50 ★ States


USA TODAY International Edition - - NEWS - From staff and wire re­ports

ALABAMA Mont­gomery:

For nearly 40 years, state Sen. Hank San­ders of Selma was a fixture of the Alabama State­house. When law­mak­ers con­vene next month, Se­nate District 23 will be rep­re­sented by his daugh­ter, Sen. Ma­lika San­ders-Fortier.


In cel­e­brat­ing its up­com­ing 20th an­niver­sary, the Kachemak Bay Na­tional Es­tu­ar­ine Re­search Re­serve held a beer la­bel con­test to drum up aware­ness.

ARI­ZONA Phoenix:

Any­one still try­ing to rent a home near a ball­park for spring train­ing could strike out. Options on sites like Airbnb are in­creas­ingly lim­ited, and prices have soared.

ARKANSAS Lit­tle Rock:

A law­maker is propos­ing that a star on the state’s flag no longer rep­re­sent the Con­fed­er­acy, say­ing it should in­stead com­mem­o­rate the con­tri­bu­tion of Na­tive Amer­i­cans to the state.

CAL­I­FOR­NIA San Fran­cisco:

Chaos broke out at a per­for­mance of the mu­si­cal “Hamil­ton” at the Or­pheum the­ater Fri­day af­ter au­di­ence mem­bers mis­took a med­i­cal emer­gency for a shoot­ing. A woman had a heart at­tack, and some­one broke open an emer­gency defibril­la­tor, ac­ti­vat­ing an alarm at the same time that gunfire went off on stage as part of the show’s duel scene, a fire official says.

COLORADO Fort Collins:

A fed­eral ap­peals court panel up­held a lower court in­junc­tion against a city ban on women go­ing top­less in pub­lic.

CON­NECTI­CUT Hart­ford:

Gov. Ned La­mont, who said dur­ing his cam­paign that he would sup­port high­way tolls only for trac­tor-trail­ers, an­nounced Satur­day that he’s con­sid­er­ing a wider tolling op­tion.

DELAWARE Wilm­ing­ton:

About 90 peo­ple raced up Mar­ket Street in their un­der­wear Satur­day as part of the city’s first Cupid’s Undie Run, one of the events staged na­tion­wide to raise money for cur­ingn eur ofib roma to sis, a ge­netic dis­or­der that causes tu­mors to grow on nerves. All the money raised goes to the Chil­dren’s Tu­mor Foun­da­tion.


Vis­i­tors to the Na­tional Mall spot­ted some­thing slightly un­usual Fri­day morn­ing – a vast dis­play of red robes and white bon­nets formed in front of the Wash­ing­ton Mon­u­ment, WUSA-TV re­ports. They weren’t pro­test­ers who have worn sim­i­lar cos­tumes but rather the ac­tual cast mem­bers of Hulu’s “The Hand­maid’s Tale.”

FLORIDA Or­lando:

A firefighter fired for a pos­i­tive drug test got his job back af­ter ar­gu­ing the co­caine in his sys­tem was from a tea made with coca leaves. The Or­lando Sen­tinel re­ports that pub­lic records show firefighter Kevin Reynolds told in­ves­ti­ga­tors he brought a box of coca tea home af­ter hik­ing Machu Pic­chu in Peru. The tea is used in South Amer­ica to fight off al­ti­tude sick­ness.

GE­OR­GIA Sa­van­nah:

Officials are work­ing to grow both jobs and the city’s lush ur­ban for­est by turn­ing va­cant lots into tree nurs­eries. The Sa­van­nah Morn­ing News re­ports the city has used fund­ing from a green jobs grant to trans­form three empty city-owned lots. Trainees tend­ing to the saplings are study­ing to be­come cer­tified land­scape pro­fes­sion­als.

HAWAII Wailuku:

Two en­vi­ron­men­tal groups are su­ing Maui officials over plans to re­place about 4,800 street­lights with LED fixtures, claim­ing the new lights would threaten seabirds and sea tur­tles.

