believe their boards are “reflective” of their communities; how Delaware’s leadership diversity compares with national data; and what diversity, equity and inclusion steps nonprofits can take to improve diversity efforts. In a statement, DANA President and CEO Sheila Bravo said her nonprofit “often” receives requests on how to address board diversity. In a city with 55% of residents who are Black, only 37% of this city’s nonprofits have board directors who are Black and 26% of executive directors who identify as Black.
District of Columbia
Washington: The district’s attorney general is calling for a complete overhaul of the D.C. Housing Authority amid serious allegations of collusion and corruption, WUSA-TV reports. A scathing federal audit by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development revealed systemic failures in the local agency after a WUSA-TV investigation exposed filthy and unsafe conditions months ago. Much of the district’s public housing sits on very desirable properties for developers in gentrified areas of the city. Greenleaf, for example, is slated for redevelopment following DCHA’s new build-in-place model. Attorney General Karl Racine said the housing agency is far more concerned about redevelopment than maintaining clean and safe public housing. “They are the city’s largest slumlord,” Racine said. His officer sued the agency twice, in one case alleging disabled residents have been waiting years to be moved to accessible units. “The failures are inhumane and require immediate action,” Racine said. The federal audit found an agency so mismanaged tenant files were not updated, waiting lists were locked, and some sat untouched for a decade. And those living inside public housing are left to raise families in apartments overrun by bugs, mice, mold and rats.
Orlando: Gopher tortoises – burrowers whose extensive homes shelter many other animals – are generally doing well and need federal protection only in the small area where they were declared threatened 35 years ago, the government said Tuesday. Thanks to extensive conservation work and recently discovered populations, the reptile is no longer a candidate for protection in the bulk of its range: Florida, south Georgia, most of coastal Alabama and a sliver of South Carolina, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said. An environmental group that sued for protection across the entire range called the decision indefensible. “It ignores devastating urban sprawl that’s decimated the tortoise’s habitat and will continue to drive the species ever closer to extinction,” said Elise Bennett, Florida director and an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. The National Alliance of Forest Owners, on the other hand, called the agency’s action a great decision that recognizes the success of voluntary conservation programs. Bennett said Tuesday that the decision was made even though the federal agency expects populations to decline range-wide over the next 80 years. “State programs, particularly in Florida – the heart of their range – are just not working,” she said Friday, as the deadline approached. “Florida is largely just moving them out of areas under development and into smaller and smaller habitat. And fragmentation is a problem already.” The federal statement said Florida has 50 long-term relocation sites covering more than 120 square miles of gopher tortoise habitat.
Vienna: A mayor helped a mother and three children escape from a sport utility vehicle that was stalled on railroad tracks with a train fast approaching. Vienna Mayor Eddie Daniels was on his way to work Saturday morning when he saw the SUV in the dangerous position. “I couldn’t let those babies sit there and get slaughtered by a train,” Daniels told WALB-TV. He helped the mom out first, then saw three children in the back seat: a 6-year-old, a 3-year-old and a 1-year old. He said he got the two younger children out and was helping the 6-year-old when the train hit the vehicle. Daniels said he remembers being caught between the train and the SUV but still managed to get the last child out. The smashed vehicle landed a few feet from where it was hit. Daniels has a broken ankle and eight stitches on his head. He said he’s thankful the family is alive. The second-term mayor also said he would have never imagined this happening in the south central Georgia city of 4,000 residents. “I’m out here just doing God’s work. That’s what we’re supposed to do,” Daniels said. “And they told me I was a hero. I said I don’t feel like a hero, just feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to do, what the people elected me to do.”
Kula: State officials are soliciting public input on a planned Maui forest reserve, HawaiiNewsNow reports. The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources acquired more than 3,000 acres near the dormant Haleakala volcano just over two years ago that is a nesting site for endangered seabirds. The land is commonly known as Kamehamenui.
Boise: Nearly 50 longtime Idaho Republicans, including a former governor and dozens of other past and current officeholders, on Tuesday endorsed the Democratic candidate for attorney general in November’s election. Republicans attended a news conference at the Statehouse with Boise attorney Tom Arkoosh, who has said he has no political ambitions other than to run the office fairly. “Tom Arkoosh is the first candidate on the Democratic ticket I have supported in my 66 years of work with the Republican Party,” said Republican state Sen. Patti Anne Lodge, the powerful chairwoman of the Senate’s State Affairs Committee who is retiring this year. The three other current officeholders endorsing Arkoosh are also leaving office this year, either through retirement or primary losses. But the list of supporters includes many well-known Republicans. Arkoosh said he would like the endorsements to start a wider conversation about what voters want in the deeply conservative state that hasn’t sent a Democrat to the attorney general’s office since 1991. “When that conversation happens, we will move away from extremism,” he said. “We will become Idahoans altogether again.” Arkoosh announced his candidacy in July after former U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador defeated five-term incumbent Attorney General Lawrence Wasden in the GOP primary in May. Arkoosh and the Republicans supporting him say Labrador will turn the office into a partisan base to further his own political ambitions.
