Town hit by mudslide ordered cleared
MONTECITO, Calif. — Most residents of mudslide-ravaged Montecito were under orders to clear out Friday as the search for victims dragged on and crews labored to clean up the muck and repair power, water and gas lines.
Even those who didn’t lose their homes in the disaster that left at least 18 people dead were told to leave for up to two weeks so they wouldn’t interfere with the rescue and recovery operation in the Southern California town of 9,000.
A fleet of large trucks and heavy equipment rolled into town Thursday, and the forces on the ground swelled to more than 1,200 workers. Seven people remained missing Friday.
A crew found the body of the 18th victim, Joseph Bleckel, 87, before noon in his home near Romero Canyon, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said.
The cause of Bleckel’s death wasn’t announced, but all other victims died from multiple traumatic injuries.
Brown said residents who had stayed behind or tried to check on damage were hindering the recovery effort.
Illinois school OK’d for girl’s medical pot
CHICAGO — The Illinois attorney general’s office on Friday told a federal court it will allow a suburban Chicago school district to administer medical marijuana to an 11-yearold leukemia patient to treat her for seizure disorders
The commitment made to U.S. District Judge John Blakey came two days after the student’s parents sued Schaumburg-based District 54 and the state for the girl’s right to take medical marijuana at school. Illinois’ medical cannabis law prohibits possessing or using marijuana on school grounds or buses.
Parents Jim and Maureen Surin contend the policy violates the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Since getting her state medical marijuana card the first week of December, Ashley Surin has been wearing a patch on her foot and rubbing marijuana oil on her wrist. Because the patch is occasionally ineffective in controlling her seizures, Ashley uses cannabis oil drops with small amounts of THC on her tongue or wrists to regulate her epilepsy.
Maryland overrides sick-leave veto
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Maryland Senate on Friday overturned Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s 2017 veto of a sick-leave bill, making Maryland the ninth state in the country to require businesses to provide the benefit.
Despite a strong effort by Hogan to persuade Democrats to abandon the legislation, which he said would hurt businesses and potentially invade workers’ privacy, the Senate voted 30-17 to override the veto, one vote more than was needed.
The House of Delegates overrode the veto on Thursday.
Progressive groups pushed for six years to have Maryland join other states in requiring businesses to give workers paid time off when they are ill. Companies with 15 or more employees will be required to provide five days of sick leave a year.
Eight states — Arizona, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington — have enacted paid-sick-leave laws.
Republicans said the bill will lead to job losses while supporters of the bill said the legislation will ensure that more than a half-million workers, many of whom are in low-paying jobs, are able to take time off when they are sick.
Texas King parade off over boycott plan
ARLINGTON, Texas — A Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in North Texas has been canceled just days after groups threatened to boycott the event because Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, was chosen as honorary grand marshal.
Arlington city officials said they denied a parade permit because organizers fell short on funding for security and traffic management, not because of the potential protests and boycotts.
Event spokesman Winsor Barbee said that the parade costs about $250,000 and organizers fell short by about $60,000 because several sponsors pulled their funding over the boycott threats.
Local NAACP officials said they supported canceling the parade because Abbott’s participation would have forced them to protest an event meant to honor King. They contend that Abbott’s record of supporting a state voter ID law, threatening to withhold funding from sanctuary cities and support for legislative redistricting is antithetical to King’s legacy.
Abbott’s office called the potential protest a politicization of an event meant to unify Texans.
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