IDAHO Boise:

Officials say a dis­ease that af­flicts elk and leaves the an­i­mal’s hooves bro­ken and de­formed has been iden­tified in the state for the first time. The Idaho De­part­ment of Fish and Game says it has confirmed a case of tre­ponema as­so­ci­ated hoof dis­ease in an an­i­mal killed by a hunter near White Bird last year.

ILLI­NOIS Chicago:

Google officials say the com­pany has se­lected the city as its new finance divi­sion hub, with plans to have the ca­pac­ity to dou­ble its work­force in the Windy City by the end of the year.

IN­DI­ANA In­di­anapo­lis:

Nine non­profits in the state and two Hoosier artists are shar­ing in grants to­tal­ing $215,000 awarded by a fed­eral arts agency. The grants an­nounced Thurs­day by the Na­tional En­dow­ment for the Arts in­clude $35,000 for the Bloom­ing­ton-based Lo­tus Ed­u­ca­tion & Arts Foun­da­tion to sup­port a mu­sic and arts fes­ti­val. An­other $30,000 will go to the In­di­anapo­lis Mu­seum of Art for a se­ries of ex­hi­bi­tions of Ja­panese paint­ings, prints and other works, in­clud­ing Samu­rai ar­mor.

IOWA Des Moines:

Res­i­dents are again el­i­gi­ble to get free tree seedlings this year through the city’s Forestry Divi­sion. The an­nual Tiny Trees pro­gram has dis­trib­uted 12,000 free trees since it launched in 2016.

KANSAS Topeka:

Gov. Laura Kelly says the state was “hood­winked” un­der her pre­de­ces­sor into hir­ing a pri­vate com­pany to build a new prison based on a prom­ise that the new lockup would re­quire less staff.

KENTUCKY Olive Hill:

Kentucky State Parks will hold a pub­lic hear­ing this month to get feed­back on a pro­posal for camp­ground im­prove­ments at Carter Caves State Re­sort Park. A state­ment from the agency says the hear­ing will be held Feb. 27 at the park’s Lewis Cave­land Lodge.

LOUISIANA New Or­leans:

Sugar cane is on the rise in the state, with a good crop and de­cent prices en­cour­ag­ing more farm­ers to plant the tall trop­i­cal grass.

MAINE Au­gusta:

The new Demo­cratic gov­er­nor has re­pealed her Repub­li­can pre­de­ces­sor’s ex­ec­u­tive or­der that aimed to pro­hibit state agen­cies from per­mit­ting new wind en­ergy projects in cer­tain ar­eas.

MARY­LAND Bal­ti­more:

A com­plaint filed with the Na­tional La­bor Re­la­tions Board ac­cuses Johns Hop­kins Hos­pi­tal officials of re­tal­i­at­ing against two nurses in­volved in an effort to union­ize.

MICHI­GAN Lans­ing:

State law­mak­ers are con­sid­er­ing whether to cut schools some slack af­ter frigid tem­per­a­tures and other weather caused a high num­ber of snow days. State law for­gives schools from mak­ing up six days that are can­celed, and schools can get a waiver for three ad­di­tional days. Some leg­is­la­tors from both par­ties say the win­try weather has been so ex­treme that the law should be loos­ened.


Two state law­mak­ers are propos­ing a bill that would re­im­burse school dis­tricts for feed­ing stu­dents healthy, lo­cal foods through farm-to-school ini­tia­tives.


Artists are work­ing on a statue of a civil rights leader who was killed in 1966 when Ku Klux Klans­men fire­bombed his fam­ily’s home. Ver­non Dah­mer of Hat­ties­burg was tar­geted be­cause he en­cour­aged fel­low African-Amer­i­cans to reg­is­ter to vote.

MISSOURI Kansas City:

The Ne­gro Leagues Base­ball Mu­seum is cel­e­brat­ing the 100th an­niver­sary of a Kansas City meet­ing that sparked the league with a year­long cel­e­bra­tion. The Kansas City Star re­ports that the mu­seum in the 18th and Vine District has an­nounced the fes­tiv­i­ties will be­gin Feb. 13, 2020, the an­niver­sary of a meet­ing of in­ter­ested own­ers led by An­drew “Rube” Fos­ter at the Paseo YMCA.