Chicago: Police have a suspect in custody after officers discovered human remains inside a freezer at a boarding house while investigating a report of a missing person, police said Tuesday. The home’s owner, a 55-year-old woman, is believed to be the victim, said Brendan Deenihan, the Chicago Police Department’s chief of detectives. Her remains were found Monday. Deenihan told reporters that a suspect who lived in the boarding house on Chicago’s Northwest Side was taken into custody Monday. He said the suspect, whose name was not released, has declined to speak to detectives about the slaying, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. A resident of the boarding house who had filed a missing-person report for the building’s owner told officers Monday that another building tenant had recently called a tow truck and carried a heavy bag out to the vehicle when it arrived, Deenihan said. “We learned that this individual dumped a large plastic bag in a garbage can at Foster Beach,” Deenihan said, adding that detectives found bloody towels in that garbage can along the lakefront. Detectives returned to the boarding house and discovered human remains in a freezer about 7 p.m., then obtained a search warrant so they could recover the evidence.
Indianapolis: Voters were allowed to begin casting early, in-person ballots Wednesday for the Nov. 8 election in which Democrats are looking for a backlash against the Republican-backed state abortion ban approved over the summer. Republicans in the tightest races are largely avoiding the abortion issue while emphasizing economic topics as they seek to extend their dominance over statewide offices and the General Assembly. Republican U.S. Sen. Todd Young is seeking reelection by following a front-runner strategy of mostly ignoring Democratic challenger Thomas McDermott ahead of their only televised debate scheduled for Sunday. Democrats, meanwhile, are targeting the Indiana secretary of state’s race, in which former Mike Pence aide Diego Morales won the Republican nomination despite twice leaving jobs in that office after being written up for poor job performance. Indiana Democrats are trying to pick up enough legislative seats to break the Republican supermajorities that have left Democrats largely powerless against conservative proposals such as the abortion ban that’s been blocked by a court order. Democrats need to gain five seats in the 100-member House needed to break the two-thirds supermajority that allows Republicans to act even if no Democrats are present.
Des Moines: A former Iowa official now running for state auditor was wrongly fired in retaliation for reporting illegal conduct at the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division, a Polk County jury found Friday. Todd Halbur began working as comptroller for the division in 2015 and sued after he was terminated in July 2018, alleging whistleblower retaliation on the part of the beverages division and its director, Stephen Larson. The case went to trial in October, and on Friday, his attorneys said, the jury ruled in Halbur’s favor and awarded him $487,500 for lost wages and $512,500 for emotional distress – a total of $1 million. Halbur, a small-business owner and licensed Realtor, is running as a Republican to unseat Auditor Rob Sand, the Democratic incumbent. The auditor acts as the taxpayers’ watchdog by auditing the financial operations of Iowa’s state and local governments. Attorney Stuart Higgins, representing Halbur, said the decision vindicated his client’s belief that he’d been punished for doing the right thing. “We are pleased that jurors recognized what Todd Halbur knew all along: that he stood up to make sure the law was followed and was fired by Administrator Larson in retaliation,” Higgins said. “All the credit goes to Todd for his tenacity and courage in pursuing this case.”
Topeka: The state’s Republican attorney general told a racial justice commission two years ago that racial bias “obviously” exists in law enforcement, but he said Tuesday that he wasn’t saying systemic racism exists and stood by campaign attacks on the state’s Democratic governor for using that phrase. Attorney General Derek Schmidt and fellow Republicans are portraying Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly as anti-police as Schmidt tries to unseat Kelly in the Nov. 8 election. George Floyd’s death in 2020 led Kelly to form a Commission on Racial Justice and Equity to examine policing, declaring as she did so that “systemic racism within law enforcement must end.” Schmidt has argued that saying systemic racism exists is calling law enforcement officers racist. His own comments that racial bias “obviously” exists in policing came during a Zoom meeting of the governor’s commission in October 2020. He told reporters Tuesday that when “a rare bad apple” commits misconduct, “there are mechanisms in place to deal with those individual problems.” “They are two different things,” Schmidt said. “I certainly don’t argue that there is systemic racism in law enforcement, and I think the governor’s decision to appoint an entire separate commission to focus on that problem was ill-advised.”
Louisville: A former police officer blamed for instigating a conflict that led to the fatal shooting of a Black barbecue restaurant owner during the Breonna Taylor protests has pleaded guilty to using excessive force. Katie R. Crews, 29, pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to a misdemeanor. She was indicted in March on a felony excessive force charge that carried a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Crews, who is white, was fired by Louisville police earlier this year for escalating a conflict the night of restaurateur David McAtee’s death and for a separate incident in which she taunted protesters on social media. McAtee’s death furthered the anger of protesters who had began massing in Louisville’s downtown streets in 2020 over the death of Taylor, a Black EMT killed by police who knocked down her door while executing a drug search warrant. Under the terms of the agreement, Crews, of Jeffersonville, Indiana, can no longer work in law enforcement. She will be sentenced in federal court in January. The misdemeanor charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison. Steve Romines, a lawyer for McAtee’s family, said they are “glad that there has been an acknowledgment of the gross misconduct of (Louisville police) the night of David’s death.” Crews wasn’t “a lone wolf who decided to go rogue,” Romines said in an email Wednesday, arguing that authorities were sent to Louisville’s west end by commanding officers to “violate policies and harass people.”
