Baby Health in Winter Golden Gate bison, prisoner paintings, dining with dogs: News from around our 50 states

Baby Health in Winter

From USA TODAY Network and wire reports

Published 3: 34 AM EST Mar 5, 2020

Baby Health in Winter Alabama

Baby Health in Winter

Mobile: The son of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., as well as family members of a condemned inmate, is asking the governor to stop Thursday’s execution of the man convicted in the 2004 killing of three police officers but who was not the trigger man. Nathaniel Woods is scheduled to be executed by injection. Woods and co-defendant Kerry Spencer were convicted of capital murder for the 2004 killings of Birmingham police officers Carlos Owen, Harley A. Chisolm III and Charles R. Bennett. Spencer was also sentenced to death for the killings. Prosecutors said the officers were gunned down in an ambush as they tried to serve a misdemeanor warrant on Woods at a home where he and Spencer sold crack cocaine. Martin Luther King III sent Gov. Kay Ivey a letter Tuesday “pleading with you not to execute Nathaniel Woods.” King wrote on Twitter that the execution is an “injustice.”

Baby Health in Winter Alaska

Juneau: Reports of felony sexual offenses are up nearly 20% across the state but on the decline in the Southeast region, the Alaska Department of Public Safety says. The department released its compilation of reported felony sexual offense numbers from 2018 last week, The Juneau Empire reports. Reports of felony-level sex offenses increased 19.5% in 2018 compared to 2017. More than 1,762 offenses were reported across Alaska in 2018, the department said. Western Alaska reported the highest rate of felony-level sex offenses statewide, while Southeast Alaska reported the lowest rate. The victims were 88% female, and 95% of the suspects were male. More than 55% of the victims were minors. Family members and acquaintances made up the largest portion of suspects at 93%, while 98% of suspects were known or related in cases involving victims under 11 years old.

Baby Health in Winter Arizona

Baby Health in Winter

Phoenix: Mayor Kate Gallego called Tuesday for a shared regional response to surging homelessness and lack of affordable housing in and around the city, saying more money and longer-term solutions are needed to tackle what she said is “a crisis situation.” “As the nation’s fifth-largest city, we’ve seen abundant opportunity come from our historic growth, but it’s also brought challenges,” Gallego said. “Two of these challenges, a lack of affordable housing and a growing issue with people experiencing homelessness, are deeply intertwined.” Gallego wants to add $3 million to the $20 million the city already spends annually on homelessness and a shortage of affordable housing but said other cities, Maricopa County and the state should provide more help. The Maricopa County Association of Governments said a one-night count in early 2019 found some 6,600 people in metro Phoenix did not have a home.

Baby Health in Winter Arkansas

Baby Health in Winter

Little Rock: The chief administrative law judge for the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission and wife of the state Republican Party chairman was elected Tuesday to the Supreme Court after a race that focused on her deep ties to the GOP. Barbara Webb defeated Pulaski County Circuit Judge Morgan “Chip” Welch in the race for the seat being vacated by retiring Justice Jo Hart, winning an eight-year term on the court. The race was the only statewide election on Arkansas’ ballot other than the presidential primaries. The state’s high court races are technically nonpartisan, but Webb faced scrutiny during her bid over her appeals to GOP voters. She had the backing of Sen. Tom Cotton and former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders and had spoken to Republican gatherings around the state. Welch during the campaign criticized Webb over her ties, accusing her of talking to an “echo chamber of one political party.”

Baby Health in Winter California

Baby Health in Winter

San Francisco: Five young bison have joined Golden Gate Park, doubling the bison population in time for the park’s 150th anniversary. The 1-year-old female bison arrived at the park in the heart of the city Friday, bringing the total number of bison to 10 in the paddock that has existed since the 1892. The new humpbacked, shaggy-haired wild ox were brought from the Northern California ranch where they were born. They will be formally introduced to the public on April 4, the park’s anniversary, said Phil Ginsburg, general manager of the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department. Besides more bison, the park will celebrate its anniversary with the opening of a 150-foot observation wheel, a kids carnival, community picnics, a large display of the iconic AIDS Memorial Quilt, live entertainment, and free entry into all park museums and cultural centers.

Baby Health in Winter Colorado

Baby Health in Winter

Fort Collins: A controlled burn that became a wildfire was the result of weather conditions that were underestimated by fire personnel, state officials said. The Colorado Department of Public Safety Compliance and Professional Standards Office issued a report Sunday about the October fire in northern Larimer County. The fire burned less than 1 square mile outside the planned area but forced the evacuation of hundreds of residents in Glacier View, 35 miles northwest of Fort Collins. No one was injured, and one outbuilding was destroyed. The burn in complex terrain spread when weather conditions quickly turned drier, warmer and windier than anticipated, the state’s report said. The prescribed burn led by The Nature Conservancy on the private Ben Delatour Boy Scout Ranch was part of a forest restoration effort, the report said. Area residents were upset at the time that the prescribed burn was started despite the dry, windy conditions.