MON­TANA He­lena:

The state Se­nate gave ten­ta­tive ap­proval Satur­day to two bills that spon­sors said will help with youth safety by cre­at­ing a statewide li­brary fea­tur­ing stu­dent pic­tures that law en­force­ment can ac­cess 24/7 and an­other that officials said would fo­cus on school safety.

NEBRASKA Hast­ings:

The third an­nual Big­foot Con­fer­ence drew an es­ti­mated 700 peo­ple to the city over the week­end.

NE­VADA Carson City:

The gov­er­nor signed into law Fri­day a bill ex­pand­ing back­ground checks to pri­vate gun sales and trans­fers, tak­ing ad­van­tage of a Demo­crat-con­trolled Leg­is­la­ture to ap­prove the first gun­re­lated bill to cross Gov. Steve Siso­lak’s desk.


The state has be­come the first to chal­lenge a U.S. De­part­ment of Jus­tice le­gal opin­ion that could threaten on­line gambling and state-run lot­ter­ies. In a re­ver­sal from 2011, the de­part­ment is­sued an opin­ion in Novem­ber in­ter­pret­ing the fed­eral Wire Act as ap­ply­ing to any form of gambling that crosses state lines, not just sports bet­ting.

NEW JER­SEY As­bury Park:

The As­bury Park Mu­sic and Film Fes­ti­val re­turns to the City by the Sea for its fifth year April 25-28, head­lined by an evening with writ­ing and di­rect­ing sib­ling tan­dem Bobby and Peter Far­relly.


More trees on city-owned land might have to be pruned or re­moved, which officials in the state cap­i­tal say is a re­sult of cli­mate change.

NEW YORK Cobleskill:

Ahoy, beer lovers: A bot­tle from a 133-year-old ship­wreck may yield yeast for a new brew up­state. Biotech­nol­ogy stu­dents at the State Univer­sity of New York at Cobleskill un­corked a bot­tle from the ship­wrecked SS Ore­gon on Thurs­day. Se­ri­ous Brew­ing Com­pany of Howes Cave plans to de­velop a new brew if the stu­dents suc­cess­fully ex­tract yeast.

A Univer­sity of North Car­olina-Chapel Hill hear­ings panel has dis­missed an honor court case against a grad­u­ate stu­dent who colored a Con­fed­er­ate statue on cam­pus with ink and blood. The News and Ob­server re­ports a let­ter sent to stu­dent Maya Lit­tle said the panel voted to dis­miss the case Thurs­day.


Reg­u­la­tors say the state’s oil pro­duc­tion set a record in De­cem­ber.

OHIO Cleve­land:

The maker of Cleve­land’s ball­park mus­tard is re­mov­ing the Chief Wa­hoo logo from its brand­ing and pack­ag­ing to main­tain ties with the Cleve­land In­di­ans base­ball team.

OK­LA­HOMA Ok­la­homa City:

The tra­di­tional head scarves worn by Mus­lim women took cen­ter stage at sev­eral events ob­serv­ing “World Hi­jab Day” re­cently in the metro area. Women gath­ered at the Aloft Ho­tel for a “World Hi­jab Day” din­ner and pro­gram hosted by the Coun­cil on Amer­i­can Is­lamic Re­la­tions – Ok­la­homa chapter. The spe­cial day also was cel­e­brated at the Univer­sity of Cen­tral Ok­la­homa, where mem­bers of the Mus­lim Stu­dent As­so­ci­a­tion set up a “World Hi­jab Day” booth.

ORE­GON Port­land:

This city of­ten in the spot­light for its lib­eral lean­ings has been roiled by the rev­e­la­tion that a po­lice lieu­tenant in charge of con­tain­ing protests texted re­peat­edly with the leader of a far-right group in­volved in those de­mon­stra­tions. The mayor has asked the po­lice chief to in­ves­ti­gate “dis­turb­ing” texts be­tween Lt. Jeff Ni­iya, head of the Po­lice Bureau’s rapid re­sponse team, and the leader of Pa­triot Prayer.


