Warren County fire department makes history as all-female interior crew responds to call | Regional

WASHINGTON BOROUGH, N.J. – The Washington Borough Fire Department in Warren County, New Jersey made history last week when its first all-female interior crew responded to a call.

The department recently added three certified firefighters to its volunteer roster; all are women.

Destinee Hartrum, her cousin Stephanie Hartrum and Deanna Harrington said they didn’t plan to join at the same time but wanted to serve their communities. They have spent the better part of a year in fire school training to do so.

“There is over 100 years of fire service in my family, so I kind of felt like it was the right thing to do,” said Destinee.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, fewer than 10% of firefighters are female. Washington Borough Chief Dirk Higgins estimates that number to be even smaller in Warren County.

“We have the ability to have role models that we can showcase to young girls in our community and say ‘hey, you can be a fire fighter too,'” Higgins said.

Deanna Harrington said she spent about five years working in EMS before attending the fire academy. And that while some people in the community may be surprised to see a woman under the gear, the rest of the Washington Borough department is not.

“You hear of stories from other women from other parts of the country but here I’ve never felt treated differently. I just feel just another one of the guys, a fire fighter, you get treated with equal respect. They know you can do your job; you know they can do their job and that’s what really matters,” Harrington said.

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1 PA County Remains In COVID-19 Red Zone: White House Task Force

PENNSYLVANIA — New coronavirus cases and test positivity rates have stabilized in Pennsylvania, the White House Coronavirus Task Force said this week in its latest state-level report.

Still, one county — Centre — remains in the coronavirus “red” zone. One is in the “orange” zone and five are in the “yellow” zone.

The task force’s state-level reports summarize coronavirus activity and offer recommendations to state leaders based on trends. Pennsylvania’s most recent report was dated Sept. 27.

The Center for Public Integrity has been collecting and disseminating the weekly reports, which are sent by the task force to governors around the country. The reports aren’t made public by the task force.

In addition to assessing recent data, the report makes recommendations for officials to follow as it responds to the pandemic.

The task force is recommending Penn State and Indiana University — where recent outbreaks have been reported — be “monitored closely.” Centre County, the sole red zone county, is home to Penn State’s University Park Campus.

RELATED: Coronavirus Spike At Penn State Alarms Top PA Health Officials

In the previous report issued Sept. 20, there were two Pennsylvania counties in the red zone. Counties in the red zone have reported more than 100 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents and a diagnostic test positivity result above 10 percent. Indiana County, previously red, is now in the yellow zone, the Sept. 27 report said.

Northumberland County is in the orange zone, which means it has reported between 51 and 100 new cases per 100,000 residents and a diagnostic test positivity result between 8 and 10 percent.

Counties in the yellow zone have reported between 10 and 50 new cases per 100,000 residents and a diagnostic test positivity result between 5 and 7.9 percent. In addition to Indiana, counties listed in the yellow zone in the most recent report include York, Juniata, Lebanon, and Perry.

Overall, Pennsylvania remains in the yellow zone for cases and in the green zone for test positivity. The state’s new case rate remains below the national average, with 43 cases per 100,000 residents, compared to the national average of 93 per 100,000 residents.

Pennsylvania reported 1,153 additional positive cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the statewide total to 158,967. There have been 8,142 coronavirus deaths in Pennsylvania since the onset of the pandemic.

The latest White House Coronavirus Task Force report for Pennsylvania can be viewed in full here.

This article originally appeared on the Across Pennsylvania Patch

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2 brothers are heroes after saving each other, house during grease fire in Pasco County

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Sole Witness Who Heard Cops Announce Themselves in Breonna Taylor Raid Changed His Story