New Orleans: Two anglers whose boat sank over the weekend in the Gulf of Mexico say they clung to an improvised float and fought off sharks with their bare hands while the third swam what felt like miles to search for help. The swimmer, Phong Le, managed to find a cellphone signal and sent a Google map of his location just before his battery died, he told ABC News on Tuesday. The three men had been in the water since about 10 a.m. Saturday – the sharks showed up Sunday morning, Luan Nguyen said. One bit the front of his life vest. “And I think that’s where I caught … these injuries on my hand,” he told the broadcaster, which identified the third boater as Son Nguyen. “I took my two thumbs and jabbed him in the eyes, and he took off,” Luan Nguyen said. Even as the two men were pulled from the water, they were being circled and harassed by four blacktip sharks measuring about 4 to 6 feet long, said Andrew Stone, a seaman in the Coast Guard boat crew that rescued the exhausted pair. “They were too tired to even be panicking,” he told the Associated Press in an interview alongside other Coast Guard members and officials. All three boaters were back home Tuesday, the Coast Guard said. “These peoples’ will to survive and their lifejackets is what saved their lives,” said Lt. Katy Caraway, a helicopter co-pilot.
Portland: The owner of a former chemical plant that dumped mercury into the Penobscot River must pay at least $187 million to remove the contamination in a resolution to a decadeslong legal battle. A federal judge on Tuesday approved the settlement calling for Mallinckrodt U.S. LLC to pay for remediation of mercury released by the now-defunct HoltraChem plant in Orrington. The plant discharged 6 to 12 metric tons of mercury from 1967 until the early 1970s, according to a previous court-ordered study. Environmental groups have long pushed for the remediation of the river. “It’s long past time for Mallinckrodt to make it right, and this ruling will go a long way toward restoring the Penobscot, so people can go back to fishing, eating lobster, and enjoying this river,” Jesse Graham, co-director of Maine People’s Alliance, said in a statement. The plant operated until 2000 and was located about 135 miles north of Portland, just south of Bangor. Maine People’s Alliance and Natural Resources Defense Council also filed a complaint about the mercury pollution in 2000. The company’s financial obligations under the settlement will not exceed $267 million, court papers said.
Upper Marlboro: A transgender teacher who said she was harassed by students, parents and colleagues has settled a lawsuit with a school district with an agreement that includes policy changes and training. Attorneys for Jennifer Eller said the settlement reached late last month with the Prince George’s County Board of Education also included monetary compensation. The lawsuit was filed in 2018 in U.S. District Court. “I’m relieved to see this case finally come to a resolution and satisfied to see that our case led to the adoption of these policy changes and training protocols to improve the school environment for everyone, including LGBTQ+ students and teachers,” Eller said in a statement. “This settlement vindicates my pleas for help and sensitivity training on LGBTQ+ issues for students and staff. Every student and every teacher should feel safe, welcomed, and respected in a school environment.” Eller said she was told to present as male and be referred to by male pronouns, and she was also threatened, according to a news release. After Eller filed formal complaints, she said administrators took away her Advanced Placement English class, and she was brought to a disciplinary hearing that resulted in no discipline.
Boston: A 91-year-old civil rights activist and education advocate was stabbed multiple times while walking her dog in a local park, authorities said. Jean McGuire, the first Black woman to serve on the Boston School Committee, was stabbed in Franklin Park about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden said Wednesday after visiting McGuire at the hospital. McGuire’s stabbing, as well as the recent fatal shooting of a 14-year-old boy in the city, is unacceptable, said Hayden, whose family has been close to McGuire’s for years. “I’m certainly outraged, and I think we have to be at the point where we have an entire community that is equally as outraged and will not stand for this sort of random violence any further,” he said. The good news is that McGuire is “as spunky and as vibrant as ever and is going to be just fine, praise the Lord,” he said. McGuire’s sister, Jeriline Brady McGinnis, told multiple news outlets that her sister has been walking dogs in the park for decades. “What did he want? Dog walkers don’t carry money. We carry poop bags and ID. That’s all he’s going to get,” she told WFXT-TV. McGuire was unconscious when officers found her. She was taken to a hospital with injuries that aren’t considered life-threatening, police said in a statement.
Lansing: Over 150,000 Michigan voters have cast absentee ballots a month before the Nov. 8 election that will decide the state’s governor, secretary of state, attorney general and whether access to abortion will be a constitutional right. A total of 1.6 million people have requested absentee ballots so far, surpassing the 1.16 million who chose the option in the 2018 midterm election. The numbers indicate that 2022 could be the most votes ever cast in the state for a gubernatorial election, secretary of state spokesman Jake Rollow said Tuesday. A record-breaking 3.3 million people in Michigan voted absentee in the 2020 presidential election at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Rollow said he expects the state “would end up with about 2.25 million absentee ballots submitted if things were to play out along similar trend lines” to the 2020 election. The secretary of state will continue to release absentee numbers weekly in the lead-up to the election. A 2018 voter-approved constitutional amendment that allowed for no-excuse absentee voting, along with the pandemic, has led voters in the state to increasingly vote absentee rather than at the polls on Election Day.