Baby Health in Winter Connecticut

Hartford: Lawmakers are revisiting a proposal to greatly expand the gambling reach of the state’s two federally recognized tribes, but the governor expressed doubts Tuesday whether that’s the right approach this year. Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont, who previously sought a wide-ranging gambling agreement, said the General Assembly should instead support a simpler, competing bill that would authorize the tribes, the state’s lottery and existing off-track betting operators in Connecticut to conduct sports wagering. “It also builds upon the state’s existing partnership with the tribes, is more likely to withstand legal challenges from third party competitors, and promotes a fair and competitive sports betting market outside the tribes’ reservations,” Max Reiss, Lamont’s spokesman, said in a statement.

Baby Health in Winter Delaware

Baby Health in Winter

Dover: It’s now legal to bring your dog to restaurants in the First State. Thanks to a bill that Gov. John Carney signed into law Tuesday, restaurants and beer gardens can now decide themselves whether to allow canine owners to bring furry companions to dine in outdoor seating areas. The law requires the pup to be leashed, and the restaurant still has to abide by health regulations. The bill comes after a minor controversy last summer when the Delaware Division of Public Health took a renewed interest in an existing state regulation that prohibited pets in food establishments, including the outdoor areas. The ban did not apply to service animals. “Many, including myself, had no idea this policy existed,” bill sponsor and House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, said in a statement Tuesday.

Baby Health in Winter District of Columbia

Baby Health in Winter

Washington: Concerns about the coronavirus outbreak in other parts of the world could have an impact on attendance of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, WUSA-TV reports. The annual festival draws more than 1.5 million people over a four-week period to experience a wide range of events centered on the district’s Yoshino cherry blossom trees. “It’s really Washington’s grandest springtime tradition,” said Mike Litterst with the National Park Service. He said the park service is doing what it can to prepare in case there is a coronavirus crisis in D.C. While there have been no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the district, Maryland, or Virginia, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said she fears tourism might take a hit for the festival. Festival organizers say two Japanese high school music groups have canceled plans to travel.

Baby Health in Winter Florida

Tallahassee: Landlords wouldn’t be able to prohibit emotional support animals, but people who falsely claim to need one could face jail time, under a bill unanimously passed by the state Senate on Tuesday. Landlords could ask people with emotional support animals whose disabilities are not apparent to document the need. Health care professionals who certify the need for the animals would have to have personal knowledge of the renter’s disability. People wouldn’t be able to simply download a certification of need from a website. Democratic Sen. Kevin Rader of Boca Raton said he often hears complaints from condominium residents about people falsely claiming their pet is an emotional support animal, saying people are “getting phony baloney psychological papers saying they’re allowed to have animals in their communities.” A similar House bill is awaiting a full chamber vote.

Baby Health in Winter Georgia

Atlanta: State employees would receive three weeks of paid time off when they become new parents under a proposal backed by Republican leaders in the Georgia House. Speaker David Ralston is among the influential GOP lawmakers supporting a bill that would grant paid parental leave to nearly 250,000 state workers, including public school teachers and employees of state-run universities. Private employers would not be affected if the measure becomes law. “Our goal is not to dictate to the private sector what they should and shouldn’t be doing because that’s not consistent with what any of us up here believe,” Ralston said at a news conference Tuesday. “But hopefully they will take inspiration from us.” Currently, state employees in Georgia are eligible for 12 weeks of unpaid leave when they have a new child, as required by federal law.

Baby Health in Winter Hawaii

Wailuku: The island of Molokai could have its first movie theater in 12 years if the project is approved by local regulators. The owners of the RWH Chen Building in Kaunakakai plan to open a 48-seat theater, The Maui News reports. Brad and Grace Ellis recently renovated the space on the island in Maui County. The theater would be located in the third of three units in the building, sharing the structure with two apparel stores. “When we started renovating it, we were amazed at the number of people who were saying we could use a movie theater,” Brad Ellis said. The last movie theater on Molokai was the Maunaloa Town Cinemas, which closed in 2008 after the Molokai Ranch property with a lodge, golf course and cattle operations closed and laid off more than 120 employees.