This week, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron made the bombshell announcement that the cops who fatally shot Breonna Taylor would not be charged with killing her, calling their use of force in the March raid “justified to protect themselves.”In that justification, he said that one witness corroborated the three officers’ insistence that they knocked and identified themselves at Taylor’s Louisville home while executing a search warrant in connection with a narcotics investigation. It contradicted claims from Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenny Walker, and 11 other residents, who said they didn’t hear the cops announce themselves. Instead, Walker thought he was being burglarized and fired a warning shot that triggered a tragic chain of events.But, according to documents and audio obtained by VICE News on Saturday, that sole witness initially told investigators days after the March 13 raid that he didn’t actually hear officers Brett Hankison, Jonathan Mattingly, and Myles Cosgrove announce themselves.The witness—identified by VICE as Aarin Sarpee but by other outlets and public records as Aaron Julue Sarpee—was picking up his daughter from a unit above Taylor’s when the raid took place.It wasn’t until he was interviewed a second time, about two months after the raid by a sergeant in LMPD’s Public Integrity Unit, that Sarpee said he heard police say, “This is the cops.”Sarpee’s flip-flop, the latest twist in a case that has made Taylor an icon in the Black Lives Matter movement, calls into question the strength of Cameron’s case and the grand jury report, which state officials are demanding be made public.“I never had faith in Daniel Cameron to begin with, I knew he was too inexperienced with a job of this caliber. I knew he chose to be at the wrong side of the law,” Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mother, said in a Friday statement. “My hope was that he knew he had the power to do the right thing, that he had the power to start the healing of this city, that he had the power to help mend over 400 years of oppression. What he helped me realize is that it will always be us against them. That we are never safe.”On Wednesday, a grand jury indicted only Hankison, though only for recklessly firing shots that endangered people in other units. Mattingly and Cosgrove—the cop who fired the shot that killed Taylor—weren’t charged.Cameron’s charging recommendations were at least partly based on Sarpee’s testimony, since the attorney general said Wednesday that investigators had “an independent witness” corroborate the officer’s account.No Cops Charged With Killing Breonna Taylor“My office was not tasked with determining if this was a tragedy, as it was,” Cameron said Wednesday, admitting that it was unlikely more charges would be laid. “My job was to put emotions aside and investigate facts to see if state law was violated.”Wednesday’s charges came more than six months after a “no-knock” warrant was issued for Taylor’s apartment as part of a controversial

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Kalamazoo County commissioner faces small business owner in 61st House District race

Republican Bronwyn Haltom and Democrat Christine Morse are facing off to represent the 61st District in the Michigan House of Representatives.

Morse is a current Kalamazoo County commissioner representing District 9. She has a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and a law degree from Wayne State University Law School.

“Christine is Michigan native, former attorney, Kalamazoo County Commissioner, public school parent of 3, breast cancer survivor, and spouse of a Navy Veteran,” she said in her responses to the Vote411.org voter guide from the League of Women Voters.

Haltom Attended Kalamazoo Valley Community College and transferred to the University of Michigan, where she earned a bachelor’s degree.

“I was born here, educated here, and own a small business here. I believe in our community and am committed to serving our neighbors to move Michigan forward,” Haltom said in responses to the League of Michigan Voters voter guide.

Haltom defeated Tom Graham in the August primary election. Morse was unopposed in the Democratic primary.

The 61st District contains the city of Portage, Oshtemo, Texas, Prairie Ronde and Schoolcraft townships and the villages of Schoolcraft and Vicksburg in Kalamazoo County. Current GOP state Rep. Brandt Iden is term-limited.

MLive Media Group has again partnered with the League of Women Voters of Michigan Education Fund to provide candidate information and other voting resources to our readers. Each candidate was asked to answer a series of questions about their policy stances.

Information on all state and federal races and many of Michigan’s county and local races will be available at Vote411.org.

Here’s a look how both candidates responded to questions from the League of Women Voters candidate survey:

EDUCATION: What is your position on the role of public funding of education in Michigan? What measures do you support/propose to improve educational outcomes and accessibility for all Michigan students?

Morse: As a public school graduate and parent, public education funding is my top issue. Teachers are vastly underpaid and class sizes are unreasonably high. In addition to rectifying the disinvestment we’ve seen over the last couple of decades, we are 50th in the country in reading growth. I believe we need to invest seriously in our public education – both through skilled trades programs, retraining, and higher education if we want our kids to be able to build a life here in Michigan. We also need to reevaluate our testing standards and make sure to involve educators in the process of rewriting.