With prime Peeps sea­son about to get un­der­way, the city where they’re “born” has hon­ored the man who brought marsh­mal­low chicks to the masses. The (Al­len­town) Morn­ing Call re­ports Beth­le­hem Mayor Robert Donchez pro­claimed Fri­day as “Bob Born Day.”

RHODE IS­LAND Prov­i­dence:

A state sen­a­tor has in­tro­duced a bill that would add a 1 per­cent tax on the sale of hookah and va­p­ing prod­ucts.


The state has added land along the South Saluda River that it plans to let peo­ple use for fishing, hunt­ing and hik­ing. The De­part­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources said the 2.7 square-mile par­cel of land in north­ern Greenville County was bought for $4 mil­lion thanks to $3 mil­lion from the state Con­ser­va­tion Bank.


The Stam­pede’s new name change will leave op­po­nents trem­bling in their skates. The ice hockey team will officially change its name to the Sioux Falls Fight­ing Wiener Dogs, for one day. The change aims to cel­e­brate the 12th an­nual Sioux Na­tional Pet Clinic Wiener Dog Races that will be held at the Feb. 23 game.

TEN­NESSEE Nashville:

The Ten­nessee State Mu­seum’s new­est ex­hibit fea­tures two cen­turies’ worth of quilts from across the state.

TEXAS Houston:

Mario Figueroa Jr., a lo­cal graffiti artist bet­ter known as Gonzo247, got to work last week on the first per­ma­nent mu­ral on the Univer­sity of St. Thomas cam­pus. The Houston Chron­i­cle re­ports the mu­ral will de­pict St. Thomas Aquinas, the school’s name­sake, amid a vi­brant back­ground fea­tur­ing im­agery from the cam­pus, with the down­town sky­line as a base be­low.

UTAH Provo:

A tow­er­ing steel spi­ral struc­ture that sits in front of the new state court­house in the city is the work of an artist who says he wanted a light and airy piece of art to con­trast the court­house. The Daily Her­ald re­ports that sculp­tor Lyle Lon­don calls the 35-foot-tall sculp­ture the “cir­cling spire.” At night, the sculp­ture it is lit up in red, green and yel­low by spot­lights.

VER­MONT Mont­pe­lier:

The state De­part­ment of Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles is up­dat­ing driver’s li­censes and non­driver iden­tification cards with ad­vanced se­cu­rity fea­tures.

VIR­GINIA Rich­mond:

Law­mak­ers have ap­proved leg­is­la­tion to re­quire Do­min­ion En­ergy, the state’s largest elec­tric util­ity, to ex­ca­vate and clean up un­lined coal ash pits.


The state Se­nate on Fri­day ap­proved a mea­sure that would re­peal the death penalty, just months af­ter the state’s Supreme Court unan­i­mously struck down cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment as ar­bi­trary and racially bi­ased.


The Ohio County Pub­lic Li­brary is show­cas­ing many trea­sures from its large archival col­lec­tions as part of Wheel­ing 250, a year­long cel­e­bra­tion of the 250th an­niver­sary of the city’s found­ing.

WIS­CON­SIN Madi­son:

A re­port says the state last year saw a slight de­crease in the num­ber of stu­dents who re­ceived break­fast at school through a fed­er­ally sub­si­dized nu­tri­tion pro­gram. Wis­con­sin Pub­lic Ra­dio re­ports that the Wash­ing­ton-based non­profit Food Re­search and Ac­tion Cen­ter found Wis­con­sin’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the School Break­fast Pro­gram is trail­ing the rest of the coun­try.

WY­OMING Cheyenne:

State law­mak­ers have ad­vanced a pro­posed prop­erty tax break on equip­ment used in en­ergy pro­duc­tion. The Se­nate Min­er­als, Busi­ness and Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Com­mit­tee voted 4-1 Fri­day to move the bill to the full Se­nate for de­bate.

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