Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Alabama 

Cullman: Money raised by an 11-year-old girl to help a north Alabama animal shelter is being used to fund animal adoptions as an early Christmas treat. The Cullman Times reported that sixth-grader Denna Chivers has been helping the Cullman County Animal Shelter for three years by holding yard sales and giving the proceeds to the operation. The girl’s mother, BethAnn, said she raised $400 one year and $1,400 the next. She raised $3,000 this year, which was used to purchase some equipment. The shelter decided to use the remainder of the money to offer free adoptions to people looking for a pet. A shelter worker said the offer started Thursday. Denna said she loves all animals, but dogs and cats are her favorite.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Alaska

Sitka: The Sitka Planning Commission got its first look Wednesday at how city code could be amended to make room for tiny houses, specifically those on chassis allowing the structures to be moved. At Wednesday’s meeting, the commission voted 3-2 to direct special projects manager Scott Brylinsky to continue developing proposals on changing parts of the general code to define tiny houses and tiny houses on chassis. The idea is to allow them in mobile home parks and manufactured home parks. Brylinksy was hired to work on an action plan for tiny homes, among other projects. The informal action plan was proposed by the Sitka Assembly last year. The plan directed the Planning Commission review zoning codes to see which ones could be changed to enable tiny homes as a potential affordable housing option. Acting Chairman Darrell Windsor said he would like the full commission present before making recommendations for changes related to tiny homes.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Arizona

Flagstaff: Democratic U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona has introduced a bill that would ban new mining claims around the Grand Canyon. The Obama administration put about 1,562 square miles outside the boundaries of Grand Canyon National Park off-limits to new hard rock mining claims until 2032. The bill would make that permanent. Environmentalists and Native American tribes applauded Sinema’s introduction of the bill Thursday. They say mining in the Grand Canyon region, particularly for uranium, could contaminate a water source that serves millions of people. The bill isn’t expected to have an easy ride in the Senate, which is controlled by Republicans who have opposed the effort. The House passed a similar bill introduced by Arizona Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva earlier this year. Meanwhile, the mining industry has been pushing President Donald Trump to boost demand for domestic supplies of uranium, tax breaks and other financial incentives.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Arkansas

Little Rock: The Republican president pro tem of Arkansas’ Senate said Friday he won’t seek another term leading that chamber next year. Sen. Jim Hendren said he won’t run for another two-year term as the chamber’s president when senators meet at the end of next year’s fiscal session to select a new leader. Hendren’s term as Senate president runs through the end of 2020. Hendren said he’s still seeking re-election to the Senate next year. Hendren said he plans to decide after next year’s session whether to seek the Republican nomination for governor in 2022. Hendren said he didn’t want to serve as the chamber’s leader and run a statewide campaign if he does jump in the governor’s race. Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who is Hendren’s uncle, is barred by term limits from seeking re-election in 2022. Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin has said he’s seeking the GOP nomination. Other potential GOP candidates for governor include former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author California

Los Angeles: At least three unoccupied passenger buses caught fire Saturday night at Los Angeles International Airport, the Los Angeles Fire Department said. Shortly after 9 p.m., LAX Airport said on its Twitter account that “there is a significant fire emergency at the LAX-it lot. Emergency responders are on scene. More to come. No immediate reports of injuries.” KTLA and the CBS station in Los Angeles tweeted photos of the fire spewing smoke. At about 10 p.m., the airport said that the fire had been put out, and there were no injuries. The lot reopened, and ride-share services resumed.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Colorado

Fort Collins: Michelle Lindsay, a Zumba instructor and registered dental hygienist from Fort Collins, became the country’s first avalanche death of the season on Dec. 8. On her first run down the South Diamond Peak face, Lindsay was engulfed by an avalanche in a narrow gully. Despite efforts to save the 29-year-old, she died from asphyxiation after being buried. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center released its full report on the avalanche Thursday, which included details from interviews with Lindsay’s companion, a male who was not named in the report. According to the report, Lindsay was 150 feet below her companion, about 11,200 feet in elevation, when she triggered an avalanche midslope. Her partner watched the avalanche unfold around her but noted that it did not look very deep, maybe only up to the top of her boots. He continued to see Lindsay in the avalanche, but the visibility was poor and she disappeared into the white cloud.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Connecticut

Hartford: The Department of Consumer Protection reminded residents that package stores must be closed on Christmas Day and on New Years Day, under state law. Connecticut law also requires bars to be closed by 3 a.m. on the morning of New Years Day. Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle Seagull said her office encourages those who choose to drink alcohol “to make responsible decisions.” She reminded the public they must be over age 21 to make alcohol purchases. Connecticut lawmakers this year passed legislation updating the state’s liquor laws, in hopes of helping the state’s growing craft brewery industry. One change, which has taken effect, allows breweries to sell more beer to customers for consumption off-premises. The prior law limited craft breweries to selling only up to nine liters to a single individual within one day.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Delaware

