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News from around our 50 states


Mobile: A vote by the Mobile City Council has moved the northern Gulf Coast one step closer to resumption of regular Amtrak service for the first time since Hurricane Katrina. Members voted 6-1 to approve a grant application for restoring passenger train service to the city, news outlets report. The train would link New Orleans and Mobile twice daily with stops in Mississippi in Pascagoula, Biloxi, Gulfport and Bay St. Louis. Mobile would be asked to pay about $3 million over three years beginning in 2023, and the state could be asked to help. The states of Louisiana and Mississippi have already committed millions. The Southern Rail Commission said it is applying for nearly $8 million in federal grant money for the project, and Mobile’s commitment was needed to move forward. Actual train service is still likely years away, officials said.


Kaktovik: An overnight fire destroyed the only school in this North Slope village early Friday morning, Anchorage television station KTUU reports. The school, part of the North Slope Borough School District, was a total loss, Kaktovik Mayor Amanda Kaleak says. Kaktovik resident Melvin Kayotuk captured video of the fire. “We woke up then heard the school was on fire,” Kayotuk says. The official cause of the fire hasn’t been determined. Pipes had frozen in the school, Kayotuk says, and heaters were attempting to thaw them out. “I feel sad for our kids that are gone right now,” Kayotuk says. “They went to play a ball game in another village, and they’re going to come home, and they’re going to have no more school.” No injuries were reported. Kaktovik is an Inupiat village of 250 on the Beaufort Sea about 75 miles northeast of the Canada border.

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