Haltom: Public education is the most important investment the State of Michigan can make in our future, and I support robust education funding that prepares Michigan students for the jobs of tomorrow. The legislature must find long-term solutions to address Michigan’s third grade reading levels that bring together parents, teachers, administrators and students. I support measures to expand opportunities that empower parents and guardians to make decisions that best fit their student’s educational needs. We must also promote and invest in skilled trades and vocational learning as an additional path to

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Three Madison County businesses warned by the Kitchen Cops

MADISON CO., Ala. (WAFF) – Three Madison County spots got warnings that their licenses were in danger of being suspended this week – despite two of them having overall good scores.



a green sign with white text: Kitchen Cops - September 24, 2020


© Provided by Huntsville-Decatur WAFF
Kitchen Cops – September 24, 2020

Tailgaters on Winchester Road scores a 90, and the produce section at the Foodland grocery store in Hazel Green gets a 95. Both spots had food temperature issues though. The Sonic at Bob Wallace and Triana gets a 79. It had food temperature issues as well, and there was also a black substance in the ice machine and soda nozzles.

Some familiar faces at the bottom of the score sheet this week include the Waffle House on Shields Road. It scores a 79 because of two unlabeled chemical bottles, food temperature issues and problems with the dishwasher.

The Pine Grove Texaco makes the low performer’s list yet again. This time, it scores an 81 because of a broken hot water knob on a sink, an employee touching food barehanded and residue in the ice chute and soda nozzles. That was all fixed, but the low score stands.

Stanlieo’s on Jordan Lane was written up for roaches and a dirty ice machine and soda nozzles.

Wendy’s in Jones Valley also had a dirty ice machine along with liquid grill cleaner being stored over raw hamburger.

Galen’s in New Hope is the lowest score this week. It had multiple problems with food temperatures, flies and the dishwasher operating without sanitizer that all had to be fixed.

Top performers this week include Sushi with Gusto on Whitesburg Drive with a 99, the newest Lawler’s on Winchester Road with a 98 and the Salty Nut Tap Room can’t be salty about its score with a 97.

For a full list of the Madison County inspection notes, click here.

For a full list of the Madison County scores, click here.

WAFF 48 is reaching out to other county health departments to find out when restaurant inspections will resume.

Copyright 2020 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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Policing, criminal justice issues at the forefront in Dallas County race for Texas House

An already combative race for an eastern Dallas County statehouse seat grew even more contentious this week when Republican challenger Will Douglas questioned Democratic incumbent Rhetta Bowers’ support for local police.

“I’d like to push back on on the idea that Rep. Bowers supports local services,” Douglas said during an interview Monday with The Dallas Morning News’ editorial board. “I’m pretty sure Rep. Bowers chose not to sign Gov. [Greg] Abbott’s pledge to not defund the police. That brings me to another point of where representative Bowers and I differ. I’m a strong supporter of our law enforcement.”

“So am I,” Bowers cut in.

Douglas’ snipe came after Bowers fielded a question about her opposition to last year’s bill to cap a local government’s property tax revenue increase at 3.5%. Bowers said she opposed it because the city and county officials in her district told her it could harm their ability to fund public services like police, fire and emergency responders.

Bowers, who accused Douglas of being divisive, said he is distorting her record.

“My opponent has been very accusatory of me, not knowing me at all,” she fired back. “I am not about defunding the police. I fought hard for law enforcement when I was in the Legislature, and I took it as a great honor, and still do, to serve.”

Support for police has become a wedge issue since activists began calling for “defunding the police” after the death of George Floyd in May at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. The issue gained more attention as cities like Austin began reallocating resources away from policing and toward social services to address issues, like homelessness and mental illness, that police encounter on a regular basis.

Abbott, a Republican, seized on the political opportunity to create a ‘Back the Blue’ pledge and asked lawmakers and citizens to sign it to show their support. The GOP sees the issue as an easy way to peel off voters in competitive races like House District 113, where Bowers is facing her first re-election campaign. The district covers parts of Dallas, Balch Springs, Garland, Mesquite, Rowlett and Sunnyvale.

Douglas, who has a Black father and a white mother, said reducing funding for police would impact communities of color that are most impacted by violent crime. He said Bowers is trying to stay away from calling it a “defunding” but the end result is the same.

“If your boss tells you he’s going to reallocate your paycheck, I think you’re going to consider yourself defunded,” he said.