Dover: The state has confirmed that 26 school-aged children have been infected through a salmonella outbreak that is potentially linked to recalled fruit. The state’s health department said in a statement Friday that evidence indicated that the fruit potentially came from a company in New Jersey. The firm had recently recalled some fruit mix, as well as cut honeydew, cut cantaloupe and cut pineapple. The fruit was distributed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Delaware. It was sold for use in institutional food service establishments such as schools. The children who were infected with the bacteria in Delaware were in New Castle County. Officials said there is no ongoing risk to any students. The children affected are between the ages of 4 and 17. Salmonella are a group of bacteria that can cause gastrointestinal illness and fever. Most people develop diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps. But some people might need to be hospitalized.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author District of Columbia

Washington: The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture has extended its hours from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. starting Dec. 26, and patrons won’t need a pass to enter, WUSA-TV reported. The no-pass entry will go through Dec. 30. After those dates, the museum will resume back to its regular schedule. Groups of 10 or more are still required to get passes to enter the museum. Since opening three years ago, more than 6 million people have visited the museum, the largest cultural destination showcasing the African American story and its impact on American and world history.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Florida

Yeehaw Junction: A semi-truck plowed into a historic inn south of Orlando early Sunday, causing major damage but no apparent injuries. The truck ran through the wall of the Desert Inn and a portion of the building collapsed around it. Lisa Mason, who ran the inn before it closed last year, confirmed the crash but said she didn’t know any details. She said she doesn’t believe anyone was injured. The Florida Highway Patrol did not immediately return a call and email seeking comment. The inn is the centerpiece of Yeehaw Junction, a tiny respite off Florida’s Turnpike between South Florida and Orlando. According to a 2013 article in the Orlando Sentinel, the Desert Inn dates to 1889 when it was a barroom and brothel for cowboys and lumberjacks, and the look of the place hadn’t evolved much since. Through the years, the Desert Inn has been a trading post, gas station and dance hall. Until its closure, it served as a motel, restaurant and convenience store. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Georgia

Atlanta: A family got a real hoot from its Christmas tree: More than a week after they bought it, they discovered an owl nestled among its branches. Katie McBride Newman said Friday that she and her daughter spotted the bird on Dec. 12. They had bought the 10-foot-tall tree from a Home Depot, brought it back to their Atlanta-area home and decorated it with lights and, coincidentally, owl ornaments. “It was surreal, but we weren’t really freaked out about it,” McBride Newman said. “We’re really outdoorsy people. We love the wilderness.” The family opened windows and doors near the tree hoping the owl would fly away, but it didn’t. So the family called a nonprofit nature center for help. The Chattahoochee Nature Center caught the bird and helped the family release it. McBride Newman said she believed the bird had been in the tree since they bought it but was hidden.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Hawaii 

Honolulu: An illegal fishing net discovered in Oahu’s Kaneohe Bay was so large that a forklift was needed to move it, state officials said. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources said the net was found by two boaters last week, Hawaii Public Radio reported Thursday. The boaters discovered the net after their craft became entangled. They said that after they pulled the net out of the bay, the apparent owners chased them to retrieve the equipment. The boaters returned to the harbor and their pursuers fled, they said. State officials were not able to immediately measure the net, but the boaters said their measurement found 500 yards of netting. Rules adopted in 2007 to govern the use of gill nets left floating on top of the water to trap fish can be no longer than 125 feet. Lay nets are banned within 3 miles of the Oahu shoreline and in specific areas of the island including Kaneohe Bay, where the net was found, officials said. Maui has banned lay nets, which a land and natural resources department official said is the most regulated form of gill net fishing. A $5,000 fine can be levied for a first offense of catching threatened or endangered wildlife in the nets, with additional fines for each threatened or endangered wildlife taken, harmed or killed. A first-offense fine for illegal lay net fishing can cost up to $1,000.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Idaho

Boise: The Idaho Public Utilities Commission has rejected a proposal that would have slashed the incentive for the power generated from solar panels. The proposal to change net metering would have changed how much Idaho Power customers with solar panels can be reimbursed for the energy they harness that goes back into the power grid. The proposed settlement between Idaho Power, the Sierra Club, the city of Boise, Idaho Clean Energy Association, Idaho Irrigation Pumpers Association and others would have cut the rate from almost 10 cents per kilowatt produced to somewhere around 4.4 cents per kilowatt hour over the course of about 10 years. The PUC on Friday rejected that settlement, saying the public wasn’t adequately notified about the significant changes. The commission instead directed Idaho Power to conduct a cost-benefit analysis on the solar panel program while also voting to permanently grandfather in the 4,000 existing Idaho Power customers so that their rates will not change.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Illinois