Baby Health in Winter Idaho

Boise: The amount of money in the state’s rainy-day fund that serves as a cushion against a potential economic downturn would increase under legislation that headed to the governor’s desk Tuesday. The Senate voted 31-4 to approve the legislation that is in line with Republican Gov. Brad Little’s recommendation. It would increase the Budget Stabilization Fund from 10% to 15% of general fund revenues. State officials said the change plus deposits would get the fund to more than $600 million by next year. Backers said the extra money will shield the state from a recession. Opponents said the money could instead be used for education and other pressing matters long neglected. The legislation passed the House 64-2 last month.

Baby Health in Winter Illinois

Baby Health in Winter

Chicago: Two police officers who were involved in the shooting of an unarmed man in a downtown train station last week should be completely stripped of their police powers for the time being, the head of the agency that investigates the city’s police shootings recommended Wednesday. The officers, whose names haven’t been released, were already placed on administrative duty until investigations into Friday’s shooting are completed, which is policy in cases of officer-involved shootings. But if the officers are stripped of their police powers, they would be relieved of their service weapons and would no longer have the authority to make arrests, said police spokesman Luis Agostini. Interim police Superintendent Charlie Beck was told the recommendation but didn’t immediately decide on the matter, Agostini said.

Baby Health in Winter Indiana

Indianapolis: After a tumultuous year in school accountability, Indiana schools got their report cards Wednesday, but the state-awarded letter grades used to rate schools – and, in some cases, intervene in cases of poor academic performance – arrived with little fanfare. The Indiana State Board of Education released the letter grades months later than normal and without comment. The grades were delayed while lawmakers crafted legislation that renders the grades moot, protecting schools from the impact of poor performance on the state’s new standardized test, the ILEARN exam, which was administered for the first time last spring. The law says that a school’s A-F grade for the 2018-19 school year may not be lower than that same school’s A-F grade for the previous year. In order to determine the final 2018-19 grade for each school, the Indiana Department of Education awarded schools the higher of the two grades.

Baby Health in Winter Iowa

Baby Health in Winter

Des Moines: Felons would be required to repay restitution to victims before they could get their voting rights restored under a bill passed Tuesday by the state Senate. Earlier in the day, Gov. Kim Reynolds for the first time indicated support for the measure after having previously stood firm that she didn’t want to make voting rights restoration more difficult. Currently, felons must apply to the governor individually, and Reynolds has required that they have at least a payment plan for court-ordered financial obligations but not total repayment to be considered. Senate Republicans are insisting on complete repayment to victims before they will consider passing a separate constitutional amendment that would automatically restore felon voting rights upon the completion of a sentence, a priority of Reynolds that Republicans failed to pass last year.

Baby Health in Winter Kansas

Lawrence: The University of Kansas has settled an age discrimination lawsuit brought on behalf of a former employee who said he was ousted in retaliation for raising the alarm that his department was told to fill job openings with mainly millennials and other young people. Under a consent decree agreed to last week with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of former school employee Jeffrey Thomas, the university pledged not to discriminate against job applicants or employees based on age and to give Thomas $144,000 in back pay and damages, KCUR-FM reports. Thomas worked for the school from July 2004 until December 2014. As part of the consent decree, the university was required to mail a letter of reference on behalf of Thomas noting that he was promoted and received an award for his performance as a supervisor.

Baby Health in Winter Kentucky

Baby Health in Winter

Frankfort: The state House passed a bill Tuesday requiring Kentuckians to present photo identification in order to vote. It would go into effect for the general election this fall. Senate Bill 2 passed by a 62-35 vote, with all present Republicans members voting for it and all but two Democrats voting against the legislation. Kentucky law currently allows eligible voters to cast a ballot if they present personal identification, but SB 2 would require government-issued identification that includes the voter’s photograph. Republican supporters of the bill – including new Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams, who campaigned on the issue – say the bill is needed to combat voter fraud through impersonation and restore public confidence in the election system. Democrats and groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky fear it would create unnecessary barriers to voting in order to stop a form of fraud that has never been a problem in Kentucky.

Baby Health in Winter Louisiana

Baton Rouge: As many as 31,000 of the state’s food stamp recipients could lose their benefits under a new Trump administration rule starting April 1 that enacts stricter work requirements on childless adults, according to estimates released Wednesday by the state social services agency. The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services will be contacting the affected people who get food aid through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program with information about how they can keep getting assistance. The new rule will limit work-eligible adults to three months of SNAP benefits in a three-year period unless they are working, volunteering or participating in a job training program for at least 80 hours a month. Exceptions are allowed for people with dependents, people who have a disability, students, pregnant women and certain other criteria.

