7.28.15:  Boy Scout board approves end to blanket ban on gay adults



NEW YORK (AP) — The Boy Scouts of America’s top policy-making board has voted to end its ban on gay adult leaders while allowing church-sponsored Scout units to maintain the exclusion if that accords with their faith.

In 2013, the BSA decided to let openly gay boys become scouts. That prompted conservative Christians to launch Trail Life USA as a scouting alternative.

Several religious denominations that continue to sponsor large numbers of Boy Scout units — including the Roman Catholic church, the Mormon church and the Southern Baptist Convention — have been apprehensive about the BSA lifting its ban on gay adults. The Rev. Russell Moore, the Southern Baptists’ public policy chief, says he’s seen “a definite cooling on the part of Baptist churches toward the Scouts” Moore says, “This will probably bring that cooling to a freeze.”

The Boy Scouts’ top leaders have pledged to defend the right of any church-sponsored units to continue excluding gays as adult volunteers.

But Trail Life Chairman John Stemberger predicts that the new BSA policy will expose churches to discrimination lawsuits if they adhere to their faith’s teachings.




7.28.15:  Suspicious packages sent to Oregon government buildings 



SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Authorities in Oregon are investigating suspicious packages that were sent to government buildings around the state.

Oregon State Police say some of the packages contained an unknown substance.

But the East Oregonian in Pendleton is reporting that the sheriff in Grant County was taken to a hospital for treatment and observation Monday afternoon after opening an envelope addressed to him that contained white powder. The newspaper says he developed a physical reaction.

And the Mail Tribune in Medford says the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department was among the agencies receiving the mailings.

The package was turned over to federal authorities.


7.27.15:  Fiat Chrysler to buy back 500,000 pickups in recall deal



DETROIT (AP) — Fiat Chrysler has settled with safety regulators over hundreds of thousands of its Ram pickups and Jeep vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the owners of some 500,000 Ram pickups with defective steering can trade in their vehicles or get money from Fiat Chrysler to have them repaired.

The settlement also covers older Jeeps with fuel tanks located behind the rear axle.

The fuel can rupture and spill gasoline in a collision.



7.24.15:  7-vehicle crash in I-65 near Lafayette, Indiana



LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Indiana State Police say five people were killed in a seven-vehicle crash on Interstate 65 near Lafayette.

Sgt. Kim Riley says the crash happened in a construction zone just before midnight Thursday when a semi rear-ended another vehicle, causing a chain reaction and igniting a fire.

Riley says three of those killed were in a minivan. The driver of the semi that caused the crash was also killed along with a driver in another vehicle. One other person was injured.

Riley says the highway was still closed in both directions Friday morning as authorities cleared the scene and investigated the crash.


7.24.15:  Theater shooting in Lafayette, Louisiana



LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) – Police in Lafayette, Louisiana say at least one person shot Thursday night in a movie theater, is being operated on.

Three people, including the gunman were killed and 9 people were wounded when a man opened fire about 20 minutes into the movie.


The suspect is described as a 58-year-old white man with a criminal history.

Police say they found suspicious items in the man’s vehicle and decided to set off explosions as a precaution.


About a dozen law enforcement personnel were gathered at a Motel 6 in Lafayette early Friday as authorities investigate a shooting at movie theater that killed three people, including the gunman.

Louisiana State Police spokesman Maj. Doug Cain said the theater investigation led them to a room at the Motel 6. Cain said authorities were investigating whether the shooter had stayed there. He said the bomb squad swept the room before going in as a precaution.

About a dozen police personnel could be seen outside the motel. At one point, an officer carried out a cardboard box from the room and other officers could be seen knocking on neighboring doors.



7.23.15:  Wildfires prompt evacuations in MT and CA



HELENA, Mont. (AP) —A fast-moving wildfire in Glacier National Park in Montana is prompting more evacuations.

Officials are clearing the small community of St. Mary, at the park’s entrance, as the fire has burned through more than 6 square miles.

On Tuesday, park visitors traveling along the popular route, Going-to-the-Sun Road, had to flee their vehicles, and one family found themselves trapped when they briefly stopped on the road to take photos.

Another wildfire has charred six square miles in northern California, prompting evacuations about 30 miles north of Napa.



7.23.15:  Pushing for a ‘yes’ vote in Congress



UNDATED (AP) — Three members of President Barack Obama’s Cabinet will appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today to answer tough questions about the nuclear deal struck with Iran.

Secretary of State John Kerry, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew also were on Capitol Hill yesterday for classified briefings in the House and Senate.

But most Republicans left the meetings still opposed to the deal Congress is expected to vote on in September.


7.22.15:  Wildfire closes popular Glacier Park roadway



HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Wildfires in Montana have forced the closure of Glacier National Park’s most popular roadway and homes are being evacuated in the central part of the state. Drought conditions mixed with lightning passing through the area on Tuesday have increased the fire threat in western Montana.

National Park Service officials have closed the entire eastern side of the scenic Going-to-the-Sun Road because of a wildfire about 6 miles east of Logan Pass.

Another blaze is threatening homes about 15 miles east of Townsend near the Deep Creek Canyon. It quickly spread from 50 to 1,000 acres.


7.21.15:  Lawmakers want programs to curb Great Lakes farm pollution



WILLIS, Mich. (AP) — Two members of Congress from Michigan plan to introduce legislation encouraging Great Lakes states to develop programs that reduce risk of pollution that causes harmful algae blooms.

Reps. Tim Walberg of Tipton and Candice Miller of Shelby Township in Macomb County will announce their bill on Tuesday at a news conference near Willis.

It calls for initiatives modeled after the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program, which helps farmers voluntarily take conservation measures such as reducing soil erosion and nutrient runoff.

Ohio has banned farmers in the northwestern part of the state from spreading manure on frozen and rain-soaked fields and requires them to get training before using commercial fertilizers.

Those regulations were adopted in response to algae outbreaks that contaminated drinking water in Toledo and southeastern Michigan last August.


7.21.15:  University of Michigan professor nominated for Fed board



ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel says he’s “pleased and proud” that professor and economist Kathryn Dominguez is being nominated to serve on the Federal Reserve board of governors.

The White House announced on Monday President Barack Obama’s plans to nominate Dominguez. Her nomination to the board of governors would be subject to confirmation by the Senate.

Dominguez became a faculty member at the University of Michigan in 1997, and is a professor of public policy and economics. The school says her current research looks at why the U.S. economy has recovered slowly from the Great Recession, including the role played by global economic developments.

Schlissel said in a statement that Dominguez has a “well-deserved reputation” as a leading expert on global financial markets.