Chicago: Metra is buying hundreds of new rail cars and wants passengers to weigh in on what amenities they would like to see in them, from cup holders to power outlets, tray tables or wifi. The suburban Chicago commuter rail agency expects to spend almost $1.2billion over the next five years to buy and rehabilitate rail cars and locomotives. The funding comes from a capital bill Illinois lawmakers approved this year. Metra issued a request for proposals earlier this year for at least 200 new rail cars, with options for up to 300 more. Manufacturers were encouraged to submit proposals that increase capacity and optimize amenities. Now the agency is asking commuters to complete a survey about which amenities are most important to them. Options include tray tables and power, as well as head rests, interior and exterior information signs or lights that can be dimmed. Metra said it can’t guarantee everything commuters want will be incorporated into the new cars but said it will try to get the most amenities possible. The survey is available at metrarail.com through mid-January.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Indiana

Terre Haute: Unusually large flocks of seagulls have descended on a western Indiana city, bringing the sounds of the beach to a local reservoir where the birds began gathering in late November. Residents near Hulman Lake on Terre Haute’s east side have seen hundreds of ring-billed seagulls in the skies over the reservoir since the birds began flocking around Thanksgiving. Peter Scott, a retired Indiana State University ecology professor who directs an annual Christmas Bird Count around Terre Haute, estimated that between 400 and 1,000 of the birds have congregated at the lake.He said ring-billed gulls aren’t uncommon in Indiana, but they prefer to winter around larger bodies of water like southern Indiana’s Lake Monroe. Scott said their appearance in large numbers at Hulman Lake is rare. Scott said the birds are most likely feeding on small fish in the lake. The Cornell University Lab of Ornithology described ring-billed seagulls as sociable creatures that feed together at coastal beaches but often head inland during winter to forage at golf courses, farm fields and garbage dumps.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Iowa

Duncombe: After more than a century, a barn near this northern Iowa community is getting a new home and a new look. Matt and Libby Mitchell acquired the barn built in 1915 and watched nervously Thursday as it was moved about a mile over fields to a new location. Matt Mitchell prepared a path over fields by driving a blade over the land, smoothing out ruts. He now plans to restore the barn. Mitchell has restored two other barns and knows he’s in for a long process. Still, he said the structure is worth the restoration work. The Iowa Barn Foundation covered about half the moving expenses. The job was handled by Vote House Moving of Bradgate, in Humboldt County. Once the barn is restored to its original appearance, Libby Mitchell said she has plans for it. “We’ll put some cows and pigs in it,” she said.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Kansas

Lawrence: The Lawrence library is joining a growing number of libraries that are dropping fines for overdue books. The library’s board voted unanimously Tuesday to make the change, The Lawrence Journal-World reported. Library patrons still will be charged for lost or damaged items. Patrons also would be blocked from checking out additional books and materials once an item became two weeks overdue, but the return of the overdue item would immediately restore access. Among those expressing concerns was Michael Austin, who said the change could result in people keeping books for long periods of time, ultimately reducing access to those materials for everyone else. But Brad Allen, the library’s executive director, said eliminating overdue fines is in line with the stance of the American Library Association that library policies should not disadvantage low-income people. The ALA officially came out against charging fines earlier this year, citing concerns that fines create barriers to library materials and services.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Kentucky

Louisville: Deeply affected by a Courier Journal series in August on child abuse and neglect, members of Christ Church United Methodist are collecting and displaying prayers on behalf of abused children in Kentucky, which has the highest rate of child maltreatment in the nation. Church member Bill Cooper, a retired lawyer who is active in social justice work at Christ Church, is working with others at the church, including Shelah Woodruff, director of outreach, and the Rev. Leanne Hadley, the children’s and youth minister. They came up with an idea: collect 1,000 prayers during the four-week Advent season before Christmas and display them. Christ Church also created a display that is open to the public with information about child abuse, how to report it, Kentucky’s sobering statistics and suggestions on how people can volunteer or get involved in efforts to fight the problem. People who view the display are invited to fill out a prayer card.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Louisiana