Waite Park: A woman is accused of a threatening to kill a Somali family while invading their St. Cloud-area home on two occasions, court documents say. Alyssa Holmberg, 33, of Ogilvie, is charged with bias-motivated assault and three other counts in connection with the Saturday disturbance at a Waite Park apartment building. Holmberg yelled racist remarks about Somali people, including those on the police force, according to the criminal complaint. A girl in the family who called 911 said Holmberg said she hated Somalis and screamed that was going to kill her and her family. Holmberg threw an object at the girl and left briefly before returning. Authorities said police arrived to see Holmberg chasing a man. The man told police he was walking on the sidewalk near the apartment building when Holmberg shouted, “Somali, move!” She allegedly threw a bottle of salsa and hit him in the back. Officers eventually caught Holmberg and started to handcuff her. She said she was irate about Somalis being on the police force and kicked one officer and called her vulgar names. Holmberg is charged with assaulting an officer. Holmberg made her first court appearance Tuesday morning. Her bail was set at $50,000 without conditions or $5,000 with conditions. It was not clear if she had an attorney.
Jackson: Retired NFL quarterback Brett Favre says he is being treated unfairly in news coverage of a Mississippi welfare scandal, including about payments he received to help fund a pet project of his – a volleyball arena at the university he attended and where his daughter was playing the sport. “I have been unjustly smeared in the media,” Favre said in a statement to Fox News Digital, which was published Tuesday. “I have done nothing wrong, and it is past time to set the record straight. No one ever told me, and I did not know, that funds designated for welfare recipients were going to the University or me,” Favre wrote. “I tried to help my alma mater USM, a public Mississippi state university, raise funds for a wellness center. My goal was and always will be to improve the athletic facilities at my university.” It is one of the few public statements Favre has made about Mississippi’s largest-ever public corruption case involving the misspending of tens of millions of dollars in welfare money that was intended to help some of the poorest people in one of the poorest states in the U.S. Favre is not facing criminal charges. He is among more than three dozen people or companies being sued by the Mississippi Department of Human Services.
Springfield: Although the creature was absent, a group of 75 enthusiasts attended the first Ozark Mountain Bigfoot Conference at the Christian County Elks Lodge on Saturday. Event coordinator Mary Ann Ziebell said she was going to be happy if 50 people showed up, so her hopes were exceeded. She’s already planning for next year’s conference, slated for October 2023. When she realized there may not have been a sasquatch conference previously in Missouri, Ziebell jumped at the chance to set one up. She contacted members from the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, Ozark Mountain Sasquatch, a cryptolinguist and others to speak at the all-day conference Oct. 8. “It falls one of two places: People either believe, or they think we’ve lost our freaking minds – there’s really no in between,” Ziebell said in an interview minutes before the conference began. “Now, with some people, it wouldn’t matter if you dragged a body in here; they’re not gonna believe it.” Ziebell said she first encountered sasquatches only recently. She was on an expedition with her husband in 2019 when she saw one illuminated by the full moon. Southwest Missouri is a “hotbed” for sightings, she said. “You can go 30 minutes outside of Springfield and find all kinds of things,” Ziebell said.
Billings: An environmental group filed a lawsuit Tuesday against U.S. Forest Service officials that alleges they polluted waterways during their campaigns against wildfires by inadvertently dropping large volumes of chemical flame retardant into streams. Government data released earlier this year found aircraft operated or contracted by the Forest Service dropped more than 760,000 gallons of fire retardant directly onto streams and other waterways between 2012 and 2019. The main ingredients in fire retardant are inorganic fertilizers and salts that can be harmful to some fish, frogs, crustaceans and other aquatic species. The lawsuit alleges the continued use of retardant from aircraft violates the Clean Water Act. It requests a judge to declare the pollution illegal and was filed in U.S. District Court in Montana by Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics. “It’s simply too toxic at the levels used fighting fires,” said Andy Stahl, the Eugene, Oregon-based group’s executive director. Forest Service officials in recent years have sought to avoid polluting streams during their fights against wildfires by imposing buffer zones around waterways where drops are restricted. Under a 2011 government decision, fire retardant may only be applied in designated “avoidance areas” where human life or public safety is threatened.
Lincoln: An incarcerated woman’s death from cervical cancer is the fault of the state prison system, an inspector general’s report has found. According to the Omaha World-Herald, inmate Niccole Wetherell died at age 40, a year and a half after a Pap smear revealed the cancer. The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services’ lack of attention to preventive care flies in the face of a 2015 law that required electronic tracking of inmate health records.
Las Vegas: A defense lawyer raised mental health questions Tuesday about a man accused of killing two people and wounding six in a stabbing rampage last week on a Las Vegas Strip sidewalk. The suspect, Yoni Christian Barrios, stood in shackles during his brief arraignment and spoke only to say he understood he was being charged with two counts of murder and six counts of attempted murder. He was not immediately asked to enter a plea. Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Harmony Letizia set a Jan. 12 hearing to determine if Barrios will face trial in state court on charges that could have him confronting a possible death penalty, and she ordered him to remain jailed without bail. A grand jury could indict Barrios before that time. “We’re doing an evaluation regarding competency based on the nature of everything we know so far,” deputy public defender Scott Coffee said outside court after the hearing. “Obviously there are mental health concerns.” Authorities say Barrios, 32, asked sidewalk showgirls to pose with him for a photo before wielding a large chef’s knife to fatally stab Maris DiGiovanni, 30, and Brent Allan Hallett, 46, on Oct. 6 outside the Wynn Las Vegas resort.
