Utah kids' book author accused in husband's killing changed life insurance policies, prosecutors say

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Updated charging documents say a Utah woman who wrote a children’s book about grief after her husband’s death and was later arrested on accusations of killing him made changes to her husband’s life insurance years before he was fatally poisoned. The charges were tweaked Thursday. The allegations were previously mentioned in search warrants but not the charging documents. They led to the postponement of a detention hearing scheduled for Friday. It would have been the first time Kouri Richins was in court since her case became the latest true crime sensation earlier this month.

California lawmakers block bill allowing people to sue oil companies over health problems

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California legislative committees in the Assembly and Senate blocked two big climate bills Thursday. One would have made the state's greenhouse gas emission reduction targets more ambitious. Another would have allowed people to sue oil companies over health problems if they meet certain criteria. Those were among dozens of bills that did not survive hearings in the chambers' public finance committees. That means they not likely to be passed this year. Other proposals that were blocked include legislation to ban people under 21 from using cellphones while driving and a bill to allow people struggling with suicidal thoughts to voluntarily register themselves on a “do not sell” list for firearms.

'Rust' weapons supervisor wants charges dropped in Alec Baldwin shooting

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Attorneys for the weapons supervisor on the film set where Alec Baldwin shot and killed a cinematographer have asked a judge to dismiss her involuntary manslaughter charge, as Baldwin’s was last month. In a motion filed in Santa Fe County court on Thursday, lawyers for Hannah Gutierrez-Reed say the prosecutors who filed the charge did not have the authority to do so. They say Gutierrez-Reed's due process rights were violated and that damage done to the gun by an FBI test amounts to the destruction of evidence. Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed when a gun Baldwin was holding went off on the New Mexico set of the film “Rust” in October 2021.

Rhode Island governor signs bill to fund abortion coverage for state workers and Medicaid recipients

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island Gov. Daniel McKee has signed a bill into law that would let state funds be used to pay for health insurance plans that cover state workers and Medicaid recipients seeking abortions. The signing ceremony was held Thursday almost immediately after the Rhode Island Senate approved the measure. The 24-12 vote followed less than an hour of debate. The democratic governor says he is proud to sign the bill and include related funding in his state budget proposal. Opponents say the state shouldn’t require state taxpayers to cover the cost of abortions.

Surf's up! Florida's St. George Island beach named nation's best in annual ranking

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A 9-mile stretch of Florida sugar-white sand in an unspoiled natural setting alongside the Gulf of Mexico is the nation’s best beach for 2023. That's according to an annual ranking released by a university professor known as “Dr. Beach.” The state park on St. George Island just off the Florida Panhandle drew the top honor Thursday from Stephen Leatherman, professor in the Department of Earth & Environment at Florida International University. This year’s top 10 list marks the 33rd year Leatherman has rated America’s beaches. St. George Island is frequently on the list. Leatherman said what set it apart this year is its natural beauty, lack of development and abundant activities including fishing, swimming, kayaking, cycling, camping and an unparalleled view for stargazers.

Michigan boy who used slingshot to save sister says he 'was just lucky'

ALPENA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan teenager who is credited with using an uncommon weapon to save his sister from an abduction says he was “freaking out” when he reached for his slingshot. Thirteen-year-old Owen Burns says he opened a window at his home and fired a marble and a rock. Police say the 17-year-old assailant was hit in the head and chest. Owen's 8-year-old sister got away. It happened on May 10 in Alpena Township in northern Michigan. State police say they are amazed that Owen used a slingshot to rescue his sister. Owen says the attacker was a “big target” for his slingshot, not the usual small can. Owen modestly says, “I was just lucky.”

Mastodon bones unearthed by Michigan work crew go on display in museum

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Museum officials in Grand Rapids, Michigan, showed off mastodon bones that were unearthed last year during a drainage dig in the western part of the state and belonged to a juvenile male mastodon that lived 13,000 years ago. The skeleton was discovered on private property belonging to the Clapp family in August by a crew working for a drain commission. The Clapps decided to donate the remains to the Grand Rapids Public Museum. While much of the skeleton still is going through the drying process, a selection of the bones will be publicly displayed for the first time during an exhibit that opens Saturday.

10K bridges similar to Pittsburgh one that collapsed should be checked for corrosion, report says

Investigators looking into the collapse of a Pittsburgh bridge last year want transportation officials nationwide to examine more than 10,000 other bridges with similar steel construction. The National Transportation Safety Board says in a report Thursday it wants states and cities to make sure their bridges don’t have corrosion like what they found on the bridge that collapsed. The safety board says drainage problems on the weathered steel bridge caused parts of it to deteriorate over time. It says Pennsylvania neglected for years to clear the debris, dirt and leaves that were causing the problem, even though inspectors noted the issue. The Pennsylvania Transportation Department didn't immediately respond to the recommendations.

Will dashboard AM radio be saved? Bipartisan bill would require automakers to keep it in new cars

NEW YORK (AP) — Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are pushing to keep AM radio in the nation’s cars. A bipartisan group in Congress has introduced the “AM for Every Vehicle Act.” It would require automakers to keep AM radio in new cars at no additional cost. Supporters cite public safety concerns and AM radio’s critical role in transmitting emergency alerts. The proposed legislation arrives as more and more automakers say goodbye to AM radio in newer car models. Critics of the bill say that mandating AM radio is unnecessary — pointing to the Integrated Public Alerts and Warning System, which can distribute safety warnings across AM, FM, internet-based and satellite radios, as well as over cellular networks.

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