Baton Rouge: Louisiana’s recreational red snapper season likely will continue through 11:59 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. Surveys indicate that 98% of the state’s quota had been caught as of Dec. 8, with about 16,100 pounds remaining, according to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. If that’s all that is caught before Dec. 31, the season will end earlier. Louisiana’s recreational season opened May 24 and was weekends-only for most of the year. But in early November, Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Jack Montoucet expanded it to all week, starting on Thanksgiving. At the time, 27,582 pounds were left in the quota. The popular sport and table fish is still recovering from nearly disastrous overfishing. Red snapper has been a hot issue in the Gulf of Mexico, with seasons getting shorter and shorter as fish got larger and more numerous. In 2017, the Trump administration extended a three-day season to 42 days, even though regulators said the extension could add up to six years to the time required for red snapper stocks to recover. Regulators agreed in 2018 on a two-year pilot program under which each state sets dates for and keeps tabs on the recreational red snapper catch in federal waters off its coast. If approved by the U.S. commerce secretary, this would become official policy. In April, the group that manages Gulf of Mexico fishing in federal waters said states can continue managing anglers’ catch of red snapper after this year.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Maine

Orono: A mapping and engineering company is donating about a million aerial images of New England to a University of Maine library. The university said Raymond H. Fogler Library has received 3,000 rolls of film from the James W. Sewall Co. of Old Town. The collection is made up of original aerial photography of Maine and other New England states, and it spans more than six decades. The archive of images will allow researchers and members of the public access to “a vast collection that details changes to Maine’s landscape over the past century,” the university said in a statement. The collection will be especially useful for forestry research, said Daniel Hayes, assistant professor in the university’s School of Forestry Resources.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Maryland

Annapolis: Salvation Army leaders said a donor recently dropped thousands of dollars worth of jewelry in a red kettle. Capt. Ryan Vincent is commander of the Salvation Army in Annapolis. He told the Capital Gazette that everyone was shocked to find out the ring and two bracelets were real. One of the bracelets, a yellow-gold piece by Tiffany & Co., has been sold for $1,500. A gemologist will soon examine the ring and second bracelet that features diamonds and rubies to determine their value. Pearl Eldridge is the ringer who collected the donation. She called the donor a “quiet spirit,” and said the woman told her the pieces were sentimental but had been laying around. Other unusual donations have been reported in Salvation Army kettles across the country, including a gold bar in Kentucky and a more than century-old gold coin in North Carolina. Vincent said the Salvation Army has a policy for dealing with jewelry donations. Pieces found in a kettle are kept for 30 days, but if someone acknowledges leaving a piece with the bell ringer, it’s immediately considered donated. If big donations are found to be stolen, the charitable organization arranges them to be returned.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Massachusetts

Boston: The state is using money it received from a nationwide settlement with Volkswagen to help electrify the state’s transportation sector and reduce air pollution. The state has designated a total of $7.5million toward 98 projects, including the purchase of electric cars, diesel-hybrid electric waste collection trucks, liquid-propane-gas school buses, cleaner-diesel trucks and ferry engines, and a marine shore-power installation. The money for the grant program comes from a settlement with Volkswagen over the company’s illegal tampering of vehicle emission control equipment. Republican Gov. Charlie Baker said the money will be used on projects to put 32 heavy-duty vehicles, eight medium-duty vehicles, 17 buses, two marine engines, 35 pieces of airport ground-support equipment and three pieces of cargo-handling equipment into operation and install one new marine shore-power site. The new equipment will replace pre-2010 diesel counterparts. Baker said three-quarters of the funding will go towards areas where there are high populations of minority, low-income, or low English proficiency residents

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Michigan

Lansing: A nonprofit distributed nearly 50 bicycles to children after a dozen volunteers spent several weeks cleaning and repairing them. The Lansing Bike Co-op staged the giveaway last weekend, offering the 49 used bikes to anyone on a first-come, first-served basis, the Lansing State Journal reported. There were no rules or requirements, but the co-op teaches cyclists, many financially struggling, how to keep their rides in good working order. Every bike came with a red, green or blue helmet. Among those claiming bikes was Ciera Bonilla, who secured two for her daughter, 6, and son, 3. She said her son has autism and she hopes his first two-wheeler will help him gain independence and physical skills. Co-op President Aaron Fields said he believes a bike is “an essential part of childhood.” The organization launched in 2015 and is raising money to pay the mortgage for the east-side property it bought in July.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Minnesota

Prosper: Authorities said four people were injured, including one critically, in separate vehicle crashes involving horses on the same southeastern Minnesota highway. The crashes happened within an hour of each other Friday night on state highway 44, the Star Tribune reported. The State Patrol said a 12-year-old boy was critically injured when a car struck a horse and buggy carrying the boy and five others. It happened about 7 p.m. just outside Prosper, on the Iowa border. The boy was airlifted to a hospital in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Two others on the buggy suffered nonlife-threatening injuries. The driver of the car and his passenger were not injured. About 45 minutes later, a pickup truck hit a horse that was loose on the highway about 13 miles east of the first crash. The driver was taken to a hospital with noncritical injuries.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Mississippi