Kingston: With home heating costs on the rise, dozens of local artists have teamed up to auction off some of their original artwork to raise money to help veterans in need this winter. A “Fuel for Vets” benefit auction will be held Sunday at the Kingston Community Library. A brunch is planned from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., followed by a live art auction from noon to 2 p.m. Nearly 40 pieces of artwork donated by artists from the Seacoast and beyond will be up for grabs. “There are going to be people making choices between food and heat this winter, and it certainly shouldn’t be veterans,” said Hampstead artist Dannielle Genovese, who came up with the idea for the auction while going through some of her own artwork that was taking up space in her home. Genovese wanted to find a way to donate her pieces and have them auctioned off. She reached out to other local artists and found a lot of support for the idea, including from members of the Seacoast Artist Association. The Kingston Community Library quickly joined the effort and agreed to help organize and host the event. “The money is going to local people in need,” library Director Melissa Mannon said. “This is the role a library can play in the community. We value books, but we also value art and creativity.”
Oceanport: Streaming giant Netflix says it is the top bid in the race for Fort Monmouth’s Mega Parcel, the largest property ever put up for sale at the former U.S. Army base, though details remain unclear. Spokespeople for the company said Wednesday that its bid was the “preferred choice” for the 293-acre parcel out of four possible bidders. Officials at Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority, the state agency in charge of the fort’s redevelopment, did not immediately confirm Netflix was chosen, but its executive director said the highest bidder had been contacted. Kara Kopach, FMERA’s executive director, said the process may take several months, and “no recommendation has been made to date.” A spokesperson for Netflix said the company’s proposal is for a “state-of-the-art production complex” at Fort Monmouth, which once served as fort for the Signal Corps, before being closed by the Army in 2011, a casualty of base realignment. “If our plans are approved, we hope to build a facility that will create significant economic impact and job growth for New Jersey, a state loaded with creative talent and technical expertise,” Netflix’s spokespeople said.
Las Cruces: A New Mexico State University study has found that teacher vacancies in the state have dropped significantly over the past year. NMSU released a report Monday from its Southwest Outreach Academic Research Evaluation & Policy Center showing that the numbers of empty positions are closer to pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels. Researchers looked at the number of job openings in every school district in New Mexico and data provided by colleges and universities. They found 690 teacher vacancies compared to 1,048 last year, a 34% decline. Rachel Boren, the center’s director, said the findings don’t diminish the fact that there is still an urgent need for teachers and other support staff. The void is especially felt with teaching special education and elementary education. By subject, the biggest needs are in math, science and English language arts. The study also counted 1,886 students enrolled in an education preparation program during the 2021-22 academic year. That is an increase compared to 1,596 students enrolled the year prior. The report found 1,027 students finished a program this year. Officials at NMSU’s own teacher education program say having secure, collaborative partnerships helps with ensuring prospective teachers obtain their license.
New York: One of the state’s most popular attractions has reopened to the public. The National Park Service began allowing visitors to go up into the Statue of Liberty’s crown Tuesday, more than 21/2years after it closed during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Other parts of the statue including the observation deck had reopened previously. Due to the popularity of the crown, visitors are required to make reservations in advance, and a limited number of tickets are available each day. As of Tuesday evening, the first available tickets were for early November. Situated in New York Harbor overlooking New York and New Jersey, the statue routinely drew more than 4 million visitors in the several years leading up to the pandemic. About 1.5 million visited in 2021, according to the Department of the Interior. The park service warns visitors with physical limitations that the climb to the crown is 162 steps up a double-helix spiral staircase and can be strenuous.
Burlington: A severed finger left behind at the scene of an attempted home invasion last week led investigators to a suspect in the case, police said. Burlington officers responded to a report of an attempted home invasion Thursday morning after a resident who had started a vehicle in the driveway encountered an armed man who tried to force his way into the house, police said in a news release. Police said the two struggled, and the man’s gun went off, grazing the resident’s chest, before the resident was able to shut the door on his hand. The resident was not seriously injured. Crime scene investigators found a finger, believed to have been severed when the resident forced the door shut, inside the suspect’s glove, which fell off during the struggle, police said. Investigators used fingerprints to identify a suspect, Burlington police spokesperson Emily-Lynn Adkins said. The city lies about 50 miles northwest of Raleigh. Vernon Wilson, 67, of Hillsborough, was arrested Monday on charges that include first-degree burglary, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, inflicting serious injury and possession of a firearm by a prohibited felon. Wilson was held on a $250,000 secure bond, police said.
Fargo: The state Supreme Court has ordered a lower court judge to reconsider his decision to prevent the state’s abortion ban from taking effect pending the outcome of a clinic’s legal challenge. The North Dakota Supreme Court late Tuesday ordered Judge Bruce Romanick to weigh the clinic’s chances of succeeding in reconsidering whether his decision to temporarily halt enforcement of the ban was correct. The Red River Women’s Clinic, the state’s only abortion clinic, argues that the state’s constitution grants the right to abortion. Romanick last month denied a request to lift his stay of a law banning abortion while the clinic’s challenge is pending. The judge wrote that he was not ruling on the probability of the clinic winning the lawsuit but rather that more time was needed to make a proper judgment. It was the second time the judge blocked the so-called trigger law, which had been set to take effect at the end of August. North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley certified a July 28 closing date a few days after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. But Romanick rejected that date based on a technical issue involving the timing of the ban, after which Wrigley argued that the judge hadn’t sufficiently considered whether the clinic’s lawsuit would succeed.