Baby Health in Winter Maine

Portland: The state Republican Party won the right Tuesday to collect signatures for a referendum drive to repeal ranked-choice voting in presidential races even as Portland residents voted to expand ranked-choice voting in local races. The GOP went to court after being denied the right to collect petitions at polling places in Portland. A judge granted a temporary restraining order Tuesday afternoon, allowing the GOP to begin collecting petitions at 3 p.m. In denying the GOP request, the city cited a state law prohibiting groups from trying to influence voters on an issue before them on the ballot. Ranked-choice voting is allowed in mayoral races in Portland; the proposal on the city ballot would allow ranked voting to apply to council and school board races. The GOP wants to roll back a ranked-choice voting law adopted by lawmakers last year to use ranked-choice voting in presidential races in Maine.

Baby Health in Winter Maryland

Baby Health in Winter

Salisbury: The Salisbury Zoo has confirmed it lost its national accreditation during a standard five-year renewal process. The Association of Zoos & Aquarium cited the Salisbury Zoo for not meeting certain industry standards during its fall 2019 evaluation, said the zoo’s acting director, Leanora Dillon. The zoo’s level of deferred maintenance, inadequately maintained buildings and the lack of a full-time veterinarian all contributed to the zoo losing its standing. Representatives didn’t share further specifics on where the zoo fell short, but Dillon emphasized that none of the concerns had to do with animal welfare and that zoo is not in danger of losing any animals immediately. It must wait one year to reapply for accreditation while making progress toward fixing its citations. In the meantime, the zoo has been told it can maintain the animals it currently holds, such as Andean bears, otters, wallabies and jaguar.

Baby Health in Winter Massachusetts

Boston: Mayor Marty Walsh’s next chief of staff will be the first indigenous person to hold a Cabinet-level position at City Hall, officials said. Kathryn R. Burton, 43, will start in her new role March 9, Walsh’s office announced Tuesday. Burton has worked as director of operations for a housing development firm for the past four years. She also previously worked as chief of staff for former state treasurer Steve Grossman. Walsh’s office said in a statement that Burton will focus on implementing the mayor’s priorities and “ensuring the effectiveness of city services.” Burton is a member of the Gesgapegiag Mi’kmaq tribe in Quebec, Canada. She grew up on the Eskasoni First Nations reserve in Nova Scotia. “I look forward to helping Mayor Walsh achieve his ambitious goals for the city and being part of the team that is leading the charge in making Boston a better place for all,” Burton said in a statement.

Baby Health in Winter Michigan

Baby Health in Winter

Vanderbilt: The 108,000-acre Pigeon River Country State Forest is getting a nearly 600-acre addition in a land deal valued at more than $2 million, according to the state’s Department of Natural Resources. The property purchase, finalized last month, adds the Elk Forest at Black River, which is in Montmorency County, to the state’s public lands. The area is surrounded on three sides by existing state-managed land and includes public access to Walled Lake. “This spectacular place adds a gem to the crown of Michigan’s public lands,” said Debbie Begalle, DNR forest resources division chief. “The land will be open for hiking, hunting, fishing, elk viewing, skiing, snowshoeing, bird watching, mushroom hunting and berry picking, to name just a few activities.”

Baby Health in Winter Minnesota

Baby Health in Winter

St. Cloud: Men incarcerated at the Minnesota Correctional Facility-St. Cloud presented paintings Wednesday to honor the three Minnesota National Guard soldiers killed in a December Black Hawk helicopter crash. Kao Xiong, Jason Ricci and Sergio Zapata did not have painting experience before taking a class at the prison, but the three worked together to create pieces honoring the guardsmen. “Words cannot express our deepest condolences,” Zapata said before the artists unveiled the work, saying the process was “an honor and privilege.” Each painting contained the name of one of the soldiers killed in the Dec. 5 crash – Sgt. Kort M. Plantenberg, 28, of Avon; Chief Warrant Officer 2 James A. Rogers Jr., 28, of Winsted; and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Charles P. Nord, 30, of Perham. This was the first commission for the artists, although they paint on their own through classes at the prison, they said.

Baby Health in Winter Mississippi

Bay St. Louis: The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation granted more than $2.8 million to The Nature Conservancy in Mississippi to expand its oyster reefs. The funding will be used to increase the existing oyster reef in Bay St. Louis by 20 acres, WLOX-TV reports. The reef is currently 10 acres. The project was expected to add more height to the reef so it can be stronger if there’s an influx of fresh water, such as what happened last year when the Bonnet Carre Spillway was opened twice. Oysters help maintain water quality and provide habitat for several estuarine species. But sudden influxes of massive amounts of polluted fresh water can lower oxygen levels, killing oysters and other marine life.