Columbus: Teachers and staff at two northern Mississippi schools are receiving more than $370,000 in bonuses because their schools have improved under a state grading system. Columbus Municipal School District trustees voted in 2018 to adopt a Teacher Incentive Pay Plan to provide bonuses for faculty and staff members of improving and high-performing schools. The plan also includes bonus incentives for math and science teachers. The first checks arrived this month, and the Commercial Dispatch reported that a celebration was held Tuesday at an elementary school. Superintendent Cherie Labat credited the trustees for showing employees how much their achievements are valued. Stokes-Beard Elementary School and Columbus High School improved this year in accountability ratings from the state Department of Education. Faculty and staff members at the schools received a combined $181,354. The district’s 54 math and science teachers, 15 of whom are new hires, received $189,000 total. The Columbus district has maintained a D overall rating for the last two years. However, during the 2018-19 school year, Columbus High improved from a C to a B, and Stokes-Beard jumped from an F to a B.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Missouri

St. Louis: Mayor Lyda Krewson is pulling the plug on an airport privatization effort because of a lack of support. Krewson said Friday she’s determined that there is “very little support for moving forward with a private operator” for St. Louis Lambert International Airport after listening to members of the public, business leaders and other political leaders. She said she is sending a letter to members of the Airport Advisory Working Group, asking that her representative, Linda Martinez, not support or vote to move forward with issuing a request for proposals, St. Louis Public Radio reported. Krewson has been in favor of exploring the process to see if it could result in a good deal for the city – canceling nearly $600million in airport debt and bringing in up to $2billion in net proceeds.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Montana

Billings: A natural gas leak caused an explosion at an apartment complex that sent two people to the hospital with severe burns, officials said Saturday. Billings Deputy Fire Marshal Jeff McCullough said the explosion at about 9:45p.m. Friday caused an estimated $250,000 in damages. The Battleship Apartments building was cleared of residents, and an adult male and adult female were taken to a hospital. Residents of the building told The Billings Gazette that the blast sent glass from a door shooting into the road and that it sounded like a tree hitting the roof. Montana-Dakota Utilities was called to turn off gas to the building.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Nebraska

Columbus: Consumers who get electricity from the Loup Public Power District in eastern Nebraska won’t see an increase in their electricity rates this year. The Columbus-based power district said the rates will hold steady for the third year in a row because of the district’s financial performance this year and its budget and expenses, according to the Columbus Telegram. District CEO Neal Suess said the company’s internal costs generally determine whether customer rates get raised. Jim Donoghue, chairman of Loup’s Rates Committee, said in a statement that company representatives have been working to make sure that customer’s rates do not increase next year.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Nevada

Reno: Washoe County Roads has begun posting a snowplow monitoring system featuring an interactive map showing where trucks are operating in Incline Village and Crystal Bay in nearly real-time. County Community Services Operations chief Eric Crump said one of the most frequent questions officials get from the public is, “Where are the plows?” He said that by equipping trucks with automated vehicle locator technology, people can see for themselves which areas have recently been plowed. Officials said they hope they will be able to expand the “Where’s My Plow?” interactive map to other snowy high-elevation areas near Reno.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author New Hampshire 

Plaistow: Firefighters said they got to work when a woman arrived in the lobby and announced she was having a baby. Firefighters told WMUR-TV that the woman was put on a stretcher, and the fire station training room became a delivery room Friday night. Seven minutes later, a baby boy was born. Firefighter and EMT Derek Travers said the episode was his first “field birth” in 23 years. “It meant a lot to me to see the beginning of life, not the end of life that we see a lot of times,” he said. Firefighters said they’re happy everything went smoothly. An ambulance transported mother and baby to a hospital.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author New Jersey

Trenton: Two Florida companies failed to comply with subpoenas to turn over records to New Jersey regarding the sale of outlawed large-capacity gun magazines, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said Friday in a suit against the firms. Elite Aluminum, of Holly Hill, Florida, and 22Mods4All, of Longwood, Florida, refused to turn over documents showing information about large-capacity magazine sales into the state, Grewal said in a statement. Messages seeking comment have been left with both companies. New Jersey sent both firms cease-and-desist letters earlier this year after they sold the outlawed magazines to an undercover state investigator, said Grewal, a Democrat. The firms complied, but then failed to hand over more information about earlier sales despite subpoenas. New Jersey law caps magazines at 10 rounds, down from 15 before 2018, when Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation limiting magazine size. The suits were filed in state Superior Court in Essex County.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author New Mexico

Albuquerque: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico said people shouldn’t expect any major administrative changes with White Sands National Monument becoming the state’s first national park since 1930. But he cited a study that said the park could see an increase of 100,000 visitors annually with the change in status. Heinrich told the Albuquerque Journal that such an increase would be a boom for the local economies with an additional $7.5million in tourist spending in the area a year. He said national park status will open White Sands to more exposure from national travel and outdoors publications. Heinrich has also introduced legislation that would designate Bandelier National Monument in northern New Mexico a national park.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author New York