Bowers said she has pushed back against the moniker of “defunding the police” because it sends the wrong message. But Bowers, who is also Black, said Douglas is oversimplifying a complicated issue.

Police leaders in her district have told her they need help with homeless people. Because of that, Bowers filed a bill last session that required more training for officers on how to interact with homeless people. The bill did not pass.

After Floyd’s death,

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Fallen Horry County cop honored with parking lot in Garden City

An Horry County police officer who died from COVID-19 will be immortalized in Garden City.

The Horry County Council will name the parking lot at the intersection of Waccamaw Drive and Azalea Drive after Officer Michael “Mike” Ambrosino.

Ambrosino died in August after fighting COVID-19 and other illnesses caused by the virus. He was remembered in a public memorial at Myrtle Beach State Park.

Ambrosino served more than 32 years as a police officer, including seven years with Horry County police. He served in South Precinct patrol, beach patrol, as part of the Honor Guard and team leader for SWAT negotiations. Before joining Horry County police, Ambrosino served with the New York State Department of Corrections, the Philmont, New York, Police Department and the Coxsackie, New York, Police Department for over 25 years.

The County Infrastructure and Regulation Committee is expected to pass the resolution to rename the parking lot Tuesday. The county council is expected pass the resolution at its next meeting on Oct. 6.

County officials honored Ambrosino at their first meeting after he died, but this ordinance will be a more permanent way to memorialize Ambrosino.

Gerard Albert III reports on any and everything in Myrtle Beach for The Sun News. Albert was editor-in-chief at Florida International University’s student newspaper. He also covered Miami-Dade and Broward County for WLRN, South Florida’s NPR station. He is an award-winning journalist who has reported throughout South Florida and New York City. He enjoys balancing the discipline and conviction in journalism with finding creative ways to find the truth and report it. Si, hablo espanol.

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Erie County Tribute Garden honors domestic violence victims, survivors

On Saturday a celebration of the Tribute Garden’s fifth anniversary will be held. A poem will be unveiled on the stone steps of the berm.

TONAWANDA, N.Y. — Erie County’s Tribute Garden in Isle View Park is believed to be the first of its kind on public land. II’s designed to raise awareness around domestic violence while honoring victims and survivors.

Karen King of the Erie County Status of Women Commission there garden is “also a space where you can gather information through our kiosk and information about resources that are available in our community, if you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship and needs help.”  

According to the the National Coalition against Domestic Violence “domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and emotional abuse.”

On Saturday a celebration of the Tribute Garden’s fifth anniversary will be held. A poem will be unveiled on the stone steps of the berm.

It’s a true community project from beginning to end.

Cornell cooperative extension master gardeners offer service learning opportunities for for middle and high school  students.

“We believe it’s been instrumental in exposing the problem and also teaching young people what they can do if they know someone who is impacted by domestic violence and the resources that are available. it also helps d to support a program called teen relationship violence awareness program,” King said.

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4 state House races in Washtenaw County on Nov. 3 ballot

ANN ARBOR, MI — Washtenaw County’s four state House seats are all held by Democrats, three of whom are seeking re-election Nov. 3.

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All four Democrats running are heavily favored to win against Republican opponents in the Democratic-leaning districts.

The three incumbents, if re-elected, will be term-limited out of office at the end of 2022.

Here’s a quick look at the races, with links at the end to find out more information about the candidates.

Lasinski vs. Marquis

In the 52nd District covering the western area of the county, Rep. Donna Lasinski, D-Scio Township, faces Lima Township Republican Greg Marquis, a hazardous materials specialist for the University of Michigan.

Lasinski, a former Ann Arbor school board member, is seeking a third and final term.

Once considered a swing district, the seat has been held by Democrats the last eight years. Lasinski, first elected in 2016, was re-elected with over 60% of the vote against Republican Teri Aiuto in 2018.

Rabhi vs. Holland

In the 53rd District covering the majority of Ann Arbor, Rep. Yousef Rabhi is seeking a third and final term.

The Ann Arbor Democrat and former county commissioner was first elected to the state House in 2016 and re-elected in 2018 with 87% of the vote against Republican Jean Holland.

Holland, president of Blue Chip Consulting Inc., is now challenging Rabhi again.

