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News from around our 50 states



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Alabama

Montgomery: A lawmaker fed up with her colleagues’ attempts to outlaw abortion has filed legislation to require all men over 50 to get vasectomies. Democratic Rep. Rolanda Hollis said Friday that she introduced the bill to send “the message that men should not be legislating what women do with their bodies.” Alabama lawmakers last year approved a ban on abortion unless the woman’s life was in danger. A federal judge blocked the law from taking effect while a legal challenge plays out in court. Hollis said doctors, not legislators, are the ones to be consulted about surgery, medications and making the “incredibly difficult decisions” related to personal reproductive rights. Her bill suggests the state require a man to get a vasectomy within one month of turning 50 or after the birth of his third child. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that forced sterilization is unconstitutional.

Alaska

Anchorage: Volunteers slung bales of hay onto a table Thursday, where they were swiftly stuffed inside blue plastic bags, twirled and shut with twist ties before being dragged off to waiting pallets. Their efforts will help ensure the canine participants in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race have someplace warm and dry to bed down when their mushers stop along the 1,000-mile trail between Anchorage and Nome. The so-called straw drop is the first volunteer event of the Iditarod race, says Mark Nordman, the race director and marshal. More events follow this week, including people helping prepare shipments of food for both the dogs and the mushers to the checkpoints. The race over treacherous Alaska terrain – including two mountain ranges, the frozen Yukon River and the ice-covered Bering Sea – starts March 7 in Anchorage with the fan-friendly ceremonial start. The actual race begins the next day in Willow, about 50 miles north. The winner is expected in the old Gold Rush town of Nome, on the Bering Sea coast, about 10 or 11 days later.

Arizona

Walking tours of London Bridge history are offered from November through April by the Lake Havasu City Visitor Center.

Lake Havasu City: Officials plan to end scheduled closures of London Bridge for special events, saying they don’t want to block vehicle travel between an island and the rest of the western Arizona city along the Colorado River. City officials cited safety reasons and residents’ concerns about closures that typically have lasted two or three hours, Today’s News-Herald reports. Events that have required bridge closures include the annual Line Dance on the London Bridge; Camaros on the Bridge; and, infrequently, Corvettes on the Bridge. City Manager Jess Knudson says officials were grateful “for all the events that have been on the bridge in the past. But the city has decided to go a different direction now.” Lake Havasu City founder Robert McCulloch purchased the stone bridge in the late 1960s and had it transported by ship and truck from London in pieces.



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