New York: Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday he will push legislation banning gender-based price disparities for similar goods and services. Cuomo, a Democrat, cited research that indicated women often end up with a larger bill for items like toys, clothing and personal care products. The proposal, rolled out as part of Cuomo’s State of the State agenda, would require certain service providers to post price lists for standard services. Businesses that don’t comply could be hit with civil penalties. A 2015 study by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs found that 42% of the products targeted at women were more expensive than those marketed to men. Products aimed at women cost an average of 7% more than similar items for men and personal care products for women were priced 13% higher than men’s products, according to the study. In 2016, New York banned taxes on menstrual products and last year enacted laws mandating equal pay and barring companies from asking about salary history.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author North Carolina

Manteo: Cold weather is causing a problem for some sea turtles off the North Carolina coast, and an aquarium has taken in dozens of them for treatment. WVEC-TV reported that 96 turtles were taken to the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island after a drop in temperatures on Thursday and Friday. More are expected to be treated there in the coming days. Dropping water temperatures can cause cold-stunning, a condition similar to hypothermia that makes turtles unable to swim properly. The recovery process involves gradually warming the turtles up over a few days. According to the TV station, the center will be closed to the public beginning Sunday to accommodate all the turtles.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author North Dakota

Bismarck: The Bismarck Park Board has voted to create a formal process for renaming city parks after some residents pushed to have a park stripped of its name because of the “historical trauma” they said is associated with its namesake, Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer. Rather than immediately change the name of Custer Park, the board voted Thursday to develop guidelines for renaming parks. A draft of those guidelines will be considered by the board in February. A member of the Three Affiliated Tribes, M. Angel Moniz, told the board that to some, Custer is a reminder of violence and genocide, according to the Bismarck Tribune. Custer served during the Civil War and fought against Native Americans on the Great Plains in the 1860s and 1870s. In 1868, he launched an attack on Chief Black Kettle’s Southern Cheyenne Village near present-day Cheyenne, Oklahoma, in which Native American women were raped and killed in an assault known as the Washita Massacre. Custer spent several years stationed at Fort Abraham Lincoln in Mandan before his death.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Ohio

Athens: The Ohio school district where Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow played football has named its high school stadium in his honor. The Athens City School District Board of Education in southeast Ohio posted a proclamation about the naming this week on Facebook. The proclamation details Burrow’s accomplishments as quarterback for Athens High School, where he was named Ohio Mr. Football in 2014, and at Louisiana State University, where he’s the quarterback for the undefeated Tigers. LSU faces the University of Oklahoma on Dec. 28 in the semifinals of the College Football Playoff. Burrow endeared himself to many by discussing the poverty endemic to the Appalachian region where he grew up in his Heisman acceptance speech. His comments prompted a campaign that has raised more than $400,000 for the Athens County Food Bank, the Athens High School Boosters, the county’s Children’s Services agency and other nonprofits. The proclamation directs Athens school district officials to plan a ceremony in Burrow’s honor.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Oklahoma

Tulsa: Officials said a privately owned cemetery is blocking efforts to find the remains of black Tulsa residents killed nearly 100 years ago in a race riot. But an attorney for the cemetery said his client submitted a proposal in November that would allow the city to search under certain conditions. Mayor G.T. Bynum has insisted that the city would do everything it could to find possible mass graves with victims of one of the worst race-related massacres in U.S. history. The 1921 violence left as many as 300 dead on Tulsa’s Black Wall Street. Bynum said the city has been unable to investigate whether Rolling Oaks Cemetery in south Tulsa contains unmarked graves, the Tulsa World reported. However, Timothy Studebaker, a Tulsa attorney representing Rolling Oaks, said the cemetery is not opposed to scanning its grounds. Bynum said the city will look at possible legal action if an agreement can’t be reached.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Oregon

Salem: Oregon is renowned for its craft beer and increasingly for its high-grade marijuana, but the state is keeping the two apart – for now. In a new ruling, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which regulates alcoholic products and recreational marijuana, said beer and other alcoholic drinks as of Jan. 1 cannot contain either THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis, or CBD, the nonpsychoactive part that is said to relieve stress and pain. Mark Pettinger, a spokesman for the agency, cited concerns raised by the U.S. Food and Drug of potential liver damage from CBD, also known as cannabidiol. One prominent CBD-infused beer, Two Flowers IPA, was popular in The EastBurn, a Portland pub, according to Michael Fritz, one of the owners. The website of the brewery that made the beer, Coalition Brewing of Portland, said the CBD’s “bitter grassiness augments the hop bitterness, while the citrusy terpenes in the CBD mirror the aromatics and hop flavors.” Coalition Brewing recently went out of business. Pettinger said he didn’t know of any other Oregon brewery that makes CBD-infused beer.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Pennsylvania

