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News from around our 50 states


Columbiana: A proposed toll bridge over Lay Lake that could spur economic development in central Alabama is drawing concerns from some residents and environmentalists. Some who live near the site on the Shelby-Talladega county line are worried about noise and traffic should the bridge be built, and the Alabama Rivers Alliance has raised questions about issues with construction and the long-term impact of quality of life in the area. Businessman Tim James proposed the bridge, which would link the counties across the Coosa River. He told WIAT-TV some noise is a small trade-off for the historic economic development a toll bridge would bring. A public involvement meeting is scheduled for Tuesday on the bridge, which has become a topic of discussion for state lawmakers as well. Last Wednesday, a bill was introduced that would require voter approval in counties considering toll bridges.


Juneau: More than 200 federally recognized tribes would also be officially recognized in the state under a bill that is gaining momentum with bipartisan support. The bill is largely symbolic and would not change how tribal governments already operate, as each of the 229 Native Alaska tribes is already federally recognized, lawmakers said. The legislation would instead enshrine in state law what has been the status of these tribes for years and formally recognize tribal sovereignty. “Just a simple act of recognition can heal decades of hurt,” said Richard Chalyee Eesh Peterson, president of the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. “One of the things that will happen for the larger community of Alaska, this will normalize the thought of tribes as sovereigns.”


Tombstone: Doc Holliday’s Saloon has challenged the state liquor department’s ruling that the saloon didn’t adequately control firearms within its establishment. That claim, historians will note, was the also the chief concern of the bar’s namesake, John Henry “Doc” Holliday, when he lived in Tombstone in the late 1800s. That dispute, in which Holliday and three other lawmen looked to disarm a group of cowboys by the OK Corral, ended badly. In the current case, the liquor department ordered Doc Holliday’s to temporarily close its swinging doors for two weeks because of four incidents that it asserted violated liquor laws. Three involved weapons; two ended with someone being shot. After one shooting incident, the department’s report noted, the saloon seemed to celebrate with a sign outside that suggested beer was a necessity following a shooting. Doc Holliday remains open for business while it appeals the order.


This mock-up prepared by ETC Engineers & Architects shows what a potential Mountain Home community center, aquatic facility and outdoor water park could look like.

Mountain Home: The city will hold a public meeting at 6p.m. Tuesday at City Hall to discuss a proposed community center. Under a proposal presented to the City Council earlier this month, the facility would include an indoor aquatic center and an outdoor water park in addition to the community center. It would be built at McCabe Park along U.S. Highway 62 West. The plan includes upgrades or renovations – some big, some small – to almost every park under the City of Mountain Home umbrella and carries an estimated $38 million price tag. The proposed indoor aquatic center would be 22,300 square feet and include a competition lap pool, a heated therapy pool and a kids’ play pool. The proposed outdoor water park would feature a diving pool, a shallow play area for small children, water slides and a lazy river.


People pose for a picture among wildflowers in bloom at Lake Elsinore, Calif., on March 18, 2019.

Lake Elsinore: Southern California’s dry winter isn’t good for wildflowers – and that’s OK with officials in this city where last spring’s “superbloom” of poppies drew huge crowds. Riverside County parks official Dustin McLain said the chances of a superbloom in Walker Canyon this year are small because January was dry, and February has started off the same way, The Press-Enterprise reports. Lake Elsinore Mayor Brian Tisdale is hoping the big bloom doesn’t occur. “That kind of attention – even though it’s probably the most beautiful thing in Southern California – has an overwhelming impact on the local community,” he told the newspaper. Last March, after a very wet winter, throngs of people flocked to Walker Canyon. Interstate 15 was jammed for miles in both directions, and streets of the small city were gridlocked. At one point, the city closed the canyon and then barred cars from the area, requiring visitors to pay for shuttle rides to the floral extravaganza.

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