Baby Health in Winter Missouri

St. Louis: The state is denying severely disabled children full access to services and failing to prevent unnecessary placements in institutions, according to a federal lawsuit. The suit was filed Tuesday on behalf of nine children and teenagers with medically complex conditions who are enrolled in Medicaid – public coverage administered by the state, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Though the children have been approved for intensive in-home nursing care, the state is failing to arrange for the care or make sure the services are available, the suit alleges. Also listed as a plaintiff is the Caring for Complex Kids Coalition, an association of parents and caregivers of medically complex children in Missouri. A spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Social Services said in an email that the department does not comment on pending litigation.

Baby Health in Winter Montana

Helena: The state Supreme Court has upheld the certification of a class-action lawsuit against the city of Billings over franchise fees charged on residents’ water, sewer and garbage bills. The plaintiffs argue the fees, which were ended in mid-2018, constitute an illegal sales tax, and they are seeking reimbursement. District Judge Gregory Pinski certified the case as a class action involving up to 35,000 people last April. The city appealed, and the Supreme Court upheld his ruling Tuesday. The wastewater class includes people who paid the franchise fee dating back to Jan. 18, 2010, and the garbage class paid fees dating back to July 1, 2012. Justices and the plaintiffs agreed the claims over the water franchise fees could date back only to February 2014 after the city argued that water is a “good” and that a four-year statute of limitations applies.

Baby Health in Winter Nebraska

Lincoln: People who are sexually assaulted could have a personal advocate to help them through the aftermath under a bill state lawmakers advanced Tuesday. Lawmakers gave the measure first-round approval on a 41-0 vote. It would create a sexual assault survivor’s bill of rights, giving survivors the right to have an advocate of their choosing present during medical exams and legal depositions. Survivors could also be interviewed by a law enforcement officer of the gender they choose. Sen. Kate Bolz, of Lincoln, said she introduced the measure to help people who have just experienced an extremely traumatic event. Some lawmakers questioned whether the measure could have unintended consequences but agreed to work on it before it receives final approval. Two additional votes are required in the Legislature before the bill goes to the governor.

Baby Health in Winter Nevada

Baby Health in Winter

Reno: The city is making more than 100 homeless people leave an encampment along railroad tracks near a shelter in the downtown area. The city provided a week’s notice before police and other city workers began enforcing the order Wednesday. Those staying in the encampment had to pack up their belongings and take them with them, but some said they had nowhere else to go. Officials said the people were trespassing on railroad property and posed an extreme fire danger. According to the Washoe County Health District, the city had to dismantle the encampments because of health code violations. The Community Assistance Center is nearby but lacks space to house the people who have been staying in the encampment. City spokesman Jon Humbert, a city spokesman, estimated there were about 130 people in the tent encampment.

Baby Health in Winter New Hampshire

Campton: Applicants are wanted for this year’s Artist in Residence program at the White Mountain National Forest and Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire. The program offers artists a chance to pursue their particular art form while being inspired by the surrounding forest and to engage members of the public with their work and artist process. The application deadline is March 15. One artist residency of at least three weeks will be offered between mid-July and the end of September. The artist will be provided accommodations on or near the forest, as well as a $2,000 stipend. Public programs may include demonstrations, exploratory walks or hikes, performances, interactive or participatory installations, group creative projects, or other programs based on the medium, interest and experience of the artist.

Baby Health in Winter New Jersey

Baby Health in Winter

Trenton: Gov. Phil Murphy had a tumor that is likely cancerous removed from his kidney Wednesday, Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver said in a statement. Murphy’s office did not disclose the hospital, beyond saying it was in New York, or who performed the surgery but said the partial nephrectomy was done by a urologist and a team of doctors. Murphy, 62, announced late last month that doctors had found a 3-centimeter-wide tumor on his left kidney during a CT scan. It’s unknown whether the tumor was cancerous, but kidney tumors usually are, according to the Mayo Clinic. The tumor was caught early enough, Murphy has said, that his prognosis was “very good.” He ceded all his authority, such as signing bills and declaring a state of emergency, to Oliver beginning Wednesday “until further notice.” He is expected to slowly return to a public schedule of events over the next several weeks.

Baby Health in Winter New Mexico

Baby Health in Winter

Bandelier National Monument: The National Park Service says the popular loop trail at Bandelier National Monument will be getting a much-needed facelift this summer. Officials say the 1.2-mile paved path at the bottom of Frijoles Canyon is showing the effects of weather, time and tons of foot traffic. The trail provides access to dozens of archaeological sites. Acting Superintendent Dennis Milligan said visitors should expect rerouting, closures and delays. The work is scheduled to begin in May and will last from four to six months. Starting in May, visitors also will be required to take a shuttle bus from the White Rock visitor center to access the monument’s most visited area in Frijoles Canyon. The shuttle helps relieve the shortage of parking during the busy season. The shuttles will run daily from May 14 through Oct. 14.