Akron: The eight police officers who fired dozens of rounds at Jayland Walker, a 25-year-old Black man, following a car and foot chase have returned to duty. Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett said the officers were back at work Monday to alleviate a staffing shortage he described as a “crisis” to WEWS-TV on Tuesday. The officers had been on paid administrative leave following the June 27 fatal shooting. The officers will not be in uniform or work patrol duties, Mylett said. They have been reassigned to administrative duties, he said. “We recognize that this decision will cause concern for the Walker family and the community, and we are sensitive to those concerns,” Mylett said. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is currently investigating the circumstances surrounding Walker’s death. A preliminary autopsy showed Walker was shot at least 40 times. Two officers initially tried to stop Walker’s car for minor equipment violations. Walker refused to stop, and seconds into the pursuit, a shot was fired from his car, police said. The officers chased the car onto a freeway and back onto city streets. A short time later, Walker stopped and bailed from the car. Ignoring officers’ commands, he ran into an adjacent parking lot, where he was killed in a hail of police gunfire, police bodycam video shows.
Oklahoma City: The state Pardon and Parole Board on Wednesday rejected a request to recommend clemency for a death row inmate who killed his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son in 1993. The board turned down the request to recommend to Gov. Kevin Stitt that Richard Stephen Fairchild be spared for the beating death of Adam Broomhall in Del City. Fairchild, 62, is set to be executed Nov. 17. Defense attorney Emma Rolls argued that Fairchild was abused as a child, suffers from mental illness and is remorseful for his actions. “As Richard Fairchild’s brain has deteriorated, he has descended into psychosis,” Rolls said in a statement. “Mr. Fairchild is now suffering from the effects of major mental illness, namely schizoaffective disorder, leaving him tortured with continued delusions,” Rolls said. “Yet despite having lost touch with reality, Richard remains remorseful for his crime and continues to have an unblemished prison record.” Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor said in a statement that the board made the correct decision. “Fairchild, brutally tortured (the child) to death on Nov. 13, 1995, for wetting the bed,” O’Connor said. “Fairchild … beat, burned, and threw Adam into the side of a table, silencing his cries forever.”
Eugene: The University of Oregon has announced a new initiative to support Indigenous students that will cover all tuition costs and offer them additional resources. The Home Flight Scholars Program is available immediately to currently enrolled eligible undergraduate students, an estimated 150 to 175 self-identified American Indian and Alaska Native Oregon residents. The program also will establish a new academic adviser position and offer professional development aimed at Indigenous students. Native American students have the highest college dropout rate of any other race or ethnicity due to financial hardships, academic difficulties and the lack of cultural connectedness, according to Kirby Brown, associate professor and director of the new Native American and Indigenous Studies Program. Brown said the majority of Native students who leave drop out their first year, and 90% of those drop out in the first term. The Home Flight Scholars Program is focused on changing this trend. “We’re very, very cognizant of who is on campus and why we are supporting them through their education because it makes the difference in the future,” said Jason Younker, assistant vice president and adviser to the president on sovereignty and government to government relations. Younker is also chief of the Coquille Indian Tribe. “They are our future stewards, they will come back to the tribes, and they will be UO allies; they will be our future leaders,” he said.
Pittsburgh: A federal jury has awarded a former Allegheny County jailer close to $1 million in his lawsuit alleging he was fired in retaliation for reporting racist comments and texts from a supervisor. The decision came Friday, about five years after Jeffrey Kengerski filed the lawsuit against the county and the jail warden in 2017. He was fired in 2015 for what his attorneys said were false allegations of misconduct by subordinates. An attorney for the county maintained Tuesday that Kengerski was fired for proper cause and said the county will likely appeal. Kengerski said he was telling co-workers that he and his wife planned to take their grand-niece into their care full time when his supervisor referred to the biracial girl as a “little monkey” after asking if she was Black. Kengerski said the supervisor also then sent him multiple texts that included stereotyped images of Black and Asian people that often included captions comparing them to Black and Asian jail employees. The supervisor left the jail in 2015, according to the lawsuit. But before she left, Kengerski alleged that she reassigned him to the night shift as retaliation after he filed a complaint. Kengerski alleged other jail employees harassed him by making racist calls to his work number, physically threatened him and falsely accused him of misconduct.
Burrillville: The so-called Conjuring House will host a “Halloween Spooktacular” Oct. 28 to 31, featuring two watch parties showing the 2013 movie “The Conjuring,” with guest Andrea Perron, one of the five sisters in the family who inspired the movie. The weekend will also include six-hour ghost hunts, from 10 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday to 4 a.m. the following days. Also, tours will be offered: the house’s regular hourlong daytime tours and special “spooky” after-dark tours lasting an hour and a half. The ghost hunts are $130 per person Friday and Saturday and $150 Sunday, which will have a smaller limit of 10 people to offer a “more intimate” experience, according to owner Jacqueline Nuñez.The movie screenings with Perron are $125 a person and run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tours start at $20 for children 7 to 12 and $25 for those 13 and older. For information or to reserve a spot, visit theconjuringhouse.com.