Harrisburg: Businesses that manufacture frames that can be built into working firearms sued Pennsylvania’s attorney general on Friday, five days after he issued a legal opinion classifying the products as guns under state law. The Commonwealth Court lawsuit asks a state judge to stop the state police from implementing any new policy, including background checks, based on a legal opinion the agency received Monday from Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro. Shapiro told state police to treat unassembled “ghost guns,” gun frames also referred to as 80% receivers, as firearms. The plaintiffs said the opinion does not give fair notice to people regarding what is legal and what is not, said Joshua Prince, who filed the petition.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Rhode Island

Providence: State lawmakers are unveiling bills they plan to pursue in the new legislative session that begins Jan. 7. Democratic Reps. June Speakman of Warren and Terri Cortvriend of Portsmouth said they will introduce legislation establishing a state-level process to set maximum contaminate levels for toxins, including a family of industrial chemicals turning up in public water supplies across the country. Democratic Sen. Leonidas Raptakis of Coventry said he will reintroduce legislation that stalled in past years to establish an inspector general’s office to identify fraud and waste in public spending. Raptakis will also again propose allowing voters to vote on a constitutional amendment to give the governor the power to veto parts of the state budget. Most states allow governors to strike individual budget items without having to veto an entire appropriations bill. Democratic Rep. Joseph Solomon of Warwick said Thursday he has prefiled legislation to cap the amount health insurance providers can charge for insulin co-pays. Solomon said he’s concerned about rising costs.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author South Carolina

Charleston: A unique, dome-shaped house on the South Carolina coast dubbed “Eye of the Storm,” has recently been sold for $4million. The Post and Courier reported that according to Charleston County land records, a firm called ITAC 433 LLC that lists a Chapel Hill address, bought the 3,384-square-foot house in early October. The distinctive house features a white shell that resembles a Storm Trooper helmet from the movie “Star Wars.” It was built in the early 1990s by Huiet and Helen Paul after their beachfront home was destroyed in 1989 by Hurricane Hugo. The house is made of concrete and steel and weighs 1.3million pounds. It includes an elevator, wet bar, skylight, an 889-square-foot deck and a bank vault room. The seller was a trust associated with the late couple. The property was marketed as hurricane-resistant because its design doesn’t have seams for strong winds to hook onto, the newspaper reported. The design is also intended to allow storm surge to pass through several openings on the lower level. The house’s unique architecture in comparison to the more antebellum homes often seen on the island attracts curious onlookers. But even at a $4million price tag, the dome house isn’t the most expensive to be sold on the island. Last summer a 5,000-square-foot, three-story house fetched $7.35million.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author South Dakota

Pierre: Tribes in South Dakota are trying again to gain state legislative support to repeal an archaic law that bans them from Minnesota. The State-Tribal Relations Committee voted this week to introduce a resolution during the 2020 legislative session requesting that Congress repeal the 1863 Dakota Removal Act. The law forced Native Americans onto South Dakota reservations following an 1862 conflict that included the mass hanging of 38 Dakota men. Minnesota passed a resolution supporting its repeal in 2009. The South Dakota Senate State Affairs Committee, without any discussion, failed to pass the same resolution during the 2019 session. Republican Rep. Tamara St. John, a historian for the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe, said she’s concerned that repealing it could impact legal precedents based on the act, specifically a lawsuit involving Mdewakanton Sioux members in Minnesota that has not been resolved.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Tennessee

Nashville: Tennessee has landed a $5.3million federal grant that aims to address opioid misuse among expectant mothers and improve care for their affected children, the Division of TennCare announced Thursday. TennCare plans to partner with Vanderbilt University Medical Center to focus on the issue in 26 rural and urban counties. Tennessee is one of 10 states to receive the Maternal Opioid Misuse Model grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Tennessee’s initiative will focus on expectant mothers and their children beginning in pregnancy and extending to one year postpartum. The money covers a five-year performance period beginning in January. The program aims to get the women engaged in treatment before and after pregnancy, use therapies to maximize the time they aren’t using illicit substances, reduce infant hospital stays to keep them with their biological mothers as much as possible and connect to early intervention services for the children.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Texas

Houston: Police said one woman was killed and another was injured after they were attacked by three pit bulls. Authorities said a man called 911 just before 6 a.m. Saturday to report that his wife had been attacked by dogs in a north Houston neighborhood. At the scene, police found the woman had been bitten multiple times. She was taken to a hospital and was expected to survive her injuries. Soon after arriving at the scene, police received another call, this one from the dogs’ owner. The owner reported his dogs had attacked a woman and her body was in a ditch in front of his home. The three dogs were taken away by authorities. Police said the case will be referred to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office to determine if any charges could be filed against the dogs’ owner.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Utah