Peterson vs. Church

In the 54th District, Rep. Ronnie Peterson, D-Ypsilanti Township, is seeking a third and final term. He faces Ypsilanti Republican Martin Church, an information technology specialist and owner of Father’s Educational Support Services.

The district includes the city of Ypsilanti, plus Superior and Ypsilanti townships.

Peterson, a former county commissioner, was first elected to the state House in 2016 and re-elected in 2018 with over 78% of the vote against Republican Colton Campbell.

Brabec vs. Baird

In the 55th District, County Commissioner Felicia Brabec, D-Pittsfield Township, is competing against Ann Arbor Township Republican Bob Baird, a small-government proponent with an accounting background.

The district includes the northern part of Ann Arbor, as well as Ann Arbor, Augusta, Pittsfield and York townships.

The seat is held by Rep. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor, who won with 74% of the vote against Baird in 2018. Warren is now term-limited.

Baird is competing for a third time. In his first run in 2016, he lost to Rep. Adam Zemke, D-Ann Arbor, netting 30% of the vote.

Find out more:

MLive has partnered with the nonpartisan League of Women Voters of Michigan to provide information to voters.

Check out the league’s voter guide at Vote411.org/ballot to find information about candidates and issues on the ballot.

The league’s Ann Arbor chapter also is holding virtual candidate forums that will be posted on YouTube.

MORE FROM THE ANN ARBOR NEWS:

Early in-person voting at Ann Arbor city hall, UM campus starts Sept. 24

Who’s running in the November 2020 election in Washtenaw County

These 12 proposals are on the November 2020 ballot in

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L.A. County restrictions on indoor shopping centers are unjust, mall lawsuit alleges

The operator of a sports apparel store in Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance has filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles County in an effort to ease countywide restrictions on operating businesses in indoor malls during the COVID-19 pandemic.



a store inside of a building: The Pro Image Sports store in Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance sells sports apparel. (Daisy Rivas / Pro Image Sports)


© (Daisy Rivas / Pro Image Sports)
The Pro Image Sports store in Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance sells sports apparel. (Daisy Rivas / Pro Image Sports)

Also objecting to the limits is the largest owner of indoor malls in the county, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, which called the county’s restrictions that are now stricter than state guidelines an “undue hardship” on the company and its store tenants.

In a proposed class-action lawsuit filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, the owner of Rivas Sports Inc. said it was unfair for the county to shutter “nonessential” businesses like hers that have their front doors inside of an enclosed mall.

Stores in shopping centers that have their own doors to the outside can still operate under safety guidelines issued by the county in May as pandemic-related restrictions on businesses were eased. Interior mall stores were allowed to operate at 50% occupancy until they were closed by the state in July as infections surged.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Aug. 28 unveiled a plan that allowed Los Angeles County to reopen stores and malls at 25% capacity, but county officials opted to keep most stores inside malls closed. Hair and nail salons can reopen countywide with limited service.

Rivas Sports owner Daisy Rivas said she is willing to follow the state rules, which would mean allowing only eight customers at a time inside her Pro Image Sports shop at Del Amo Fashion Center.

“We have operated safely and followed the government guidelines to the letter of the law, and we are prepared to be fully compliant” with Newsom’s guidance, Rivas said. “Yet without a single word of explanation by the county, they continue to shut us down. We and many other small businesses need our stores open in order to survive.”

The lawsuit was filed by Rivas on behalf of other retailers together with the owner and manager of Del Amo Fashion Center, an affiliate of Simon Property Group. Indianapolis-based Simon is one of the largest mall operators in the country.



A handful of people shop at the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance on Thursday, Mar. 12, 2020, after officials had cautioned the public to keep a safe distance from other people to avoid infections of COVID-19. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)


© (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
A handful of people shop at the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance on Thursday, Mar. 12, 2020, after officials had cautioned the public to keep a safe distance from other people to avoid infections of COVID-19. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

“This blatantly unconstitutional act prevents interior mall stores from operating, crushing their businesses, denying their employees of their livelihoods, and laying waste to their businesses,” the plaintiffs said in their complaint filed with the court.

The county’s public information office said it would not comment on pending litigation, but released this statement:

“From the onset of the pandemic, Los Angeles County has been intensely committed to protecting

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