Spartanburg: The president of a historically Black university has accused law enforcement officers of racially profiling a busload of students from her school by stopping the vehicle for a minor traffic violation and using drug-sniffing dogs to search their luggage. Noting that nothing illegal was found in the search, Shaw University President Paulette Dillard said she was outraged by the treatment, which also included questioning that she likened to an interrogation. The traffic stop was carried out by deputies and law enforcement officers in Spartanburg County on Oct. 5 as 18 students from her Raleigh, North Carolina, school were traveling to a conference in Atlanta, Dillard said. She wrote in a statement Monday that she has asked the school’s general counsel to consider options for legal recourse. Dillard called the situation “reminiscent of the 1950s and 1960s – armed police, interrogating innocent Black students, conducting searches without probable cause, and blood-thirsty dogs” and the deputies’ actions “unfair and unjust.” The officers told the people aboard the bus that they stopped it because the vehicle was swerving and issued the driver a warning ticket for improper lane use, according to Dillard’s statement. Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Lt. Kevin Bobo, an agency spokesperson, said deputies need more information from the school to fully investigate the school’s complaint.
Sioux Falls: Gov. Kristi Noem said Wednesday that she would not call a special legislative session to have lawmakers consider repealing the state’s tax on groceries ahead of the November election, despite calls to do so from a handful of Republican lawmakers as well as her Democratic challenger. The governor, speaking at a news event at a Sioux Falls grocery store, acknowledged her campaign proposal does not currently have the votes necessary for passage in the state Senate. She will have to win over lawmakers when they are scheduled to reconvene in January. Repeal of the state tax on groceries, which would cost the state about $100 million in annual revenue, has become a central issue in her reelection bid against her Democratic opponent, state Rep. Jamie Smith. Noem publicly opposed the repeal in March this year but changed course last month to promise that she would convince the Legislature to cut the tax if reelected. Smith supported the repeal several times during his six years in the state House. “I don’t want to put us in a situation where this bill fails,” Noem said. The governor said she would work to convince senators that she has expanded South Dakota’s economy to a point that state government would not miss the $100 million in revenue.
Nashville: Grammy-winning singer and composer Anita Kerr, whose vocal group the Anita Kerr Singers provided the lush backdrop to the Nashville Sound, has died. She was 94. Her daughter, Kelley Kerr, confirmed to The New York Times that her mother died in Geneva on Monday. Kerr worked alongside hit producers Chet Atkins and Owen Bradley to create the popular countrypolitan sound of country music in the 1950s and ’60s that relied on strings and choral singers for an orchestral sound. She and her singers provided backup to songs by Patsy Cline, Brenda Lee, Ernest Tubb, Jim Reeves, Red Foley, Roy Orbison and many more. Alongside the Jordanaires, the Anita Kerr Singers were prolific in recording sessions and provided the essential sound to so many hit recordings. “Anita Kerr helped Nashville achieve world-class stature as a music center through her roles as a gifted arranger, producer and leader of the lush vocal quartet the Anita Kerr Singers,” Kyle Young, CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, said in a statement. “Her voice and her creativity expanded the artistic and commercial possibilities for country music.” Born in Memphis, Kerr moved to Nashville with her husband, a DJ, and started a vocal quartet that was featured on WSM radio.
San Antonio: A now-former police officer was charged Tuesday with two counts of aggravated assault by a peace officer for shooting and gravely wounding a teen eating a hamburger in his car in a McDonald’s parking lot. The teen had begun driving away when the officer opened fire. James Brennand, 25, was charged in the Oct. 2 shooting of Erik Cantu, 17, according to a police statement. He turned himself in to police Tuesday night and remained in custody, said Police Chief William McManus. Cantu is still unconscious and on life support, his family said Tuesday. “There is no improvement in his condition,” the family said in a statement delivered by their lawyer, Brian Powers. “The last two days have been difficult, and we expect more difficulty ahead, but we remain hopeful.” Brennand, a rookie officer, reported the vehicle Cantu was sitting in had evaded him the night before during an attempted traffic stop. Brennand said he suspected the vehicle was stolen. In body camera footage released by police, Brennand opens the car door and tells Cantu to get out. The car drives backward with the door open, and the officer fires multiple times into the vehicle. He continues to shoot as the car drives away. Investigators quickly determined that the use of deadly force was unwarranted, and Brennand was fired.
Salt Lake City: Three children who were sexually abused by their father are accusing a state legislator and a prominent Salt Lake City law firm of conspiring with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to cover up the abuse, allowing it to go on for years. In a court filing in Cochise County, Arizona, made public Wednesday, the children of the late Paul Adams asked a judge for permission to add Republican Utah Rep. Merrill F. Nelson and law firm Kirton McConkie as defendants in their lawsuit against the church, widely known as the Mormon church. The suit accuses the church of failing to notify police or child welfare officials that Adams was abusing his older daughter. In 2010, Adams confessed to his bishop, John Herrod, that he had sexually abused his daughter, according to legal records. Herrod reported the abuse to a church “abuse help line” and was advised not to report it to police or child welfare officials. The abuse was kept secret, and Adams continued raping his older daughter and her younger sister for several years. Adams was later charged by federal officials with posting videos of the abuse on the internet. Herrod’s decision not to report came after speaking with Nelson, according to church records included as evidence in the case. Nelson was a shareholder at Kirton McConkie, which has more than 160 attorneys, according to its website. Nelson was one of several lawyers at the firm who routinely fielded calls made by bishops to the help line.