Baby Health in Winter New York

Albany: State senators moved to strengthen seat belt laws Tuesday and approved a bill that requires back-seat adult passengers to buckle up. The legislation, passed by the state Senate and Assembly, now moves on to Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Current law requires front-seat adult passengers to be buckled, but the legislation would force adult back-seat passengers to use a seat belt too – a move supporters say will save lives and cut down on the risk posed to buckled-in front seat riders. “The simple fact is you’re not any safer in the back seat. So we have to make that message loud and clear by passing this legislation,” state Sen. David Carlucci said on the chamber floor Tuesday. Carlucci, a Democrat whose district includes Rockland County, said New York in the 1980s became the first state in the nation to require people in the front seat to wear a seat belt. But since then, dozens of other states have enacted back-seat belt laws, he said.

Baby Health in Winter North Carolina

Baby Health in Winter

Raleigh: Primary voters on Tuesday chose a Democratic former state legislator and Iraq War veteran to challenge Republican Sen. Thom Tillis this fall and the GOP lieutenant governor to try to unseat Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. Cal Cunningham, who ran unsuccessfully for a Senate seat 10 years ago, defeated party rival Erica Smith and three others to earn the Democratic nomination. As in 2010, he received the backing of Washington Democrats. His military career, centrist views and fundraising advantage propelled the waste-management company attorney to victory over Smith, who ran on a more liberal platform. GOP primary participants also chose Lt. Gov. Dan Forest over state Rep. Holly Grange for the gubernatorial nomination to take on Cooper. Primary voters decided dozens of nominations for federal, state government and legislative seats.

Baby Health in Winter North Dakota

Jamestown: Area Republicans auctioned bottles of wine named for and signed by state Superintendent Kirsten Baesler just days after she was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving. North Dakota District 12 and 29 Republicans held their Lincoln Day dinner last weekend. House Majority Leader Chet Pollert says that for years the dinner has included a wine auction as a fundraiser for candidates. Eleven bottles of “Baesler’s Bulldog Red” and “Superintendent Baesler’s Honor Roll White” were auctioned. Baesler signed the bottles before the dinner Saturday, the Bismarck Tribune reports. Baesler, 50, is seeking the North Dakota Republican Party’s endorsement for a third term. She was arrested on suspicion of driving drunk Wednesday night.

Baby Health in Winter Ohio

Columbus: A new effort to legalize recreational marijuana in the state got underway this week. Backers of a measure called the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Amendment submitted the initial petition and 1,000 signatures to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office for review. A long process awaits the proposal, which backers want on the November ballot. The constitutional amendment would allow adults over the age of 21 to buy, possess and consume limited amounts of marijuana, including growing up to six marijuana plants. Voters in 2015 handily defeated a ballot issue to legalize marijuana in the state, though some opposition involved concern over exclusive rights that would have been given to initial growing sites under that proposal. The state’s current medical marijuana program, approved in 2016 and now just over a year old, would remain in place if the legalization effort passed.

Baby Health in Winter Oklahoma

Oklahoma City: The state House has backed a bill that would require hundreds of public buildings in the state to display the national motto, “In God We Trust.” The House voted 76-20 on Tuesday in favor of the bill, sending it to the Senate. Critics say the bill is an affront to the separation of church and state that could alienate nonreligious people. Rep. Collin Walke, D-Oklahoma City, suggested that the bill is an election year stunt. But the bill’s Republican sponsor, House Speaker Charles McCall, said it wasn’t intended to be a religious issue but rather to honor the nation’s history. The bill could cost the state an estimated $85,000 to place the signs in 342 state buildings. Others, though, say it could be more because the bill specifies that each displayed motto match the size and placement of the one in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center in Washington.

Baby Health in Winter Oregon

Baby Health in Winter

Salem: The capital city’s fourth annual Women’s March will be held Sunday, moving this year to a new date. “Women Rising” is set for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Oregon State Capitol. In a release, march board chair Debbie Miller said the event was moved to a later date to avoid conflicts with Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January, as well as to co-celebrate International Women’s Day, a global day for celebrating the achievements of women and advocating for equality. The mission of Women’s March Salem is to harness the political power of diverse women and their communities to create transformative social change, Miller said. The event will include a rally with speakers, booths, food and music, followed by a 1-mile march. Vanessa Nordyke, a city councilor and senior assistant attorney general with the Oregon Department of Justice, will serve as master of ceremonies. Organizers said the event will be free, peaceful and family-friendly.