Hyrum: A northern Utah bank is dismantling and rebuilding a historic small-town grain elevator for its new “Scandinavian-modern” building in Hyrum. The tall wood structure, now weathered with age, was first built in 1918 by the Holley-Globe and Milling Company, the Herald Journal reported. It has been a fixture in the small town for a century, but soon it will get a new life: front and center into Cache Valley Bank’s new location. Workers began lifting sections of the structure with a crane this week. The bank wanted a building that was creative and embodied the town. Board member Peter Daines said his grandfather, a high school shop teacher and Hyrum native, informed their decision to incorporate the rustic appeal of the historic wood on the agricultural storage structure. Bank CEO George Daines remembered seeing the big tower when while visiting his grandparents as a child, though it wasn’t in operation even then. Visitors to the new bank building, though, will be able to reach the top through a spiral staircase. It will also have a new all-glass observation deck.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Vermont

Monkton: A general in Monkton is going to close its doors by the end of the month. The Alderman family, which has managed the store for more than 12 years, said the costs of operating the business are “just too much,” MyNBC5 reported. The closing comes less than a year after the Aldermans announced they were struggling to pay back approximately $20,000 in delinquent state taxes. An online fundraising campaign brought in nearly $9,000 over the course of eight months. In a social media post, the Aldermans said they appreciated the community’s support and expressed their sadness in having to close.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Virginia

Richmond: State health officials are mounting an effort to identify people who might have recently been exposed to a person with measles. The Virginia Department of Health said in a news release Saturday that the person visited Richmond International Airport on Tuesday night and a doctor’s office in suburban Richmond on Thursday afternoon. The department posted detailed instructions online about what to do if you were at either of the locations during certain time frames. The directions depend on whether you have been vaccinated against measles. Based on the date of exposure, the health department said people infected could develop symptoms as late as Jan. 11. Measles is a highly contagious illness spread through coughing, sneezing and contact with droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of an infected person. Symptoms include a fever, runny nose, watery red eyes and a cough, followed by a rash that begins on the face and spreads all over the body.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Washington

Seattle: Officials are warning about the Asian giant hornet, a new invasive species found in the state that can pack a powerful sting and be a threat to honeybees. The Washington State Department of Agriculture said the bug was found in early December in Blaine, near the Canadian border. The state’s agriculture and health officials are now warning people in the area to be on the lookout and avoid the hornets, which are typically 1.5 inches long with large yellow heads. The species is not usually interested in humans or animals but might sting if they or their ground nests are disturbed or threatened. The health department said humans should take preventative measures by covering food and garbage and also avoid swatting at the hornets. Winter is the dormant season for the bugs, which are more often seen from July through October.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author West Virginia

Elkins: The U.S. Forest Service has halted a logging project in Monongahela National Forest to protect an endangered fish. The Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of Blackwater submitted objections in July to the project to protect the endangered candy darter. The Center for Biological Diversity said in a news release the project would likely have caused significant erosion and sent sediment into rivers and streams, threatening the rare fish. The candy darter was listed as endangered in November 2018.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Wisconsin

Milwaukee: A judge has reinstated a felony count against a Milwaukee man who was living in an underground bunker that contained a stash of weapons, generator and various power tools. Geoffrey Graff, 41, was originally charged with two felonies after police discovered the bunker while investigating a report that he fired a shot into the nearby Milwaukee River. A court commissioner earlier this month dismissed one of the charges, for recklessly endangering safety. Milwaukee Circuit Judge David Borowski reinstated the charge on Thursday, the Journal Sentinel reported. Graff is facing a separate felony charge of possessing a short-barreled shotgun. Graff told authorities he had been using the bunker for at least seven years.

Submit guest post submit an article submit article guest author Wyoming

Saratoga: The U.S. Forest Service has bought the last piece of private land within a wilderness area in central Wyoming. The 80-acre purchase in Carbon County will allow members of the public to roam the Huston Park Wilderness without the worry of crossing into private land, Forest Service officials said Friday. The land is located just north of Colorado-Wyoming state line and is part of the Medicine Bow National Forest in the Sierra Madre mountain range. Congress designated the 31,000-acre Huston Park Wilderness in 1984 and officials have since been seeking to buy up private lands inside its boundaries. The purchase price for the 80-acre parcel was not released. Officials said they worked with the Daley family and the Daley Basin Land Company to complete the deal.

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2019/12/23/million-dome-home-owl-surprise-christmas-guest-cold-sea-turtles-red-snapper-news-around-states/40876827/