St. Albans: A fired deputy sheriff who is the only candidate on the November ballot to become sheriff is continuing to insist he did nothing wrong when he was recorded on surveillance video kicking a handcuffed and shackled prisoner. John Grismore won the nomination of both Franklin County’s Republican and Democratic parties to have his name on the November ballot, but after the video became public in August, he was suspended and then fired. Now his bid to become sheriff has lost the support of both parties, which have thrown their support to a write-in candidate. Grismore said the kicks were needed to protect himself and two other deputies from the prisoner who had been spitting at them. “We were horrified by the video of John Grismore brutalizing a handcuffed detainee,” Franklin County Democratic chair Zach Sheffler said in an email. “Grismore has since been fired, condemned by both parties, and remains under criminal investigation. He cannot continue to credibly campaign for this office.” A state police criminal investigation continues and once completed will be referred to the county prosecutor for possible charges. Meanwhile, the current sheriff, who called the case “egregious,” referred the case to the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council, which could revoke Grismore’s certification as a law enforcement officer.
Richmond: Democratic U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria and GOP challenger Jen Kiggans tangled over federal spending, the economy and abortion restrictions during a combative debate Wednesday, as the two Navy veterans sought to present themselves as the best equipped to represent Virginia’s military-heavy 2nd Congressional District. Kiggans, a state senator, nurse practitioner and former Navy helicopter pilot, is trying to block Luria, a retired naval commander, from a third term representing the highly competitive district that could help determine party control of the U.S. House in next month’s midterm elections. In sometimes-fiery exchanges, the candidates offered vastly different perspectives on the state of America’s economy and the other’s record during the approximately hour-and-a-half debate hosted by the Hampton Roads Chamber at an oceanfront hotel. Luria called Kiggans “an election denier” who is “not fit to serve” because she has repeatedly refused to say plainly that President Joe Biden legitimately won the 2020 election. Kiggans has answered questions on the topic – including during an interview with the Associated Press – by simply acknowledging Biden resides in the White House; she declined to answer questions about the 2020 election in a brief exchange with reporters after the debate.
Seattle: The city will end its COVID-19 emergency proclamation at the end of October. Mayor Bruce Harrell said in a statement Tuesday that Seattle will lift its remaining COVID-19 emergency order to align with Gov. Jay Inslee’s decision to end the statewide state of emergency on Oct. 31. Inslee issued the state of emergency Feb. 29, 2020, after cases started increasing, and a death in Washington state was the first reported COVID-19 death in the nation. “While the impacts of the pandemic continue to be felt by our neighbors and communities, it is thanks to our city’s strong response – including our high vaccination rate and strong health care system – that we can continue moving toward recovery and revitalization,” Harrell said in the statement. “We will continue to follow the recommendations of public health experts and science leaders to support the safety and well-being of our communities.” Policies linked to the emergency order including premium pay for food delivery and network gig workers will end Nov. 1. Harrel lifted mask and other COVID-19 precautions in city buildings earlier this year. The City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees and others will remain in effect.
Fayetteville: Thrill-seekers from around the world are heading to southern West Virginia for a bridge-jumping event that was called off the past two years due to the coronavirus pandemic. Saturday’s Bridge Day festival in Fayetteville is the one day each year that it’s legal to jump off the 876-foot-high New River Gorge Bridge. Hundreds of BASE jumpers make the leap by parachuting off the bridge. BASE stands for the places from which jumpers usually leap: buildings, antennae, spans and earth. As many as 100,000 people are expected to walk across the bridge. Rappellers also will make their way down on a fixed rope from a catwalk under the bridge. Also available is a 700-foot-long zipline from the catwalk to a road below. The 3,030-foot-long bridge opened to traffic in October 1977. The festival is held on the third Saturday of October every year. Last year’s festival was canceled after a group representing parachutists said they wouldn’t jump off the nation’s third-highest bridge due to worries about sufficient emergency health care amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The event also was canceled in 2020.
Madison: An appeals court on Monday put on hold a lower court’s ruling from last week prohibiting voters from canceling their original absentee ballot and casting a new one, blocking at least temporarily the order sought by a conservative group founded by prominent Republicans. The appeals court granted the Wisconsin Elections Commission’s request for a temporary stay while the court decided whether to hear the appeal on the practice known as ballot spoiling. The appeals court gave both sides until noon Wednesday to submit arguments. The legal fight comes as Wisconsin voters are returning absentee ballots for the Nov. 8 election. To date, just short of 110,000 absentee ballots have been returned, just over a quarter of the nearly 401,000 that were requested, according to the elections commission. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson are both on the ballot in tight races. The order from the appeals court came as the elections commission was in closed session of an emergency meeting Monday called in part to react to the court ruling. The order from Waukesha County Circuit Judge Brad Schimel, a former Republican attorney general, required the elections commission to inform municipal clerks and local election officials by 7 p.m. Monday that its guidance on ballot spoiling issued Aug. 1 had been withdrawn.
Cheyenne: The state’s top elections official is asking county clerks to remove drop boxes for absentee ballots in next month’s election, the Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports. Karl Allred, Wyoming’s interim secretary of state, sent a letter Friday – three weeks after he stepped into the role – asking the clerks to consider the move in the future if not for the Nov. 8 vote. Allred cited “concern” with the ballot boxes. “I’m mindful of the fact that there have been no issues reported with the use of the drop boxes in Wyoming, but that does not alleviate the potential for abuse or destruction of ballots through use of fire or other means,” he wrote, according to the newspaper.
From USA TODAY Network and wire reports
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Bigfoot convention, ‘Conjuring’ house, gopher tortoises: News from around our 50 states