Baby Health in Winter Pennsylvania

Philadelphia: The City Council unveiled proposals Tuesday aimed at reducing the number of people in poverty in the city by 25%, with a goal of lifting at least 100,000 people above the threshold by 2024. A special committee released its poverty action plan with recommendations to address several areas including housing, education and guaranteed income for the city’s poorest residents through public initiatives and private partnerships. Some of the proposals include providing rent subsidies; guaranteed income; increasing the availability of adult education in every neighborhood; and streamlining the process to apply for federally funded benefits. A study by the Pew Charitable Trusts in 2018 found about 400,000 Philadelphia residents – nearly 26% – live below the national poverty level. That percentage was more than double the national average and was the highest of the 10 most populous U.S. cities.

Baby Health in Winter Rhode Island

Providence: The state’s first health clinic for the LGBTQ community has opened to offer a variety of services including primary care, HIV prevention and treatment, and express screening for sexually transmitted infections. Open Door Health, an initiative of the Rhode Island Public Health Institute, opened Monday. It will fill an important role for members of the state’s LGBTQ community, who disproportionately experience poor health outcomes as well as a lack of access to culturally competent care, Executive Director Amy Nunn said. Tiara Mack, a member of the clinic’s community advisory board, said navigating the health care system as a black woman is already difficult, but it was compounded after she came out as lesbian. “I was excited to see that there is now an affirming place where my community won’t have fear of sharing their identity with their doctors,” she told The Providence Journal.

Baby Health in Winter South Carolina

Charleston: Plans are moving forward to construct a memorial to the nine African American worshippers killed at church in 2015. The Mother Emanuel Memorial Foundation announced Monday that Bank of America is giving the board a $250,000 grant toward the construction of a permanent memorial at the Mother Emanuel A.M.E Church in downtown Charleston, news outlets report. Construction is expected to cost about $10 million, which includes buying additional property. The foundation has raised over $7 million as of Monday, Foundation Board Co-Chair John Darby said. Plans for the memorial were designed by Michael Arad, the same architect who created the National September 11 Memorial in New York City. The Charleston site is set to include a marble fountain engraved with the victims’ names surrounded by two high-back benches facing each other that resemble “sheltering wings.”

Baby Health in Winter South Dakota

Baby Health in Winter

Pierre: A Senate committee on Tuesday advanced Gov. Kristi Noem’s proposal to revive the state’s riot laws with criminal and civil penalties for those who urge rioting. Native American groups opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline warned that the initiative would stoke tensions that could lead to situations similar to the stand-offs over the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. The bill will next be voted on by the full state Senate. It has already passed the House. Candi Brings Plenty, a lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union, said the bill “sets the stage for a continuation of tensions.” Many tribal members spoke of their experiences of demonstrations at Standing Rock and described how law enforcement used violence and threats of incitement to riot charges against them. They argued that the bill represents another step in long-standing oppression of Native American people since the violation of treaties dating back to the 1800s.

Baby Health in Winter Tennessee

Baby Health in Winter

Nashville: An elections administrator in the tornado-stricken county that includes the capital is praising voters for turning out on Super Tuesday despite damage to voting locations and treacherous driving conditions. More than a dozen voting locations in Davidson County were damaged and closed after a tornado swept through Nashville and surrounding areas in the early morning darkness Tuesday. Voters navigated road debris and street closures to reach precincts that were not damaged to cast ballots in the presidential primary election. Polls in Davidson County opened at 8 a.m., an hour later than originally planned. A couple of locations remained open until 10 p.m. Despite the adversity, voters still made it to the polls in respectable numbers, Davidson County elections administrator Jeff Roberts said Wednesday.

Baby Health in Winter Texas

Austin: A fourth area code has been approved for the Dallas area, the Public Utility Commission of Texas announced Tuesday. In a statement, the PUC said it had approved the addition of 945 as an overlay because of a looming shortage of telephone number possibilities for the 214, 469 and 972 area codes. Those codes are used by Dallas County and parts of Collin, Denton, Fannin, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman and Tarrant counties. The new code is to be implemented over the next nine months, and telephone numbers containing the 945 area code will be assigned once the numbers available for the other three codes are exhausted early next year. According to the PUC statement, the addition of the code should be simplified because callers within the region already are required to dial 10 digits.

Baby Health in Winter Utah

Baby Health in Winter

Salt Lake City: The state is poised to study the disproportionate violence inflicted against Native American women and girls after the Legislature voted to create a task force. Indigenous communities gathered at the Capitol to celebrate Tuesday after the proposal passed the Senate unanimously, the Deseret News reports. It now heads to Republican Gov. Gary Herbert’s desk. Democratic state Rep. Angela Romero’s plan would bring together a nine-member task force of lawmakers, researchers, tribes, law enforcement and an advocate for victims. The task force will identify data-collection gaps in local, state and federal enforcement agencies. Nationwide, American Indian women face a murder rate more than 10 times the national average, according to federal statistics. Utah had the eighth-highest number of missing and slain indigenous women in a nationwide study of 71 cities completed by the Urban Indian Health Institute several years ago.

Baby Health in Winter Vermont

South Burlington: Voters in the city have overwhelmingly opposed a $209 million school bond proposal to build a new middle and high school. About 6,500 voted against the project, while roughly 1,700 voted for it, on Town Meeting Day on Tuesday. The school board said the project was needed because of overcrowding and aging infrastructure at the South Burlington High School and Frederick H. Tuttle Middle School. The board said that if the proposal were rejected, it would come up with another solution to address the concerns.

Baby Health in Winter Virginia

Richmond: The Virginia Museum of History & Culture is set to open an exhibit that celebrates a century of female activism. “Agents of Change: Female Activism in Virginia from Women’s Suffrage to Today” is scheduled to open Sunday. The exhibit will feature artifacts from the museum’s collections, new acquisitions made through a major collecting initiative and rarely seen loans from private individuals. It is intended to honor change-makers who have brought about positive change in their communities, Virginia and the nation. In a news release, Museum Collections Curator Karen Sherry said the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920 marked the culmination of a concerted fight for women’s suffrage and heralded a new age of female participation in American civic life. She said the stories in the exhibit underscore the importance of civic engagement.

Baby Health in Winter Washington

Olympia: The Legislature on Tuesday approved a bill that reduces the crime of intentionally exposing a sexual partner to HIV from a felony to a misdemeanor. Supporters of the change to the rarely used law say the current penalties don’t have an effect on reducing transmissions or improving public health. Opponents argue the move diminishes the significance of the impact on a person who is unknowingly infected. The measure now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee, who is expected to sign it. Democratic Sen. Annette Cleveland said that the bill modernizes criminal statutes and recognizes “advancements in medical science that have rendered HIV a treatable disease.” The legislation, requested by the state Department of Health, also calls for more intervention from local and state health officers, allowing them to recommend options ranging from testing to counseling. They could even mandate treatment for an individual determined to be placing others at risk.

Baby Health in Winter West Virginia

Charleston: Gov. Jim Justice urged state residents Wednesday to “live our lives” despite the emerging threat of the new coronavirus. Justice held a news briefing along with Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Bill Crouch at the Capitol to discuss steps West Virginia is taking and to give common-sense advice on how people should protect themselves. There are no known cases of the virus that causes COVID-19 thus far in West Virginia. The briefing came after Justice held a private roundtable with administration and medical officials to make “absolutely certain that we’re ready, God forbid, if we do have a situation here in West Virginia,” Justice said. Crouch said the risk that the virus will arrive in West Virginia is low, especially due to the very small number of international travelers coming to the state. But he predicted most states will see such cases “the way it’s moving.”

Baby Health in Winter Wisconsin

Baby Health in Winter

Suamico: Gov. Tony Evers gave out nearly $75 million Wednesday to help local governments around the state pay for 152 transportation projects and programs. The one-time funding was included in last year’s state budget as the Democratic governor and Republican lawmakers sought to provide more money for transportation. The local funding will go toward projects and programs in 66 of the state’s 72 counties. “Think about tourism or farmers getting their products from point A to point B,” Evers said. “Folks getting to and from work, to school, and our state economy absolutely depends on having good roads, safe bridges and great highways.” He announced the grants at a news conference at the headquarters of the Howard-Suamico School District near Highway M in Brown County, which will receive $1 million for a widening project.

Baby Health in Winter Wyoming

Cody: Sleeping Giant Ski Area will remain open after previously planning to suspend operations for the 2020-2021 season, Yellowstone Recreations Foundation said in a statement. The ski and recreational area was scheduled to close over financial concerns after reopening in 2009, the Cody Enterprise reports. The mountain initially closed in 2004 because of similar monetary issues. No changes have been planned for the summer zipline business, which could be affected if winter ski operations are shut down about 50 miles west of Cody, officials said. The mountain has operated at about a $200,000 loss most years since reopening but nearly broke even in 2013, foundation officials said. The mountain made about $335,500 profit in 2015, including volunteer contributions. Sleeping Giant is tentatively expected to remain open until March 22, depending on conditions.

From USA TODAY Network and wire reports

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